WordPress is the Modern Choice

In the beginning, web pages were created by skilled individuals who could write large amounts of "Hypertext Markup Language", (HTML), text. HTML would include the basic information required on the web site as well as the headings, colors and styles needed to display a site in an appealing manner. Many different HTML files, with thousands of lines of code, were needed to generate a reasonable web site. Future maintenance was difficult. In time, templates became available which would reduce some of the burden of HTML programming. While better, these sites were still difficult to maintain. With the advent of WordPress, web site designers now have a great tool that allows rapid building of sites that are easy to maintain.

The first generation of web sites were created in the early 1990's. These relied on thousands of lines of HTML. Even very simple web pages would take a great deal of time to construct. If there were errors in the HTML, a frequent problem due to the size of the files, then the web site would not display as expected. In severe cases, errors could cause a site to completely break down. HTML was fairly simplistic but the structure of the system took organizational skills. Changes were made difficult both by the size of the HTML code files and by the steps needed to incorporate updates to the site. Complete revisions usually required nearly a total replacement of all that had been implemented to date.

In an effort to improve productivity, the next generation of web sites was made possible through the use of templates. For a nominal fee, (or even at no cost), web designers could obtain a template set of files that would allow a rudimentary web site to be constructed. The designer needed to move the template folders and files to a web host, make customizations and the new site would be active. These still required as much HTML but it was pre-written and easy for less technical people to use. There were far fewer chances to introduce errors since the bulk was provided. Page navigation was usually supplied as menus in the template. In time, web builders automated the template customization as well. Designers would specify the required page titles, (About, Contact, Main, etc), and the builder would generate a template of HTML. Later, the designer would simply open the new files and replace text blocks with new text specific to the web site. This was a big improvement but future updates still required either extensive HTML work or wholesale replacement of the site by reusing the builder.

WordPress has solved many of the web problems experienced by early designers. It is a content management system which allows designers to concentrate on the substance rather than on HTML, display options or file handling. WordPress works in conjunction with a database, usually MySQL, that provides the required storage needed for web contents. Using database utilities, WordPress can easily be backed up and saved or moved to other web hosts. Designers choose an initial style, or theme, for their WordPress web site. Pages can be added as required for such regular purposes as About, Contact, Main, etc. Posts, small snippets of text pertaining to topics, can be added by the designer or by site visitors. Everything is displayed by WordPress as a page and it is done with no HTML work on the part of the web designer. As well, future upgrades to the look are implemented with no loss of existing contents. The designer can review available themes and choose a new one. If yet another theme is desired, then the designer can change it at will. All with no HTML work and no loss of web contents.

WordPress also supports the installation of plugins, small utility programs that extend the operational functions of the platform. Plugins are available to handle specialized tasks such as generating a privacy policy, adding custom forms to the site, implementing advanced user account control and many more functions. The utilities are written by programmers on behalf of the WordPress community. Some plugins are available free of charge and others may have a nominal fee. The plugins allow web site designers to use a feature without having to spend any time developing the feature. The web designer simply reads the plugin documentation and follows the directions to use the features. Many plugins are implemented as a series of user friendly screens, making use even easier.

One very useful WordPress plugin is the Formidable Pro Internet form builder. This utility gives web designers the ability to present highly complex data entry forms to viewers. A form requesting user comments for a "Contact Us" page can be built in seconds. It includes fields for the user's name, email, website, comments and a spam control block. Web designers can update the form in seconds to include more fields, change titles and handle user responses. No HTML, or other, programming is necessary to use the Formidable Pro plugin. Surprisingly, such a contact us form is available to web designers who install the free version of Formidable Pro. Those designers who upgrade to the registered version gain a number of important form building features. Upgraded forms can request images or documents from users, fields that are restricted to numbers only, rich text fields that allow visitors to send full documents and many other advanced features. As usual, no programming is required to implement these Formidable Pro features.

WordPress is a content management system that frees site designers from the time consuming work of HTML coding. Now content on a site is the key consideration, not how to implement various display features in a complicated series of program steps. WordPress installs quickly, uses modern database technology and supports future upgrades, all without any programming or loss of information. The level of sophistocation given to web designers by WordPress is quite spectacular compared to that available to early web implementations. While programming is largely unnecessary, those designers with skill can extend their WordPress functionality by adding their own programs or by installing specialized plugin utilities. WordPress is an effective web implementation platform that can deliver most any form of web content that the designer can imagine.[1]

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