WordPress and Textpattern are two of the most well-known content management systems (CMS) out there. Each has its own share of advantages and disadvantages, as well as supporters and critics. Both have a great user base and power many wonderful websites! In this article, I shall attempt to provide a comprehensive comparison of both WordPress (WP) and Textpattern (TXP). Be informed, though, that this piece is just based on personal experiences, and users of WP or TXP might agree (or disagree) at will. For the sake of clarity, I’ve sub-divided this article into multiple headings.
WordPress seems to be the leading CMS when it comes to functionality and ease of use. Its latest version has undergone a good revamp and the organisation of the administrative back end is now as user-friendly as it can get! You can control every major section of your blog through it in a matter of a few clicks.
Textpattern, on the other hand, has a slightly less refined administrative back end, yet it is still fairly user-friendly and very robust. Plus, with the release of the new improved Version 4.6.0 last year, the whole package is now fast, friendly and compatible with the latest hosting platforms.
Customisation and Extendibility
Both Textpattern and WordPress are equally customisable by means of themes and templates. On a similar note, both TXP and WP have a good quiver of plugins and extensions. However, if you delve deeper, you’ll find that WP has more themes and plugins as compared to TXP. While this clearly does not mean that WP is a better CMS than TXP, it surely goes a long way to building the user base for WP. Since the majority of commercially viable tech blogs and websites are powered by WP (not to mention the millions of blogs at WordPress.com), it is only natural that WP has a larger number of themes and plugins.
If you are geeky enough, you really should not be worried, though, as you can tweak TXP to your liking and build a website. But if you are just planning to get a blog or website up and ready with as little technical expertise as possible, WP should be your safest bet!
Usability and Operation
This seems to be the most debatable topic. WordPress has a WYSIWYG Editor that makes editing posts and articles a breeze. Textpattern, on the other hand, has an equally awesome (though not so end-user-friendly) editor, which can do almost everything that you want it to, but it is slightly confusing in its operation (at least for starters). While Textile and other related items can be your best friends if you get used to them, they really will seem like mind-boggling features if you are a stranger to them.
Moving around the back end too, you’ll find that installing themes or plugins, checking your blog’s stats or even upgrading the CMS can all be accomplished in WP way more easily than in TXP.
Are They Alive?
Both WordPress and Textpattern are in active development (so perhaps this sub-heading should’ve been different, but I couldn’t resist). Similarly, both TXP and WP have a good community base and many forums where you can turn for support.
However, WP is updated on a more frequent basis as compared to TXP. Supporters of WP will be tempted to portray this as higher level of activity at their developers’ end, while supporters of TXP can attribute this fact to a sign of TXP’s maturity in itself.
To Sum Up
With that said, lets summarise each CMS’s pros and cons.
• Textile is a very popular element among TXP users, and once you get used to it, you really will find WP’s interface a bit overdone.
• The Template System lets you tweak your website to your heart’s content.
• It has extensive documentation.
• The admin back end is slightly unattractive (on older versions but not on version 4.6+).
• It can be confusing for beginners.
• There are fewer themes and templates (as compared to WP).
• It is arguably the easiest-to-use CMS out there.
• It has numerous themes for customisation.
• Updates are easy.
• Unless you install WPMU, it can power only one blog.
• It has a slightly limiting back end (if you’re a geek).
• Editing article meta data is difficult.
Ideally, picking a CMS is a decision that is governed by the user’s specific needs (and perhaps their bias towards a personal favourite). Still, if you need a CMS just to power a blog or a small website, WordPress should do the trick for you. If, however, you have plans to do something beyond the ordinary, such as having multiple blogs or tweaking your articles before posting them and not have to rely upon endless third-party plugins (or you simply like to get to the bottom of things), Textpattern might solve your purpose.
Have you used either WP or TXP (or both)? Got some opinions to share on either of these two platforms? Let me know – share this article!