Almost every time I post to my blog, something screws up with WordPress. It mashes up the markup by either adding or stripping tags, or the cache fails to invalidate, or some other arbitrary time sink occurs. Good luck to you if you accidentally switch from markup to preview in the classic editor! And using the iOS app to edit a post is almost guaranteed to bork your post content.
I also dislike how difficult it is when I want to work on the design of the site. I have to spin up PHP and MySQL somehow (either from a direct install or with MAMP or such). Then I need to spin up Gulp so my CSS and TypeScript gets processed. When the stars align and it works it feels more like a happy accident than a finely tuned dev bubble. When it comes to push something out I’m stuck in the early 2000s. I upload it to the server (yes, just SFTP), clear the cache with the caching plugin and login to CloudFlare to clear the cache their too.
As you might imagine, whenever I entertain making some changes, I tend to back out as it’s just too much hassle. Sure I could adopt a more modern approach but I don’t know if I have the will…
The posting process is far too long-winded for me. I tend to write in my text editor locally, use Pandoc to convert to markup, then paste that into the HTML tab of the classic editor.
Use the new Gutenberg editor I hear you shout! I know lots of folk like it now. I loathe it.
So, yes, I’m not a fan of the Gutenberg editor. I never write my content in the WordPress editor. I just want to write markdown in my text editor of choice, paste it into WordPress, select a few tags and hit publish. Gutenberg doesn’t make this any easier. It also adds a bunch of cruft to your front-end. Only the other day I couldn’t understand why I had a load of extra CSS loading on the front-end and it was CSS that WordPress adds to support Gutenberg. And that’s with Gutenberg disabled!! It took adding a function to the
functions.php to stop that from showing up — more frustration!
So why stay?
The only thing that stops me moving to something like a static site generator is the comments. I love the comments. So many of you have added so much to this site with your comments that I’m loathe to let them and any future comments go. I don’t even get many comments but over the 12 years plus the site has been on WordPress, there’s now, spam aside, about 1600.
I’m not thrilled about the options available for keeping these and commenting functionality outside WordPress:
There’s web mentions, (which are like official ‘ping backs’ in WordPress parlance) which certainly appeals, put they are still shy of proper comments and you still need some intermediary to handle the alerting of the ‘mentions’. There are also clever techniques, and open-source solutions to get comments working on static sites but experience tells me that might be trading one lot of complexity for another!
There’s services like Disqus but, well, just no.
Or there’s just sacking off comments entirely. I’ve never even considered that seriously until recently.
I’m giving all this a lot of thought currently as I’d like to have something I can work with more easily and isn’t so daunting.
I love the idea of something Node based. I don’t have anything against PHP but its not something I use outside of WordPress.
So here I am, WordPress has served me for 12 years but I’ve never really liked it. It’s always felt fragile, the development process still seems arcane. Furthermore, I’m not sure a largely text based blog is really the right fit for WordPress anymore. But those comments, those comments keep pulling me back in.