Blogging Software and WordPress

After installing WordPress 2.7.1 on my domain host a week ago my first thoughts about the software were… this is terrific! I was much impressed with the intuitive ease of the user interface, the instant ability to easily change its look and feel in the admin panel, and the overall “clean” sense that the software presented.

Software is never quite so simple, of course. It didn’t take me but a couple days to run into a couple of niggles. Like when I tried to post an image and found its aspect ratio badly corrupted on the blog (the image presented properly in the admin interface but was badly distorted when uploaded to the site). That led to several hours of trying different things and looking at the php code and doing searches on the forums.

You know, that general frustration that often comes with software which isn’t doing what you expect or need it to do. And which seems inconsistent with what it was doing just a day before.

I had a general sense of what the problem was – the default theme in WordPress presents a fixed width column for where content is displayed and the image I was trying to upload was wider than that. You can see this in both the landscape-format images I uploaded below – where the images extend far to the right of the center column. But the curious thing is that the first wider-than-the-fixed-column-width image I had uploaded a few days ago worked fine. It worked a few days ago, so why won’t it work now?

I eventually figured out how to make it work. Turns out you have to add an explicit caption to the image, at which point the the correct size of the image, and thus its aspect ratio, is maintained. If you don’t insert a caption it messes it up.

Not sure if that’s a bug or a feature – don’t know why a little piece of meta data like an image caption should matter. But it does.

That notwithstanding, after a week I remain mostly impressed with WordPress. I’m still early in the learning curve with this software and will be tweaking the look of this blog as I’m able to find time to explore it more.


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