Blog Engines (Part 2)
If you’ve noticed, Part 1 is limited to closed-source blogging engines. I opted to separate the open-source list to give everyone a perspective of what they’ll be getting on both sides and help you decide which source and engine will work for you.
Serendipity, often called s9y, is a good choice over the competition. Ffeature-rich, smooth, and well structured Serendipity features an option to easily exact changes to your blog without editing your template file. This is ensures that a non-technical user will not risk accidentally delete any essential part of the template. Serendipity has a very good plugin management system to control what plugins are installed in the sidebar and how they are ordered. The main problem of s9y is the lack of plug-ins and its heavy weight in terms of bandwidth. However, Serendipity is a neat and very nice blogging tool for those who expect something more than just a blog. In Serendipity, you will have full control over plug-in development and management. This blog engine is compatible with different kinds of database servers like MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.
Another promising blogging engine is boastMachine. Built-in features that would easily call up attention include rating of posts, a spam filter, an image manager, etc. which are available via plug-ins in other blogging engines. In comparison, boastMachine is a lightweight engine which places an updates page for your company as one of it’s better applications. The main drawback of boastMachine is its incompatibility with plug-ins. Being comparatively new, boastMachine still lacks a large user community and online help.
Primarily categorized as a Content Management System, Drupal is actually written by bulletin-board system, kinda way off isn’t it? It’s a system with very strong architecture featuring plug-ins and themes. Drupal has a huge user community and excellent documentation. Because Drupal’s main goal is just blogging, it has plenty of modules that are best suitable for a website. Drupal also has integrated modules like e-commerce, photo gallery, CVS integration, and mailing list manager. The Drupal administration panel is quite heavy and confusing, a common complaint to everyone new to the system but it allows for so much more customization. Because it was intended for multi-users, Drupal includes a wide variety of logs. Aside from the general status report, Drupal includes logs for recent hits, “access denied” and “page not found” errors, and top referrers, search phrases, and visitors, information available to my SlimStats plugin in WordPress.
Another engine built with multi-user blogging in mind, b2evoution features auto-installation with minimum hassle. The separate entities of each user allows muti-skin (one skin for each user) and multilingual support. It’s a feature-rich blog, with features like file and photo management engine that’s easy to use. b2evolution supports a plug-in architecture. Its administration panel is rich but very confusing.
Nucleus CMS is also a popular Content Management System. Like the two before it on the list, it is more than a blog engine. Nucleus also supports multi-lingual and multi-author blogging environments. Features are the availability of a huge number of templates and plug-ins, an easy administration panel, easy syndication support, etc. Nucleus exposes a rich set of APIs to extend it via plug-ins. Administration of Nucleus is more complicated than that of other blog engines.
Textpattern is another lightweight blog engine that is compatible with plug-ins. Its main goal is to be a general-purpose CMS system. Textpattern supports multi-lingual blogging via UTF-8. Its feature-richness (many of the features already mentioned above), broader flexibility for design through its integrated sections. and easy administration makes it a very strong competitor. The biggest difference between other blog engines and Textpattern is the templating. Where in Textpattern it?s just HTML and txp:tags, in others there?s also PHP in the mix. That means that you can usually count on swapping templates and not having anything blow up. Textpattern has no problem with having blog and non-blog content side by side.
WordPress is comparatively more lightweight than many of its siblings. It is a feature-rich, well-structured blogging engine that has a huge user base. WordPress is one of the best documented blog engines and coupled with a huge contributing community, troubleshooting any problem is just a search away. Out of a fresh install, WordPress blogs have barebones functionality, with only the most essential features enabled. Further features can be implemented via widgets and plugins. Like the rest of the entries posted here, as a worst-case scenario, if you can’t find any plug-in that fulfills your need, you can develop one of your own via WordPress’ documentation and plug-in API.