Announcing Habari: The New WordPress?

Filed as News on January 12, 2007 10:49 am

Have you heard about Habari? Habari is a new blogging platform from familiar names formerly associated with WordPress. The project was announced by Chris J. Davis earlier this month, who’s one of the core developers of the new weblog publishing application.

But is there space for another WordPress alternative?

Habari promises to push development forward by using cutting–edge technology, as described by Chris:

We decided to eschew legacy concerns and blaze forward with more cutting edge technology (read: PHP 5, entirely object oriented, full ATOM Publishing Protocol support and dead easy AJAX integration just for starters.)

The project’s Google Code site also mentions the adoption of new technology to allow for extensibility and customizations:

Habari relies on PHP5 with PHP Data Objects (PDO), and your choice of SQL database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite). Habari is strongly object oriented, and implements the full suite of the Atom Publishing Protocol. User-created plugins make Habari do nearly anything imaginable, and a robust theme system permits the use of several popular templating solutions.

From a technical standpoint, Habari will likely have the luxury of not inheriting an older codebase, like how WordPress began from the remnants of b2. The application may have to be coded from the ground up, which may take a bit of time before they can make a public release. But at the same time, this also allows them to design the application without the constraints of a previous system.

Interest in the project has been positive, with people involved in the Shuttle project for WordPress now part of the Habari team. Khaled Abou Alfa has written on his previous ideas for Shuttle and how Habari will allow for those ideas to flourish.

Another big name now associated with the Habari project is Michael Heilemann, who has announced that he is now a Habari developer. His name is closely attached to WordPress as he is the author of Kubrick, WordPress’s default theme, as well as K2, another popular theme that paved the way for theme development in WordPress. Like Khaled, Michael will likely be involved in interface design as both are excellent designers with an eye for usability.

Judging from the interest around this new open source group, it should grow to be a good application. However, will common users notice anything else other than WordPress?

WordPress has proven to be sufficient for the needs of many bloggers, including popular high–traffic weblogs. It is also used by the top blog networks. Habari on the other hand will probably focus on the user experience, which should be its strength in the future.

There is no telling if Habari and WordPress will clash in the commercial space of blogging, since Habari appears to eschew the commercial nature of open source, or at least it looks that way for now, just like how WordPress was before there was Automattic. But in the field of user adoption, the better product will surely get the attention of common bloggers. In the end, competing products can only be better for users as it drives innovation and evolution. The weblog publishing scene will certainly be very alive this year.

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