WordPress is responsible for about a third of all the websites on the internet. While not necessarily being the original company with this type of offering, WordPress definitely made the biggest success of it – managing to blend easy-to-use user interfaces, with thousands of themes and plugins, as well as incorporating a powerful business element to the package.
From Webmasters to public users, WordPress is the ideal solution – but it does have its challenges. Most themes are generally easy to use, with most of the features one would need already built in. The challenge is revealed when some of the settings that are native to a theme fall short of what the user intends to achieve aesthetically.
Themes today, tend to facilitate the editing of the raw code within the theme itself to suit the needs of the user. But sometimes users are not sure what they need to know in order to get what they want. That, coupled with being intimidated at the alien-gibberish that code must look like to inexperienced eyes, can leave people quite frustrated and not knowing what to do.
In this article, we will be looking at computer code languages in WordPress, and what one may need to know in order to solve some of the problems that they may be facing.
WordPress, or rather the themes on WordPress are usually coded in a language called PHP. This is a coding language that is designed to run on servers, and is specifically used for WordPress development, because it facilitates the easy-to-use drag-and-drop mechanics that made it a success in the first place. Now, you will probably not want or need to get yourself immersed in the massive world that is PHP, but it is essential to understand the environment in which you are working/learning.
It is not recommended to make any changes to the PHP code of one’s theme, unless you have a very thorough understanding and experience with the language. Unless, you may end up with an unusable theme. If you simply have no choice, we suggest making a backup of your files and then experimenting with the copied version. That way your original files are still safe.
HTML or Hypertext Markup Language, is the standard language for web pages. It is a basic language and will not necessarily be the majority of your theme’s DNA, but it is definitely one of the most widely used, and easiest to learn. HTML is not aesthetic at all and is more responsible for the actual text and images that populate a website than anything else. What modern themes tend to do it allow a user to insert blocks of their own HTML code into the theme in a small, controlled container.
This is quite useful if you either do not have experience with the language, or want your HTML code to refrain from affecting the code that makes up the theme you are using. What makes HTML an essential tool to have in your WordPress toolkit, is that themes often do make use of a little HTML in their DNA, and facilitate the use of it as theme items on your pages. This gives you the freedom to custom code exactly what you want to see in that block on your page, without the risk of it damaging your site’s functionality.
Cascading Style Sheets is a language that is simple to understand, edit and code yourself. It was normally used alongside HTML as the code that would add the aesthetic changes to the data that HTML would put on the page. For example, if you wrote a paragraph in HTML, you could, in CSS, change the font size of that paragraph in CSS.
In today’s themes, CSS is still being used to change the aesthetics of elements coded to the pages, but the themes tend to allow one to physically look at all of the CSS code that is on the site, make changes, and even supersede the native CSS code that is on the site, and write completely new CSS code to their heart’s desire. Again, with enough experience with the language, this should not be a problem.
Code runs almost everything digital around us, and is becoming increasingly important, as it operates things from our selfie cameras, to moon landings. Knowing even a little bit about it can save one lots of money by not replacing your laptop after you’ve thrown it, or having to purchase another theme because this one didn’t do what you needed.
If that one border is a bit too thick, or you with you could change the padding to the right of those social media icons, rest assured that there is a coding language involved you can flirt with to get the results that will satisfy your OCD.
Note: These languages are extremely finite things and changing anything as small as a comma, can have disasterous effects on whatever it is that you are editing. If it is a WordPress theme you are tinkering around with, we urge you to err on the side of caution, especially if you cannot afford to lose the site. We recommend using a free plugin like Duplicator Pro. It will package EVERYTHING that makes up your site, into a compact .ZIP file with an Installer, so that if something goes wrong, you can upload and install your site back to its former glory.