Moving to WordPress

I started blogging a long time ago using COREBlog on Plone on Zope (if I remember right), then I moved on dotclear 1 with some friends, then I opened my own blog again using dotclear 2… and now I'm using WordPress.

Why moving from dotclear to WordPress? First of all, my linux server moved to PHP 5.3… which is not supported by dotclear yet. So I had to install an alpha version of dotclear that supported it… kind of. It was a true alpha version (meaning lots of stuff were not working anymore, if you used to navigate on my blog you may have noticed that). And I feel a bit like dotclear is on the dying side (maybe it's not true, but that's my feeling). I don't know if it's related by the departure of dotclear's creator (Olivier Meunier) last year, maybe they are adjusting from that change, but in the mean time, dotclear is not moving fast enough and I had to do something about getting my blog working.

I know, since I'm a developer, I could have helped dotclear guys supporting PHP 5.3, by fixing some bugs… I don't remember PHP a lot but it's a quite simple language, I should have been able to help quite quickly I think. But I'm also lazy and I did wanted to try WordPress since some people recommended it to me.

So, this is my first post written with WordPress, and it's quite nice, the interface is quite good but I have to admit that it's far from being perfect too.


As usual I used the debian package, which is already an improvement over dotclear since there is no dotclear debian package. On the downside, I encountered several bugs that seems to stupid to be there. And looking on the internet, they are known bugs, but not fixed. For instance:

  • You can't specify an absolute path for your upload folder (which is what is done by default by the debian package… so uploading anything was not possible until I changed the path).
  • When you try to install a theme or a plugin using the admin interface, WordPress checks if it's authorized to write files first, if not WordPress allows you to upload it through FTP. That's nice except that the script checking authorization is bugged (and that FTP is a protocol that should died but that's an other story 😉). The script checks that the user executing it is the owner of… the script file! instead of checking that it's the owner of the theme/plugin directory. Since they do the things right in debian, the script is owned by root but executed by www-data (apache's user). So I had to change the owner of the script to make it work.


In WordPress tools, there is a script to import data from dotclear… which does not really work. Maybe it was done for dotclear 1, or my alpha version did have a lot of changes but obviously there was a lot of differences between what the import script was excepted and what my dotclear database looked like. I customized it a bit so it was able to import my posts and comments but I had some encoding issues (mostly solved), and of course I had to upload again all the pictures, audio files and videos… it took me several evenings to do the migration. Maybe I should have done it all by myself without using the original script.

After the import, the comment count was not set on the blog posts and I saw that other people had the problem (comment count not matching the actual number of comments) at some point for a reason or an other and the solution I saw was usually a small PHP script looping on each post and executing the same SQL query. So here is the same solution but with only one SQL query, no PHP involved:

update wp_posts set comment_count = (select count(*) from wp_comments where wp_comments.comment_post_id =;


I just started using it. For the people reading my blog from the RSS feed, check out the new URL. On the overall it looks quite simple, but there are some stuff I don't really like. For instance I have to use categories. So I put everything in the "Uncategorized" category. On dotclear I was able to say that I don't want to use categories. Tags are way much better than categories… and they are optional.

The visual editor is quite good but the HTML editor is a "simple HTML" editor, not showing the full HTML, and switching from one editor to the other change the HTML code you may have write, and sometimes you don't want to. For instance putting audio and video tags (HTML 5 tags) in an XHTML 1 page… is not really allowed, and switching from the HTML editor to the Visual editor simply remove them 😟. There is no wiki syntax, I can understand that choice but I was a bit used to it.

The plugin and theme system work quite well (except for the bug I talked about earlier). For the theme I chose Garland-revisited, which is a copy of Drupal's default theme (I used Drupal once and I had to customized the theme for the website but I love their Garland theme, so here is a way to have it 😉).

I also like the idea of having fixed pages. And I should start by filling the "about" page. That's all for today, I still have a lot of stuff to configure.

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  • From Laurent ·

    Maybe dotclear was not ultra-fancy and was moving at a slower pace, but at least it was not full of bugs. I have to admit that I'm surprised by the low quality level of WordPress.

    The strange thing is that all features work quite fine but there are plenty of little bugs (bad dates, bad counters, permissions rights…).

  • From Laurent ·

    If WordPress ask for some connection information when upgrading a module/theme, have a look at the following post:

    One quick solution on debian is:

    $ sudo chown www-data:www-data /usr/share/wordpress/wp-admin/update.php