Rediscovering WordPress

I haven’t used WordPress in a while. I figured I should see what’s changed in my absence. WordPress has been around for a long time, just like MediaWiki, the software I’ve spent the last few years helping to build, so I think it’s interesting to see what things differently they are doing. I like to write, but on places like Medium.com the standard of writing is expected to be very high. I want the freedom to write down my thoughts as I have them without worrying about how it might effect my reads or likes and how I might market it. I just want to write for me, freely without any stigma.

It’s quite amazing that WordPress powers 29% of the internet. WordPress thus has a responsibility to help steer the web to good or bad. I apparently built a WordPress blog many years ago, but obviously I forgot my login information. I liked how I could email myself a log in link. More login/sign up forms should be like that. I don’t want to have to remember a password.

The blog I had looked outdated. It did look like something I setup 6 years ago. It reminded me of MediaWiki/Wikipedia. Many users there think you shouldn’t change what’s broken, but fashion is important. I don’t wear clothes I wore 6 years ago. I want to use something that looks modern and interesting. I went to change the theme. The choices were overwhelming to be honest. Luckily I had heard of the P2 blog theme so I chose that one.

The P2 blog makes it very easy to add new blog posts. I like that it’s at the top of the page and I’m using that now and so far so good. I copied the text and refreshed the page and was happy to see my work was retained. I like that the editor is simple. I’ve liked that about Medium too – especially given that with keyboard shortcuts you can access more advanced elements. The icons are very easy to understand, although I think the code icon is always added because this kind of thing is made by developers. I don’t think the average user would need it.

I like that the editor hasn’t got carried away with the ideas of what you see is what you get. I’ve always felt links, some basic styling and images are all you ever really need in an editor and if you are doing anything more advanced, you are entering the world of code. I think this is where MediaWiki went wrong – it allowed HTML via templates. To edit Wikipedia you need to be a coder. HTML inside wikitext is bad in my opinion. It takes away the joy of free form writing. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a strong tag to appear in my editor. This disappoints me. I think HTML should always be the content storage model, but I think it’s wrong when the HTML language is exposed to someone who doesn’t work in HTML. We treat two new lines as a new paragraph – that’s much neater than expecting user to wrap content with p tags. I don’t like the preview button either. We can learn a lot from how people use text messages. Emphasis is **visual**, it has personality. Strong tags do not have a personality.

I’ve rambled enough today. I think it’s time to hit post.