Nucleus vs WordPress

I started blogging with Nucleus six years ago, and saying goodbye to it to switch to WordPress has been harder than I’d anticipated. Granted, a lot of that could have something to do with the rather painful conversion process — and I definitely had my reasons for switching to WordPress or I wouldn’t have put myself through that.  But here are ten things I love about Nucleus, and why I’m now opting for WordPress anyway.

Be forewarned, there’s a reason I’m filing this under Geek & Nerd. If you’re here because you need help actually converting Nucleus to WordPress (or possibly visa versa?) drop me a note and I’ll see if I can help.

On to the reasons I’ll miss Nucleus:

  1. It never changes. While nucleus never was much for keeping up with the latest and greatest trends, sometimes it’s nice to know you can count on an admin panel that will always stay the same. Particularly if you’re writing up how-to for clients who don’t have much technical intuition, and you don’t want to have to re-write those articles with each new update.
  2. Its documentation is solid. The people who document the ins, outs, wherefores, and whys of Nucleus have done an excellent job, no doubt because they don’t have to rewrite their articles either. Still waters run deep, even if they can get a little stagnant.
  3. It’s the CMS that knows what’s best. You don’t break Nucleus, you only break yourself against it. It just takes hacks, tricks, and all kinds of manipulation to get it to do anything extra. Things an eager-to-please WordPress is dying to do for you with its hands tied behind its back… things that unfortunately make WordPress far less idiot-proof. Things I really wanted, that eventually led me to make the switch. Like hiding private posts from a public feeds… I’d tried and tried to stop Nucleus from spilling my secret monoblogging guts all over the net; eventually I had to go in and purposely butcher the code, and now that I’m ready to try RSS again, it won’t budge. If code could talk, I’m sure Nucleus would be telling me to make up my mind.
  4. Hackers don’t notice Nucleus. Not nearly as often, anyway. Running Nucleus is a bit like being married to Sarah, Plain and Tall… the jerks out there whose goal in life is to make others’ blogs their own usually don’t even have Nucleus on their radar. And as long as you keep it up to date, Nucleus doesn’t seem to notice the hackers, either. Which brings me to the next thing I love about Nucleus…
  5. It’s terribly easy to update. Actually, Nucleus’s update process is similar to many programs out there. But despite heavy customization to various nucleus blogs, I’ve never once had trouble updating it. Wish I could say the same for 99% of the other scripts my clients have used 🙂
  6. It keeps things separated. You know those people who freak out if their syrup touches their sausage links? They really don’t know what they’re missing. But when it comes to managing a blog, sometimes it IS nice to keep up some solid partitions. After all, not everyone likes getting php all over their articles. Nucleus takes a step or two further by separating templates, skins, and styles as well. Which actually comes in handy every now and then.
  7. Multiple blogs, one installation. WordPressMu also allows for multiple blogs with one installation too, but Mu is a bit on the tricksy side; Nucleus handles this nicely by its plain and simple self.
  8. Nucleus forums are the friendliest. Don’t get me wrong, one thing that sold me on WordPress is its strong sense of community… but Nucleus’s support forums seriously put wordpress.org’s forums to shame. I doubt it’s that WordPress users are unfriendly, so much that its harder to find and follow threads, so people give up on helping each other AND helping themselves. And really, the moderators and other frequenters at the Nucleus forums are great to work with.
  9. I just like underdogs. Somehow I can’t get the song out of my head, so I’ll just say it: Nucleus reminds me a bit of Particle Man… small and seemingly insignificant, but a great little thing anyway. I’m going to keep using it wherever it makes sense, and I sincerely hope it won’t be destroyed by the bigger players out there.
  10. It was my first blog. What can I say. Even though I’m ready for the freedom and features of WordPress, I’ll look back on Nucleus with fond memories. And I’ll hope it will never change.

11 thoughts on “Nucleus vs WordPress

  1. What a great ode to Nucleus. I couldn’t agree more! I am busy with a transformation to WordPress as well. I will keep the old Nucleus alive, converting to WordPress is to complicated I think. At least, all what I have read didn’t work that easy (especially with the images). But hey, a good reason to update Nucleus every now and then 🙂
    I love Nucleus, but WordPress is more flexible. It took me a long long time to switch to WordPress. I will never forget how nice Nucleus is.
    It’s my third blogging CMS, the first was Greymatter. Also fond memories… Not as nice as Nucleus and WordPress has to prove itself to me yet.

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    1. Ahhh, the memories. I’d almost forgotten about this article. I am really glad now though that I’ve made the switch, and have become somewhat of an evangelist for WordPress. In number 5, I said Nucleus was terribly easy to update. By that I meant that I only had to back up my data and nucleus directories, download a patch, upload it to my site and unzip it, then run the SQL update if there happened to be one. And, unlike most programs with a process like that, it always went well with Nucleus in spite of my hacks.

      At that time, WordPress /was/ somewhat more difficult to update — or so it seemed from my perspective as a web host. Clients would come in with all kinds of trouble.

      But the guys at Automattic fixed that too, and now the WordPress update is the easiest I’m aware of. One click from the admin panel, and you’re done. Granted, it’s still smart to do a backup first, but my server does that for me several times per day now so I don’t even have to worry about that.

      About the conversion: There is a Nucleus to WordPress conversion kit for you in the forums. I used that, but the images didn’t work. I ended up writing a sql script to convert them over to the new format. I guess my query logic missed a few of them… five or six out of hundreds didn’t work and had to be edited manually, but it really wasn’t too bad. I’d posted that in the forums as well.

      Looks like both are gone now; I would have to assume that means they don’t work anymore, or maybe they just prune comments after so long because I don’t see very many of my posts really. But I think I’ve still got the sql script here somewhere. Drop me a note if you’d like to try it (at your own risk of course).

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  2. Ahhh, the memories. I’d almost forgotten about this article. I am really glad now though that I’ve made the switch, and have become somewhat of an evangelist for WordPress. In number 5, I said Nucleus was terribly easy to update. By that I meant that I only had to back up my data and nucleus directories, download a patch, upload it to my site and unzip it, then run the SQL update if there happened to be one. And, unlike most programs with a process like that, it always went well with Nucleus in spite of my hacks.

    At that time, WordPress /was/ somewhat more difficult to update — or so it seemed from my perspective as a web host. Clients would come in with all kinds of trouble.

    But the guys at Automattic fixed that too, and now the WordPress update is the easiest I’m aware of. One click from the admin panel, and you’re done. Granted, it’s still smart to do a backup first, but my server does that for me several times per day now so I don’t even have to worry about that.

    About the conversion: There is a Nucleus to WordPress conversion kit for you in the forums. I used that, but the images didn’t work. I ended up writing a sql script to convert them over to the new format. I guess my query logic missed a few of them… five or six out of hundreds didn’t work and had to be edited manually, but it really wasn’t too bad. I’d posted that in the forums as well.

    Looks like both are gone now; I would have to assume that means they don’t work anymore, or maybe they just prune comments after so long because I don’t see very many of my posts really. But I think I’ve still got the sql script here somewhere. Drop me a note if you’d like to try it (at your own risk of course).

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  3. Thanks for the offer. I have tried the Nucleus to WP converter on another blog, but the images, really too much. And I have been thinking and thinking what I should do.Sonce I a not a programmer, I have had some friend-nerds looking into that, but a lack of time made it a dead end. I have now decided that I won’t convert Nucleus to WP, but keep them seperated. A whole new and fresh start. Just as I did when I moved from Greymatter to Nucleus. That felt very nice then, so I guess it will feel nice again 🙂

    Just a cpuple of weeks, some last finetuning and I will be blogging in WordPress, just like the mainstream… The only thing I think I shall be missing, are the shortcodes to the images and pop-ups.

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  4. Well. This was great article to read. And I think that only great blogger can write such a thing. I’ve never used Nucleus so much, and I used WP from the very beginning, but when I read this I think about installing Nucleus on my home server. Tnx for sharing knowledge and good stuff buddy.

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  5. I started with WP, and since my client didn’t want articles to have dates, I had to hack at the core files, which made upgrading more problematic.

    Now I’ve been reviewing Nucleus for a few days. You can change a lot of how the articles are displayed, including how the dates display, if at all, without modifying the core files. In WordPress, the “skin” is limited to CSS, but in Nucleus, the combination of “skin” and “template” lets you use PHP and HTML to see how content is structured, not just formatted.

    Still, Nucleus CMS is a blogging system despite the name, and trying to use it to build hierarchical sites is probably not a good idea. To build hierarchical sites, I’d recommend the lightweight Wolf CMS. It’s more of a developer’s CMS than an end-user’s CMS. Which reminds me, the one feature about Nucleus that has WP and eveyrone else beat hands down is that you can add or edit a blog entry without using the admin panel. The WP admin panel has been a deal-breaker with some of my clients. They simply won’t use it; it’s “too hard.”

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    1. Actually, theme files are totally separate from core files, so you can edit those as needed. I’ve also found you can usually hide dates from the post pages themselves with a little CSS, and hide them from the URLs by formatting your permalinks. Also, if your client didn’t want dates, I’d recommend using pages (which are more like static pages in a book) rather than posts (which are more like periodicals and should so have very clearly visible dates). Good luck whatever you decide to do.

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