Hello, World

This week’s assignment:

Pick a dynamic website you admire and write a paragraph about what you like about it. Modify your “Hello, World” program to contain that paragraph and a link to that website.

Is it cheating to say that one of my favorite dynamic websites is WordPress.com? It’s the platform on which so many of the sites that I read are built, and it’s the one I’ve used for the last five or six blogs I’ve set up. I used Blogger (first the standalone version, and then Blogspot) for many years, and I contributed to sites that were built on Movable Type, and I was never particularly impressed with either. When I finally tried WordPress, it seemed so much better designed, and so much more flexible. The standalone version of WordPress is, of course, preferable, since choosing plug-ins and fiddling with themes is half the fun, but for a quick-and-dirty site, WordPress.com is the best I’ve found.

identical, very closely spaced ugly buttons reading 'save | preview | publish | close'
One of my favorite banks of buttons in the Nextbook CMS

To compare and contrast, one of the dynamic websites I loathe most is the one I’ve been working on for the last two years: Nextbook.org. Most of its repulsiveness is under the hood—a one-off CMS that’s poorly organized and has terrible interface design, a database structure that’s ill-conceived and doesn’t scale well, and large swaths of content that are either (a) hard-coded or (b) dynamic but not accessible through the CMS that the staff sees. The front end is pretty abominable, too, with a site structure that makes sense only to the people who work there, and templates that don’t validate as anything whatsoever. I’ve long maintained that the whole thing would run much better if it were rebuilt on WordPress (or Joomla, which I've never used but have heard good things about), and it looks like finally that’s going to happen. Maybe. I’m not sticking around to find out.