Nowadays, WordPress is one of the biggest and most popular content management systems (CMS) available. Powering about 43% of the Web1, its influence is extraordinary and its dedicated open-source community keeps making it better day by day.
For the past few years, WordPress has kept ahead of the game by focusing on its general CMS functionality. With the introduction of hooks and (later on) proper custom post type and taxonomy support, the user friendliness permeated the code itself and has been keeping programmers just as happy as users.
The massive success of WordPress was initially due to its user friendliness. No coding knowledge — not even HTML — was needed to run a successful WordPress site. A small learning curve meant that you could get started within minutes and start focusing on content.
WordPress has arrived to a place where it can jump through hoops for you. Gone are the days of changing core files, gone are the days of hacking your way around a feature. WordPress has matured and become a flexible system which, when used properly, provides a great experience for the site owner, the site programmer and the site user alike.
WordPress: Then & Now
One of the strengths of WordPress is its very active development. Along with new features and goodies, each WordPress update aims to tighten security, optimize code, and squash bugs. For those of you who may be new to WordPress, here’s a snapshot comparing features then & now:
|Feature||Old way of doing it (WP versions 1 & 2)||New way of doing it (WP version 3 +)|
|Updating the WordPress core||Download latest version, put up a maintenance page, remove old files, upload new files, remove maintenance page||Enter FTP info, click a button|
|Updating WordPress plugins and themes||Same thing: download new files, remove old files, manual upload||Enter FTP info, click a button|
|Tagging articles||Install and configure a plugin or two||Built-in functionality in the WP Admin|
|Replying to comments||Visit the actual comment thread to reply to comments||Respond to comments directly from the WP Admin|
|Saving revisions||As often as you could remember, select/copy all text, and paste into a text file and archive locally||Nothing. WP automatically keeps revisions of your work|
|Editing images||Open 3rd-party photo editor, make changes, save & upload file to WordPress||Log in and edit images directly in the WP Admin|
|Custom post types||Required all sorts of theme hacking||Add a line to
|Post thumbnails||Custom fields to the rescue||Built-in functionality using simple code snippets and template tags|
|Multiple WP sites with a single install||Install and configure WP MU||Install and configure WordPress|
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – these are primarily functional improvements. Everything else about WordPress – performance, aesthetics, usability, and so on – continues to evolve and improve just as quickly.
What Type Of Content Can You Expect?
With WordPress’ phenomenal growth, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of WordPress-related content available on the Web. There are plenty of beginner tutorials, round-up posts, and code snippets, but few good places to go for more advanced, in-depth content. With the Smashing Magazine WordPress2 section, we’re aiming for quality articles on intermediate-level topics, with an emphasis on developing smarter, faster sites with the world’s most popular publishing platform.
Also, we’ll be covering many aspects of WordPress, at a deeper level, and geared toward a more intermediate audience. If you’re new to WordPress, that’s fine too – we’ve got a series of tutorials lined up that will get you up to speed on techniques we’ll be exploring in future articles.
Introducing Daniel Pataki
“I’ve been working with WordPress since the good ol’ 2.0 release back in 2005. I learned PHP and object oriented programming basics through the WordPress source code and the love affair hasn’t stopped yet.
When not editoring (real word I made up) I make premium themes at my company Bonsai Shed. I’m the author of an upcoming Smashing Magazine book on WordPress development and I also contribute now and then to the WordPress Trac, the plugin repository4 and other projects on Github5.
Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?
It’s all about you! Let us know what you think — your comments and ideas inspire us to excel and improve Smashing Magazine as much as we can. If you want to be a part of our growing team of authors and contribute to the Smashing WordPress section, feel free to reach us via our contact form8, or contact Daniel9 directly. We look forward to hearing from you!
- 1 http://ma.tt/2014/01/techmeme-100/
- 2 http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/
- 3 https://twitter.com/danielpataki
- 4 http://profiles.wordpress.org/danielpataki
- 5 https://github.com/danielpataki
- 6 http://danielpataki.com
- 7 http://twitter.com/danielpataki
- 8 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/contact/
- 9 http://danielpataki.com
Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf New York, on June 14–15, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.