SOFTWARE ENGINEERING blog & .lessons_learned
manuel aldana
Manuel Aldana

January 30th, 2008 · No Comments

Wordpress setup

I managed my content from my former website with my own built content management system CMS4_aldana. Reason was that I needed something simple which fulfilled my simple needs. But at the time where I am starting my blog I looked for respective capabilities. With this Wordpress already made a good impression on other sites I have seen. So I gave it a try and did a migration from CMS4_aldana to wordpress 2.3. The following text gets a bit more in detail what was good about setting up wordpress and which things made some problems.

Download and installation was very simple. Just downloaded the archive and simple extracted it to htdocs folder. As webserver and neccessary Mysql database I used the bundle XAMPP which fits perfect when testing your installation locally.

Next step was the look and feel of the site. Good thing is that you can orientate yourself on the many existing templates. Further more it is quite simple to reverse engineer and get to know which CSS-styles are used by the site parts. The litte confusing bit was that wordpress organizes the whole look and feel through template bits (archive, footer, header etc.) and not on one big template like for instance Joomla CMS. Never the less playing around with CSS is quick and you get immediate feedback by just simply reloading the page with the browser. For the interpetation of CSS is not very restricitive (nearly all browsers hardly moan about not wellformed stylesheets) I used online CSS-validator to test my stylesheets so chances are big that many browsers can live with it and display is more or less similar.

Next thing was the migration of my old content. Fortunately CMS4_aldana content is organized on file system so there was no database-ETL (extract, load, transform) nightmare neccessary, a simple copy/paste of text made the trick. Uploading things (mp3, images, etc.) was quite obvious, but wordpress’ standard editors where just a pain, especially the linefeeds (which usually are ignored from the view of HTML) had been included by the editor, so searching for and getting rid of them took a lot of time. I had a look for a better plain-text Wiki-Style editor but no success… Further more linking to other pages/post from the same site was not very nice either. You had to hardcode the whole URL as links, so after changing the host and activating rewrite rules for nicer URLs would have broken all links. Fortunately Internal-links Plugin made the save. The rest of the configuration (categories, blogroll, url-rewrite etc.) was done quickly because available options had been layouted very well inside the administration area.

Besided I installed other third party plugins which solved some shortcomings of standard wordpress:

  • Aksimet: Checks comments against a spam database. I tried to make it as easy as possible to enter comments, so no registration or similar is required. Let’s see whether the spam filter works. If not I mostly will have a look for captchas.
  • Flexi-Pages: Makes folding and unfolding of categories and sub-categories possible.
  • Search Pages: Extends Search capability to Pages.
  • Sitemaps generator: Generates sitemaps so site is easier to index and getting all content links is obvious.

After all, apart from some mentioned shortcomings, the setup and migration to wordpress was successfully done. The plugin world is wide, you can get ideas by the many existing templates and the configuration is easy. Just the editor is a weakness, they really should have included a wikistyle editor like it is used in Wikipedia (which uses WikiMedia). Never the less wordpress is great, you get so much without doing all the framework stuff yourself and it is very stable and mature. Or what do you think, have you had similar impressions when setting up wordpress?

Tags: Technologies/Tools

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