Zen and the Art of FullStack Development

WordPress from the Perspective of a Technology Professional

Nope, it's not the best example of how to structure, code, or deploy modern software. But software serves people, and WordPress does a darn good job of that.

Let’s cut to the chase: we all know that WordPress came into being a long time ago when PHP itself (the language in which WordPress was written) was still quite young. Hindsight being what it is, sure, we could point out all manner of architectural flaws and offer numerous ways that we could do it better in 2022.

But guess what? WordPress is behind more than 40% of all websites at the time of this writing, and PHP is still used on roughly 3/4ths of all websites.

I keep up with trends and I know, for years, both WordPress and PHP have been disparaged by people who speak loudly but carry a small stick. The fact is that both PHP and WordPress will be with us for a long time to come, so let’s talk about why it matters so much to the Internet (and the world).

How WordPress got here

The good folks at Automattic stuck to open source software as a core ideology from the beginning. If you want your plugin or theme in their repo, you need to provide it as an open-source product.

However, they fully understood that making money off your hard work isn’t a bad thing, so they left the door open for paid plugins and themes… as long as you offer something worthwhile, upfront, for free.

Of course, there was a lot of “being in the right place at the right time” involved, but hey, that’s mostly true for all success stories.

Why are they still important?

Because they still hold the open-source line.

Take this website. Truthfully, it’s far from my highest priority (although I’m always planning to do better!), but I can tell you if it was technically hard to publish a new post it would happen even more infrequently than it does.

(Pause for a shout-out to my tech-blogging inspiration! Check out Tania Rascia… I’ve learned a ton from her and I’m super-impressed with her years of blogging discipline.)

Because WordPress chose to follow the open-source but income-friendly path that they did, there are more than 50k plugins in their free repository. You can do just about anything imaginable with a WordPress website…

You see, we, when we’re thinking as techies, often aren’t thinking like business people. As a technical professional, it’s part of your job to give good technical advice to decision-makers… but if you are the decision-maker, you have to make hard choices that don’t always involve the latest JavaScript framework. The right business decision is what makes the entire organization function better; not what satisfies our ideals about our profession.

If your job wasn’t to write code, but to blog about what your company is doing, produce whitepapers for downloads (with an email subscription of course), or keep up with the items you’re selling online, then the last thing you’d care about is whether or not your CMS was written in PHP. You would care about how easily you could make your updates and how those updates might be SEO-friendly enough to drive more hits to your site.

Ninja don’t preach!

(Madonna reference, for our younger viewers.)

Okay, writing this I suddenly felt like I was being a little preachy, and that wasn’t my intent.

These days, I wear a lot of hats as the CEO/CTO of a small company. I might have spent my day writing a new Ansible playbook, talking with clients, and helping a team member resolve a PHP issue before realizing it was the end of the day and I still needed to post something new on our website. Hell yes, I could find better technical ways to do it than to use WordPress, but in 15 minutes?! Hell no!! It’s going to take me more than 15 minutes to unwind from my day and even get myself halfway into “marketing mode” and think about how to turn passersby to our website into potential clients.

WordPress Rocks…

…because they’re legit.

They’re not your average corporation! They provide an open-source software product and — like RedHat — helped make open-source software profitable not only for themselves but for anyone who wishes to turn their idea into the next super-amazing plugin.

Don’t fight it… accept that what is important to you, as a techie, is a voice that should be heard at the table… but that the table is big and (should be) round. Technical factors are just one part of the decision-making process.

A few years before I left my long-term job with the City of Chattanooga, I led the conversion of many of their websites to WordPress. Why? Because it was the right choice for the organization.

The moral of this story? It’s not about you. It’s not about why ReactJS is a better choice than VueJS (it’s not; Vue is better! LOL) and it’s not about how lame you think WordPress is and it’s not about how many online interactions have convinced you to eschew PHP. It’s about the mission, whether that be corporate, non-profit, or government… and it’s your job to support that mission in a cooperative fashion.

And the simple fact of the matter is that WordPress has done a killer job of building an empire around web publishing.

(Shameless self-promotion)

Okay, all that said… we (techies) all know that WordPress plus a couple of dozen plugins amounts to million-plus lines of PHP (interpreted, not compiled) code.

Making WordPress smokin’ fast while keeping it secure is a black art, and we at Webinology are willing to put our stuff up against anyone else’s. If you have a business WordPress website and need a team that can give you blazing-fast hosting while also helping out with custom coding and integrations, then give us a shout and let’s talk.

Kenn

Kenn

I've been a LAMP/LEMP nerd for decades, and I've always loved to write. Over the years, things that other people wrote have helped me thousands of times, and I enjoy being able to give back to our community.

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About Me

Full-stack LAMP developer with extensive Linux, SQL, and Wordpress experience.

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