Over a decade ago, WordPress was just one of the CMS options among many striving for their place. I waffled a lot; as someone who is more code-focused and less of a designer, the abundance of themes appealed to me. But under the hood, it was rough.
WordPress has come a long way since its early days, though, to powering over 40% of all websites on the Internet.
But the irony of this article’s title is that WordPress isn’t cool by the standards of many serious developers. Add the fact that it’s written in PHP – a language that the cool kids love to hate – and you’ll find that there is a lot of disparagement out there.
We at Webinology are serious, experienced developers. Our experience ranges from small startups to large organizations, and some of us learned to think like enterprise developers before WordPress was even born. I’d like to share with you why I choose to work with WordPress and PHP, as a developer.
What’s Awesome about PHP
PHP might be to the web what COBOL and C have been to businesses over the years. It was in the right place at the right time to lead the web development charge, and today it’s behind 80% of all websites. It has a history (not all of it is great!) and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
Between versions 5.6 and 7 (they skipped 6 entirely because so much time had passed) PHP transformed itself remarkably. They fixed many of the issues that had led developers to disparage it and increased its speed dramatically.
PHP is incredibly robust, well-documented, and reasonably easy to learn. Frameworks exist in abundance and there is basically nothing you can’t do with it (including running it as a Linux service and serving API endpoints without a webserver).
It’s been trendy for years for developers to hate on PHP, but its solid, fast, and powerful.
All those reasons aside, we love it because we care about our clients, and should they need other developers at some point, PHP’s enormous foothold means that they’ll be able to find the people they need.
What’s Awesome about WordPress
As a developer, I imagine many cool and potentially amazing projects for which I’ll never have enough time to write. Part of the reason for that is that writing everything from scratch – even with the benefit of a framework – is incredibly time-consuming.
We’ve made a few determinations about when to use WordPress at Webinology. If the site has no public-facing component (Intranets notwithstanding) then it might not be the best choice. If the site is going to be mostly static, then any CMS may not be the best choice. If the site is very CRUD-centric, then WordPress is probably not the best choice.
But, as a developer, let me tell you why I love WordPress. There are a ton of mundane website/web application tasks that are done for you already (like authentication). If a customer wants specific functionality, there’s very likely a number of plugins already in existence that can satisfy their needs. That means that we, as developers, can spend most of our time focusing on how to bring new and original functionality to our clients, and not waste our time (or their money) reinventing wheels.
WordPress can become bulky and, as a result, slow, but we’ve found ways to address that. (That’s one of the reasons why we prefer clients that host with us, because we need room to do our magick.) WordPress certainly isn’t the right choice for every situation, but it has grown into a powerful application development framework and we’ve worked with it enough to have developed our own best-practices and add-ons.
The Cool Kids
When we were kids, we always wanted to be among them. But if you’re one of our typical clients, you’re an adult who has founded a business and “cool” is about the last thing about which you care. Chances are, you care about results. So do we.
We understand that websites need to be fast, secure, and mobile-ready. We also understand that you have a business to run, which means you’re very busy and need someone upon which you can rely for your technology services… someone you can trust, someone who gets you.
We at Webinology trust proven technologies that provide real business value. We lean on tools that have both established themselves and continue to grow and change with technology. We make choices based on decades of real-world enterprise experience with the goal of giving our clients lasting products that can grow with their businesses for years to come.