Today’s topic is How did you get started in WordPress web development? The topic was suggested to us by our own Suzette Franck.
On this episode of WPwatercooler we are talking about How did you get started in WordPress web development? If you ever wanted to know how your fellow web developers got into WordPress web development now is your chance to hear their story. Live stream starts Monday at 11am PST.
Suzette Franck- She started in 1995 and discovered the internet and was fascinated with the internet. She taught herself html and started creating websites for her friends. Shipping ahead 15 year later she had a gallery client that was using blogspot and setup WordPress. She had a record company client that she used WordPress for, and she and her client really loved it. She was able to put together a website quickly vis using Homesite with tables and dealing with all of that yucky stuff.
Steve gets nostalgic and started talking about table padding and table spacing. Se got into the discussion and mentions Tables Reloaded that was recently renamed TablePress.
Steve Zehngut – Steve got into the business in 1991 or 1992 programming in Director and picked up Flash in 1998. Zeek became a full service web shop in 2000 and started using custom CMS’s. They picked up a Mombo project in 2002 for Fox reality channel. He got into WordPress because of the political clients that he was building websites for. He asked a friend if he should have used MovableType or WordPress, he picked WordPress.
Jason reminisces and talks about Mambo and hated it.
Dustin Filippini – Started in late 1990’s in highschool and helped his friends on the side. Dustin went full time 2 years ago as a WordPress developer. He tried Drupal and got into WordPress back in 1.5.
Dave Jesch – Dave started in 1979-1980 on IBM’s building shrink wrap software. In 2008 or 2009 he built a dog rescue site using PHP. He did a little bit of work with Drupal, OSCommerce and a few other packages. His wife was taking a class in social media and was introduced to WordPress. Dave picked it up and started to extend it and started to build ecommerce sites using it. He loves working with SQL, jQuery and Ajax.
Lucy Beer – She doesn’t call her self a hardcode developer, but she comes from a marketing background. She spent 8-10 years doing marketing for bands. She started with Blogger and quickly realized the limitations. She discovered WordPress back in 2004 and transitioned from marketing to training people how to use WordPress. She wanted to make WordPress do more, so she learned a bit of PHP and CSS along with theme development and tweaking code.
Jason asked about that transition, she says it took her about a year of transition, and she already had the marketing knowhow so when customers need that she has it.
Patrick Rauland – He fell into it on accident and took on a role as a Student Web Developer at the local university and after college and started with a company that did straight PHP development. He talks about having to build login forms over and over again and saw that a CMS would be the way to go. He tried Joomla, Drupal and landed on WordPress and started working with it.
Jason asked if someone is starting with WordPress as a developer what should their approach be? Patrick responded in that he started with a CS background, and he liked to build things the way he liked it. WordPress gets you 95% there, and that you just need to find the right plugins to fit the need. Steve says “Don’t fight with core”. Se says that there is a bit of lazyness that occurs. Patrick says that he agrees and that hooks and filters are where you can get more into that. The core of the product is done you are just adding on to it. Se talks about using plugins like Cyle2 and Soliloquy.
Steve talks about the merits of learning PHP as a way to get into WordPress. Se says you should learn CSS since most people starting out are less worried about functionality changed and more worried about style changes. Steve says that it depends on what your focus is. Suzette says to learn HTML. Se says it depends on what side of the brain you are working with either as a programmer or as a designer. Steve says it depends on what angle you are coming from.
Jason Tucker – Started as a Windows Systems Admin, he delt with classic ASP and how that works. Before that creating sites using HTML and tables. Jason talks about Wayback Machine and how you can pull up old sites and look at them (if they were cached), one if his favorite things to do when reminiscing. embarrassment with using Java spinners and such. 1994-1995 he got into doing web design and 1997 he built his first small client website. Looking at the styles people did back then. He hated dealing with forms back then, and something like Gravity Forms in WordPress was a game changer for him. Suzette said she used Contact Form 7 and later switched to Gravity Forms. Se says it’s pretty amazing just like WooCommerce, and ho well it works. Jason says he agrees with Steve states that learning to program in PHP is important. Jason started with server side include (shtml) and building sites using it since it was easier to way to incorporate sidebars, headers and footers.
Steve talks about Cold Fusion and Steve used it. Se states that she isn’t allowed to talk about relationships on WPwatercooler.
Se Reed – She comes from a content development side. Her degree is in journalism she later worked on online radio and television shows. She stopped and started her book store, OPEN. Her friend was doing WordPress and went to the first WCSF, and she went there for a wedding. Discussions about WordPress and WordCamp led her to getting into WordPress. She too had a geocities site, only a few people on the panel used it. Jason said he worked for a web host, and didn’t has to have a crappy Geoshitties site.
Dustin asked how did we all get involved in WordPress:
Dave says it’s extensible, and that is why he loves it. Se like it because the client can make content changes. Lucy like that she can build a website, make changes and update it whenever she wants. After that she got more into it and learned the power of it. Dustin said the community is what brought him to it. Suzette said that she was hooked before that and that “Paul” where when she wanted something she would build it. Lots of giggles about the name slip-up for Suzette with Patrick. She use to build it by hand and that WordPress just make it easier to build them. Jason tried to leave WordPress and can’t, back when she was getting married to his wife he built a wedding website using Mambo and hated it. Once they got married and wanted to turn the website into a site for their newborn daughter he switched to WordPress. Se said that Jason is “One of those”. Steve says that WordPress is much better than the crappy CMSs that he made for his clients back in the day. Se talks about the resentment about WordPress and how people look down on it because it’s too easy and to be able to have job security for making the nickel and dime changes for their clients. Dave talks about how most shopping carts need to be extended because the customer wants what the customer wants.
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Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.