WP Tavern summarizes the conversation around WordPress losing CMS marketshare for the first time in ages, and what various people have cited as likely causes.

Personally, I’m finding its increasing complexity to be a major frustration.

  • Writing on WordPress has gotten somewhat more complicated.
  • Maintaining a WordPress site has gotten more complicated.
  • Developing for WordPress has gotten more complicated.
  • The resulting page code (including CSS and Javascript) has gotten a lot more complicated. As I’ve noted before, there’s no good reason to require 450K of data to display a 500-word post. Or a single link with a one-sentence comment.

The move towards Gutenberg blocks and full-site editing complicates things on several levels, and feels like an attempt at lock-in as well.

Ironically, I’ve been moving toward Eleventy, which has also been very frustrating…but only in building the layout I want.

On one hand…

  • I have to develop a lot of the components I want from scratch. More than would have thought. Though I suspect there are enough pre-built layouts out there for most people’s use cases.
  • The documentation is sorely lacking. (Eventually I’ll get around to helping with that.)
  • Dynamic features like comments need to be handled by another program.

But on the other…

  • I can fine tune things a lot more easily than fine tuning a WordPress theme.
  • Once I’m done building the layout, adding a new post is almost as easy as it is on WordPress.
  • My actual post content is portable.
  • There’s essentially no attack surface, so if I have a site that’s “done” I can just build it one last time and leave it as-is — and not worry about spam, maintenance or security (beyond general webserver security).
  • I don’t have to send extra JavaScript libraries along with every page, so it can use a tenth of the bandwidth and load faster on slow connections.

With Eleventy, setting up the layout and features has been super complicated…but once it’s set up, it’s smooth, easy to deal with, and does the job well. It’s kind of like running Linux back in the 1990s.

But with WordPress, there’s complexity in every layer.

Sometimes it’s worth it.

Sometimes it’s not.

Always nice to be greeted by this unlock screen:

Login screen with blurred background and boxes of static that are the right size for a large digital clock and a login message.

Ever since upgrading to the latest NVIDIA driver, my Linux system has had a weird quirk with resuming from suspend/hibernate. All the applications and services that were running pick up right where I left them, but anything drawn by Gnome shell — including the unlock screen, the top bar and the dock — has corrupted text and icons. Sometimes it’ll be missing every few letters (Firefox is often captioned “ire ox”). And sometimes all the letters and icons will just show static.

It clears up if I log out and back in, or reset the display with Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. And I recently learned about another useful shortcut for Gnome: Typing “r” in the Alt-F2 “Run Command” box (whether I can read it or not!) will reset Gnome Shell without closing the session, so I can keep all the applications running and actually use suspend for what it’s meant to do — though with an extra step.

Two hot takes (so to speak):

Auto-updaters shouldn’t run when the system is really busy.

And installers that check to see the whether the same or newer version is “already installed” should either be really thorough about what they’re checking, or offer to do a repair install anyway.

Overheat!

I’d fired up a game of No Man’s Sky, which even after redoing the thermal paste and adding another case fan still pushes the limits of my system’s cooling, especially if I forget to wait for all the background processes to finish loading on Windows startup. I left a space station, landed on a planet, started mucking around with the structure I had found, and hit a waypoint pole to save again—

And the system shut down.

I turned it back on to get the fans running again and help cool off. Which worked. But when I logged in, I had a bunch of errors with Google Drive. Apparently its auto-update launched during my GPU-intensive game and overheated it enough to reach the shutdown threshold.

Fortunately, I’d just saved my game — or so I thought.

I spent about half an hour trying to fix Google Drive before I decided to just go back to the game for now.

No Man’s Sky picked up seamlessly…at the previous save. Maybe the write cache hadn’t been flushed yet or something. I’m glad I only lost about a minute of gameplay, though… I’ve got several hundred hours on this save file, and I’d hate for it to get lost or corrupted!

Anyway, back to Google Drive. I couldn’t reinstall it because I couldn’t uninstall it, and despite my efforts I couldn’t remove enough traces of it for the installer to be willing to run. You can read the whole reinstalling Drive saga on my troubleshooting site, along with the taskbar that lost its icons halfway through.

I eventually fixed it by copying the installed program files from another system and running the uninstaller manually. That resolved both the taskbar icons and the Drive installer being willing to run.

Then I dragged myself into bed.

Yeah, it was a fun Saturday night. 🙄

Sometimes it takes longer to automate something than it would to just repeat it yourself. Calvin designing a robot to clean his room, for instance. The method of estimating how long it takes to do the thing, how many times you have to do the thing, and then how long it would take to automate doing the thing, is a pretty good guideline.

But there are other factors: Like, can you include it in a checklist? If not, what are the chances that you’ll forget to do the thing? And what happens if you forget? What if you might hand things over to someone else and three people down the line, the fact that you need to do the thing doesn’t get passed along?

Or what if you have a situation like Desmond at the Dharma Initiative numbers station, and they know the step is “required,” but don’t know why? (Not that you’re likely to have quite so severe a failure mode!)

Anyway, today I automated some post-processing on a site that I hardly ever change. Not because it’s a pain to do the post-processing. Not because it takes a long time. But simply because if I don’t build it into the process, the next time I change something a year down the line I’ll probably have forgotten that I need to do the post-processing!