New year, new lick of paint. See previous version of this site in the internet archive. It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with where it’s going. The colour remains an ongoing experiment. The years archive on the Browse page is probably the site’s most vibrant manifestation at the moment.

I also gave the less visible aspects a little TLC, particularly the hosting situation. Though Gandi is alright, and certainly a lot better than other big-name shared hosting providers, certain hiccups have been making me increasingly frustrated. One is Gandi’s most recent UI update. I get it, but what’s wrong with simple and functional? I was going to check out TSOhost since we’ve used them for a few UK-based client projects in the past, but unfortunately I feel they’ve gone downhill. The support isn’t as good as it once was, and I’ve been a little POed recently about some tomfoolery on their part. On two separate sites in early 2018, the php.ini file was renamed to php.ini_customer and replaced. Why? Will probably never know, but that action completely broke both sites with zero notice which isn’t a good look. Decided to give them a miss.

I came across NearlyFreeSpeech.net a little while ago, I think via Reddit, and was intrigued. Spent most of last night hauling the site from Gandi to NFSN and so far I’m pretty pleased. Time will tell. See update

Besides sorting out the hosting, I was also planning to move away from WordPress. The catalyst was all the hullaballoo around WordPress v5. I gave Gutenberg a try back in August when it was offered as a fairly-stable WP v4 plugin for testing purposes. I had the same reservations that others had (buggier than expected, a slick-but-unintuitive UI, too many clicks required for simple tasks, etc.). And then there was the growing concern regarding accessibility (that’s an enormous conversation, see a decent summary here). That, plus the oft-shifting v5 roadmap, drove me to explore other options. The plan was to try GatsbyJS, and to give Dat + HTTPS a go. Ultimately I was deterred when I read some mixed reviews regarding GatsbyJS’s scalability. It’s way better than a lot of the older static site generators in terms of build speed, but it seems to still be a little questionable for a site of this size (well over 1500 pages, and growing).

So it was back to WordPress. All-in-all I’m fine with that. It’s interesting to keep a horse in this race, and it seems that they’re planning to support the Classic Editor via plugin until 2022. Besides all that, I’m hoping to add a little webshop. WooCommerce has its pros and cons, as with every e-commerce platform, but I’ve been relatively happy with it as a dev and very pleased with it on the content side of things for OP. So hopefully this little theme will have WooCommerce support at some point in the near future.

The theme update includes a lot of back end tidying and some improved front end bits. I’m happy to have Infinite Scroll in place now, for one thing! A good foundation for further updates in 2019.


Edit 22 Jan 2019
Pleased with NFSN thus far! There are downsides though. See this useful summary on wiki.mises.org, and this rather salty post on Reddit. I agree with the Redditor’s point about WordPress, but it’s for the sake of better security and NBD if you’re willing to sort out permissions properly (as any dev installing any CMS should!). At any rate, due to the semi-non-standard ownership system (you have to be 100% grade-A human to have a NFSN membership; not an org, not a business, etc.) and email restrictions, I’d probably stick to personal sites with NFSN.