WordPress Complete

By Hasin Hayder
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  1. WordPress and the World of Blogging

About this book

WordPress is an open-source blog engine released under the GNU general public license. It allows users to easily create dynamic blogs with great content and many outstanding features. It is an ideal tool for developing blogs and though it is chiefly used for blogging, it can also be used as a complete CMS with very little effort. Its versality and ease of use has attracted a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users.

If you want to create powerful, fully-featured blogs in no time, this book is for you. This book will help you explore WordPress showing you what it offers and how to go about building your blog with the system.

You will be introduced to the main aspects of a blog – users, communities, posts, comments, news feeds – and learn how to manage them using WordPress. You will develop the skills and confidence to manage all types of content, be it text or images, on your blog, and also understand how users interact with the blog. In working through the book you'll be inspired as well as informed, and have the capability and the ideas to make your blog cutting edge and exciting to maximize its impact.

Publication date:
November 2006
Publisher
Packt
Pages
304
ISBN
9781904811893

 

Chapter 1. WordPress and the World of Blogging

In the world of the Internet, you must have some sort of website to publish your identity. It could be somewhere where you can write about your work and interests. You may also write an online diary, which would be more interesting to read. People get to know you more than through any other media when they read about your regular activities, your thoughts, and news about you. These sorts of diaries are made for public viewing. People usually don't post their very personal or confidential information here.

These online diaries are interesting fields to grab news. "Netizens" describe these diaries with a special term "blog", which is actually derived from the word "weblog". Blogs are places where you make yourself global. They can be of different types. People always log news that interests them. Some write about music, some about politics, some about sports, and so forth. Blogs are the best place if you want to collect recent news. In real life when some natural disaster takes place or something special happens, journalists and other people always search these blogs to be up-to-date. Recently, after the tsunami or after the bombings in London, the very first news was published in blogs. Blogs are a world-renowned system for publishing your content; there are several million active bloggers in this world.

Blogging History

According to Wikipedia, the largest free encyclopedia, the term "weblog" was first used by John Barger in 1997. In May, 1999, Peter Merholz converted the word into a new term keeping the characters the same. He made it "we blog" instead of "weblog". He especially pointed out the term "blog". Shortly after that, this word was globally accepted both as a noun meaning a weblog and as a verb meaning "to post in someone's blog".

One of the early blog sites "Xanga" had 100 weblogs in 1997, which surprisingly turned into 50 million by the end of 2005. People started using blogs globally in 1999. Blogging started becoming popular when among others, Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan from Pyra Labs created their blog publishing tool Blogger. Using this site anyone can start blogging within minutes. The whole system was free and very attractive. Surprisingly, Google bought the whole service in 2004. Blogger is still a free blog-publishing tool, but under the banner of Google. The words "weblog", "weblogging", and "weblogger" were inserted into The Oxford Dictionary in March, 2003. This purely indicates the magic of the word "blog", which is still the favorite publishing system among millions of people.

By the end of 2001, blogging had become more popular. Everyone focused on the possibilities and importance of blogs. Shortly after that people started researching on blogging. Even schools of journalism were very interested in the whole process.

There are other publishing systems like Wikis and CMSs, which also gained popularity in the meantime. CMS stands for Content Management System and these are generally used for publishing articles, news content, or general content in a website. They are especially built for maintaining every kind of website. Joomla, CivicSpace, Typo3, and DotnetNuke are popular CMS software systems. There is also a special kind of CMS that is called a Wiki. In Wikis any user can modify contents, and all the posts are editable by general users; and usually, Wikis are devoted to a specific audience. A Wiki tracks every change made by the users so that you can find who changed the information and why. One of the most popular Wiki engines is MediaWiki (http://www.mediawiki.com ). A blog is also a kind of content management system but the main purpose is to maintain the articles chronologically.

 

Blogging History


According to Wikipedia, the largest free encyclopedia, the term "weblog" was first used by John Barger in 1997. In May, 1999, Peter Merholz converted the word into a new term keeping the characters the same. He made it "we blog" instead of "weblog". He especially pointed out the term "blog". Shortly after that, this word was globally accepted both as a noun meaning a weblog and as a verb meaning "to post in someone's blog".

One of the early blog sites "Xanga" had 100 weblogs in 1997, which surprisingly turned into 50 million by the end of 2005. People started using blogs globally in 1999. Blogging started becoming popular when among others, Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan from Pyra Labs created their blog publishing tool Blogger. Using this site anyone can start blogging within minutes. The whole system was free and very attractive. Surprisingly, Google bought the whole service in 2004. Blogger is still a free blog-publishing tool, but under the banner of Google. The words "weblog", "weblogging", and "weblogger" were inserted into The Oxford Dictionary in March, 2003. This purely indicates the magic of the word "blog", which is still the favorite publishing system among millions of people.

By the end of 2001, blogging had become more popular. Everyone focused on the possibilities and importance of blogs. Shortly after that people started researching on blogging. Even schools of journalism were very interested in the whole process.

There are other publishing systems like Wikis and CMSs, which also gained popularity in the meantime. CMS stands for Content Management System and these are generally used for publishing articles, news content, or general content in a website. They are especially built for maintaining every kind of website. Joomla, CivicSpace, Typo3, and DotnetNuke are popular CMS software systems. There is also a special kind of CMS that is called a Wiki. In Wikis any user can modify contents, and all the posts are editable by general users; and usually, Wikis are devoted to a specific audience. A Wiki tracks every change made by the users so that you can find who changed the information and why. One of the most popular Wiki engines is MediaWiki (http://www.mediawiki.com ). A blog is also a kind of content management system but the main purpose is to maintain the articles chronologically.

 

Anatomy of a Blog


Unlike blogs, a blog engine is not a single website. However, the engine consists of different parts that are organized in a very structured way. Let us first discuss what the different types of blogs are.

Types of Blogs

In the real world, there are different types of blogs. I do not actually mean their purpose, but rather the category of their contents. In the following sections, you will see some of them and understand their necessity.

General Blogs

When people say 'blog', they usually mean the blogs that belong to this category. These blogs are generally text-based, but contain a lot of images and other media like

audio and video. These blogs are easy to maintain, lightweight, and are very popular for their simplicity. WordPress and Drupal are general blog engines.

Photo Blogs

Photoblogs or Phlogs are special kind of blogs where a group of people or individuals share their photos collected from various sources. These blogs are generally dedicated towards a specific audience. Most photoblogs are free. The usual subjects of photoblogs are films, wars, herbs, natural beauty or even weird images, and so forth; it's impossible to specify all of them. Professional photographers also share photos through their blogs.

In photoblogs, images are the main content; we all know that a picture speaks a thousand words. Among the photoblogs, one of the most important is Photoblogs.org, which is developed by Brandon Stone. Photoblogs.org started with 15 blogs in 2002 and now it contains around 10,000 blogs in 40 languages!

Some photobloggers upload images in their web space using any FTP application and directly link them through their blogs. Some bloggers use online photo repositories like Flickr (www.flickr.com) , SmugMug (http://www.smugmug.com/) , or Zoomr (www.zoomr.com) to reduce the bandwidth and also to achieve full-fledged image administration. These days PicasaWeb (http://picasaweb.google.com/ ) is also a very popular image-sharing service.

Mobile Blogs

Mobile blogs are often known as Moblogs. In this type of blogs, people access the contents and modify them for their mobile phones or portable devices like PDAs. Moblogs are usually developed in Japan where people have a huge number and variety of portable devices with cameras. The term Moblog was suggested by Adam Greenfield, who also arranged the First International Moblogging Conference (1IMC) in July, 2003. Mobile blogs are very popular these days due to the availability of portable devices. In 2004, on Singapore's national day, a national Moblog was launched, which is the first national moblog in the world. Mobile blogs are often known as gLogs (pronounced as glogs), when they are especially used as photoblogs.

Audio Blogs

Audio blogs are especially designed MP3 blogs, whose contents are downloadable in MP3 format. Most audio blogs are devoted to a special genre of music like rock, classic, or jazz. Audio bloggers also publish their content in AAC or Ogg Vorbis format, which is the most popular among *nix users. According to Wikipedia, many music bloggers publish content that may violate copyright laws. However, sometimes they manage to avoid it, since most of their contents are either old or not

reissued recently and so may not cause monetary damage for the copyright holder. Many audio bloggers also place a notice in their blogs like "If the owner objects about this post, I will immediately remove it from my blog". Many commercial music companies also maintain audio blogs and publish their music files as an advertisement to gain popularity.

Video Blogs

Often known as vlogs, video blogs are similar to audio blogs except for the type of content they serve. Vlogs distribute video files to Netizens. These blogs became very popular when video streaming was invented and people started getting higher bandwidth connections than they had previously. After the marketing of Apple's iPod or iTune, vlogs became extremely popular. In the iTune community, video blogging is often known as "video podcasting". Some important facts from vlog history include: Yahoo's vlogger community grew to more than 1000 members in June, 2005; Apple declared that its iPod will play video files; and, Apple's iTune store will also serve videos. These days VlogMap.org shows vloggers from around the world with the help of Google Earth and Google Maps.

Common Terms

When you enter the world of blogging, you may hear a lot of new terms like posts, comments, trackbacks, and so forth. These are the parts that make a blog successful and usable in the real world. In the following sections, we will discuss in brief what these terms mean.

Post

Posts are the core part of a blog. Every time someone writes an article in a blog, it is known as a post. Whenever a post is made, visitors can make comments and follow-ups. In most of the blog engines, each post has a separate URL, which is also called permalink. With the help of different administrative panels, blog users can make posts in their blogs. For example, if a blog is text-based, there must be a system available to write the posts. If it is a photoblog, there must be tools available to manage pictures before posting. In audio blogs, there are also facilities for streaming the audio files.

Comments

Comments are actually follow-ups made to posts by the visitors to a blog. Comments may either be made by anonymous users or may require registration to write. These days many blogs allow anonymous users to comment, but with a necessary spam protection system. Comment spams are those useless automated comments that are simply advertising a product or a website or that are totally irrelevant to a post. These days some online marketing agencies are spreading advertisements via automated bots (bots are "robot" scripts). So if you allow anonymous commenting, be aware of comment spams.

Permalinks

Permalinks are an abbreviation for permanent links. Generally, a permalink is a permanent URL to a specific post in your blog. To optimize blogs for search engines and to make the URLs more readable, people use permalinks. Permalinks are short, straightforward, and easy to remember. In commercial websites with huge content, permanency of URL is a must to provide better marketing and advertising of the content.

Let me show you why permalinks are friendlier with search engines. For example, suppose a URL is in the form http://example.com/ex.php?id=1&stat=4. When this page is linked from another site and the robots of search engines get this link, mostly they tend to skip the dynamic part of the URL. That is, the search-engine robots browse only up to http://example.com/ex.php, which by no means delivers the exact content you wanted to show. Moreover, consider the permalink URL that refers to the same blog post: http://blog.example.com/posts/php-lookback-2005. This is more readable and user-friendly. So permalinks are of great importance to bloggers, if they want to increase their site rank, publicity, and traffic.

Trackbacks

Trackbacks are referral links in which someone refers to your post in their blog. Basically, trackbacks are simple notifications that are sent when someone refers to the content of another blog. When someone trackbacks your post, a link to his or her blog will be displayed as a comment in that article so that you will be aware of all the referrals. However, spammers are also ready to abuse this useful system to advertise their product or websites.

RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a very strong medium to distribute the up-to-date content or news from your website to the people who subscribe to RSS in your blog. WordPress and almost every other blog engine supports auto-generation of RSS feeds. RSS works great as an advertising medium. If you are not familiar with RSS, then let me explain it briefly.

A typical blog post RSS contains a link, a title, and a small excerpt of the ten to fifteen most recent posts. So when you make a post in your blog or someone posts a comment, the RSS updates automatically and your RSS subscriber gets an automatic notification about the update. They can then examine the RSS feeds and find the latest content. These days RSS is a very popular tool, but is highly criticized. This is because there are three independent forms of RSS that are not fully compatible with each other. They are RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and RSS 0.91. Atom is rather a more matured syndication system that takes the best from RSS and is developed in a structured way.

Tags

Tags are keywords relevant to your post through which someone may find it. When you make a post, just find some keywords that best describe your post. These keywords are tracked by Technorati (see below to know about Technorati) and other indexing tools. For example, if you post about a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, tag it with relevant keywords like land subsidence, earthquake, disaster, and death. When people want to know about recent earthquakes, they may search with one of these terms, which will help your content to come in the front page.

Simply use your common sense for choosing keywords. Don't abuse this tagging feature by using irrelevant tags to increase the traffic. If you abuse, there are chances of being banned from those indexing services and that will cause a major failure in your blogging life.

Please note that some blog engines, for instance Blogger, do not support trackbacks and tags unlike WordPress.

 

Your Friends in Blogging


Well, what if nobody knows that you have a blog or you blogged recently? Unless you are maintaining a very private blog, there is no value in writing your diaries without a reader. The question is how to let others know about your blogs. Of course, they would not be interested to read that you had a cup of coffee this morning or you slept eight hours last night. To inform people about your worthy content, a search engine is your best friend. So the more frequently you publish your content, the more the search engine robots visit your page. However, there is something really special for bloggers.

Note

Search engine robots or spiders are automated scripts developed by search engine companies that crawl through the websites using the navigation links found on them. These robots just read the content of your page and add it to the search engine database by proper indexing. Thereafter, anyone can reach your page whenever they search for any relevant keyword that was present in your page content.

Technorati is the greatest content-syndication site, which indexes your content with the help of some tags. Technorati has automated trackback URLs, which ping the users when you update your blog. So Technorati indexes your recent update immediately after you make a post on your site and displays your post in that tag category. For example, when someone wants to know what other bloggers are thinking about AJAX, he or she goes to Technorati and searches for the term AJAX. Technorati will display all the blog posts that are indexed by it in different orders like chronologically or as per blog's authority. So you will not only get that information, but also you will be aware of the recent trends. We will learn the details about how to automatically ping Technorati to index your content in Chapter 4. Till then for more information visit Technorati at http://technorati.com.

Another tool that helps you to publish your content for other people is del.icio.us. If you read it without the breaks, you will find the word "delicious" in this URL http://del.icio.us/. del.icio.us is the largest public bookmark system operated via the same tag mechanism that is found in Technorati except that you have to enter your data manually. So when you make a post, just go to del.icio.us and bookmark your content with some relevant tags so that other people can find your content. If they find your content useful, they will also tag it and day by day it will be more visible to the outer world.

One more tool that you must be aware of is digg. This operates with a slightly different mechanism than the previous two. If you update your blog, just go to http://digg.com/ and submit your news. People can then rate your news by clicking on the digg option. The more your content is digged, the more popularity you will get. When people search your content, they get the most digged content on the front page. So you gain a great publicity, if your content is really useful.

All these tools are of very high volume and crawled by search engines every day. So if your URLs are indexed on these sites, no doubt you will get huge publicity. As more people visit your blog, you become more successful in blogging.

 

Meet the Giants


When you start blogging, you have several options for choosing a blog engine. You can choose a commercial one or a free one; you can choose a tool that suits you perfectly. Before starting a blog, just review the contents of your blog and the audience you are writing for.

In this section, we will see some popular blog engines, review their features, and discuss why WordPress is one of the best among them. We will also see what makes WordPress so perfect and popular, and how WordPress can fit to your needs.

The first name that comes from the history of blogging is Blogger.com (http://www.blogger.com) . It is one of the earliest blog engines that is still available in the market. It's free to use but not open-sourced at all. You will find a huge blogger community who use Blogger.com.

Next we have the Blog City, another old but easy-to-maintain blog engine. You will also find Yahoo 360 as another great blogging tool these days. Yahoo 360 started in 2005, and came into the spotlight because of its abundance of features. We will also discuss MSN spaces, something from Microsoft that is similar to the Yahoo 360 blog. You will also see some of the features of the MovableType and ExpressionEngine blog engines.

We will focus on some of the strong competitors to WordPress like boastMachine, Drupal, Serendipity, b2evolution, and Nucleus. Finally, we will see two other promising alternatives, namely Textpattern and bblog.

Blogger

Blogger is a lightweight blogging engine served by the giant, Google. This is one of the earliest blog engines that made blogging so popular. It is totally free to register an account with Blogger. The key feature of Blogger is its simplicity and its themes. The negative features are its incompatibility with plug-ins, being closed-sourced, and advertisements. Blogger blogs are very friendly with search engines as it is a part of Google- a very popular search engine. You can find Blogger at http://www.blogger.com.

Blog City

Administering blogs with Blog City (www.blog-city.com ), another senior from blogging history, is really simple; it's also free. The feature that will excite you most is its simplicity. Their major goal is hyper minimalism. Although not feature-rich, Blog City is a text-based user-friendly blog engine. The missing features are a photo gallery and eye‑splashing themes. Moreover, forced advertisements may be considered as another drawback. Blog City is also slightly heavier to load, i.e. it takes more time to download, than its peers.

Yahoo 360

Plenty of features make Yahoo 360 one of the coolest blog engines. Yahoo 360 was introduced in 2005. Generally, Yahoo 360 is a social‑communicating tool in which blogging is a feature. Integration with a lot of public services like Yahoo photos and Yahoo news makes it efficient and very strong in the market. However, all these things also confuse a blogger whose main target is only blogging. At the time of writing this book, the Yahoo 360 blog didn't support plug-ins.

MSN Spaces

MSN spaces (http://spaces.live.com/) is the blogging tool introduced by the software giant, Microsoft in December, 2004. This blog is integrated with MSN Messenger and features a photo gallery, capability to SMS content from mobile phones, and integration with MyMSN. There are plenty of features that are not particularly suited for just blogging, but rather for social communication and personalization. MSN spaces serve advertisements in their blogs and the entire blog engine is a little heavyweight.

Six Apart

Six Apart (http://www.sixapart.com/) is another company that deals with blogging. It developed several popular blogging engines some of which are free while some are not. Among them, MovableType is a very popular blogging engine. MovableType sets the standards for many blogging features and develops one of the three popular blogging APIs (MovableType, MetaWeblog, and Blogger API). The other blogging engines developed by SixApart are Vox (www.vox.com),TypePad(www.typepad.com), and LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com/). Among these, LiveJournal is very popular. You would be surprised if you see some of the statistics of LiveJournal. It is a hosted free blogging engine that has more than 96 million accounts among which 19 million are active. The number of posts per hour is above 18000.

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine (http://www.expressionengine.com) supports a lot of features, so it is actually more than a blog engine; sometimes it is called a web publishing engine by its developers. Even when you compare ExpressionEngine with other CMSs with its features, it will obtain a higher rank. ExpressionEngine is sleek, powerful, and documented very well by its developers. It has tons of features and modules. ExpressionEngine is a commercial and costly blogging tool (better say an advanced CMS), which also supports a very restricted free version with minimal features. Moreover, its administration panel is quite complicated, which can be daunting to learn for beginners and non-technical bloggers. ExpressionEngine also lacks plug-ins, themes, and a huge user community.

 

Other Blog Engines


Besides these commercial or hosted solutions, there are also some cool free open‑source blogging engines. Let us take a look at them.

Serendipity

Serendipity, often called s9y, is a strong competitor to WordPress. It is feature‑rich, smooth, and well structured; so no one can skip it at a glance. However, the main problem of s9y is the lack of plug-ins and its heavy weight. s9y takes more bandwidth and time to serve its content than WordPress. However, Serendipity is a neat and very nice blogging tool for those who expect something more than just a blog. In Serendipity, you will have full control over plug-in development and management. This blog engine is compatible with different kinds of database servers like MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc. You will find Serendipity at this URL: www.s9y.org.

boastMachine

Another promising open-source blogging engine that recently came into focus is boastMachine (http://boastology.com/). It features rating of posts, a spam filter, an image manager, etc. By default, all these features are also available with WordPress via plug-ins. boastMachine is a lightweight engine. The main drawback of boastMachine is its incompatibility with plug-ins. Being comparatively new to the blogging market and maintained by a single user, boastMachine lacks a large user community and online help.

Drupal

Drupal is actually used as a content management system but was originally written by Dries Buytaert as a bulletin-board system. It's a system with very strong architecture featuring plug-ins and themes. Drupal has a huge user community and excellent documentation. Since Drupal's main goal is not blogging, it has plenty of modules that are best suitable for a website. Moreover, Drupal has modules like e-commerce, photo gallery, CVS integration, and mailing list manager. Mailing list manager is a feature through which you can manage a group of users and send mails to them. The Drupal administration panel is quite heavy and confusing for new bloggers. In the real world, there are different modified distributions of Drupal among which CivicSpace is a notable one.

b2evolution

One of the greatest features offered by b2evolution (http://b2evolution.net/) is multi-user blogging, which is also present in WordPress via WordPress MU. This means you can host a single blog, but it can be used by multiple users as separate entities. b2evoution features auto-installation with minimum hassle. It's a feature-rich blog engine. One of the greatest drawbacks of b2evolution is the lack of themes and plug-ins. Its administration panel is rich but very confusing. It is comparatively heavier than WordPress.

Nucleus CMS

Nucleus CMS (http://nucleuscms.org/) is also a popular content management system. It is actually more than a blog engine. Nucleus supports a multi-lingual and multi-author blogging environment. Some other extensive features are the availability of a huge number of templates and plug-ins, an easy administration panel, easy syndication support, etc. Nucleus exposes a rich set of APIs to extend it via plug-ins. Administration of Nucleus is more complicated than that of other blog engines.

Textpattern

Textpattern (http://www.textpattern.com/) is another lightweight blog engine that is compatible with plug-ins. Its main goal is to be a general-purpose CMS system. Textpattern supports multi-lingual blogging via UTF-8. Its feature-richness and easy administration makes it a very strong competitor to WordPress. Textpattern is developed by Dean Allen and is available on the market since early 2001.

WordPress

WordPress is comparatively more lightweight than many of its siblings. It is a feature-rich, well‑structured blogging engine that has a huge user base. You will find the documentation of WordPress is some of the best documentation ever made. You will also get a very quick response from its user community to any problem you may ever have. There are thousands of contributors who are regularly developing plug-ins and themes. So if any lack of feature is found, you can easily find some good plug-ins to remedy it. Moreover, as a worst-case scenario, if you can't find any plug-in that fulfills your need, you can develop one on your own with the help of the state-of-the-art documentation and plug-in API of WordPress. Installing, administering, and maintaining your blog with WordPress is so easy that you require no previous blogging experience to deliver a world-class blog.

Before proceeding further, let us see the complete feature list of WordPress:

  • Supports unlimited categories and sub-categories

  • Automatic syndication by RSS and Atom

  • Uses XML RPC interface for trackbacks and remote posting

  • Can cope with email posting

  • Supports plug-ins and themes (skinnable)

  • Ability to import data from MovableType, Textpattern, Greymatter, b2evolution, and Blogger, which is a great advantage when you want to start your blog from an existing one

  • Features extensive documents and a rich set of APIs to extend it

  • Very easy to administer and maintain with no blogging experience required

  • Very convenient search facility

  • Instant publishing of content, no matter how long it is, unlike some other blog engine where it is really a headache to update a simple thing

  • Multi-lingual blogging capability

  • Very well-structured administration panel with tons of features

  • Link manager

With the help of plug-ins and a rich set of APIs, you can modify WordPress to meet your requirements for even a complete website. Finally, WordPress comprises of tons of plug-ins, themes, and a really huge user community that can turn your blogging experience into a happy time.

WordPress is the best tool to start blogging with. Its administration panel will simply help you like a wizard. WordPress recently released version 2.0, which is a great upgrade, and has a lot of eye-catching features. We will cover them in Chapter 4. WordPress is developed in PHP, the world's most highly used scripting language, and uses MySQL as its database back end. So you not only get its cool features, but also the advantage of using the state-of-the-art database and scripting language. No doubt, WordPress will make your blogging life easier than ever. Let us now see some examples of other people's blogs, Codex, and some of its extraordinary themes.

 

The World of WordPress


WordPress is an open-source blog engine that is developed by Matt Mullenweg and Ryan Boren and released under the GNU General Public License. It's one of the most popular blogging tools among its siblings. WordPress is capable of managing a huge amount of data in a very structured way. Administration of WordPress is very simple, which makes it the first choice for thousands of users.

The name "WordPress" was proposed by one of Matt's friends, Christine Selleck. WordPress gained popularity and major acceptance among millions of users in a very short time. It has a huge user community. As mentioned before, one of the greatest advantages that you find in WordPress is the availability of a lot of plug-ins and themes. The code of WordPress itself is very structured and makes it easier for developers to extend it by plug-ins. Codex, the official helpdesk for WordPress is very rich and it documents almost every piece of functionality delivered by WordPress with a lot of good examples.

We will discuss the pros and cons of using WordPress against its closest competitors later in this book. We will go through almost everything in WordPress. In a nutshell, WordPress is the easiest and the most enjoyable blog engine.

The best place where you can learn the ins and outs of WordPress is its central documentation system, Codex (http://codex.wordpress.org). WordPress has a world-class documentation and help system where you can find an answer to almost every question regarding WordPress. Following is a screenshot from Codex:

Codex is divided into several categories and sub-categories for beginners, advanced users, and developers. Just head into the category to which you think your problem belongs. For example, if you find problems regarding installation, kick-starting blogging, or administration just move to the beginners section. If you want to discover more about using plug-ins, syndication, database backup, or moving your blog then head into the advanced category.

If you are interested in extending WordPress by writing plug-ins or decorating your blog with self-developed themes, go straight to the developers section and study the plug‑in APIs and theme documentation.

WordPress community also develops a cool forum named bbForum, which is also developed as an open-source forum module. This forum features different categories and sub-categories where you can directly post your problems and get help from thousands of users. You can also post solutions to other people's problems.

The WordPress community is very active and you will find rapid solutions to your problems here.

If you are a WordPress theme or plug-in developer, you can publish your work in the plug-in or theme section of Codex, from where other people can find these updates. WordPress Codex is an interesting place for WordPress geeks.

WordPress comes with a great repository of themes and plug-ins that are contributed by its huge user community. Codex itself is the best place where you can find answers to almost every type of question regarding WordPress.

WordPress also maintains regular gatherings and meet‑ups on its IRC channel. If you want to participate just join #WordPress channel in irc.freenode.net with your favorite IRC client. You will find many developers and can talk to them directly. This is really great fun.

Posting and Participating in WordPress Forum

Whenever you have problems to which you find no answer in Codex, you can go directly to the community forum and post your problem there. While posting just keep in mind that you should tag your post with relevant keywords so that other people who encounter the same type of problem can find it easily.

To post problems in the WordPress community, you have to register a free account. You can visit the URL http://wordpress.org/support/register.php and give your name, email address, and other optional things while registration. If you succeed, you will receive a password delivered to your mailbox. You can log in with that password and username to this community.

If you go to the WordPress support forums at http://wordpress.org/support, then you will find the following categories. Just select a category for your problem and post in that category. If you post in the wrong category, there are severe chances that you won't get a proper reply.

Finding Themes for WordPress

There are thousands of theme developers for WordPress and most of their work free for public use. They all use some specific repository to publish their themes. The best source of themes and plug-ins is Codex. Let us look at the following URLs for themes:

  • If you want to develop themes, then the following URL is the best tutorial you can have:

To be informed about the arrival of new themes always visit the themes section in Codex and see the themes marked as new.

Finding Plug-Ins and WordPress News

Plug-ins are the most exciting feature of WordPress. They are small pieces of code that can be managed from the administration panel. The WordPress plug-in management system is so flexible that if you upload your plug-ins in the plug-in folder, you will immediately get access to them via the plug-in section of the administration panel. You can also activate and de-activate them instantly.

WordPress plug-ins are basically meant to extend WordPress features. For example, if you want to add a photo gallery and a photo management system in conjunction with the world's best photo-sharing system Flickr (http://www.flickr.com), you can use FAlbum. You can syndicate RSS in your post using RSS processor plug-ins, which we will develop later in Chapter 9. You can do almost everything you want to do by using these plug-ins.

The best sources of plug-ins available over the net are the following:

There are several sites where news and events about WordPress are published daily or as soon as they are available. Moreover, there are several sites where you can find news about themes and plug-ins. The following are three up-to-date news sources of WordPress.

  • And of course, Codex

Moreover, if you want to keep yourself up to date about new or upgraded releases of WordPress, you can sign in to its mailing list from the download page. When you subscribe, you will receive all upcoming news directly into your mailbox as the WordPress newsletter. Just notice that there is a mailing list subscribing system available at the bottom of the page (http://wordpress.org/download/). This feature really comes handy to keep yourself notified.

 

Summary


In this chapter, you have been made familiar with blogging and different types of blogging software. You have also seen the major benefits of using WordPress over other blog engines. WordPress is solely devoted to blogging, but you can also use it as a complete CMS with minimal hassle. Moreover, you will gain a lot of popularity with the WordPress community, if you develop themes and plug-ins. In the next chapter, we will discuss how to grab WordPress, set it up, and kick-start blogging.

About the Author

  • Hasin Hayder

    Hasin Hayder graduated in Civil Engineering from the Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) in Bangladesh. He is a Zend-certified Engineer and expert in developing localized applications. He is currently working as a Technical Director in Trippert Labs and managing the local branch in Bangladesh. Beside his full time job, Hasin writes his blog at https://hasin.wordpress.com, writes article in different websites and maintains his open source framework, Orchid. Hasin lives in Bangladesh with his wife Ayesha and his son, Afif.

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