Happy with my experience with a custom WordPress installation for this blog, I decided to try using the blogging platform for the TaskForest website. The two main reasons were the ease of creating RSS feeds and the ability for users to comment on posts or articles. After a few days of tinkering around, I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for TaskForest, WordPress would cause more problems than it would solve. Here’s how I came to that conclusion:
I remember in my first Computer Programming class in college, the instructors wanted to make sure we understood the concept of persistence by saving application data to disk. To keep things simple we would serialize data and save it to text files. Once we learned advanced concepts we migrated to using relational databases. As a professional, most of the apps I see use an RDBMS like DB2, PostgreSQL, Sybase or Oracle. Text files have been relegated to the simple homework assignments of Programming 101.
There are, however, many classes of applications for which text files are the preferred means of storing data. One of the main reasons is that when data is stored in a relational database, editing it is not a trivial task. A well-normalized database is not easily updated via an SQL command line. More often than not, a dedicated, graphical editor is needed to model the complex relationships.
I came across some comments made about an open source program that I had written in perl. The user was complaining about how he couldn’t get it to install. The reason was that the program relies on other modules from the archive of open source perl software known as CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), and one of them failed to install.