I have noticed two disturbing trends recently with WordPress.
I’d like to know what the level of interest might be in a
solution to these problems. First, a tendency to pander to
the least knowledgeable person who might install WordPress,
to the detriment of the professional web site using
Wordpress, and a tendency to add new features or make changes
without careful thought, or honestly without so much as 5
minutes on Google before breaking established protocols, to
learn WHY professionals have chosen a certain way of doing
things, before launching off in another direction.
This has meant that each of the last several upgrades has
caused major headaches for sites that aren’t super simple
little hobby sites. For example, 3.0 broke, sometimes in subtle ways that might not be immediately noticed, most sites
using authentication, load balancing, cookies or caching,
along with many less common techniques related to subdomains, etc.
All of this to avoid a potential problem if WordPress were installed
by someone who doesn’t know what a “URL” is. My 65 year old
mother and my 12 year old nephew both know what a URL is, so
we’re really pandering to the clueless here when we’re targeting
people who aren’t familiar with what a URL is.
Professional sites do want to get the latest fixes – especially
security fixes, but have you noticed how often “updates” seem
to break things?
Further, it broke such sites in exactly the same ways that
we had ample warning of when the “canonical redirects” misfeature
was added. (Hence the popular ‘disable canonical redirects’ plugin
to avoid abuse of fully qualified URLs which break so many things).
So we knew exactly what would happen if we intentionally misused fully qualified URLs – all of these professional sites,
sites that use things like authentication, caching, etc.
would break, in order to make it easier for a six year old
to set up WordPress.
If the mainline WordPress wants to pander to the newbie setting
up their first web site, and also wants to make changes that
affect every single page load without thought of what the
consequences of breaking well established protocols might be,
perhaps professionals need a separate version, ala Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Perhaps what’s needed is a WordPress Enterprise fork, and let the
mainline WordPress pander to the lowest common denominator, which
seems to be the trend, and introduce “cool” new features without
regard for established standards and how many professional sites
are broken by these spontaneous changes. The Enterprise version
could be aimed at true professionals and follow standards, and
avoid breaking compatibility with established protocols.
I am very much considering launching such a fork. It would
save hundreds of hours compared to going back and reverting
spontaneous standards breaking changes every time there is a
Wordpress update. How much interest is there in a version of
Wordpress which would continue to work, on a professional site
even, and you could get updates that a) fix security problems
b) fix actual bugs and c) add well tested features without
adding untested beta quality “features” that break your site?
Would such a WordPress Enterprise project be of interest to the community?
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