(Updated with additional info @ 2:11 p.m. 9/23/09)
To say Matt Mullenweg loves WordPress is to state the obvious.
Mullenweg created the widely used blogging software and runs Automattic, the San Francisco company that offers it as a free platform or a software app you can use to run a self-hosted blog. (Disclaimer: I use WordPress.com for this blog.)
Mullenweg was in Portland last weekend to spread some of that WordPress love around at WordCampPortland, one of many conferences for WordPress disciples that’s cropped around the country in the past few years.
Work obligations kept me from going in person. But I listened to Mullenweg over a live stream that WordCampPortland organizers set up so anybody could feel like they were part of the party no matter where they were – except for the beer. Unfortunately nobody’s managed to live stream a keg, but given enough time I’m sure Portland’s developer community will figure it out one day. But I digress. As of Sept. 22, WordCampPortland organizer Aaron Hockley was still working on getting a recording of Mullenweg’s talk and the rest of the live stream online. Check here for more info.
Mullenweg, 25, has obviously talked about WordPress a million times because he’s one smooth presenter. In fact, if you followed my tweets at #wcpdx, you probably read me say Matt Mullenweg is the Justin Timberlake of blogging: funny, smart, cute and a natural in front of a crowd. Again, I digress.
In an extended Q&A session with the WordPress faithful at the two-day meeting, Mullenweg touched on a number of issues of interest to writers who blog and bloggers who write. Here’s a quick summary:
Blogs as websites – More people are using blogging software such as WordPress as a content management system. That’s a fancy way of saying they’re using a blog as a Website. When Mullenweg asked for a show of hands, about 90 percent of the people at WordCampPortland indicated that’s how they use WordPress. The number of freelance writers using blogs as websites might not be as high, but my guess is it’s large and growing. Here’s an example of what a blog doubling as a Website could look like, this brochure site for pianist Jane Coop.
Word and WordPress – I write posts in the editor built into WordPress.com. It works for me. But I know other writer-bloggers who prefer Microsoft Live Writer or another editor. I didn’t realize until Mullenweg mentioned it that it’s also possible to write posts in Word. Possible, but messy – unless you use a tool on the WordPress editor to delete a lot of extraneous code Word adds when you copy and paste text into the WordPress.com editor. You’ll find instructions explaining how to fix that in a post on the WordPress.com Support forum called Microsoft Word. Thanks to fellow freelance writer @JaneLangille for finding that and sharing it with me.
One-button upgrades – With a little coding, it’s possible to upgrade your self-hosted WordPress blog to the newest version of the software with a touch of a button. True confessions: I didn’t take notes fast enough on this topic. If there’s anyone out there reading this who caught this part of Mullenweg’s presentation or knows more about this, please leave a comment and I’ll update this portion of the post with the info. Update: The latest version of the WordPress.org software allows for one-click upgrades. See explanation from @verso below.
Never been to a WordCamp? You can read first-hand accounts of two people’s experiences here and here (caution, technical language ahead), then check out WordCamp Central’s upcoming events to check if there’s one scheduled for your area soon, or here to organize your own.
You’ll probably see more from me about WordPress in coming weeks as I move this site from the free WordPress.com service to the hosted WordPress.org service. Actually, I’ve hired someone else to do the heavy lifting – thanks Ron! – but I’ll be doing a fair amount of work as well. Cleaner design, same content.
Got your own WordPress love story? Do share.