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.
Matt “Doc” Perry, Somewhere on that 3rd rock from the Sun
February 15th, 2019
I love solving problems (even non-existent first world ones) with technology.
I had taken a look at the woefully out of date pages on my site the other day. I hadn’t update a needs/wants list since 2015, I hadn’t updated a trade-bait cards list since 2012. It was pretty sad. What’s the old saying? “The cobblers children have no shoes”? Well, the web guy doesn’t have time to update his own site. I’ve built 4 sites in two months so far in 2019, but I can’t seem to find the time to update a list.
So, I had a thought. What would be the easiest way to have something, essentially, update itself with minimal interaction and effort? What if I could create a gallery of Trade-worthy cards using a few off-the-shelf plugins and scripts?
Well, I gave it a try.
Edit: I actually updated my Cards page after I liked the results… Click Here.
I need to say up front that this is a TEST of the technology, not a full blown implementation.
Here’s the jist. On the server, within a defined “gallery” folder, I’ve created 30 sub folders. One for each Major League Baseball team. In those, I drop scans of cards. I’ve made the scans with a photoshop action that crops, resizes and saves anything I have in my “marquee” tool. I have the tool set on a fixed size (2.5×3.5). I scan an entire scanner bed of cards, click once on the card, click the action button, and done. Saving with a useful name is about the longest part of it. Then I use an FTP program to just drop them into the 30 folders.
That’s it. No editing pages to update galleries, no painful WordPress short codes to change. Heck, theres not even “pages” technically.
So, with this little experiment, I took a handful of cards I had sitting around (not and exhaustive inventory of everything I have) and tried it out. It seems to work pretty well.
More cards load as you scroll on the “all” category. It’s sortable by teams if you have a specific interest. The images open larger in a lightbox.
And I feel like all I did was drop files into a folder.
Again, this was just a test. A theory. Since it seems to be working, I have a feeling I’ll be porting it back to this site and integrating it here. Until then, please check it out and let me know what you think. I can answer any questions about it as well for those of you that have WordPress blogs as well.
I’m giving InMotion Hosting one more chance to fix a mess I’ve been having with my site. They’re moving the site from one shared hosting server to another, which will hopefully resolve the IP issue and stop the other hacked accounts from affecting mine. We’ll see. Site will probably be down over the weekend.
Last chance InMotion. Don’t screw this up.
EDIT: They screwed it up. Done. Moved to a completely different company.
Today us July 12th, the day the internet has decided to join forces and fight, once again, for our basic rights as net citizens. People far smarter than I have espoused long and detailed arguments on why this is important, and I don’t believe my commentary could add any more to the argue than what’s already been said. So, with that, I urge you to visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ today. We all need to tell the FCC and congress that this is important to us.
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.
In case you were reading the site over the past couple days and were wondering what on earth was going on, fear not. I’m just doing some spring cleaning. I’ve been using a wordpress builder theme/plugin combo for quite a while now and while it was easy and quick for building pages, I never fully embraced it for blogging. It’s a few extra steps, some extra configuration, and the standard editor had worked well for the past 10 years, so why mess with a good thing.
Well, as you might have guessed with the last post being more “magazine” looking, I’m trying to build more interesting posts while actually taking the design of the content into consideration as well.
You probably don’t care, and I didn’t expect you to. These changes are mostly for me.
The new look around here.
That also means a few structural changes as well. The blog and homepage are now one. Before they were separate pages but I was redirecting homepage traffic to the blog page anyway. Now the homepage features a blog-grid with “card” style post excerpts and “featured images”.
Blog posts will now be full-width and without a sidebar. All those links are now in the page footer.
This also means that old posts might look slightly different. I have no intention of going back and reformatting 4000+ posts. Old posts will have a sidebar like before.
I might also using a variety of post styles at any given time. For example, this post doesn’t feature a large header graphic like yesterdays, only a simple title. Both are options now, and I like the flexibility.
Anyway, pardon the dust while I rearrange a bit.
If you’re reading this is a feed reader, you probably didn’t notice any changes in the first place.