The landscape of WordPress has changed.
And for anyone who has read Coding Horror within the last decade or so, you’re likely familiar with Atwood’s Law:
But as this has happened, it seems as if its created a clearer divide between what constitutes a front-end developer and a back-end developer in the WordPress economy.
Personally, I welcome it as I find myself even more eager to learn, grow, and work on the back-end as PHP grows and changes. But that’s just me and there’s more to examine.
- Is it assumed that we’re continuing to increase our PHP skills as the language advances?
- From the outset, are these correlated in anyway?
After all, in some ways, this could drastically impact the trajectory of a career.
In short, I think there are several things at play each of which I’m going to try to distill here.
Neglected? Yes. But That’s Not All.
That said, I also think we’ve neglected updated features of PHP for too long (and this is becoming such a tired statement that I almost didn’t include it).
I don’t think it’s assumed that the majority of us are working to improve our PHP skills; otherwise, I think we’d see a broader set of resources devoted strictly too WordPress-centric PHP (not to mention taking advantage of the newest features of the language).
And when I talk about such resources, I’m talking about a WordPress-esque Stitcher.
But if you want to build a full application or solution (or something that’s headless), you can’t just focus on one area.
What’s My Point?
There are other projects gaining momentum that support this, too.
Secondly, PHP is continuing to evolve in a lot of ways. Whether or not the features that are being added to the language are good or bad aren’t fodder for this post. Instead, it’s a matter of that PHP is continuing to grow, change, mature, and offer a lot of features that’s we – as back-end developers, have wanted for a long time. So why aren’t we pushing to make them more common?
- Is it because WordPress plugins don’t require said features?
- Would said features not improve the codebase of some component of WordPress? (In many cases, it would.)
- Because the economy has changed and the block editor has become the face of the editor (and eventually of theme development), that doesn’t negate the need for back-end support.
- And so on.
Again, Learn But Don’t Forget