Programming Note (of Doom)

You know how when Howard Carter made a little hole in the sealed entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb and peered through it and was struck dumb by all the treasures and Lord Carnarvon was all “Can you see anything?” and Carter replied “Yes, wonderful things”? Well, I can no longer put off the long-delayed software upgrade of the blog, so over the next two days WordPress will leap up like 20 versions and I will replace this sweet old theme with a new one that Google and cellphones won’t hate quite so much. Will you be able to see things? Yes, probably. If all goes well, there shouldn’t be much in the way of downtime. Will they be wonderful things? No. No they will not.

I’ve done this in a testing environment many times and the conversion has always been dark and full of terrors, mainly in the form of seriously messed up comment threads. Major problems that interfere with the rendering of the site will be fixed promptly, and in the long-term I will address the stuff that is functional but hideous. If that means I have to manually reenter every comment from the dawn of time, then that’s what it means.

The changes will make the site much more usable. I’ll be able to do things that were cutting edge a decade ago like automatically link to new posts on my dormant Twitter account and add a donate button which many of you very kind and supportive folks have asked about repeatedly. Most importantly, the blog will be far more secure and it won’t projectile vomit errors every time the server has a MySQL upgrade or a stiff breeze blows past it.

Please keep all your fingers and toes crossed, stroke your fascinus amulets, use the Liver of Piacenza as a guide when scrutinizing your next sheep liver, do whatever ritual you can think of, the more bizarre the better, and send all the good luck this way.

40 thoughts on “Programming Note (of Doom)

  1. I shall cross all spare appendages that all goes well! I won’t include my eyes with this as it’s far too difficult to embroider when one’s eyes are crossed – besides it gives headaches after a while, which may negatively effect the outcome. I’ll also break out the good stuff and have a wee dram for luck, but I won’t libate my screen with it as that tends to cause all sorts of bother.

    I do most sincerely request that you don’t go down the pathway of white background and pale grey text that is so popular lately as it’s so “clean” as I will be unable to read the blog then due to insufficient contrast – it’s a curse on those of us with visual issues.

    1. I have a deep dislike for that trend myself (also white fonts on dark backgrounds), so you can count on the text remaining dark against a light background. The History Blog is and always will be about the content which means above all it must be readable. Nothing glaring, glittery, neon, clashing or otherwise likely to induce headaches, seizures or weird spots and trailers even in readers with perfect vision.

  2. Reminds me of my experiences with Firefox. It was great for a few years but they upgraded it so much that it finally made all their add-ons/extensions obsolete. I finally just deleted it and stuck with Chrome. :ohnoes:

    1. That’s actually the crux of my problem. When I started blogging lo these many years ago, WordPress didn’t have nested comments. You needed a plug-in for that. So I got one and it worked fine. Then at some point WP added nested comment as a native feature (which it should have had from the beginning, because come on) and the guy who made the plug-in abandoned it. Shortly thereafter the plug-in broke and the comments stopped nesting properly, but if I uninstalled it and relied and the built-in feature, all the old nested comments unnested themselves. It was so ugly I couldn’t stand it, so I kept the broken plug-in installed just for the archives and let the new comments ride unnested. To quote the ancient knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I chose… poorly.

      Perhaps the fact that I was willing to limp along like that for years will assuage your concerns about an orgy of upgrade excess. I will do strictly what is necessary to keep the lights on and get a couple of extras I’ve wanted for a long time. If I could keep it looking exactly the same, I would. Alas, progress chews us all up and spits us out eventually, no matter how hard we resist.

  3. Also, I had some Google blogs and Google kept changing things around so much that it got to the point that I can no longer even log into them and edit them. One one of them, I was selling seeds and I still occasionally get orders but can’t even access the blog the order came from. Same thing with some Youtube channels.

    1. I just discovered a few days ago that Google has disabled my YouTube channel for no reason I can discern. I assume it’s because they want to force me to fill in their invasive personal information form and I refuse. They know enough about everyone in the world already, thank you very much.

  4. I hope the conversion goes well. Updating things is always scary. If you add a Patreon link, I’ll happily contribute.

  5. I agree with Magical and I am glad you are not contemplating grey on white as well. I do hate change with the blogs and hope it won’t be too drastic.

  6. “I have a deep dislike for … white fonts on dark backgrounds …

    Nothing glaring, glittery, neon, clashing or otherwise likely to induce headaches, seizures or weird spots and trailers even in readers with perfect vision.”

    You’re a sound chap, livius drusus, and no mistake.

  7. That is good to hear 🙂 All the things you mention make me want to run away screaming so it’s nice to know I will not have to face any of them to be able to continue to enjoy your wonderful posts (that I don’t comment on nearly often enough).

  8. I’m a highly experienced software architect and am very familiar with WordPress. I’ve been reading this blog every day for years and I’m willing to help you free of charge as a way of saying thanks. If you run into any problems or want to make sure you aren’t going to screw anything up before making the upgrade, feel free to contact me.

  9. Content is King!! So no matter how the site and color scheme changes I will still visit every day to learn something new .. Thanks Bruce

  10. A donation button! I’ve wanted to donate for a couple years but couldn’t locate how to do so. I was starting to feel guilty that I was using your site without giving some funds.
    Love this site!!

  11. I’m stroking my liver even now.

    Like Magical, I don’t comment nearly enough either. I’ve been very selfish. I love this site. Thank you for your wonderful information, great posts, and terrific writing.

    Domenic, thank you for offering to help! That’s huge.

  12. Standing by with bated breath! It will be amazing because you always give 110%. Have amulets and Bona Fortuna as well as Ianus and Mercurius.

    May fortune favor you, Livius Drusus!

  13. Long time lurker here – just wanted to post my fingers, toes, arms, leg, eyes are crossed for you! I would be lost without this site 🙂

  14. You will be fine. We will ignore any hiccups and keep logging on like the obsessive nerdlings we are, no matter what happens we will be here day and night never fear. We all hate tech change but when it’s over and done with we completely forget the old system in a matter of weeks. Chin up and good luck.

  15. Good luck. Short-term pain, long-term thrills for your grateful audience. I’ve got a quid or two burning a hole in my pocket, waiting to drop into your Viking age cauldron. See you on the other side.

  16. Best of Luck. We’ll hang in there with you. I have learned much from your little blog and shared much as well.

  17. This fills me with which god can I light a candle for internet updates? Hermes? (Speed, travell)? Apollo? Clio herself for muse of history? Vulcan?

    I rarely comment but read every day. Will donate if the option is there (so that would be Pluto?.

  18. Good luck! Let me know if you need some help typing up comments if anything goes hay wire. Love the site!

  19. That’s no fun at all. Good luck! I’ll ask St. Isidore of Seville to put in a good word with the Big Guy to help things go smoothly for you.

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