Romantic Robot Working on it.

23:40 Wed 2 Jun 2004

WordPress and PHP

Filed under: WordPress — 23:40 Wed 2 Jun 04

Odd what you find when you decide to just follow comment link after comment link – why do some people seem to think that to use WordPress you must know PHP ?

I’ve used Blogger, MT, Nucleus, Pivot, TongueWag, GreyMatter, and with ALL of them, I found them too clumsy, too cumbersome, too demanding from me in some way or another. They needed to know server paths when being installed, or they had some wierd system of tags that governed what went where on your page, or you could make one tiny correction to a post yet had to sit and watch your whole site rebuild, or any one of a number of other reasons.
That’s why I did my site in plain HTML and CSS for a long while – I knew what was what, and I had full control. With MT especially, the process from clicking ‘Publish’ to seeing my words on the site almost seemed to be that it was taking what I wanted it to say and grinding the words into a format it found acceptable.
The other odd thing is that I have never seen anyone say “I can’t use MT because I don’t know Perl” or “I’m fine with the cgi-bin so I’m running this or that”, so why this fuss about PHP ?

I’ve been here with WordPress now for 5 months, and I know 1 thing in PHP:
<?php info(); ?>
There you go – and that’s already included in a WordPress download anyway !

I’ve upgraded numerous times, I’ve changed this page layout just as many, I’ve installed and removed hacks as I played with them, but I still know sod all about PHP.

I do know enough CSS to alter layouts, but then you need to know CSS with any blogging tool unless you want to look the same as everyone else. I know enough HTML too, but even that knowledge is being reduced when it comes to blogging tools.

If WordPress had required such a level of programming knowledge that some people seem to imagine, then I would not be using it, and I doubt many others would either. I can see that people will scan the forums, and may see code being quoted here and there, but can they not take that few moments more just to understand that the code is very probably there because someone is asking for something that is out of the ordinary, and that they are being answered with the code that they need. See ? You don’t need to know it, someone else will sort it for you!

And sites like those of Brad Choate and Scriptgoddess got hugely popular with MT users because they too offered tweaks and enhancements for the perl-driven MT – but did all the users of that software understand it ? No, they didn’t. I’m certain that WP would also have more such sites were it so widely adopted – there is already the Weblog Tools Collection,, Alex King and others offering support as well as the WordPress forums and Wiki.

WordPress installs easily and quickly, it is very easy to change to suit the style and tweaks that you want, and it works quickly and reliably. Add into that a forum where questions are answered in a very short time, and an irc channel where you can actually ask the developers questions, and there really is no reason at all for someone not to consider WordPress simply because they are under the mistaken belief that you need to know a programming language.

All you do need to know is what you want your site to look like, and what to fill it with.

When I wrote my site in HTML/CSS I felt in control of it all.
I still do.


  1. […] : Blogging Software — site admin @ 11:26 pm

    This began as a comment to this post in the blog of one of the people working on the WordPress project, b […]

    Pingback by Words of Mass Disinterest » Why You Must Be a Programmer to Use WordPress — 04:27 Thu 3 Jun 2004 @ 04:27 Thu 3 Jun 04

  2. I know the feeling. I hardly know much PHP at all, and I can do great things with WordPress!

    Comment by Jeremy S. — 09:24 Thu 3 Jun 2004 @ 09:24 Thu 3 Jun 04

  3. Take another spin by Scriptygoddess — she’s made the switch to WP and is turning out some great customizations and plugins.

    Comment by Adam M. — 18:17 Thu 3 Jun 2004 @ 18:17 Thu 3 Jun 04

  4. I know – and I think her contribution to the WP community will be invaluable !

    Comment by Mark — 18:23 Thu 3 Jun 2004 @ 18:23 Thu 3 Jun 04

  5. […] in this world that is as easy to install as it is to use. Reading Mark’s article on WordPress and PHP will give you some testimony to what i have been spouting ab […]

    Pingback by Visual Grammar » Help: Just a request away — 05:42 Fri 4 Jun 2004 @ 05:42 Fri 4 Jun 04

  6. I think sometimes that a part of this (a small part) is that the forum (like many) covers a wide range of subjects. Reading it all, a newcomer might think that everybody is hacking it to bits. But that is the forum not to software. My other thought is that the forum is of a very very high standard technically. I haven’t found one that is comparable. But as a starting point for reading up on Word Press for many typical bloggers, it might seem overwhelming. In fact, it might only be a very small percentage of users who have genuine software related problems, or are doing something clever to fit their particular needs. The great mass might be installing and using quite happily without using the forum or knowing anything about php (which I certainly dont)

    Comment by Root — 23:51 Sat 5 Jun 2004 @ 23:51 Sat 5 Jun 04

  7. Friends WordPress Implementation …re-writing much of my WP Photos hack to make it fairly 1.2 plugin compatible… What makes you happy ?: WordPress and PHP [Photo Matt (*)] Aaron Is Not Amused: Meet The New Blog…Same As The Old Blog [Photo Matt (*)] Un plugin de Jennifer

    Pingback by Le blog de iFeedYou — 21:48 Mon 7 Jun 2004 @ 21:48 Mon 7 Jun 04

  8. Blogging software is the simplest mechanism for “In-depth explorations of every imaginable topic.” That’s the revolution. (2) “Odd what you find when you decide to just follow … (4) Jill/txt is having some problems switching to WordPress, maybe we can help? Two documentation pages

    Pingback by Photo Matt » Unlucky In Cards — 23:02 Sun 6 Jun 2004 @ 23:02 Sun 6 Jun 04

  9. Why You Must Be a Programmer to Use WordPress

    This began as a comment to this post in the blog of one of the people working on the WordPress project, but it got to be quite long. Since I didn’t want to use his blog as if it were mine, I decided to post this here and make it into a more fleshed …

    Trackback by Words of Mass Disinterest — 05:28 Thu 3 Jun 2004 @ 05:28 Thu 3 Jun 04

  10. choosing your sWordPress

    Yesterday I wrote about why I chose WordPress for I had my reasons – I like that I can drive the whole site with one template, that its based on PHP, and that because of my experience with PHP there was a very low barrier to ent…

    Trackback by box of chocolates — 00:59 Sat 5 Jun 2004 @ 00:59 Sat 5 Jun 04

  11. […] Matt Read's answer is a resounding  no. "WordPress is powered by PHP, but uses a simple template system, easily modified by even the most novice of users." That would be me, the most novice of users. Unfortunately, he uses quite a bit of PHP to make his point, a tactic that made me a little less confident in his position. WordPress Support Maven Mark often exaggerates that he knows almost no PHP to make his point that you only need to know code for extraordinary circumstances. Of course, in the same breath he says "I’ve installed and removed hacks as I played with them, but I still know sod all about PHP." Installed and removed hacks? All of which supports my view that experts by definition have integrated knowledge to the point where they often have no idea what novices don't know. Still, if you ask if you need to know PHP to use WordPress on the WordPress support forum (for example, here, here and here), the consensus is "No, you don't need to know PHP. But it helps." It helps when you want to personalize your blog. Now, who among us that have gone to the effort of setting up a blog does not want to personalize it?  […]

    Pingback by What Every Novice WordPress User Needs to Know About PHP (part 1) | Shanta Rohse — 18:20 Fri 14 Apr 2006 @ 18:20 Fri 14 Apr 06

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