Why is WordPress so Hard to Use?

I couldn’t agree more with this article. WordPress is a great piece of software, but its user-facing UI leaves much to be desired. This isn’t even my real name!


I was recently tasked with creating a vastly simplified version of wordpress for internal use by our small business (my first time doing any development). I opted to use the “standard” installation procedure and quickly found that it would take days out of the schedule just to get up and running. Here’s what you need to know:


Customizing themes is backbreakingly hard , and many default/sample themes are quite ugly.


The fact that most require styling in XML means there’s no easy way to preview changes before making them Even if you do find a nice theme, it’s going to be bloated with features you don’t need and barely works out of the box. Look at this screenshot of my dev site with a default theme I found on wordpress.org (hello!):


To make matters worse, the XML is very unforgiving, often requiring absolute path s or complete paths to images like /wp-content/uploads/2012/01/arrow_right.png. This means you can’t work on your site locally; you have to upload files every time (which increases the chance that they’ll fall into version control).


Even then, what if there are database differences? It’s not like Rails where you can just symlink db/schema.rb , so each time you upload you have to run sql queries or pray that your changes are being propagated across the globe.


On the bright side, the WordPress plugin system is awesome. It’s actually a great example of how to use composer and can be used as-is by pretty much any other framework out there.


New features are often supplied by plugins, which makes for an easy upgrade path once you do get it up and running (assuming you aren’t using one of those godforsaken default themes)


WordPress needs better documentation.

The Codex should not list pages that don’t exist or refer to outdated information. I had dreams of becoming a contributor but quickly realized that all the rules & guidelines were written in another language, probably Klingon.


What happens if you make a typo and your site gets hacked? What’s the next step? Uninstall WordPress and hope nothing breaks?


Did I mention how hard it is to do simple things like writing articles? This isn’t even my real name!


I really wanted to like WordPress, but it failed at every turn (except for that sweet plugin system). What’s the better way to go? Is there anything that can be done about this situation without switching CMSes or writing something from scratch (which would take at least 0.5 days)?

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