It all began to go wrong when I started writing a post for Maggie’s Friday the 13th call for support, about how the sex work community on Twitter was responding to the one-two punch of FOSTA/SESTA and the Backpage raid. The post needed a lot embedded tweets from sex workers, and while I was reviewing the post I noticed something odd: My blog was not displaying the tweets correctly.
Normally, an embedded tweet pretty closely resembles the appearance of a tweet in Twitter. For example, tweeting the title of this post should look something like this:
But when I previewed the post, the embedded tweets looked more like this:
It’s not that simple though, because I’m using the Headway theme framework. That’s a very cool tool which allows me to visually design custom themes. However, when I fired up the Headway Visual Editor, I saw that I was using a shared set of styling rules for the main page and the individual post pages, so they should be rendered the same. But clearly they’re not. This was beginning to smell like some kind of bug in how Headway renders single post pages.
Before going further down that road, I wanted to make sure I was running the most up-to-date version of the framework. It’s supposed to be updated automatically, but of the update failed, an old version of the theme framework might not work quite right on newer versions of WordPress. As it turns out, when I logged in to the Headway site to see if I was using the latest version, I got an unpleasant surprise: Headway’s most recent release of the theme framework was version 3.8.9…released in October, 2016.
Crap. It looks like Headway essentially went out of business a year and a half ago and tried to keep their customers from noticing. Rumor has it that Headway ran through all their money too fast and had to lay off almost everybody, leaving just enough of the company operational to allow them to keep collecting licensing fees through the website. This is sneaky, desperate, and underhanded.
(It’s a darned shame too, because Headway did so much right. Most WordPress page building tools are aimed at designers building small storefront sites, so they are focused on allowing designers to make each page unique, like an online brochure layout. Headway is different, because it works through the WordPress theme system. You don’t build pages, you build themes which can be applied to all your pages and blog posts at once. Yet you can also do page building by creating a unique theme variant for each page. And despite all that, it rendered pages very fast.)
So now I’ve been looking through the morass of WordPress theme frameworks — Genesis, Divi, Themify, Builder, PageLines, Ultimatum — the list goes on and on. It’s hard to tell, but some of them appear to have gone the way of Headway. Meanwhile, I’m trying stuff and experimenting.
So if you see wild theme changes here on Windypundit, now you know why.