At the Forge - WordPress

If you want a Weblog package with minimal command-line setup and a full-featured Web-based administration system, WordPress may be for you.
User Interface

Open-source applications often are criticized for their lack of a friendly user interface. This is largely because open-source programmers are writing the software for themselves and their colleagues, which means that anything other than core functionality is cast aside.

The authors of WordPress, to their credit, have spent a great deal of time on the user interface, trying to ensure that it is straightforward and unsurprising for nontechnical users. For example, many Weblogs assume that the author knows basic HTML tags and understands how to add and remove them. The WordPress editing window lets advanced users place such tags manually, but it also provides a set of JavaScript buttons for less-experienced users. These buttons not only indicate what possibilities exist, but change shape to indicate that a particular format currently is in use. The Close button at the end of the row was a particularly clever idea; it closes all of the currently open tags.

Like most software with good user interfaces, WordPress includes many small features that add up to a pleasant experience. For example, it automatically creates en and em dashes when you use two or three hyphens. It allows you to classify postings as drafts (the default), private or public, which means that you can start working on a Weblog entry, go to lunch and then return to work on it.

WordPress is sensitive to the fact that deleting data is a dangerous act that the user always should have to confirm. Thus, whenever the mouse moves over a delete button, the background of that button turns red. As an additional reminder, users are asked to confirm the action with a JavaScript dialog box.

With the exception of deleting, it is easy to undo any mistake that you might make in WordPress by returning to the menu in question and changing the value. All entries, including drafts and comments, can be edited repeatedly until they are ready for publication.

Finally, the look and feel of a WordPress Weblog can be changed by modifying the CSS, which handles the fonts, colors, sizes and placement; the templates, which largely are standard PHP; and even the plugins, which can change almost anything. It is possible to change the template within WordPress itself, although I expect that most readers of this magazine would prefer to use Emacs or vi to change the file directly on disk.

Installing a plugin requires downloading it and placing it within the appropriate plugins directory, but activating it is completely Web-driven. This means that system administrators can install a number of plugins for their users and let the individuals choose which plugins they would like to activate. Several sample plugins are included in the WordPress distribution, and others are available from the WordPress Web site.

Conclusion

Over the past few months, we have looked at a number of different types of Weblog software. With the exception of COREBlog, a Zope product that installed easily and quickly into my Zope server, WordPress was by far the easiest and fastest to install. It has a full list of features, many of which have to do with the clean, easy-to-use user interface. Even novice computer users and Webloggers can publish regularly with this software. Although the underlying code and technologies used—PHP and MySQL—are not my favorites, the set of features, growth of the platform and the large community all make WordPress a winning choice.

Resources for this article: /article/7641.

Reuven M. Lerner, a longtime Web/database consultant and developer, now is a first-year graduate student in the Learning Sciences program at Northwestern University. His Weblog is at altneuland.lerner.co.il, and you can reach him at reuven@lerner.co.il.

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good

tungsten's picture

thank you i have learn a lot .it is very good.

Thank you

transmitter 's picture

Wow great information, really helpful to me. Keep posting just like this.
Thanks for precious information.

As you say Wordpress is

Andy Fitzpatrick's picture

As you say Wordpress is really nice to install but this tutorial provides nice and simple explanations for each step Thank you

ee

china wholesale's picture

Great plugin! I will try it on some blogs I have. It would be great if it could be able to create more than one list. I will try to integrate it sloppy with paypal, but it would be nice to have an official version of the plugin with paypal, right? Thanks

Thanks. Will look into it.

Re: WordPress

Anonymous's picture

nice piece... wp rocks

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