If you work with any set of technologies for a long enough period, you’re going to develop a sense of what you love, what you like, what you dislike, and what you hate about it, right?

Honestly, I think this applies to just about anything we do, or we use regardless of if it’s related to our jobs or hobbies or what have you.

At this point, I’ve worked with WordPress long enough to develop a sense of all of that (and it’s not limited to the core application either).

And, to go ahead and be clear, this post is not about the problems that I see with WordPress or with anything tangentially related to it. Nor is it about the things that I think it does well.

Instead, it’s about asking why would anyone – you, me, or anyone else – keep using WordPress if they aren’t a fan of the platform for development?

Why Keep Using WordPress?

The whole catalyst for this was because I ended up overhearing a conversation where someone said they simply couldn’t muster a lot of interest or excitement when working on anything related to WordPress despite the fact that they willingly work with WordPress.

Note “willingly” being the keyword.

My Perspective

The way I see it is that I enjoy and I keep using WordPress because of what the platform affords for people, and because of the what the infrastructure allows us to do.

Why Keep Using WordPress?

The homepage presents it being software for creating sites, blogs, or apps.

That is, I’m specifically interested in the whole notion of online publishing from an open source standpoint (though I’m not anti-closed source software, either), and I’m interested in the problems that can be solved using WordPress as a foundation.

The fact that it powers so much of the Internet makes it an attractive solution for a lot of people and businesses. We, as those who use the software differently, see it differently. It’s only natural.

It’s natural.

But when so many people are using it for a variety of reasons that extend beyond blogging (which obviously hasn’t always been the case), it also allows us to create software on top of it that isn’t just for blogging, either.

That’s one of the reasons I still keep using WordPress and one of the reasons I enjoy it. It affords the use of solving creative problems that extend beyond blogging or content management.

That isn’t to say I don’t explore other technologies, that I try to learn them, and that I wouldn’t use them given the need (that is, requirements should drive the tools).

In short, I’m not WordPress-or-death ☠️, but I don’t harbor as much disdain for it as I see coming from others who work with it.

So Why Keep With It?

I’ve met some incredibly smart people through WordPress. I’ve met them via meetups, conferences, online chats via Twitter, etc. I’ve learned a lot, continue to do so, and I continue to look forward to interacting with others.

This isn’t about a getting social, though. This is about asking why one sticks with the decisions they do when more satisfying options are available.

So this brings me around to my initial question: If you’re willingly using WordPress but aren’t a fan of doing so, then why keep using WordPress?

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Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. WordPress challenges me to learn PHP, deeply.

  2. Hey Tom, that’s a really interesting article.

    I asked those questions myself although personally I’m a huge WordPress fan. I build almost everything on top of it whenever possible. But I know a lot of other dev who aren’t fan but still use it, I think a lot of these developers do not really have a choice. The platform may be imposed on them by their company or clients.

    However, I believe that if anyone works on the platform long enough, they will start to love it’s benefits and ignore the shortcomings… I introduced WordPress to my e boss about 6 years ago, at first he hated it but kept using it as the other guys we more productive with it than the custom in-house CMS. And now, that same guy swears by this incredible platform.

    Cheers.

    • I build almost everything on top of it whenever possible.

      I view it as a tool for building something, so if it works for that, then I’ll use it; otherwise, I may resort to something else. But, truthfully speaking, I’ve worked to build a business around WordPress-based solutions so I use it a lot. :)

      I think a lot of these developers do not really have a choice. The platform may be imposed on them by their company or clients.

      This is true. And there is a breed of developers who also hate WordPress so they just opt not to use it.

      I believe that if anyone works on the platform long enough, they will start to love it’s benefits and ignore the shortcomings

      Sure! Or maybe they’ll learn to hate it. I know some developers who have done that with WordPress, as well. Then again, it’s not just WordPress but other frameworks, foundations, and tools, as well.

  3. There are some significant inefficiencies in the WP infrastructure.

    Examples:

    you need certain plugins to do what you need to do but at the same time that adds runtime overhead as well as a lot more css files to load on the browser end.
    The more database abstraction and object oriented “magic” gets put into the architecture, the more performance (in particular scalability – most things work on a dev box) is affected. Java’s Hibernate crowd figured that out about 10 years ago, yet there appears to be a compelling reason for the PHP/WP people to have to retry history to see if the outcome will be different.

    There are also significant benefits in using WP infra. And thus you get the perfectly natural situation where people are (rightfully) annoyed but at the same time kinda stuck with the platform. All platforms have their issues and you generally have to pick your poison and work to do the best you can with that tool.

    Migration -while doable- is costly and painful. This will apply particularly to people building ecommerce solutions as there’ll be many aspects to consider such as products, payment gateways, order history, and so on.

    • There are some significant inefficiencies in the WP infrastructure.

      Agreed. There are also ways to work around these or ways to implement our own. There are also inefficiencies in other platforms, too. This isn’t me trying to go back and forth on which is better (because that’s silly).

      But it’s worth mentioning that this is not just a WordPress-thing.

      you need certain plugins to do what you need to do but at the same time that adds runtime overhead as well as a lot more css files to load on the browser end.

      In some cases, yes. There are other times where adding plugins doesn’t necessarily add any additional overhead because they are properly using the event-driven system provided by WordPress. And a lot of that gets taken care of by the PHP interpreter whenever it’s loading the application.

      The more database abstraction and object oriented “magic” gets put into the architecture, the more performance (in particular scalability – most things work on a dev box) is affected.

      If an API is providing a level of abstraction by making method calls that provide more secure, parameterized, and SQL-injection-safe ways of talk to the database, it might be a worthy tradeoff.

      That is, if someone who is far more educated with querying databases is writing the API for it, then I welcome that tradeoff. I’d welcome some minor inefficiencies for more security.

      All platforms have their issues and you generally have to pick your poison and work to do the best you can with that tool.

      Completely agree.

      Migration -while doable- is costly and painful. This will apply particularly to people building ecommerce solutions as there’ll be many aspects to consider such as products, payment gateways, order history, and so on.

      Migrations aren’t that bad when you use tools designed to help with that (assuming you’re talking about database migrations). If you’re talking about migrating from one platform to another, then the longer you stick with one over the other, the harder it gets.

      And I agree – doable, but painful. I wouldn’t want to do it :).

  4. For a lot of people it’s habit and the high level of familiarity and comfort in knowing there are almost 50k plugins, and lots of quality themes, if you aren’t just going to build one, which is pretty easy. Even if you hate WP itself, the community and support available is formidable. Plus just really good articles on using it smart and generous people like you write :-). Clients are likely going to already be using it, too. We’ve been using it for so many years we can set up sites in our sleep. I have static Bootstrap sites and Ghost sites and do use other platforms for personal stuff, but come back to WP whenever I need a site quickly set up. There’s a lot about WP I’m tired of and over. But unless I build and maintain my own CMS, or just need a straight-up blog in which case I’ve begun using Medium, WP is what I’m going to automatically turn to most of the time. I often wish that weren’t the case, but it is.

  5. The answer is pretty simple and straightforward: market share.

    • pretty simple and straightforward: market share.

      Though I agree that WordPress’ market share is hard to compete against, if it were truly “simple and straightforward” conversations like this wouldn’t be an issue nor would WordPress have such a negative reputation among developers.

      And there are a number of surveys to back this up. People choose to opt to work with this software for a number of reasons. Those agencies, shops, and businesses who choose to do so are outside the scope of what I’m talking about.

      I’m speaking strictly about developers who opt to work with it.

      Out of all the technologies, tools, languages, etc. there are to build solutions with, there has almost never been a time in which we had the ability to pick well-paying jobs using the things we like.

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