WordPress

Hi Experts,

I'm a Classic ASP Programmer for over 15 years, and PHP Programmer for 2+ years.  I actually find PHP much easier, and just recently completed my biggest project ever, and that in PHP.

Now that I am looking for new projects I see a lot of fuss regarding WordPress. I was always thinking that WordPress is a small program where you can allow users to post comments on your site, but in my search for new projects I get the feeling that it is much more..

Can anyone tell me what I am missing, and more importantly how I can learn WordPress.  I found a $50 course and I was thinking to invest about a day and done!?!
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAsked:
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Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
WordPress started off as a personal blog platform but the contributions to it over time have made it a fairly capable CMS platform that can be used for pretty much any kind of site.  It's biggest strengths are (at the 10,000 foot level):

- Huge community of theme and plugin developers producing a lot of high quality stuff, much of it free.
- Easy to set up and deploy, even for beginners
- Very stable, mature platform at this time.
- Good SEO out of the box
- Popularity ensures there is an answer available for pretty much any question
- Probably the easiest of the PHP/MySQL CMS platforms for end users to manage/update
- Most ISPs have a one-click install or special WordPress hosting plan available
- Several WordPress-only ISPs (e.g WP Engine) have hosting that handles all caching and security for you for a slightly higher monthly fee

Flaws:

- Popularity (approximately 25% of ALL sites run WordPress) ensures it is constantly probed for weaknesses and attacked by bots.  Need to make sure it is properly secured.
- Third party themes and plugins can be poorly written, contributing to the above
- Developing custom code for it requires you to learn "the WordPress way" (iow, Best Practices) to prevent problems down the road
- Updates to core, themes, and plugins are frequent and require management
- Setting up a testing environment and pushing changes to production can be tricky for beginners
- Sites can bog down and get slow if plugins are installed without thought.  Caching is a must.

At the end of the day, WordPress is no better or worse than Joomla or Drupal.  Each of these CMS platforms has strengths and weaknesses and people develop personal preferences.  I happen to love WordPress, hate Drupal, and can take or leave Joomla but I can work in all three platforms since they are all PHP based.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Dealing with Wordpress at the PHP level is not that simple.  My Wordpress installs consist of 1601 files in 150 directories.  Wordpress is not a single program but a system of programs.  You have to work thru it a couple of times to see how the files (and database) relate to each other.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
My Wordpress installs consist of 1601 files in 150 directories

And 99.999% of those you will never touch or look at...

Most people survive just fine using the yoursite.com/wp-content/themes/mytheme folder.  You create customizations in the theme's functions.php file and/or customize page templates as needed.  It's a very small number of people who go on to write to their own plugins and even then, you really never touch the core.
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Ray PaseurCommented:
You might consider Laravel.  Once you see it in action, you'll be amazed.  Just a thought...
http://laravel.com/
Ray PaseurCommented:
Also, here are some others that are worth considering:
http://www.sitepoint.com/best-php-frameworks-2014/
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Sorry guys, I was launching a big application this week.

My main concern I guess is, how can I learn WordPress?
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I'd suggest installing it on your site (in a subdirectory) and work on modifying it there.  What I did was copy the basic theme to another theme directory and modify i that one.
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
What do you think of this one https://learnwp.ca/
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
This page https://learnwp.ca/workshops/learn-wordpress-intensive/ describes learning it from a user viewpoint and not from a programmer's viewpoint.  I'm too cheap to pay that much for something I could and have learned on my own.
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
This is where I getting confused regarding Word Press. What is the difference between a user view point and a programmer view point? Again, relating to WP?

Is a user when you login, type text into RTF textbox, like this one, adding an image, and picking a theme?
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Is a user when you login, type text into RTF textbox, like this one, adding an image, and picking a theme?
Yes.  The underlying code for Wordpress is PHP and as a user, you never see any of that.  Still, as a user, Wordpress lets you do a lot of things.

The easiest way, at least for me, to learn about the PHP code in Wordpress themes is to install your own copy of Wordpress and start changing things to see what happens.  It will also expose you to the layers of coding used to create a Wordpress site.

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