I Hate WordPress

17 December 2004

This is not a knee-jerk opinion. It is a lengthy and balanced opinion that it has taken a good deal of time to reach. But the long and the short of it is that I really, really hate WordPress.

Perhaps “hate” is too strong a word. But it infuriates me to points that no piece of software ever should, and that’s not a good thing in it’s favour. “But Tom,” you say, “doesn’t infovore run on a battered old version of Movable Type?” Yes, it does. I’ve been using WordPress for another project, on a different server. It was ideally suited to task – good quality blogging engine supporting permalinks, archive, and trackback, which runs on PHP and MySQL, and involves minimum outlay (ie free).

WordPress fits the bill perfectly. Unfortunately, it’s littered with incomplete features – Administrator not being able to see other users public drafts; functionality to show single categories and single category archives (very, very easy in Moable Type) non existent without hacking the sourcecode. It doesn’t like dealing with multiple blogs without persuasion, and it really, really doesn’t like running a blog in a directory other than the one the scripts are installed in.

It’s a fairly impressive piece of software, I don’t deny, and I’m sure everyone is working really hard on the next version. If this was in a piece of software at version 0.7 I could just about understand.

But it’s not. WordPress is at 1.3 now, which frankly, is nonsense. I’m not asking for much, but 1.3 suggests something approaching a degree of finishedness, and that’s sorely lacking – some of the developers seem surprised when people find features that aren’t, as it were.

Added to that is the support forum, which is currently one of my least favourite places on the net. Post after post after post, all suggesting kludgey, amateurish hacks to the source code, none of which bear much similarity, none of which are backed up with authority. And then there’s all the people tempted by the free blogging software, befuddled by CSS, who repeatedly state that they are “well versed in HTML” or “skilled designers” but “it’s just the CSS” that foxes them. Which is nonsense.

And then you get all the guys who jump on the Web Standards bandwagon but they’re not sure why. It’s a complete mess; numpty CSS issues are resolved but never explained, just cursorily dealt with and pointed towards the many sites exxplaining the Box Model bug.

CSS is getting where table-layout was when it was hitting the hugetime – everyone knows it’s the way forward, but they’re not so hot at it, so they’ll bodge away.

Movable Type, despite it’s flaws, and acknowldging the fact it’s more established, is streets ahead; in part, because it was coded by a very small, very tight team, who were imaginative enough to see its potential. Sure, it’s blogging software, but it could be used as a quite powerful CMS – and that’s evident in its design. And now, it’s honestly worth paying for.

In fact, I think the real problem with WordPress is that it is Open Source; too many cooks hacking the broth, so to speak. Everyone’s free to dive in and bugfix; no-one’s responsible for the big problems. Combined with finishing off someone else’s work, and a stubborn insistence on sticking to the blog format, and to as few physical pages as possible, and it ends up being a mess. Bits of it are great, and I love the concept – and, obviously, it fits the blogging bill for a lot of people.

But if you’re me, it’s phenomenally frustrating, unfinished, and could well be another nail in the coffin for webdesign. And that’s why I, Tom Armitage, hate WordPress. Hey, at least I feel something for it.

5 comments on this entry.

  • Drew | 6 Aug 2007

    Amen! I hate it too… In fact I typed in I hate wordpress in google just to find this site.

    What a dumb dumb thing it is… I’m going to try experimenting with a bunch of other stuff.. luckily I have a few domains to mess around with.


  • deuts | 21 Mar 2008

    So I guess you’re loving wordpress now huh.. :D coz you’re using it. Anyway, this was posted ages ago. :D

  • Tom | 21 Mar 2008

    Deuts – I moved to WordPress around 1.5, but I’d say that only around 2.3 has it actually hit the point where it fulfills all my needs out of the box. It’s come a very long way since I wrote this, but I’d stand by these comments any day. The support community still has issues, and the templating API (because it’s hardly a templating “language”) has never been particularly intuitive.

    That said: I’d recommend it to people almost without question these days, which isn’t necessarily something I’d have done at the 1.2 era.

  • Al | 26 Aug 2008

    Then why still using WP? Why not MT?

  • hermit | 9 Apr 2009

    I’ve just started using WordPress, and it’s driving me insane; it screws up pictures by degrading their quality to a point I’d really rather not display them, it pointblank refuses to linebreak, and if I want to make any changes other than very basic ones I have to start hacking abstruse text files. And this is 2.7 for crying out loud. Maybe it gives the geeks a stiffy, but I was under the impression that Web 2 was for us ordinary mortals who just wanted to join in a little.

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across such frustratingly obtuse software – which, as a Windows user, is saying something. I don’t want to know or care about weird technologies under the hood, any more than I want to have to learn electronics to work my washing machine. Just make the fecking thing work and spare me the programmer’s wet dream, please. Pretty bloody please.