Tag Archives: BoingBoing

Q&A with BoingBoing developer Dean Putney: How the popular site handles millions of views per month — and why it switched from Movable Type to WordPress

Dean Putney, lead developer for BoingBoing.net, as seen on the site.

Dean Putney, lead developer for BoingBoing.net, as seen on the site.

By any stretch, the eclectic, all-things-geeky BoingBoing.net is big — and not just for a blog. The site describes itself as “A Directory of Wonderful Things.” It is indeed. It indulges in what’s hot — steampunk, the Maker movement, all manner of Rube Goldbergian gadgets — but also champions things, people and places that are quite wonderful (and not always well-known, or known at all) from around the world.

According to its own site, BoingBoing drags in 5 million unique visitors per month, though Quantcast pegs BoingBoing.net traffic at 2.1 million uniques and 9.2 million page views for March 5-April 3, 2013.

No matter how you dice it, BoingBoing is pushing a lot of bits. And over the last several years they’ve done it in two blogging CMSes: first Movable Type and now WordPress.

I learned about the switch on BoingBoing itself, and the article I wrote at the time caught the attention of BoingBoing lead developer Dean Putney, who offered to answer my questions about the site’s transition from Movable Type to WordPress and the Disqus commenting system.

The interview was conducted in April 2012, so let’s file it under “better late than never” and get to my questions and Dean’s answers:

Q: What prompted the move of BoingBoing.net from Movable Type to WordPress?

A: When I started working for Boing Boing, they were having lots of issues with Movable Type. I hadn’t worked with it before, but I really liked Boing Boing and wanted to help them, so I spent a lot of time learning its weird innards and fixing things piece by piece.

Movable Type was slow and painful and regularly had problems, but it worked and there was no real reason to make a big switch at the time.

Then Six Apart — which had already been barely supporting Movable Type as it was — was sold and rebranded as Say Media. They all but straight out said, “We’re not going to work on Movable Type any more.” This coincided with my completing my undergraduate degree and coming onto BoingBoing in a larger role.

I proposed we move to WordPress because I predicted that Movable Type would become an orphaned platform. That’s pretty much happened, and we’re now seeing a long overdue exodus from MT. It feels good to have been at the forefront of that.
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