April – Week 4

It’s really unfortunate that I’m stuck using it in certain cases. It’s even more unfortunate that it has such a high market share and that people are still flocking to it as if it is a good solution for their CMS. Non-programmers see a pretty back-end and are astonished at its great and awe-inspiring magnificence. WordPress “programmers” look at it and see the myriad of filters, the nice looking documentation, and plethora of (mostly useless – I’ll get to this later) plugins and are captivated by the sheer power of the applications they can charge way too much for. I look at it and weep uncontrollably. On the inside, of course. As a man, I don’t cry.
– Jeremy Harris

So why learn WordPress? And if I’m not to disagree with Mr. Harris then how can I convince you it’s possibly a good idea. Skim this. WordPress gets a bit of hate because it’s easy for lazy devs to overload it with plugins and the back-end code is questionably bloated. If your the smart man on campus or a coding-ninja the I can certainly see what would annoy you about WordPress, but we’re not, we’re little fish and I think getting you from the basics of HTML/CSS into pushing a dynamic modern web site online we need a CMS.

I chose WordPress and I don’t regret, try Drupal if you don’t agree.

Now if you’re scratching your head, “What the hell’s a CMS?”, we’re into content management systems. Remember back when we made my girlfriend’s first site? Well I mentioned that she’d have a hard time updating it, and I’d have a harder time creating a page for every.single.product. Using a CMS solves that problem. WordPress is seen often as only a blogging platform, however I don’t think it takes long too learn, and with conservative use of plug-ins we can make some professional websites. We don’t need to learn much PHP (which WordPress relies upon) yet, but it will require some conceptual leaps from you as you run into yet more barriers. Patience.

Let’s get into this then, load up your server and watch Austin’s videos at AwfulMedia. He’s pretty good, don’t worry if it doesn’t go all your way, I found myself running into errors trying to figure out what I’d typed wrongly. Well I think it’s pretty normal, just keep going, your aiming for those concepts and general ideas, not mastering wizardry. Also take a look at LevelUpTuts for advice on creating a child theme for WordPress. Scott’s got a lot of great videos on various topics, I’d recommend bookmarking his videos and returning here later for more (Sass especially).

A few thoughts about WordPress thus far:

  1. Plug-ins can certainly be dangerous, avoid lower rated or unpopular plug-ins. I’d also avoid plugins that cache your site, I always found them to be more trouble than they’re worth. Here’s the Plug-ins I like to typically use: Akismet, Wordfence, SEO by Yoast, Backwpup and Revolution Slider. They’re all free.

  3. I bought this book: Professional WordPress by Brad Williams. I liked it, Wrox books can be a bit verbose, but if you think that you’ll be using WordPress for a while it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Some people might say it’s unneeded anyway, just read the codex. I like books.

  5. The file structure can be a little confusing at first, with time it will dawn upon you with more clarity.

  7. Be careful of changing the permalinks to “pretty” permalinks, I have had problems with this before. It may be easier for you to change the permalinks when the website is online


1. Download WordPress and watch the playlist at AwfulMedia.

2. Watch the WordPress videos at LevelUpTuts

Optional: Try some of the lessons on PHP at codecademy

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