Support » Fixing WordPress » How it all works

  • jsolomon


    I’m trying to understand how this all works, but stumbling into too many technical walls to piece it all together. I’m wondering if someone could give a concise but expansive answer as to the process of how mysql, php, xhtml, and css all come together. Here’s what I know:
    php=serverside language (right?)
    xhtml=html but spiffy

    Other than this, I don’t know much. To make a vague question a little more concrete, “Briefly summarize everything that happens from the moment I hit the publish button to when a user finishes reading it.”

    I know this may be a comprehensive question, but I’m really looking for a concise answer, so please don’t waste your breath…fingers. Thanks.

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  • Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42) Admin

    Okay, short version.

    When a user requests a page from your WordPress blog, a lot of stuff happens.

    a) The PHP code runs.
    b) Based on the URL, it determines what the user is expecting to see.
    c) The template/theme gets executed in the way that is correct for that theme.
    d) It pulls the relevant data from the database.
    e) Using that data, it outputs the XHTML.
    f) This goes back to the browser.
    g) The browser reads and inteprets this. One of the things in the XHTML is a link to the CSS style document.
    h) It pulls the CSS and formats the page accordingly.
    i) The page is displayed.

    The important bit is how everything is separated.

    – The data (your blog posts and virtually everything else of importance) are all stored in the database.
    – WordPress handles all the backend stuff.
    – The template/theme controls the output of the blog itself. This determines the content of the page.
    – It references the CSS, which controls what the page looks like.

    Oh, and XHTML really = HTML but standardized. It’s like the new HTML, without the problems inherent to HTML. This is why validation is so important, it lets you know whether your code adheres to standards which are well defined and (hopefully) used by all browsers, thus insuring a common look and feel. Okay, so it’s not perfect, but it’s important to have goals. 🙂

    Any questions?

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