Sunday, January 7, 2018

On the Precipice of Disaster

From January 2003 to October 2008, Flush Twice ran as a collection of HTML files. I used a combination of text editing and a WYSIWYG HTML editor known as AOLpress. Every day I had to upload the latest index.html file via FTP. It was a lot of manual work, but I had it down to a science. Still, I couldn’t imagine doing that shit today.

Today I use WordPress. It’s much better. I can schedule jokes and comics in advance. Think about it: The jokes you’re reading this week were uploaded to this site three weeks ago, and the latest joke of the day posts at midnight (EST) while I’m fast asleep.

Now WordPress alone is ugly and highly ineffective. You need “plugins” to make the site bearable to use, and themes to make it look the way you want. The theme I’m using is called, “Mantra”, and it’s credited at the bottom of every page.

Recently the authors of “Mantra” released an update, and it fucked things up. Then they released another update, and it fucked things up again only different. Fortunately I had a backup copy and was able to restore the older version.

This is not an isolated incident. Certain plugins used to work really well. Several versions later, they completely suck. The old star rating program that used to be here was a perfect example. I’m so glad I found a replacement, but I’m starting to notice a pattern here.

Now generally speaking, updates are important. Once an addon is compromised, either the security patch must be applied, or the plugin/theme has to be removed. I suppose you could try to rewrite the plugin yourself, but without a modicum of proficiency in programming, I don’t consider that very practical. Once the updates start breaking things, it puts me in a predicament. If I keep it, but don’t update it, will I be opening my site up hackers? It’s a tough situation.

The thing is, I really like the current look of the site. Oh sure, there’s a few things I wish I could change, but for the most part, I couldn’t imagine Flush Twice looking any different. That’s why broken updates kind of freak me out a little. With all the tweaks and custom setups, forcing me into changing Flush Twice’s layout at this time would be a messy disaster.

So here I sit on this precarious cliff, with plugin’s and themes being frozen from future change, but the erosion of time could render them unsafe for use.



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