I'm new to WordPress, and before I go much further I want to do a sanity check on the way I plan on using it. I want to use it as a CMS for my existing website.
So, I am using the default theme, and I modified the page template to remove all sidebars. I want to be able to establish <DIV>s on my main page and have widgets or plugins contained in my <DIV>s, so I can control the layout and write my own CSS.
For example, I want to publish articles -- but all I want on the main page in one of my customized DIVs is a list of the article titles/links so I can use jquery on the list.
I guess what I'm saying is that I want to leverage the power of WordPress -- but I want to have total control over the position and CSS of the content. If I'm restricted to having "sidebars" on the left or right side, and restricted to the behavior the theme dictates, then it won't work for me.
Also, if I end up having to code all my own SQL calls, etc. - then I'm writing my own CMS and not really using WordPress.
Can someone point me in the right direction? Should I learn how to modify or create sidebars so I can put them wherever I want them? Or do I ignore sidebars and just figure out how to get plugins and widgets to work inside the <DIV>s I create on my pages?
I'm kinda lost and just want to get on the right path before wasting too much time on something I might end up having to throw out.