20210722 Hello world, all over again. Welcome to the new countermoneylaundering.com .

Nigel Morris-Cotterill

22 July 2020

It’s taken a while to move my blog from countermoneylaundering.com to, er, countermoneylaundering.com.

You don’t need to know why – it’s all to do with the tech we’ve used for years becoming obsolete in a few months. But if you want to know, read on.

Like literally tens of thousands of website owners, I’ve held out, hoping that the developers will relent.

They have, to a point and the death of Drupal 7 was postponed for a year. During that time, the successor platform, Drupal 8 has itself worn out its welcome and its end of life is now set for before that for Drupal 7.

I’ve tried Drupal 8 several times. Some people like it. I dislike it intensely. It’s been designed for programmers. It has new terminology, new ways of doing things and it doesn’t do, or didn’t when I tested it, most of the things that are easy in Drupal 7.

Simply, Drupal 5, where we started years and years ago, 6 and 7 were designed with content creators in mind. Everything we needed to do, except some simple FTP, was done from the browser. Using a simple template, near endless designs of pages, called “content types” were a breeze to make, giving we non-techy users the ability to run several websites from a single installation with “taxonomies” being used to separate out various parts of the site.

You can see what I mean at pleasebeinformed.com where a number of magazines all have their own identity, several have their own domain names, they have their own front pages and then there is a common front page to which articles, etc. can be promoted or not.

I don’t have to learn programming, I don’t have to learn terminology and I can tinker around at my heart’s content, putting common content across all pages (e.g. analytics) or on pages within a specific section.

Drupal 9 is now the stable version and Drupal 10 is in beta test and with each new version it becomes more techy and less of a content creator’s tool. It needs maintenance crews in its later versions.

And so, here we are, on a platform I tested and discarded well over a decade ago: WordPress.

I really don’t like it but at least I can work it and at least it’s not going to be orphaned in a few months.

It still displays its origins as, essentially, a blogging platform. Most of the things I’m used to having as part of a core system aren’t there and I have to use many plug-ins just to do basic things. It won’t use English date formats in the admin panel – but once a a post is published, it converts the date to English dd/mm/yyyy.

It’s not even possible to choose the author for a document at the time it is created: that has to be done by locating it in the library and changing it.

I am stuck with themes (that’s page layouts) that I can download because I can’t create a theme that is, essentially, a blank page then create a content type with blocks and/or fields that I’m used to. In fact, the approach is that a theme has its columns preset, its footer predetermined, widgets (as it calls pre-programmed functions) and menus only where it says they can be and then that I can create what WordPress calls blocks but which are functionally different from Drupal blocks – but for that content page, not content type, only. I’ll write my own theme later.

But unlike Drupal, I can’t select different themes for different parts of the content. Yes, there’s the “multi-site” option but then each part of the content is segregated, literally a separate website running the same background code in a single instance. That’s great, for some purposes but it’s completely useless for PleaseBeInformed.com.

Maybe, later, I’ll find workarounds but for now, I’m just sad that the ethos that made Drupal up to v7 such a outstanding program is being consigned to that great codebin, along with Framework (Ashton Tate) and a few other truly great programs that their owners decided were obsolete despite what the market thinks.

So, if you see weird stuff, it’s because all of our sites are moving (except pleasebeinformed.com – we really are at a loss about what to do with that huge site that even WordPress advocates say has features that won’t migrate properly.

Forgive us for we know now what we do.


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© 2020 Nigel Morris-Cotterill
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