When WordPress Goes Wacky

A Disquisition in Five Parts
About Blogging Frustrations

I: Design Vagaries of the Web

[NOTE: The complaints described below have been solved since I posted my original February 8 blog post containing them. —H.C.]

Anyone who's foolish enough to try and compose web pages without mastering the HTML coding that underlies everything (and that definitely describes me, since I lack the geek gene that would allow me to wrap my brain around all of those peculiar symbols) quickly learns that the World Wide Web is no place for control-freaks.

As soon as I decided to try and create a web site I had to make peace with the fact that trying to lay out a web page was something akin to trying to use a t-square and triangle to paste up a magazine page layout with a pool of water serving as your drafting table.

As best as I can gather, the Web's imprecision is due largely to the fact that all the different browsers interpret HTML code instructions slightly differently, with additional complications added by the fact that not all computers have the same type fonts installed.

OK, I've done my best to make peace with all that. That's just the way things are.

II: Help for the HTML-illiterate

Web-authoring applications, bless 'em, are what make it possible for HTML-illiterates like me to create web pages at all. I started off with Adobe's comparatively crude PageMill application, then moved on to the far better Adobe GoLive, which has worked pretty well for me for years. But when Adobe Systems bought its graphic design competitor Macromedia a couple of years ago, I knew that Macromedia's highly regarded Dreamweaver web authoring application was destined to supplant GoLive.

Like it or not, I was going to have to switch.

III: What's "WYSIWYG"?

PageMill, GoLive, and Dreamweaver have all been "WYSIWYG" applications. That's an acronymic nickname that means "What You See Is What You Get." Theoretically, if I pull together text and images so that they look a certain way in Dreamweaver, the HTML coding that Dreamweaver creates automatically will tell the world's web browsers to build pages that pretty much match my designs. It's never an exact match—but it's supposed to be close, darn it!

As the foregoing mild expletive may suggest, things have not been going well with my blog entries since I began using Dreamweaver CS3 to compose them. I've been encountering some very unwelcome surprises!

IV: WTF???!!!

Yikes! Why is the type in my last blog entry suddenly blue for no reason??? And why is it displayed in the wrong type font???

It's most discombobulating!

As you can see from the inset toolbar below, when composing the page in Dreamweaver I clearly instructed that blog entry's opening type to be colored black (designated in the toolbar as "Style 8") and asked it to be set in a medium-sized Times New Roman font. But out of sheer perversity, it seems, WordPress's blogging software has decided to overrule Dreamweaver's HTML code instructions in favor of a boldfaced blue Helvetica!

(That's how it appears in my browser, at least. Eddie's, too. I have no way of know what it looks like in yours!)

Compare the two versions of the same paragraph below. On top is the way the text looked in Dreamweaver; below is what I found once I posted it online.

V: Who Gets Blamed?

I'm fond of WordPress and have enjoyed having my blog hosted there. But it's hard to escape the feeling that this weirdness has to be laid at WordPress's door more than at Dreamweaver's. Why? Because the HTML code created by Dreamweaver generates the page correctly when it's posted as a regular page on my web site instead of as a WordPress blog entry.

The only thing I can conclude is that, for whatever reason, Dreamweaver CS3 and WordPress do not play well together. Which means that until some wise playground monitor* intervenes, the only way I can have some control over how my blog entries appear will be to post them outside of WordPress and use my regular WordPress blog as a gateway teaser that's linked to the off-site posts like this one.

That's what I've done this time around. I hope you didn't mind the extra mouse click the it took to reach me today.

*Wise Internet playground monitors and other knowledgeable computer geeks are invited to email me with their explanations of why this weirdness has been happening and how it can be avoided.

Thank you, François Peneaud, for heeding the foregoing cry for help!