Making The Most Of The WordPress.org Website
The WordPress crew are a generous bunch. Many people (myself included) occasionally lose sight of the fact that we are using a completely free and open source piece of software. Yes, Matt Mullenweg isn’t doing it all for charity, but we’ve got a lot to be thankful for.
Not only do we have the awesome WordPress platform to work with, we also have a fantastic resource in the form of the wordpress.org website. I hadn’t fully explored the site until recently, and was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of useful information within.
So let’s take a look!
Like any self-respecting website in the modern age, wordpress.org has its very own blog. A fairly tight-knit group of WordPress experts (including Matt Mullenweg himself) post around once per week. Most recently, as you might expect, Matt published a post on the WordPress v3.3 update, complete with a funky video.
If you have an interest in WordPress (and if you’re here, I’m going to guess that you do), the wordpress.org blog should be on your radar.
Seeking inspiration? Look no further than wordpress.org’s very own Showcase. Sites are rated by WordPress users based on their “implementation and use of WordPress”, so there is no particular bias.
Not only that, they are categorized by type (e.g. standard WordPress, multisite, BuddyPress, and so on) and tagged – if you are looking for inspiration in a particular field, you can customize your search accordingly. For instance, if you were working on a corporate site, you could check these out for inspiration.
I’ll only touch on these two areas briefly as you would have to call your home the underside of a rock to not be familiar with them. Having said that, the themes and plugins sections on wordpress.org, although not without their faults, are without a doubt the best resources on the web when you’re looking to customize your WordPress site.
Plugins and themes can be found in the Extend section of wordpress.org, as can Ideas. Now we’re getting into the true spirit of open source collaboration. Here you can make suggestions for improvements to WordPress, and other users can vote on your suggestions.
The ideas with the highest votes are taken into strong consideration for future updates. If you have ideas as to how WordPress can be improved, here is your outlet! For instance, check out this little suggestion…sound familiar?
Who doesn’t love to complain? I’m British, so I absolutely love to do it, but usually by muttering under my breath or writing a really terse letter. That’ll do the trick.
So I can’t help but love wordpress.org’s anonymous complaint feature. Just drop “what ails you” into the box and Kvetch it!
I dare say that the majority of WPMU readers use smart phones. What can I say – you’re the technologically enlightened type. The team at wordpress.org recognize this and are working very hard to produce genuinely useful and usable apps for smart phones and tablets.
I personally use the WordPress app for iOS whenever I am away from my laptop – its features have come on in leaps and bounds recently.
If you are interested in learning a bit of history and also getting a better idea of where WordPress is heading, you should check out the about section. It is hard to believe that the world’s most popular CMS has only been in existence for a few years.
This is the holy grail. I don’t know what I would do without the WordPress codex. It is to WordPress what Wikipedia is to the world (and Wikipedia helped me get my degree – you’ve gotta love that).
It’s got you covered on everything from a basic introduction to WordPress, to plugin and theme development. If you have a question, there is a pretty good chance that it has already been answered here. And if not, I know where you can head next…
The word comprehensive is somewhat obsolete when it comes to the WordPress forums. At today’s count, there are nearly 2,500,000 posts on a multitude of topics – from installation to meetups. That right folks – nearly 2.5 million posts. That’s a whole lotta information for you to sift through and get the answers you need.
One Last Thing…
The folks at wordpress.org seemingly aren’t happy enough with what they’re offering at the moment and are working on an update. If you’re interested in helping them out, just fill in this simple 5 question survey. Open source software such as WordPress runs off the input of its users, so what are you waiting for?