WordPress

Ulysses for posting to WordPress?

Ulysses is a nice app, but it’s been a while since I’ve used it regularly. We never really clicked. There’s something about the editor and its variation of Markdown that felt off, somehow. What I’ve wished for was iA Writer’s editor attached to Ulysses’ library.

I enjoy checking it new features in Ulysses when updates are released. My license is part of the SetApp subscription so there’s no cost for keeping Ulysses around.

One of the things bringing me back to Ulysses today is the new Projects features. It’s like “hoisting” in a decent outliner. Or narrowing a buffer in Emacs. I like the focus it promises.

But the reason I’m typing this in Ulysses today is that I kind of hate writing in the WordPress editor. Gutenberg has come a long way, and is very powerful, but it’s still annoying for actually writing. If I want to drop in and resize an image or include a quote with citation, Gutenberg is great. If I simply want to lay down some text, it sucks. Whatever nits I have to pick with Ulysses’ editor are meaningless compared to the annoyances I have with WordPress. So here we are.

Other than the editor, I’m still happy with my recent switch to WordPress. If I can find a pleasant way to write for WordPress, I may stick with it.

Matt Mullenweg on giant header images

Can we all agree that giant per-post image headers look terrible on most blogs? It’s been a curse of default WP themes past few years, too. We need it to be easier to have posts without image headers and even without titles.

Matt Mullenweg, Twitter

Yes, we can all agree.

Many of the responses in that thread argue that posts need giant images for SEO. Possibly, but the theme could, like mine does, allow for featured images but doesn’t display them. That way the image is in the metadata for SEO, but doesn’t force me to scroll past 500KB of unnecessary, unrelated image data to read a 200-word post. Go Matt!

And building WordPress to be less dependent upon post titles would be a great thing. Let us reel in our social graphs if we want to. And just like with images, the theme could simply hide the image from the viewer, but include them in the OpenGraph data. Everyone wins!

We’re back on WordPress

I need a break from using an SSG for this site. I don’t feel like fighting with go templates. I don’t feel like troubleshooting Hugo modules when they break. When I want to edit a post, I want to just click “Edit” and not have to go find the original Org-mode entry, then re-export to Markdown, then build and deploy the whole site every time. I’m in the mood to Click “Edit”->Type->Click “Publish”. I want to just drag a bunch of images into a post and have a nice gallery built for me. I want comments, stats, easy upgrades, and endless plugins for the picking.

WordPress, for all its many faults, satisfies all of the above.

An experiment using WordPress

First, I dislike using WordPress. Second, I’m using WordPress anyway.

Let’s call it an experiment in “simple” blogging. It’s an excuse to get away from the hassles and friction of using a static site generator. I just want to click “New post”, type some words, and click “Publish”.

UPDATE: We’re back on WordPress

Will I always be a static website person?

TL;DR No.

I’m typing this post in the WordPress editor. I don’t enjoy writing here unless I’m adding an image gallery or some other fancy embedded content. It just feels off. “So write in MarsEdit or Ulysses or something instead,” you implore. Nah. I’ve tried that and decided that if I’m going to write in one place and publish somewhere else, I may as well just write in Emacs and publish a static website.

Continue reading…

WordPress for a while

Anyone following along with me here should be used to changes. I never leave this site alone for more than a couple months. Turnover has been unusually high recently, though. I’ve gone Hugo->WordPress->Hugo->Ghost->Hugo in the space of two months. And as of today, May 19, 2022, we’re back in WordPress. Again.

Continue reading…

Gettin’ with Gutenberg

Gutenberg is powerful and useful for enabling those of us who don’t feel like working too hard to create decent-looking, complex, media-rich layouts. But, most of my posts are just an image with a paragraph or three of text. I don’t need a fancy, complex, block-based editor for creating those.

So what to do? There are some great options for creating posts right on my Mac and publishing to WordPress. I’ve used MarsEdit on and off for years. It’s great at what it does. It allows me to write and publish to WordPress from a solid, well-developed macOS app.

I’ve tried publishing using other writing tools on my Mac. For example, Ulysses is a lovely app and enables posting directly to WordPress. Well, that’s not exactly true, since for many of us hosting our own WordPress installations, there are things that can prevent xmlrpc from working, rendering Ulysses incapable of properly connecting to WordPress. There are workarounds, but I don’t feel like dealing with workarounds.

I’ve even had Emacs configured to post directly to WordPress, but good lord look at that readme file. I’m not in the mood for all that these days.

None of these tools, as good as they are, address my favorite thing about managing a blog with WordPress, and that is WordPress is a Typewriter. As I wrote then, the problem is that…

…creating and editing content is too far removed from the actual rendered page.

This applies to static sites as well as local tools for publishing to WordPress. I prefer to edit in place. I want to read over a post, find something I want to change, click “Edit”, type, and click “Publish”. Using local tools like Ulysses or MarsEdit or even plain ol’ Markdown files forces me to work “over here” when I’d rather work “right there”, if you know what I mean.

So, I just ignore the things I don’t like about Gutenberg and use it anyway. There are ways around it, but not using Gutenberg feels like swimming upstream and I don’t have the energy.

I sometimes use the Iceberg plugin, which is basically a wrapper that makes Gutenberg look and feel more sane…more like just writing text in an editor. But it’s still Gutenberg, and that’s going to have to be OK.