Lost in PHP


Starting this blog has already helped provide insight for some of the things I need to pay attention to when I launch my website, such as SEO. And it has also made me rethink my plan to tack this blog onto the site as a separate tab.

I had a semi-sleepless night last night, tossing and turning and wondering how to add categories and tags and comments to all of the articles and posts throughout the site…not just in a blog section, or a separate user forum. At around four a.m. I had some half-sleeping, half-awake nightmares about whether or not I could merge the website I’ve painstakingly started to build, and the tens, maybe hundreds of hours I’ve spent formatting column widths, borders, header styles, etc., with blog functionality?

I started the day today with a single goal: to research how to embed WordPress blog functionality into my website, not on a single tab, but everywhere. Now,  many hours and two Tylenol later, my head is swimming with examples of PHP code:

$Fname = $_POST[“Fname”];
$Lname = $_POST[“Lname”];

<title>Personal INFO</title>
<form method=”post” action=”<?php echo $PHP_SELF;?>”>
First Name:<input type=”text” size=”12″ maxlength=”12″
name=”Fname”><br />
Last Name:<input type=”text” size=”12″ maxlength=”36″
name=”Lname”><br /></form>

echo “Hello, “.$Fname.” “.$Lname.”.<br />”;

I was doing so well with HTML and CSS, now PHP, with it’s –?question? ?marks?, and echo, echo, echos–has emerged like one of those last minute challenges in a reality tv competition that is announced at the nth hour and makes the contestants start crying. My head is reeling from the results of Googling the question: “can I embed PHP into HTML?” and reading a zillion comments that say yes, no, maybe… but only if you use Apache or if you change your server code or if you change your index from html to php… whaaaaa?

I’m beginning to question what I’ve taken on with this project of building a website with robust community functionality. And to make matters worse, I just realized around an hour ago that integrating WordPress may not be the only route. Maybe there’s other blog functionality I should consider. I found a comparison of WordPress vs. Joomla , and discovered Drupal, and who knows how many other ‘blog’ applications are available. Or which ones are hybrids of blogging and that whole other concept of content management which I have yet to tackle.

So, I end the day completely unsure whether or not I’ll have to scrap all of the work I’ve done in Dreamweaver so far, and unclear about how I’ll integrate community into the site, or whether or not I should even be building a website vs. creating a highly customized blog??? I think I’ll follow the words of that wise sage Scarlet O’Hara and think about it tomorrow.

What do you think?