My inspiration for this topic comes from a common question asked of me from several people and clients. It goes something like, “What’s involved in the creation of a WordPress site and how does it work?”.
So,…this article is about a web development process – a process that creates a WordPress site. I also add, in brief, the underlying concept of how the pages of the site manifests itself on your browser. Let’s please stand back from all that scary code and look at the broader picture.
By the way, I only mention WordPress because that’s my platform of choice. There’s close to a hundred different Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world, but Worpress is king.
Here are two ways this can happen, both of which involve collaboration between the developer and client. By “collaboration”, I mean an effective and regular communication between the two parties that result in a web design that the client is happy with. So, at a high level, it goes something like this,…
In the first method, this collaboration kicks off right away. Before any coding even begins, the first phase involves creating a set of images representing every page of the website. This is typically done in Photoshop. The images show all the bells and whistles, or functionality of the site, but are only that – just a set of images. Once the client finalizes the design, the developer goes away to his/her cave and converts the images into actual code. (such scary stuff as HTML, CSS, JS, PHP or what have you). This code is then added to a blank WordPress template including any content such as text, images, videos, social media, etc. And then, miraculously, another WordPress site is born.
Well, not quite. I failed to mention that the site has to reside somewhere, and that it also it needs an address. The “somewhere” is a server (which is only another computer that “serves” to manage data) maintained by one of many host providers. The words you are reading from this blog come from a server located, I think, in Utah or Nevada or someplace like that. The address, or what developer’s call the Uniform Resource Locater (URL) is the “http://www.someWebsite.com/somePageOfTheWebsite/” text string you see in that narrow window at the top of your browser screen.
The address, or domain name, is first registered for a small fee, and like your driver’s licence, is repaid every year. The host provider requires an annual fee as well, and is somewhat larger. (The price varies depending on the type of hosting you want.)
And by the way, for those of you that have heard that websites, images, and data reside in something called the “cloud”, brace yourselves, there is no “cloud”. It’s just someone else’s computer.
The second method is a bit of a shortcut. WordPress does not consist solely of a blank template. Over the years, developers have created literally thousands of themes that cater to many specific types of businesses, or bloggers, all with their own custom-made design. The developer provides a set of themes that the client can choose from depending of course on the nature and purpose of the business and the design preferences of the client. After registering the domain name and downloading the WordPress theme to the host provider, the next step is to add all the content. And then, just as miraculously, another WordPress site is born.
All the content contained in it, the text, images, everything, is stored in a database on the server. To recall that data, the browser (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc.) sends a request to the address entered by the user and is then delivered at light speed right onto the device you’re looking at right now.
Yes, it’s pretty slick.