Robert Spangler

UI/UX designer & front-end developer

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WordPress Vs. Textpattern

I’ve always used a custom built solution for my blogging, originally just with some custom PHP, then I eventually added the FCK Editor but last month I decided that it was finally time to move on.

Lets Try WordPress

My initial thought was WordPress, I had a bit of experience with it from Shirts That Matter (which I have yet to complete…) so it seemed like the logical choice; However, I just kept running into more and more problems, and needing more and more plugins (which didn’t always work as promised).

Lets Try Textpattern

So I started to think Textpattern, one of my secret mentors (secret as in: I stalk his blog but he doesn’t really know who I am), Nathan Smith, co-authored an amazing book called TextPattern Solutions. I pre-ordered the book through Amazon as soon as he mentioned it but never really got around to reading it until now (now that I needed his TXP wisdom).

It was a bit difficult! I definitely didn’t pick up on Textpattern as quickly as I picked up on WordPress, I spent few late nights staring at my MacBook with a puzzled face. It did however pay off, Textpattern is extremely customizable, The thing I like most is how the “Articles” work, you can post them anywhere—so it took me just a couple minutes to make my resources section completely dynamic, which is huge for me!

The Breakdown (Pros and Cons)

There are a lot of things I like about both, and I always find it easier to compare things with bullet points, so here’s a breakdown of my pros and cons for the two:

WordPress

Pros

  • Beautiful! The Admin interface is very intuitive and aesthetically pleasing
  • Themes are easy to make and copy
  • Easy Plugin Installation
  • I can use my favorite HTML editor and just upload the files

Cons

  • You can only have one blog and post entries to that one blog page
  • Very buggy, I ran into several oddities with the navigation and a few other minor things
  • A lot of plugins with a lot of false promises and bugs
  • Not very flexible

Textpattern

Pros

  • Amazing Article system, you can post articles anywhere and use Forms to present them as you want them presented
  • Very flexible, there’s even a case study in Textpattern Solutions about an entire eCommerce site built off of TXP
  • Amazing Plugins – I had no problems installing / using plugins on the fly

Cons

  • The admin interface is a bit unattractive
  • Bigger learning curve
  • I’m not a huge fan of Textile yet

Conclusion

Well, I hope you found this helpful – I did not start out to become a Textpattern advocate but I feel that after building my website/blog in WordPress and then in TextPattern I’m sold on it.

Note: Building my site in WordPress and then rebuilding it in Textpattern happened in the span of a month, using WordPress 2.2 and Textpattern 4.05.

Also, if you’re going to use Textpattern, buy Textpattern Solutions.

Note: As of version 2.7 I decided to revisit WordPress and there are definitely a lot of improvements. I am now using WordPress to power this blog.

15 Responses to “WordPress Vs. Textpattern”

  1. Armen

    Nice summary. I’m still a WP fan, and if I was to move, it would probably be to EE.

    I really don’t get the reasoning behind Textile, but then maybe I should read up on it, there might be a good reason. It seems inaccessible in my opinion.

    Reply
  2. Robert Spangler

    Yeah EE is definitely one that I want to get into a bit more and I do agree with you about Textile; maybe because I haven’t fully adapted to it yet, but I know my clients would prefer to press a bold b button rather than typing in asterisks.

    Reply
  3. Nathan Smith

    I think you summarized the differences, pros/cons of WordPress and Textpattern pretty accurately. WordPress is great for blogging, but not much else. Textpattern is flexible enough to be used for anything, blogging included, but so much more. I’m glad you liked the TXP book, and that it proved useful in the long-run!

    Reply
  4. steve lam

    just to clear up any confusion, i use textpattern for all of my sites and not once have i had to resort to any textiling. its purely optional and there for convenience, though i will be the first to admit that i hate textile (but i love txp!)

    Reply
  5. Mark

    I have been doing some research on CMS:s, in order to be able to choose the best for me. I am a seasoned php coder who is simply too lazy to build himself what can be obtained ready, and I’m looking for good customization/integration capability. Would Textpattern suit to my needs best? What about EE?

    Reply
  6. Robert Spangler

    @Mark: I would say it definitely depends on your specific needs.

    For example If you’re running a business site with the need to post multiple articles, look more into TextPattern; if it’s a simple blog, probably go with WordPress; if it’s enterprise level, ExpressionEngine may be the better solution. Your best bet is to run through each system’s features and make your decision from there. I don’t think there’s really a silver bullet CMS that I’ve seen so far (unfortunately!)

    Reply
  7. Leo Tolstoy

    WordPress is very flexible and I think you can do more than just blog. I’ve tried using TextPattern first but the time I have to study it is just not worth it. But when I started using WordPress, I’ve found out that it’s not just another blog software. By using the loops you can customize it and feature different blogs according to your specified category.

    Reply
  8. hassan

    Recently Chris Coyer at CSS-Tricks created an screencast about using wordpress as a CMS. I think wordpress in enough flexible to fit any need. Also, for us that our language is not english, localized is important. which, wordpress is localized for Farsi and TXP not.
    Thanks for your breakdown!

    Reply
  9. Lawrence

    One major selling point for Textpattern is that it allows non-programmers to define dynamic behaviours which can be much more sophisticated than simple listing of articles.

    Reply
  10. MasterMind

    I like this review and i do perfer TXP over WP now, its really good and easy to use (i perfer textile lol). Im also going to buy the book when i get the chance. VERY HELPFULL THANKS SO MUCH

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth

    Hi – this is an apt blog, thank you!

    I am a WordPress blogger – it is gloriously user-friendly for a non-tecchie such as myself.

    The website I edit may be rebuilt in Textpattern – will I get along with it as easily as I do WordPress? That is my question.

    Elisabeth

    Reply
    • Robert

      Hey Elisabeth,

      There will definitely be an adjustment for you switching over to Textpattern. The first thing you’ll notice is the admin, it’s a bit different (and not too pretty!), but if you’re just writing articles and editing content you should be able to get around.

      The first thing you may want to do is what Jim mentioned above. Installing a WYSIWYG editor might help you with the switch as well. Here’s a link to download the plug-in: http://textpattern.org/plugins/505/hak_tinymce.

      I’m mainly a WordPress person myself now.

      Reply
  12. Conrad

    I am looking for someone that is proficient at textpattern. email me at let me know who I can use

    Reply

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About Robert

I work with clients ranging from local small businesses and non-profits to large Fortune 500 companies.

If you think I'm the right guy for your project, please feel free to give me a shout.

I am a full-time freelance website designer and front-end developer from Baltimore, Maryland, currently living in Nairobi, Kenya.

I design and code for user experience on the web with special attention on mobile devices. I come from a background in eCommerce and lead generation, which I'm very good at. I spend most of my time personalizing and creating customized WordPress themes for clients. Other than designing websites I spend time with family, study, occasionally tweet, and rarely +.