Articles, tips, and resources for WordPress-based development.

Aesop Story Engine and WordPress (Why Do We Reject Our Own Innovation?)

For some time now, I’ve been a big fan of using WordPress for web application development, but I think that developers actually embracing the CMS (let alone seeing the CMS) as a foundation for something like that is still a couple of years off.

Sure, we’re going to see some people using it for things like that. I mean, we’re already seeing some out-of-the-box applications like AppPresser, but projects like that are the exceptio, not the rule. In my own experience, I’ve found that clients are very interested in using WordPress, but using it for more application-like capabilities.

This doesn’t mean that gigs for themes, plugins, and what not are slowing down, but that people are wanting web applications for themselves or their companies, but want to be able to administer it using the WordPress dashboard or using a some custom front-end work.

But that’s beside the point.

What I’m getting at is that as developers, designers, and other people end up seeing WordPress as potential foundation for web application development, the more innovative things we’re going to see entering the space.

A Case For Dependency Management with WordPress

Yesterday, I came across a comment that was in the context of a larger post that I think does an excellent job of highlighting what we – as theme developers – should be doing with our projects rather than what we’re currently doing.

For those who know @Rarst, this wisdom will come as no surprise, but for those of you who are new to theme development, or WordPress development of any kind, then I think you’ll find this insightful:

We can chuckle and point fingers at bundled plugin monstrosities. But the reason those monstrosities exist include WordPress strategically for years disregarding need for third party infrastructure and dependency management. It’s telling that it has been priority so low, that even backwards compatibility was broken on related parts of core without a second thought.

So how does this translate, exactly? That is, what is it that we’re doing or that we can do in order to make theme development, plugin development, or both much stronger, resilient, and generally better than what we’re doing now?

The Constraints of an API Are a Good Thing

Because WordPress is built using a number of languages none of which are compiled, it makes it completely possible to make things happen within your theme, plugin, or extension by circumventing the native APIs.

This means that if you wanted to, say, introduce some type of element on one of the dashboard screens or you wanted to introduce functionality into one of your templates that didn’t previously exist, there’s a strong chance that you’d be able to do so simply by “brute force.”

And by that, I mean that you’d be able to make something happen – and probably work correctly – without using the native set of APIs that are available.

But when you’re faced with that situation, I highly recommend taking a step back and determining if you’re approaching the problem in the best way possible given your set of constraints.

Ask Me Anything at WP Chat

Comments are closed on this post. Please hold them until the AMA session begins on Monday :).

Last month, WP Chat held an “Ask Me Anything” or and AMA with Justin Tadlock. Justin, obviously a very popular, prolific, and respectable person in the WordPress economy, provided a great time even for those of us who were simply reading along (or for those who want to read along).

WP Chat is going to be making this a monthly event and I’m humbled to say that I’ll be participating in the next AMA session at WPChat on Monday night.

Unsolicited Advice in WordPress (But Is It Really?)

Obviously, I can only speak for as much of the culture that I’ve experienced both online and offline so I don’t mean this to be an overly general statement, but I think it’s fair we live in a highly polarized culture – if not offline, and if not in the west, then certainly online.

That is, we have no problem telling one another if their policy, their ideas, their implementations, or whatever sucks, or if it’s terrific. Unfortunately, it seems to be much more of the former than the latter.

I tend to be more on the pessimistic side – I know, probably not the most flattering personality trait, but I try to fight it :) – so I don’t know if it’s getting better, but I can definitively say that over the past few days, I’ve personally experienced some criticism – all constructive – that’s respectful and that has generated a lot of food for thought.

Am I Giving To WordPress?

Yesterday, I stumbled across tweet from a fellow developer for whom I greatly respect. He said:

Which naturally got me a little bit introspective wondering ifI have been giving to WordPress as much as I should.

Searching with Substrings in WordPress

Let’s say you’re in the process of building some type of search mechanism using WP_Query and you want your users to be able to run the search using part of a string.

That is, let’s say that you’re searching Companies (which is a custom post type) and some of the company’s names is “Awesome Code.” The user doesn’t know this because you’ve built a huge database and have been wildly successful with your app.

So let’s say the user opts to try to run a search using the fragment of ‘awe’ or ‘some’ or ‘code’ or some fragment variation thereof – how are we supposed to be able to pull back results like that?

The FUD of WordPress Competition

If you hang around WordPress long enough – or arguably any community long enough – then you’re likely to see certain conversations show up again and again.

Right now, it’s undeniable that WordPress has massive marketshare and that it’s doing a good job of maintaining that; however, there’s questions as to whether or not WordPress can grow beyond what it currently has.

This is true for a variety of reasons the least of which isn’t the fact that there are other new content management systems cropping up much more frequently than others.

This makes us nervous. Conversations start, blog posts go up (I guess this one is included, I dunno – I tend to take a different approach), and then FUD begins to fuel more of the conversation.

But I think that’s the problem: We forgo where we’ve been, where are, and where we can head, then we look to our and left and our right and feel like we’re doing something less superior.

What’s that all about?

An Interview with WPEka

WPEka is a site that’s been around since 2011 and has been offering a variety of resources to WordPress users, designers, and developers ever since.

This past week, I had the chance to be interviewed by Disha who works for the company.


Overall, I had a lot of fun. The questions were great and I’m always a fan of being able to talk with others who are plugged into the WordPress economy in some way.

On WordPress Theme Innovation

As I mentioned last week, there are a few things that are coming with regards to how Pressware‘s theme (with more in the pipeline) to be treated with the nature of open source.

But in preparing for this shift, I’ve also been giving a lot of thought about a number of different things with regard to how we go about building plugins, themes, extensions, tools, and so on for WordPress. I think that we intrinsically know that we should be focused on our users, but I think there’s also something inside of us that wants to impress our peers.

I mean, surely it’s not just me, right?