Several languages comprise a WordPress site. If you were to describe to someone using the analogy of a house, how would you describe each of these components?

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. PHP
  4. SQL
  5. Javascript
  6. WordPress

Yes I know WordPress is simply a collection of the other elements, but it is still a component to be considered, optionally.

I had described it to someone as such:

The HTML is the structure. The studs and walls. CSS is paint, window treatments, carpet, and a well-manicured lawn. PHP and SQL are water/sewage and electric service delivered to the property. Javascript is all the internal plumbing and wiring in the walls. WordPress is all of the major (and minor) appliances.

Just kind of a fun discussion here. Got any better analogies?

  • 3
    ... and we don't want the bugs crawling up the bathtub drain ;-)
    – birgire
    Nov 7, 2013 at 13:38
  • 2
    Maybe we should create our own always-friday-in-iceland tag ;-)
    – birgire
    Nov 7, 2013 at 13:42
  • A better analogy would be a toilet, with the "PHP and SQL" being the "organic" part from it. Yes, it's that bad Nov 9, 2013 at 17:12

2 Answers 2

  • MySQL is the structural frame
  • PHP is the in-wall wiring and plumbing
  • HTML is the drywall & cabinentry
  • CSS is the paint, trim, fixtures, curtains, and upholstry
  • Javascript is the appliances, lamps, and devices

Plugins add more built-in functionality to your house, such as central heat or central AC.

Themes are collection of decor elements designed to work well together.


I'm going to change up what you have listed as the components:

PHP is equal to the studs and some of the insulation that keeps the home efficient.

SQL is equal to the plumbing and electrical. It goes where you need it to and when you want it thanks to:

WordPress is the switches on the wall and anything using plumbing and electricity. The admin area would be the basement and or garage where these things can be tinkered with.

Themes are a package of HTML (the drywall), CSS (the paint / wallpaper), and JavaScript (the decorations).

Ultimately every piece can be a foundation of one another. It just depends on how you want your house to function. You can build a house, a high-rise, or a Mall. It just depends on how you arrange the components.

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