Overcoming tech fears: Working with WordPress and its API

I have a long history with WordPress. Almost 10 years ago, I started a blog on the platform as part of a college class. (It’s long been deleted, btw.) Five years ago, I was part of a local blogger group and I heard about this thing called WordCamp. My first thought was, “Getting together with a bunch of WordPress bloggers to talk about blogging? That’s so cool! Where do I sign up?”

I found out where to sign up, and I signed up. But I must not have read many of the actual details of the event, because if I had, I would have known that there’s a whole other side to WordPress: the developer side. I walked into the event all excited, but within the first 10 minutes of the first presentation, I realized I didn’t understand a darn thing they were talking about. I walked out after maybe an hour. I felt defeated, embarrassed, intimidated, and I assumed that those people were just smarter than me.

At that point, I hadn’t heard one of my favorite Moth stories. I highly recommend you listen to it, but here’s the quote: “I don’t think that smart people are smarter than me, I think they read a book I didn’t read.”

I was thinking about that this week as I learned to set up a local installation of WordPress and work with the API to pull posts into my React app. If you’d asked me about any of those things a year ago, I would have been like, “What?!?”

If you’re interested in how I did these things, I followed a Treehouse course on installing WordPress locally, and used a tutorial from CodePen to help me with the rest. I could go on, but these resources explain the processes way better than I could.

I think what made me realize I could learn these things was starting to apply my crafter mentality to my web development projects. I’ve always been a crafter — I love working on furniture, baking, holiday decorations, whatever. When I’m crafting, I will figure out a way to get a project done and make it work. Nothing’s going to get in my way.

Basically, I know that I’m going to build a really cool thing, and that tools exist to help me make that thing. When I think of frameworks, languages, and APIs as just things that can help me make something cool, they don’t seem so scary anymore. So now I know that all those people talking WordPress development weren’t smarter than me. They just happened to find cool projects a few years before I did.

P.S. Just in case you’re wondering, the featured photo is the blog part of my React app, with posts pulled in from a WordPress site I set up.

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