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!
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