Kudos to WordPress!

Back in May I installed WordPress on my shared PHP hosting.  I remember it being a fairly simple setup, and I configured it and started posting without issues.  Eventually, a notice started popping up that I needed to upgrade.  I assumed it meant I needed to:

  1. Download the package
  2. Unzip the package
  3. Upload/replace files
  4. Run a script

What the upgrade process really entailed was to:

  1. Click a button!

Yes really, it was that easy!  I’m guessing that some people might run into issues if their hosting permissions aren’t setup correctly, but my experience was perfect!  Never in a million years did I think using a web-based app would be so easy, at least from the admin side.  I’ve dealt with many a web application, and frankly, have yet to see a good upgrade process until now.  It didn’t matter if a product was hosted or not, big or small, people don’t always build their applications with upgrades in mind.  Take Adobe Acrobat, now known as Adobe Reader, which isn’t even a web app.  I’m guessing they changed the name because people hated Acrobat so much!  I for one hated Acrobat because anytime I tried to install their “automatic” updates, it failed.  Maybe I’m just a skeptical programmer, but I was thinking that upgrading WordPress would be an arduous process.  Boy was I wrong!

So next, I started thinking if the upgrade was that easy, what about the plugins?  One of my coworkers who also uses WordPress mentioned that the plugin system was good, and that there were some very useful plugins.  So I went to the plugins tab and was able to install a few plugins without issue.  Here is what I’m currently using (in no particular order):

  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • Ultimate Google Analytics
  • GZIP Output
  • Blog in Blog
  • SI Captcha Anti-Spam
  • WP CSS

I think they are all pretty self-explanatory, with the exception of the Blog In Blog.  That plugin allows me to designate a content page as a mini-blog for posts from a specific category!  I was a little disappointed that WordPress didn’t have something like that built-in, but this plugin seems to do the trick!  Also, the category that is displayed on the content page is removed the homepage, which is perfect for me!  Just in case you want to know, I’m setting up a mini-blog on said content page that will be dedicated to our baby!  There probably isn’t anything there if you’re reading this, but feel free to make a mental note and check back later.  The link for it is on the top of the sidebar ;)

Now back to the plugins.  Again, their purpose is self-explanatory, but I really want to reiterate their simplicity and usefulness.  WordPress by itself is a decent blog engine, but with all of those plugins it’s practically a CMS.  I’m sure there are some more robust plugins out there, I just haven’t had the time to look!  But using only the plugins I mentioned above, my site:

  • Is ultra-fast (check FireBug, Y-Slow or Chrome if you don’t believe me)
  • Is indexed by all the major search engines
  • Supports “multiple” blogs
  • Is tracked by a top-notch analytics package.
  • Is protected by a captcha.

That last point is an especially important one for me.  I get emails everyday about people posting comments or registering for my blog.  Every time I see those emails, I get excited that somewhere in the world, someone is trying to communicate with me about one of my personal passions, programming.  Unfortunately many of these emails are from blog spam, and like 99.99% of the people on Earth, I hate Spam.  So hopefully starting today I will no longer get my hopes up when I see an email from my Blog :)

So that is all for now!  Hopefully this inspired someone to go and try out WordPress, especially if they already have some PHP hosting.  If you want to know more about the blog platform, visit the WordPress site, do some googling, or post a comment here!  If I end up finding some time to checkout more plugins or customize WordPress more, I’ll let you know!

Published: November 02, 2009

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