WordPress Installation

In software, I believe you can tell a lot about the quality of an application by its installation procedure. The installer is the first interaction a user will have with the application, and should be designed with the same care as the application itself. An easy installation, with clear and direct instructions, can reassure the user and build confidence in the product.

WordPress is a shining example for how to design an installer. Given that it is a server-side application, which are typically frought with greater challenges, its installer is even more of an accomplishment.

The first step in installing WordPress is configuring the database connection details. The package provides a wp-config-sample.php, which needs to be edited to tell WordPress which database it should use when saving articles, as well as a valid user name and password for database authentication. Once these options have been filled in, the file must be saved as wp-config.php, and then uploaded to the server with the rest of the required files.

WelcomeOnce WordPress has been uploaded, the remaining portion of the installation is completed in a web browser. After navigating to the installation page, a welcome screen greets you and lets you know that the installation procedure is about to begin. The first step is a click away. Should you desire more information before proceeding, a link to the documentation is provided.

Step 1The first step simply asks for two pieces of information, a weblog title and your email address. To relieve any anxiety over choosing a name, an important aspect of starting a blog, the instructions point out that nothing entered is set in stone, and can always be changed later. Login instructions are sent to the email address provided, so a note reminds you to double check. The hugeness of the button to continue to step two can be a bit jarring. However, it makes it clear that no more information is needed and points the way to advance.

Step 2Step two completes the installation without requiring any further information from the user. It creates the necessary tables in the database and generates a random password for the default admin account. A link the the login page is given, so you can immediately begin blogging.

The WordPress developers were clearly proud of their installation procedure, remarking that everything is now done, despite expectations. Rightfully so, they did an impressive job.


Lonna Hanson
October 11, 2006 at 12:13 PM

I also enjoyed this article Jared. Sounds like a great site to use to start posting blogs.

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