The Making of JohnnyCoder.com

I’ve freely shared that my blog is “powered by” WordPress and I have enthusiastically endorsed the product time and time again. Heck, I may have posted enough praise to last WordPress a lifetime, but since Andreas Kraus asked for it, I am going to share a little more.

Here’s the top 3 things I love about WordPress (and how I incorporated them into my site.)

Number 1: Themes

There are literally hundreds of available WordPress themes. The trick was to sift through the clutter and find those which I liked. Just do a Google search for the top or the best WordPress themes and you will see what I’m taking about. You should find a number of sites featuring their own WordPress theme competitions with link list to preview all the submissions. You will also sites which simply list their favorite skins. AlexKing and WebLogToolsCollection are good example posts.

After lots of searching, I came across Fury at Alexallied.com. Since installing the theme I have modified it considerably but you can still see where JohnnyCoder’s foundation comes from.

Number 2: Plugins

I’ve downloaded and reviewed a number of plugins. Per an earlier post:

In nearly all cases a simple Google search, a two-second download, a two-minute installation in five minutes of play time is all that is required to get a plugin and running. On occasion, I will modify the codebase slightly, but the majority the time the plugins include ample configuration settings to provide the exact functionality I need. But when I do need to modify the code base, the code is clear and easy to navigate and tweaks to the code typically take only a few minutes.

Here’s the running list of plugins I’ve incorporated into this site (in no particular order). All of these plugins were freely available. All of these plugins came with source code, installed effortlessly and worked without any issues.

01. Akismet – This plugin checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You can review the spam it catches under “Manage” and it automatically deletes old spam after 15 days. You will need an API key to use this service, but if you are running WordPress, this comes free with an account. In my opinion, this plugin is a must-have.

02. Brian’s Threaded Comments – This gives you threaded/nested comments and a “wandering” comment form. To be honest, I’m not sure what the “wandering” comment form is all about, the threaded comments worked nearly perfectly out-of-the-box. I have modified the plugin code slightly. For more, check out my previous post.

03. WP-Notable – Adds social bookmark links and icons to each blog entry. For more, check out my previous post.

04. Breadcrumb Navigation – Shows current viewing post or page, search results, category, and archives. This plugin was included with the original Fury theme.

05. Customizable Post Listings – Display Recent Posts, Recently Commented Posts, Recently Modified Posts, Random Posts, and other post listings using the post information of your choosing in an easily customizable manner. You can narrow post searches by specifying categories and/or authors, among other things.

06. WP-PostViews – Enables you to display how many times a post have been displayed.

07. Get Recent Comments – Display the most recent comments or trackbacks with your own formatting in the sidebar.

08. Live Comment Preview – Supplies users with a live comment preview. For more, check out my previous post.

09. Nice Categories – Displays the categories conversationally, like: Category1, Category2 and Category3.

10. XSD Snapr – Snapr simply integrates WebSnapr-Script in your WordPress blog. Adds preview bubble to all external links. For more, check out my previous post.

Number 3: Community

There are a number of blog engines to chose from these days. I was lucky enough to decide on WordPress primarily because of its extensive userbase. There are some many contributors, I have found endless freely available code (mostly themes and plugins) and support in the form of WordPress-related sites. Though I love figuring stuff out on my own, my research is typically limited to an online search when it comes to my WordPress blog thanks to the many helpful individuals who work with WordPress too.

So there you have it — the making of JohnnyCoder.com. Let’s consider this a living post as I’ll continue to update as I enhance the site.

If you are interested, you may find more about site registration and hosting on one of my early posts.

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