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I love WordPress

by Brandon on February 21st, 2009

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). 

As an example, the new site I’m working on has a “featured content” slideshow on the home page that I designed using JavaScript and a little PHP.  The PHP code calls into WordPress and grabs the latest 5 pages tagged with “featured” by the editors, and it pulls an excerpt and image from them to display sequentially in a nice little slideshow to show off new and featured content.  WordPress made this easy for me to develop, and makes it easy for my less technical friends who do the content to make use of it.

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.

4 Comments
  1. I just ditched community server for my “Tools” web site. I ditched it because when I tried to upgrade it to CS 2008.5 my database got corrupted and I decided that was it for SQL.

    I am using Graffiti CMS right now as a replacement and it’s far easier to use IMHO. It lacks the file download functionality of CS but it’s far less complicated and supports XCOPY deployment.

  2. Has your blog always had a nice blank space to the right? Seems kind of wasteful. I have been reading your blog for a while, I just do not remember that space being there. I could be crazy though 😉

    http://i43.tinypic.com/1o93sz.png

  3. That’s because you have an ad blocker 😛

  4. What a sexy blog, love the theme, what are you using?

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