My Journey to WordPress – Part 1

by Ryan Barr on December 30, 2007

in Web Development

Wow…

I never thought I would do this, but I’ve dumped textpattern. It actually came about rather quickly and I’m quite happy after doing it. Just a few weeks ago, Megan and I began the process of re-vamping the website. She really wanted to start blogging some more, and well, I needed to stop slacking off and start really blogging again. We talked about the options and figured that a re-design of ryanbarr.com was the way to go. It’s been quite a journey. One that I’ll probably split over a few posts so that this one isn’t obscenely long!

Anyhow, here is the story… I started off by completely re-doing the site in textpattern. I nabbed a pretty nice theme from textplates.com, and then dove in. After working out with Megan how we should manage the whole site, we decided to move a ton of content around (which of course wreaked havoc on my google placements) and totally reset the way a bunch of things were handled. I installed a ton of new textpattern plug-ins to try and make the administration a little more user friendly and even wrote a few myself to handle some stock quote functionality I was looking for. After spending a few weekends working on it, we finally had it ready to go.

Then a good friend of mine asked me to help her setup a new website – michellerenephotography.com.

My response: No problem! I’d be happy to help you out. Lets get a domain setup, I’ve got a great host that you can work with etc…

Then the kicker… “We’ll you know, it’s a photography site. I’d really like to have some serious image management. Really, I’d like it to be a gallery first, then a blog second.”

Serious image management?

I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. I’ve been using textpattern for quite some time, and have built quite a few client sites using it. Textpattern is a great CMS, but serious image management is not it’s strong point. So, like any good open source kinda guy I went in search of an existing project. I happened to stumble upon a project called Gallery 2, and a wordpress plug-in called WPG2. Interesting… a full image management studio with pre-existing integration into wordpress. This could be worth a try.

The only hangup that I had was, well… I’d never used wordpress, and the last time I looked at it customization and theme’s were all handled through php hacks. Not nearly as elegant a design as textpattern.

I was a little more than skeptical, but I figured what the heck.  It’s her site and  if I can get her started I’m sure she can finish it off.  So, after a bit more research, I was ready to install. Given that michellrenephotography.com is a brand new site, I put the tools up and started hacking away.

My host does a cool quick install of both wordpress and gallery2 so we were off to the races quickly.  I got the two systems up and running, did a bit of quick configuration and then went about getting the plug-in working.  That is when I realized that there was no way on earth she was going to get this all figured out without some serious help.  Permissions, themes, configuration, ssh, linux and a ton of other things that are way to geeky for her to understand.  Well, I figured I’d better dig in…

As I worked on getting things working, I found that wordpress had evolved quite a bit since the last time I took a look.  Quite frankly, I was  downright impressed with it!  I’ll walk through my challenges and learning through this hole process over the next few posts…

Stay tuned to hear about the configuration and setup of the WPG2 plug-in.  The core of the blog/gallery setup that runs ryanbarr.com :)

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