Support » Requests and Feedback » Is WordPress Really Just Alpha Code?

  • I’m about to rant a bit, but I’ll try to keep it calm.

    I’ve been using WP for about 6 months to develop sites for a few clients. WP seemed like the best solution at the time, but now I’m having second thoughts. I should explain my background a bit, because it might be relevant: I spent 10 years as a UNIX/C application developer, then the past 15 years as a web designer / developer. While I no longer really consider myself a “coder”, I can get by with PHP and Javascript. More importantly, I believe that everything should be “tweakable”.

    WordPress(.com)-hosted blogs seem very easy for the novice user, and it’s not that hard to do a self-hosted WP site if you stick with a pre-built (and pre-tested) theme, and just live in WYSIWYG world. But since I need to customize things for my clients in ways that just can’t be done within digging into the code, I find myself constantly bumping into roadblocks. Not only are things like pages, posts, and categories sometimes confusing in their behavior, but it’s often hard to find the PHP file where something critical is happening.

    It seems to me that WP was a fine blogging platform, but now has so much stuff duct-taped on in an attempt to support more than just plain blogging sites. Unfortunately, it feels like a house that had 20 different contractors put on additions, without much regard to what others have done or with the overall plan.

    I’m also constantly astonished out how brain-dead the admin screens are sometimes. It’s as if the people who built their look and functionality never used them for a site with more than 10 pages. I’m happy that others have written great plugins that streamline my site building and admin tasks, but there shouldn’t *have* to be plugins to do this – it should be native. So for my second analogy, it’s like WordPress is a car you buy, but with a stick for steering, a few bricks on rope you throw out the window to slow down, and some lawn chairs for seats. If you want anything fancier, you have to get the “steering wheel”, “brakes”, and “seats” plugins.

    It’s great that there is such a robust “ecosystem” around WP, with thousands of developers working hard and contributing plugins, themes, etc. And I get it that WP is free. But I just want to give my clients the ability to edit their own content (without breaking my design) and be able to throw in some cool functionality. Why does WordPress make that so hard?

    Am I just being cranky in thinking that WP feels more like “alpha” code (“beta” at best) but isn’t really “ready to ship” yet?

    Really interesting in hearing others’ opinions…


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  • Moderator James Huff


    Halfelf Minion 🚀

    WordPress is a community-delevoped project. Feel free to contribute to it:

    In my opinion, WordPress is the best at what it does. When you start wanting to do things outside of that, like extending it beyond its intended capabilities, that’s when you start running into trouble.

    @macmanx – I agree that WP is a community-developed project, and I really do appreciate the developers who contribute to it. I guess I’m saying that WordPress is like a bunch of shovels laying on the ground – the beautiful swimming pool only happens when enough people pick up the shovels and dig. It may be “the best at what it does”, but I’m fuzzy on exactly what that is or what its “intended capabilities” are. WP is certainly not the best or easiest way to provide non-techies WYSIWYG content editing (I’m looking into Unify and Perch for that). And it’s not really a solid or robust CMS. I suppose I’m mainly disappointed because I’d heard so many good things about WP, and only recently had the (client provided) opportunity to get my feet wet, but have only gone from one frustration to the next. At this point, the site I’m building is working, but I’ve had to cobble together so many plugins and hacks that I’m not sure stable or extensible it’s going to be.

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