It’s been a while since I’ve had both the time and inclination to write. In the meantime, a lot has changed. The last WordPress site that occupied this space had been hacked and ruined. At any rate, I want to start creating content that isn’t 140 characters, my resume, or family and friends oriented. This was my process:
Step 1, what do I have now? After evaluating the hacked wreckage of a WordPress site I long abandoned, I discovered my database been corrupted (my wp_user table had been deleted), a common problem in abandoned sites. After a brief search for methods to repair I decided that deleting it all starting from scratch was the way to go.
Step 2, should I just update my old technology? I poked around my webhost, erasing superfluous user accounts and databases, before locating the one-click install, and finally with a few clicks it was done, or so I thought. I ended up repeating the process of erasing and one-click installing a couple of times. My host’s delay in completing a process made this painful, which left me with plenty of time to look for something else.
Step 3, what’s trendy, and what’s new? In the last two years, Github, at least in government circles, has moved from a way for developers to co-create code, to a way to collaborate on documents, to publication platform. It’s very hip to use github to solve problems, every problem, even weddings.
The fact is that several technology leaders I look up use Github pages as a publishing platform, and when making technology decisions, I always try to follow the best. So I started looking for a great template to fork.
Step 4, what are my actual requirements? I stood up pages a few weeks ago, but I left it unfinished. My second glance today, left me as discouraged. I wanted out of the box, fast, lite, clean, easy to update, and my search left me disappointed. What I found, were good snippets of solved problems; examples of headers here, well done pagination there, social media links and rss feeds. What I wanted was all of them, in 10 minutes.
Thinking about what I needed. I realized, I could either spend a day or more forking, and hacking together blog functionality in pages, or I could just go back to WordPress and it’s legendary 5-minute install.
Step 5, when is good enough good enough? The latest version of the on-click install worked. The next step was to add a few plugins, and find a clean theme, and presto, I’d be done. What I found as I searched through themes were lots of bloated “feature rich” themes with “responsive” drag and drop menus all over the place. I finally settled on the pilcrow theme for now, just to get this up and running.
The process left me thinking that WordPress is far different from when I started tinkering with it in 2007, but it’s good enough for now. I’m going to have to take another look at pages, maybe building up features is better than stripping them down. In the meantime, here are some of my lessons learned.
Here are some of my takeaways:
- Maintaining technology is costly and necessary
- Technology is both a marathon and a sprint
- Good technologists copy, Great technologists steal
- Trendy and new doesn’t matter if it doesn’t solve your problems (but sometimes it’s worth it anyways)
- Sometimes the devil you know is best