A Word about WordPress

It’s really great to see the Programme embracing WordPress at last! I’ve been pottering through the MSc since 2006, and we’ve had a white-knuckle ride through many different approaches to blogging, social networking, and similar online fun – from early ‘dark’ blogging, through Elgg/Eduspaces, and even feu Google Wave (not to mention, of course, FB and SL).

WordPress Buttons and Stickers by Nikolay Bachiyski on Flickr (CC:BY)

During all this time I’ve had a strong belief that WordPress was one-to-watch: it’s free-and-open-source, has a rapid and dynamic development cycle, a huge community of creative users, and an effective architecture supporting all kinds of third-party themes and plugins. I’ve tried out other blog platforms, including Blogger (which has much to recommend it) but what always impressed about WordPress was that with little, if any, programming know-how, you can still be immensely creative, whether you choose to download and host it yourself from WordPress.org, or use hosted options at WordPress.com or Edublogs. (A friend of mine who is definitely creative but definitely not a Web developer has created several impressive sites with it.) I’m really surprised whenever I discover people have chosen other blogging platforms, but generally not surprised to learn their experience is disappointing: I’ve had very poor reports from major institutions who have chosen solutions based on TypePad or Drupal.

WordPress has gone from strength-to-strength, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, and has an ecosystem all its own. When podcasting was the next-big-thing, plugins emerged to turn it into a podcasting application. Another plugin, ScholarPress, ventured to turn it into a VLE. One theme turned it into a convincing Twitter-like micro-blogging platform. There are plugins and themes to make it work with Iphones and other mobile platforms. Not all of them are perfect, but they all signal the huge potential of WP: essentially, wherever blogging is somewhere at the heart of requirements, WordPress has got to be considered.

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