Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

May 03, 2016

Bitter Grounds brain farts – site design failures

Danger Sign - Brain Fart Ahead

I screwed up last night. Was feeling tired but wanted to tinker a bit with the site’s design and I broke one of my cardinal rules – NEVER adjust the layout live unless you know what the result will be. Test off line first and if all goes well, nip behind the curtains and make the changes. Those immortal words “nothing will go wrong” (that always lead to trouble) flitted through my brains and I plunged head long into a few adjustments.

WELL … things didn’t go to plan. If any of you logged on last night, my humblest apologies. It must have looked like I’d lost my sanity for about 2 hours. I’d been working on a different banner for the site – something that is a bit more interestig and less dour than the dark landscape I had. After sketching out some ideas I sat down and put the banner together and loaded it up. Not bad, not bad at all.  So far so good.

Then I got frisky…

The little bars “Read More” were too dark so I wanted to use a colour from the new banner to highlight them. Adjusted that and BLAMO … I somehow changed the background colour. The site looked like amateur hour at the Clown Bar & Grill. Nothing blended, the colours were off .. I have no clue how I managed to do that.  It took an hour to comb through the CSS to reset the background to white and font to black and reset the font size back to 12pt, among other small issues.

Did I stop there? Of course not – in for a penny in for a pound! I decided to complete the roll over to a new comments setup. I plunged headlong into the changeover without testing plugins off line. Yea, one big “oh shit what was I thinking” moment and a dizzying array of stupidity this side of the key board. At one point I triggered off 3 comment plugins I had been testing, instead of uninstalling.  Then I did something else that stopped the page from loading. I gently banged my head on the keyboard for about 10 minutes and felt like whimpering. I stared at the screen and thought through what I’d done and then repeated the head to keyboard action for a bit longer. Next up was a bizarre effect that caused the page to load and then disappear when I tried to scroll. I’m still confused by that, I’ll track the plugin off line. My favourite was the seizure inducing screen flashing that kicked in when I stopped the page scroll issue. I disabled a few plugins, installed the Disqus plugins and hit refresh. What do you know! My site was back. You can leave comments without hassles. Not that many comment… it’s kind of lonely over here … but I digress….

I stopped at that point.

The only smart thing I did was backup the site before I began. I do that regularly, so even if I’m behaving like Destructo Master of the Universe, I can still recover from the worse of my screw-ups.  The pathetic part was I had already fired up WAMP but couldn’t be bothered logging into it to test the plugins.  I’d love to say I learned my lesson, but a little voice in the back of my head is already saying “what could go wrong” about some new ideas I have bouncing around my brain. So … apologies ahead of time.


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