Textpattern vs. Wordpress

Having worked with Textpattern 4.0.8 and Wordpress 2.7 back to back within the last two months, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the biggest differences I noticed between the two content management systems.

Core functionality
I hate to say this, but I think Wordpress beats Textpattern as far as functionality goes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Textpattern’s simplicity, but it does seem to miss alot of features that come standard with Wordpress like versioning, WYSIWYG editing, and public user registration which may not be needed (or can be added with plugins), but are nice to have out of the box.

Content organization
I used Textpattern more heavily for organizing content than I did Wordpress, but I’d hazard to guess they’d be pretty close in this regard with just differences in implementation.

Textpattern uses its own txp markup for creating templates which works surprisingly well. While initially a little more difficult, once you pick up how things work, it’s a lot of fun to work with. One sore point is that the templates are stored in the database so you need to work from within the Textpattern backend to make changes rather than with plain files like Wordpress.

Wordpress uses PHP for it’s templating which can be a double edged sword. Yes, PHP is easy to use and offers infinite options for templating, it does end up getting kind of messy if you’re not careful.

Both support plugins, but have slightly different methods for plugin installation. I only used one plugin for Textpattern (hak_tinymce) while I ended up using several more for Wordpress (Contact Form 7, Theme my login, and a few others). I found many plugins for Wordpress to be either buggy or unsupported while a few plain did not work at all.

Active development
Wordpress takes the cake here with new releases available almost quarterly which include useful features and advancements. Unfortunately, Textpattern seems to be a standstill in terms of development. I hope this isn’t a sign of trouble within the development team over at Textpattern, but rather a sign of mature product.

Final thoughts
My preference is still lies with Texpattern for blogs and simple websites just because it’s so simple and easy to use. If I need more flexibility and functionality I’ll consider Wordpress, but be more inclined to use MODx, Drupal, or Joomla as there really isn’t alot that differentiates Textpattern and Wordpress in most cases.


Good review :)

I’m not expert in Wordpress but I don’t think it’s a more flexible system than Textpattern.

Textpattern allows non-programmers to build websites that include dynamic behaviours using easy-to-use and understant tags. with Wordpress one needs to know PHP for that.

I find Textpattern’s templating system very flexible because it allows me to define code fo various elements of my pages (eg. header, footer, lists, repeatable elements, etc…) as separate snippers that I can ‘call’ from a page’s template. I have total control over the outputted HTML.

But I do think that Textpattern’s admin interface needs to be improved to make it easier for non-technical people to publish stuff.

Lawrence - Friday July 3, 2009

Looking at the source code for this blog, you obviously don’t run WP. And judging from the “Textile Help” below, you probably run TXP, especially noting your preference for it in this post. But I notice that your DTD is XHTML 1 Strict. How do you run TXP in XHTML 1 Strict? When I looked at the demo, it’s was running XHTML 1 Transitional.

Stewart McCoy - Sunday February 21, 2010

Stewart, it’s just a matter of adding the XHTML 1 Strict doctype to the appropriate page/form.

Tariq - Tuesday March 2, 2010

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My name is Tariq. I am a twenty something website developer based in Toronto, Canada, working at kanetix doing what I love to do. Yeppers, I like turtles and get on (the TTC) daily.

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