I came across a couple of projects for new blogging engines this week. Both of them seem to have some kind of relationship with WordPress. One is Habari (via Matt) and the other FlatPress (via Lorelle).
In today’s age, you cannot afford to compete with WordPress and Movable Type unless you have good enough USPs. Habari has the edge over WordPress by using the latest technology, mainly PHP5. PHP5 supports an object oriented object model as compared to its predecessors and provides a chance to write strong object oriented code. I personally believe that OOP encourages better and flexible design, which in my opinion can benefit WordPress too. David Peralty has put up a lot of information about the project. Habari will create some interest as it has developers who have been active with WordPress before. Read posts by the contributors to get the background – Chris Davis, Michael Heilemann and Khaled Abou Alfa. It will be really interesting if Habari turns out to be a technically better WordPress or something completely original. I sense a fear against object oriented programming in the WordPress community that it will make WordPress tougher to develop or use. Habari can score there.
As I have read more about Habari, some kind of politics seems to have been read between the lines. I had no idea when I tried Habari out of curiosity. I think Owen Winkler puts everything together in his detailed post about Habari. I still think Habari has the advantage of the new technology, and can lead to a better design. I think the projects should be discussed apolitically, on their technical merit.
FlatPress is WordPress without requiring a database. It stores the blog posts in flat files, which can make it easier to install. But it is going to extremely slow if the blog grows, disk input output is terribly slow. Activities like search, or anymore than presenting the post will cause delays taking it to the border of being unusable. However, one use I see with FlatPress, if it really gets equivalent to WordPress, is where database supported by WordPress (MySQL) is not available. However I wonder if it would be usable and scalable. WordPress is already user friendly, which has been proven by the extensive user community, FlatPress will not be able to sustain a long term interest by avoiding databases.
I think it is good that these projects are coming up, it will keep the projects aware of the latest technologies and its benefits. There is already Serendipity which does some things in a different way. These projects will also be of interest to some who have technical complaints against WordPress.
It will be interesting to see if any of these projects can lead a trend to adopt the newer technologies.