WordPress and Serendipity Compared

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Which is the better blog platform, Serendipity (s9y) or WordPress (WP)? I’d been a confirmed s9y advocate for a long time, in fact since 2004, when I switched to it from WP because WP had eaten my database. I was happy with s9y for many years, but in the last year or so I got the impression that it was beginning to show its age. There seemed to be fewer posts on the forums and the promised upgrade was taking its time to appear (though it now has); there had been few if any new plugins or themes.

I decided to start a new blog on WP and see how I got on. This is now what I use for all new posts (although the previous blog is also available as well). I thought it would be worth while to summarise the main differences I’ve found between the two platforms.

Upgrades

As I already mentioned, upgrading is sluggish on s9y. On the other hand upgrades of WP (both the main software and plugins) happen quite frequently, which is reasonably reassuring from the security point of view.

Appearance

There is a huge number of plugins and themes for WP – far more than for s9y. Actually, I’m all for plainness and simplicity so I don’t need most of these things but it’s still good to have them available.

Adding and editing posts

Here WP definitely has the lead. In s9y either you are viewing the blog in the way that a visitor would or you are logged in as administrator. Admittedly you can see a preview of any post you are writing or editing, but once you save it and return to viewing mode, that’s it. If you belatedly spot a typo in what you’ve just saved you have to login again as administrator. This can be quite annoying.

In WP, in contrast, you can combine both modes quite easily. Once you have logged in you can both see the entries as a visitor would and also edit them via number of buttons on the top line. These allow you, for example, to add a new post, edit an existing post, or edit a static page (.g. the frontispiece). All these things, and others, can be done without logging in again. This is a more flexible arrangement and allows consieerably faster working.

Getting help

There’s a vast amount of documentation for WP on the internet so it’s almost always easy and quick to solve problems or get answers to questions. For s9y there is practically nothing apart from the forums on the s9y website. In the past I’ve had good and quick responses here from helpful people, for wich I’m grateful, but activity now seems to be declining steeply, which to me suggests a shrinking user base.

In conclusion

Regrettably (because, no doubt absurdly, I have a lingering sense of loyalty to s9y) I have to say that for me there’s really no contest; WP is now the way to go. If it were possible I’d migrate all my content from s9y to WP but it isn’t so I shall have to continue to run two blogs in parallel.

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