Newbie wondering what's possible with Wordpress?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by eclipse, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. eclipse macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #1
    Background to question: I'm a full time dad, full time graphic design "Admin" (doing paper work and brainstorming concepts for my wife's graphic design business), full time (or wish I was) activist for some greenie stuff and political reform in Australia, and I'm trying to lose a few kg's. ;)

    I know a group of fantastic activists for some badly needed political reform in Australia that excites even a greenie like myself. Thing is, while they all have Phd's in their various academic fields in legal and constitutional matters, they're stuck on an old email list! This conversation needs to go PUBLIC in a big forum, and do it NOW!

    I only have a little spare time and am not a web developer, or even web-designer, or even graphic designer for that matter (that's my wife). I'm just beginning to learn the basics of XHTML and CSS, don't know Dreamweaver (but have it as part of Adobe CS4), don't know Dreamweaver plugins for styling WP, don't know mysql or phpmyadmin or database management stuff.

    I thought I could learn it all as I went along and got these activists up and running. However, then things started to go wrong. We had to move from one server to another and I didn't know enough database stuff to get our old forum out of phpbb and into SMF (both of which I thought seemed like 'complete' forum software at the time).

    My question is this: can WP 'dumb it down' enough for me?


    If I just went with 'standard' themes, 'standard' forum plug-ins and backup stuff so that I'm code-free (not having to play with mysql commands etc) would I have a high degree of confidence that I can handle their community development needs (which are for a basic blog and basic forum) and move servers etc in future, or a low degree of confidence, or run screaming for help getting a 'proper' web developer onto it? (One who passionately wants to Abolish Australia's states and donate some time to it... yeah, I like my chances! ;-)

    How much SQL should I learn if I'm diving into Wordpress?

    Isn't there a wordpress "drop and drag" way to do all this yet?

    PS: I heard there is a 'basic' forum plugin for Wordpress, but who thinks a 'fully loaded' BBpress plugin will be developed? BBpress operates on a 'keep is simple' philosophy that drives me nuts because I'm the guy that wants ALL the options 'straight out of the box', and don't want to have to add dozens of plugins to work like most other forums (like phpbb or SMF) do out of the box. I especially don't want to worry that BBpress might not be compatible with dozens of essential plug ins when BBpress upgrades.
     
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    WordPress generally won't make you interact with the database directly. It's only if you need to move to other servers that you may need to, but WordPress' site provides good tutorials to walk you through all that. Most people use WordPress with no SQL knowledge.

    WordPress is really focused on doing blogs-like pages. It's not setup for doing discussions like forums. There's other software for that, which is focused on discussions. You shouldn't try to make a piece of software stretch beyond its capabilities too much.

    Just remember, web design and development is a profession, so you can't expect to just be able to do anything without first putting in the effort of learning and practicing. I'm mean sure I could read a few tutorials on car repairs, but that doesn't mean my car is going to come out better. Unless I spend a good amount of time getting a real education on auto mechanics, I should really just go to the professionals if I want it done right.

    Overall, I think you'll be fine on most of this. Some web hosts even offer one-click installs of blogs and forums (like Dreamhost, which I use), which greatly reduces the effort on your part. The only tricky part would be transferring existing data to new servers if you need to later on. WordPress has grown quite a bit, and as a result there are numerous resources on the web to help you do things, and many of the tutorials I've read don't assume you know much of anything about programming.

    Good luck.
     
  3. bbotte macrumors 65816

    bbotte

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    If you want a "forum", just do phpBB, Free and so freakin easy.....
     
  4. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #4
    Thanks angelwatt,
    I think you're right. I'm probably in over my head, and as it is volunteer campaigning and NOT my normal career I should probably do what activism I can do to help spread the word and RECRUIT the expert that can truly give our group the web-expertise they need.

    bbotte, not my experience, not my experience at all. I had an upgrade to do that wouldn't work, a database saved of a phpbb file that I couldn't install / upgrade, and no help on the forums.

    It was easy to USE, for sure! Even easy for me to set up the forums and sub-forums etc. But easy to administer? Nope.
     

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