As my fourth year of both blogging with WordPress and tinkering with it comes to a close, I have decided to redefine the focus of this blog. Originally, it was just my personal blog. It grew as an extension of a previous WordPress blog I had that focused on my hobby of amateur and high power rocketry. However, the most popular posts have always been the material that focused on WordPress itself – plugins, themes, etc.
So, for 2008, I am going to move anything that is not specifically related to WordPress off this blog. That may take some time because I will need to make sure that links don’t get broken in the process just in case someone needs information on how to make a duct tape wallet. While I haven’t decided on specifics, I’ll probably redirect everything else via .htaccess. I did that before when I moved everything to this domain and it worked well.
That move will allow this blog to focus on support for my existing plugins, development of new plugins, and WordPress tips & tricks. As a WordPress user from way back, I feel that I have a good handle on the inner workings of WordPress that I can share with others. I don’t recall the exact date I began with WP, but I do specifically recall upgrading my WordPress install to Mingus (released 5/22/2004), I think my first version was Miles (1/25/2004) and that was what inspired me to move away from Blogger. I was excited about the control and the ability to “get under the hood” and tweak my installation with plugins. Then I started making my own plugins and themes and I learned what worked, what didn’t, and why.
As a result of this journey, I have improved my skills in php, css, and MySQL (I was originally an ASP/VB developer way back late last century – but that’s another story).Â Where I have strengthened my skillset in WordPress is the knowledge of using WordPress’ hooks, filters, and native functions as much as possible.Â I see so many themes and plugins developed that recreate the wheel when they could just as easily rely on WP to do the heavy lifting. If they did this, their product would be more scalable for upgrades. An example of this would be the recent changes that WP made by dropping the category tables and moving to a definable taxonomy.
There was much griping and complaining focused toward WordPress by frustrated users. Unfortunately, this frustration was misdirected. Here is an example of what I saw. Some users were relying heavily on plugins and themes that, instead of relying on WordPress to get the list of categories (i.e. get_categories), they wrote their own sql queries to pull the list. Now in some instances this might be a necessity, but most often, I would say that it’s not.Â And that is just one example.Â As a result, upgrading was an issue for many. Personally, I found that my upgrade to 2.3.1 from 2.1 went off without a hitch. I attribute this to what I have learned the hard way over the past four years.
But I digress… As I said, the majority of this site’s traffic is coming to posts that are focused on my plugins or on WordPress so I am going to work to expand on that. I’ll probably included what I’ve learned about blogging in general along the way – what works, what doesn’t – specifically when it comes to monetizing. There are some things I’ve tried that worked and some things that were just a complete waste of effort.
I’m looking forward to 2008!