Learning new things the hard way

I’m continuing to learn more about websites, WordPress ins & outs, and css… the hard way!

Last year I switched my website from Expression Engine to WordPress… for the most part to be on a platform that is more mainstream, ideally easier to get support on, and hopefully a platform that I could do more things myself with.

All was good! I liked the re-design, and all seemed great… until I tried to post articles with media attached (screenshots etc.). Permissions errors out the wazoo… it was very frustrating but a busy time for me with other things, and I ignored it for months. Finally I dug in and tried to fix the permission issues. I ended up frustrated with my hosting provider. I successfully learned how to move WordPress from my old host to my new host, and not lose my theme changes. That was back in October… and it was fun, learning some new stuff again. Frustrating at times, but I figured it out and it worked.

There were 2 minor details that I couldn’t figure out how to fix that were irritating but not a huge deal. Finally last week I got fed up with ignoring them and went about trying to figure out how to fix them.

One turned out really minor: a theme option I didn’t know about. The other one was a stylesheet setting (style.css). On my homepage, if the excerpt of my blog contained a bulleted list, they were not indenting in line with the margins of the paragraph text. I don’t often have posts with bullets in the excerpt, and they look just fine in the full article pages.

So I do what I do when I run into any other issue: I googled it. (Am I supposed to say I “binged” it?) Seemed pretty dang easy… add blah blah blah to your style.css and you’re good to go.

Then it got fun. I edited my style.css. Saved the change. Refreshed my website. Saw no change. Second guessed myself - was I editing the right thing? Editing the right section? Using the right wording/syntax?

Long story short: I would make a change, save it, refresh, see no change, scratch my head, rinse, lather, repeat. Contacted the guy who designed my site in the first place, figuring I just didn’t understand css well enough to make the change. He had the same issue as I did (and I was on the right track with the change, which made me happy). He even tried some funky colour changes just to see if any changes stuck. Nothing.

Over the weekend I ignored it, and at some point, the caching on the server I didn’t know about, refreshed my site with some funky styles, now that the changes we made were being used! Crap! Red background, odd fonts, yes, all fun. My website guy told me my site looked all messed up and sure enough it did.

Finally I contacted the web host to find out if they are caching something and sure enough, they were. Turns out there was a plug in I didn’t think I needed, which I deleted, and it was the thing I needed! Go figure. I thought if I deleted it, it was gone, but this one runs in the background and I didn’t know. The plug-in on the front end is to manage the cache. Whoops!

All is good now… I’ve learned more about css in the last 2 days than I did before (all good….) and now am more confident making changes of a relatively minor variety to my site. And of course I know how to refresh my cache if I make changes so they are visible :)

Learning is good, often frustrating if you’re learning the hard way but it’s fun, and rewarding once you get there!

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