I manage two or three websites of different sorts, including this personal one, and a few years ago I was converted to the ways of the CMS (Content Management System). This fundamental separation of content from presentation struck me as ideal given how hard it is to keep static pages correctly updated, and the nightmare of changing the design. Of course, using a CMS brings different headaches such as keeping the CMS software updated to latest levels and integrating support for all the things you might want to do.
So why do I bring this up? Well, I confess to letting a couple of sites get a little behind on their software levels. In fairness one of the reasons being was that upgrading to the new version was not painless. It wasn’t hugely hard, but wasn’t a one click update, and I knew the update would probably break some stuff due to changes in the new version. I don’t mind that in and of itself since some of the changes make a lot of sense. I haven been putting it off though, until this weekend when I really wanted to post about rooting my phone and re-flashing it (more on that later). I figured now was as good a time as any to do the upgrade and freshen things up a bit.
To cut a long story short – bad idea. The new version of the CMS appears to have some rather interesting quirks which basically made it a lot of hassle to actually use. My ‘favourite’ was that it appears to randomly not save edits to existing articles for reasons only known to itself. As you can imagine this made writing the new post immensely frustrating. In the end I gave up – I had spent considerable time over 2 days of a precious weekend trying to get the upgrade working, when actually what I had wanted to do was write a post about something else. Technology is only useful if it helps you actually do something, it’s pointless having technology for technologies sake. In the same way, time spent on making technology work is time not spent actually doing what you wanted to do in the first place – it’s time wasted.
In the end I invested a little more time and set up a different CMS, and imported my existing data into it. This was actually much easier than I had expected, and helped by previous decisions I had made, and I now have a site which is as flexible and as functional as before, if not even more so. More to the point, it’s just working. Time will tell if the upgrade process for this will be as painful, I hope not.