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I Don't Know What's Worse...

The fact that I became pretty much dependent on WordPress for my blogging activity, or the fact that I thought I could trust them over the long term to provide the kind of functionality and support I'd need indefinitely.

I do know that, more than 5 years ago, I had a very telling conversation with another uber-autist co-worker of mine, and he went on at length about what a "hot mess" the WordPress codebase is. At that time, I'd been blogging for, oh, about 10 years, and while I did have issues with some of the functionality in WordPress, it didn't ruin my day.

Of course, that was before I started building a whole lot of sites from standalone instances of WP. I'd built some, but not nearly as many as I've built by now (last count, I've stood up over 20 unique instances, all with varying levels of functionality, plugis, etc). So I hadn't yet had the chance to really dive into the anxiety-producing tangled mess of that "hot mess".

Anyway, I've had some more time to get to know personally what he was talking about, and yeah, it kinda is a hot mess, if you're standing up your own instance, configuring it, and trying to keep plugins from breaking it. What surprises me, though, is how WP has really drifted away from the original promise of just making blogging super easy, and they've wandered into the whole - ahem - full-featured online experience trip.

Meh. I mean, seriously. Their whole Gutenberg trip has been, well, a bit self-congratulatory for no good reason, that I can see. I've been skeptical about it, from the start. Because what I see happening there, is what I see happening all over the "webisphere" - people who prize technical capaibilities over the expressed need for those capabilities prostrating themselves at the feet of "rich feature sets" and "enhanced functionality". Especially all the "next generation" stuff that people love to crow about. If you have any doubt about people's buy-in for "next gen" stuff, just look around online, and dating back to 'round about 10 years ago, you'll find a lot of urls with "ng" in them or "ngoe" - for "next generation" or "next gen online experiene".

And while I do get the whole exuberance thing - and I've been known to immerse myself in it, as well - the simple fact remains that a whole lot of us know better. And a whole lot of us should be stopping this foolishness... or at least refusing to buy in. These organizations that build functionality that millions of people use, love, and rely on, should really, really think twice (and then change their minds) before they start mucking around with a platform that, while imperfect and fraught with certain issues, better serves everyone by staying simple and "last gen".

I could go on at great length about how the block editor has literally screwed everything up and made WordPress absolutely unusable for me. But I won't. It wouldn't be worth it, and it would probably fall on deaf ears. Because so many people these days don't get it. Especially folks who have not been around since the early days and never fully developed an understanding of how the web is - and should be and should stay - an extension of human experience and expression.

People DO NOT GET IT. Not since they started coming into the world taking digital life for granted, and never having known anything else. The "experiences" they are building are pretty much unusable. They may start out looking shiny and bright, but eventually they break down and foster rejection. I say this not only as an autistic individual who's fond of consistency and needs to have things just so, but as a digital veteran and technology professional who's been designing and building websites since 1995 - and has been on the web since before there was an official web.

Well, whatever. Enough of my rant. I'll just build something better for myself.

Something that actually works.


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