When it comes to the Internet, things change so rapidly you sometimes feel like you’re being left behind. I’m no different and WordPress upgrades have happened so many times in the last three years that I’ve decided to shelve my custom website application. While I’m quite capable of completing every aspect of it, I figure I’m wasting time. I’ll probably work on bits and pieces of it at a time, but only as a learning experience.
Okay, I don’t remember dates or when each feature was introduced. I just know what’s there and what isn’t. Some it may have been there for a lot longer than the rest, but I don’t feel like doing that kind of research.
WordPress is called “blog software”, but it’s much more than that. In the setup options, you can specify your front page as either a static page or the default blog index, or a combination (which can be enhanced through available plugins). You don’t have to publish “posts” at all, eliminating the blog part of the software. After all, the blog part is the chronologically dated posts. You can publish “static” pages only and then use custom menus, in concert with widgets, to group and place them just about anywhere you want. If that isn’t enough, you can always buy a theme framework like Catalyst to make even more flexible and tune it to your liking.
If your theme supports it (the default theme does), you can have a navigation bar between the heading and the main content and those menu items are controlled through the appearance options, just like the other custom menus. The navigation bar is simply a styled custom menu.
I could go on and on about the features, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I have no desire to duplicate all that programming effort with my own custom software.
Programming Ingredients People Neglect
Your website visitors see the product of all the effort that goes into programming the software. There are things that WordPress does that can only be duplicated through a lot of additional effort. Providing multiple feed streams is one of them. Automatically pinging aggregation services as well as other WordPress blogs is also handled by the software.
The devil is in the details, as the saying goes. Details like feeds and pings are easy to overlook when writing custom software. I didn’t overlook them, but I haven’t tried to program my own version of each either.
Plugin support is one thing I can’t duplicate. I’m not talking about incorporating plugins into the framework of the software; I’m talking about people who contribute plugins for the greater good.
I’m using an auto-tagging plugin (which I’m still tweaking) for this blog now. I seriously doubt I could duplicate its functionality without pulling all of my gray hair out. And I’m talking about just ONE plugin. I use several plugins – some I can easily duplicate the functionality of and some I can’t.
A Programming Hiatus?
The reason I haven’t written any programming articles lately is because I haven’t been doing any programming lately. Simple, right? Based on what I write, visitors probably think I love to program. The reality is that it’s the opposite: I hate to program. I write programs to fill a need I may have, not for amusement or profit.
WordPress has come a long, long way since I first announced I was going to write my own application (to address its shortcomings and feature bloat). Almost every complaint I had in the beginning has been addressed and rectified, either by upgrades or by plugins.