WordPress.org

Forums

Customization is WAY too difficult! (45 posts)

  1. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    I consider myself fairly experienced with customizing and tweaking PERL forum scripts, but admittedly this is my first attempt at customizing anything PHP. I thinking about running (not walking) back to PERL. I have looked into PHP forums previously, but their customization also seemed way too limited over the pretty much menu driven customization of CGI/PERL forums.
    After several days of trying to just modify other custom templates and styles (gave up on creating my own from scratch after hour one!), I have to say that this is just way too difficult for anyone who does not have significant coding experience specifically with WordPress. Am I missing something or is there just no documentation for this that is organized in a single place rather than spread out throughout a forum of thousands of messages? Does someone wanting to customize WordPress really have to get into PHP so much? Has anyone created something menu driven or WYSIWYG? It just seems like it doesn't need to be this difficult -- the PERL stuff I've been using for years is far more simple and easier to customize (even from day one with my experiences with PERL scripts). I was able to just dive right into PERL scripts, quickly and easily figuring out customizations, tweaking, formats, etc.
    I realize I probably sound like a frustrated and pathetic newbie, but there's got to be a better way to allow for customization other than 20 hours of college level instruction on PHP and CSS. Is this the way all PHP stuff is? I have not really found any significant advantages of using PHP over CGI/PERL. Is there enough of an advantage or benefit with PHP that I should stick this out and see if I'm eventually hit with a dawn of realization (after a couple of weeks or so of banging my head agains the wall)?
    Thanks for any input/feedback. Sorry to sound so frustrated, but I believe I'm mainly disappointed. So many people seem to be going with PHP over CGI/PERL these days, but after this mostly first experience, I really don't know why.

  2. chuyskywalker
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Wow, I'm sorry to see that you've hit such a wall with this. I started in PHP and PERL scares me, so I understand your delima.
    There is a great reference for a slew of built in functions to wordpress, and you can find most of them on the WordPress Wiki which has both a User Manual, and a Template Function Reference.
    As for getting into PHP itself, I have found that the PHP.net website itself is tremendously awesome. The ability to search through available functions by typing http://php.net/function_i_want is awesome (for example: http://www.php.net/foreach) Add to that the decent examples and user input for solving commonly brought up issues and you should have no problem getting into this.
    As far as WYSIWYG applications, I've never even heard of this sort of thing - got a link to some screen shots or something? Sounds interesting.

  3. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    After several days of trying to just modify other custom templates and styles (gave up on creating my own from scratch after hour one!), I have to say that this is just way too difficult for anyone who does not have significant coding experience specifically with WordPress.

    Reading this through I am wondering whether it is php that is really causing you concern. Or as you say it is about styles (and possibly layouts and positioning).
    We can certainly understand your frustration and there is no need to feel bad about that. If you could just post a slightly more focussed question clarifying what you want to do first and we can easily get you going. But the whole triangular relationship between php mysql and the index / css is very different from perl of course. Good luck and please stay in touch :)

  4. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Perl scares you? Okay, I guess it's all a matter of perspective and what you start with then. Maybe I just need to chill, realize this PHP thing is not going to be an overnight (usually late-night) learning curve, and just use a canned template/style for now.
    Thanks for the resource suggestions. I really will check them out. Maybe I'll actually be a convert after all this is said and done, eh? For some reason I didn't see the Wiki before -- I'll definitely be spending a lot of time there in the near future.
    As for the WYSIWYG thing, I mainly meant for designing templates/styles. Most Perl scripts handle the formatting/layout very differently from PHP from what I can tell. One Perl forum script I usually use allows for the template to be edited via FrontPage or other WYSIWYG html editor of choice. Maybe I'm just too used to being babied with that, and need to just knuckle down and get more technical.
    Thanks again!

  5. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Well it is often a misconception that in order to get anything done in Wp you need php coding skills. This forum in part contributes to that because it is full of folks hacking the application to death - and then some.:) The default stuff though is pretty powerful. More importantly for layouts and styling there is no need to go anywhere near the php at all. It is basic html / css. That itself can be a challenge to people new to those disciplines. The choice there is to go with what you have by simply adding a style sheet , edit the index a bit or fit a new template. If you let us know where you are headed we can definitely help.
    Then by all means add plugins or do your php thing to your hearts content. :)

  6. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Sorry, Root -- I sincerely didn't mean to be so vague.
    I guess my problem is definitely a style/template thing. I really want to customize WordPress to look like the rest of my website, but that is proving to be FAR more difficult of a thing than any of the Perl scripts I'm using. I have received several confirmations of sanity out on the web by seeing other people not wanting to use WordPress because "it's so difficult to template", but I've been looking for a while and WordPress definitely seems to be the best thing going in Blogs. Like I said above, Perl scripts that I've used allow you to edit colors and even some formatting via menu driven scripts, checkboxes for displaying certain fields (or not), etc. I don't want to sound like a big baby though, because with Perl scripts I typically use whatever configuration function they have and then just dive right into the actual code for any modifications or customizations that I can't do via their more automated configuration options. I am just not able to do that with PHP. Perl seems to be a far more "obvious" scripting language, whereas PHP seems a bit more cryptic.
    I guess a specific example of my frustration is that I've be going in circles for hours just trying to get my Blog's description inserted under the Blog name. Then I finally get it there, but it's not really under, it's next to it and wrapped, and the same size font as the name or title. The header entries for some of the templates I'm trying to tweak/modify seem to be in numerical order (I'm probably not explaining this correctly due to very little knowledge of PHP), like the name is H1, the date is H2, etc. With that being the case, where do I insert the description? It just seems like (to me) that this type of basic display option should be a menu driven checkbox setting or something rather than something I have to manually insert into a template. I mean, why did it ask me for a Blog description when I first installed the script if the default template wasn't even going to show the description? See what I mean?
    I realize this is probably a very basic problem, but if I cannot even get beyond figuring out this, I'll never be able to get further into customization. I just felt like I was missing something basic and obvious, but I guess what I'm missing is the knowledge of PHP.

  7. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    I guess I don't know where the HTML ends and the PHP begins. Perl scripts don't seem to work or be designed with that type of separation. There's usually one place to edit how the final product is going to look, and it can usually be edited in Frontpage or some other simplistic HTML publisher. Admittedly, my limits to extensive HTML coding is limited to whatever FrontPage can do for me. I'll look at the HTML view in FrontPage and make modifications without using the WYSIWYG mode, but I'm not just going to sit down with a text editor and design a web page from scratch.
    Again, I guess this is just a new frontier for me and I need to be a little more patient. Alas! There is no Perl blog script as nice as WordPress! It would definitely make my life a lot easier!

  8. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 10 years ago #

    @internetpilot - if you could post a link to your wp page, and a link to something close to what you want, or the link and a description of how you want things moving around, it would help hugely. You won't be short of help :)

  9. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    internetpilot if you knew the folks involved there is a whole stack of people queueing here waiting to help but we need your url :)

  10. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Posting the URL would be no use to anyone -- it's a new domain, new site, and now just has a default reinstall of WordPress there.
    I think my issues are far more basic and preliminary. I really want to either display the Blog description under the Blog name or just insert a graphic that has the blog name and description, but there is no style that I can find that has this. I learned Perl purely by example, looking at other people's stuff and modifying it to suit my own needs, site theme, etc. I just can't figure out the format of the index.php, and where to put specific template tags, etc., and cannot seem to find something like I want that I can use as a learning tool. It just doesn't seem very intuitive to me at this point, whereas things moved along a LOT more quickly for me when learning Perl.
    To further an analogy used above, if I was able to put a bigger engine in my Ford last year after owning it for only a week, shouldn't I expect to have enough knowledge to put a bigger engine in my new Chevy that I've now owned for a week? In the end, they're both cars and combustion engines...why should it be so different. I guess I didn't expect Perl and PHP to be so different, but I guess it's a confirmation of sanity that it works both ways -- there are people who can't figure out Perl after using PHP.
    I think part of the problem is that this is definitely not a script for a PHP newbie -- especially not one who doesn't want to use the default look of this script. I'm okay with that. Nothing annoys me more than someone without the knowledge trying to do something they shouldn't be doing. I think I'm probably fitting that bill myself right about now.
    I'll hang out, do some more looking around, learning, stumbling, messing things up, etc. , and see what comes of it all in the end. I'm installing this to a brand new site, and the blog will be the primary function of this new site, so it's not like I'll be messing up other stuff by dinking around with WordPress.I'll post questions along the way (with URLs by that point)...
    Thanks again!

  11. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    In my last post, I don't want it to seem like ALL I want to do is modify the name/description display of the blog -- I do want to do far more extensive style tweaking, but that was just an example of a very simplistic thing that I cannot see how to do now that I'm out of my nice, comfortable Perl pond.

  12. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    I really can not emphasise too strongly the enormous benefits of getting the thing up and running somewhere even in test form in a sub directory, because that way we can see the code. By coincidence this afternoon (here) you have had three of the most experienced forum goers with WP expertise between them in every discipline you need, stacked up waiting to help, but virtually powerless to do so.
    Once we identify a specific question you will be pointed in a much clearer direction. I might add that many of us are running test installs all over trying out hacks, plugins, tweaks and generally breaking things. I must be running 15 WP installs at least :)

  13. Anonymous
    Unregistered
    Posted 10 years ago #

    @internetpilot,
    with all due respect and understanding for your problem I have to add that the customization/styling/layout has almost nothing to do with PHP. I am not able to write one single line of PHP code: all I am able to is to copy-paste any of the template tags.
    On the other hand I do have some knowledge of html and css - and that helps, I have to admit. If you don't mind my advice would be: forget all this "comparison" of pearl and php... just jump into learning the relation between a html tag and the referring css properties.
    Just my 2c :)

  14. moshu
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    oops, that was me - sorry, I forgot to log in

  15. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Ditto with moshu.

  16. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Well we may as well do the hat trick. But I would like to add a bit. People who are very skilled in one area of IT may be reluctant to lose *control* by asking specific questions. They want to be pointed to learning resources so they can do it themselves. That is a really understandable and admirable approach. But a few specific instances would get you into where you need to be which is the CSS.

  17. clay
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Just start by opening index.php and wp-layout.css
    Change something in the css file- make a background bright pink and put a dark green border around something, see how it effects the layout- then find the section in index.php that it is related to.
    That is how I figured stuff out, when I was getting frustrated by not being able to get a certain bit of text the color I wanted it to- I would make a very obvious change so I could SEE it and then change it back.
    I've only been using WordPress since April and I would say I have progressed pretty far- in my php and CSS knowledge

  18. Beel
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    I may be off, but from my reading it sounds as if you want to do the css styling in the index file. WP outputs the tags and you should look at styling the page through the css.
    I thought about our car analogy and my response would be the inference that Perl is to PHP as Ford is to Chevy does not hold. A Chevy and a Ford are fundamentally the same but Perl, from the ground up, is different from PHP. Gotta get a whole new set of wrenches when you switch to metric (mixing metaphors here).

  19. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Heck the analogies are getting way too complicated. Open up wp-layout.css and have at it. The h1 is to be found in h1 and header.

  20. Anonymous
    Unregistered
    Posted 10 years ago #

    oh dear, everyone is making far too much of a meal of this.
    You use FrontPage? Cool. You won't get any support for that here, because they are hardcore 'let's have a super-basic layout in xhtml and style everything in an external CSS file' people, but whatever floats your boat. Open up wp.php in a text editor. That's a very basic WordPress template with the necessary PHP code to set the post engine whirring, which you can copy and paste into your html file. Consult the template tags section of the Wiki and you will see that WordPress has a tag system not too different from MT, Blogger, or any other blog software you care to mention. As long as you remember to save your new template as .php rather than .html it is no more difficult to make your own template in WordPress than in Movable Type. You will need some basic CSS in order to control the behavior of lists and headings, but the CSS you need for lists is also in the Wiki.
    I will get flamed for this, but you had a right to know there is more than one way of approaching this problem. Good luck.

  21. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 10 years ago #

    It's not that there aren't other ways, it's just that I find the way you just described too complicated :)

  22. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Thanks, everyone, for your help. I really do appreciate it and want you to know that I'm not just a whining newbie who wants everything to work exactly the way that I want it to instantly. Okay, actually I do want it that way instantly (doesn't everyone?), but now realize that most Perl scripts and and most PHP scripts do not handle templates, styles, and even CSS the same way. Well, maybe CSS, but configuring the actual layout appears to be quite different from what I'm used to. I'm also admittedly confused a bit on what's PHP, what's just relatively simply HTML, and what's CSS (and which to go to for what I want to do), but just the suggestions in this thread have helped out immensely. I will keep at it. This is too good of a script to move on to a different one. Obviously, the community support for this script is also here and very active.
    I'll start with a canned style that's similar to what I want as a final product, and work from there. Sigh...not another "learning experience".... :) I'm getting too old for "learning experiences".

  23. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Well to get the ball rolling why not fit my Gemini Template ? :)

  24. cedar
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Internetpilot: For starters, forget all this Perl vs. PHP nonesense.
    They both have their pros and cons but you no more need to know PHP to template a WP site than you need to know Perl to modify a Movable Type template. I modify them both heavily and believe me, scripting languages are not one of my strong suits.
    What worked for me was reading the docs and looking at the WP template tags as an extension to [X]HTML. Make your layout and do your CSS like you would for any other site, just replace the static markup with the WP tags as required. This really isn't complicated providing you don't 'misplace' the WP required code in your template (this is easy to spot just looking at the default template).
    Granted this requires knowing [X]HTML and CSS, but certainly doesn't require any more than a cursory knowledge of PHP -- if your used to hacking Perl this shouldn't take more than a couple of hours.

  25. ryoken
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    hm.. no response there about listless so i'll ask here. what happened to listless?

  26. Root
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Its closed. Temporarily.

  27. ryoken
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    ah.. got it ^_^

  28. chuyskywalker
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    If you are struggleing with the aspect of playing with the style sheets (ya know, edit, upload, check, edit, upload, check, ad infinitum) get Firefox, and then install the Web Developer Extensions. It allows you to edit CSS on-the-fly. You'll love it and learn a lot.

  29. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Augh...my head hurts. But hey, I'm learning slowly but surely. I realize that I'm still a newbie to all this, but I still have to offer a newbie overall opinion: There has to be a better, easier way to do this. Like another thread mentioned, a lot of even the more customized WP blogs seem to still be more on the simplistic side. I think I'm beginning to learn why!
    I'm pretty much at a point of just leaving things how they are, even though I'm not 100% happy about the results. However, one problem I'm having is I cannot for the life of me (keep in mind: Newbie!) figure out where to adjust the the font size for the post content. I must be missing something basic.
    Also, another question on font sizes -- why will the IE view/text size option enlarge or reduce some of my WP font sizes, but not all of them? What I want to do is prevent them from being resized view browser settings at all, but again -- can't figure that one out either.
    I haven't used CSS very much before...and I don't think I will in the future if it can at all be avoided. Egads!
    I'm trying, trying, trying! Still hanging in there despite telling my computer monitor it was "#1" using the wrong finger a couple of times during the process. Count down from 10...now breath in...and out...in....and out...LOL

  30. internetpilot
    Member
    Posted 10 years ago #

    Tried it -- doesn't work or it just ends up convoluting the problems further. FrontPage doesn't seem to handle anything out of the index.php file very well, including moving every line that says "Don't remove this" to the body of the file. Font tags or any other type of GUI based formatting that I'm used to using do not seem to have any affect on the output at all. It's just a mess.
    For WordPress it appears that I'm actually better off using CSS because the way that is most comfortable for me doesn't work at all -- at least I'm getting something when I use CSS. Still, I haven't seen much use for CSS other than adding a layer of confusion to web page design, which is a rather simple thing in itself, especially for something as text based as a blog.

Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.

About this Topic

Tags

No tags yet.