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    Wordpress vs Serendipity

    This is the battle of convenience and ease of use versus a well known platform which is highly expandable.  Today’s applications to be reviewed are Serendipity and Wordpress respectively.  Lets start by saying that Serendipity is a blogging application written in PHP and is able to handle may ways to store data, the user interface is simple but powerful and has many features which you might not expect to find in such blogging tool; Wordpress in the other hand is highly recognized for being a powerful blogging tool capable of being expanded through a extensive plugin library; lets take a look at the features that make Serendipity so convenient and Wordpress so flexible.

    Admin Layout and Appearance:

    Those who are used to pretty admin areas such as the ones featured in Movable Type, Expression Engine, etc. might not like how Serendipity’s admin area is arranged, users basically have a left sidebar where they are able to access the various functions of Serendipity, there are four major areas which are:  The entries section which provides access to content management sections such as “new entry, edit entry, comments and categories”.  The section you will spend most of your time working on is the “new entry” section which allows you to publish content through a WYSIWYG editor, this tool is not as powerful as the one found in Wordpress though so you might be a little disappointed there, however you do have access to some basic text formatting  tools which let you control the way your text is shown.

    The next section is called “Media” and provides direct access to a management system which lets you upload files to your blog for easy publishing, Wordpress has a similar area however it needs to be expanded through plugins to get the most out of it, a good example would be installing the “Picnik” plugin for easy picture management and modification.

    Storefront Appearance:

    As you might have imagined, this is one part where Serendipity falls short compared to Wordpress, while there are several Serendipity skins available you just can’t beat the thousands of themes available for Wordpress.  Some users argue that they would much rather work with Serendipity because one of its features allows users to easily modify the sidebar’s configuration through easy to use plugins; however in newer Wordpress versions the blogging tool uses what are called “widgets” which allow users to place any type of content on the blog’s sidebar without the need to modify the PHP code.

    Plugins:

    This is a big area for both blogging platforms, Wordpress has a very extensive library of plugins which is why it is so flexible and preferred by many users, however the installation process might not be very attractive.  In Wordpress you need to download the plugin, unzip it and then uploaded to your plugin’s folder and finally activate it in the plugin management tab; Serendipity on the other hand uses a very nice tool called “Spartacus” which allows you to install plugins directly from their online repository, there is no need to download or upload anything to your webserver (this is a great feature for non-technical users)

    Databases:

    Wordpress is able to work with MySQL but Serendipity can work with the same database system in addition to PostgreSQL and SQLlite database backends, this gives users more options if they are not able to access MySQL

    Upgrades:

    This is an area where Serendipity is great, compared to Wordpress the re is just a two step upgrade process, you basically have to back-up your database and then overwrite some files using an FTP tool; in Wordpress you need to back-up the database, deactivate all plugins, overwrite your files, run the upgrade script and finally reactivate the plugins one at a time to make sure everything is working fine.

    The bottom line is that if you do not use specialized plugins available only for Wordpress, Serendipity is a very nice and simple blogging tool to try and as many users say when referring to Serendipity “It just works”.

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