A week with WordPress shows it as vastly superior to Blogger – that’s probably because good small companies taken over by bad big ones rapidly lose their way.
Here’s a summary of the differences.
The Blogger HTML generator is quirky – if you change case, it throws away all your new paragraphs, so you have to painfully reinsert them. And it recently got much worse, pumping scores of <font> and </font> statements into the HTML stream for each font change, then refusing to publish because the numbers it generated didn’t match!
In contrast,WordPress (WP) generates HTML that actually mirrors your text.
WP provides just one interface for posting, comment management, and usage stats. Blogger needed three separate products for the same job. The only thing I miss on WP are browser usage stats.
Blogger was frequently unavailable, and would often fail halfway through a post – I quickly learned to keep a copy of my post on the clipboard. WP has worked like clockwork.
Blogger is very 20th Century – it offers a range of blog styles and lets you hack the HTML as you like. That’s insecure – if you can hack it, so can someone else. WP offers a rather better range of styles, and shares the server side code of these for performance and security.
That means there’s less you can do to customize a WP style, but to compensate, simple changes are easy – changing images for example. WP lets you edit the style templates (not the HTML), using a Cascading Style Sheet editor costing about $15. When I get a moment I’ll use that to hack this template to give wider and floating page widths.
You can totally customize a WP style if you run it on your own URL.
The Small Stuff
WP autos-saves at regular intervals like Word, Blogger doesn’t. The WP spellchecker mostly works, Blogger’s doesn’t. WP’s blockquote display is much clearer then Blogger’s. WP has easy strikeout, Blogger doesn’t. WP has easy bulleting and numbering, Blogger doesn’t. Blogger forces you to write HTML table definitions on a single line, making checking a nightmare. WP lets you write them properly, with one cell per line.
Google fan-entities may claim the new Google Blogger is better, and not having used it, I can’t contest that. But I doubt it. The way Blogger was left to die suggests to me there were no decent managers and hackers looking after it.
This decline of a good company post acquisition is common – about 80% of acquisitions actually reduce the market cap of the acquirer (can’t find a link to this – it was quoted in the Economist a few years back).
In my experience, this deterioration is caused by the change of people and process on acquisition – the creative risk-taking founders and big options holders get rich and go to the beach, and the remaining good folk trickle away, demoralized by big company wall-to-wall meetings, corporate politics, risk-aversion, and Dilbertian PHMs.
There are exceptions to this sad rule – a good acquirer can bring better management and people. But, in my experience, that’s quite rare since well run companies prefer to grow organically.
Bottom line: in my opinion Google is not just morally compromised, but a poor software developer too.