Last weekend, despite the beautiful blue skies and sunshine, I was indoors, learning more about the platform that powers the good ship IISaM – WordPress.
WordPress has developed significantly from its early life as a blogging platform, and now underpins something like 16% of the top 1 million websites, and 22% of all new websites. The IISaM project works across three geographical areas, producing materials on a variety of topics (under the aegis of information management and sharing), and it became apparent early on that the project would benefit from having a central repository for work, as well as a way of sharing it with a wider audience. We looked for an approach that would be flexible and easy to use – and WordPress fit the bill.
The weekend’s course was led by Mike Little, one of the co-founders of WordPress, so it was a wonderful opportunity to learn from a real expert in the field. The course itself, titled “Intermediate WordPress”, sought to strike a balance between practical tips for improving a site, and providing a more detailed understanding of what is going on behind the scenes.
One thing you realise when you learn things organically is that it is sometimes possible to miss out some of the building blocks of knowledge. It’s rather as those you’ve learnt to read and can make your own sentences, without knowing the alphabet. Taking on a course like this provided a chance to cover off the basics, most of which the IISaM site already had in place, but I have picked up a few suggestions, particularly around site configuration and some of the basic architecture.
The second day rapidly became more advanced and I was glad to be able to fall back on some of my previous experience as we got deeper into the possibilities of coding. WordPress is able to draw on a wealth of functionality, developed by the community around the platform, in order to expand the capabilities of a website, although I can’t see IISaM branching out into e-commerce any time soon. IISaM t-shirts and mugs, anyone?! But what the second day really showed is that, due to becoming increasingly established as a Content Management System, you can pretty much do anything with WordPress – it’s just a matter of spending the time trying it out.
The course left me with a long ‘to do’ list of things I’d like to implement on the IISaM site, and I’ve already made a start on a few improvements ‘under the bonnet’. If you’ve got any suggestions for things you’d like to see on the site, why not get in touch?