James’s Musings

thoughts, photography, and geeky stuff
from an unrelentingly curious Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Redesign, A New Engine, and an Old Friend

by James G. Beldock on July 30, 2007

I gen­er­al­ly don’t post much about com­put­ers or soft­ware, on the the­o­ry that there are more than enough blog­gers out there who do so, but this post (and prob­a­bly one more up­com­ing) will have to be the ex­cep­tions which prove the rule. Of course, if you read to the bot­tom, you’ll find that I couldn’t re­sist talk­ing about at least one book, even in this techy post! 

New Design

I fi­nal­ly lost pa­tience with the lim­i­ta­tions of Blogger and switched to WordPress. Along with the switch came a com­plete vi­su­al re­design, as well as the req­ui­site re-post­ing of my pri­or posts and some an­cil­lary dust­ing and clean-up. For those who don’t know it, WordPress is a su­perb blog­ging en­gine, built on PHP and MySQL (and of­ten host­ed on a web server run­ning Apache). It’s a tes­ta­ment to the ma­tu­ri­ty of the tools to­day that I was able to get WordPress run­ning on my Windows XP lap­top as a test en­vi­ron­ment (which meant run­ning PHP and MySQL, but us­ing Microsoft’s IIS as the web server) in about two days (mi­nor MySQL learn­ing curve for me, since it was my first ex­pe­ri­ence), and then that I was able to get the whole stack up and run­ning on my host­ing provider, BlueHost, in about half a day.

Building themes and func­tion­al­i­ty be­yond the “out of the box” stuff in WordPress re­quires a work­ing knowl­edge of CSS, XHTML and some PHP. I had the first two, but this was my first re­al ex­po­sure to PHP. So, off to the book­store I went, and came home with O’Reilly’s Learning PHP 5. I read it, as I usu­al­ly do with com­put­er books, in one evening

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