John O’ Nolan believes that publishing on the web is in a state of complete disrepair. That is hard to believe considering it’s never been as easy to publish content online as it is today. However, whether or not WordPress is the best tool for THAT job is up for debate. There is a reason why some WordPress faithful like Jason Schuller of Press75.com have stopped using WordPress for their personal sites and instead, have gone off to create their own vision of what a publishing platform should be like. I asked Jason what pushed him over the edge to stop using WordPress.
I’m not sure that any one thing in particular pushed me over the edge. Being excited, happy and passionate about what I’m working on/with is very important to me, and I no longer feel any of those things when it comes to WordPress. Creating a simple WordPress theme (for example) has become a grueling task because there are certain expectations that you have to consider in order for the WordPress community to accept your work.
I still think WordPress is an amazing piece of software that has opened so many doors for so many people and that is something I will never forget… it’s just not something that interests me in its current state or direction. My focus is on creating simple/elegant solutions that actual people can use without having to spend weeks reading through tutorials or sifting through admin menus. Also, in order to continue to learn and grow as an entrepreneur I have to leave WordPress behind and find my own path.
Then there is Habari. Habari is another project created from the ground up from former WordPress developers/users. If you want to hear Matt’s thoughts on Habari at the time, I highly encourage you to listen to episode 18 of the original WordPress Podcast from January 18th, 2007 starting at the 10:34 mark. Their news bit includes a quote from Matt with his thoughts on the release of Habari as well as open-source competitors. I wonder if his attitude on competitors is the same today as it was back then.
There are a handful of other publishing platforms available but the core point I want to draw attention to is that they all seem to focus around one thing. Simplicity. One of the major features of WordPress in its early years was in fact, simplicity. Now it seems as though that simplicity is disappearing and is ending up in entirely new codebases. There is no need to panic but it’s a trend worth taking note of.
I love the freedoms that WordPress provides but I’d hate to see people give up those freedoms to go behind a walled garden because WordPress is just too darn complex to use. A strong pillar of the WordPress ecosystem is its third-party community via plugins and themes. But this pillar can not exist as the foundation of WordPress, nor should it. The foundation should be the publishing software. If the third-party ecosystem becomes the only reason to use WordPress and I were a core developer, I’d be extremely disappointed.