Today was one of those days where the stars aligned in just the right way to give me the four hours necessary to push out a couple of important bug fixes to Noteworthy and a bit of new functionality while sitting idle at the office. Some of the bugs that have been laid to rest include some of the automated data collection as well as search result parsing. There's also some better ENML->HTML scrubbers in place and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to play nice with ADN posts in a similar fashion to Tweets. It's this last bit of functionality that I am particularly happy with.
It's no secret that I despise WordPress, the world's most popular website software1. It's a resource-hungry mess of spaghetti code that was in desperate need of an overhaul three years ago. I was very happy to ditch it in November of 2011 to replace it with something of my own creation. Now when there is a problem, I have nobody else to blame but myself, as darn near every line of code in Noteworthy was hand-written by the guy I see in the mirror every morning. That said, I do enjoy visiting sites that are proudly powered by Automattic's behemoth software, and I enjoy seeing messed up designs that nobody seems to care about even more.
Johnathan Wold wrote a pretty decent article on Smashing Magazine on being a top WordPress developer and I agree with almost every point. There's just one little item that bugs me. People who want to become one of the top developers for any project need to be willing to invest a great deal of time, effort, and dedication to the project. He suggests we do at least an hour of reading every day on various aspects of the system. Talk to the right people and become part of the right circles. Learn PHP and MySQL inside-out. Contribute with new themes, plugins, bug fixes, and a plethora of options. All noble tasks, and absolutely necessary to be considered a "top" anything. The problem that I have with Mr. Wold's article, though, is that people may be barking up the wrong tree when it comes to the platform. WordPress is not where it's at.
Over the last few years the WordPress project has gone from being the blogging platform of choice to being synonymous with partially-functional, resource-intensive spaghetti code. I used the software for years and have encountered hard near every problem that a person might actually face with the software. From upgrades that destroy the database to ridiculous resource requirements, I've had to find ways to solve the problems without the help of the clueless WordPress developers who typically ignore trouble tickets or blame people for "breaking" the software by installing X plugin. It was actually because of WordPress' terrible overall experience that I decided to create Noteworthy, and I haven't looked back since. That said, I still manage a number of WordPress-powered sites1 and am regularly called upon to solve some of the more complex problems people face.
I pay way too much attention to what platforms people are using to host their websites. This confession will come as no surprise to most people but, when a popular site with very little media takes more than 3 seconds to load I hit the View Source command to pop the hood and see what's running underneath. More often than not, sites proudly powered by WordPress are the worst-performing destinations on the web today. The amount of computational horsepower people need to throw at the software package just to keep it responsive enough to serve a heavily-visited site is embarrassing.