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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beginners Guide to WordPress: Setting up a local site, Setting up a working development environment, Gaining practical skills and Developing understanding

Before we move onto the central theme of this article, as a foundation to our knowledge I suggest you read this article which outlines the different versions of WordPress that are available:

As individual developers we are concerned with the full version of WordPress.  For individual developers that are learning their trade or who need access to an environment where they can experiment and practice without the additional issues of acquiring web space and a web server we need a local web server installed that will replicate the online web space where WordPress would normally be housed. There are a couple of solutions listed below. I suggest you try out both options i) to see what environment you like working in the most and ii) give you the opportunity to work on a couple of WordPress sites as you experiment in the future.

·         Have a read of section 1 for some background to the technology
·         Try both implementations in section 2. You may want to go to section 3 before you start and download WordPress. Instructions will then be given in section 2 on how to install this onto your local web server.
·         Section 4 will give tips on using Dreamweaver as your development environment. If you do not have Dreamweaver links to other options are provided.
·         In section 5 we get down to work by creating a WordPress theme.
·         Section 6 Plugins, you will not really need at this stage, but it is there for future reference
·         Section 7 offers some thoughts on development Strategies, Environments and Tools
·         Section 8 offers links to websites that can help with the development of individual LAMP technology programming skills.
·         And in section 9 some other useful resources are listed.

I. Background to the Technology

II. Setting up the Local web server Infrastructure (XAMPP)
2a. XAMPP Home (This link is for an overview of product)
3a Download XAMPP (v1.8.1)  (includes Apache web server v2.4.3, PHP programming language v5.4.7 and MySQL database v5.5.27 and phpMyAdmin 3.5.22 : (probably best to use the installer option. Note also there is Lite version for use on USB Sticks)
4a How to Setup a WordPress Development Environment for Windows (XAMPP):
II. Setting up the Local web server Infrastructure (WAMPSERVER)
2b WampServer Home (This link is for an overview of the product. The product is made by a French company, use the ‘ENGLISH’ text link on the home page to translate the page, not the browser translate option if prompted.)
3b DOWNLOAD WAMPSERVER 2.2E. From the Home page there are a range of installation options depending on your computer and the specific versions of Apache, MySql, PHP and phpMyAdmin.
If you intend transferring an existing php intensive WordPress site into this setup it is probably best to match your existing versions.
You get the choice of 32 bit or 64bit depending on your machine. You can find this out by looking of the properties of your ‘computer’ or ‘my computer’ icon on your desktop (right click).
When downloading you will be presented with a form to fill in(for training) – you don’t need to fill this in, you will find a link to download the file at the top of the page. I went for this version (64-BIT & PHP 5.3) as it matched my machine and the PHP version matched a WordPress site I was transferring in.
4b. Setting up a local server for WordPress development (WAMPSERVER):

III. Installing WordPress
5. Download WordPress:

IV. Working with WordPress
7. Setting up a PHP Development Environment: The article gives a comprehensive overview which includes installation of XAMPP and myPHP admin as they are critical to being able to progress when setting up your Dreamweaver development site. Instructions included for both MAC and windows users.  If you have already installed XAMPP you may just want to review the instructions. The Dreamweaver action kicks in with the section “Defining a PHP site in Dreamweaver CS5” and finalises the whole download , installation and development setup to get you ready just to focus on the development of the WordPress website.
8. Other Development Environment options include:
·         WordPress development with Netbeans IDE:
·         Sublime text 2:
·         Webmatrix:
I have not used any of these but all have been mentioned in dispatches as useful development environments.

V. Getting to Work – Themes

VI Getting to Work – Plugins

VI DISCUSSION – Strategies, Environments and Tools

VII Skill Development
17. PHP 101: PHP For the Absolute Beginner:
18. CSS Tutorials:
19. JavaScript tutorials:
20. jQuery Tutorials:  (About jQuery:

VIII Useful Other Resources

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