Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Never underestimate WordPress
November 19th, 2009

Never underestimate WordPress. For years I basically created web sites using Claris Home Page and later, Macromedia Dreamweaver. I used another tool there for a bit but it’s name escapes me. My skill extends to nested tables, copy and paste JavaScript, a little XML and that is it. I can hack code after I have “read” it carefully. I can also tell the difference between acceptable and unacceptable design. I think.

My web site has looked like old brown web pages for two and half years now. It is actually based on a template called Gazette in iWeb. I liked the look and feel of “Gazette” and I reproduced it to some extent using Dreamweaver. It had an “old” look that was in keeping with my teaching of history. Well that look is cluttered I feel. I now wish to simplify site and page construction.

It is time to move on and I am going for something that is cleaner and a lot easier to navigate. A little more professional for want of a better word. I still hope there is something of me in the new site. We will just have to wait and see.

So, I have been rebuilding my web site from the ground up. Not the “antique looking” site you may be looking at right now but a site that is presently gestating within the confines of another sub-domain on my host as at the date of this post. I am using WordPress.

The thing about WordPress that I admire the most is it’s capacity to generate static web pages. That is simply excellent. You can have your blog and you can augment your ramblings and news with a variety of supporting content via the static pages.

One can be so empowered. One has the ability to produce a rather professional and elegant web site using WordPress and it is free. That contrasts so remarkably with some entities that charge you $500-00 for a web site with 5 static pages and an upkeep fee to match.

My new web site, which I hope I can launch before Christmas, will be built entirely using WordPress. Since the template employs drop-down nested menus I am free to incorporate quite a number of pages and navigation will not be such an interface hassle.

Some WordPress templates place the page based navigation in a horizontal bar across the top. That may limit you to say 7 pages. As well, other templates place the page navigation down a sidebar. That can be messy if you build an extensive site.

I have incorporated one code hack. I have taken the code generated by a flash album gallery generator and pasted it into the static page and blog post pages so I can easily display a bunch of images.

It is a little clunky but if I create a number of draft posts and pages in advance with the code added and simply leave them unpublished I can drop in a folder of say 32 aptly numbered images and the gallery will be created. All I need do then is finish writing the blog post or page content and publish. Not bad.

Some of the existing WordPress gallery plug-ins are nice but they are buggy or require you to host the images on their servers.

Getting the galleries right is important for me. My current galleries have poor navigation. I use a Photoshop macro to create the galleries at the moment.

I enjoy taking photographs. Good stress relief. So with this new WordPress based site hopefully users will find the galleries easier to navigate. I will also begin posting images up to Flickr more frequently so people can access the jpeg file if they so desire.

WordPress is powerful. Create pages with or without comments. Nested pages. Password protected pages. Publication dates predetermined. Embed flash. Podcasting enclosures. Rich widget capabilities. Mobile blogging is a snap. Self hosted Wordprsss users can tap into plug-ins and an extensive range of themes as well. A creative and devoted user/developer community.

I do hope WordPress will always maintain it’s logical ease of use and elegant ethos. I hope feature creep does not weigh WordPress down in the future. I would despair if I witnessed WordPress evolve into a bloated baggy monster.


One Response to “Never underestimate WordPress”

  1. Scribbler Says:

    WordPress is indeed excellent. I use Joomla which may not be as popular for ‘blogging’ but which is capable of much more should I need it. Both are excellent solutions for webpage creation though.

    I look forward to perusing your website :)