WordPress “snobbery” could be leaving developers behind

WordPress in the Enterprise.

It still comes as a surprise to hear that many “serious developers” refuse to use WordPress, calling it a blogging platform. Are these developers missing out?

I would say so, and it’s largely borne out of ignorance and the fear of change.

WordPress is the fastest growing digital platform in the UK and it is estimated that nearly half of UK companies are now using WordPress. That’s a huge market to miss out on, and underlines it’s serious position in the marketplace.

WordPress is chosen for a number of reasons, and all of those are divorced from the role and needs of web developers. In fact, the anti-programmer and anti-IT geek stance that WordPress kinda takes is driving a dramatic skills wedge between the needs of UK organisations and traditional programming staff.

The most popular reasons for companies using WordPress are its ease of use, not needing to know HTML skills, cloud-based management and it’s extensibility (add-ins that make it work better). WordPress also has the largest support network and development community in the world, and to cap it off it comes Open Source and license-free.

Adoption by GOV.uk, BBC, Time and many others is changing the game as WordPress is now seen as a credible alternative to expensive (and often proprietary) content platforms – and not just for small sites, there is growing WordPress adoption by some of the biggest companies to underline their core digital strategy.

We’re living in a transitional age where IT and programming staff are suffering loss of work, migration to the cloud and the democratising of digital services. This is killing-off many of the small-time web agencies and freelancers who have lived on the back of providing “magic, black box skills” to dis-interested organisations.

Is it time, then, for the army of old-school developers to put down their decade-old tools and learn WordPress? Yes, and at the same time learn some marketing speak, a touch of client services and adopt a more efficient development/project management model.

By Martin Dower

  • Rob Gibbons

    Aversion to WordPress by developers has less to do with ignorance and fear of change than a deeply-seated disgust for PHP and a wise hesitance to rely on an incredibly bloated and notoriously insecure platform. Seriously, WordPress is really insecure, its architecture sucks (have you ever had to modify “the loop”?). Guys… There are many better CMS platforms out there, and there are also better blogging platforms, while we’re at it. To boot, PHP is continuing to stagnate as a language anywhere outside of Facebook.

    • Sanity

      Yes, “a deeply-seated disgust for PHP” is what the author means by “snobbery”. The article has a message, you can take it or leave it, but arguing against it by *using* snobbery isn’t really going to work. I mean everything here is snobbery, and you don’t even try to use facts to back it up. “Insecure” how? The other less-popular CMSes are more secure how? What’s wrong with its architecture? WTF is “the loop”? PHP is stagnating where? This is all just FUD. So the real question is, what do *you* use, and how much extra does that enable you to charge your clients? I smell an IIS rat. Well the article is saying “wake up and smell the coffee”, and you just hit snooze.

      • Rob Gibbons

        Actually, the author argued that it was mainly ignorance keeping good developers from using WordPress. On the contrary — and this goes for basically everyone I know — the only reason WordPress is so popular is due to developer ignorance. You claim I’m using FUD, and then you don’t even know what WordPress’s “loop” is… Why don’t you look it up? Heck, why don’t you try using WordPress? Make sure you use it for something non-trivial, and perhaps try to extend it in some way. Why don’t you do a simple Google search for WP security holes? (There’s a massive attack surface so it might take a while to read them all.) You’ll learn real fucking fast why this article is bullshit if you’re a “good” developer and you’ve ever actually used WP. Sir, you are the one eating the marketing for breakfast. Do some basic research before you try to call my argument (against an article that’s pure marketing) FUD.

    • Dan Smith

      I have to modify the loop all the time, it’s no biggy and in my experience much easier to get my head around than the other CMS platforms I’ve been forced to use over the years. What CMS platforms would you rate above WordPress? What do you prefer to PHP, Rails by any chance? Why do you prefer whatever you use to PHP? I’m genuinely interested in your responses by the way and not just spoiling for an argument!

      I love WordPress, especially its custom post types and ease of use for clients. As for PHP, I gave Rails a quick look and it didn’t seem worth the effort. There’s nothing wrong with it but there was no reason for me to use it – I honestly can’t see the benefits it would bring over the time I’d lose learning it. Pretty code and bragging rights? Maybe PHP is stagnating, but it’s not exactly holding back the web industry. It works.

  • MartinDower

    Whilst I’d fiercely defend open discussion and opinion this should respect everyone has a right to an opinion and should be accorded that respect. This includes posts and comments that might be deemed abusive or personal, which is how this seems to be going.

    I’m happy to leave it at that, I hope you are too.

  • Programmers want to program. That is all.