Blogging – Not Invented Here

This is my first blog post, and my first time using wordpress. This might be the blogging equivalent of writing a book that starts with “It was a dark and stormy night”, but I am going to make my first blog post about blogging.

As a programmer, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to dislike wordpress. Mainly because any self-respecting programmer is supposed to write his own blogging software. I’m supposed to be dogfooding – blogging about tech on my tech blog using my own… blog tech.  Writing such software is so commonplace it’s used as a kind of “hello world” for web technologies. Off the top of my head it’s how Racket introduces its “insta” language for writing web apps, and the example CouchDB uses for writing standalone applications, and I am sure if you search for any popular database or web framework you can find a detailed example on how you can “leverage” it to solve the Blogging Problem.

And yet here I am, using something someone else wrote that was written in PHP of all things – which makes it irredeemably evil. And don’t get me wrong, PHP is irredeemably evil. But I haven’t had to write any PHP yet. My interface to wordpress so far has been a WISYWYG web app that’s been fairly intuitive. I suppose if I ever actually end up having to write PHP myself, I may become so distraught that I resort to writing my own blogging engine, but so far so good.

That’s not say, people shouldn’t write their own blogging engines. There’s a common sentiment in computing that you should not write your own text editor, or programming language, or operating system, or whatever else, because they’ve all been done many times before by the great software craftsmen of yore, and you could never possibly hope to do better. I am wary of this sentiment – I would love better text editors, programming languages and operating systems, and I am cautiously optimistic that they could conceivably exist in the future. Likewise I am under no delusion that wordpress is somehow the pinnacle of blogging software, bequeathed to us by the Gods themselves, and that no mortal should ever have the hubris to try to surpass it. I am sure it’s possible for someone to do better.

But that someone is probably not going to be me.