While WordPress allows you to accomplish a LOT within minutes of the initial download, there really shouldn’t be a limit to the things you can do…and there isn’t. WordPress extends 3rd party plugins that can be developed and shared by anyone.
These plugins are capable of all sorts of things, like introducing eCommerce functionality, integrating Google Analytics, creating dynamic photo galleries, and anything and everything else you can imagine. At the time of this writing, there are 4,245 official plugins for download via the WordPress Plugin Directory.
The first thing you’ll want to do is install the One Click Plugin Updater. This allows you to install other plugins directly from the WordPress admin, which alleviates the need for downloading and FTP’ing files.
In today’s world, where a new website is going up a fraction of every second, no one has the time to go through lengthy development cycles to develop a website. Certain aspects of a website simply need to exist in order to make them functional. Things such as search, authentication, database support, basic framework and UI are all key requirements in almost every project.
WordPress allows you to bypass those development efforts by providing a framework that already satisfies those demands. Rather than spending time building the site, you can spend time really “building the site.”
WordPress 2.7.1 is available for download via WordPress.org and should be installed in an environment running PHP 5 and mySQL 5 (although some previous version with). Once the ZIP file is extracted to your web directory, you must perform a couple quick tasks.
You will need to create the mySQL database (I use phpMyAdmin for all mySQL interaction) and create a wp-config.php file. WordPress provides a sample config file in the root directory called wp-congif-sample.php. You’ll want to copy the sample file, and rename it wp-config.php. Edit the file and update the database constants (host, user, pass, database).
Update:Check out my new release, Peeling Back WordPress, for an in-depth look at WordPress.
WordPress plugins allow you to extend new functionality to your administrative users and website visitors. I’ve listed my favorite WordPress plugins below (alphabetical order).
If you’re interested in developing a WordPress plugin, but just not sure where to get started, the WordPress Codex site has a great beginner’s guide called Writing a Plugin.