WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

Eight years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites. It is used in 55 million websites.

In his annual State of The Word address last week, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg also said the open source content management system (CMS) now runs 22 out of every 100 new websites created in the US.

The velocity in WordPress adoption and its dominance illustrate the strength of the open source model, where the community is involved in the development of the software. It is not a coincidence that the top open source CMS packages today, WordPress and Drupal, also have the most active developer and user communities.

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address.

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Joomla users schedule Cebu meeting

Users, developers, and supporters of the open source content management system (CMS) Joomla will be meeting in Cebu next Saturday, June 7 at the Lepiten & Bojos Law Office on Don Pedro Rodriguez St. in Capitol Site, Cebu City (see map below).

The meeting is preparatory to the Joomla Day that will be held in UP Diliman on June 14. During the meeting, members of the Joomla community in Cebu are scheduled to plan activities for a year and consider participation in a coming Open Source summit in Cebu on June 23 to 24 at the Cebu International Convention Center. The Open Source summit will have a track on Drupal, another popular open source CMS.

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Edit your website, blog design live and without breaking it

CSSVista is a tool any blogger or website owner will find useful. The Windows-only application allows you to load any website in Firefox and Explorer and then edit its CSS code live, with the changes showing immediately in the two browser windows.

cssvista CSSVISTA. The application makes editing website designs easy. CSSVista loads the page in Explorer and Firefox and allows you to edit the designs live, with changes showing up immediately. Click on photo to view larger image.

I’m working on a new website on online journalism and independent publishing and CSSVista saved me a lot of time in finalizing my site design. I use Drupal for the site, building on the Zen theme, a very good theme to base your design on. I will launch the new website early next week with an explanation on my choice of content management system.

What I did before I found CSSVista was 1.) I’d edit the template (Zen uses PHPTemplate) and CSS files in Bluefish, 2.) Upload the files into the server, 3.) Cross my fingers; and 4.) Hit reload like crazy to see the changes.

This process is tedious and I was about to look for ways for Bluefish to be able to edit the files directly in my web server or research on how to make Firebug work in my Ubuntu Linux installation when I found a link to CSSVista in the popular page of

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Going to school—Drupal school

I’ve been studying Drupal these past months. Drupal is a highly-regarded open source content management system (CMS) that can run anything from a single-person website to a community portal. There’s even a Newspapers on Drupal group for people using the CMS for their news websites.

Drupal school NOW SHOWING. I’ve downloaded Elliott Rothman’s video tutorial series on Drupal. Rothman’s tutorials are really helpful for newbies who want to learn how to use Drupal as content management system. Click on photo to enlarge.

Drupal, unlike many other open source CMS, seems to be much more technically challenging to use, especially for non-geeks like me who can’t program.

It took me a couple of months of studying and experimenting with WordPress to be able to confidently make it work for a project the way I wanted it to work. WordPress can be used to run a news or magazine website and I’ve done this for several projects. I am also currently writing a new article on how to use WordPress to run a news website and will be releasing a new theme for it. It’s for a personal project that I was supposed to launch this weekend but got delayed by work deadlines.

While I love WordPress and have been using it for most of my personal projects, I want to learn how to use Drupal extensively because I see it as the better CMS for larger, more complex, and community-oriented web projects. Some of the sites running Drupal are The Onion, MTV UK, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Exposure, and The New York Observer.

The New York Observer’s use of Drupal is particularly noteworthy because its development team discussed how they did it in this article on the relaunch of the newspaper site using Drupal.

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Is Sony Ericsson trying to buy off Cebu journalists?

What if politicians announce, during their press conferences, that they will be holding a “writing” contest and the journalist who publishes the “best article” about the press conference gets to win P5,000 in cash.

What do you call that? If you were a journalist or a blogger, what would you feel?

That, in effect, is what Sony Ericsson is doing in its media campaign to launch its new phones in Cebu.

It was a good thing I decided not to join the press junket organized to launch the latest Sony Ericsson models in Cebu. It was a curious event–curious in the sense that they decided to hold it in Sumilon Island, a slice of paradise in southern Cebu that’s hours away from the city. The launching was scheduled for the entire day last Saturday.

I asked a colleague why organizers decided to launch the phone models in such a remote area where the telecoms signal might even be spotty. I told him that if I were to launch a phone, I’d gather reporters and bloggers covering the telco and consumer electronics beat in a room, have them play with the units and have trained staff on standby to answer questions they may have about the new phone models.

He said it was just an excuse to take the journalists into a junket.

I rarely join press conferences and the prospect of spending my dayoff attending a press junket scheduled for at least 12 hours didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be spending time with my wife and kids, blogging, or working on my web experiments.

I declined the invitation and asked a UP Cebu mass communications intern to attend. Now if Karla Bautista, who is scheduled for an internship in Sun.Star Cebu (including in my section), had started her duties with my section, I would have sent her and I would have readily exchanged hours playing with Drupal to join the junket. Just kidding, I’d take Drupal anytime.

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Winning in the Philippine Blog Awards

In 1997, someone told me I’ll never understand FTP. Last night, I won in the best technology blog category in the first-ever Philippine Blog Awards.

What difference a decade makes, huh?

The colleague who told me I won’t be able to grasp FTP probably never meant it as an insult. He was grumbling on being given the added task of sending magazine pages via FTP to the server of a Hong Kong-based company. He was right to grumble, imagine the upload speeds in 1998. I asked him what FTP was and I think he meant it to be a brush-off when he said I wouldn’t be able to understand it.

I’ve gotten more familiar with FTP, among other things, since then.

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Running a web server, WordPress on my phone

I was finally able to run an Apache, PHP, MySQL server on my Sony Ericsson K750i. I did it on my second attempt, the first was disastrous, and that’s putting it mildly, as I crashed my phone and I had to reformat its memory card, wiping out several photos I haven’t been able to save to my PC yet.

I have long wanted to set up a development web server in my K750i, which also serves as my primary USB drive.

wordpress in k750i WORDPRESS ON MY PHONE. Installing WordPress on my K750i, using Uniform Server. The phone doesn’t actually run it, its memory card is merely being used by the PC to run the server. Click on image to enlarge.

I use my shared hosting space for my WordPress-related work and experiments as well as tests on PHP/MySQL scripts that catch my interest. This setup is such a hassle. I have to FTP files to and from the server and sometimes connections can be so slow that frustration creeps in.

The files in my account have also become such a mess because I’ve tried quite a few scripts, each with its own sub-domain.

I decided I should have a “web server on a stick,” a functioning Apache, MySQL and PHP server on a thumb drive. The Sony Ericsson K750i, as with most multi-media phones, also serves as a USB mass storage drive. This makes it possible to set up an Apache server on its memory card.

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Trying out Drupal as content management system

I installed the Drupal 5.0 beta 1 release yesterday and the installation was so easy it could rival WordPress’ famous five-minute installs.

I’ve long wanted to try the open source content management system and for several months now, “try Drupal” has featured prominently in my someday/maybe lists (plural because I kept transferring and playing with new task managers). It became prominent after I found out that The Onion is being run using Drupal.

Drupal installer DRUPAL INSTALLER. The 5.0 beta release of Drupal comes with a web-based installation script. Click on image to enlarge.

The new release comes with a web-based installer that simplifies the setting up of Drupal, After I downloaded the release and I uploaded the files to my test site, I was greeted with the installer when I opened the page, with the notice that I should add write permissions to the settings.php file.

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