WordPress and Textpattern are two of the most well known blogging platforms out there. Each has its own share of advantages and disadvantages as well as supporters and critics. Both have a great user base and power many wonderful websites! In this article, I shall attempt to provide a comprehensive comparison of both WordPress vs Textpattern. Be informed though, this piece is just based on personal experiences and most users of either WP or TXP might agree (or disagree) at will. For the sake of clarity, I've attempted to sub-divide this article into multiple heads.
WordPress seems to be the leading CMS when it comes to functionality and ease of use. Its latest version has undergone a good revamp and the organization of the administrative back end is now as user friendly as it can get! You can control every major section of your blog through it in a matter of few clicks.
TextPattern, on the other hand, has a slightly less refined administrative back end. Yet, it still is fairly user friendly and very robust. The only catch is that TXP's back end looks slightly dated, in comparison to that of WP.
Customizability and Extendability
Both Textpattern and WordPress are equal customizable by means of themes and templates. On a similar note, both TXP and WP have a good quiver of plugins and extensions. However, if you delve deeper, you'll find that WP has more themes and plugins as compared to TXP. While this clearly does not mean that WP is a better CMS than TXP, it surely goes a long way in building the user base for WP. Since majority of commercially viable tech blogs and websites are powered by WordPress (not to mention the millions of blogs at WordPress.com), it is but natural that WP has a large number of themes and plugins.
If you are geeky enough, you really should not be worried as you can tweak TXP to your liking and build a website. But if you are just planning to get a blog or website up and ready with as little technical expertise as possible, WP should be your safest bet!
Usability and Operation
This seems to be the most debatable topic. WordPress has a WYSIWYG Editor that makes editing posts and articles a breeze.
Textpattern, on the other hand, has an equally awesome (though not so end user friendly) editor, which can do almost all that you want it to, but is slightly confusing in operation (at least for starters). While Textile and other related items can be your best friends if you get used to them, they really will seem mind boggling features if you are a stranger to them.
Moving around the back end too, you'll find that installing themes or plugins, checking your blog's stats or even upgrading the CMS – all can be accomplished in WP in a way easier manner as compared to TXP.
Are they alive?
Both WordPress and Textpattern are in active development (so this sub-heading perhaps should've been different, but I couldn't resist). Similarly, both TXP and WP have a good community base and many forums where you can turn for support.
However, WP is updated on a more frequent basis as compared to TXP. Supporters of WP will be tempted to portray this as higher level of activity at their developers' end, while supporters of TXP can attribute this fact to a sign of maturity of TXP in itself.
To sum it up
With that said, lets summarize each CMS's pros and cons:
- Textile is a very popular element among TXP users, and once you get used to it, you really will find WP's interface bit over done.
- The Template System lets you tweak your website to the heart's content.
- Extensive documentation.
- Admin back end slightly unattractive.
- Confusing for beginners.
- Lesser number of themes or templates (as compared to WP)
- Arguably the easiest CMS out there
- Numerous themes for customization
- Easy updates
- Unless you install WPMU, it can power only one blog
- Slightly limiting back end (if you're a geek)
- Editing article meta data is difficult
Well, ideally picking a CMS is a decision that is governed by the user's specific needs (and perhaps bias towards a personal favorite). Still, if you need a CMS just to power a blog or a small website, WordPress should do the trick for you. If, however, you have plans of doing something beyond the ordinary such as having multiple blogs or prefer to tweak your articles before posting them (or simply like to get to the bottom of things), Textpattern might solve your purpose.
Have you used either WP or TXP (or both) earlier? Got some opinions to share on either of these two blogging platforms? Let me know in the comments!
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Mike Johnston Author
I am the guy behind CMS Critic and the Co Founder of Website Builders Critic. When not traveling the world attending and covering conferences, I am based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where I live with my beautiful wife and kids. Visit me on my wife and my blog, Unicorns in the Mist.