On WordPress Woes

Yesterday, I really hated WordPress.

Last week the newest version of the blogging software I use — WordPress 2.8 — released. I didn’t download it immediately, as I was busy with work and work and more work, but I promised myself that, when I had the free time this week, I would download and install the upgrade.

“Bad move, Ripley.”

No, this is more a case of multiple bad moves.

First, I was appalled at the size of the download. WordPress has, over the past two years, seen some massive code bloat. I told myself that the code bloat was for the best.

Second, I uploaded the files. Somehow, only half the files in the wp-includes directory uploaded successfully. So this took a couple of tries to get right.

Third, the WordPress Dashboard was frelled all to hell. The reason? WordPress 2.8 is a memory hog, and attempts to increase the PHP memory size to 64 megabytes, just so the Dashboard could load, proved unsuccessful. (My provider, it turns out, limits me to 16M.) Other admin pages were accessible, but the Dashboard itself didn’t work.

Fourth, a plugin to add smilies borked text throughout the blog.

Fifth, I tried to edit a post. Try is the operative word here.

Sixth, a survey of the WordPress support fora indicated that the various problems — memory allocation, plugin incompatibilities, general bloat — are design features, not bugs. Anyone complaining is an idiot. Anyone wanting to revert to a previous version is hosed. (Seriously. The word “hosed” was used.)

Fuck this, I said. I’ve downgraded before.

It was simple. And painless. I downloaded the 2.7.1 archive, unzipped the files, and FTPed the new files to the server. I had to “upgrade” my database, and everything worked again.

I’m baffled at why persons on the support fora would say that a downgrade is impossible. It’s not.

In a way, I’ve become disenchanted with WordPress.

The big reason is the code bloat. WordPress used to be less than a megabyte in size. Now, it’s seven.

But it’s also the attitude on the part of some in the community. The “hosed” comment on reverting to a previous version of WordPress because 2.8 wasn’t functional is not a helpful comment. The problems with disabling post revisions — and the attitude on the support fora that mocked anyone who wished to do so — was disappointing.

WordPress used to be a basic platform. It was easily extensible, and with a little ingenuity you could do almost anything with it. But it’s not basic anymore. WordPress tries to do everything.

I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t even know if anyone recognizes a problem. WordPress-Lite? I’d be open to that.

For the nonce, everything works. And I imagine I will stay with WordPress 2.7.1 for the time being.

4 thoughts on “On WordPress Woes

  1. I suspect that the “hosed” comment comes from a 2.8 -> 2.7.1 schema update not being supported, despite it seemingly working.

    Trying to strip down WordPress sounds like an interesting project…

  2. The main issue with the downgrade was with the widgets. Any in-built WordPress widget got deactivated from the sidebar, probably because of the way 2.8 handles widgets now. Custom widgets, however, were fine. And all I had to do was to reset my sidebars.

    I fear that WordPress is only going to become more bloated as time passes. The next version is supposed to integrate the WP-MU code base. And I’m sure there will be yet another back-end redesign with even more js bells and whistles.

    Joy. *sigh*

  3. I should have known better.

    I really wasn’t following the update/dev cycle on WordPress 2.8, so I didn’t realize that they were making massive changes under the hood.

    There’s a school of thought that it’s best to wait for the 2.x.1 releases. I remember hearing that on the WordPress Podcast one day months ago, and I couldn’t understand that. Wouldn’t you want the latest and greatest code?

    But then I had to find an old version of Tarski just so the comments could be formatted the way I preferred them to look, rather than the whole nested nonsense. At that moment, I understood. Just because it’s the latest code, it doesn’t mean it’s the greatest code.

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