I love WordPress. Like, more than the average user.

When I started my code-monkey journey as a 20 year old starry eyed *nix acolyte I had ZERO respect for any platform which generated content. I was all “If you can’t code, get out of the business”. That was dumb. Probably no one needs to hear this anymore, but I’m not exactly doling out advice here, just telling my story. See, I didn’t have YouTube tutorials to teach me CSS or JavaScript or PHP or MySQL. They simply hadn’t been posted yet, the site was too young. Back in 2012 I bought books to teach me stuff. There were a million websites too but they were kinda scattered. They were a mile wide and an inch deep.

I studied Computer Science at University of Saskatchewan and even lectured there for a minute, but USASK didn’t focus on web development languages. We only had one course focused on the subject. That was Cmpt 350 Web Technologies. My prof was Dr. Ralph Deters. He was awesome. His field was Ubiquitous Technology. I imagine, now, that we consider all technology ubiquitous.

So, I had to find my own way into the field and that was not exactly easy. When I found out about Drupal and WordPress I was nearly offended!

What? An enging to bust out my formatting and my inclusions for me? No way.

In hindsight this was not very Computer Science of me. Just 10 years later, A.I. would become capable of generating my entire workload let alone some formatting. But I digress.

A Saskatoon software house I worked in assigned me the task of manually updating some WordPress Plugins. I had to FTP into the site and read some how-to’s on Google. That was my first taste of what actually goes on inside of a WordPress installation. I seen first hand that there was a whole other layer to this thing. A veritable world of playable space for a coder to get lost in.

Fast Forward 2 years

I was hired on contract to represent Innovative Residential in the web space. They were a remarkable, young, agile home builder in Saskatoon. In my first year, I hand-coded their site, you can imagine how long that took. The project went well and we even won best website at the 2012 SHBA ( Saskatoon Home-Builders Association) Awards. That was cool. But shortly after, we decided on a bunch of design changes which I knew meant that we would have to rebuild from the ground up. Time was not on my side, so I needed a content engine. WordPress was the natural choice, because I knew that it allowed unlimited custom code. I spent the next 3 years integrating everything the company had into an online platform who essentially had WordPress at it’s core. In hindsight, I’m not sure that was the best route but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t effective.

Tableau server? Itegrated into WordPress.

Custom information out of an Access Database running in the office? Integrated into WordPress..

Maintenance requests on a home-owners cell phone? Integrated into WordPress.

You get it. I learned the back-end.

My Own WordPress Crashed

If you read my blog ( you don’t ) you may have noticed ( you didn’t ) that it went down in 2023. Well guess what? It went down because WordPress did me dirty. Ya, That unlimited customizable code I was talking about earlier is a double edged sword. ACF, my favorite plugin, has an conflict with WordPress 6.4.1 if the server is running php version < 8. So half way through my WP update the whole system fell apart leaving me only a white screen of doom. If you have ever been 100% responsible for something which failed catastrophically and gave no indication of the cause, then you know how I felt. If you haven’t – good.

So I delved into the database and manually disabled the plugins in SQL. There’s a record every wp_options table called “active_plugins”. Every WordPress plugin appears here as a GUID entry seperated by semicolons. If you blank this out, WP will resume without any plugins code executing.

This is a great step when you’re not sure if the conflict which crashed your site is coded into WP Core or a plugin. It saved my bacon and it might save yours too 🙂

So, if you need a dev who knows his way around the WP Back-end, then ….

We Need to Talk