I have wanted to have a web site for some time. When Ingrid and I joined Campus Crusade, I finally had a decent reason to do so. It is a good tool in our inventory of tools that keep our ministry partners up to date on what we are doing.
As I prepared to get rolling, there were a couple things I knew. One is that I’m not really an artsy/design person. I’m good at functionality but not so much with form. Personally I like both, I’m just better at one than the other. So I knew I was going to need something that would help in making my site look nice. The second thing is that I’ve done just enough browser based projects to know that what I wanted would be a ton of work to write from scratch. And while that would be fun, I needed something that could do what I wanted right away. I needed blog/content management software that would work out of the box- but I wanted it to be flexible. I’m not going to write it from scratch, but I wanted to be able to tweak things. I wouldn’t be a geek if I didn’t feel that way.
So I headed over to a web site, OpenSourceCMS.com. There you can try out a host of open source packages that do things like what I wanted. Why did I want Open Source. Well, it would allow me to do what I just described. Use something already built, but I would have complete control and could change things if I so desired.
I spent a pretty good amount of time scoping things out. At the same time I was looking at hosting. I prefer to use postgreSQL as a database, but mysql is much more common with hosting providers. I had some experience with php and it is also popular as part of the LAMP stack, so that was good. It helped me narrow things down a bit. And quickly I found my way to WordPress. It had more features than I needed and could take on the look I wanted without too much effort. It also had a large user base and was under active development.
Both these things are important with an Open project. It means that if there are enough people who want to keep it moving forward, it will. It can’t die, because the source is out there, and there just needs to be knowledgable people who are willing to pick up the ball and run with it.
WordPress has been great. I’ve learned a lot tweaking it, install and upgrades are dead easy and running it is not complicated either. It’s really a great tool for someone like me – and for anyone who doesn’t want to mess around in the code, that isn’t necessary, just fun. The documentation is also solid and there is a lot of help available out there in the community. It’s really cool.