WordPress, web development, and getting back into the swing of things

As you may have seen with the constant changes, I have been (and will be) using this website as a conduit for learning/re-learning WordPress, PHP, and getting into the nitty-gritty details of web design–a process I am finding to be extremely satisfying. So far, I’ve made great progress adopting Ahmed’s Gulp-Wordpress theme workflow. I highly recommend using his repo as a starting point for any new Wordpress theme design, as it’s extremely well-organized, thoroughly documented, and well coded both inside and out (from his work you can see that Ahmed is clearly a developer).

I think it’s safe to say that we are in a glory age for web development. Never has it been easier to stand up a website. From securing a domain name to setting up a host and creating your website’s first Hello World page, I found that the tools today enable us to complete this entire process in less than 15-minutes flat. Back in my day, I recall domain name registrations would take several hours or days to finalize while the registrar slowly propagated the changes to its servers, which was an agonizingly slow endeavor that robs most of your elated “I-just-made-a-website” high. Today, domains are bought and sites are live as soon as you checkout. Amazing.

Not only is the friction from DNS registration greatly reduced these days, but the sheer number of amazing tools that are available to front-end developers make the experience so much easier and accessible. Take something as simple as Gulp for example. Under the hood, Gulp is simply a task-runner that programmatically runs specific tasks to “compile” websites together into a nice, distributable package for the web. In my workflow, this tool alone accounts for the most time-savings due to its enabling of quick feedback loops from code to browser. No more manual dragging and dropping files, linting, or transpiling needed.

The biggest hurdle for me is to learning the vast features, limitations, and the syntax of the CMS behemoth that is WordPress. Built years ago entirely on top of PHP, WordPress has been time-tested to be a great platform for creating a content-rich website for whatever your heart desires, given that you take the time to learn the system. As I developer, I find some of the ways that WP manages its scripts/stylesheets (by way of registering/deregistering), theming (what’s with all these components and pages I need to style?), and code (random underscored method names abound) questionable, but I realize it’s an uphill battle trying to complain my way to comprehension. So I’m learning. And I’m trying really hard. I hope by the end I will be able to deliver a wickedly slick WP site with an awesome theme forged out of love (and could possibly monetize?). At this point, I have a vision of how I want the site to be. It’s just a matter of how much WP hacking that I’ll have to do in order to get there.


Stay tuned.