That’s why I love and hate WordPress

I am a system administrator. For my work, I use various IT tools such as the Linux shell, network and virtualization administration tools, Windows servers and similar tools.  That’s why I love and hate WordPress.

That’s why I love WordPress

I know and have been using WordPress since version 3. I think I can say that it is a reliable and well established platform. The vulnerabilities of the early years have been fixed.

With the installation of a few plugins you can create stable and secure websites, provided you keep them updated.

I am definitely grateful to this platform because it has allowed me to create and manage several websites, learn a lot about CMS, Php and Mysql and even earn some money.

In fact, this blog also runs on WordPress.

I am therefore a loyal and devoted user. However, after all these years, I am still not able to get excited about WordPress. 

That’s why I hate WordPress

I use it because I’m practically forced to: it’s the market leader : on the internet you can easily find the answers to the questions that may arise during the creation or management of the website.

WordPress is the most widespread CMS and the developers of themes and plugins are very numerous.

Consequently the themes and plugins available are greater than those available for competing platforms.

I believe that my lack of enthusiasm is due to two reasons.

Before listing them I want to specify that I am writing these criticisms with the constructive spirit of a sincere friend.

The purely visual aspect of the platform. I am referring to the administration interface, which in its default configuration features colours such as grey and black reigning supreme, except for a few rare exceptions where we can find a blue that is as cold as it is institutional. 

In short, it seems as if we have ended up in an old black and white film, something between The Seventh Seal and Six feet under.

What I am trying to say is that I have seen much more aesthetically appealing administration interfaces, such as Webmin, cPanel, and the competitors Drupal and Joomla.

The visual impact of a page that you are forced to use for work can make a difference: if the environment attracts you from a graphical point of view, you are also more inclined to explore the items of the various menus, in short, to spend time on it.

If, on the other hand, the visual impact is not very attractive, curiosity and interest are reduced and you want to leave that interface as soon as possible.

That's why I love and hate WordPress

For the sake of clarity, I must point out that it is possible to change the colour palette, a novelty introduced some time ago by the WordPress team. Click on the Users menu, and then on All Users.

Choose a user and click on Edit. At the top you will find various colour palettes available. Each user can choose their preferred palette.

However, changing the palette only changes the colour of the left-hand menu bar and the top bar. The large central area of the page remains unchanged.

In addition, the various palettes available have their limitations. Some of them only partially change the default palette, while others are simply highly visible or have unattractive colour schemes. 

I sincerely appreciate the attempt to modernise the setting. However, in spite of the good intentions, the feeling of sadness remains and by using certain palettes you can go from funeral atmospheres to atmospheres similar to those you feel when watching documentaries in black and white and coloured in the studio afterwards.

Finally, an interesting fact that has nothing to do with the technical or graphic aspect of the platform. 

The “Hello Dolly” plugin. This is a plugin that is present in every WordPress installation for educational purposes, in order to provide developers with an example of a code to be used as an inspiration. Once activated, the plugin only shows a few random lines of the song “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong in the administration pages.

In the official description of the plugin, the following sentence appears: 

This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in the well-known two words song by Louis Armstrong: Hello, Dolly.

Since I’ve been using WordPress for several years now, a question has been hovering in my mind and if I could, I would gladly ask Matt Mullenweg: 

Which “entire generation” are we talking about? The song Hello Dolly was released in 1964, Louis Armstrong died in 1971 and Matt Mullenweg was born in 1984. WordPress was first released in 2003.

I must be missing something. Perhaps Mullenweg was thinking of his small circle of friends who are enthusiastic about Louis Armstrong and therefore exaggerated the concept of the “entire generation”? Or is he referring to a generation that is not his own, but perhaps that of his parents or even his grandparents? 

That’s why I’ll keep using WordPress

In conclusion, I will continue to use WordPress even if the administration interface makes me sad and the mystery of the generation to which the plugin Hello Dolly refers to will remain unsolved. At the end of the day it’s all about the details, and I certainly won’t be changing the CMS for that. My sincere thanks and respect to Mullenweg and the whole WordPress team.