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.

I’m not ready to give up on the flexibility of WordPress for my main blog yet, but holy crap are these pages heavy. Even with compression. There’s no reason it should take 450K (before compression) and 20 requests to display a 500-word post.

And I don’t even do ads, popups, social sharing buttons or anything else like that.

By contrast, my Les Mis blog, where I post about once a year, is currently generated by Eleventy using a custom minimal theme that only takes around 10K of HTML, 3K CSS, and a third request for the icon. And another 40K for the header font, which I recently set up locally so it no longer has to call out to Google Fonts.

One domain, just four requests, and only 50K for the first hit and 10K for each subsequent page.

Never mind the Gemini version of the blog which is around 2-5K per page and a single request per page!

Compression cuts down on those 500Kb WordPress pages — all the text and code compresses really well so only around 200K bandwidth is needed. But it’s still got multiple JavaScript and CSS requests going on.

I was able to cut it down significantly by switching to a lighter theme and turning on the minimize/combine feature in WP-Optimize so it’s making fewer script calls. But it’s still way bigger than the minimalist setup I have with 11ty.

Some of it is images, though. I still have my latest Flickr posts in the sidebar, and I’m using Jetpack’s related posts feature which includes thumbnails. I could cut out a big chunk by removing those, but I kind of still like the idea of having them in there.

I think I need to take a look at how much extra stuff I really want on this site and rip some of it out. Eventually I’d like to replace all the JetPack features because they just seem to keep adding more scripts. Plus I want an entirely local stats package instead of one that’s offloaded to a third party even if they’re less awful than, say, Google or Facebook.

On the other hand, I want to keep Gravatar on the comments sections (on the older posts where people actually commented) because that’s actually useful to readers as an aid for following a conversation better. But that’s all on top of the base page size.

Originally posted at Wandering.shop

I use extensive filters on Gmail to categorize mail the way I want. I pre-filter some things to look at later, prioritize some lists (like allergy or uptime alerts), and pre-categorize things that I may want to file away after looking at them.

The problem is, I can only change filters on the desktop site. When I’m reading on my phone, I need to remind myself not to archive or delete messages that I want to start filtering.

It occurred to me: I can label those messages “Change Filter.” I could even do it right away – there’s a “Manage labels” option on the Android app!

Nope!

I can’t add labels in the app, just change the download and notification settings for each.

So, website then…

Except I can’t get at the full Gmail website on my phone. Or my tablet. Google insists on showing a stripped-down mobile site, which has even fewer capabilities than the app.

I can’t fault them for starting with the mobile site. It is helpful to focus on the features that work best on small touchscreens, under-powered processors, and high-latency, low-bandwidth networks, and can be done by someone on the go, rather than someone sitting at a keyboard with a big screen and a mouse.

But if someone wants to use the functionality you’ve left out, and is willing to slog through the desktop site on their phone or tablet, you should at least let them get at it!

In this case I waited until I could log in on a desktop, then added the label. But not everyone with a phone has a desktop or a laptop. And as the balance keeps shifting towards phones as people’s primary internet access device, that’s going to be more and more common.

I figured out exactly what bugs me about Twitter and Facebook showing your friends’ “likes” in the timeline. It’s not just that they’re public — that’s true on Tumblr or Flickr or Instagram too, but you only see them when you choose to look for them.

It’s that broadcasting likes in the newsfeed blurs your intent.

  • A “like” is a message to the original post’s author (and a bookmark for yourself).
  • A retweet or share is a message to your friends or followers.

Putting them in your followers’ feeds turns a “like” into a message to them as well, even though it’s not what you intended. (If you wanted to share it, you would have shared it, right?) It’s a step above completely frictionless sharing, but it still messes with the signal/noise ratio of the timeline.