WordPress’ Paradigm is the Opposite of What I am Used to

[Post originally published on May 8, 2017. Updated on February 26, 2019.]

Official rant: WordPress’ basic approach is backwards from what old school (1990’s, HTML) folks, like me, expect to see.

I want to start with a structure and then fill it in with content. WordPress seems to think that I want to start with the content and then create the structure around it. Huh? That is like saying that, when you build a new home, you place your belongings on the dirt of the empty lot and then frame the house around your belongings.

Don’t dis’ my analogy! It’s spot on! 😉

I want someone else to make the structure and to make it pretty. I want to take that pretty structure and fill it in with my useful content.

What I did at first, when I first started playing with WordPress in 2017, was what I thought I was supposed to do. I searched the web for a beautiful and appealing WordPress theme. I found one. I looked at the demo page. It was beautiful, with the menu bar I wanted and the pages I wanted. Excellent! Then I installed it…

Where did the pages, menu bar, and images go? Poof! I had to create them myself, from scratch, to re-invent what I saw in the demo.

What? I could have just downloaded a good-looking, responsive, HTML5-compliant website template, replaced the graphics and text with mine, and badda-boom, badda-bing, I would have been in business.

It must be the SEO aspect of WordPress that is the attraction. Certainly I could run a blog without installing WordPress, learning PHP, managing an SQL database, figuring out the difference between “tools”, “settings”, “appearance”, “plugins”, and “widgets”, et cetera. (Ah, Grasshopper. Is it a “plugin” or a “widget”? We must unpack this…)

If the point of WordPress is to hide the complexity of coding HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP, and managing the server-side stuff, so that the end user’s job is easier, I would argue that WordPress does not accomplish that. WordPress DOES hide those things from the user but the end user’s job is still hard because WordPress REPLACES one learning curve with its own learning curve. Now I have to learn a whole new universe of complexity – the arbitrary universe of WordPress. Oh, and by the way, the user STILL has to deal with the complexity of the underlying technologies that make WordPress go. Case in point: To migrate a WordPress site you need to use FTP and you need to set up a pre-made SQL database on the new server and you need to run the “installer” PHP file on the new server.

How about the “custom HTML” feature of WordPress? Custom HTML? Seriously? I thought you were trying to protect me from mean old HTML! 😉

Being an old school, guy, I would just have a static HTML web page. I would edit it. I would add a new paragraph and maybe an image. I would save the file. Done. Blog updated.


Using the WordPress Import Feature

[Post originally published on May 13, 2017.]

Hmm. From what I can tell, the WordPress import feature (tool) just imports your content (posts and pages). It does not seem to create WordPress page structure or menu structure.

Well, the import feature is *some* progress towards my vision of using a WordPress “template” to get a WordPress site started. I would gladly pay for a premium theme and its demo content if I got everything imported when I uploaded the “demo content”. I want to load a fully functioning WordPress theme on my host, complete with demo images, menu structure, page structure, text, et cetera. This way I get to see how the creator visualizes me using the WordPress site. Then I can change and tweak to my heart’s delight.

If I can’t do that, WordPress is a LOT more work than other tools at my disposal.

Update of February 26, 2019: Well, you CAN migrate an entire WordPress site, lock, stock, and barrel. You do that using the WordPress “duplicator” plugin.

Duplicator plugin at WordPress.org

The Duplicator is for WordPress sites that have already been created. What I want is a WordPress “theme” that comes as a fully set up, ready to test out WordPress site. I think a theme vendor should created WordPress sites with the vendor’s themes and then use duplicator to distribute “demos” of the themes as already set up as fully-functioning WordPress sites.

Endless Loop

[Post originally published on May 2, 2017.]

I created an actual “endless” loop (also known as an “infinite loop”), by accident, using the “while” statement in my PHP code. I was actually sort of excited afterward. I mean, people TALK about “endless loops”, but how many people have actually MADE one, even if not intentionally?

Fun with Javascript and Last Modified Times

[Post originally published on May 1, 2017.]

One thing you might want to do to a web page is add some code that automatically prints the last day and time the web page (.html) file was modified.

With Javascript, that is pretty easy to do. Just add this Javascript somewhere in the body portion of your .html file:

<p>This web page was last modified on: <span id="datetimelastmodded"></span>.</p><script language="Javascript"> document.getElementById("datetimelastmodded").innerHTML = document.lastModified; </script>

Careful about your meaning here.

When you say, “last modified on”, what you mean is that the file has been, at least, saved with a new date and time as of that date and time.  This could be true even if none of the file’s innards were changed.  For example, when you FTP a file to a directory on a web hosting server, and you overwrite an old file there with the file you are uploading, the file will have a new date and time even if nothing has changed about the file except the date and time it was last overwritten.

Fun with the HTML <object> Tag and PDF Files

[This post was originally published on May 1, 2017. Updated on February 26, 2019.]

Well, it’s a lot more fun to code web pages here in the 21st century!

With the HTML <object> tag, you can embed a “preview” of a file, such as a PDF file, in your plain, old, HTML code.

Just do it like this:

<object data="name_of_file.pdf#page1" type="application/pdf"></object>

Put some alternative text between the opening and closing <object> tags like this, just in case the user’s browser does not support the particular file type you are using:

<object data="name_of_file.pdf#page1" type="application/pdf">Sorry, your browser does not support this file type.</object>

You can also put the width and height attributes on the tag, like so:

<object data="name_of_file.pdf#page1" type="application/pdf" width="100%" height="100%">Sorry, your browser does not support this file type.</object>

XAMPP for Windows

[Originally published on May 23, 2017.]

Nifty. I like being able to test HTML, CSS, PHP, and Javascript on a local web server. That is exactly what XAMPP does. It installs Apache, MySQL, and your choice of PHP versions, along with other optional applications, onto your Windows PC. Works great on my laptop running Windows 10.

You can get XAMPP here: http://www.apachefriends.org.

After you install XAMPP, the default directory for the documents you want to test is “/xampp/htdocs”.

Just start your web browser and type in “http://localhost” for the URL. You can also use the IP address equivalent of localhost, which is “”. The default “index.html” file in “/htdocs” will load in your web browser.

If you test files other than “index” files, or in different subdirectories (folders), you will need to type in the express URL, like so:


Testing this way works better than simply opening the file in question with your web browser as you now get to see your file served up using a real web server (Apache) and communicating with any linked PHP code or databases.

XAMPP comes with a control panel. Here is a screen shot of the control panel:

XAMPP Control Panel Image
The XAMPP for Windows Control Panel

Check it out, aspiring web coders, if you haven’t tried it!

More Rant: So I Need a Visual WordPress Page Builder so I Don’t Have to Code WordPress? Huh?

[This post was originally published on May 22, 2017.]

So, because the WordPress page building system is so labyrinthine and beastly, I need to buy a WordPress page builder system to visually build my site using WordPress? This keeps me from having to “code” with WordPress?

This begs the question of why I am using WordPress to build my website in the first place. I keep reading about “ease of use” when I do Google searches for WordPress. Perhaps what this means is “ease of use for the end user after a professional WordPress developer has built the site for the end user”. For a simple, small business website, I can take a nice, clean, Bootstrap template, replace the template’s graphics and text with my own and, badda-boom, badda-bing, I am in business.

As a simple blogging tool where the presentation of the information is secondary to getting the blogs up and out there, WordPress is awesome. That is what I am using it for as I type this.

Investigating How to Get at the RSS Feed My Blog Creates

[This post was originally published on April 29, 2017.]

To access the RSS feed it looks like I use this URL:


So, IE and Firefox both support RSS feeds natively. If you use Chrome, there is no support for RSS feeds natively. You have to install a plugin for Chrome. Seriously? Come on, Google!

I don’t know if Safari supports feeds natively.

Safari on my iPhone tried to open the RSS feed in the “News” app. When it does, I get an error message that the “content is unavailble in News”. So far, IE and Firefox win.

Opera? Who uses Opera? Oh, what the heck… Yep! Native support for the RSS feed in Opera. Good work, Opera!

Hello world, Darn it!

Yep.  Can’t seem to restore my old WordPress blog posts from the backup file.  I guess I am starting this blog over, from scratch.  You know what they say… Technology makes the hard things easy and the easy things hard.  If this were just a regular old HTML site or even a Bootstrap site, this would be no problem.  But all of my content is stored in an SQL database that I cannot access.  Sweet.  I am still not sold on the whole “content management system” vibe.