If you have ever tried to create a blog or website, at some point you may have heard of WordPress. WordPress is a free open source content management system that is used by nearly a quarter of all websites and that number is growing. Over 75 million sites depend on WordPress and include sites: TechCrunch, New York Times, BBC America, Sony Music, MTV News, and Best Buy; just to name a few. As a recent developer, I wanted to share my journey of getting to know WordPress; and what I have learned during this process.
My relationship with WordPress started out before my developer days and was very brief. It all started when I was looking for advice through good ol’ google about how to start a blog site, and repeatedly found myself reading all the rage for WordPress. My limited abilities to code at that time, along with my narrow search for particularly blog posting sites, had blinded me from the fact that WordPress had a lot more to offer beyond just being a blogging platform. I wouldn’t know too much about those capabilities until we fast-forward a year.
It wasn’t until last July where I found myself in Galvanize’s 6 month Full-Stack program, learning about the glory behind web development. Even so in this program, I had a vague idea of WordPress, but was aware that several sites were dependent on it. Since we did not cover WordPress in the Full-Stack program, I knew it was something I wanted to explore at some point. After finishing the program, Ndevr hired me and gave me that opportunity. I jumped into the trenches of WordPress, and had to adjust quickly not to fall too behind in productivity. This is how I did it:
First, I wanted to clear up my overall understanding about WordPress and put some rumors to rest. Rumors included that developing on WordPress is not real development; meaning, it is mainly for people that don’t know how to program. Secondly that WordPress was not that important to learn as a developer. After clearing up some rumors, I was able to find true value in learning WordPress, and how to construct an environment that would make learning WordPress an enjoyable experience.
Tackling the First WordPress Rumor:
Udemy, is a great online learning tool for many subjects. The main points I took from this particular course is that it’s very helpful to know the basics of HTML, Bootstrap, PHP, MySQL and how to debug. Secondly, the most important thing to understand is how WordPress compiles and reads its content to display the content properly. Part of this process, makes you understand the steps of including and displaying the components from the themes and plugins correctly. As a learner, I recommend not worrying about memorizing all the built in functionalities within WordPress because there are over 40,0000 of them; plus, there is google for that, and overtime you will memorize the most important ones anyways. More importantly, I would recommend concentrating on understanding the logic and flow of information that is needed to render the correct output and how to find answers to your questions. This includes being patient, refining your google searches and learning best practices of debugging any blockers. If none of those steps work, you can go to places like stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com and ask your question among the world of programers. These sites will not only give you valuable feedback, but will teach you how to ask a great question. Sometimes, during this step the answer will come to me, because I was able to thoroughly think about the question by further breaking down what I wanted to solve.
The Second WordPress Rumor:
WordPress is not that important to learn as a developer. Okay, this has got to be one of the furthest from the truth. If you do not plan to work on any of the 75 million websites that use it, then this can be true. However, WordPress is extremely popular, and the chances of you running into it one day is highly likely. It’s best to at least be familiar with the basics even if you don’t want to specialize in it.
WordPress is the result of a collaborated effort of many developers that provide a wonderland of themes and plugins that make the world wide web a place of support, possibilities, and growth. As a front-end developer, I look forward to learning how to improve my skills so that I may too contribute to the land of plugins and themes for WordPress. My journey has just begun.