Pfft, it’s back to WordPress for me

In: Blogging

25 Oct 2006

After 2 failed experiments with Typo and Mephisto, I caved and went back to WordPress. As you can see (if you’re on the site itself instead of reading from a feed reader), it’s all green and so 2005-looking (the year 2005, that is) – gonna have to convert the templates from the old Mephisto setup to WordPress.

Screenshot of the Plink theme in action on my old Mephisto blog


What exactly went wrong with Typo and Mephisto? Well, Typo was beating the crap out of my VPS, among other reasons. Mephisto was fine until the Mongrel processes running it started dying after a few hours – the 192MB or RAM that I have on the VPS was 100% used and the Rimuhosting guys have wrote me more than once suggesting a memory upgrade as I was causing way too much disk swappage on the host machine. I put the high memory usage down to comment spammers, but hell I wonder how everyone else manages to keep their Mephisto or Typo blogs up assuming not everyone has the luxury of an excess of 192MB of RAM to play with. If you’re running a Typo, Mephisto, or any other Rails-based blogging application under low memory conditions successfully, I want to know!

Another reason I had for abandoning Mephisto was the difficulties I had with its templating system. I could generally live with the lack of an easy way to display stuff like monthly archives unless I was following the trunk, but it was the lack of pagination (such as paged monthly archives) that really annoyed me. Rick Olson has stated that pagination probably won’t go into the Mephisto core and I disagree on its lack of usefulness (but this is another matter). I lacked the perserverance to finish up a pagination plugin when I realized that I had to work off the trunk which was already very much changed from the point release I was using.

Rails is such a wonderful framework, but throwing (another) templating layer into the mix (Mephisto uses Liquid) is a mixed blessing. The whole exercise felt very much like jumping through hoops when there’s already a clear path to goal – nevertheless, I’ll have to give the benefit of the doubt to the lack of documentation and the fast-moving development on Mephisto trunk. I’m probably geting too old for living on the edge where blogging software is concerned.

Anyway, I’m glad to come back to WordPress and less downtime, I hope.

10 Responses to Pfft, it’s back to WordPress for me

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Martey

October 25th, 2006 at 7am

Comments seem to have disappeared, at least on recent entries.

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Roshambo

October 25th, 2006 at 8am

As a long-time follower of this blog, I think it’s about time you roll your own CMS. I know that an enterprise-grade developer can pull this off without too much sweat :)

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Chu Yeow

October 25th, 2006 at 7pm

Yep Martey thanks for reminding me. Need to re-import those.

Roshambo: I don’t think so heh. Have better things to do with my time.

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Eliot

October 26th, 2006 at 12am

I made a similar change recently. I was trying to use Typo, but it just wasn’t working out for me. I had some friends trying to convince me to use Mephisto, but I was ready to get back to blogging… not messing around with software. So back to WordPress for me as well. You can’t argue the “it just works” factor when other life things are so much more important.

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barry

November 8th, 2006 at 1am

I had similar problems with Typo and Mephisto. I am using a shared host that limits me to 48 MB real memory, and while Typo would start out under that threshold, its memory leaks would gradually, over a few days, push it over that limit, causing it to crash. While Mephisto was a rock running on my personal machine, never growing in size over the long term, its base memory footprint was larger than 48 MB and as such the first request to it when running on my shared host would result in failed Malloc that would kill the process.

I ended up finding a newish Rails based app called SimpleLog (http://simplelog.net) which, as the name suggests, is very basic, but it uses much less memory and runs solidly on my shared host for weeks on end. It supports XMLRPC and tagging which are the most important issues for me, though it lacks many other common features (including comments) and like Mephisto, it has no pagination.

It uses ERb for templating, which I like, though I liked liquid more. Mostly I just like that it does simple publishing and I can tweak it without having to touch PHP. Don’t get me wrong, I like writing C, but C just looses its luster when you know it is going to go through an interpreter…

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Mat

November 8th, 2006 at 7am

You have a VPS and Mephisto doesn’t run properly? That’s strange, i’ve got Mephisto running fine on my shared hosting account with no glitches/slowdowns. But I fully aggree with the statement you made about Typo. I tried it at first and it did end up crashing my server (CPU usage for my account maxed out).

As for the templating system, it is different from just using raw PHP (WordPress) or eRB/Ruby in Typo. But it is quite simple to use for non-experienced users.

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FredB

November 8th, 2006 at 9am

barry, you describe exactly my experience.
Funny how similar it is:

Typo: dying regularly
Mephisto: recent builds need to much memory for my host (textdrive like you ;)
I’m currently moving my site to Simplelog.

BTW Simplelog has comments now, at least in the 1.5rc2 version (in svn)
The only thing it misses, IMHO, is full pages caching.

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FredB

November 8th, 2006 at 9am

If you’re running a Typo, Mephisto, or any other Rails-based blogging application under low memory conditions successfully, I want to know!

Till now simplelog stays under 25MB. Time will tell.

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John

May 17th, 2007 at 5am

Did you write a convertor to export all of your posts out of mephisto to WordPress?

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Sean

June 4th, 2007 at 9am

Yes, curious also if you have a script to convert Mephisto to WordPress.