Hello WordPress!

In the several months since I first started blogging, I have enjoyed using Mephisto. It’s a nice blogging tool and was a great way for me to play around with a bonafide Ruby on Rails application. However, thanks to my new job at a Rails shop, I will soon be getting all the Rails action that I need on a daily basis without any need for an alternative outlet.

In addition, I have found the almost complete lack of activity on the Mephisto website disconcerting. I understand that the developers of Mephisto are busy and that Mephisto is just a side project for them, so it’s not that I expect anything from them. It’s not as if I or other Mephisto users are paying them for the wonderful work that they do. At the same time, I don’t feel comfortable producing a growing body of blog posts here at the wrathful dove on a system that may simply stagnate should its developers lose interest in further development.

For this last reason, I have been toying with the idea for several months of switching my blogging software. I have considered Typo and WordPress on numerous occasions. WordPress seems the obvious standard by which other blogging software is judged and is a fine product, but every time that I considered moving to WordPress, I ran into a roadblock that I had constructed for myself: I wanted a playground for Rails development and so was committed to maintaining my blog in Ruby. Thus, instead of WordPress, I focused my attention on Typo.

I went so far as to install Typo on a Linux machine on my home network, and I definitely liked what I saw. In many ways, I was puzzled why so many people had left Typo for Mephisto. I had heard a lot of talk about Mephisto’s supposedly cleaner and simpler admin interface, but I found myself preferring the power and features available with Typo. In my estimation, Typo’s admin interface seems quite adequate in the simplicity department, too. The only other complaint that I had heard about Typo was that it was flaky and slow. I never did enough experimentation to determine whether I would experience these problems with Typo, so I have nothing to say about Typo’s stability. However, the possibility having been raised did give me pause about moving to Typo.

Still, I suspect I may have moved to Typo if it hadn’t been for my new Rails job combined with one other significant detail.

My blog runs on a Slicehost account that I share with my friend Josh. He runs WordPress and some other PHP based sites. He has grown to share my distaste for PHP and was interested in the possibility of running a Rails application for one of his projects. When we started looking into this idea, we noticed for the first time how much of a memory hog a Rails application is. As discussed in this blog post, Rails doesn’t “scale down”. It’s great for large web applications, but it doesn’t work so nicely for small web sites. Sure, it can provide the backbone for a small website, but the cost in memory footprint just isn’t worth it when you can develop the same kinds of small web sites in PHP and not run out of resources so rapidly.

There was one final issue that weighed in on my blogging software setup. I had chosen to run my Mephisto based blog on top of a PostgreSQL database because it is my database preference. However, Josh’s web applications were all base upon MySQL databases and so it seemed wasteful of our limited Slice resources to be running two different database servers.

All these factors came together in my decision to migrate my blog from Mephisto with PostgreSQL to WordPress with MySQL.

The move has been very smooth, and in all honesty, I’m loving the excellent features that WordPress brings to the table out of the box. It truly is the gold standard of blog software even if it is apparently written in crufty PHP.

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