I have a dream, except my dream is a lot smaller than racial equality. My dream today is simply that I can create a nice table on my WordPress site that doesn’t go crazy.
So let’s start with the nature of the problem. I have a post, about the top hits of 1943. It’s part of a long-term project I am working on that will eventually have me review all the Billboard hits from 1943 up to the present. Fun, right? Okay, maybe not, but I find some of it pretty interesting. I did the first year as a test, 1943, and while Billboard’s list wasn’t exactly up and running yet, I ended up with a combination of several lists and 117 songs to review. I reviewed them, I sorted them, I put them in a table.
A table that is 5 columns wide and more than 100 rows long.
It’s simple, it organizes the data, it’s boring. I would LIKE to be able to intersperse some comments here and there. Actually, I’d rather it looked like a playlist that people could click on, but that seems doubtful at the moment (Apple is not my friend). Regardless, it is a LONG table. And I have four options to display the data:
- Use the default TABLE block that comes with WordPress. I can use that block, but it isn’t the best to work with, and styling is a problem at times.
- Use an Advanced Table block but it REALLY doesn’t seem to like the new editor much. It might be a conflict with something, but I can’t tell what or why.
- Use TablePress. This is a really powerful tool for making great-looking tables, but it comes at a cost — the table is not actually IN the page, it is generated by a database and all the data is stored in the database first. It’s easy to populate, I have the data in Excel already, but I’d prefer NOT to put it in a table that is generated. I would much rather a flat table that I can edit and add comments throughout. You can’t do those kinds of edits or tweaks if the data is just generated.
- Ditch the table and use a list format. I could do this easily enough, since I have it in an Excel Table, I can easily reformat the same data into a nice “line of text” such as “##. Singer name – Song (Company)” and just paste it into a set of bullets. Anywhere I want to edit the table/list, I just add a couple of hard returns to break the list and type away.
None of those options are what I want. So I posted a Q on a FB group that has some good designers in it, and one guy got “immediately” what I was looking to do. He even noticed there was a problem with the page which might have something to do with why it wasn’t loading completely correctly, and I’ve fixed that part at least. But the table? Neither of us have a working solution.
Yet. But he is also willing to help look for an answer.
I found a great tool tonight that has some really nice “blocks” in it for doing different things in WordPress. I’ve reviewed 10 block collections previously, found some I really liked, and some that I absolutely LOVE from Stackable. So when I saw there was a great little collection called CoBlocks that had a LOT of blocks in it, a decent number of installs, and some positive reviews, AND it has something that looks like a “pricing table” where you could list a variety of information items, it sounded great. So I went down the rabbit hole of testing the set of blocks (Reviewing CoBlocks for WordPress). Alas, no joy in Mudville.
I’m also going to try GetWid (a collection of blocks that also sounds promising) and Ninja Tables (it also looks like it generates the tables the way TablePress does, but perhaps not, hard to tell yet).
There’s a simple way to do this, I know there is. I just have to get there without having to fight with the block codes I have. As I said, I have a dream…
Today I choose to search for the right tool for the job.
What choices are you making?