New Links has finally jumped ship and moved off Blogger — three months after all the cool people did it. Their new site is at http://www.new-links.info/. I personally preferred the newlinks.nu idea, but I couldn’t be arsed waiting for the comments to load! Will Howells is also thinking of shifting off Blogger.
It seems as though Blogger has been having a lot of problems lately. I dread commenting using the Blogger commenting system — luckily most Blogger users now seem to use Haloscan. The problem Blogger have now is that they are always feature-light. Blogger’s blogs got comments years after everybody else — I remember it! And every time they add new features, Blogger just seems to break even more. Blogger still lacks commonplace features like trackback and categories.
There does seem to be quite a bit of sneering about Blogger. Of course when I used Blogger I didn’t see what the fuss was. And of course, now that I don’t use Blogger I’ve become a critic aswell. It’s as though people pay more attention to you if you don’t use Blogger though — it’s a sign that you’re serious about blogging; that you’re not just another blogger; somebody to pay a bit more attention to. Check out how many more visitors this blog gets now! I moved on to WordPress in early December, and since then the stats have absolutely shot through the roof.
I thought New Links was the best example of how to exploit the potential of Blogger to the fullest, without spending one penny. The fact that even New Links has moved over is a sign of Blogger’s future destiny — a bunch of nobodies writing to nobody, but posting lots of pictures of dancing bananas. Just click ‘next blog’ on Blogger — it won’t take long to find the sort of thing I just described. A bit like LiveJournal, except with much less of a community spirit. Blogger has had a huge part to play in blogs, but the future is WordPress!
New Links have opted not to go for WordPress though, and are using Drupal instead. New Links was the first time I’d ever heard of Drupal, but I’ve since read more about it from somebody moving away from Drupal. Apparently it’s the Swiss army knife of blogging.
The problem I have with Drupal is that’s it is overkill for blogs. Drupal contains functionality to support not only blogs, but also community sites, portals, intranet, etc. The core system of Drupal can be customized and configured to meet a wide variety of uses. And therein lies the problem. Typically, a multi-function tool is not as useful as one that has been designed for a specific function. Drupal was not designed from day one as a blog publishing tool. These capabilities were added on as the need arose for blogs on users’ Drupal sites.
The best analogy I can give is that Drupal is like a Swiss army knife. Great tool, multiple functionality. You can certainly use a Swiss army knife to open a can of beans, but a standalone, motorized can opener does a better job, much faster. In the case of blogging, Drupal is the Swiss army knife. The motorized can opener from my research is WordPress.
I would say that the new New Links site does look a bit messy, and not exactly user-friendly. But New Links has only just moved over so hopefully the New Links chaps will be able to improve it to suit their needs better. It seems like they were desperate to get away from Blogger in the end! I know little about Drupal, but it could well be that New Links suits these extra non-blog things. We’ll see.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to use anything other than WordPress at the moment. It is so liberating, as though we are taking control of our blogs. You seem to have almost complete control over everything. And if you can’t do what you want, there’s probably a plugin or a hack that can sort it out. That’s the thing — you don’t have to wait for WordPress to update, because the people update WordPress for you. If you’ve got a problem, just post in the support section – an entire WordPress community is at your disposal.
While we’re on that subject, what do people think of my blog at the moment? I just moved categories and tags away from the main page and they now appear on single post pages only now — what do you think? Is there anything you think I need to change? I never feel like I’ve got it just right.