Why WordPress Themes and Plugins Are Software

I’ve shared my thoughts on WordPress as an application framework, but I think that simply making a case for how the core application can be used for web applications isn’t enough to help others see that it’s a viable platform.

Lately, I’ve had several conversations with others who are skeptical (and rightly so). Themes are often viewed as “skins” for WordPress and plugins are often viewed as little ways to add new features to a blog. If anything, I’d say that one could make a stronger case for plugins being software rather than themes.

But to a point, I disagree. There are several reasons why I think both WordPress themes and plugins are software.

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WordPress User Interface Design

For years, I’ve been using PayPal and although I don’t hate the service as much as many (in fact, I have very few complaints), I really dig Stripe for its simplicity, design, and ease of integration.

On top of that, I’ve used it in a variety of client projects but I’ve never actually done anything with it myself.

But this past weekend, I finally had the opportunity to integrate Stripe into a page on my site, and I used the WP-Stripe plugin by Noel Tock.

This morning, I tweeted the following:

This tweet sparked an excellent conversation in WordPress user interface design.

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You’re Not a Computer Programmer

In this video, DHH – author of Ruby on Rails, partner at 37signals, and one of the developers that I admire most – talks about the idea of a pure programmer and whether or not programming is going to get easier as time progresses.

In the past couple of years, I’ve begun to drastically narrow the focus of my efforts into a few select technologies and there are three things than Hansson says that really hit home with me both as someone who has worked in software for several years and as someone who is now working primarily with open source software.

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