The Way We Work
October 8, 2009 by Alex Hornbake

blue-mWordPress is one of the top skills requested by buyers in the oDesk marketplace. CMS-based development, and specifically blog development, is at the heart of the Internet economy. Not only are blog developers important, but so are writers. It has bee said that “Content is king.” Regardless of what role your work falls into, it’s important to have some level of understanding of how WordPress, the current leading blog platform, operates.

Getting Your Hands Dirty

If you’re a writer or buyer, and don’t care too much for the nitty gritty, it’s okay! WordPress.com is an easy way to get started blogging. There you can sign up for an account, get a free blog (i.e.- YourBlogTitle.Wordpress.com). Follow the directions in WordPress.com’s Getting Started Guide and you’ll be blogging in no time.

For developers there is WordPress.ORG (sorry to use caps, but it’s an important distinction). WordPress.org is where you can find information on downloading and installing WordPress. The WordPress.org Installation Guide will walk you through downloading the package, uploading it to your own server, creating a mySQL database, and running the WordPress installer.

Also, ProBlogger has a great screencast on the whole process.

Developing Locally

Okay, maybe you’re thinking, “but I just want to tinker around, and I don’t have a dedicated server for development.” Yes, you do (hint: you’re looking at it) and if you aren’t developing on your own local server, then you are missing out! Working this way allows you to develop offline, and it’s fast. However, I do not recommend using the software below to host your own website from home. Developing with minimal security can be dangerous online, and working locally reduces the hassle of securing the site during development. Just remember that these servers are designed for developing – not hosting.

100px_winxp_logoIf you’re working on Windows XP, XAMPP is a great package to help you get started running a local Apache, MySQL, and Php servers. Tamba2 has a great tutorial on running XAMPP.


APPLE_LOGOIf you’re on a Mac, MAMP is what you’ll want to be running. See WordPress.org’s guide to setting up MAMP.


linuxLogoIf you’re on a Linux box, Supriyadi Slamet Widodo’s blog has an excellent guide to setting up a LAMP server on Ubuntu, and instructions on installing WordPress on your LAMP server.


Theme Development

One of the most requested WordPress related jobs is Theme Development. WordPress’s Theme Development documentation is fortunately thorough and relatively easy to read.

There you can get started on learning how to develop a theme from scratch, or get resources on how to modify an existing theme. If you are modifying themes, be sure to appropriately credit the original designer, even if your theme looks completely different, the time spent developing the back end deserves credit, and it’s the right thing to do.

Alex Hornbake

Freelance Tech Writer

Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.