PHP Lessons and Introduction to WordPress

I found this week’s Codecademy lessons on PHP to be much easier than the previous lessons on jQuery and JavaScript. I was able to move through the lessons without too much trouble. I’m still wondering what the exact purpose and advantages are of using PHP (other than users not being able to see all of your HTML code because it is being run on the server instead of in the browser), but perhaps this is something we will address in class this coming week. I found Greg’s lecture on PHP and his step-by-step tutorial for setting up a local server on our laptops to be very helpful, as I am typically able to comprehend things better when I have the opportunity to directly and immediately apply the steps and skills being taught.

The introductory lecture about WordPress also urged me to think in greater detail about what I’d like to work on for my final project site. As I detailed in my brief pitch post, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to create a blog about the topic of running, which will serve as a sort of digital/online accountability partner on my quest to run a full marathon in 2018. I’ve been having some trouble getting the motivation to run consistently over the last few weeks, and I’m hoping that having this site as a place to document my training and progress will motivate me to get back on track.

I went ahead and did a few of the readings that are now listed on the syllabus for next week, and I found these to be very useful in terms of helping me to decide how I want to structure my final project site. The reading about creating plugins was interesting because I think I’d like to attempt to create a plugin that links between my Strava┬áprofile and shows my most recent run. I did a little bit of research and found that at least one Strava plugin for WordPress already exists, but I’m hoping to either create my own or to customize an existing plugin in some way. Further customizations to my site might also include creating a child theme, which will enable me to alter some aspects of my site’s theme. I’m a bit confused about when it is appropriate to create a parent theme versus a child theme. WordPress indicates that if I want to make extensive customizations, then I should consider creating a parent theme, but I’m not exactly sure what is considered to be extensive. Is there a clear explanation for when it is appropriate to create a parent theme versus a child theme?

Overall, I’m looking forward to learning more about the features that WordPress offers and seeing how I can apply them to my final project site.

1 thought on “PHP Lessons and Introduction to WordPress

  1. Greg Linch

    “I’m still wondering what the exact purpose and advantages are of using PHP (other than users not being able to see all of your HTML code because it is being run on the server instead of in the browser), but perhaps this is something we will address in class this coming week.”

    Yes! We can certainly talk more about this. I’d recommend checking out the list of things PHP can do on Allie’s post for some examples. Basically, PHP allows us to move from static web pages (e.g. all HTML written manually) to dynamic web pages (e.g. using templates and built-in functions).

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