Fix It Until It Breaks

The deeper I got into the site the more wasn’t working and I was finding stuff no one had found before. It’s not supposed to be like this.

screengrab-blog-redesign.jpgIt’s been like performing dentistry on myself! The goal was to make my life simpler by developing the new look for my website on a server installed on my desktop PC then move it to a commercial server when finished. Maybe it will be easier. It hasn’t been so far!

When I went to move it off the desktop machine to its final resting place the site responded with an error message. Later it was the “white screen of death.” Finally I could see the home page but all links, even links to log in, were dead!

These are the times that try men’s souls. I had achieved Helaine’s oft spoken fear when I delve too deeply. I’d fixed it to the point of breaking it!

In an earlier entry the subject of the “WordPress Community” came up. WordPress is the platform on which the new site will be built. The community was there for me tonight, though not in the flesh. There is a treasure trove of archived forum posts online.
If something can be broken it already has been! I was able to go to school on other poor schlubs.

I wrote what you just read around 3:30 am. Before I could start patting myself on the back things broke so badly I had to stop writing. I didn’t get to bed until nearly 6:00 am.

It’s now after 1:00 pm. Where were we?

The deeper I got into the site the more wasn’t working and I was finding stuff broken no one had found before! It’s not supposed to be like this.

I started deleting plug-ins, which add functionality. That’s the typical response to this kind of problem and it usually works. Not here.
I will spare you my tooth gnashing. The problem seems to be a version of php, a programming language critical to blogging (and other dynamic sites). The blog was built with php5, the current version. My web host offers php5, but defaults to php4. They are not the same–think Latin and Pig Latin.

Worse still, when I finally found and put in the fix (the line “AddType x-mapp-php5 .php” was inserted in a hidden file called .htaccess) I left out the space between php5 and .php! Now the site was so dead I couldn’t even get to the administration screens!
It’s all fixed now and the site is up, but hidden in plain site at a different web address for the time being. There are still cosmetic fixes that need to be made. Sometimes text gets larger and smaller for no apparent reason. Mostly though I accomplished what I set out to do and I hardly pulled out any hair.

The new look debuts this weekend–maybe.

2 thoughts on “Fix It Until It Breaks”

  1. Hi Geoff, wordpress is great if your using it for a business, but if your just trying to make a site for just blogging then instead of going through all that technical stuff, is the easiest site to make a professional looking blog in 15 min.
    You can see one that I’m still working on but what it looks like right now.
    What you see there I did in a few minutes. Hope that helps.

  2. Bob –
    If all I wanted to do was mount a quick site, that would be good. However, the journey is sometimes the destination. It is for me. This is a learning experience. I’ll only make these mistakes once.

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