Update: If your looking for a detailed step-by-step tutorial, head over to Mel’s page, (thanks Mel). There was also a question on which theme to use. The themes that are updated to take advantage of the wordpress platforms dynamic nature are the best. Start with the list of featured themes and try out “Connections” – Patricia Muller, or the themes by Becca Wei. Install the updated versions that the designers host on their home pages – this is if you would like to minimise your own changes to the theme.
By way of introduction, WordPress is a user-friendly, “state of the art semantic publishing platform“. My blog is currently powered by WordPress and is hosted by the folks of wordpress.org on their own servers. Choosing this route meant that I lost flexibility. For example, the current theme the blog is based on cannot be changed extensively. Since WordPress.com is hosting this blog, they have very clear and valid reasons for not allowing users to edit the internal mechanics for serving content.The other route is hosting your own blog for maximum flexibility. The requirements are easily satisfiable by most hosting providers. We had a GoDaddy basic plan to work with. Going by my previous experience with Movable Type (I tried installing a version 1.6 way back in 2002), I thought the installation would take up the entire weekend. I did some homework, and was mentally prepared to mess with the PHP internals if required.
None of that was necessary. It took me 5 minutes to install it and get it running. Disappointed? The speedy install meant that I could then focus my energy on getting the presentation right. That is what I call Great Software.
(I did have to tweak the database server location in the wordpress configuration file wp-config.php, you can get the correct location of the MySQL database for your host from your control panel. Look for the MySQL icon).
The WordPress developers are amongst the best with PHP. Their code is worth understanding. The template engine isolates the presentation well and makes manual editing of the templates simple. The blog administration interface is also usable. The interface does not require ‘building’ content if you ever decide to change the presentation. If your not interested in touching CSS/PHP/HTML, you can get a very large number of themes for the WordPress theme engine.
I was disappointed by the fact that some of the themes don’t take advantage of the dynamic capability of the WordPress framework. I had to work on those themes by hand. Of course, the blame squarely lies with the theme developer. Secondly, I could not find a way to gear WordPress to serve a custom-page by default instead of the blog page. Has anyone ever tried this?
If your interested in installing WordPress on your host, I highly recommend you do so. If you would like an invite to join the current group of blogs on WordPress.com, send me an e-mail and I will respond with an invite.
Great Software lets you enjoy your weekend :-).