I last wrote about the Magnitude of WordPress and said that the original version of the article was going to be much longer; however, the content was too scattered for me to try to bring it all together in a cohesive article.
So I’ve opted to separate them into at least a couple, if not three articles. If the last one was more outward focused on the status of WordPress and how we should think about as participants in its economy, this article is more inwardly focused on a few things about which I’ve been thinking.
The first thing I mentioned in the previous article that I didn’t cover was the following:
But why “weird?”
At the time of this article, I’ve published 408 pages of content that dates back to October 3, 2010. For many, many years I wrote multiple times a week and for a long time I was writing almost daily specifically around various things regarding WordPress and software engineering within WordPress.
On WordPress, Writing Daily, and Deep Work
On one hand, I miss the frequency at which I was writing because I genuinely enjoy it and I think I’ve also lost some of proverbial muscle that comes with it (that is to say, I’m not as good as it as I once was – not to say I was necessarily good but I definitely do not feel as if I’m “in the habit” at the moment).
But a lot’s happened not to just to, y’know, the world over the last few years but also in my personal and and professional life.
I’ve been sitting on writing this particular post (it’s easy to say “a post like this” but this is actually the post so here we are 🙂) for some time. When I look back and see how much I used to write versus how much I’m publishing now (it’s been two months since my last post!), it’s weird.
More on that in another article though.
Maybe the best way to start to write about what motivated to actually push publish on a draft of something I’ve been working on for a while.
None of those opinions have bearing on this post, though.
Instead, I think Post Status’ work makes a case for something many of us who work in the trenches with WordPress every day fail to consider: The stuff that we’re used to focusing on day-to-day is very different in terms of the magnitude of WordPress against the backdrop of the entire Internet.
That is to say, I’m not sure we can truly conceive just how far reaching WordPress is or how far reaching the impact decisions have regardless of whatever numbers of marketshare we read.
I don’t know if this is just me, but at the time of this writing I think that those who work with WordPress for a living – usually those described as being part of the “WordPress Community” – can be grouped into primarily two camps:
those who are focused on React for the Block Editor and Full-Site Editing (or FSE),
those who are focused on Headless WordPress specifically with technology like Next.js
That’s good because we know that we’re going to eventually have the Block Editor and FSE working together and we know the Headless ability of WordPress allows for an array of solutions that can be built using alternative front-end technologies.
Based on newsletters, tweets, blog posts, podcasts, and all of the other way media is shared for the application, though, I think we’re also forgetting the fact that WordPress is far more malleable than FSE and Next.js or, more simply put, locked into having React be the primary thing on which we focus.
And as my last past alluded, I’ve been adapting a piece of software so it maximizes its availability across all platforms using PHP regardless of now new or how old the platform is (at least between PHP 7.2 and PHP 8).
Here’s the thing, though: If you’re working with an older version of PHP then you’re going to need an older version of GrumPHP and if you’re going to use an older version, you may need an older version of Composer.
I love the speed at which PHP is moving these days and how fast the new versions are, too 🙂 but that doesn’t mean the software on which we’re going is going to consistently be able to keep up with the fast release cycles.
And that’s okay. It is part of software development and it has been since before most of us were writing our first lines of code (let alone before we were even alive). Obviously, this means that those of us who work with PHP are likely going to need to work with different versions.
Sometimes we’ll be working with the latest, sometimes we’ll working with a version or a few versions older, and sometimes we may need to work with something that’s deprecated.
And this is usually the part where certain engineers start saying we should upgrade all the things and stay with the newest version of languages and frameworks. But that’s not how it works.
What does this have to do with PHP, though?
Assume for a moment that you’re working on a project that was written with 8.0 but you start rolling it out to a suite of products. Some are running on a server with 7.4, some are running 7.3, and some are running 7.2.
Is it easier to handle all of the other software already running on their servers or refactoring your code?
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