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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Yi debugs a plugin

Yi debugs a plugin

I’m not sure what kind of geek it takes to appreciate this reading – probably something quite extreme – but I think it’s brilliant and wanted to share.

The background: a helpful programmer had fixed up a WordPress plugin for me, for use in the redesigned version of Clarity (still a work in progress). It all worked fine until I tried to add a sidebar to the page displaying the plugin output. Then the sidebar suddenly ceased to work as a sidebar – it was ‘displaced’ to the bottom of the page.

I set out to troubleshoot this through trial and error. Tried removing the plugin display from the page – sidebar displayed correctly. Replaced plugin display on page – sidebar displaced again.

So it had to be something about the code generated by the plugin causing the problem – but what? There’s nothing in the source code to say it has to display at full-width, or indeed to set any width at all. No funny css classes, either; it’s all very simple stuff: a heading, some divs, some paragraphs.

I have the same layout with the same right-hand sidebar on my new free reading results page, and that works… doesn’t it? I cast an online reading just to check the sidebar was where it should be on the results page. What to ask? How about, ‘Why doesn’t that sidebar work?’

Answer (with the sidebar in place next to it): Hexagram 8 with line 6 moving:

‘Seeking union without a head.

After a bit more puzzling, I found the problem. The code generated by the plugin ended with ‘</div>’, but there was no corresponding opening ‘<div>’. Seeking union without a head of its own, the stray tag had prematurely closed a wrapper div before the sidebar.

You wouldn’t necessarily think a 3,000 year old book could debug your WordPress plugin for you…


Why is it called Change?

(Background to this: the ‘Yi’ in ‘Yijing’ (aka the ‘I’ in ‘I Ching’) means ‘change’. Why would an oracle be called ‘change’? A sensible explanation might be that the Yijing’s lines and hexagrams change, and maybe this was what made it different from its ancient sister-oracles that also used hexagrams. Change is what this oracle does… Continue Reading

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