Happy New Year from OnMSFT.com! (site issues and updates)

Kip Kniskern

Good morning and welcome to 2023!

If you tried to check out OnMSFT.com over the weekend, you may have noticed either some site issues or a new theme, as we made a second attempt to update/upgrade our site. Unfortunately, once again things didn’t work out, and we’ve reverted back to our old theme.

We use a WordPress theme builder called GeneratePress, which has used a system called WP Show Posts to create lists of posts. However this plugin (built by the authors of GeneratePress) is being deprecated in favor of GenerateBlocks, a WordPress “Gutenberg” based system, and a feature called “Query Loop.” So along with a fresh new look, we need to upgrade from WP Show Posts to GenerateBlocks.

We created a staging site on our server, with a separate database but running on the same hardware and software to create a new theme, with everything working well. However, when we moved the theme (not as simple a process as it used to be when everything was just html/php/css) to the main site, something broke. The “Elements” GeneratePress uses would not save, issuing a “response is not a valid JSON response” error. Lots of digging later, including support tickets to GeneratePress has not resolved the issue.

As you may know, we host our site on Azure (specifically on an Ubuntu 22.04 VM with PHP 8.1 and MySQL installed). Since we use Azure backups, it’s a simple process to spin up a backup VM, revert our site back to where it was on Friday, and try to get this figured out. These errors can be caused by plugin conflicts or firewall issues, but neither of them seems to be the cause.

Anyway, sorry for the inconvenience. The good news is nothing has been lost, we have a good backup/restore system, and we can take things back to square one while we work on the now secondary VM to figure out what’s causing these issues.