So, I don’t know exactly what to do with this mess of a website. Don’t worry, it’s not going away. I mean from a technical aspect. This entire site is running on WordPress, which until now has not only worked well, but I’ve championed numerous times as the blog platform that most if not all people should be using. This theme (Divi) however, is both bloated and unreliable. I haven’t been able to change anything structurally without breaking it for several versions now. On top of that, I had created this custom child theme (that’s what you call it when a theme is derived from a larger “parent” theme) so that I could customize it, because that’s just my jam. I’m in IT, I tinker. I void warrantees.
For those that don’t know, back in WordPress 5 they introduced a “block editor”. With it you could build pages and posts with “blocks” of content types. Images, titles, paragraphs, tables, etc., each a block and each a separate element. Divi chose not to use these block, but to build their own WYSIWYG editor. It worked for a while but now the technology “fork” has diverted so far from the original it’s having a lot of issues. At this very moment I’m typing this into Notepad because the Divi Builder won’t allow me to edit the page beyond pasting plain text into it. Any other button or option crashes the builder and I lose the post. That’s no way to blog.
So, my choices are:
A) Uninstall and reinstall Divi, again. – Zero guarantees it would work, and I’ve already tried it in the past.
B) Stay with WordPress and find a different theme – The downside to this is that everything Divi is deeply embedded in “shortcodes”. I’d have to sanitize EVERY post, going back 20 years, and remove the shortcodes to make “plain” pages again. Additionally, I’d have to learn an entire new framework, builder and the Gutenberg block system, something I’ve been avoiding for several years now. It’s become one of those “well, it’s not going away, better deal with it” problems.
C) Convert the entire site to a different blog platform – The option I’m edging towards is Ghost (ghost.org). The problem with Ghost is that it’s harder to run (need to configure my VPS differently), it doesn’t directly import content from WP, I’d have to export, sanitize and import a huge JSON file (see option B), and I’d have to export the content from here which would require at least 2 paid plugins based on the size of this site and the number of images (you seriously don’t want to know).
I’m leaning towards trying those, literally in that order, and only stoping once something works “better” than it does currently.
What does that mean for you the reader? Well, old school “construction zone” signs for a little while. With my zero free time, this will either take a day or two… or 7 months.
We’ll just have to see.