I find it ironic and unhappy-making that I’m writing about my adventures with Perl using software based on PHP.
Sadly, the Perl-based options for journal software seem limited.
Let’s do a quick “drive by” review and see what’s what at this moment in time…
I went looking for a list of blog software written in Perl and found myself looking at Wikipedia. (It like Dennys. No one sets out to go there but that’s where you end up.) Searching for Blog Software, we find a link to content management systems. Once there, we can pop down to those using Perl.
Movable Type seems to be the “big dog” here. I’ve looked at Movable Type in the past and it used to be our blog of choice. When they went commercial and their licensing became a cause for concern we moved to WordPress. It looks like they’ve clarified that somewhat but it’s still a bit confusing.
I’m seeing an open source version over at movabletype.org but, from what I read in their FAQ, it looks like all the “cool new stuff” is going into the commercial product, leaving the “open source devotees” (as the FAQ calls them) to play catch-up.
I’m seeing a bunch of plug-ins I’d need but not others. The descriptions and documentation for these seem a little sparse and technical, i.e. mostly what I expect from open source projects.
Also, the latest version of Movable Type has dropped support for PostgreSQL. I’m trying to limit my exposure to MySQL when I can, so this is a big negative.
My immediate first impression is that I could probably switch to Movable Type but I would need to do more digging and coding to get what I want and I’d have to get MySQL all over me.
So… moving on…
I was pleased to see Bricolage got a major update back in April. The last time I did a review like this the project looked quite moribund. The site looks better and they’ve managed to expose a lot of their activity, making the project look much better all around. Kudos to them.
On the wiki, under “Recommended Reading” I found a slide-show-type presentation, a white paper about managing a “web site with tens of thousands of pages” (this was the CMS built for Salon) installation, configuration directives, document modeling, etc. etc.
There is a link on the same page to Documentation. The FAQ is mostly about technical issues (database support, pre-compiled packages, etc.), the Introduction is actually an appendix from an O’Reilly book, there is a link to some off-site tutorials in Flash, and so on. The Documentation Browser and Installed Documentation refers to the POD reference docs. Useful, but hardly the whole “documentation story.”
This looks great for a large organization with extensive requirements and (perhaps) a training staff but I’m “just this guy, you know?” Convincing clients to use this would require instant familiarity, dead-simple ease-of-use, or great documentation. What I’m seeing here looks very “Enterprise Ready,” which means it’s not gonna fly with most of my small business customer types.
I’m not seeing anything resembling the kind of infrastructure that Movable Type or WordPress has in terms of plugins, templates, and so on. My first impression is that this may be the Mother Of All Content Management Systems, but it’s going to take more than a little work just to understand how to get started and I may have to code functionality from scratch that I’ve become accustomed to just downloading from some plugins page.
If it is there, I’m not seeing it. Rule #25: If the user can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.
Also, keep in mind the basic question here: Why should I switch to this from WordPress? If the switch is going to create a lot more work, even if it’s interesting work, just to get to back to the same place that’s not a win.
On to MojoMojo… which, according to the front page there, really isn’t blog software…
Depending on your definition, MojoMojo might be a Wiki. It certainly makes it effortless to create web pages of text, and it can be configured so that anyone can edit any page. It can also be configured so you have to register to edit a page, or you can even disable registration. However, the thing that sets MojoMojo apart from other Wikis…
So. Um. Yeah. That’s not going to work.
I do see lots of positives here (doesn’t rely on any specific database, mod_perl or FastCGI, Catalyst, etc.) but no plugin or theme library I can see, arcane wiki-markup, etc. So, no. A quick stroll around their site leaves me with the impression they’ve got their heads screwed on straight and they’re moving in the right direction (except for that whole “wiki” thing) but they’re just not there yet. I’ll come back in a year and check again.
If I was just trying to replace WordPress with something Perl based, Movable Type might fit the bill, if I can find suitable replacements for the plugins I need or want. I’d be forced to use MySQL and I’d have to live with the closed/open licensing issues.
If I was building a larger site, and I wanted to learn some new tech, I’d seriously consider Bricolage. It looks kind of cool in a giant “I could do anything with that” kind of way. It’s still no replacement for WordPress, though.
So… guess I’m stuck with WordPress for the nonce.
Please keep in mind this is not an extensive review of the “state of the blog software market space.” I’ve done a couple of hours poking around and this is what I could find out quickly. Think of it as going down to the mall and doing a bit of window shopping to see what’s there to see.
If you think I’ve missed something about one of these projects or have another project you think I should look consider, please do let me know.