When I first started writing on this blog, It was on October 3, 2010. That’s wild to think about. I know that those who read usually fall into one of three categories:
- People who read regularly, for which I thank you,
- People who are aware of it and check periodically, for which I thank you,
- And people who are drivebys from searches from various search engines.
All of that is great and fine and I don’t think I ever would’ve thought I’d be writing roughly 12 years later.
But here we are.
And those in those 12 years, I’ve covered a lot of material. From it, I’ve been afforded so many great opportunities from people I’ve met, projects I’ve worked on, organization with which I’ve worked, and all the usual stuff.
I’m not going to get nostalgic and share all of the various things I’ve talked about because I tend to link to those when appropriate (and I try to make sure my menus, categories, and tags are well-organized though they could use some work right now 🙂).
Though since I finished my my recent series on using Ray in WordPress, I’ve really been thinking about what writing for this site would look like moving forward. And I consider thinking about how I used to write versus how I write now, I can’t help but think about how the wider world of WordPress writes not versus how we once wrote.
Writing For WordPress
10 years ago (give or a take), the theme economy was arguably at one of its first highest points, Automattic and opened a premium theme marketplace and plugins were more or less finding their way, but I don’t think certain tooling that we have in place now was as prevalent as it is.
Fast forward to now and we have plenty of us working all sorts of things in WordPress. Some areas are in React and the Block Editor, some are doing neat things with the backend, there are likely people doing things that we don’t even know about yet, and the theme economy has completely changed and I predict likely will continue to do so as we see new features, the least of which being
theme.json being rolled out.
Further, plugins are a vibrant area to be in and we’re seeing news sites, acquisitions, newsletters, podcasts and new types of conferences or new tracks within a conference are starting to show up.
Though I’d say people dip in and our of a given industry every five years or so, to be in this for over a decade has been a ride – and it continues to be.
Why Say All Of This?
Like anyone who’s heavily invested in their career and who consistently surveys it, thinks about it, and evaluates their role, I think it’s only natural to get reflective on what was, what is, and where it’s headed.
And one of the things that I used to do was write daily about how to do [something] with WordPress. That really was an exciting time to be writing both words and code for WordPress.
As I’ve already mentioned and as you’ve no doubt already observed, though, there’s a big difference in things now and things then. And I’ll be honest: I don’t know if I have the ability, let alone the interest, to even work on a theme like I once did.
I remember back when I was working with 8BIT and we had Standard Theme (anyone else remember this?) and we had a line of themes we were getting ready to build. One of them, no joke, was called Gutenberg. But things change as they are want to do and we end up going different ways, working on different things, and focusing on different areas.
And, as good as any segue can, that leads me to where I am now.
- I’m still working in WordPress,
- I very much enjoy the things that I do,
- I don’t have things to say as frequently as I once did,
- But I think there may be a place to share what I do have to say.
For example, there’s a lot of content available on, say, how to get up and running with your first block. There are a number of tutorials on how to create your first block, and people are even putting patterns and kits together. We’re moving fast. Whether or not that’s good is not for me to decide.
But the trajectory of WordPress I’m working in not taking me that way. By that, I mean I’m more focused on working on developer-operations (or DevOps), and I building more backend, supporting systems than I am anything else.
It’s a lot of PHP, it’s a lot of large database systems (like Google Cloud Platform), and it’s a lot of work that’s not exactly as shiny as things once were.
- You remember when you wanted to set up a Settings page in WordPress as you could use the Settings API or you could roll your own through procedural or object-oriented programming?
- Or notice how we’re still having debates around PHP dependencies, Composer, and so so even though many of us are using that particular utility in our day-to-day work?
- And what about Continuous Integration or Continuous Deployments and the various systems that account for that?
- Or what about massive database migrations, verifying data integrity, and making sure all of that works without the help of a plugin or a WordPress-centric solution but can still be interpreted by WordPress when all is said an done?
There’s a lot going on the field of DevOps, for lack of a better label, and maybe that’s where I should start writing. I still enjoy writing object-oriented code, but maybe I’ve said all I have to say about that.
Or maybe coding standards are still a good topic to cover, but as long as you have them, it shouldn’t really matter.
Similarly, maybe writing procedural code is just as good and we should focus more on talking about why that’s okay.
And with the quick upgrades coming to PHP such as
fibers why not talk about those?
We’re literally ripe with content to write about but there seems to be far more focus on WordPress-centric things and less on WordPress-tertiary things even though those things on the tertiary can directly benefit what we’re doing.
I don’t know even I’ll ever get back into writing daily again (there are other properties I’m looking to start writing for that cover other interests of mine), but maybe it’s worth writing about the things that so few others are writing about precisely for that reason.
Regardless, I still believe that WordPress continues to mature it its own weird way with its own wild economy. And I still think that I’ll continue to work in it as I still enjoy the problems I’m solving on a day-to-day basis.
But they are very different than they once were. And WordPress is, too. Maybe that’s necessitates getting out of the usual Block-Theme-Plugin-Opinion bubble and writing about something more.
It definitely seems like an uphill climb and like there’s less interest than there was in other topics. That’s okay, though. Certain things I’ve written about in the past were the exact same way and they became more common (not because I was writing about it, geez, the arrogance of that) but because they were more widely adopted.
And maybe some of the stuff some of us are using will, too, even with far lesser coverage right now.