In a time when most web services are busy monetizing their products (stink eye to Ning), WordPress remains true to its original vision of offering a highly customizable, open source blogging engine that can be as simple or as complex as you like. Over the past two days, I’ve been digging into WordPress code, looking for new functions, and making small adjustments to the look and feel of this blog. The results are a few noticeable changes here–and another affirmation of the coolness of WordPress.

First, those changes. I looked for a new theme (and there are a ton of high quality, free themes out there), but I decided to stay simple. I changed very minor things (color, font) and am pleased with the result. I also added the “Addthis” plugin. Addthis is a free service that lets you share your blog posts (or other content) with a ton of social networking sites. Just sign up for a free account, pick the buttons you want, and add it to your page. Or, if you are a WordPress user, you can download the Addthis plugin, automatically adding the buttons to your posts. Click on the share link below to check this out. Not sure Twitter is working well, so if you do tweet, you might give it a try.

What’s kind of funny about this is that I tried old-school methods before realizing there was a simple plugin. I added code to the single.php templates in WordPress and eventually got it to do what I wanted. That’s when I found the plugin. Ah well. Learned a little bit more about javascript and PHP along the way.

WordPress is terrific. If I were a new English teacher today, I would still set up a WordPress blog, perhaps using the Buddypress plugin to turn it into a social network of sorts. It’s a great blogging engine and a throwback to the old days (heh) when most everything on the web was a little more open and a lot more free. Funny too that I’m posting this the same week that Apple opened its app store, where its proprietary applications are available, for a price of course.