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Learning WordPress - Not easy! (11 posts)

  1. Arterus
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hello everyone, I am writing today to ask for some serious help. I am going to try and keep this post short, but to best explain my problems I need to get into some details. If I don't then you could answer me by simply pushing me down roads I have already traveled.

    I sincerely appreciate your time, thanks for trying to help me.

    Ok, so I started using WordPress several months ago now because my wife needs a web developer for her business. I wont bore you with details here, but essentially she has lost 3 developers over the last 2 years, because they simply don't deliver what she wants. I have been frustrated myself also, and have decided to do the WordPress stuff for her myself, that way the work will get done.

    I have learnt HTML CSS and WordPress in this time (still much to learn of course but I bumble through).
    But I am struggling like mad when it comes to WordPress PHP. I come from an IT background, so localhost servers/ftp and the WordPress side of things are fairly straight forward to me. (I'm not an idiot - well... I hope :P)

    I never dabbled in programming of any kind (other than maybe BBC basic - yes I'm that old!) :P So this is all fairly new to me, but of course I understand the general concepts.

    I have read books on PHP (2 of them) I have watched video tutorials (MANY of them) from Youtube, and from Lynda.com, and Killersites (which SPECIFICALLY target WordPress)

    I feel that I have all the knowledge I would ever need, stored up in my head.. However...

    When it comes to customizing a theme we have bought for a customer or adding a new gallery function, or well, you get the point... Almost any change that requires PHP of ANY kind my knowledge fails me.

    I just cant figure out the syntax, or even 'where' to put the change, or how to implement the changes required. I always (and yes I mean always) hit a brick wall.

    Now let me also say that of course I understand that learning this side of things is going to take time, and of course there's no experience more valuable than experience itself. I get that, but my questions are these...

    1. Am I the only person in this position? Is there anyone else out there struggling like I am with WordPress?

    2. Does everyone go through this gargantuan learning curve to learn WordPress?

    3. And most importantly... How do I go about getting over this massive hump I am at right now.

    One further bit of info to really help you understand where I am... I understand much of WordPress. I understand functions and how they are called for example (but cant possibly write one myself) I understand the loop and how it (and most other WordPress functions) can be 'conditional' to make things happen only when certain conditions are met.

    I understand the network of connections behind wordpress that pull the relevant 'the_content' & 'the_title' type information to the areas you want it.

    But programming it myself... BRICK WALL!

    ANY help here will be greatly appreciated. Mostly, I believe hearing others stories, that may be the same and how you overcame them. Or just a push in the right direction.

    HTML CSS - Easy... Learnt and fairly comfortable with in a few months... Worpress PHP A nightmare!

    Thanks for your help all.

    Art.

  2. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    And most importantly... How do I go about getting over this massive hump I am at right now.

    I would start by modifying a theme available on WordPress.org. This way you can ask for support on WordPress.org forums and support is likely to be given. Otherwise you're left with the theme's author for support, as WordPress.org forums do not support commercial themes. Some commercial theme vendors may be big, but the web (the free community) is bigger.

    But programming it myself... BRICK WALL!

    It's difficult because programming is an abstract concept. You may have an easier time learning object-oriented PHP, whereby you can represent code with real-world objects. Mapping real-world objects with PHP can help remove the abstractness.

    The Web Development jobs I've experienced have been based on problem solving. You just need to be a fast problem solver, not a programmer.

  3. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I just cant figure out the syntax, or even 'where' to put the change, or how to implement the changes required. I always (and yes I mean always) hit a brick wall.

    Play about, use a trial and error method. Trial and error is great learning.

    To understand code by playing about with it, you could var_dump things. This is probably what most professional programmers do anyway.

  4. Arterus
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I would start by modifying a theme available on WordPress.org.

    Thank you, that makes sense to me, 100%! And your right, I have only had theme developers to ask for help, which has been hit and miss.

    Do you think I should start with a downloaded theme, or would the themes that come with WordPress itself be a better starting point? 2010 2011 etc?

    I did actually think to myself over the xmas period that it might be an idea for me to try and html/css a layout myself and them work out piece by piece how it fits into WordPress. Would this be a good approach, or would this be fraught with nightmares also?

    Oh.. another question...

    I found this tutorial to be the most helpful of all:

    http://blog.themeforest.net/wordpress/wordpress-for-designers-day-2/

    But its quite old now, and I was wondering if there were any tutorials like this out there anywhere that are a little more up to date?

    Thanks again for your help all.

    Art.

  5. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Do you think I should start with a downloaded theme, or would the themes that come with WordPress itself be a better starting point? 2010 2011 etc?

    Yes, 2010, 2011 or 2012. You can always get support on the default themes, because they're most familiar. 2011 might be a good one, it's been out for a while and people know it well.

    I did actually think to myself over the xmas period that it might be an idea for me to try and html/css a layout myself and them work out piece by piece how it fits into WordPress. Would this be a good approach, or would this be fraught with nightmares also?

    That is a good approach. You could do this backwards too. You could start off with Twenty Eleven theme and pick it apart.

    I would always work in a Child Theme environment, whereby your changes will be safeguarded when the theme updates.

  6. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    But its quite old now, and I was wondering if there were any tutorials like this out there anywhere that are a little more up to date?

    Sorry, I don't use WordPress so I wouldn't know, but I'm sure another forum volunteer would be more knowledgeable.

  7. Arterus
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thank you Andrew, most helpful. I will give some thought as to which approach may give the best learning results for me and wade on in.

    I would always work in a Child Theme environment, whereby your changes will be safeguarded when the theme updates.

    This was something I started to do straight away, on the advice of one of the developers we 'used' to have. I guess he was good for something at least :)

    However, I have found 2 themes so far that just dont work with child themes and their css counterparts and I always wondered how this could be possible? My reasoning is that is your child CSS is AFTER the imported css style sheet then yours should have specificity no?

    This is one side of wordpress/css I just cant get my head around.

    Thanks again,

    Art.

    This still leaves anyone else out there who may be struggling? I could do with hearing that others have these problems, as the community seems so 'confident' as a whole. Are there no other noobs? lol.

  8. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    My reasoning is that is your child CSS is AFTER the imported css style sheet then yours should have specificity no?

    Yours will have specificity if you have specific-enough selectors, if not, the original stylesheet will be used.

  9. Arterus
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Sorry, I don't use WordPress

    Hahaha, and your the only person who replied. Thanks for your help and for a laugh Andrew.

    I have to ask however... How do you know so much about it if you dont use it?

    Art

  10. Andrew
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I have to ask however... How do you know so much about it if you dont use it?

    By wandering into threads that I don't know the answer to, then learning from other volunteers. I think of each answered thread on WordPress.org forums a tutorial.

    Most of my WordPress-related answers are just theoretical, taken from other volunteers on these forums.

    Often I abuse these forums and just answer CSS questions.

    We may be in the same noobiness class as eachother.

  11. Arterus
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    lmao, you have made my day.. Really, thanks!

    And good luck to you my friend, it seems you are in the same boat as me, and as such the perfect person to help.

    Lets see if anyone else has anything to say on the subject. Although I cant blame people not wanting to wade into a book sized post.

    All the best Andrew,

    Art.

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