Website Blues

This article is obsolete. Broken external links have been removed.

It’s always something. Just when I think everything’s going along fine I find a problem. The problem defies solution until I finally reach a point where the solution may be worse than living with the problem.

The problem was resolved relatively painlessly. See the bottom of this post for the update.

Sometime between July 30th and August 1st the sidebar modules on this website stopped working and the default settings kicked in. Not the worst problem in the world since everything looked OK and visitors didn’t have a problem. The modules aren’t showing on the site and the module config screen is missing from the admin panel.

I figured it should be easy to resolve. Just find out what changed and undo it. Nah, foolish me. I added 4 posts during that time but nothing about the site itself changed. I didn’t do anything bizarre in those posts to make them different than what came before so I’m not about to delete them (although I did change them to draft to take them off the blog).

So I went into research mode. I spent several hours trying solutions for similar problems. I have another blog with the same plugins and theme so I didn’t think it was a plugin conflict but I eventually disabled all plugins (except the one that disabled widgets) and the problem remained. Some web searches show some sidebar module problems with the version of K2 that Redoable is based on. I also found a thread on the Redoable support forum about the problem being a ampersand in a sidebar module name. None of the solutions mentioned worked for me.

So the next step would be a complete removal and re-install of the theme. I could get the files from a backup done before the problem so this shouldn’t be a problem. But I’ll have to remove all the settings from the DB which means reconfiguring everything manually.

So, i figure my options are:

  1. Wait until the problem magically resolves itself. (not likely – but I like the lack of effort needed)
  2. Bite the bullet and do a complete re-install (after making sure all settings are gone).The real risk here is I will smash my iMac if it doesn’t work after all that time and effort or of things really go bad. It’ll probably be a week or two before I get time to do this.
  3. Do nothing with the site for now. Use this as a reason to start learning about WordPress themes and PHP. The plan here (I think) would be to go to the Sandbox theme and concentrate on learning CSS, at least at first. Seeing the site and the problem would motivate me to learn.
  4. Use Widgets instead of the sidebar modules.

I’m beginning to wonder if a theme like redoable, which is based on the code from another theme is too risky these days. Everytime WordPress is updated there’s a risk the theme will break and I’d be dependent on two theme designers for updates. Or I’d have to figure it out myself. Even if I fix this problem will a future WordPress upgrade break things.

Any ideas or solutions?

Update: Resolution

Well, I resolved it and it was fairly quick an painless. The “Uninstall” button in the Redoable admin panel didn’t properly remove the Redoable options. The code was still set to remove K2 options. There was a post on the Redoable support forum for what line to change in the PHP code. Open optionsapptools.php, locate the line ” $cleanup = $wpdb->query(“DELETE FROM $wpdb->options WHERE option_name LIKE ‘k2%'”);” (it’s near the top) and change “k2” to “redo”. Then I uninstalled the Redoable theme and immediately repicked it again. Naturally I had to reset all my options and recreate the modules but then all was well.


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