From WordPress to Symphony

June 15th, 2011

For a long time I've been displeased with WordPress as my blogging system, it got the job done but it all felt quite Frankenstein's-monster-after-a-heavy-night-drinking-esque, mostly because I did just take as minimal a theme as I could find and tweak it until it fitted with the rest of the site. Since my internship with Fishrod, I've been working with a CMS called Symphony quite a lot. My original plan was to convert my whole site to use Symphony but I quickly realised that there wasn't much point in doing this when it was only the blog section that I wanted to change, so that's what I did.

With Symphony, I have complete control of what the outputted HTML is thanks to every bit of data being stored as XML and transformed through XSLT. Do give Symphony a try because it is absolutely fantastic, I baulked at it's strange terminology and alien way of doing things but, ultimately, it gives you a tremendous amount of power. I spent a couple of days dedicated to learning and applying it and it's really paid off (although only figuratively, so far). If you do decide to give it a spin, also check out XPath as it comes in extremely useful when you're trying to access specific nodes.

The blog has basic functionality at the moment but hopefully you'll appreciate that it looks a bit nicer and I plan on adding other bits that WordPress had over the next few months (things like searching, archives by month, and previous/next links to easily read more). I also plan on open sourcing this so people can use it if they wish, although if you do want a pre-packaged solution I recommend the blog that comes with the default Symphony install, I built this myself simply to teach myself but there is definitely room for improvement!

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