Front End Developers use WordPress. Period with a capital P. Though WordPress knows no bounds–it can be exciting and scary all simultaneously for a first time user–it truly gets easier the longer you live with it. I say this because I am speaking from experience; see WordPress: My Love Letter to You for my chemical romance with Ms. CMS. WordPress has a great reputation ahead of itself: powering 17% to 30% of the websites online, eloquent, and full-feature ready. This is why Frontend Developers use WordPress.
Eventually you’ll come to learn that WordPress appears simple, yet it is very deep and comprehensive. You can create to the heart of your imagination, but to capitalize on its full power, you have to master it’s learning curve. Despite, Front End Developers use WordPress for five reasons:
- There is a large community of support for WordPress. If you have any difficulties, there are people ready and willing to help you. This is my number one reason because in our wonderful, everyday-fast-growing-field we need to know that there are some people we can go to when immediate help is needed. Have a question? Ask it in the WordPress Forum and they’ll get back with you ASAP. But before you ask your question(s), search the forum archive. There’s a high chance your question has already been asked and answered. Ahh…therein lies the beauty of the community.
- Front End Developers use WordPress as it has one of the largest theme selections for customization. From Theme Forest to the internal WP theme located on WordPress.org, you can search through a litany of designs to satisfy your vision for a particular website. If you’re talented in CSS3, than you can easily adjust themes in the inspector element within the browser. Doing so will involve highlighting targeted elements, matching CSS selectors, and adjusting their values through a child theme. A child theme allows developers to make changes without affecting the core code. Also, when theme developers decide to update their theme, your changes will remain untouched.
- It’s easier to manage pages and post (which I can’t get into the difference between the two here, but see the recommended materials at the bottom) and organize content. Creating a drop down menu in WordPress has never been easier! As a developer who LOVES coding sites from scratch and manipulating the CSS manually, there is nothing like having the concern of design semantics lifted off of you when WordPress has simplified the process. Once you go into your back office and play around with the menu, you’ll easily see that creating drop down menus is only a matter of dragging and dropping. (No, really it is!)
- With the use of plugins, things that are time consuming to do in code are leveraged through plugins. For example, if I want to add social buttons to the footer of my website, instead of coding it directly into an HTML file via a text editor, I can find a plugin that will not only take care of the code and add the social media buttons, but also offer additional features. Footer elements are also managed through the use of widgets. Widgets are easy to nest and omit from the bottom of the page. If you desire other elements for the bottom of your page, I’m pretty sure there’s a plugin to cover you.
- Front End Developers use WordPress to solely focus on front end things. You’ll learn that WordPress is powered by PHP, a backend technology, but do not let that scare you. If you are familiar with CSS and experiment with plugins, you can manipulate and tweak your theme in anyway that you so choose. Now if you’re trying to develop a theme from scratch, then learning some PHP is a must. However, just remember that PHP is only responsible for retrieving data from the server, writing the HTML on the front end, and providing functions to specific areas of your code. You can use Google and sites like Stack Exchange to find PHP libraries that contain blocks of code to execute the function you want on your site. CSS will be the primary tool to manifest visually captivating designs for your clients.
One Other Reason Front End Developers Use WordPress
Front End Developers use WordPress because it is fun; but so great to create websites quickly for clients. You can teach them how to manage their own content or place them on an online beginners tutorial. This is how they learn the ins and outs while keeping you in-need for business. About 80 to 90 percent of the time clients want to control their content updating on their own terms. Fortunately for you, clients usually do not have the knowledge, training, skill…or let me be blunt–could care less to mess with the CSS, HTML, and PHP code to alter the design and functionality. I have clients who desire not to call me every five minutes to handle small details such as uploading images and writing content for updating. But for template changes or additional functions written, that equals–WHUT!!!–GOOD BUSINESS.
*Cough* Smooth *Cough* Beginnings
In my humble beginnings, I was directed to the WP community–who then directed me to the WordPress codex. After clicking through several links for WP installation, here is where I landed on:
My mind was blown–which link do I click on first? On top of this, there is a loooong detailed, technical description of how to install WordPress. While I imagine this is meant for the die hard web programmer, you may need something a bit more visual. I use Teach Yourself Visually WordPress. It provides screenshot step by step how-to explanations on dashboard items, plugin basics, and more. I am a visual and hands-on learner especially in web development. I can learn from reading and cross-examining text, but if is no immediate application, then it’s all for naught.
Graduating from the Basics
Once you graduate from the visual manual, it’s time to advance your career. DigWP(Digging into WordPress) Book is created by none other than Chris Coyier of CSS Tricks and Jeff Starr. The book comes in either print, pdf, or ebook format which means that the links included in the information can immediately be accessed for quick reference. There is an added bonus allowing you exclusive access to updates and downloads through the members area and book page.
Chris Coyier, a Front End Developer using WordPress, has been a leading expert in the web design industry for years providing a wealth of information for developers to master CSS. I once heard him say on the Big Web Show when he was getting started, he would spend all day coding CSS and HTML in his room while living with his parents. Those compiled hours can be attributed to the abundance of training and tutorial articles in CSS tricks.
In closing, Front End Developers use WordPress to alleviate the details distracting them from doing what they do best–front end development. I am confident you will come to love WP as much as I have. Overcoming the learning curve is very rewarding; WordPress relieves a lot of hassles when it comes to freelancing or other client services. If you’re looking for a great, trusted content management system to delegate to your lovely customers while you sip cocktails making a few tweaks here and there, then WordPress is guaranteed to help you drink up.