Website in 1 Day Links
We will use a free, open-source Weblog/Content Management sytem software called WordPress to create web sites in the workshop. It’s software that makes it easy to focus on the content — the text (and images) that you want on your site. You can have a site with pages, a site that’s a weblog (or news site), or a site that combines both. You have control over what’s in there. You can make changes to it any time you want. Once you’re past the initial hurdle of setting up the site, you won’t need a webmaster to make any little change to this word here, or that word there.
What’s a Content Management System?
The Jargon-laced eye-glazing explanation
A database-driven web site where both the website and the tools to manage it are accessed in a web browser.
“A what?!? Hey, cool it with all the jargon and buzzwords!”
“Okay, let’s try again…”
The plain English metaphor explanation:
Remember typewriters?* Remember (or imagine) writing a multipage document using a typewriter. You have to do everything yourself. Every time, for every page. Type along a line, and when you reach the end, press carriage return. (If you have a manual typewriter, it’s a physical motion). At the bottom of each page, you need to type the page number. While you’re at it, type that identifier line with the document name. Typewritten manuscripts are not very forgiving. If you need to add a new paragraph on page two, you’ll end up retyping page two. And page three. And page four… and so on till the end of the document.
Along came computers with word processing programs. Everything changed for the writer.
The writer doesn’t need to think about the page number. The writer doesn’t need to think about how many times to hit “return” after inserting the paper into the carriage (to make that top margin). Nope. The writer thinks about writing, and lets the computer handle all the detail scutwork. The writer only needs to think once about the running footer and the page number; the computer takes over from there. Word processing is far more forgiving: a new paragraph on page two is a new paragraph on page two.
Web sites have a similar relation between manual and automatic. There’s the manual method (a static page) or the automatic method (a content management system with dynamic pages).
In the static (manual) method, text goes into a page. Add a second page to the site. Go back and change the first page to link to the second page. A third page? Go back and change the first two pages to link to the third. Any change to one page — if all the pages are linked– requires a change to all the pages.
In the automatic method, a content management system takes care of all that detail scutwork of managing a website. You get to focus on content. You make some decisions at the outset, and set things up, and then concentrate on the writing, and maybe adding pictures, or other digital media (audio, video).
In the same way that you have a word processing file to store your document, a website is kept in a database, a file with many compartments to store lots and lots of different partial-documents.
The functional here’s-how-it-works explanation
Need a new page on your site? It’s easy. Create a new page. Give it a title. Add text. Save it. Done.
You do all your work on the site in special administration web pages for managing the site– pages that only you can see. You work there to set up and add to and make changes to your site.
Suppose it’s 1:00 am: You see a typo on one of your web pages. What do you do? Log into the site. Open up that page to edit it. Fix the typo. Click Save. Time: 1:02 am.
If you’re working on a page that you’re not ready to show to the world, you can hide it from everyone else by keeping it as a “draft” or as “private.”
You’re typing in a text window on that “admin” web page. But what you’re really doing is creating or updating an entry in the database. You’re updating the web site “file.”
When you create a new page, all your other pages automatically know about the newest ones, and generate links to all pages whenever someone accesses the site. There’s no need to manually update a bunch of links of pages. This is truly sweet. (The old “manual typewriter” way of doing web sites is the single thing that kept me from makign new stuff on my sites.) That’s because your pages — and their titles — are kept in their own section of
What about appearance? Go to a different section of the Administration part of the site and change your site’s appearance with one click.
Here is this website displayed using six different themes: