Hey guys, my site’s technology sucks.

I am courting suggestions for replacements for Pivot, my blogging backend. I started using it 4 years ago as a temporary measure and never quite got around to switching to something better. I would like to know what “something better” is. Based on personal experience, I can say with certainty that WordPress, Moveable Type, and Greymatter (is Greymatter even still around?) are not something better. But I am interested in other possibilities! I need to be able to host the blog on this server, not remotely, and I would prefer not to have to pay a monthly fee, because even with reader support I can barely afford the upkeep on this site as it is.

What? Me, picky? Well, yeah, I guess so.

20 thoughts on “Hey guys, my site’s technology sucks.

  1. What would you say are the main features that your current CMS is missing or needs to be improved? Both WP and Moveable Type have gotten much better than 4 years ago. And there are other solutions as well. But of course, the right CMS for you will depend on what your biggest pain point is with Pivot.

  2. I haven’t used it myself, but a few of the guys I know use Drupal for their sites, so you might want to give that a look. And yes, I know quite a few WordPress people as well, but I know what you mean about WP being kind of annoying to actually use.

  3. I currently use Drupal for my site and sometimes have issues with it loading pages. I think Drupal is a bit on the heavy side as far as memory usage goes. I will prob move to something else myself, but I’ve been too lazy lately to try out anything new.

  4. I’m a fan of Drupal, but as others have said, it is a bit heavy if you don’t actually need it.

    Nothing I’ve seen comes close to its feasible feature set, though.

  5. oh wow, greymatter — i haven’t heard of that in years. i remember going through lots of trouble to install that for my old personal blog, and i ended up abandoning it a year later for movable type or typepattern or something…

    anyway, it’s not the solution for you, but we ended up using Tumblr because installing and maintaining CMSes can be such a hassle.

  6. While it has been a year or so since I used it, we used Expression Engine to pretty decent effect at a former job. It works well for blogging and has some nice plugins. Cheap too!

  7. I’d seriously give WordPress another look. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the changes made to it in the past four years. Drupal is the new hotness as has been mentioned, but I think that’s probably overkill for what you want to do. It really depends what you want from your CMS.

  8. For what its worth, here is a developers perspective:

    All of these off the shelf products are a disaster. The fact that so many people use them are their only selling points. They are all terribly inefficient, insecure and too buggy for even government work. Those that try to be everything like Drupal are stunningly obtuse for something that “everyone” is supposed to be able to use. Those that do a good job of handling a single function site are horribly limiting and attack you at every turn if you try to make anything even remotely individualized. Don’t even get me started on corporate level toxic waste like Vignette.

    If you can’t build your own system or have someone build it for you then just choose your poison. Don’t bother to look for the grail – its not out there or folks like me wouldn’t get paid so well to provide better options.

    I’ve never migrated a client out of pivot, but I assume/hope there are some data export features. If you want to keep all your posts, comments and whatnot intact then the format pivot can export(if any) and what format other products can import(or can use the existing structure) will dictate what products you can use. Look through those X products and pick the poison that solves whatever specific issue drove you to put this post up in the first place.

    Crud – I sound like such a pessimist….

  9. You will pretty much hate yourself forever if you listen to the people advising you to use Drupal, because it’s a product intended to be used as a framework by a dedicated team of developers working on a sprawling, feature-heavy site and it’s essentially unusable for one dude setting up a personal blog.

    Without more information it’s hard to actually say what “something better” qualifies as for you. In its current incarnation WordPress is pretty easily “something better” than Pivot in just about every way besides the fact that Pivot runs without a database. You’re not going to find a lot of other decently-featured drop-in-anywhere blog systems in part because WP (and MT, I guess) is good enough for most people now. Does your blog have some specific feature need that this software isn’t going to cover?

  10. I would suggest checking out squarespace.com. free 2wk trial. does alot of customizing out of the box (theming and web functionality) but that would be remotely.
    I’m a web design and LOVE drupal but it’s not the easiest thing to grab your head around, assuming you’d be doing this yourself. I’ve heard good things of some of the other CMS here but they all have a learning curve (small and larger). Drupal has the support of large companies funding (Sony, WB, the Whitehouse just to name a few) it and it’s all opensource/etc. Drupal might be one of the most power but trickiest to get understand.

  11. Wow, how strange to be reading a site for years and suddenly find yourself mentioned… I’m the guy that wrote Greymatter, and yes it’s still around — I haven’t been involved w/ it for the past ten years, but there’s a great little community that keeps it going.

    For whatever it’s worth, I love WordPress & have recommended it to just about everyone. Especially nowadays, I don’t think there’s a better combination of power, stability and flexibility (with the various plugins etc) out there.

  12. That is random. For what it’s worth, no offense was intended. Greymatter kept this site going from 2002-2004, and it was a great starting point for my move into using blogging backends — simple, accessible even for a technology dope like me, and very convenient. Eventually, though, the site just outgrew it.

  13. I’d second squarespace except that they have no way to export data. And the whole ‘you have to give them money’ thing. They may have changed the export option since I must confess to not checking them out lately. I moved from Drupal to WordPress and never looked back.

    ps: I added a close tag for your italics :)

  14. @Jenn
    I believe they allow you export everything into “standard” blog xml file so you can import it somewhere else.

  15. I’ve been using Textpattern since the earliest public releases and I rather like it. I hear nice things about Expression Engine too. Both are more CMS than blog, but I feel that’s precisely what you need here.

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