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All posts by daulex

WordPress Gutenberg

WordPress has evolved over the years, from a humble blogging platform, to a full fledged CMS. The complexity of the web sites has also grown and the content editing capabilities had to grow with it.

WordPress always has had custom fields built in for years, but the interface was so unfriendly to regular users, that using it was impossible. The process for creating a custom user interface by developers was always so time consuming and cumbersome, that few wanted to pay for the development.

Over time, editor plugins became more and more popular. Elementor, Beaver, Divi and many others all expanded the functionality of the basic WYSIWYG editor that WordPress used to ship with.

Plugins in WordPress usually provide functionality that the core CMS lacks, often, if a plugin becomes extremely popular, WordPress developers will assimilate the functionality and make the plugin redundant.

WordPress Gutenberg an excellent example of this pattern, let’s have a look at what it is and why we should care.

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg, currently, is a page builder plugin, like Elementor or Beaver with one major difference: it is open source, built and maintained by Automatic staff and a long list of contributors.

It replaces the classic “WYSIWYG” editor and tries to bring us closer to WYSIWYG actually meaning something, unlike the classic editor. Gutenberg is not perfect yet, but currently it is a stepping stone, between the classic editor and the ultimate goal of being able to assemble an entire page (starting from the header ending with the footer, if you should choose to add it).

What does Gutenberg mean for editors?

More flexibility, without the need of cumbersome and buggy third-party plugins or expensive custom development.

Columns and rows, buttons, tables and other elements, laid out in any order are now just a few simple clicks away.

What does Gutenberg mean for developers?

Less fragmentation, better APIs and better solutions we can offer our clients. Before Gutenberg, each of us had to decide, what approach we will take if we want to provide page building functionality to our clients.

 

Elementor may be too confusing or too powerful and unnecessary for some clients with basic websites, at ByTheScruff, we extensively use Advanced Custom Fields. This lets us quickly and easily provide a very simple, yet powerful enough interface for editing any part of the custom websites we build. Our clients don’t get overwhelmed with unnecessary controls and don’t have the ability to accidentally ruin the flow of their custom web site or make it appear off brand.

Always pick the right tool for the job

There is a huge variety of websites using WordPress out there. Not all of them need Gutenberg or any other page builder, not all of them need Advanced Custom Fields, task number one for an experienced developer is to analyse the needs of a client and figure out the optimal solution for them. We do this daily at By the Scruff, so if you’re in the market for a custom WordPress website, whether you want to use Gutenberg or not, get in touch!

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How to install WordPress

You are probably already sold on WordPress and understand that it’s most likely the best solution for your business. How to install WordPress is going to be your first question.

One of the main reasons why WordPress is so popular today is because it was famous for having a “5 minute install” during the days when setup and basic configurations of a new Content Management System was a very long and painful process (many, many years ago). The “5 minute install” has been “optimised and streamlined” behind the scenes, but on the front end, what you will see while installing hasn’t actually changed that much in the last 7 years.

Step 1: The checklist

It’s short, but important: WordPress was developed to run on PHP and MySQL, so make sure your hosting provider supports and provides both. Furthermore, your hosting provider may even have 1-click installs available for WordPress in which case, you won’t even need to follow the remaining steps.

FTP and MySQL connection details are required, so make sure you have them before proceeding with the installation.

Step 2: The download

WordPress is a bit of software, an App, if you like. We have to get the files in order to install it on the web server.

Click here to download the latest version of WordPress and save the file somewhere close and safe.

Once the zip file has been downloaded, find the location you saved it to and extract it, it should be named something like wordpress-X.X.X.zip (where X is a number, representing the version).

You should now have a new folder named wordpress, open it and you should see a list of files and folders, many of them starting with wp-. This is the source code of WordPress, its gears and bearings, the engine and all the adjustment switches.

Step 3: The upload

Once you have the WordPress files, we need to get them onto the server which will host your new site.

You will need to get the FTP access details from your hosting provider and put them into your favourite FTP manager. If you don’t have one, we recommend FileZilla, because it’s free and cross-platform compatible.

Connect to the server and find your web root folder. Your hosting provider should have indicated to you what it is. Usually, it’s a folder, such as public_html or htdocs and it’s the main folder of your domain. So all files placed inside of it, will be publicly accessible.

Make sure that there is no index.(something) file in the web root, before uploading as it may be lost during the upload, if there is and you are sure that you do not need it, rename the file and add something like backup to the beginning of the file.

Upload WordPress, simply drag and drop all files from your computer to the web root and wait for WordPress to upload. This may take anywhere between 10 seconds and several minutes, depending on your connection.

Step 4: The “5 minute install”

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 14.13.50

Once the files have been uploaded, the actual installation process may begin.

Open your favourite browser and go to your web site, if you did everything correctly, opening the homepage of your site, should display a message stating that there is no configuration file.

That’s great as it means that everything has been uploaded correctly and the installation can now begin. Follow the simple steps and type in the information that WordPress asks for.

Once you complete the steps and finish the install, you will be presented with a button to Log into the backend to start managing the site.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 14.17.48

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 14.18.45

Step 5: The real fun starts

So now you have installed WordPress, you have access to the huge world of themes and plugins, you can make the site do pretty much anything you like with enough time and willpower.

Remember, installing is the easy bit. It will require a lot of time to actually build up the content and arrange the site just the way you like it. Maybe you have understood that tinkering with files and digging through plugins doesn’t sound like something you want to do, or maybe you’re stuck somewhere? In either case, here at By the Scruff, we use WordPress all day, every day, give us a call on 0207 033 4269 or email us at getit@bythescruff.com and we’ll be glad to lend you a helping hand.

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Where are the best free WordPress themes?

One of the most appreciated features of WordPress is the ability to radically change the appearance and functionality by simply changing the theme. We would like to provide a few resources to make finding the best free WordPress themes easier.

1. The WordPress.org theme directory

This is simply the largest free WordPress theme resource out there. Searching through it might take some time, but you might find some rare jewels in there. To make your search easier, you should use the tag/filter search interface and only select the themes that feature the functionality and the layout that you are after.

http://wordpress.org/themes/tag-filter/

The most popular and usually the best themes can be found here:

http://wordpress.org/themes/browse/popular/

2. Moon Themes

Moon themes is a very small theme directory, all from a single team. While the choice is limited, the themes provided are very customisable and the basic layouts offered by the various themes are usually enough to satisfy even the most unusual requests.

http://www.moonthemes.com/themes/

3. The default themes

Often overlooked as very basic and standard, they are misunderstood. The default Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Twelve themes are very customisable and can be made unrecognisable and may suit a lot of feature requirements in a very short amount of time. Use the appearance management in the backend to discover the wealth of features they offer!

What if you don’t want to hunt around for the best free WordPress themes?

While it may seem like an easy endeavour, it still can be a very time consuming one if you have never done it before and letting WordPress experts do this for you may be the best option for you. WordPress experts like us could find you the best free WordPress themes, set them up on your own web site and configure them to match your needs for you, even on the smallest of budgets.

So get in touch now and let us take care of the hunt for you!

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