Running on WordPress, this was the first time GrayDesigns.co.za had been database powered… and it was very easy and worked really well.
Set-up was as follows: I had to upgrade the type of website – from a purely HTML with CSS – to one that included MySQL and PHP. Once my hosting company had processed that, I made a single database along with suitably complicated passwords.
The latest version of WordPress was downloaded from WordPress.org and unzipped. The unzipped files were uploaded from my PC to the GrayDesigns.co.za domain with Filezilla. Using a web browser, I went to my domain and thereby started the install process. The WordPress install took 5 minutes…
In total, I spent possibly 2 hours, if you include waiting for the website upgrade and waiting for the files to copy over from my PC to the GrayDesigns.co.za domain.
The logged-in author’s interface is clear, pretty and much like using a slightly complex website. There are many, many themes, but I opted for one of the supplied-out-of-the-box versions and then tweaked it from the various settings available. Using a cellphone camera, I took a selection of pictures, chose one for the front page, uploaded from the interface, cropped it from the same interface and saved the page – all easy to do and no extra fancy applications required.
Want extra features? Search a list of plugins, view the reviews of the ones that look good, install, check the settings and done. Everything is point ‘n click and all done from your browser.
The emphasis now is on freeing the user to create content, to let his or her or gender-of-your-choice mind wander, free of the restrictions that might occur if the writer had to learn and to produce the background code.
But… somehow… despite the speed and ease… I remember the excitement of learning new code, of seeing that new website up on the internet for the first time after days spent searching for hints and reading yet another how-to, days spent typing and adjusting, spell-checking, somehow being very, very involved and thinking… lying in bed with the mind spinning, cursing as the next working day drew every closer, but the mind would not stop checking and double checking the code and text of the evening’s coding session.
I suppose the answer to the heading of this page lies in personal preference. Maybe it all depends on how much free time you have, or possibly your personality: do you like to explore, to learn and to discover? Certainly access to having your own website has been made much easier and that is possibly a good thing – but I would suggest you start with a basic website and all it’s complexities, so that when you use WordPress you don’t take it for granted, so that you appreciate just how good it actually is !
Edit: After much thought, the need-for-control-person in me opted to re-code my website by hand - Wordpress is much prettier, I suspect, and definitely more convenient in many ways, but I prefer having full control over the code
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