How I Made my Website

This site is set up using blogging software called WordPress. It’s hosted on my dedicated hosting solution ixWebHosting in Kentucky, USA. For this, they give me several unique IP addresses, a shed load of email, database and FTP accounts as well as up-to-date Apache, php and MySQL installations. There are other extras too – check their site.

WordPress comes in two basic forms situated at wordpress.com or wordpress.org

The dot com is a hosted organisation where lots of the hard work is taken away from you (and some of the functionality), the dot org is the actual software that you have to look after yourself. Using this last method gives you complete control over – everything actually.

The install takes 5 minutes (yes really). Some hosts will actually have an up-to-date WordPress installation as part of their package. Not mine though.

After the install, the appearance is the standard Kubrick Theme. There are shed loads of other themes so you can easily change the appearance and layout. Start here. Because of the open source nature of the software, you can hack the code to your hearts content to make it do anything – certainly anything that your skill-set allows! Even without being at boffin-level, it’s still possible to do heaps of stuff and customisations.

A recent standardised innovation is the “widget” feature which cottons on to the “plugin” nature of the various add-ons available. The codex is an enormous resource and a good starting point that’ll take you to any info you need.  A neat thing  that isn’t a plugin from Jeroen Wijering provides the streaming audio at my Crawling Chaos site.  This shows that you can put stuff together in all sorts of ways.  I keep adding to the streaming audio playlist, as I see fit.  It’s pretty good – will do videos and all sorts.

I’ve found this site here which gives a pretty good description of how a “Theme” is put together. You need a local install of WordPress, Apache and MySQl to test it on the PC. The instructions are here and here of how to do this. It takes two minutes.

After that, it’s a good play without any fear of a fuck-up. I used Dreamweaver to do lots of editting because it saves a bit of typing. But as I said in the pub, you are setting up a website in a totally different way to a few years ago. It’s a total sea change in the way of doing things. And I’m still learning now, little by little.

All the pictures are held in a folder (or two!). All the text is held as entries in database tables. When a web user calls up a page, the whole thing is generated dynamically on-the-fly and assembled so that the user’s browser still reads html (or whatever) just as it always did. The beauty comes from the ease of generating standard menus and appearance without doing a page at a time. It’s the same as in Object Orientated Programming where each feature is “an object” and you just call them up when you need them and plonk them on the page where you want them.

The only trouble is in having to learn (yet) another language (or two) with all the different syntax and peculiarities that go with it.

I’ll be back with some more on this later.  All the stuff I’ve learnt so far and a complete list of add-ons I’ve tried and use now.  I’ll probably tabulate for conciseness.

By Strangely

Founding member of the gifted & talented band, "The Crawling Chaos" from the North-East of England.