Another Speaker Gives Us Her Insights on WordPress

Christine Winckler

Why do you love WordPress?
I love WordPress because it keeps things simple. I think in the development world people are moving past the mentality of giving software all the features they can, instead giving themthe right features, and WordPress really embodies that.

I’ve heard some criticize WordPress for its simplicity, but the overwhelming number of people flocking to WordPress shows it’s onto something. Users can work in it without being overwhelmed, and coders don’t need to learn some new templating language unique to WordPress.

All those people, in turn, enable us to add the features we want when we need them. The amount of plugins and themes available is pretty incredible. To get there, WordPress needs not only a robust development community, but lots of people out there consuming what they make, and it has that.

What is your favorite plugin?
Right now I’d say it’s a plugin called Restricted Site Access. I like to develop online, and I use it to keep the things I’m working on away from the public. Just about every site I work on has it.

I like things that keep it simple, things that just work, without having to think about it. Restricted Site Access is not only reliable, but it’s options blend right into the WordPress privacy page, you wouldn’t know a plugin put them there if you didn’t install it yourself.

I was working on a membership-only site recently. Wanting to give my client a lot of flexibility, I started with a feature-rich membership plugin. However, after finding it just wasn’t working right I scaled back — and found Restricted Site Access did the job wonderfully and with much less ado.

What’s the most interesting project you have ever done that involved WordPress?
I’ve done some interesting migrations from other systems into WordPress. These sites had two much content to make it practical for my client to move manually and there wasn’t an importer available for them, so I had to work to put a export from them into WordPress’s import format. Some features of those systems became huge roadblocks when I had to migrate their sites. It’s made me appreciate how straightforward WordPress is; it would be a lot easier to move WordPress content somewhere else.

What is that one thing WordPress doesn’t do that you wish it did?
I wish WordPress had an alternate configuration that would make it into a non-blog site at a much deeper level than simply giving it a static front page, or removing posts from the admin menu. It’s no longer just a blogging platform, it’s used for a lot of different kinds of sites. However, the blog functionality is still in many ways difficult to get away from. I’ve never had a client that wanted comments on their static pages, for instance, but that’s still the default, and there isn’t a setting that just turns it off. I want a button I can click that would make it so someone using WordPress for a non-blog site would never even know the blog functionality existed, and then be able click it again later to bring the blog back if they decided they wanted one. I’ve been gathering code snippets that one by one will bring me closer to this end, and at some point I may bundle them together in a free plugin.

Visit her site to learn more about Christine.

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4 Responses to Another Speaker Gives Us Her Insights on WordPress

  1. I’m wondering what is meant in Christine’s response to the last question about there not being a setting to turn off comments. I turn off the comments on all my pages very easily by going into the “quick edit” option when I make new pages. It would only take a few minutes for me to go in and switch it back as well. If you are talking about a default on / off check box in the settings of WP, I would definitely be interested ;)

    I LOVE WP for blogsites without the blog feature and it is SO easy to do! Maybe I am looking at it from a different stand point or am not quite understanding what you mean. But I have no problem using the WP platform for a “static” site for clients. and they love how easy it is to set up pages themselves (or their VA in many cases).

    • Bob Dunn says:

      Yeah, she is probably talking about being able to do this globally and make it obvious for users, instead of having to uncheck it on each individual page. Right now the only way you can do it globally in WP, is to go into discussions and uncheck the box “allow people to comment on articles”. The issue is for someone not using the blog functionality probably doesn’t think to go there to look for this.

      Fortunately, in Genesis, which I use a lot, on the theme settings there are two separate boxes to allow comments on pages and comments on posts. Like Christine said, no one wants anyone to comment on a page : )

      As far as the static page, etc. as a designer and developer she is looking at something much deeper than just changing the homepage. I think where this plays in has to do with the theme and how it treats the homepage as well. Just guessing…

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