The fact that WordPress today is the most popular Content Management System, despite facing tough competition from tough opponents like Drupal and Joomla!, is a feat in itself. But let us pause and ask: What makes WordPress so special? It is the evergreen features, the dedicated community, and the ease to use it. There is unlimited potential in WordPress, with numerous developers trying to come up with new features, which could easily intimidate new users. But in reality, WordPress is really easy to master.
Getting through the documentation
Like most languages and frameworks, the key to learning WordPress is through its documentation. The documentation is pretty descriptive (if not interesting), detailing the basics of the platform. The WordPress Codex is the online manual for WordPress and contains some of the most useful features like loops and template designs.
Getting your basics right
One thing that must be kept in mind is that WordPress is not some magical tool (although it sure looks like one). Apart from blogging, the most important use of WordPress is designing websites, and hence, you would need to learn here what any web designing process requires: HTML and CSS. The world of markup languages and style sheets has fairly expanded over the years, so you would do well to work up to HTML5 and CSS3. Even so, mastery over these languages would enable you to put your code directly into WordPress features, without having to depend upon widgets.
Take help from the community
Few technologies enjoy the kind of community WordPress has achieved over the years. There are thousands of people working, even right now, in order to unlock new doors from WordPress. Some of those people might even be generous enough. Hence, do not shy away from asking your queries in such forums. Do not be shy; every great programmer started from asking “how do I print ‘Hello World’?”. However, refrain from asking vague questions- these people might be generous, but they are not patient enough.
Keep plugins for the last
It might sound unfair; after all, why are plugins there if not to use them? Plugins do make our lives simpler, but it also gives us a shortcut from the actual hard work. Playing with the code, making mistakes and correcting them, it is the only way you would learn.
Reading books have never and will never go out of fashion. The Codex might give you syntactical information, but books will give you understanding and insights. Most beginner books fairly assume that you are a novice and thus explain everything on the way. It is the right way to proceed; understanding basics is the only way to master something. Some of the best books on this subject are:
- Professional WordPress: Design and Development by Williams, Damstra, and Stern
- Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress by Friedman
- WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson
Google a lot
Okay, this is not our attempt to run away from your troubles. Problem-solving works best when you try to find a solution, and search engines are the best way to find treasures. Given the huge number of developers working withWordPress, it is easy to assume that whatever problem you are facing, someone might and already faced it and someone else might have already solved it. Not only will it solve your issues quickly, it will also allow you to see a pattern among problems.