Is WordPress Suffering From The Innovator’s Dilemma?

Innovation Dilemma Featured Image
photo credit: Scrabble(license)

I’ve used WordPress for more than seven years and I can’t think of any features it has that are innovative. I believe part of the reason is that I’ve been stuck in the WordPress bubble for so long, I haven’t been exposed to different ways of doing things. I only know the WordPress way and that’s a dangerous way of thinking.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

In 1997, Clayton Christensen published the Innovator’s Dilemma. The book suggests that successful companies can put too much emphasis on customers current needs, and fail to adopt new technology or business models that will meet their customer’s unstated or future needs. Christensen argues that such companies will eventually fall behind.

Book Cover to Innovators Dilemma
Book Cover to Innovators Dilemma

During his appearance at PressNomics, Matt Mullenweg said that he’s, “worried we have become too much of an inward facing community and afraid to make a painful leap forward to make the next WordPress.” His statement is open to interpretation, but if you compare the WordPress open source project to a company and its users to customers, perhaps what he’s referring to is the idea that WordPress has fallen into the innovator’s dilemma.

External Innovation

In the Advanced WordPress Facebook group,  Joost de Valk responded to Mullenweg’s statement with, “Most innovation is done outside in, not inside out. But to be honest Matt, that’s where the problem lies too. The ‘inside’ is very negative towards change, and is constantly throwing up hurdles. They like small incremental steps, but fear bigger ones.”

Core WordPress development is done by a trusted team of people who have remained in core decision-making positions for years. It’s rare that an individual new to the community gets commit access or even gets to lead a release within two years.

I don’t think it’s impossible, but if brand new contributors from outside of the WordPress bubble have little to no influence on the project, where is the opportunity for external innovation?

Leading by Example

Another statement Mullenweg made at PressNomics is that he wants to lead another release. Leading a release gives him the opportunity to lead by example and push for big changes, something he feels the community fears.

A Thought Experiment

What do you think are innovative features in WordPress? I’m especially curious to see how users answer the question versus developers. I’d also like to know what features in other publishing systems WordPress could learn from. An excellent example is the post editor in Medium which Mullenweg has admitted offers a better experience than WordPress.

Can WordPress Avoid Irrelevance?

The road to 50% market share is tough and to some, is impossible to achieve. Without innovation and continuous improvements to satisfy the needs of users, it’s entirely possible for WordPress to develop itself into irrelevance. Then again, what could WordPress developers do today to prevent this from happening? Is it a matter of changing philosophies and strategies or is it something else?


58 responses to “Is WordPress Suffering From The Innovator’s Dilemma?”

  1. I think the next major version of WordPress should be a big structural rebuild for the future that doesnt try to be backwards compatible. Instead focus on a migrator tool when people are ready.
    Furthermore, maintain a LTS(Long Term Stable) version of the WP we know and love. Continue to support that version too for fixes, security but not features.

    Maybe that sounds divisive to the community of themes and plugins, but I think principles of modularity through hooks would always remain and profitable players could support both. Sometimes I just think that the legacy of WordPress is its biggest setback against innovation. It was founded in a whole other era of the internet well before the modern web dev toolset.

  2. 1. Make it easy scalable, replication, etc..
    2. Light (hello PHP and billions of class)
    3. Don’t be rude with devs (hello Mika)
    4. Still play monopoly like now (large explain)

      • @Mika my expression was a little exaggerated. WordPress filters from Dev’s point of view are too rigid, it’s pretty cool sometimes (security things, bugs, and sometimes suggestion for improvement of the plugin, etc) and at the same time not: (unfulfilled promise with potential users, redesign a lot of things, that means: time, costs, stress).

        At Present, join WP repo it’s like join USA Army.

        PS: Nothing personal Mika :) You are a passionate person, and that can be appreciated from the other side of earth.

        • You should try a theme then :) Not entirely sarcastic, by the way. Plugins, which are potentially more complicated than themes by their very nature, have a very low barrier for entry and far fewer checks.

          The whole point of using WP filters and hooks, and not rolling your own, are to avoid issues like the shortcode debacle with 4.0.1 – the odds of you breaking all over the place and upsetting users who then refuse to upgrade core for security releases will lessen and that helps everyone. There are always exceptions, but they may need to be talked through to see if they’re safe and sustainable. And if you’re the kind of dev who doesn’t pay attention to the dev news for WP, then it’s a major risk.

          • “And if you’re the kind of dev who doesn’t pay attention to the dev news for WP, then it’s a major risk.”

            Tuché! Nothing to say…

    • Hi John, thanks for commenting. I’ve found Mika to be incredibly encouraging and thoughtful. Why do you think she’s rude? Also, what do you mean by play monopoly?

      • @Jeff, WP has a “monopoly” because it’s fed by a huge community of devs and was settled by a default with a lot of hosting and a lot of strategies. I know about that because WP is one of the oldest CMSs from WWW. But if you take Google Trends and analyze other CMSs and then explore what makes WP successful, the answer is the same: an infinite loop between devs, hostings, huge documentation and passionate WP teams / community core which other CMSs just can’t compete with. Here’s one simple example: take one unpopular CMS and WP, and offer it to a hosting provider by default, which one would the hosting owner choose?

  3. When it comes to the arguments in the innovator’s dilemma, it’s always worth taking into account the evidence against the theory, particularly Jill Lepore’s superb “The Disruption Machine” article in The New Yorker. For every disrupted company, there’s another that successfully evolved by making smart innovative changes.

    Overall, I think it’s healthy to have a tension between those pushing for a huge overhaul vs. those who advocate incremental change. The sweet spot is almost certainly somewhere in between the two.

  4. Great article and a necessary one at that.

    WordPress has a major problem, it is lead by a few people who are happy to shun good ideas because their either too hard or too big.

    The biggest challenge WordPress will face in the coming years is switching to a full OO based design which in the current build and environment is all but impossible.

    The only way WP will be truly OO is if it was rebuilt from the ground up. WP has simply outgrown its own codebase and is hitting limitations left right and center.

    Let’s not forget TinyMCE is also an outdated and impracticable way of writing content considering there are much better solutions out there.

    WP 4.0 should have been a game changing release, a new course in the story of WP, but it wasn’t, it didn’t bring anything new to the table.

  5. I’d like WordPress to be modular. This is how I would see the next evolution. A CMS made of many modules, and you install just what you need. Let’s take an example, don’t want comments? Just don’t install the comments module. And so on. A platform made of a small core application and many independent modules would be more open to ‘disruptive’ innovations. Want a different way of managing comments? Well, just install a different comments module! It’s not just making plugins. Plugins always need to deal with the existing core functionality and modify the standard behavior. I’m talking about being able to replace a functionality with a new one made in a totally different way.

    If you want to modify the comments functionality, you must open a ticket, and deal with the core developers that can ignore your request for lack of time or just reject it. Here you can do something new with a totally different approach, and no one will tell you that you cannot do it.

    Probably, 99.9% of users would stick with the standard WordPress but can you imagine what the other 0.1% could do?

  6. This is a very insightful and thoughtful post, and one I was pleasantly surprised to see. You referenced a brief back-and-forth between Matt and me regarding his wobbly goal of achieving 50% market saturation. When I mentioned the lack of apparent interest and investment in innovation, Christensen’s seminal work was precisely what I had in mind. WordPress is very focused on iteration when really Matt needs to be focusing on innovation, in my opinion.

    I don’t think WordPress will become irrelevant, at least in the short-term, but one thing I would advise Matt to do is stop adopting WP developers for the sake of it. He has plenty of talent. More than enough to keep iterating on core, in fact, and some to spare. As you correctly mentioned, the same faces have been at, or around, the helm for years. And people can become protective of those spots, to the detriment of the product and culture. He should bring in people that don’t think like he does, or the “WordPress Way” and let them get to work conceptualizing. Of course they need the appropriate fundamental background and skills, but a passion for raising standards and breaking things in order to reach new frontiers. I myself have offered to work for him because I see areas in the company just from where I’ve been standing for the past few years that could use strengthening, opportunities that are being overlooked, and I have lenses that enable me to see things differently than he does (He politely declined). But to reach out into new markets, sustain the growth WordPress has enjoyed, and double his market share, as he wants, he’ll have to adopt a different managerial style. At least, if he wants it to happen organically–as I pointed out he could always acquire his way to 50% eventually. There need to be holistic changes and systems-thinking, to use sort of a cliche’.

    If none of this happens, and the status quo is maintained, what I could see happening is new technologies appearing that begin to replace the usefulness of WP as a CMS in large parts, to the point where WP is quickly left in the dust. It’s not that it won’t be able to compete; it just won’t even be in the same game.

  7. Interesting article, and one I can agree with. Now, as one who has worked with the Joomla CMS for over 7 years, I would like to bring some possibilities to the WordPress realm by taking a few things from Joomla…

    First, I’d like to see WP (yes, I know, I said WP instead of WordPress, but it’s just simply shorter to write) move more towards becoming a full CMS. I’ve see so many themes being developed to take on the role as a proxy CMS with their functions, features, and other capabilities that developers squeeze into them (which they really shouldn’t be doing). Long story short, WP needs to be more of a CMS and escape from the “blogging platform” it was originally built for.

    Another big one would be to tell the core developers to snap out of it! The content editor is so outdated and absolutely horrible to work with. The purpose of a content editor is to create content, and we should not be using something that is so limiting, so restrictive, so not content and HTML friendly. I’ve argued this for years and no one is listening even when you see other people get frustrated with it. I want to be able to see HTML source code, I don’t want my code to be stripped out, I want a loaded editor (or at least have the ability to have everything or select elements I want via configuration).

    I’d like to see a complete widgets system overhaul and to take a page from Joomla modules. They are far more flexible when you have the core modules giving you the ability to set where they will be published, the ability to add a module class for CSS styling, the ability to disable titles, and much more.

    Here is one more big one….having the ability to separate core layouts so that a theme can override them easily. In Joomla, I can customize almost anything from content to menus, to modules (widgets). But most of all, the ability to customize extensions (plugins) from the theme level is a wishful idea. I was happy to see bbPress allows this capability, plus Pippin’s Restrict Content Pro. In Joomla, plugin developers have to make this possible. Having a standard plugin structure that developers have to follow would be ideal.

    There’s so much potential for WP, but until that happens, I will continue to design WP Themes and provide them to the end-user from a site built on Joomla…I just have so much more flexibility for a site like mine compared to using WordPress. I’m amazed at how many plugins you need to install just to have a working website; in Joomla, it’s all built in.

    My reply here is a little vague and wish I could go in deeper detail, but I’d end up writing a full article myself :)

    …but, as I said, WordPress has so much potential.

    • Joomla is one bloated beast. PHP is not real memory efficient my friend and Joomla is quite memory hungry. The Joomla core I’ve had run in’s with. They refuse to even document their own code API wanting someone else to do so. They jet-set around making money at seminars pretty much on others work. Joomla is not a great CMS at its core, in fact e107 is far better. Look at the code, simple as that. What makes Joomla so good are the components and modules delivered by third party ISV’s.

      The Joomla core went and decided that anything in the Joomla repository must be GPL. Citing they are all about open source. Yet, wont document their own code. Will not allow developers to effectively protect their own code.

      How many people do you think would appear at a Joomla Seminar and they are paying for the privilege being charged MONEY (in the TRUE SPIRIT OF OPEN SOURCE LOL!!!) if all those third party developers work did not make Joomla the name it enjoys? Answer none.

      Yet they choose dictate to those ISV’s while they jet-set about making gobs and gobs and gobs of money from seminars. Nice. Travel, tell others how wonderful they are (I’ve attended one, ego manics yet wouldnt last a week working at Microsoft or Google) and what a wonderous application Joomla is. Its HILARIOUS really to see so many people duped but not so much so when one realizes what they actually are doing.

      The WordPress developers have obviously a better knowledge of what web means: Use as little Ram as one can, have code move as fast as it can given PHP’s obvious rather horrid boundaries as that equates to sessions.

      I believe its Hewlett Packard who has a stress test tool. Throw that at a WordPress site, Drupal Site, DotNetNuke site, e107 and Joomla and Liferay site with similar content.

      You will see DotNetNuke will stay the most steady, its built enterprise so rightfully so. Perhaps should not be in the equation. Liferay coded in Java is again, enterprise capable. Performs better than all mentioned under traffic loads.

      e107 in PHP does best. WordPress is next in line, then Drupal and lagging considerably behind is Joomla.

      I did such test years back when I was working with Joomla. When they went “MVC” citing “MVC” as a big revelation and the community awed over it. Oooo… Model View Controller. Fantabulous new buzzword yet has existed since the late 1970’s just few applied it to the web.

      For enterprise level applications on the net MVC makes lots of sense (and also not so). In PHP makes less sense as all overhead equates to munching memory and cpu cycles in a non-threaded environment. PHP remains one of the absolute few languages web ready that soesnt support threading. Nice.

      If you take a look at CPPCMS a framework you will see it just runs rings around every PHP framework in existence. In 2013 I wrote a small application with PHP, it’d handle around 1100 connections before its memory usage and putt putt behavior impacted it. I ported it to CPPCMS and behold, over 28,000 connections and still had ram left to spare. Was the hard disk became the bottleneck.

      PHP is of course written in C++ which never made much sense to me. But I am sure they laugh all the way to the bank on that one. Code it in assembler, that makes sense. But then we might need understand how CPU’s and computers work and that sounds like work.

      Then look at Microsoft’s MSIL which VERY closely resembles assembler and begin to understand why PHP is already dead and doesnt know it. In fact a friend of mine at Microsoft informed me that by .NET 7.0 (currently at 4.5) .NET will run 95% speed and efficiency of C++ now.

      Thats game over for PHP perhaps Java as well albeit not as soon.

      As a developer making web applications its all about goals:

      1. WordPress is not meant to be an enterprise CMS nor is Joomla. Under heavy traffic WordPress will outperform Joomla significantly as the developers at WordPress apparently realize that its important since its not enterprise not to eat ram memory like a pig at a feast and use every trick in the books to save CPU cycles as those equate to user sessions.

      2. WordPress supports their developers by providing excellent documentation to those developers about WordPress functions. Joomla does not, even years later after the MVC transition they still do not.

      3. WordPress is EASY to use with a good amount of thought into the user interface. Hand a Joomla built site over to a client who knows nothing and watch as they get frustrated and upset. I’ve done it.

      4. WordPress documents how to use WordPress. Joomla doesnt know where to begin as they will loose the average user in scant time.

      5. Enterprising (and yes thats the word) entities like Weebly are the ones who are enjoying the frustrations as people just want something they can learn, easy or at least fairly easy, understand and start with. Both WordPress and Joomla are handing Weebly webmasters.

      Joomla would not have a clue as to how to take the spaghetti interfaces they have made and create a truly drag, drop, associate, set properties and go CMS.

      WordPress IMHO should do two things… scratch that, three things:

      1. Make WordPress backend competely drag, drop, associate, set properties environment. That will do away with any concerns over other open source CMS systems having a market share. Thats game over for Joomla, e107, Drupal etc. for 99% of case use sites.

      2. Get real flexible workflows built into WordPress (thats a biggie) and make it as simple as the task can be. That puts the nails in all open source competitors except enterprise level.

      3. Start working on a new Wrodpress application from scratch in .NET

  8. As an outsider looking in…all these suggested “better” ways to do things are simply OPPORTUNITIES for those who state them to prove they are indeed valid.

    Here’s how you do that:
    Build yourself a better WordPress from the ground up, market it, convince others to switch to it, oh…and make it free of course. Get several hosting services to specifically support it and optimize their servers for it. Convince developers to buy into it by the hundreds and develop modules (fancy word for plug-ins) for it so tiny sub-niches can benefit too. Again, primarily for free of course.

    If it catches on then great! You were right all along. If not, well, perhaps a lesson learned in the pitfalls of living in the real world.

    Go to it on your own! It’s open source for cryin’ out loud. That is how innovation happens. Not buy trying to get an existing, viable and established entity to change its philosophy because you don’t agree with it. YOU change it and improve it by building a better mousetrap!

    WordPress is good. It serves a vital niche as it is. If you think it needs to serve another niche, try serving it yourselves. Compete. Then you will know whether your ideas are A) needed, B) truly innovative, or C) just another way to skin the same ol’ cat.

    Trying to get your philosophy injected into someone else’s is the easy way to ride on their coat tails of popularity. That is called being a p-o-l-i-t-i-c-i-a-n. NOT an innovator. You want your idea of innovation to become the new WordPress? Go and DO it! Get it done. Whining at the original innovator is not going to make it happen.

  9. Very good question… I think that WP need to understand not exactly what the users SAYING that they need, but to try to understand what they will need soon… There is a funny story about Sony first walkman, they did user testing and asked ppl what color do they think it should be in, all the users agree yellow will rock. When ppl leave the room Sony outside walkmans to take away as a gift, there was a yellow pile, red pile, and white pile – the white won big time…. So what ppl SAY, and what ppl NEED or WANT – well, not always the same :)

    So WP need to look at what ppl really need and not move step by step pushed by what ppl say they want. I think the future of innovation will come from bold moves like being more light-way, maybe remove some very heavy features, maybe to become more meduim like? Maybe to try and understand how the community can be utilize differently?

  10. The post formats debacle is a perfect example.
    I site as an example of risk taking, Apple’s 1984 Switcher, Apple’s first shot at multi-tasking, which was amazing and terrible and basically just the beginning.

  11. Clayton Christensen says in his book that “Disruptive technologies are typically simpler, more reliable and convenient then established technologies.” (I’ve reviewed the book here for those who are interested )

    I think this is applicable when discussing WordPress competitors like SquareSpace. WordPress response to this is adding convenience through a layer of additional complexity (Jetpack) instead of perhaps trying to make things simpler (which will require a quantum leap in terms of innovation). And unless Jetpack plans to substitute every useful plugin in the repository, WordPress will never achieve the reliability of these (closed) platforms. might.

    • I’d like to add that ancedotally I’m seeing a trend now where small business owners are choosing tools like Squarespace and Shopify over WordPress.

      Frankly while these tools may not have all the options that WordPress does, they do offer simple, out-of-the-box starter sites that are becoming more appealing for those who want to get to market quickly with a modern/sleek design that offers simple e-commerce capabilities.

    • Jetpack is a perfect example of the same kind of plodding, non-innovative, iterative approach to developing software. I mean, how lazy and uninspiring can you get, if all you do is bundle up a bunch of already developed plugins into one and think up a snazzy name for it? Not only that, but what a total waste of developer hours that could/should have been spent in pushing the envelope. This isn’t just bad development. Its also bad leadership.

      • All true. It also allows Automattic to add, and upsell, more accounts on, just like how Akismet is installed by default on every single WordPress installation to upsell subscriptions for that service. I know, I know, it’s all for the greater good of the open source movement, because that’s where the power is, not in monetary gain at all, right WordPress fanboys?

        • Wow – lot’s of hostility here!
          I am using a plugin that is no longer actively developed by the original developer –
          Posts 2Posts.
          Here is a message on the plugin page:
          I, scribu, will not be offering support (either free or paid) for this plugin anymore.
          This plugin is great and I can’t imagine how he couldn’t monetise it. Scribu was so fed up he doesn’t even work with WordPress anymore.
          My point is folks should consider all the points – not just rant about WordPress’ issues. I think there are plenty of opportunities.

          • @mac2net ~ nope, sorry if you read it that way, there’s no hostility at all. Just trying to give my perspective as someone who is not invested in the status quo.

            I think that Jetpack was simply developed as a spoiler app, so that Automattic could control more of the WordPress real estate out there. Oh, and so that they can use it to push freemium offers, of course.

            (sounds of deck-chairs being rearranged in the background)

            WordPress seems to have lost its way and the devs seem to be content with plodding along, fixing bugs and not pushing the envelope any further. That really shouldn’t be a surprise as its very hard to maintain that momentum when you have to scale an organization.

            But I do find it odd and wonder if there are some constraining influences here that we’re not seeing here ~ like the long, cold, dead fingers of the money men?

            I always thought Matt was up to it and more than able to exert the necessary pressure to evolve, adapt and reinvent WordPress.

            Apparently not.

            Well, at least, not yet.

  12. The WordPress community also needs to get over the “everything should be GPL and open source” fantasy. There needs to be a dynamic push and pull. Although Auttomatic pays the bills with services, not everyone should be required to do the same to be included in the repo for example. It takes revenue to build anything, so if a plugin developer decides not to release their hard work as GPL, then the WordPress community shouldn’t be recommending no one buy that software just because it’s not GPL. Innovation isn’t coming because the WordPress insiders are complacent, and making a living, but that will change. Innovation comes from an investment of time and money, and with that comes strategy and creativity to do something new and different that can disrupt competitors to get a return on that investment. Everything for free is the Utopic dream that is holding WordPress back. WordPress needs to embrace those that can donate time and software, and innovators that build something great to get a financial return.

    • > The WordPress community also needs to get over the “everything should be GPL and open source” fantasy.

      You mean the fantasy that is putting bread on the table for thousands of developers and running millions of sites?

      There are a couple of products out there that don’t follow the GPL. No lawsuits have been filed. Some in the community even promote them. Take Wishlist Member, which is or at least was a financial success. How have they made the platform better? How have they fostered the growth of WordPress and really benefited the overall community? Did they make developers fall in love with their encrypted code, did those coders go on to develop their own products or contribute code in some shape or fashion? Did they embrace openness and raise the bar in some way? Did they even continue to innovate their own product?

      There really is no justifiable incentive for the community to promote projects that don’t embrace the foundation on which WordPress is built *over* projects that do. And what are the obstacles of GPL as far as profitability is concerned? Would a non-GPL plugin or theme be able to outcompete a GPL based product just because of the license, are they otherwise being held back, in what way?

      You can already run a SAAS company and write whatever non-GPL code you want, since you’re not distributing it. You can grow as big as you like. The GPL license doesn’t stop you from growing a big company and doing whatever innovative thing you want.

      To me, personally, embracing a license that ensures freedoms is not just a charming feature of a large ecosystem. It stands for something that people can get behind, something that you won’t get from other platforms that are a mix. Something you don’t get from venture backed startups who only really care about making money or becoming famous or have a fleeting interesting in the idea they are solving. Something you don’t get from the big winners such as Google or Facebook whose publicly stated principles, when it comes down to it, come second to their own business interests.

      WordPress is special because it does have this quality about it. It is what separates it from many other platforms. I don’t want it to become part of the long list of projects, companies and platforms that really is only partially invested in its core principles. And WordPress is an astounding success in terms of showing how valuable it is to be able to have the freedom to learn from, distribute and build on top of other people’s code. I wouldn’t be a developer today if it weren’t the case.

      • Hear hear!

        In all this talk of market share, competition and Sass vs Product models, it’s easy to forget that software rights are about more than convenience and money. Finding viable business models which can support freedom in software is vital in a startup world obsessed with runways and cashouts and ever more ingenious ways to mop up gobs of data.

      • I couldn’t agree more, the power is in the freedom.

  13. @Vladimir Prelovac – hear hear! Also, incidentally @Jeff, I often wish there was a way to vote the best comments to the top on WPTavern (as there are on many other blogs). It would be nice to see which comments all the other readers value the most.

  14. (This got a bit ranty. Love y’all! :) )

    It’s a shame that amongst all of the gnashing of teeth in the comments there is not a single innovative idea that might propel WordPress ahead of its competition. The ideas offered boil down to two things.

    First, WordPress should be refactored so developers like it. I am convinced that the kind of innovation that WordPress needs will be entirely user-facing, not developer-focused. Of all the reasons given in this thread for making the code more developer-friendly, I did not read a single thing that couldn’t already be done, from replacing comments to modifying plugins in themes to changing templates for menus, widgets, etc.

    Could there be improvements on this front, particularly in standardizing common plugin techniques? Yes, definitely. Will it provide a leap forward for the end user? Definitely not.

    Second, the lead developers should be changed so there is some fresh blood controlling the commit stream. Rushing forward in this way would be madness. Why? Because innovation is really hard. And it’s really risky. If the “Innovator’s Dilemma” is real, it boils down to one brute fact: for every successful endeavour there are a hundred failures. Throwing new faces into the commit stream is more likely to increase our failures than our successes.

    If WordPress is going to increase the pace of innovation, it will be through changes to governance, development strategy and feature investment (ie – CASH MONEY). In that sense, I think Matt is right to want to lead another cycle and I will be curious to see what and how he pushes for changes to the culture of a cycle.

    I’d love to see the Feature Plugin take on a more prominent role. I’d love to see investment from crowdfunding, Automattic and other sources for dozens of plugins, even competing plugins approaching the same problem. There are tons of innovative ideas out there that could use time, energy, money and the engineering expertise of lead developers.

    But in addition to all this extra energy going into Feature Plugins, they need the breathing room to be a little crazy as well. Right now, I think a Feature Plugin immediately acts conservatively with an aim to get into core and minimize friction. Featured Plugins (at least the user-facing ones) need to be encouraged to think bigger and be encouraged to risk failure. Money is good compensation for that last part.

    • +1 for this:

      It’s a shame that amongst all of the gnashing of teeth in the comments there is not a single innovative idea that might propel WordPress ahead of its competition. The ideas offered boil down to two things.

  15. I wish their was an even bigger push to get the JSON API out the door because that I think is going to be a bridge that invites developers to play with new ideas and fewer constraints. It will be really interesting to see next generation sites and apps coming out that are using tools like React and all the new front-end libraries. Right now the JSON Api doesn’t yet support comment creation for example…and comment functionality is something we want to improve.

  16. This is another reason WordPress has issues. They should embrace innovators, not shun them. Thomas Edison had an ego problem, where other ideas were never good enough. In some instances Edison didn’t want to make a change because as he put it “don’t kill the golden goose.” Edison took chances only when the money wasn’t rolling in. This led to Edison being against alternating current, because it wasn’t his idea, so he was left behind with that new innovation. Edison’s direct current is still used, and has it’s place, but alternating current is used by the majority of the world. Alternating current was made mainstream for profit, not for the good of humanity. That hasn’t stopped anyone from using electricity, but it has created limitless possibilities. WordPress may be free, but it should open itself to investors in innovation, alternate licensing, commercial plugins “listed not hosted” in the repo, and so on, to spur true innovation with WordPress as the foundation.

    This is what Matt Mullenweg should be focused on, not leading another release, but leading by changing the rules within his own company, and the community his foundation controls. Lead or get left behind.

    • “This is what Matt Mullenweg should be focused on, not leading another release, but leading by changing the rules within his own company, and the community his foundation controls. Lead or get left behind.”


  17. Some really great comments, especially around encouraging plugins to take risks and also to get the WP API into core.

    From a technical point of view, as I said on the Advanced WordPress thread, WP needs to become more modular (a previous commenter pretty much summarized my views on that) and have full CMS functionality

    Three quick wins on the CMS front are:

    1. Finish the post status api (it currently exists but is half baked/unfinished). This could enable more advanced workflow with posts and CPT’s (or any object really)

    2. Finish the taxonomy api, it works perfectly for posts but actually supports other object types like users and comments. Again just finish the job. This would enable much better user management and classification.

    3. Proper capabilities and permissioning, the current set of default permissions is limited.

    and as a more long term objective

    Start work on post to post object relationships table:
    If you need to any sort of heavy lifting with a CMS these sort of relationships are essential and WP does not support it out of the box and the current plugins are not sufficient.

  18. I’ve been a self-hosted wordpress user on and off for about 12 years. I’ve started dozens of blogs, built sites with various objectives, and used WordPress in personal, side-project, and professional capacities. I do a lot of hacking to make WordPress look/act the way I want, but I am by no means a developer. Mucking around with code beyond HTML/CSS is beyond me. So with that in mind, considering me an advanced, non-developer user, my take is that WordPress has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years or so toward delivering me the kind of functionality I look for as a CMS solution. Here is a quick list off the top of my head of things that did not exist 2, 4, or 10 years ago that do now:

    – A thriving plug-in library/community that produces business-class tools for WordPress
    – The visual “customizer” functionality in the back end that allows simple visual edits
    – Robust business solutions with integrations for ecommerce, engagement, etc
    – Theme creators who leverage the simplicity of the WordPress core into powerful marketplace, directory, travel and commerce solutions
    – Easy-install options in Cpanel and other hosted solutions

    These are all things that are one-click solutions right now that even a few years ago had no easy solution in WordPress. I tried to build a directory site three years ago and literally could not make it work in WordPress, even with proto-themes that attempted the functionality. Now I can launch one in an afternoon.

    The criticism is easy, though. The extended functionality of WordPress is unassailable, but most of the value is brought by third-party developers and communities. The power comes from plug-ins, themes, hosting providers, etc, not from WordPress out of the box.

    Or does it? Is the simplicity of the WordPress core the very thing that makes the extensions so varied and powerful? That is a question for a developer, not for me. I will say however, from a user perspective, I am in awe of what the *Wordpress ecosystem* has enabled non-technical people like me to do over the years. How much credit does WordPress itself get for that? Not sure.

    One final parting shot: The actual post box/editor functionality seems to have gotten worse the more they simplify it. Removing options/functions, making embedding media its own adventure, auto-formatting in odd ways (line breaks, headers, etc) — it’s just become less intuitive the more “elegant” they’ve tried to make it.

  19. If Automattic is at all concerned with staving off potential obsolescence, they should DROP all support for PHP v5.2 (which is seen as OLD). While easier said than done (backward compatibility issues aside), it’s a good start IMO.

    • I read somewhere they are in talks with various hosting providers to get them to support newer versions of PHP. In any case, these are actually good times for WordPress as far as PHP goes, HHVM and even bleeding edge PHP versions are an order of magnitude faster than old stacks. This means a faster WordPress and also helps lose some of the negativity around working with PHP for developers.

  20. I think part of the issue is balancing what developers want to see out of WordPress and what the average WordPress user/blogger wants to see out of the system. While the last few releases have had some nice additions for developers, their major highlights were primarily targeted towards the WordPress user (not developers).

    There are many, many more users than there are developers and users are how WordPress makes money. However, the question becomes – did developers embrace WordPress because users/bloggers were using it, or did users/bloggers embrace WordPress because developers recommended it?

  21. Having migrated from Joomla, I was shocked to see no 2FA (two factor authentication) options or hooks in WordPress. I posted on the support forums and was blasted (the only word I think appropriate) by the core devs for having the temerity to suggest this security enhancement. In Joomla, the core has hooks to enable 2FA plugins to use. Any dev of a login/user profile type plugin knows to check these hooks, and the way it is implemented is common for all the plugins. Moreover, in the core, at the time a year ago, 2 methods were part of core, one of which was Google 2FA. It will only activate if the server PHP release is new enough to support it.

    The site owner makes a global decision as to whether to offer registered users the option of opting in. Each user can opt in, or not. That is up to them. No-one is forced to activate 2FA on their account. The site owner can choose to ‘suggest’ that users do.

    There is a perfectly usable pair of plugins that provide this functionality, one for 2FA and to make it 2 step login. Not a SINGLE plugin out there for user/profile control supports these 2FA plugins. The plugin devs don’t want to, because the core WP team are so adamant they won’t do it.

    This inward, insular approach/reply to my simple query stunned me. And then someone pointed something out to me that I hadn’t spotted. Go to Settings => and where is the general settings panel for user control? There isn’t any. Everything, by default, has to be done per user. Can it be right that users mean so little to WordPress? I had to buy plugins to fill that gap, and they are quite poor and fragmented in design and purpose.

  22. WordPress is failing to innovate because it is trying to be everything. It won’t make large changes because of fears of issues with backwards compatibility. It also tries to be a midrange tool between a blogging platform and a cms. Frankly, WordPress needs to almost take after Drupal and become a larger and more powerful CMS rather than a blogging platform.

    For instance, WordP ress is missing out of 2FA as someone mentioned above.

    WordPress has no built-in way to create a custom post type (outside of modifying the files and most people simply don’t know how to do this). There should be a GUI and while some would say just use a plugin you can’t fill in everything with a plugin. A plugin does add some nice feature, but the fact is they are simply not the best way to go about it. Drupal has a GUI for it why not WordPress.

    The admin panel needs improvement or customization. While this can be done with plugins, again this is not the best way to go about it. I have also searched high and low to improve the load time of the administration board and I have found nothing. There needs to be a way to improve the load time because while WordPress works wonderfully with plugins they all hurt the load time of the administration board. I am hoping for some major changes to come to the board or at least offer some way to improve the load time of it.

    The JSON API also needs to be improved. Comments can’t be made/controlled by it which is a letdown. This makes it rather difficult to extend the capabilities of the platform.

    I just think WordPress needs to focus on being a CMS the past few versions seem to have been more for Bloggers. It needs to stop focusing on backward compatibility (PHP 5.2 which is outdated).

  23. “What do you think are innovative features in WordPress? I’m especially curious to see how users answer the question versus developers.”

    Definitely a user here, not a developer. I’ve been at it awhile though, so if say WordPress were IKEA furniture, I wouldn’t need to glance at the instructions in order to put it together. :)

    I remember the initial draw of WordPress 7 or 8 years ago (perhaps it’s been longer) was the ability to differentiate posts and pages. As a blogger who wanted a very small site with a few extra but separate pages, that was handy. I’d be interested to know the breakdown between bloggers and those using WordPress as a CMS now though.

    I can’t think of any recent updates to the core that have wow’d me, though I like the more recent changes to the Customizer. Rather, when someone asks me why they should choose WordPress over an out-of-the-box solution like SquareSpace, I usually point to the infinitely expansive plugin and theme development community.

    While a user might outgrow Weebly, it’s really unlikely they would ever outgrow a WordPress powered site (rather, it can grow up and around them).

    • Innovation is driven by need. Plugins traditionally power that need. Its not about, “Hey have this idea” when considering a framework. WordPress is on its own rather a plug ready blog application. Like Joomla is a plug ready Content Management System. Neither Excel at their basic function but instead rely on the plug enabled extensibility to innovate features.

      Its a publishing platform.

      In comparison to say Liferay its not in the same league as a platform. Huh?

      Liferay is a java based platform. Also extensible. Enterprise ready and more. Liferays development however focused much upon enterprise (or not) processes and procedures and how actions and roles in the real world work.

      For example. A WordPress online news site has a hard time replicating what you would see in the real world. A publisher, ceo, editor, writers, layout people, imaging people on and on and lets say doing that across 10 international markets. There is “flow”. Whats included, whats rejected, what must be changed, revisions histories, on and on. One organization might have very different processes from another, one department may have very different processes than the one upstairs. Yet they need come together into a final product. This might be true as well in say Online seminars or even commerce lets say.

      WordPress was never coded from the ground up to manage versatile roles, tasks, processes etc. and integrations thereof. That would be a “core evolution” but at the sametime then we need ask ourselves is the programming platform (PHP) up to the task. Sure, it could be done in PHP but really PHP is not well suited towards this type of development as its a cobbled together language without even respectable support for multiple thread execution yet we have had multicore computer processors for years on end now. Just as mySQL database is not up to the task without cobbling of distributed enterprise level database work where-as Oracle who now owns mySQL is. Presumably Oracle bought the company to make sure it never is. Microsoft SQL Server is enterprise ready as well. Fully scalable.

      Most WordPress sites have a handful of people administrating them for example. But lets say this “home & garden” site you start all of a sudden takes off! Zoom! Due to it there are lots of opportunities for growth. Why there are thousands of people also interested in environmental safe gardening, growing your own fruits and veggies, recipes, home decor, power equipment for the home garden etc. All of a sudden those few people have problems. So you get some volunteers. Here’s this guy that knows environmental stuff upside down. He can write too! But in knowing WordPress? Layout, comment approval? all these things? Imaging? So now your doing alot more work and your focus falls off what you need be doing.

      As new volunteers come in they should be able to do ONLY what they need to do. Nothing more or less. He writes todays environmental article. His editor asks please rewrite this. Done. Editor approves it. Then the person who deal with images does her work, layout person does her work, publisher approves or maybe wants different images and sends it back. That CORE UNIT should not need do anything other than necessary nor have access to anything other than what they need.

      Now you have an ability, process by which you can add any new sections or multiple writers on and on and YOU can still do what YOU need to do without doing more.

      Why its going SO well in fact its time to seek advertisers. Thats different people. They’re processes are going to be different. Yet, it must all integrate into current processes.

      They need target advertisers based on page content. So home gardening products .vs. power equipment .vs. home decor on and on. They are making the phone calls, getting advertiser signups etc. Images however might be advertiser supplied or they want created on your end. Those also need move through processes, into layout peoples hands, pass to the publisher of a section etc.

      The real world when it comes to information exchange has processes that can vary widely or similar except for this and that etc. That flexibility is important to being able to manage things without everything becoming a tangle of collisions in what people do to make the product.

      The processes people need know are just that, everything else should be transparent. The writer should not be concerned at all about images or image sizes, types, where they will go nor should those parties be concerned about the content. The editor need not be concerned with placements of where ad’s go or perhaps even images in any way. The publisher needs be able to send back work to any party with notation. “Need this image changed, that content altered and this and that”.

      Pretty much every CMS/Blog platform has the same issues. As they grow so does the workload. The more people who come in as authors/contributors the more the workload on the site administrator(s). Usually it implodes as the workflows cannot be segregated appropriately and even if they can be the software capability is too coarse to afford flexibility in what can and cant be done more or less procedures (process) to make things flow smooth, logical and all integrate into everyones work into a final daily or weekly whatall product.

      As I said in another post.

      I would say WordPress need have a core developer stay on the current WordPress application and bring in a few noobs to keep it moving ahead with the goal of “Do what we need do to expand our web market share”. Its said WordPress does 20% of the net. Ok. Lets say thats true. Lets make that groups goal 25%.

      The other core developers need start coding an all new WordPress using Microsoft C# and ASP.NET which is enterprise ready and has the capability to create just what I noted above (and much much more) so WordPress is positioned for the future as is explained in the other comment I made.

      If the work on the new WordPress is not accomplished by the time that 25% is realized then set a new goal. 30%.

      As I noted in the other comment. All of these smart technologies are headed towards unification. Thats the next BIG THING coming and in some regards already here. Windows is going “Online” client/server based computing in the cloud. We will be able to do anything from anywhere. Play video games at home, tablet, smart watch, pc, laptop and more starting right where we left of on Halo 7 lets say. Anything you can do on your PC, TV, Phone etc. now (and then some) you will be able to do anyplace, at anytime with any device.

      Web applications will be at the core of much of this and IF a web application CANT do it then it will fall to others that can.

      You see some of it now even with WordPress. Managing your site a bit with mobile app’s. Instead of it being a hodge podge of things that somehow “glue together” to afford functionality and workflow the future is one of “no glue” but instead, “Its built in” to EVERYTHING.

      Right now we are in this intermediate stage of all of it. A no wine before its time thing in conjunction with getting the infrastructures in place (hardware, software, connectivity etc) is where we be now.

      Future however is its all seamless. Everything just works. Call it Net 3.0? or 4.0?

      Net 5 or 6.0 will be another radical shift. Anyone will be able to build their own software without having to know a thing about writing software. Drag and Drop, set associations, properties, interactions and run all from the web.

      For example your gardening site can have you write a Christmas greeting card text, lucy does the layout, cindy does the graphics, you drop the final into a mailbox icon and every single person gets a personalized greeting card printed on their home printer or is there when they turn on their phone or TV. Your TV will have a touch screen tablet that goes with it with Windows and the TV will echo whatever the tablet interactions are. On and On.

      All and I do mean ALL of these now popular types of open source PHP based applications are in their final hurrah days, over the hump per se. A persons life might be over the hump at say 40-50 depending on ones flavor. LOL.

      The PHP stuff is already over that hump.

      It will simply not stand the test of time as it cannot without all sorts of cobbling (which people will do!) live inside the smart technology unification coming. I call it “the web grows up” and it becomes what inevitably all information assets have become. A place for lots of big guys, not as many small guys, regulated of course, and then some. But there is TREMENDOUS opportunity at stake as well!

      WordPress is near PERFECTLY positioned due to market share to hold that share, preferably grow it another 10% +/-5 and then release a new platform that can grow, has the proper capabilities in as far as work processes and flows go, stays highly extensible and is able to hit the ground running.

      While many a developer will say, “Oh no! That’d mean my WordPress Theme’s or Plug-in’s business may suffer” they need realize if it does not happen they are already dead and just do not know it. They too need be getting the beta releases unfit for public live usage and working on components, plugin’s etc. to meet the future as well. USE the monetary resources enjoyed now by WordPress to be able to make the transition. Sure, need dump knowing PHP and learn say C#. Programming is programming. Languages are differences in semantics and syntax generally speaking. The pain is learning all new libraries and functions. Comes with the turf.

      Those developers who want really see the gold mine will do the work.

      If WordPress does not make this jump then you can be rest assured another entity will. You mention Weebly for example. GOBS and I do mean GOBS of people set up their personal site or faint business site using it. Why? Its simple. Is it as versatile as WordPress? No. But understand it doesnt mean Weebly is just sitting back doing nothing. I presume their software is proprietary enterprise level, probably java, C++ or C# (C Sharp).

      Drag n Drop websites is the near future. Drag this plugin there, drag that category content here. Adjust the properties. Done. Already exists. The short distant future is unification of technologies and anything not doing it will die. Again, to some extent already exists.

      Microsoft has in fact a program where-as if someone has a unique idea towards these forms of web applications, is a programmer, uses .NET they will not only help but will help find funding for it publicly available right now.

      Folks dont realize it nor do many developers for that matter. Microsoft has truly begun its march towards “When people think Internet they think Microsoft”. Those goals were set in place 15+ years ago and they are only now starting to become reality.

  24. What can WordPress do?

    Lots, I bet. But, does WordPress need to do everything, or could it be made into a variety of apps; blogging, word processing, publishing, site creation, code editing, portfolios, portal, cms, forum. Lots more I’ll bet.

    Standardizing coding would help a lot. Instead of everybody coming up with different ways to layout pages, decide on a standard. Innovation is a great thing, but not where it complicates matters needlessly.

    Remember, you’re creating tools, not art. Tools others can use to create art. The paint brush doesn’t have to be great art, just good for applying paint.

    • That’s a great article, but it’s not as relevant in this case. Have you ever met Des? He’s an excellent leader and product visionary that drive’s Intercom’s product development.

      Who does that for WordPress? Who manages the long-term vision of WordPress? Who makes product decisions? It’s hard to build a great product, but it’s impossible to do by committee.

      The core team does a great job, but even open source projects need a consistent leader who takes a consistent, active role in steering the ship. They don’t need to drive the whole process, but they do need to steer it–focus is everything.

  25. Core contributing is volunteer work, so they’re motivated to make the improvements that they want–typically incremental improvements.

    But it’s better to risk boldness than triviality. The same community that’s been working on something for a decade isn’t just going to change–they’re comfortable. We need new blood, new energy, and new ideas. Hopefully the new lead devs make a difference, but I don’t know if that’ll be enough.

    To get more new blood working on WP we’d need to make it cool to work on again. The API stuff is cool, but we’d also need to push for other new things like HHVM. Not because it’ll fundamentally change WP, but because it’s something the people this community needs can get excited about. We need to make WP exciting to work on again to attract that kind of talent. Think working at Google/Facebook/Twitter vs. working at IBM/Microsoft.

    The new folks don’t need to be lead devs, they’ll inspire the community just by hacking on stuff and building new things. Innovation and excitement are contagious.

    Then we’d need to do a better job of showcasing the cool stuff people are building on WP to attract more people who want to do the same. Maybe get some evangelists out into the startup communities. Maybe put together a RFS (request for startups, i.e. with a WordPress X prize. We need to cultivate innovation if we want to see it grow.

  26. This is all a tough row to hoe. Where to start… Hmmm…

    WP began as a blog platform and now resembles more a Content Management System (CMS). The WP team has done a good job at this transition though not as magnificent as is often witnessed in commercial development. That is to say, maintaining a backward compatibility level that would be acceptable in a commercial software application like say MS Word. This is however common in open source where there are countless developers and why coding standards are developed.

    To make things more complex its built atop a LAMP/WAMP platform basically. While Linux/Windows, Apache and mySQL (Oracle) stay on course PHP is all too often all over the roads. PHP has been the staple of indie web development for years with pluthers of other languages existing (Ruby, Java, Go, on and on) but Java being the only other free language suitable and widely supported out there. The performance characteristics are drastic in both speed, capabilities and ram usage. I know Java, PHP, Ruby, C++, Visual Basic, Visual C# etc. Java runs rings around PHP in all respects and of course so does C++. PHP for example could never run “eBay” nor could it handle lets say AT&T’s service/support/consumer front end network. Thats all Java.

    For these indie open source gigs a developer or theme designer, plugin coder etc. would have a great deal more to learn and cope with with a language that is enterprise capable, not loosely typed and has a much more intrinsic learning curve.

    Enter Microsoft. Microsoft has opened up its .NET framework Open Source stating its for sake of the MONO project (.NET on Linux). With the Express editions of Visual Studio (Microsofts Development Environment) being free to use all this becomes a real game changer.

    The not too distant future will see Microsoft web applications more and more over-taking the PHP world. Why? First, the development environment is far far far superior to anything out there hands down. Using Visual Studio is consistent, TRULY integrated, robust and it “makes sense” when using it be that for web apps or client/server apps or standalone PC applications. .NET in itself is far far far more robust in its capabilities than anything else out there. The only competitor would be Java and its piecemeal, just the Lamp stack is piecemeal. Separate editors, debuggers, profilers, this/that. Not so with Visual Studio.

    As I develop back and forth between languages using Visual Studio .vs. other solutions feels alot like DOS .vs. Windows in many ways.

    Now it WAS the case that Visual C# or Visual Basic code was slower than PHP and more memory hungry. Thats changed. C# now outperforms PHP in both speed and memory usage and this curve will continue. The reason why is due to the software architecture (runtime) design. PHP is not capable of massive change of its internal architecture without scrapping 80% of its core. .NET / MSIL on the other hand is extraordinarily flexible so what we will see is speed and resource usage continue to move fowards with .NET.

    Its been Microsofts plan all along. Additionally comes the unification of smart technologies. Phone, Tablet, TV, Game System, Smart Watch, Smart glasses, Smart cars and more. Do anything, anywhere, anytime. There is only one entity who has the “complete environment” for development to do this and that (unfortunately) is Microsoft. Google, Oracle and a few others are attempting chase this but they are literally years and years behind in development in comparison. The one entity who actually is not believe it or not is Amazon whom does at least presently not offer their propriety based development environment to anyone except enterprise partners and only a few at that.

    So whats this all mean to WordPress!?!?!?!? You may be asking. ALOT.

    Yes,,, It is true that developers (the WP Core) may not be heading in features or directions that vertical market or even mass market users and/or independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) may like. Marketing and software development are worlds apart. Most coders dont have a clue about marketing even though they think they do. They think it simple. Marketing is more complex than software engineering. I know both. Schooled in both. Marketing is chock full of variables as every person is different. Software engineering is far far far more finite in its boundaries. Also why a great person at marketing dictates salary.

    But, the WP core has clearly done a far better than average job considering they are coders otherwise WordPress would not enjoy the marketshare it has. They are somewhere’s between drupal core and joomla core. The drupal core are all intense coder beasts only recently going, “Oh… you mean others that are not coders want use Drupal?” and working hard to make it so before they have no market share.

    Joomla core on the other hand are “users” and ego flies. Not users in the aspect of users of their software. Uh uh. Users of the developer community. They jet set around the globe raking in money for seminars regarding Joomla use whilst the developer community is what makes Joomla a well regarded CMS and they dont treat that developer community well. In fact, too busy to even document their code WELL for those developers, they want the developer community to document their code! I know, I was asked. Unreal. Imagine walking into Adobe as a developer and saying, “I am a really good coder, see, here is some of my work. If you are going to hire me however I want other people to document my API’s, my code etc”. RIGHT!

    The WordPress core quite clearly realizes that its important to make the RIGHT steps and that means take the time to think and do things right. Its not an accident or circumstance that has resulted in WP being used on 20% of sites. In fact, its remarkable.


    I would argue that in order for WordPress to MAINTAIN long term its market share they need transition and I do mean START NOW. Transition? Yes. Have a few core developers or a core developer stay with the LAMP/WAMP development and bring in a few noobs. The others, get to work on a .NET WordPress ASAP.

    As the “Open source” world in .NET continues to gain momentum its going to become a steam roller. Its not a matter of “if or but” at all, its “when”.

    The capabilities of web applications and indeed PC applications in the cloud define what tomorrows information technology will be and the integration thereof. ANYTHING outside of that will in time fade away. Just as mobile technology has changed the face of information technology its next step is integration… The unification of the smart technologies. This is why Sony for example will not be making a Playstation 5. They have no integration partners and making that worse their number #1 competitor Microsoft is literally at the head of the class in technology unification. This also is why Microsoft could care less if Windows Mobile (Phone and Tablet presently) is a distant third to Apple and Android. The market will “come to them”: as unification marches forward.

    The release of the .NET core as open source is a HUGE HUGE cannon shot towards that. 10 years back ANY developer in the know would jsut say, “No Way Microsoft EVER would do that”.

    They have and the reason they have is to get the PHP, Java open source developers to jump ship and they are doing just that.

    The development environment is simply superior and up to the task of any type of development. Enterprise development, distributed application development, web applications, mobile applications, Windows applications and much more all rolled into a highly cohesive development and INFORMATION INTERCHANGE environment.

    WordPress with its high market availability it enjoys needs start working on the jump from LAMP to ASP.NET and thus position itself as an enterprise, unification ready web application. Simple (or complex) as that. If not what will occur is as .NET open source grows especially due to MONO some other entity will make the CMS that erodes the market share eventually resulting in WP being orphaned. Joomla and Drupal are already dead. They are just too short sighted to actually see it.

    WordPress has enough market that there is time to make the move so to speak and in doing so enjoy some level of dominance in the smart technology unification that is coming down the road.

    • Are you the Berta Lovejoy of programming languages?

      Most modern hosting companies don’t even default to LAMP, they offer a nginx based configuration. And some even run hhvm with its performance gains. The whole PHP suitability argument has never been less relevant.

      If there’s going to be any programming language shift in WordPress it will just be an increased focus on Javascript. And this is the only thing that makes sense, a) because it’s a conceivably manageable shift and b) this is where the web, webapp and native app space is continuing to move. With one language we can write websites, web applications, native mobile applications (check out React Native) and desktop applications (node-webkit).

  27. There are 54 comments, with most touching around the edges of issues with WordPress. There is the desire for backwards compatibility with PHP, lack of pure OO design, need for modularity, and focus on GPL. Users really don’t care about any of those issues.

    Users care about speed, lack of ability to write a post from their phone, quickly uploading images from their phone, comments that are dynamic and refresh, alerts and conversations available between friends, and being able to quickly like someone else’s comments. WordPress core lacks all of those features – it’s almost like WordPress developers are back 5 years ago in time.

    But what always surprises me is when someone hates a criticism then out pops the typical two replies — (1) people volunteer, (2) build your own. No – how about you listen to the criticisms and use them to build a better product?

    This is really a dilemma – so why not split the WordPress core – and start a WordPress 5.0 on Github. Continue development on WP 4.2 but start fresh with 5.0. Get started and stop dwelling.

    In WordPress 5.0:

    (1) Innovate on the code side by moving the core to OO, and provide modular loading so an admin can easily turn on and off features from the admin panel settings. The redux framework has a nice slider look rather than checkboxes – use it. Forget PHP 5.2 and embrace PHP 7 ( …

    (2) Innovate on the feature side: improve comments, improve login authentication so people don’t have to create accounts all the time to comment as well as have comments create alerts and refresh when new posts are made. Let admin easily upload photos from their phone without an app. Let users interact through follows, conversations, and alerts. Also – get rid of that nasty Toolbar and incorporate the links as a slider off to the side or dropped from the top.

    Just my two cents.

    • You forget here that the biggest innovations start from solving technical problems. Who has ever cared about how a multi-touch screen works? However, without having this technical advancement, today we couldn’t have modern smartphones, discussions about touch interfaces, and the mobile revolution.

      You say that users don’t care about technical problems in WordPress. Sure, I totally agree but without solving the technical problems WordPress won’t be able to meet user’s requests about everything else. Just as you can’t have a touch interface without a touch screen.

      My request for modularity comes from the fact that the core team cannot do everything, nor can you ask them the capacity of coming up with new disruptive concepts. Modularity means that you can easily replace a part of WordPress (what today is part of the core WordPress) with something else, developed by a third party with a different idea on how that part should work.
      I bet that in a short time we would see flourish tons of new functionalities and interfaces, some of them bad, some ugly, and some revolutionary. However, if you don’t make WordPress modular this won’t happen, and we will be stuck here forever discussing how WordPress should better meet its user’s needs.

      Just my two cents


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