Site News: More Troubles

Still working with WordPress. They’re helping me troubleshoot, which I guess I shouldn’t be too snarky about seeing as I don’t exactly pay them for this product.

Still, I have to say, as a software engineer who works in the software testing department, the problems I’ve had with WordPress (the vast majority of which I don’t bother to post about on here) do not fill me with confidence at the state of software development. When I went hunting for blog software to host my blog on, I only had a few criteria:

  • I wanted something that looked reasonably good, and/or had a fair number of ‘skin’ options.
  • I wanted something I could post pictures with captions and hovertext.
  • I wanted something where I could do a post (including captions and hovertext) from an iPhone, and have it be identical to a post that I would do from a computer.
  • I wanted something that would let me queue up an extra post that would automatically post at (say) 6 PM if I hadn’t posted something else that day already.
  • And I wanted something that I could customize heavily without learning CSS or PHP, the former because I’m not a designer and thus the effort of learning it would be mostly wasted and the latter because I find it highly offensive.

What did I find? I found that I could get the first one, and the second one. That there was no way to get the third one on any blog platform (at the time, at least, and last I checked last year it still was impossible), unless I was willing to write my own iPhone client. That there was no way to get the fourth one (at the time, at least), unless I was willing to write my own plugin, but that WordPress at least let you schedule posts in advance, which was sort of close to what I wanted, but not close enough that I was happy with it. And that every single blog platform of any size was written in PHP. (And that I have had to venture into using it a couple of times to fix problems that were otherwise not solvable. And I still feel dirty.)

I don’t know if anyone cares, but I might as well explain why the scheduling thing isn’t as close to what I want as it sounds like it should be. The original idea of this blog was that I’d write a post every day, for that day. It would include observations and events and such for that day. And if I skipped a day, either by mistake or on purpose, then I’d have a few posts queued up and one would automatically post, and it wouldn’t be topical for that day but that’s okay occasionally. If I wanted to do this on WordPress, I would have to queue up four posts, set them up to post tomorrow, the next day, and the two days after that, and then every day that I made a post, at the same time as I made the post, I would have to go in and reschedule the one that was supposed to post tomorrow for five days from now. It’s highly error-prone, and inconvenient, and I knew I’d never be able to remember to do it reliably. The more reasonable approach would be to just queue up posts four days in advance… but then I don’t get the ‘current events’ part of my idea, because everything would be four days out of date.

This seems like an utter no-brainer for a daily blog, but nobody else seems to have thought of it but me. And yes, I am a programmer, but as I said, I refuse to learn enough about PHP and WordPress programming to implement something like that. There are enough languages that I have been exposed to that did not wake a sudden urgent sense of loathing, I am not going to venture into learning the ones that do.

And now, of course, my workaround of at least scheduling posts one day in advance has stopped working. (And so has my twitter link, and so has my automated twitter posting setup, and so has quite a lot of other stuff, really.) I guess there’s a reason ‘FYWP’ is a well-known acronym…

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5 Responses to Site News: More Troubles

  1. Rose Marie says:

    Sorry about the frustration – maybe you should take over WordPress and fix it ;-]! It’s clear they need more dog lovers!

  2. Kayle says:

    I’ve heard good things about SquareSpace, and it’s not tooooooo expensive

    • Adam Lang says:

      They’re not really designed for blogs, I don’t think. They certainly lack a lot of the things that I use on a day to day basis here.

      And tumblr is… well… tumblr. It’s not exactly a sales point from my point of view. 🙂

      • Kayle says:

        I haven’t used SquareSpace before, that’s just what I had heard and what their site shows. As for tumblr – fair enough 🙂

        I’m a dev as well and have had to dive in to WP before (though not since 3.4/5), so if you want a hand feel free to drop me a line.

  3. Kayle says:

    Alternatively, there’s always tumblr 😉

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