WordPress has come a long way since its early days as a blog based content engine. It has developed into a mature content management system capable of handling virtually any type of content.
The success of this is evident through the current WordPress plugin/template library; which currently hosts thousands of user submitted templates / plugins and the millions of websites that are now built on the WordPress platform.
By making it easy for developers to create and integrate; WordPress has created a user community that fuels its rapid development.
Extending & Customising WordPress
The WordPress architecture is designed to encourage the extension of core WordPress functionality through a combination of plug-ins, custom content types and user templates.
Custom Content Types
The release of WordPress 3.0 cemented the transition from blog management tool into fully blown content management system with the introduction of custom content types.
Custom content types allow administrators to define additional types of content beyond the built in support for pages and posts. Specific fields can be assigned to each content type to accommodate varying types of submitted data.
In a nutshell WordPress admins can capture and present any type of content; the sky is the limit.
- WordPress Galleries
- Portfolio systems
Prior to the implementation and rise in custom content type development, the extension of WordPress was limited to plug-ins. While plug-ins do have the ability to quite significantly extend the functionality of WordPress the very nature of it was almost separate to the WordPress post content structure.
WordPress plug-ins absolutely still have their place and are used to extend functionality both of the front end and admin area.
Popular plugins include:
- Analytics functionality
- Social sharing
- Admin functions / post control
- Contact forms
- Ecommerce extension
One of the most attractive features of WordPress for the end user is the sheer amount of ready to go themes and website templates.
Thousands of themes are available to search and install, all from the WordPress admin dashboard. Professionally designed premium themes are also available for purchase externally.
Installing and activating a WordPress theme will transform the front end design of the website, giving it a tailored non-standard look. Themes can be switched between, displaying your existing content on a new design easily.
WordPress include a number of default themes which are usually fairly basic but work a treat.
Shaking the image of a blogging Engine
It has taken some time to shake the old image of WordPress being a bloggers only affair; To cementing its position as a clear market leading content management system. WordPress web site hosts usually provide WordPress installation as a standard feature due to its ease of use and reliability.
Currently (as of writing this article) at version 4.0 WordPress has continued to refine its features, functionality and integration potential. Partnered with the active development community there isn't a website function function that WordPress cant fulfil; Making it truly more than a blog.