Step Five – WordPress

It’s what is known as a Content Management System or CMS. It helps you maintain the stuff on your website without worrying about the code and craziness behind your website (that’s my job).

Two Flavours

There are two versions of WordPress, don’t get them confused.

  • WordPress.com
    • You can host a FREE WordPress site on their web servers and receive a FREE sub-domain. There are, of course, limitations on what you can do.
    • You can pay extra for a domain name and other benefits
  • WordPress.org
    • Download everything you need to set up WordPress on your the web server that you choose

Oh and…. I’ve decided I REALLY hate guttenberg.

If you can, edit “wp-config.php” then add the lines to make WordPress slightly better:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 );
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

This just means “Don’t bloat up my database by storing every single, little, itty-bitty change that I make to my posts to correct spelling or grammar mistakes or when I change a picture.”

And the other one means: “Don’t you dare upgrade to Guttenberg or whatever other huge changes WordPress releases simply because I have no idea if that major upgrade will break all my plugins.”


Alternatives:

If you don’t want or like WordPress, there are other “free” options out there like Wix or Weebly.

https://sites.google.com 
(no special features – I don’t recommend this… yet)


MySQL

WordPress needs a database based on MySQL to run. Besides the original MySQL, there are other variants.

  • MariaDB
  • SQL lite

Do this now…

phpMyAdmin

Easily view and access the WordPress database. Very important for us nerds.

Do this now…


Themes are the foundation layer just below plugins

If you want a good theme and don’t know 8+ programming languages, spend money on a decent theme that comes with tech support.

When you’re choosing a theme, one of the biggest selling points in the past has been a drag and drop editor. But WordPress has really buggered up the companies that specialised in those because of Gutenberg, their own drag and drop editor. They used to include TinyMCE with their WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) front-end editor.

If you want to turn off Gutenberg, you can… (not sure how long that pipe dream will last)


[ shortcode hell ] – page builders

A lot of “Drag & Drop” editors (like gutenberg) rely on “shortcodes“, so if you change your mind, your webpages look like utter nonsensical crap. I don’t like them…

This guy must have been reading my mind, but his post is outdated:
https://pippinsplugins.com/wordpress-page-builder-plugins-critical-review/

As a programmer, the kind of questions I’d ask are:

  • How much do they lock users into the system once used?
  • Does the content display properly if the builder is deactivated?
  • Does the content even exist after deactivating the plugin?
  • Can filters such as “the_content” still be used to affect the final page content?
    • This is incredibly important for compatibility with many other plugins.

And so… I suggest to avoid the plugins:

  • WP Bakery (site builder)
  • Visual Composer
  • Visual Composer Premium

Also I suggest to avoid any theme made by companies that require you to use their custom page builder. Eg:

You’ve been warned.

Go learn basic HTML and CSS and tell these guys to go to hell.


But I’m guessing you want someone to just tell you what to do?

Gawd, I have no idea anymore.

Below are a couple of WordPress Themes. Picked from a whole bunch of free WordPress themes. Obviously, special features cost extra, but they do the job. I hacked both of these slightly to do my bidding.

Programmer’s Note to self: building your own or even a child theme is painful. Suck it up!


On another programmer’s note to self:

I hate having javascript errors and there’s currently (October 2018) an annoying bug in wp-embed.js
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/51893727/uncaught-typeerror-cannot-read-property-secret-of-null-wp-embed-min-js

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