WP Vocabulary 10 Words Every WordPress User Should Know

WordPress Glossary: Quick and Dirty Guide

WordPress is not just a CMS (Content Management System) or a publishing tool, it is a whole ecosystem made up of users, designers, developers and contributors. It allows people who don't know programming or any web languages to get online quickly and easily, but once you start really using it and having questions, you'll come across words that are very specific to the WordPress system. The following is a list of 10 words that every WordPress user needs to know in order to get more comfortable with the ways and vocabulary of WordPress:

Also read: How does WordPress Work?

Codex: The WP Codex is a the official documentation of WordPress code. It is a very extensive, well-maintained and up-to-date repository of information about WordPress, and anyone looking to understand or customize WordPress code, keep up with WordPress news or learn all the WordPress words! should visit the codex or the brand new Code Reference tool. And if you are new to PHP or the Codex/reference seems too complex, there is always the support forum.

Widgets: A WordPress newbie is going to come across the word 'widget' quickly and often. Widgets are not limited to WP, though, and more generally the word means any self-contained piece of code that renders a specific function. For example, a weather widget, or a page-views widget are pretty common examples. In the WPverse, a widget is a piece of code that is intended for the sidebar or the footer of page, and can be easily added or removed using drag-and-drop functionality in the dashboard. Which brings us to…

Dashboard: Dashboard is the 'admin' area of WordPress, where all the tasks relating to content management (posts, pages, comments, media, etc) and website settings (including themes, plugins and widgets) are performed. WP's intuitive and sleek dashboard is one of its most significant features and responsible in large part for its popularity. Note that depending on context, the back-end might mean Dashboard or the actual Wordpress files on the server.

Feed: A feed is an auto-generated list of content, in descending order of freshness, on a website, written in XML or other languages and intended for RSS (Really Simple Syndication). WordPress websites can easily generate RSS feeds for any blog, and these feeds can in turn be subscribed to by users with tools like Feedly. It is a way to provide your content to followers without their needing to visit your website to learn what's new, although once they are interested in a post they can always click through to the page itself. Your website's main feed is generally located at the path /feed, but variations can be accessed at:
http://example.com/feed/ - default feed, same as http://example.com/feed/rss2 
http://example.com/feed/atom/ - feed in atom format
http://example.com/feed/rdf/ feed in rdf format

Plugin: As soon as you want to add functionality to the out-of-the-box WordPress site, you'll come across plugins. They, well, plug in to your site and provide additional features ranging from star ratings to sliders. Plugins can be complex and powerful features, and millions of WP users employ plugins to add custom functionality to their websites.

Shortcode: A shortcode is any code snippet written in PHP and given a name that can be inserted into any page and will be executed during runtime (when the page is requested by the browser and prepared by WordPress). Shortcodes are inserted in WordPress files on the server, and can be added to any post or page by enclosing the shortcode name in square brackets: [shortcode_name]. The square brackets basically function as placeholders for PHP code. When WordPress comes across them, it searches for the shortcode with the same name and executes it in that place. They are primarily useful for CSS customizations or simple dynamic tasks. Shortcodes can also have attributes that are conveyed to the code at runtime, for example [shortcode_name number=3] will provide the number 3 to the code in question, allowing for greater reusability (attributes can be different in different places without code having to change).

Database: A database is anything that stores data, but in the context of WordPress it means a MySQL database which stores all the information added via the dashboard and can be updated, read or deleted via the dashboard, or simply read by the front-end of the website. These tasks of creating, reading, updating, and deleting (CRUD operations) data are all performed by WordPress, so users don't really need to know what's happening within the database and never need to use it directly.

WP Query: Users don't need to deal with the database directly but one of the reasons it is so is because of the all-powerful WP query, which is what is used by WordPress to get information from the database based on certain criteria. So for example if you want to display the latest 5 posts published by your blog, WordPress turns this request into a database query, gets the post information and displays it accordingly.

Gravatar: WordPress is in large part responsible for the huge popularity of Gravatars, which are basically identity icons tied to email addresses. In the days before profile pics and such, the Gravatar was the way icons were associated with emails and made it easier to read comments and forum posts, as Gravatars remain consistent across multiple posts and pages. Gravatars can be customized as desired by the owner of an email address, but even otherwise a Gravatar is unique to a poster on a page and consistent across pages on the web.

Permalinks:  Short for 'permanent link', a permalink is where a page or comment on your website can be linked to directly and without changing. Permalinks can be used to change WordPress's default URL structure to be more user friendly. Since WordPress is written in PHP, a dynamic language whose files have .php extension or a '?' in the title, a permalink is the perfect way for a page or post to have a direct, descriptive and permanent link on the web. For SEO reasons, a permalink is important for every page, and can be made from the 'slug' of the page.

For example a post with ID 21 will have a default WordPress URL http://example.com/?p=21, but if it has a slug / title such as 'how to update wordpress', the URL can be transformed easily to http://example.com/how-to-update-wordpress. Date of the post or its category can also be included in permalinks by changing the settings in the WordPress dashboard.


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