Welcome to CUNY Campus Wire! We know you’re going to like publishing with us. To get you started, here’s a quick 5 minute introduction to WordPress, the software powering our platform.
WordPress is an open-source, database-driven web publishing tool free for anyone to install. It uses PHP for all of its programmatic logic, and MySQL for its database. Think of PHP as the brains behind the operation. When your browser makes a request to your website, the PHP code holds all of instructions on what data should be presented where. Think of MySQL as a spreadsheet with sheets, rows and columns to store all of the data. This abstraction, or separation of content and presentation, makes a bunch of things really easy, including improving your website design and reusing your content in other ways (e.g. feeding it into an email newsletter).
There are several concepts core to WordPress you’ll hear or see as you work with your website:
- Posts and Pages – Posts and Pages are WordPress’ primary default content types. Every Post or Page has a title, body text, optional excerpt, author and publication date. Posts also have Tags and Categories, two different ways of categorizing your content. It’s common to think of Categories as sections of a publications, and to use Tags in a more free-form way.
- The Admin/Dashboard – WordPress has a frontend (what your readers see) and a backend (what you see after you’ve logged in). The backend is often referred to as the “admin” or “dashboard”.
- Themes – Themes are how the presentation of your website is determined. WordPress takes the content in your database and, depending on which theme you have activated, uses a theme’s rules to present content to the reader. You can browse and activate themes in the WordPress admin. One benefit to being on the CUNY Campus Wire is that you have access to over 100 themes from WooThemes, Graph Paper Press and Elegant Themes. Furthermore, if you want to use any of the open source themes WordPress.org has to offer, all you have to do is ask.
- Plugins – Plugins expand upon default functionality offered by WordPress and add features such as editorial workflow management, integration with Twitter, and analytics. You can activate the plugins we’ve installed in the admin.
Obviously, this is just a small subsection of everything there is to know about WordPress. We hope it’s enough to get you started configuring your website to your liking (and publishing). To learn more, check out our documentation site.