Why developers are so divided across WordPress

Why developers are so divided across WordPress.jpgsignaturee64d0ebb600cfe18ea4e712fb18881ac

After WordPress saw the top of the most awesome platform on Stack Overflow Developer Review for two years in a row (2022 and 2022), a few weeks ago we explored why developers hate the CMS used.

Interestingly enough, we ended up getting some fake responses from developers who love WordPress. Just visit some of the many Quora and Reddit threads about the CMS and you will find hardcore WordPress hackers and lovers fighting it.

We decided to dig deeper into this story. What fuels this trend within the developer community and what could WordPress do to attract Stack Overflow respondents?

Seeing how we use WordPress here at TNW, we started by talking to a developer from our own team.


    What WordPress Fans like about the CMS: It's built for everyone

    When WordPress started in 2003, it was built to help bloggers and small businesses develop websites without the need for coding skills. Instead of building a site from scratch or hiring an expensive group, these small people and teams could simply choose from a variety of beautifully designed, customizable and off-the-shelf 'theme' templates.

    The success of this much simpler and more accessible model promised users who wanted to spread their reach. There are now over 4,000 topics to choose from.

    Along with that came the first plug - ins that allowed users to customize their site even with new options to maximize SEO, social connection, integration with newsletters, and more. The number of plug-ins has been converted to over 50,000 options.

    “From an end-user / end-user perspective, WordPress offers a low-cost, easy-to-use learning curve, and a plugin ecosystem that allows people and businesses at all skill levels to create high-quality sites and applications, to often without the need to hire developers, ”said Ronan O'Leary, TNW's Chief Web Developer.

    After working with WordPress during his 10-year career as a web developer, he said:

    It's like having a relationship again.

    For him, one of the great things about WordPress is that it is open and has a very large market share, so there is a very good chance that a large number of devs have experience in dealing with the top floor. This also means that solutions to issues are usually immediately Google away.

    “It's very flexible because it's grown from a blog platform to a more global, fully featured and expandable CMS," said O'Leary.

    The problem: He has suffered with his own success

    It is probably the accessibility that WordPress was built to offer that is exactly what is causing the divide that we now see within the developer community. With 64 million users worldwide, O'Leary estimates:

    They really suffer for their own success. You can never make anyone happy at that level of market movement.

    The problem is that with so many sites running on WordPress, most of them run the traditional way of doing things, making it difficult to get truly accessible updates. without attacking a large group of clients. With the level of sustained and high-speed innovation in the dev community, O'Leary expects that the gap between old and new technology will only widen:

    In the last few years, there has been a revolution in how we deliver frontend content using what is known as 'Jamstack' - this is growing rapidly. -into the new standard architecture for the web. There is a lot of activity around libraries and tools like React and Vue JS - allowing people / companies to build JavaScript-powered front-end devices that are faster, more functional and more up-to-date.

    That kind of thing frees you from working within a template system. So I would say the downvote comes from good old fashioned frustration. This is a 13, 14, 15 year old tech, so there seems to be a lot of devs that need to find work areas at some point.

    Furthermore, while such an open system is enhanced, it also means that there is no specific standard for code or code quality. O'Leary said that this often leads to headaches where solutions need to be cured to accommodate specific subject idioms:

    When I was working for an organization, sometimes you would find a client that would be dead based on a specific topic that may not have been well coded. But within such an environment, you can be very limited in what you can do. So I think that would definitely explain why there is so much awful lot from devs.

    For the most part, developers like to get acquainted with device libraries that are a bit more objective. While WordPress caters to users at all levels, I would think it's too broad to take an interest in a department that is always striving for speed and better content delivery.

    So can WordPress maintain the reach that its fans love while updating the offer for frustrated devs?

    If you read our previous article, you will remember Dominik Angerer, Head of the headless CMS platform, Storyblok, sharing some of the problems he and his cofounder faced when working with CMS systems traditional.

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    Catching up with him again, he said that he believes that most legacy systems (including WordPress, Squarespace, Drupal and others) are now moving to headless approach. In his opinion, this will greatly help them to update their offer to today's customers:

    WordPress is actively moving into an API-based approach. This will allow developers to use any technology they want and give them more control over technology choice, ring updates, and even security benefits.

    We've talked about how a bad WordPress project can lock you into a tech stack you can't update. In general WordPress is definitely moving towards a headless direction themselves. Adopting the API-based approach and with a hosted version you do not have to worry about updating or using some of the old security hotfixes in the past.

    However, by adding CMS capabilities now the visual approach to content editing is not improving and it is still turning marketers away and so we see that as one. of the major benefits as well as some features of enterprise collaboration such as conversations, workflows and various approaches to CMS Extensions.

    Introducing new concepts to a widely distributed solution, such as WordPress, takes a long time as it is not only the core that needs to change but also the plugin ecosystem, method- work on themes, and even custom plugins that are affected by these changes. While WordPress has gone to great lengths to embrace a new editorial experience called "Gutenberg" - built on the back of React - it is safe to say that there has been a mixed, even polarized response.

    “If this were my calling, I think it would be a good starting point to separate the legacy WordPress infrastructure from new developments,” said O’Leary.

    “WordPress could still be a legacy, allowing existing sites to be maintained with the traditional implementation and without the need for a one-size-fits-all approach. use case. It would be better if a newer, more headless version could be based on modern techniques (headless faces / jamstack) and without the rod or bloat that often comes with subjects . ”

    “While this may be a simplistic saying, already in the forks of WordPress in particular is shutting out Gutenberg and sticking to the traditional approach. Similarly, more and more companies, organizations, devs etc… are using the platform in conjunction with the likes of Next.js / Nuxt.js. Or even using WordPress as an API / backend interface. ”

    There are many options to consider but with so many loyal users wanting more functionality, and more market pressure, there is no doubt that WordPress will be introducing a few interesting updates over the years. future. According to O'Leary:

    There are still a lot of people who love the stage. HUGELY is very popular. But there are also a lot of people who feel uncomfortable with the workplaces and the sections that come with it - so it's a polarizing issue within the dev community.

    For me, it really depends on which tool is best for the business or project. Sometimes it's WordPress and other times it's something that offers a different functionality.

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