Journey to the Commons

Almost three years ago a friend from high school contacted me about an idea he had for creating a web app that would leverage what he learned about geo-location and mapping during his two tours in Iraq. While discussing possible designs and initial feature sets, I took on the responsibility of finding a suitable platform upon which to build. While at that time I was not new to web design, I hadn’t yet explored the available software packages and platforms that were being used to create the next generation of dynamic web apps. I spent about a month looking at the PHP based CMS‘s like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, as well as the offerings from other languages like Ruby on Rails. I looked at WordPress first and really liked what I saw; after spending a few days with each of the others I came full circle back to WordPress and was completely hooked. The rest, as they say, is history.

Having more experience with the front end technologies of HTML, CSS and Javascript, I resolved to master WordPress from the outside in. As opposed to approaching it from a more developer centric point of view and starting with plugins. I started dissecting themes while reading every Codex page from beginner to advanced. Unfortunately, as it is with many grand ideas, nothing ever came from the geo-location idea. It isn’t dead – just an unfinished thought. It did however lead me to WordPress and for that I am eternally grateful.

After months and months of hacking, copying and pasting, endless page refreshes and eye-drying nights of what seemed like endless blog posts about never ending WordPress functionality, I began to feel comfortable with this new and exciting personal publishing platform. It was at this point that I realized not only how powerful this (at the time) blogging platform really was, but also how fortunate I was to have chosen an open source project with such a vibrant and helpful community. I decided to offset all that I had taken with some contributions of my own.

In all my searching and studying there was still a subject that had managed to elude me. I didn’t completely understand what was happening “inside” of WordPress when a page was requested by and subsequently served to a visitor. This seemed the perfect opportunity to start contributing back. I had no idea what I was getting into. The WordPress initialization process is incredibly complex and powerful. I am still learning more and more about it everyday. The result of studying this process, line by line in the files involved, culminated in a blog post that basically introduced me to the WordPress community. One of the core developers of WordPress, Mark Jaquith was nice enough to answer some questions as I was researching the post and then to tweet it once it was published.

The popularity of this post (spurred by Mark’s Twitter love) lead to a presentation at the WordPress NYC Meetup in November of 2011. That presentation prompted the founder and lead developer of The Commons to contact me about contributing to its development.

My WordPress journey has been one of hard work and fortunate luck. I am still at the beginning and enjoying every minute of it. I hope The Commons will benefit from what I’ve already learned as well as that which I’ve yet to master.

4 Responses to “Journey to the Commons”

  1. Spyder Spanker June 1, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    Thanks for the story, i’m impressed.

  2. Dominic Giglio May 24, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    Thanks Matt, I’m relieved that my most recent semester is done, so I can really turn up the heat on the Commons Code!! It’s gonna be the Summer of WordPress! 🙂

  3. Matthew K. Gold (he/him) May 24, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    We’re so excited to have you on board, Dom!


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    […] to the project.  In this month’s Ground Control you’ll hear from Dominic as he introduces himself and tells us a little about what brought him […]

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