As I mentioned in the previous post a friend recently asked for some help with a club website that she administers, this started a journey that led me into the heart of WordPress and beyond. I tried various plugins that offered the kind of functionality she wanted, but none really worked the way that I thought they should and so I ended up writing my own, with a lot of help from online tutorials, trial and error. I needed to recreate the apperance of the website, so spent a lot of time trying to adapt various pre-existing themes and then wrote my own from scratch.In doing this I learned a lot about WordPress, how it works, how to extend it, how to get the most from it, including Search Engine Optimisation, and the community that exists which can assist you in these things.

WordPress is basically a blogging tool which supports one dynamic page, the actual blog, and, if you wish, a series of other, static, pages with ancilliary information. Of course, many people have found ways of making it do more, adding themes and functionality such as photo gallery, e-commerce, and CMS amongst other things.

The comparison to Rapidweaver is interesting. Fundamentally RW is a tool for developing static websites, i.e. where the content does not change regularly or without the action of the developer, but clever people have developed plugins like that can link to CMS platforms like PulseCMS and PageLime, which allow the user to update the content within the chosen design. Should you wnat to include a blog within an RW site, which is exactly what this is, then I recommend the WP-blog plugin.

So, which is better? WP is a great blogging platform which can be extended in many ways but is ultimately bound to its underlying structure. Although the layout is quite flexible, and customisable via CSS and PHP, a page is either static (a page in in WP speak), a list of posts (generated by “the loop”) or an individual post. RW gives much more control over the structure of individual pages and I find that tweaking the appearance, via in-app controls, is friendlier than modifying the stylesheet. So I think that both have their place, depending on what you need.