I love WordPress
If there’s one example of a free and open source project that continually impresses me, it is WordPress. I’ve used it to power this blog for quite a while. But I also used it as a CMS for the WeHaveHope.org website, and am now using it as one for an even larger project that I’m working on – a new website to replace the one currently in use by Village Volunteers.
I never really had any experience with PHP until I started dabbling in WordPress, but it was easy enough to pick up the basics, and the WordPress “API” documentation for building “themes” is quite good. It provides all the infrastructure for the site and great tools for content editing and publishing, leaving me to only worry about the design and layout of the site itself (and in turn letting the content people worry just about content).
Now don’t get me wrong, I love ASP .NET. If I were writing a web service or any kind of complicated web application I’d use that without a doubt, if only because I’m more comfortable in C# and the relevant tools than with their open source / Linux alternatives. In fact, that’s why BrandonTools.com runs on a Windows server – I had (and still have) some plans to dabble in some web service projects, and so I put that site on a Windows server so I could at least host prototypes there.
Unfortunately, the Community Server software powering BrandonTools.com hasn’t impressed me at all. In fact, I’m probably going to ditch it soon if I can find a good alternative and can find a reasonable way to migrate as much content as possible. It’s a shame really, and for me proof that the effectiveness and utility of applications are often more important than the details of underlying technology, or the philosophy with which it was developed.
So for straight-up web site design, I’m hooked on WordPress, and not afraid to admit it. At the moment it’s clearly the best tool I’ve found for the job. I would love to see an equivalent platform get developed for Windows / ASP .NET, and who knows, maybe something like Oxite will get there some day. But so far WordPress seems to be in a league of its own, not just as a blogging platform but as a very effective content management platform – particularly with their latest 2.7 update which really raised the bar.
Oh and did I mention that in 2.7 its web configuration tool has a one-click in-place upgrade option that pulls down the latest version directly from WordPress.org and applies it to your site? Yeah, it’s seriously slick.