Using WordPress Themes & Plugins across your social platform

This is just an idea, but why not use WordPress Themes & Plugins across your social platform?

The idea of social platforms is to leverage the power of the crowd. Last time I checked, WordPress had over 650 different Themes & over 3,000 Plugins. Why not leverage the work from all those developers?

What if I modified my forum software to support these Themes & Plugins?

How much time would it take to simply install a theme and turn it on to have it’s styles carry across all my components?

I think it’s a good idea to at least take a look at how Themes work in WordPress and emulate that in the social platform. I have noticed here lately how sites like Google & MySpace have recently incorporated the Theme approach.

Something to think about!

Redirect root requests to your blog

In my article, “Installing WordPress” I mention how to redirect root requests to your new blog.

When I installed WordPress, I had nothing else on my server, but I wanted to reserve the root space for additional components, so I installed WordPress in a subdirectory named “blog”. Now I want all requests from my domain to just return the default view of my WordPress blog.

You can easily control this with an htaccess file in your root directory. Simply add the following line to your .htaccess file.

#I have nothing on root index, so redirect to /blog
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /blog/index.php [L]

We can always go back and change this after we add new components and update the main index page.

This approach to the architecture will allow us to install other components and connect them in our root space. Let’s say we wanted to add a forum to the site. We could install the forum software in the /forums directory, then update the root space to show information about our blog and forums without disturbing the architecture of either component. This approach will allow us to easily integrate components at will and give us the ability to update the component through their natural interface.

Installing WordPress

Installing WordPress

I wanted to install wordpress in a sub directory (/blog) of my site. I recommend installing it into a sub directory and using htaccess files to control the redirect to your blog, which we will cover later. This approach to the installation will give you the flexibility to add other components to your site and save the front page for organizing your components.

Setup Your Database

Create a database with your favorite tool. You can find your database management tools in CPanel or Plesk. You just need a database with a user that has all permissions. Jot down the database name, database user name, & password, you will need this information later for the wordpress installation config file.

Installing WordPress from the command line

Connect to your server with a command line tool like PuTTY

PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham.

Here are the command line steps

These steps are executed by super user (su) in your site’s root directory

  1. wget http://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
  2. tar -xzvf latest.tar.gz
  3. rm latest.tar.gz
  4. mv wordpress blog
  5. chgrp {root group} blog -R
  6. chown -R {root user} blog
  7. cd blog
  8. mv wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

Command line steps explained

Copy the latest, compressed version of WordPress to your site.
1. wget http://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
Decompress the file.
2. tar -xzvf latest.tar.gz
Delete the compressed file.
3. rm latest.tar.gz
Rename the wordpress directory to blog.
4. mv wordpress blog
Reassign user group to your new directory. This should be the same group as your root directory.
5. chgrp {root group} blog -R
Reassign user to your new directory. This should be the same user as your root directory. Updating user & group will allow you to use your common editing tools like Dreamweaver to manage these files.
6. chown -R {root user} blog
Navigate into your new directory.
7. cd blog
Rename the wordpress config file.
8. mv wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

You’re almost done!

Edit wp-config.php to include your database information, then point your browser to the blog directory on your site. You should see the WordPress Installation welcome screen.