I’ve been trying Wordpress out for a long time. I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many innocent AWS EC2 instances died horrible deaths so I could experiment with self-hosted Wordpress installations. It’s almost sadistic. Yet I keep checking out the platform, hoping to find that perfect theme, and that ideal blogging workflow that allows me to write in a good text editor, post through a robust API and like the way it comes out when a reader sees it.
Until recently, I was still searching. When I found this year’s flagship Wordpress theme, “Twenty Twenty,” I thought I had my match. None of the Wordpress.com themes offer extensive customizations, but this one more than most. It was also a whole lot easier than hosting your own Wordpress installation, making a child theme and going through all of the work of customizing settings like fonts. Sure, you have to upgrade to a business plan that most bloggers don’t need to make any of your own CSS edits, but who needs that if the theme has enough options?
Early on, though, I ran in to a big bug (no pun intended). The theme’s “normal” size font is big. It looks great on mobile, but not so much anywhere else. The problem is, when you change the font from “normal” to “small” it actually gets bigger. I was completely dumbfounded by that bit of font maleficia.
After some time of living with the bug, but not really liking how my posts looked on a desktop machine, I decided to email Wordpress support. They were aware of the bug, they told me, and the theme developers were looking into it, but they had no estimate of when the bug would be fixed. I was surprised that they wouldn’t fix a font size bug on their flagship theme in relatively short order, and told them as much. Their next email assured me the bug was in testing but they still had no date on a release.
I waited a month, sometimes trying the font size option out, to see if things would get fixed. With no movement, I emailed them again. They responded that they still had no time frame, although they did send me a link to the bug on Github. Unfortunately, the bug in Github doesn’t seem to indicate that a fix is in testing. In fact, it indicates no one has even been assigned to look at the issue.
In parallel to this nonsense with the Wordpress issue, something I didn’t expect happened. IA Writer, a longtime favorite text editor of mine, and one which I used to post to Wordpress and Ghost blogging platforms, added support for Micropub. This means you can now post to your self-hosted Micropub blog or to the excellent Micro.blog platform. I have been a long-time user of Micro.blog, but the only way I could post longer blog posts on it with images was using the Drafts app. Draft’s Swiss-Army-Knife capabilities are great, but it doesn’t really excel at facilitating longer blog posts and its design is something that is best overlooked. So I eventually joined the herd and moved from M.b. to Wordpress. Now, with IA Writer supporting it, I’m back to M.b.
Micro.blog uses the Hugo static blogging engine and is extremely customizable, no additional plan other than basic hosting needed. It’s also based around markdown, which has long been my preferred method of writing for the web. It doesn’t have the same plethora of WYSIWYG options as the Wordpress Gutenberg editor, but it has what a humble blogger like myself needs. In addition, it is getting better all of the time. I’m happy to support a strong IndieWeb alternative to the great behemoth that is Wordpress.