Why WordPress

This was originally a reply to an email, but I thought since I get this question from time to time I’d publish it here as well.

Why use WordPress to blog, when there are much more “hacker-friendly” blogging tools out there, such as Octopress?

I use WordPress, in large part, because I don’t know PHP. Before I started doing technical blogging in ~2006-2007, I spent literally years hamstrung by my need to come up with “the perfect” blogging platform. I’d come up with some topic I wanted to blog about, then that would lead to thinking about that blog system I wanted to write, and I’d wind up writing nothing.

The fact that WordPress:

  • is a dead-simple one-click install on Dreamhost
  • is written in a language that I find fairly unpleasant; and
  • has all the bells and whistles that I might otherwise be tempted to code myself already covered by plugins

…means that I spend my time writing posts, instead of working on my publishing system.

And, of course, Octopress didn’t exist when I started blogging. There were similar tools back then. But the Octopress-equivalents of 2007 are starting to look rather long in the tooth now, which means if I’d gone with one of them, right about now I’d be agonizing over my desire to migrate to newer system and all the data migration headaches which would accompany that. Meanwhile, WordPress has happily migrated my data forward through one major and many minor version updates without any hiccups. And there are lots of options for exporting all that data (comments and all!) should I ever decide to migrate off of it.

I firmly believe that it’s part of the hacker ethos to build and/or fiddle with all of your tools, and sometimes I feel bad for choosing not to fiddle with my blogging software. But I also believe you’ve got to pick your battles, and for me, the perpetual yak-shave of building a better blogger was stifling my writing. YMMV.