Learn Technical Terms About Websites and Have Fun, Too
This post aims to make yucky technical terms fun. Many of you will say, oooh, no, I don’t want to learn more technical vocabulary! Aw, come along, have fun with the explanations and definitions. Can you learn technical terms without feeling the yuck?
Drupal: A content management system, sort of like WordPress, but more complex. So why would anyone use such a thing? Well, some folks got some complex data/content/calculations they need to present. I typically won’t recommend Drupal to a small business owner, but you never know – some of you prefer complex. I’m currently upgrading a site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 (and having fun doing so), so if you do have Drupal questions, feel free to ask.
phpMyAdmin: Most of you should rarely have a reason to touch phpMyAdmin. But if you do have a bent for technical detail, phpMyAdmin can be fun to learn. It’s basically the guts of your database, and it provides ways you can do tweak all sorts of details inside the database. You can use it to backup your database. It can also be used to restore a database. This is definitely a proceed with caution area. Like I said, you don’t really need to use phpMyAdmin – but if you have database problems, you may be hiring someone to poke around in there. So now you have the word in your brain when your tech person mentions it to you.
SQL: SQL is a database language. I’m not suggesting you need to learn SQL. What you do need to learn is that WordPress backups (and Drupal backups as well) are in SQL format. At the end of the backup, there should be a little .sql extension (unless the file has been zipped, then it has .zip or in UNIX .tar). How big is it? Take note of the size of your backups. If the size grows and grows and grows and grows, time to take a look at database optimization.
Below is an example of a database before and after it got optimized (and even more optimizing is being planned):
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): I do try to convince folks that CSS is fun. Colors, shapes, sizes, images – lots of cool stuff. Here’s an easy example. You have some text that you want a little larger and in orange. To do this quickly, add an inline span tag to the text like so:
a little larger, bold and in orange
The code looks like this:
That little piece of code has three rules for the text: make the font a larger size, use the color #FF6633 (which is a version of orange), and use a font weight of 800 (400 would be normal). If you wanted a smaller font, you could use font-size: smaller.
If you want to pick a color other than orange, use a color picker tool. My favorite is the Color Blender by Eric Meyer.
If you use a piece of CSS code over and over again (or even just twice), it is a good idea to put the code in your stylesheet. But learning where your stylesheet is and how to update it would be a topic for another post (you can get started on this by reading about FTP).
Your Turn, Please
Do your eyes glaze over when you see tech terms? Or are you eager to learn more? Have you optimized your database lately? Did you even know that your website or blog has a database?