I need to write this down to serve as a list in determining a mass migration of my sites from WordPress to Drupal, so I’ll just blog it right? I’ll start with a list of a few WordPress issues I am frustrated with, off the top of my head:
- Asides: I wanna show posts (or post titles, or post titles with excerpts) from specific categories on the sidebar. I have done this with limited success on BallEx on a category I called ‘PBA Notes’ (ftg. news fresh from the PBA), but unfortunately WordPress counting mechanism counts these posts as part of the posts that it should display on the front page, so everytime I post to the PBA Notes category, it removes a post from the index. It’s not a terribly difficult issue and is ‘resolved’ somewhat by merely posting more (which I should be doing anyway), but it’s kept me stumped for too long a while already, and prevents me from putting even more categories on the sidebar. At the moment the setting on BallEx for ‘Options > Reading > Blog Pages show at most:” is set at 30.
- Limited User Info: A lot of other WP users out there wanna do this as well. I’d like to put more relevant fields for users, such as address, mobile numbers and so on. Drupal users know this is very easy with CCK + Views. I haven’t visited this issue for a while though, so there may have been developments.
Postie: Postie is a plugin that allows you to publish posts via email. While WP hanoles that natively using (the very simple) wp-mail, Postie allows great flexibility such as category, author, subject, comments closed or comments open, and even set a delay from 1 day to 1 minute. It’s terrific if you are, say, posting from the road, or like me, which needs to publish multiple posts to multiple blogs at any given time. It also allows for an automated system that will allow me to post rss feeds or emails from mailing list subscriptions. In other words, I don’t have to login each time. Instead, I just send an email. It’s wonderful.
It also has not been updated since 2005. Recent comments on the Postie page are mostly requests for updates and pledges of donations, but no go. I am unsure if Drupal has a direct solution to this problem, but for some reason I am confident I can either find one or hack one in.
EventCalendar RSS: For some reason the RSS feeds for the EventCalendar category (I named rather unimaginatively as ‘events’) RSS feed does not work, inspite of using the instructions here. Meanwhile, I’ve managed to get all RSS feeds for all categories (and all my blogs) to work properly, so in other words, I’m stumped yet again. This is frustrating as I really wanna do fancy things with my Events Feed – something that’s been on my todo list for.. months I think.
Updating: Finally this is an issue that has to do more with blogging software per se rather than WP itself. I read an interview once of BoingBoing.net‘s owner saying that we shouldn’t be afraid to update specific posts as necessary, even if they’ve been posted already (as opposed to making a whole new post, especially if the updates are merely incremental). The solution is to edit the post and write ‘UPDATE:’ or something like that, underneath. This isn’t very elegant.
I wanna look for a better solution for situations such as those. The dates and permalinks to posts that have been updated remain same, so on the surface, there is no indication that it has been updated. Once a post has been updated and re-updated, it’s RSS feeds, I believe, still shoot off to RSS readers, but they look like the same post (unless the subscriber of course, investigates to check if there’s something new). Otherwise if they just look at the title and excerpt, it looks the same. There must be a better way.
Drupal things I can do in addition to resolving above issues:
- A much better Shopping Cart: I’ve been bleeding for a better shopping cart than the handmade one I have. I am currently testing Drupal’s Ubercart.
Forum: Drupal’s simple forum is way better looking than phpbb. PhpBB, from which I trace my programming roots, is great, no doubt about it. But it also doesn’t look very good imho, and aesthetics is important whilst dealing with my target audience (girls and moms). Besides, if I use Drupal’s Forum, it can integrate with other services like the blogs, and can be turned into a service that I really wanna try (which shall remain secret because I don’t want anyone preempting me).
In summary I basically wanna take my blogs to the next level, and convert them into full fledged, gloves are off, firing on all cylinders, WEBSITES. Featuring community abilities, membership, relevant user info, public and (membership only) private information and so on.
The blog ability will always be its main draw. Great Writing and Content is what makes really good terrific blogs in the first place. People love to read, learn and be entertained, and that’s what blogs deliver. But once they’re ‘there’, I wanna make them do other things as well, and WP falls short of that because that’s not what it was designed for.
I think I’ll do MomEx first. It’s gone from being number 1 in its category at PhilTopBLogs to number 8, so it needs more help than the others.