[wp-hackers] Making it better

Scott Merrill skippy at skippy.net
Fri Apr 22 12:30:42 GMT 2005

Owen Winkler wrote:
> Is it your expectation that WP becomes a tutoring ground for PHP newbies?
> There is a lot of help in codex, some of it even assumes that the user
> doesn't really understand PHP.  Skippy's "The Loop" lesson is shaping up
> really well, actually.  Sure, it could use (a lot) more documentation
> like this, but there are so many other better online/offline resources
> for PHP that I don't think we should reinvent the wheel just to appease
> users who want something more complicated than can be accomplished by
> using the evolving Codex documentation to tweak existing template tags.

I don't think WordPress ought to be an explicit tutoring ground for PHP
newbies, but I think it presents an _excellent_ opportunity to ease
newbies into familiarity with programming concepts in a way that they
can find immediately useful.  If they realize along the way that what
they're doing is PHP programming, great!  If not, no worries - their
templates end up looking the way they want.

WordPress using pure PHP rather than a templating language means we can
(and arguably should) gently introduce variables, constants, flow
control (if, else, while), etc.  This introduction is immediately
hands-on, and it's possible to make it easily digestible even for people
who do not want to be programmers.

The default WordPress template(s) probably ought to include newbie
friendly comments for as much as possible; as well as present a best
effort at a clean, unambiguous style (the bifurcation of CSS between
style.css and header.php, as mentioned elsewhere, makes it hard for
newbies to jump in).

If people are completely uninterested in learning PHP, they'll _at
least_ see comments like "If you delete this line, the sky will fall
down" or "You cannot simply copy this to a different place in your

skippy at skippy.net | http://skippy.net/

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506C F8BB 17AE 8A05 0B49  3544 476A 7DEC 9CFA 4B35

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