Gutenberg

I switched to the new Gutenberg editor in WordPress this week.  I kinda like it.  The first real change to the default editor in just about forever.  Right off the bat it's obvious they're focusing on a lot more than just blogging.  Now we have more of a first class full on content editor.

Instead of one free form text area you now insert blocks.  Blocks can be made up of text, images, media, quotes.  Wanna write a straight blog post, just add blocks of text.  Wanna embed media, blocks make it super easy to do that.  And in my testing it all 'just worked'.  Not bad for something that isn't 'production' per-se.  It won't ship officially until WP 5.0 and early birds can use it by installing the plugin.

There is a bit of a "kinda solves a problem I didn't have" feel to it.  Adding images and media wasn't something I was having all that much bother with?  But I can see this being super appealing to a wider audience.  About the only thing I didn't immediately like is that it decided to hijack the Flickr link I used for the previous post.  Adding additional CSS and alignment wasn't really the help I was after. I hope I can figure out how to turn that off as having 3 extra manual steps per photo post doesn't seem appealing.

Oh and with forced tooltips on for my first 'onboarding' of Gutenberg my Mac became lava and the fans were all a spinning like little supersonic jet fighters. You go javascript in 2018!

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WordPress So Far

I've been using WordPress for a little less than a week and I really like it so far. Super easy to install and configure. Really nice looking dashboard with everything organized well. Adding plugins a breeze and changing themes simple. And the fact that there's a living breathing active community of developers and theme authors out there is really a breath of fresh air.

What Plugins I'm Running

Akismet – because who likes blog spam really?

wpuntexturize – because WordPress unhelpfully turns single and double quotes into some unicode nonsense. Stop that. This plugin stops that.

WPtouch Mobile Plugin – to make your site look relatively sane on mobile devices.

Limit Login Attempts – does what it says on the tin, helps to prevent brute force login attempts.

I also had the Movable Type importer installed for a bit but obviously that's a use once and delete kind of plugin.

What's Not Running WordPress

For aggregating online activity, I've yet to find anything as nice as MT's Action Streams plugin. So much so that it's still running in cron driving my stream page. So I can't quite say that I've completely replaced Movable Type yet.

What's Not To Like

There's something to be said for the speed of serving up static HTML. Out of the box WordPress dynamically serves up your pages each time a page is visited, so it's a little slower than the old Movable Type site. I suspect I'll get used to that in time.

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End Of An Era

It is with a teeny measure of sadness that I've made the decision to move from Movable Type to WordPress. This is probably the last post I'll make from my old stalwart system.

So why move now? Well, two reasons really.

Firstly my hosting provider Pair, while excellent in every way, don't like mt-comments.cgi at all. Their system reaper process will kill anything using up system resources on the machine. So adding comments to any of my posts was always a bit hit & miss, sometimes it would work, sometimes you'd get the lovely internal server error. All a bit frustrating really.

Secondly, my version of Movable Type went end of life a while ago. No more security updates will be produced and you're basically on your own and good luck with that. Further, there's no upgrade path even if I wanted to continue with MT. The free single user license is no more. Sure you can get Movable Type 6.0 but I'm not shelling out $595. I'm funny like that.

So, it seems the choice is obvious as there is really only one game in town these days. I installed WordPress the other day and have been tinkering and tweaking and it's almost at the point where I'm ready for it.

So, you WordPress users out there, what plugins would you recommend I install?

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