Customized Suzuki Intruder in French village
Photo: Copyright © 2014 Eelke Blok

Goodbye Joomla, hello WordPress

And once again, I have changed the platform under my personal site. Why? Like we say in Holland: "Gewoon, omdat het kan" ("Just because it can be done") :)

A bit of history

I've started out my site based on custom PHP code, very similar to that still running the Mini Seven Club Nederland site (which I am also preparing a big update for, but that takes a little more time). At some point, I added some blogging software to it. Back then, Joomla didn't exist, I suspect neither did WordPress. I found some software called BBlog, which did the job. The rest of my site I kept at the custom PHP code.

Then, along came Joomla, and wanting to get to grips with that, I converted my site to it. I kept the design identical, which gave me a chance to see how Joomla's templating system worked without having to come up with a new design (and I actually liked it, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it). It was Joomla 1.0, and it has been right until today, when I've switched to WordPress.

Et tu, Brute..?

Why am I switching to WordPress? Certainly not because I don't like Joomla anymore. It definately has its place (eventhough it's under quite some pressure from Drupal at the top end, and WordPress at the bottom end), and along the way of trying to convert this site to WordPress, I have ran into a few hickups here and there, when I thought, "With Joomla, this would have been ridiculously easy". And that's exactly why I did do it. I wanted to get to know WordPress, my site needed an update anyway (like I said, it was still Joomla 1.0 - one option would have been to move it to Joomla 1.5), so here we are. Also, WordPress just seems like a good fit for this kind of site. And then of course, there was my hosting provider, who told me they'd be upgrading to PHP 5.3 soon... That would certainly have caused issues with Joomla 1.0. I think they're a bit premature - especially if not letting their customers have a choice what to run - but however it works our for them, I'll be ready.

Articles, pages, posts

What's in the site? Well,I've tried to maintain as much functionality as I could. One aspect that proved to be a little annoying is WordPress's distinction between "pages" and "posts". In Joomla, everything is an article, and I can choose to link to one from a menu, or I can choose to a bunch of them, based on their taxonomy, in a blog overview. Or both. With WordPress, I need to decide whether my story is a post or a page, which has some consequences on what I can do with them.


Then, I've maintained the multi-lingual aspect of the site. Sometimes I want to post in Dutch, sometimes I want to post in English. Sometimes both. With Joomla, I used JoomFish (if I would have converted to Joomla 1.5, I would most definately have moved to Nooku - it's awesome). For WordPress, I've found WPML, which seems to do the trick rather nicely as well. I've also tried qTranslate, but I missed the option to display the default language item if a translation wasn't available. Also, WPML just seems to be a more mature product.


For the theme, I've looked for a base template. I am all for the use of a good base template, which takes care of the basics for you, leaving you to worry only about the actual design (which I've kept similar to the previous version of the site, but I did not stray very far from the default look of the base template either). My choice fell on Thematic by Ian Stewart, which looked like one of the more mature base themes/theme frameworks for WordPress (but if there are any better options out there, please let me know in the comments - please do include some motivation for your opinion ;)).


Which brings us to comments. With BBlog, I briefly had comments on the site, but I had to turn them off due to spam. With the move to Joomla, I never actually got to integrating a commenting solution into the site. With WordPress, this thing called Akismet comes bundled with the default product. I've heard a lot about it but have never had a chance to see it in action, so I'm curious to see how it will filter the spam out of the comments. The same - that is, me wanting to try it - really goes for Mollum, which is a similar service, but created more recently (so one would expect it may have been able to draw a few lessons from Akismet). Although Mollum has its roots in the Drupal community - it's been created by Drupal-founder Dries Buytaert - I've already seen a Mollum WordPress plugin, so chances are I'll switch to that after some time, just for the hell of it :)

Linked list

I am lazy. No, really. Just have a look at the frequency with which this blog is updated. I do, however, often come across stuff I would like to share. I use Twitter, so often I will just tweet about it. But 140 characters is not a lot, so what if I want to say just that little bit more? I've looked into using Google Reader's sharing feature, but getting that onto my site the way I wanted proved awkward. What I really wanted was what John Gruber does on; give a quick comment on a page somewhere else on the net, and automatically inserting a link. The link in the feed URL will even point to the other site directly. For this, I've used a small plugin by Jonathan Penn.

Other stuff

Those were the most important things I wanted to highlight. I did install a few other plugins. My Flickr photostream is now right at the frontpage of my site (and every other page). (I have actually not implemented a photo-section on the site again - I'll let you go to Flickr for that. If there are any major additions I'll post on the blog, otherwise I'll just let you discover new things by looking at the Photostream at the top right). For the Flickr Photostream widget, I used Quick Flickr Widget by Konstantin Kovshenin.

Of course, one other bit of social media can not go untouched either; I've been using Twitter for about a year now, and it totally belongs on a personal home page. To include my tweets on my site, I've used Wickett Twitter Widget from Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

Lastly, I of course added some Google Analytics (actually, I found out while working on the new site that I had never installed analytics to the site before, so I added it to the old Joomla site just to see what kind of difference, if any, the new site would make). I've used Google Analytics for WordPress by Joost de Valk for this.


I am looking forward to finding out more about WordPress. I've already learned quite a lot. Eventhough WordPress is backed by a commercial company, it would seem the community is more structured than the Joomla community. Less "islands", more is revolving around This may just be perception, and quite possibly it's just because is a one-stop-shop for everything you might need or want with regard to WordPress, much like is with Drupal; with Joomla, usually you are directed off of to the individual developers' sites. I do think this is something where the Joomla community (specifically extension developers) is lacking, though. Too much "me too" and not enough collaboration.

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