I started this blog with WordPress because it was so easy. As a special purpose tool, WordPress let me start writing after just a few basic decisions. I wanted to jump in and WordPress made it very easy to do that. (I could as easily have chosen Blogger or TypePad; I didn’t do a competitive evaluation because I assumed they would have feature parity.) But now I’m ready to do more and I’ve been unpleasantly surprised at how quickly I find myself in code-land.
It took me three full hours to figure out how to add an RSS subscription capability to this blog. I poked around on WordPress for a good hour trying to figure it out. Then I had the brainstorm to go to Feedburner, which I use to sign up on other people’s blogs all the time. Signing up for Feedburner was pretty easy, but I struggled for a couple more hours before successfully getting the link to show up on my blog. In the end, I was able to find a spot on Feedburner’s site that automatically generated some html code for me to copy into my blog template.
That was three or more weeks ago. Now I’m trying to figure out how to let readers add my posts to Del.icio.us or Digg. Déjà vu. I am shocked and dismayed that I have to deal with html code to get access to these basic features. Easy-to-start has given way to hard-to-use. (Am I am missing something obvious? Would TypePad or Blogger have been better choices?)
On the other hand, Sampa has RSS subscription and all kinds of widgets built in. Sampa’s a little more difficult to start with in my opinion because the richness of its capabilities translates into more upfront decisions (though they’ve made lots of improvements and will continue to do so), but right now those built-in Sampa features are looking awfully good.