Should I update to WordPress 5.0?

I am torn this morning about whether or not I want to update WordPress to version 5.0. I did the update on a smaller site I have (it has about 3 posts) and it went well. No issues to speak of. I also created a post with the new block editor (which I had already tried it out a little when it was called the Gutenberg plug-in). The post turned out fine.

My problem comes in with the actual editor. It’s a bit of a hassle for me. All the little boxes and blocks flaring to life as my cursor scrolls over them. I like seeing the WYSIWYG version and working in the “Visual” editor while being able to quickly flip to the “Text” editor (really, the code editor), and make whatever changes are needed there.

The new block editor is kind of a mess really. As far as I can tell, you can edit the HTML of each block but you can’t edit it as a whole. So lots of extra steps to move one bit of code to another place in the post compared to how it’s currently done.

Screenshot of options showing how to change from visual editor to code editor

NOPE. I just realized I am wrong about this. (I went to the little site that I updated and checked.)

I can select the code editor and see the entire post as code but the way to get to it is separated from the way to get to the HTML editor for each block.

So a bit of a hassle but not as bad as I feared.

Anyway, I’m just not sure I’m ready to change. Being wrong about the HTML editor doesn’t really change how busy the new block editor feels. And then I do have some sites where I use a custom theme I made myself from scratch. It’s held up really well through the upgrades but I’m kind of scared to try it on this one, because of the new structure.

I’m conflicted and I think my best option in this case is to wait until I’m not. I have a book to write and I’ve only written about 300 words today.

Dealing with issues that might come up because of an update going bad isn’t how I need to spend my day. I have too many websites to update to think nothing will go wrong (and I’ve had that happen often enough for me to know it’s a possibility). I hope it’ll be a seamless update for every one of them; I’ll be planning for it not to be!

Update: Well, I am not that happy with WordPress 5.0. I finally updated on a site with more posts and wrote one that used images and the first thing I found was that dragging and dropping an image once it was settled as a block within a paragraph block, it wasn’t coming out short of deleting and recreating it or going into the code editor and sorting through the junk (oh lord is there a lot of junk in there now) and then cutting and pasting it where I want it. [Yeah, I figured this one out, and let me just say that it was a PITA. I had to go search out the answer online. Make the image center aligned so it became its own block again, then move it above the paragraph you want it to merge into before you choose left or right alignment again. My god. Everything takes more steps in WP5. Even deleting a damn paragraph break takes extra keystrokes before two paragraph blocks will merge into one.]

I kind of think I’m not ever updating on any of my sites that matter to me. In fact, I’m now thinking I might just go back to static sites. Plain old HTML is looking pretty attractive right now. WordPress 5.0, not so much.

Looks like I’ll be stuck with the Classic Editor plug-in on the sites I did update until I make up my mind. One thing I can say for sure: I won’t be using WP5’s block editor as is. It wastes way too much of my time. I don’t write in damn blocks. I write, merge, delete, add, merge, delete, write, add, and shift text all over the place before I’m settled with a post. All those little blocks are meant for short-form writers. They sure as hell aren’t meant for me.

Update (the second): I have installed the 5.0 update (because I like keeping things updated for security reasons), but I did install the Classic Editor plug-in, and I’m going to stick with it. I’ve tried multiple additional posts with the block editor on a few sites as I updated them, and I just have to say that the new block editor is hideously inefficient. I tried to imagine what it would be like once I got used to it, but the sad truth is that it’s just a hassle. The blocks are unwieldy when I just want to do a few paragraphs, a quote, an image, and a quick publish. I won’t be using it. I guess someday I’m going to have to consider going back to static HTML or handwrite my own PHP site. But that worry is for another day!

Time to restart the reading log for 2018

It’s time to restart the reading log. This time for 2018. :-)

I’m not worried that I haven’t been reading enough fiction this year. Far from it. I spent a lot of time in the first half of this year reading fan fiction. A lot of fan fiction. I can’t tell you how much, but I was so focused on reading that I was reading 2-4 stories a day, a great many of which were novel length.

I delete fan fiction stories and books from my library as soon as I’ve read them if they’re not keepers.

Since January 1, I’ve added 277 stories to my library that I’ve read and gone on to keep because I might want to read them again some day. If that’s anywhere near a representative sample and I keep even one out of every three stories that I read… well, that’s a lot of reading. If I only kept one of out five (more likely) or eight (definitely possible), well then, the numbers start to get ridiculous. Considering how obsessively I was reading, it’s entirely possible the numbers are ridiculous.

All that said, there are a lot of original books I want to read, books I’ve been collecting all year, and it’s time I got started reading them. Putting a number to my progress will remind me not to let time get away from me now that I’m obsessing over my writing again.

I had originally posted all this to the top of the reading log page, but after a little thinking, I decided that I wanted to keep the reading log page focused on the actual reading log and not explanatory text. :)

Update on 1/12/19: During my year end clean up of a paper calendar I was keeping notes on, I found several lists of stories I read then deleted, along with notes about why. I added the ones I found to my personal reading log, but since you don’t care how many stories I actually read I’ll just say I definitely read more than the 277 stories mentioned above. :D

New text justification bug in GIMP is bugging me

I think I’ve found a bug in GIMP’s text justification feature. I thought about reporting the bug, but I do not have an account and don’t want an account and don’t have a spare email address where I’d enjoy getting spammed even if I did. The create a new account page warns of that possibility and I chose to take that warning seriously. (Updates below.)

So I’m just putting it out here because I’m frustrated. I spent all day yesterday trying to fix an issue with an installed font that I used for a book cover that turns out isn’t usable in Word for my title page headings because of some bug. If I’d known at the time, I’d have never used the font in GIMP for the book cover.

Lesson learned: when using a new font I haven’t used in Word before, test it in Word. Save the file. Reopen. Is the font still there? If it isn’t, delete the font, because I don’t want to run into this problem again.

I’ve been buying more font licenses lately,  but I still have a pretty big selection of fonts from fontsquirrel and Google fonts on my system that had the right kind of licenses for what I do and I guess I should have expected to run into a problem like this eventually, but I didn’t. I honestly thought fonts just worked or they didn’t. I didn’t realize they could actually be buggy with only certain software. :o

But back to the GIMP bug. Here’s what’s happened. (Update: Definitely a bug. I’ve figured out why it’s happening and I am sure it’s a bug.)

Yesterday I noticed that some of my back cover copy was getting cut off on the right side when I justified the text. I scaled it down a bit from 12 pt to 11.7 pt and it fixed it. This was with Adobe Garamond Pro. Today I have a different book cover in the works and I’m using Adobe Caslon Pro. I tried the same trick when I noticed it was also getting cut off on the right side but scaling it down hasn’t worked to fix this one. I’ve tried every pixel/point size I can in the range I’d be comfortable having this text and it just won’t stop cutting off the very right edge of the fonts.

It’s very frustrating! I definitely haven’t noticed this previously and I updated a few weeks ago to the 2.8.20 version of GIMP. I’d go back to the older version but I truly don’t know if it would fix it, because I’m so behind on putting out my paperback books and I haven’t created one in more than a year until I started doing these.

I don’t know what version of GIMP this issue started in or if it’s been there all along and I just didn’t notice because I wasn’t using these fonts. :(

Maybe I should be doing my paperback covers in Scribus or Inkscape but I do a lot of tweaking of stuff and I don’t want to learn another program with a steep learning curve.

So I guess I’m going to be using a different font for this book cover’s back cover copy.

UGH!

FYI: I’d still recommend GIMP but this kind of thing does make me rethink whether or not it’s worth it to keep putting off converting to Photoshop. I just HATE subscription services. I’ll almost certainly deal and just find a way to work around this problem, but I have to ask myself why I’m being so damn stubborn about it. I do not know.

Update: I figured out why GIMP is cutting off a bit of the right edge of the fonts. It has to do with fonts that have edges that are supposed to fall outside of the margin, in the same way some punctuation is supposed to fall outside of the margins. For example, in my specific case for this text block I was trying to use, the first letter of the paragraph is a “J”. The scoop that makes the bottom of the letter should hang over the edge just a teeny tiny bit (it does in Word and in Scribus and in Photoshop elements. It doesn’t in GIMP. In GIMP, that little effect causes the entire block of text to shift a minute amount to the right, making all the edges of those final letters susceptible to being trimmed by that same minute amount because they’re falling outside the bounds of the text box. And because this is happening no matter the size of the text or the text box, there’s no way to counter it, other than using a different font.

For me, what it meant was that I created my cover in GIMP as usual, saved as a tiff file, opened it in Photoshop Elements 14 (which I had honestly nearly forgotten I had), and added the text for the back cover there. Saved as a PDF, and realized at that point that Elements saves the text as embedded instead of flattened, and decided I’d try that out.

(Scribus did the same. I did get it to work, finally, but it was a PITA, and I don’t like using it. That was when I remembered I had bought Elements last year when it was on sale and that it was on my computer, ready to be used if I wanted to.)

If embedding the fonts produces crisper text on the cover, I might do all future books this way even though it adds another program/step to my workflow.

On the other hand, I don’t know if Createspace will even accept this, because I’ve never submitted a completely non-flattened PDF before. I flatten everything in GIMP, text and all.

But the reason I decided to give this a shot was because I read a paragraph of a page today on the Createspace website that says to make sure your fonts are embedded in the pdf file for the cover. So obviously it’s an expected thing, right?

We shall see.