All things WordPress 5.9- Rants, Opinions, Preferences

vyasvyas OGContent Writer

I had posed in the Cest Pit in late January 2022 about my frustration with WP 5.9 and my decision to stay away from it. It stirred a bit of discussion, questions and opinions. I thought of consolidating some of them here, and share my (unqualified, non-expert) thoughts here.
Apologies in advance for this big dump here.

My original post:

Spent the last two days moving my blog to a subdomain. Moved to ClassicPress, with HTMLy as backup.

WordPress 5.9 makes me want to exit the ecosystem altogether.


To which @ympker response

Sounds like a valid strategy if you don't need all the "features" (and bloat) from regular WP. Good luck :)


@Unixfy commented

WordPress 5.9 looks very exciting. As someone who is maintaining some WP-based solutions for non-technical users, their increased focus on such people is much appreciated.

That said... as a technical person, I'm very much reconsidering whether I want to keep using WP for many of my sites, as I'm pretty happy with a classic editor and not much more..


@angstrom query

I see that there's been renewed activity on HTMLy. It had been abandoned for a few years. I'm wondering whether I should try it again, but it looks a bit too much like a one-man show, which gives me pause

ClassicPress is a fork of an earlier version of WordPress, together with a more conservative development model, right?

WordPress 5.9 makes me want to exit the ecosystem altogether.

Could you elaborate a bit? (I've never used WordPress)


@MichaelCee update

I spent the last two days exiting the ecosystem (For my biz blog). Only three articles so it was an easy copy and paste to HTML for me but for sure need to tweak the formatting.

Edit: I also tried HTMLy, seems decent and could be a contender for my other blogs.


@mfs commented

Customers want Wordpress even if you can bet they won't ever use most of the native editing solutions; nor they care about supposed enhancements to the default experience. Rather, they'd install plugins to revert to what they're accustomed to. On top of that, they'd need a specialized hosting to hold bloat + bloat to defuse the bloat
I see forks have started to appear here and there, the Wordpress singularity anyway is still probably quite far


Finally, @flips asked

Oh? Haven't read the changelog. What did they kill? Or just added bloat? :#


The above summarizes the "story so far". In case I missed anything, let me know.
I will post my thoughts in the below post.

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Comments

  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited January 28

    In Mid-January 2022, WordPress version 5.9 was released. Looking at the release schedule, the release was delayed by about 3 months. COVID, Complexity and other factors contributed to this release. 5.9 is a milestone release, in preparation for the major release version 6 later in 2022.

    Full site editing capabilities are supposed to be the next big thing, and publications such as Search Engine Journal and explainer videos by influencers in the WordPress space harp the same.

    Click to expand

    All good so far, but...

    My concerns:
    -->I had tested the beta version of WP 5.9 and many of my comments are based on the below. I may set up a new WP instance to tinker around. time permitting.

    a. WordPress is getting too complex.
    More features, more complexity, more point and click and drag... that makes it ideal for web designers, but the core of WordPress as a blog is getting covered in these layers of complexity.

    b. Existing pagebuilders and plugins may not remain compatible.
    With time, plugins, themes and pagebuilders may become either redundant, or follow the "Windows" model. The stock operating system will include most of the features offered by the three (plugins, themes, pagebuilders) but could be limited in functionality or features.

    c. Resource use will go up
    WordPress is probably migrating in a direction where lower spec or less horsepower will simply make it crawl. Already the CLoudways aff gang and the Vultr HF fanboys and girls are delighted that they will get to use their 4 GB / 2vcpu machines because the CMS now demands it.

    **What about alternatives? **

    Personally I prefer simplicity and speed over bells and whistles. Below is copy + pasted verbatim from my comment in OGF on the topic of "alternative to WordPress" (minor edits to correct typos)

    Coffee, or tea?
    Decaf??

    It’s entirely a matter of personal choice. ClassicPress, Bludit, HTMLy offer easy options to import existing WP content. HTMLY will fuck up categories if you do not add them before importing.

    Bludit/HTMLy use fb/ disqus for comment if you have a few of them on WP blog, importing them could be a bear.

    If you already have subscription for some WP themes and plugins like I do - ClassicPress would be an option. Most things work out of the box. But they do not have PHP8 support yet, so you are stuck with PHP7.4 for now.

    Most alternative other than Ghost/Grav/Joomla come with their own learning curve. Many are a one man show. So if developers stop working on the cms, you are stuck.

    This, there are choices, and choices to consider.
    I personally prefer Writing everything in markdown renaming the file and uploading the .md via ssh. Voila! New post published. That limits the playing field.
    Datenstrom Yellow and Flatpress fit this definiton well, in addition to Grav.

    Brand new blog from scratch: I would opt for Bludit or HTMLY.


    Note:
    I am aware many of the questions asked in the first post remain un answered, but like always, I am happy to hear thoughts/ opinions of other forum members.

    1. Replacing one PHP cms with another PHP based. Some may frown. Nodejs is left out of the discussion so is django etc.
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  • @vyas said: More features, more complexity, more point and click and drag... that makes it ideal for web designers, but the core of WordPress as a blog is getting covered in these layers of complexity.

    100% agree with this point. But I guess the question is, is it necessarily wrong that they want to pursue being the next "easy site builder"? Doing so would probably bring more people into the WP ecosystem, I Imagine. Particularly beneficial for Automaticc if those people use WP.com.

    @vyas said: Brand new blog from scratch: I would opt for Bludit or HTMLY.

    Lately, I am really starting to like the JAMStack way of doing things. I'm using Svelte + Directus (https://directus.io/) and sometimes Hasura (https://hasura.io/) to build new sites/applications and it works wonderfully.

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @Unixfy said:

    @vyas said: More features, more complexity, more point and click and drag... that makes it ideal for web designers, but the core of WordPress as a blog is getting covered in these layers of complexity.

    100% agree with this point. But I guess the question is, is it necessarily wrong that they want to pursue being the next "easy site builder"? Doing so would probably bring more people into the WP ecosystem, I Imagine. Particularly beneficial for Automaticc if those people use WP.com.

    @vyas said: Brand new blog from scratch: I would opt for Bludit or HTMLY.

    Lately, I am really starting to like the JAMStack way of doing things. I'm using Svelte + Directus (https://directus.io/) and sometimes Hasura (https://hasura.io/) to build new sites/applications and it works wonderfully.

    I also think that the path WordPress is pursuing isn't necessarily a bad one. They are (likely) more and more catering to people who want an easy-to-use website builder that doesn't "lock you in" like e.g. Squarespace etc.

    It is more like @vyas already said: It seems the time where WordPress was "THE BLOGGING SOLUTION" is slowly coming to an end, as the devs are steering in a "new" direction. There is still Classic Press for those that wish to continue using WordPress simply for blogging. Headless CMS/WP will also play an interesting part in the future. Many plugins/themes will stop working. Some lifetime deal plugins, I am sure, will sooner or later just break and not be updated anymore (hello, Qubely). Let's take this change as an opportunity to re-think what we wanted to build with our website, re-focus our goals and re-select our stack accordingly. Whether that'll be with WordPress, or any other solution available. Here's to a good and bright future!

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  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited January 28

    @Ympker said:
    Let's take this change as an opportunity to re-think what we wanted to build with our website, re-focus our goals and re-select our stack accordingly. Whether that'll be with WordPress, or any other solution available. Here's to a good and bright future!

    Absolutely!

    I literally spent the Public holiday on Jan 26th tinkering around the whole day with Joomla, Backdrop CMS (Drupal fork), Bludit, HTMLy, FlatPress, FlextypeCMS, Grav, and Datenstrom Yellow. And Classic Press and WP 5.8. I finally bit the bullet and literally went with a "show and tell" approach. Was exhausted by the end of the day, that may have impacted my decision making - gut told me to move away from WP completely for the blog :-)

    Show- my main author site will be a WP site with all the bells and whistles. I might change the pagebuilder to Elementor (currently Gutenberg). This is my portfolio site, so the 'fancier' it is, the better.

    Tell- the blog is now a subdomain*, currently using ClassicPress on Shared Hosting. Hemingway theme (update Jan 2022) works, Shortpixel, SEO plugin, LS Cache, etc... all work well so far. Cannot complain on the speed aspect either. GTMetrix score . Google Pagespeed insights give lower rank- this is an un optimized site btw: image needs tweaking in particular.
    71 - Performance , 90 -Accessibility, 85- Best Practices, 92-SEO

    But if the PHP and compatibility issues linger too much, and themes and plugins stop working... I might drop CP and move to Datenstrom or HTMLy. (For e.g. new edition of GeneratePress theme no longer works on CP) and I have ranted enough about having to downgrade to PHP7.4 The blog is where I want to focus on, keep publishing regularly, and the less complex it is, the better IMO.


    *Smallweb Singapore, btw - BF 2021. @seriesn panda man @Jord take note.

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  • @vyas said:
    My concerns:
    -->I had tested the beta version of WP 5.9 and many of my comments are based on the below. I may set up a new WP instance to tinker around. time permitting.

    a. WordPress is getting too complex.
    More features, more complexity, more point and click and drag... that makes it ideal for web designers, but the core of WordPress as a blog is getting covered in these layers of complexity.

    But I imagine that from the perspective of WordPress (and from the perspective of most WordPress users), this is progress. :)

    b. Existing pagebuilders and plugins may not remain compatible.
    With time, plugins, themes and pagebuilders may become either redundant, or follow the "Windows" model. The stock operating system will include most of the features offered by the three (plugins, themes, pagebuilders) but could be limited in functionality or features.

    My impression is that also in the past, WordPress development hasn't made backwards compatibility a factor of major importance, and I suspect that the WordPress developers would argue that this is an inevitable consequence of progress.

    If developers want to stay relevant, they'll need to update their plugins, themes, and pagebuilders, but yes, the overall process is Darwinian: those plugins, themes, and pagebuilders that maintain compatibility will have the best chance of surviving.

    c. Resource use will go up
    WordPress is probably migrating in a direction where lower spec or less horsepower will simply make it crawl. Already the CLoudways aff gang and the Vultr HF fanboys and girls are delighted that they will get to use their 4 GB / 2vcpu machines because the CMS now demands it.

    Again, for many, this is a sign of progress: it's the increased functionality that justifies the increased need for resources. :) (And 4 GB / 2vcpu machines aren't so rare anymore.)

    (But I understand where you're coming from -- I'm just playing the Devil's advocate a bit. :) )

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    "A single swap file or partition may be up to 128 MB in size. [...] [I]f you need 256 MB of swap, you can create two 128-MB swap partitions." (M. Welsh & L. Kaufman, Running Linux, 2e, 1996, p. 49)

  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    I am kind of missing the Customizer in WordPress 5.9 FSE. I just created a fresh install with Local WP and the Twenty-Two theme, and I thought that the customizer is really missing. Apparently, it still shows up for themes and plugins that, in their code, require/call it.

    If you want to add the WP customizer manually, you can install the plugin "Code Snippets" and then add the following code (or add the following code in your theme's functions.php). A "Customize" button will then appear in the left sidebar just below "Appearence". You could, of course, also add it as a submenu page under Design (where it used to be). Source

    add_action( 'admin_menu', 'register_my_custom_css' );
    
    function register_my_custom_css(){
        add_menu_page( 'Customize', 'Customize', 'manage_options', '/customize.php', '', 'dashicons-megaphone', 62 ); 
    }
    
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