Skip to the section "WordPress is not WordPress" -- that's the most important read. A controversial opinion but a conversation worth having.
A story I enjoy retelling is how a friend of mine tricked me into using WordPress. At the time, I was working with him on a career mentorship project. He’d written a book that I was publishing, and we wanted to add a premium video series to go along with it. We just needed a way to host those videos online.
I was still very new to web development. I had built my own portfolio site in PHP, having learned PHP through a series of emails from a good friend in Arizona. My business partner was excited about the prospect of a dynamic website and turned me loose to find the right tool.
I settled on … not WordPress.
A few days later, he invited me to lunch downtown. Having no real job and, since our project wouldn’t be launched or profitable for a few months, I had no money and was thrilled at the thought of a free lunch. I parked downtown and met at an obscure office building … where the first ever WordCamp Portland was being held.
Spending the day with a bunch of WordPress geeks was fun and excited me about the tool. I switched gears and rebuilt our site on WordPress. I rebuilt my own site on WordPress. I started publishing plugins and a few themes for WordPress.
Eric Mann talks about how Gutenberg is going to pull the rug out from a number of people - but there are possible ways to address this.
I have a confession to make. I really like the new Gutenberg editor for WordPress. I know, I know. Developers aren't supposed to like massive, intrusive changes like this. As of the time of this writing, the plugin stands with 2.6 stars on the plugin repository – at least 133 of those ratings are 1-star critiques.
As a writer , though, it's an incredibly slick interface.
As a developer, I can also see the promise behind the block structure for taking over the rest of the WordPress admin. The customizer could easily use the block structure for things like widgets and navigation and content layout. Even settings pages could be updated to leverage blocks for different sections.
Also as a developer, I can see why so many are hesitant to dive in with the new system. It still has a few rough edges, but nothing that's impossible to polish as development moves forward. It's also a massive deviation from the interface we're all used to.
The Problems Ahead
Having worked both as a WordPress freelancer and with a larger WordPress agency team I admit this new editor does give me pause. Several of the systems I've built or worked with feature rich, custom interfaces – all built atop the
Eric Mann about what is insecure about WordPress. Better yet, he's going to open source the solutions I’m personally building to help fix the holes and turn the conversation around.
WordPress powers over a quarter of the Internet. That’s quite a statement for a platform that began its life as a fork of a blogging engine. It’s also quite refreshing since WordPress is the reason I learned to write code in the first place. One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because it’s so easy. It’s easy to use as a writer. It’s easy to manage as a site administrator. It’s easy to code as a developer. This learning curve associated with WordPress is relatively flat – many devs and users can dive right in and get something functional from day 1 with little to no outside help.
Another reason for WordPress’ popularity is its long memory. WordPress has been around for over a decade, and the core development team has always prioritized backwards compatibility with the platform. Users of older versions of the software can upgrade to the latest version with, often, no loss in functionality. 1
Unfortunately, this long tenure also means that many in the community have a long memory of WordPress as well. They remember the days before plugins. The days before CSRF tokens were in common use throughout the codebase. The days when everyone