In recent years, it seems WordPress has been growing at an exponential rate. It’s also become a much better piece of software, almost becoming a transparent experience to the user, who can set up a beautiful, fully functional site or CMS in minutes. There are many user-focused sites that will help with the basics, but as you get further into WordPress, the list of reliable resources on more advanced topics grows thin. This presents an opportunity…
These days, cutting through the noise to find the quality content is a full-time job. Most of us are already working non-stop, so taking time to keep up on the ever-changing world of WordPress can be a challenge. I’ve spent countless hours searching through blog posts and forum threads looking for reliable, in-depth information on things like custom fields, image attachments, and post types. You know, those slices of WordPress wisdom that really provide some real-world, useful information.
WordPress: Then & Now
One of the strengths of WordPress is its very active development. Along with new features and goodies, each WordPress update aims to tighten security, optimize code, and squash bugs. There have been many updates since I first started using the platform back in 2005, and there have been some major steps along the way. For those of you who may be new to WordPress, here’s a snapshot comparing features then & now:
|Feature||Old way of doing it (WP versions 1 & 2)||New way of doing it (WP version 3 +)|
|Updating the WordPress core||Download latest version, put up a maintenance page, remove old files, upload new files, remove maintenance page||Enter FTP info, click a button|
|Updating WordPress plugins and themes||Same thing: download new files, remove old files, manual upload||Enter FTP info, click a button|
|Tagging articles||Install and configure a plugin or two||Built-in functionality in the WP Admin|
|Replying to comments||Visit the actual comment thread to reply to comments||Respond to comments directly from the WP Admin|
|Saving revisions||As often as you could remember, select/copy all text, and paste into a text file and archive locally||Nothing. WP automatically keeps revisions of your work|
|Editing images||Open 3rd-party photo editor, make changes, save & upload file to WordPress||Log in and edit images directly in the WP Admin|
|Custom post types||Required all sorts of theme hacking||Add a line to
|Post thumbnails||Custom fields to the rescue||Built-in functionality using simple code snippets and template tags|
|Multiple WP sites with a single install||Install and configure WP MU||Install and configure WordPress|
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – these are primarily functional improvements. Everything else about WordPress – performance, aesthetics, usability, and so on – continues to evolve and improve just as quickly.
Changing the Game
With WordPress’ phenomenal growth, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of WordPress-related content available on the Web. There are plenty of beginner tutorials, round-up posts, and code snippets, but few good places to go for more advanced, in-depth content. With the new Smashing WordPress section, we’re aiming for quality articles on intermediate-level topics, with an emphasis on developing smarter, faster sites with the world’s most popular publishing platform.
We’ve been gathering a solid team of authors to share their techniques and experience as WordPress designers, developers, and users. We’ve got some incredible content on the way, with plenty of topics and ideas to explore as WordPress continues to evolve. By focusing on quality content and sharing real, hands-on experience, we’ve an opportunity to educate, inform, and help the community grow with WordPress.
The new WP section of Smashing Magazine will be covering many aspects of WordPress, at a deeper level, and geared toward a more intermediate audience. If you’re new to WordPress, that’s fine too – we’ve got a series of tutorials lined up that will get you up to speed on techniques we’ll be exploring in future articles.
It’s all about you! Let us know what you think – your comments and ideas inspire us to excel and improve this amazing thing that is Smashing Magazine. If you want to be on our growing team of authors and contribute to Smashing WordPress, contact us.
Welcome to the new WordPress section of Smashing Magazine!
About Our New Editor: Jeff Starr
Jeff has been developing and designing websites for over a decade, specializing in WordPress since 2005. He is the co-author of Digging into WordPress, and shares WordPress tips and techniques at Perishable Press, Digging into WordPress, and elsewhere. Over the years, he’s helped many people with WordPress and web development, and continues to serve the community at Monzilla Media.