WordPress for Programmers & Coders: Advice, Themes & Plugins
As the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress is used by all kind of websites and all kind of people. Websites and people behind them have their own needs which are shaped by the niche of their website and their own likes and dislikes.
Then there are programmers and coders, these individuals who create beautiful things for computers and the web, are perhaps the least needy of all users. Most of them want a simple clean theme for their website, with good functionality, nice user experience, and plugins that make it easier for them to show off their skills.
I am not saying that coders and programmers don’t need sophisticated tools, they need a lot of those tools, but the objective of their website is to remain clean on the front. See Smashing Coding for example, it is clean with beautiful typography and it is responsive to mobile displays.
Programmers and coders are not writers, so basically a lot of them don’t have blogs and many of them don’t like writing long posts. However, all of them like to show off their coding skills and that’s how some of them end up writing blogs with tips on programming and coding.
To many programmers and coders the first problem they face when setting up a website to share their skills is to find a nice clean theme. Then there is the problem of adding code into posts, and then getting some attention from the readers.
WordPress Themes for Programmers and Coders
We are selecting themes that have these three qualities:
- Clean uncluttered design
- Typography that makes reading easier.
- Loaded with features on the backend.
As the name suggests that the main feature of this theme is that it is responsive. We are listing this theme here because we think that it has a nice clean look and feel that programmers and coders would find easy to work with.
The theme comes with custom logo and background features has a themes options page where you can create a beautiful landing page with a call to action. Or simply let the visitors land directly on your blog posts. The options page also allows you to add verification code for Google, Bing and Yahoo webmaster tools.
You can also provide social icon URLs which it will display at the bottom of each page. The theme supports Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. It does not have an icon for Dribble or any coding community yet. But it is fairly easy to add new icons there.
Busine is an elegant theme from our new theme shop Themefurnace. It made into this list on merit because it is simple and elegant, the two qualities which I thing programmers and coders would want to see in their website’s design. Busine is basically a business website theme with built in features to showcase portfolios and products in sliders and stuff.
It has built in options to disable any features you don’t want. For example, sliders, but if you are a web developer then you might want to use it on homepage to showcase your projects. Another good aspect of Busine is that it uses a comprehensive options panel so you don’t need to get messy with the code. It also allows you to choose fonts you want to use. Typography is an important aspect that programmers should look out for because when you are sharing code and tips you want to make it easier for users to read and understand your tips and typography plays a big role in the readability of text.
Busine comes with built in templates for homepage and blog. To enable blog template you would need to create an empty page and select Blog as the template for that page. Then add this page into menu from Appearance > Menus.
There is plenty of widgets that come built in with Busine. There are also lots of widgetized areas on the homepage, on the blog, in the sidebar footer, etc.
Annotum is basically a scholarly authoring platform for WordPress. However, due to its simple layout, good functionality and an elegant feel, I thought some programmers with a little scholarly aptitude towards writing and teaching might find it more useful.
There is a lot of detail available on the official annotum website, but in our scenario we just want it to be used to publish programming tips and code samples. Due to its simplicity and good typography, annotum is a good choice for publishing text content.
It is based on Carrington Theme Framework, and comes with a theme options page of its own. There are Four widgetized areas and some specially built in widgets for the theme. It has three menus two in the header and one in the footer. Annotum comes with four color schemes and you can also choose your own colors to create custom color schemes.
Annotum has an enthusiastic and friendly community behind it to offer community support. It has its own knowledge base and you can also ask questions to other community members.
WordPress Plugins for Programmers and Coders
Once you have chosen a theme for your website, the next step is to equip yourself with the tools that you would need to share your programming and coding skills with your reader.
Syntax Highlighter for WordPress
The first and the most important tool you would need is the Syntax Highlighter plugin. WordPress has many syntax highlighter plugins available in the official repository. But the one we are reviewing is called Syntax Highlighter for WordPress. It is based on Alex Gorbatchev’s Syntax Highlighter and supports code highlighting for (X)HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, C, C++, C#, Python, Perl, Ruby, among many others.
This plugin is really easy to use and we use it here on WPlift and some of the most popular coding blogs use either this plugin or something else based on Alex Gorbatchev’s syntax highlighter.
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Buy Me a Beer or Coffee Plugin
There used to be this plugin that allowed you to add a paypal donation button on the sidebar or below the post with a graphic of a beer glass or a coffee mug. I couldn’t find a suitable alternative for that plugin. But that does not mean that you cannot ask your website visitors to buy you a beer, coffee or something else.
You share valuable knowledge on the web that people find useful. You certainly spend a lot of time and effort to put this information on your website. So people would definitely love to buy you a beer or just donate you money to spend on your website. WordPress comes with lots of plugins that can help you collect donations on your website. One of the easiest of these is “WordPress Awesome Donations” plugin. Also have a look at Konstantin Kovshenin’s beer page for inspiration and if you like his idea you can buy him a beer as well.
WordPress Awesome Donations Plugin »
Once you start blogging and sharing code, you would come across various needs. Like for example if your website grows and lots of people show interest in your work then you can start offering online classes, or may be offer digital downloads of your ebooks. You would learn a lot more about plugins and I hope that you develop enough interest in WordPress that you end up contributing your own plugins or code to the community.