Contemplating Wordpress

When To Undertake A New Framework

Filed in Technology

Wordpress offers a great framework that I explored for dynamic content. Ultimately, I desired other features and stuck with pelican, but enjoyed the learning process.

After some thought and discussion about static versus dynamic websites, I began considering switching to Wordpress. With much of the internet built on Wordpress, deeply understanding its data models and construction intrigued me. I knew that websites I built for friends or colleagues could be maintained by others if I did not have the time carved out to do so.

Learning Wordpress

Being a part-time graduate student at the University of Oklahoma offers a few perks, with access to Lynda being one of them. I immediately watched through a few classes at 2x speed to get basic understanding. After this, to quickly get through content, I turned once again to Team Tree House, as I first learned. The two week free trial was enough for me to go through the main topics, understanding theme creation and hooks for a basic knowledge. From there I began building on top of the underscores theme, creating something to update this blog.

Everything Including The Kitchen Sink

While learning more about the details of Wordpress and beginning to understand the data models, I tried developing a theme for a new dynamic website for me to interact with. What I found under the hood caused me to pause my original pursuits. Continuing to learn hooks, I found each plugin bloated my site, injecting javascript, css, and increasing load times. I found I desired more control over every element in my website, which would not allow me to use plugins.

Sticking With Pelican

Ultimately, I created a hack in Pelican to allow for some continuing updated content outside of typical blog posts. Sharing recently read articles by combining Workflow with Working Copy pushes content to Github. When I publish, a custom python scripts removes the shared articles blog entries from the sitemap xml and all html files associated with them.

The obvious downside requires me to rebuild the website. Currently I run this from my home computer, but could automate it by using a shell script to pull and rebuild on the server. This trade off worked best for me to have semi dynamic content without overhauling everything to date.

Moving Forward

While Wordpress wasn’t right for this website, I plan to build new websites for friends on it. This provides a non-technical person easy update capability, and the possibility for continued development should I become too busy. Overall, despite the many complaints, I consider it best for those needs, and obviously not my own.

What experiences do you have using Wordpress? Share your thoughts with me on twitter @toddheitmann.