Have you earned your techie stripes today?

WordPress ahoy! Frustrated at needing to update 3 or 4 pages of HTML every time I wanted a new entry, I’ve taken the plunge and thrown together WordPress for the server this site sits on. It’s been an interesting experience; whilst pretty experienced in HTML, CSS and web management overall, the PHP and complexity of the folder/file structure made development a somewhat harrowing experience. But the superb organisation of the community that created WordPress has helped bridge the gap, so that a programming novice can come up with a professional blog.
Why is this notable? Up until the explosion of the open source community, development was owned by those willing to spend evenings and weekends completely engrossed in the developer community … and the developer community only. Being a member of such a select club, it was understandable that the knowledge shared would be zealously guarded by some.

At work presently, I run across the same situation. Whilst pretty proficient in coding, accessibility and web standards, not to mention extensive usability and project management experience, certain developers seem to either (a) hit the auto-delete on my mails (at least I think they do; I receive few responses) or (b) talk in a pleasant, but slightly patronising manner – showing surprise every time I allude to having any techie knowledge whatsoever.

Hence the beauty of clarity in much of open source: if you’re convinced of user benefits and the approach you want to take, you can figure out the method soon enough and put it into practice technically. Whilst the products are often extensive in features, behind the scenes products like WordPress are built in a modular fashion, allowing construction piece by piece to the final product.

2 thoughts on “Have you earned your techie stripes today?

  • July 3, 2006 at 7:19 am

    Techie stripes duly earnt (earned?). Although I’m as much a fan of open source solutions as the next guy, at the moment it’s often pretty hard to separate the product from the user community, i.e. you really need others to pitch in to help you use an open source application — even one as successful and widespread as WordPress. Perhaps there should be some sort of ‘open source application standards’ (OSAS 1.0?) that these apps should abide by to increase their usability. That could only be good for open source, and the open source user community, surely.

  • July 22, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Think standards would be great – W3C, where are you?

    If not, my take is that in time, the open souce apps that hang around will grow their own markets for training, books and so on – as have Linux and PHP, to name two examples.

    Having looked for server instruction material lately, I found an additional irony – the open source guidebooks are infinitely more readable than the massive, commerically driven approaches. Long live the power of community.

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