I recently wrote an article for SitePoint.com on the ultimate WordPress development environment. If you’ve been following me for a while you will know this is something I’ve spent a good deal of time figuring out.
What surprised me was the feedback that I got on the article.
Using the word “ultimate” in the title was definitely a little bit contentious, and I expected to have some readers push back on it. However, they didn’t. The feedback I got on the content of the article was quite positive.
Out of nowhere though, a number of people started critiquing me for implying that you could apply coding standards to WordPress. Reading deeper in to their thoughts, the crux of their argument seemed to be that they feel WordPress is architected really badly and inherently, anyone who works on WordPress must be a sub-par developer just because of their association with the platform.
That’s a very unfair judgment and from my experience, very far from the truth.
So why is that an unfair judgment?
To answer that question, we really need to look at one simple thing. Why do developers choose WordPress?
Why do developers work with WordPress?
I think we could all agree that there are architectural blemishes in Core, but good developers still choose to work with WordPress despite this. Here’s why.
- Open source. That warm fuzzy feeling inside from contributing code to a greater cause.
- Large share of the market. 25%, enough said!
- Established platform. Large and small, old and new businesses are running on it (including some of the biggest brands).
- Easily extendable. Actions and filters.
- The business opportunity also can’t be ignored.
Because of all of this and more, WordPress has a thriving development community and it’s only getting bigger and better.
Are architectural hiccups in Core a good enough reason to ignore all of the platform benefits? Personally I don’t think so.
So the question then becomes, why should WordPress developers be taken seriously?
Why should WordPress developers be taken more seriously?
They should be taken more seriously, not because of the platform they choose to develop on, but for the skills that they demonstrate in their work. Skills like…
- Working with bleeding edge frameworks and tools. The REST API has opened up opportunities for heavy JS development and apart from that, the tooling available for WordPress is on par with other communities like Ruby, Python and Go.
- Writing well architected WordPress themes, plugins and applications. Plugins, themes and applications don’t have to be restricted by the architecture of Core. I’ve seen tons of really well architected plugins. Good WordPress developers do apply standards to their code and care about their craft.
- Solving hard challenges. If you’re working with any semi-decent sized WordPress website there are challenges around scaling that need to be addressed. There are many other kinds of challenges around architecture, design, UI and more. Challenges make stronger developers.
- Community spirit. You’ll find that many WordPress developers have a good sense of community spirit and this makes them great team players.
These skills are desirable of any developer. WordPress developers are no exception. And that is why WordPress developers should be taken more seriously.