Why WordPress Job Titles Don’t Mean Much Anymore

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Mario Peshev published a great article that looks at where the WordPress community stands on job titles and skills. Peshev explains why titles are out of control and how they don’t match their expected skill sets.

The problem with a number of general titles is that they are overused and it is no longer clear what the real meaning and level of expertise is. Moreover, they are so general, that it’s easy to be fooled into misusing them, seeing how many people just tag themselves in those categories.

I find it fascinating we’re having conversations on what people in the WordPress ecosystem call themselves. This is a big problem for people looking for WordPress experts who are routinely let down, because the people they’re hiring don’t actually have the skills required to get the job done.

In some ways, the conversation circles back to the idea of having a WordPress certification program. With a certification program, a document would clarify a person’s proficiency in WordPress. However, I think it opens up a new can of worms and isn’t the only solution.

Comparing a Corporate World to WordPress

In a typical corporation, titles are clearly laid out and each one has a set of skills attached to it. Employees know what they need to learn to get promoted to the next level. Employees also know the skills a person has with a particular title due to standards that dictate how it’s earned. In the WordPress ecosystem, titles are not earned, but rather, routinely made up. For example, I’ve used WordPress for more than seven years and consider myself a WordPress Tinkerer.

Peshev outlines three distinct problems with the lack of standards, best practices, and business know-how in the WordPress community.

  1. Serious clients can’t find experts since everyone is an expert.
  2. Experts don’t get approached for larger systems (due to (1) ) and their time is wasted by people with the wrong perception of expert.
  3. The lack of satisfied clients and contractors means fewer customers are willing to invest in WordPress, fewer contractors are able to dedicate time back to WordPress, and there are fewer products developed as a result of WordPress driven projects.

When looking at the big picture, the situation is a mess. It seems everyone has a WordPress title with no clear way to determine the skills that back it. Outside of some sort of regulation, I don’t see how the situation can improve. Perhaps the community can rally together to create a list of titles and assign appropriate skills to them? If you use a title to express your skills and knowledge to potential clients, what is it?


36 responses to “Why WordPress Job Titles Don’t Mean Much Anymore”

  1. Yep, it’s the same in a lot of other industries, social media, you name it. Titles are vague and general, anyone just needs to make sure that the skills of who they are looking at are more clearly defined. This has been going on with job titles forever, and I’m sure it will continue.

    • Bob, I would outline two scenarios here.

      The first one is the enterprise/corporate world. Titles are established, job descriptions are well defined, and HRs use these in order to assess skills, expertise and such while recruiting talent. Experts are also aware of what they do (that’s what everyone would expect) and they apply for job offers based on their skills.

      The second definition is social media, marketing and other divisions that require no education or specific skills. The difference here is that, looking for a social media expert, you’d expect some large number of followers and a list of other people with the same results. Same goes for other fields, but just looking at a portfolio of beautiful WordPress sites with premium templates is not a viable way to assess the skills, expertise, or quality whatsoever.

  2. This is definitely not limited to WordPress, if you check 5 open positions from 5 different agencies you’ll likely walk away with ten different definitions of the requisite skills for a “web designer”.

    Reminds me a bit of the movement for an official design certification.

    Because anyone with a computer can sell design services without proper education, training and professional experience. This hurts designers, devalues our work and turns our talents into a commodity. The lack of formal standards supported by a certifying organization that creates visibility for our profession makes design certification more critical than ever.

    The site (and the movement) is pretty old, and they’ve gotten nowhere with it, but their proposals are pretty interesting.

    Personally, I would support a certification, in the WordPress community as well as in graphic design. I would only support this, however, if there was not a substantial fee attached – it needs to be accessible to everybody, and as long as there was no requirement for “formal” education, such as a four year degree.

    Also, I think that a movement for a certification should ideally start outside of WordPress, and be based on the underlying technologies. PHP certification, JS certification, etc.

    Regardless, ultimately it’s the market that’s going to decide whether an official certification is valuable or not. A bunch of us can get certified but, if clients don’t place any value on it then what does it really matter? I’m amazed at how many business owners I meet, who have a web presence, and who don’t even know what WordPress is.

    • Most all CMS have gone this same direction. Kentico provides a Developer Certification but nothing else. The developer role (as they define it with .NET skills) can be minimal on any build. And small shop vs. agencies present a confusing comparison. From the client’s perspective, something I regularly have to explain, why do you need five to six individuals involved in a build when I’m paying all this money for “simple.” Bob/Mary vs. a half dozen inflated titles? Don’t blame WordPress, we share responsibility.

      • I would disagree about most CMS, and I’d also focus on the fact that WordPress is used as an application framework a lot nowadays, or for numerous multisites and other solutions other than standard websites. Acquia has a detailed certification program for Drupal for example – https://www.acquia.com/customer-success/learning-services/acquia-certification-program-overview – and most of the frameworks/platforms used for building web solutions rely on technical background in order to be able to produce an adequate solution.

        Again, we’re aiming for unifying some job positions for the sake of everyone – clients, employers and contractors. People configuring WordPress installs can keep doing it, SEO and marketing folks can still use WordPress and make the rest of the magic, but hiding the people with the technical background behind the ocean of self-named experts, developers, professionals, gurus, ninjas and so on does not help the ongoing development of the WordPress Core and the entire plugin and theme ecosystem.

  3. If done badly, a wordpress skills certification could just an expensive waste of time.
    If done well then it could be an incredibly good contribution.

    Certainly a huge problem in the market at the moment is that anyone can claim to be a “WordPress Expert”. But that term is so nebulous that it can be meaningless.

    Qualification types could help consultants and companies show their expertise, and could help customers choose which experts to work with on particular types of problems.

    But to do it right would take a very long time and a lot of capitalisation.

    There would also be issues with some younger, less resourced companies and individuals gaining such qualifications if the cost is high. If the certification gatekeeper requires fees then some talented providers could be excluded from entire marketplaces.

  4. I guess I am sort of hyper sensitive with this because I would be no means ever call myself a wordpress expert. I tinker with wordpress a lot with it being my preferred CMS. At my agency they try to sell me as a “wordpress expert” which puts a lot of expectations on my performance when I never declared or claimed I was an expert.

    This comes with the price of me being seriously stressed out/working overtime without pay (because I am salary) to find a solution to every problem to make sure our clients are happy. I generally do find a solution because I tinker enough but it takes me much longer than an expert.

    My job title changes daily too. Sometimes I am a WordPress Expert, Creative Direction, Production Artist … Digital Designer…. whatever sells a pitch to a client I guess.

    • Most experts don’t feel they are experts ;) It’s mostly the dummy’s who stick an “expert” label on themselves. If you feel you are constantly being overworked, then perhaps it’s time to change jobs? I don’t know you at all, but your comment gives me the impression you are probably be a very good employee.

      • Also known as the Dunning–Kruger effect:
        Noobs have no idea how much they don’t know, so they think they’re experts.
        Experts realize how much they don’t know (the details of), so they get overwhelmed and don’t realize how much they actually know.

  5. Comparing a Corporate World to WordPress

    This didn’t register last night for some reason. I think that this comparison might set some unrealistic, or even problematic expectations. WordPress isn’t a corporation, its mission is to democratize publishing.

    A lot of what we are seeing is a product of this democratization, the good and the bad. Everyone has access, everyone has the ability to learn, and everyone is able to do good work, or bad work, which is beautiful.

    I mentioned this last night, but this is not a phenomenon that’s limited to WordPress. Look at what computers did to graphic design. How about the impact of digital on photography. My wife is a working professional photographer and she can definitely tell some horror stories. She also stays booked.

    Luckilly there’s always a market for quality work.

  6. I want to say that I initially found this on the Tavern but I tend to think of myself as a WordPress Implementer. I certainly don’t think of myself as a designer because I don’t design anything (besides occasionally changing the color or size of something) nor do I think of myself as a developer (as in coding something from scratch).

    • Emil, I wouldn’t touch the education topic with a 10-foot pole, that’s a big time Pandora box :)

      I agree with some of the ideas, but I honestly believe that no adult would write the same thing if they were a child and had to go to school for 10h/day plus Saturdays. For the record, I studied on Saturdays too and life can be frustrating for a kid.

      But Themer is a valid skill from my perspective, and experts are a rare beast nowadays. What Andy wrote about in terms of experts in our community is a must read though: http://andyadams.org/wp-talent-shortage/

  7. In terms of “certification”, whenever a recruiter reaches out to me about a job opportunity, I always include a link to my Smarterer WordPress score. Yes, it’s not an “official” certification, but it does make them feel more confident in presenting me a candidate for the position.

  8. I see the situation differently. Even among expert developers: there are those of us who are good at certification test taking and there are greatly skilled individuals who are not; there are those who can come up with creative code solutions and those who need the solution defined before they code; and those who can do the job in 200 lines of code vs 1000. And, there are many expert developers with no customer service skills. My point is: you have to differentiate yourself. The less talented who self-title get found out.

    Back to the client: certifications or not, a person who develops a site is a developer – no matter the knowledge of script language. If they can make WordPress sing they can deservedly call themselves whatever they want. In recognition of coding knowledge there are descriptive titles in use already. If you use WordPress as an application development platform, you are an “Application Developer.” You can be a “PHP Developer” or “.NET Developer.” Add “with XX years’ experience” if need be.

    In the long run, the titles and certifications don’t mean much. Proven experience and the ability to satisfy a client does. If people are using a title that you think you should own and if they are also taking work away from you, then they are differentiating themselves by other means than just calling themselves developers, experts, etc. A certification may get a little extra notice but clients want to see what you have done. Use references, build a portfolio, list and demonstrate the widgets or plugins you built, sell yourself. This situation isn’t necessarily a mess.

    • I do agree on the challenges of the right certification platform since there are people good at coding snippets, tests, or other ways to solve problems, and it’s not a unique exercise – just as with IQ tests.

      But someone installing a site is NOT a developer. It’s a site builder or whatever. If that was true, then signing up a client for WordPress.com makes you a developer, which is hilarious.

  9. I agree with many of the comments here that this “problem” is not only related to the WordPress community. Titles are just that. Titles. Unless one got it from an academic degree (and even then), it only reflects how a person labels and markets itself in a business.

    My favorite title is definitely expert, it sounds so professional but at the same time it is extremely vague, and I try to avoid it at all costs when writing about myself.

    Instead of titles and certificates, people should focus on what clients or other people in the community say about a person they want to hire. Testimonials, references, LinkedIn acknowledgements and so on. A reputation certainly means more than a title or self-made profile. Last year I was part of a small developer team creating a new so-called social media platform (yes, another one). The difference in this one is that you don’t create your own profile, but rather you let your friends and network do it.
    It’s http://www.praice.com if anyone wants to check it out, and while I no longer take an active part of the project, I definitely see its potential in e.g. cases like this.

    Engineering Engineer and MySpace Expert

  10. I used to think a Certification program would be great, as my cartesian mind could know exactly in which quadrant or category I belonged, and could easily sell myself as such, and prove my worth based on this Certification I possessed.

    In a previous life, I’ve also had a 15-year run in Corporate / Large enterprise, and certifications were sought after and if you had them, you were “da bomb”.

    But now that I’m a business owner, with a few years’ experience, I’m not so sure anymore…

    One-man armies and small agencies have to draw upon so many skills and types of expertise that pigeon-holing oneself into a single area would most likely ‘downgrade’ them into specialists of some kind, whereas they may possess way more to offer than what the Cert says…

  11. The problem ladies and gentlemen with these matters is mufti-faceted.

    1. Agencies who are building web presences for businesses first need establish their workflow presentation to a prospect client. Web designers and design firms tend not to do this as they never had formal position. A software developer, any software developer that has worked for a firm still alive knows it by heart.

    It takes multiple meetings to establish what resources will be needed and design firms dont like to do that as they are going to need do it without pay for that time investment. One sits down with the client and establishes their needs. At the next meeting resources necessary and options are discussed. Then yet another meeting to show the client the “bottom line” and see if there are any other requirements to be met. Finally a last meeting to get the ball rolling, deposit on the work, displaying a mockup to them etc.

    A complete checklist need be established. We have six of them in fact that took over 4 years to refine. A client might want interactivity such as wordpress with effective eCommerce for example. This requires two of our checklists be gone through, explained to the client and what if anything we manage or what they wish manage. All six documents integrate together seamlessly. eCommerce for example through a CMS and expecting it to be effective for a client is simply ludicrous. A mom and pop shop can use say Woo Commerce but to be truly effective when one has multiple parties involved in the commerce process which is near always the case… Forget it. Magento, Prestashop, CS-Cart etc. make Woo look like “Poo”. We wont even offer it to our clients as we know they will get upset.

    eCommerce has everything from product content to inventory to accounting, fulfillment, support etc. A one or two person operation Woo Can Do, but again, completely ineffective in respect to the customers prospective success lacking hoards of features considered standard in commerce.

    2. The application (at this point in time) is critical as well. If they want something complex than Joomla which we loath is more powerful than WordPress. We know full well 99% of clients will be ever so frustrated if they try deal with Joomla. They DO NOT WANT TO LEARN. WordPress is easier albeit they dont want learn that either. With WordPress, Prestashop, Magento, OpenCart and e107 we provide a CDROM with videos step by step considerably better than trying to hunt on youtube and of better (professional) quality. We provide FAQ sheets to cover common issues/questions. We considered releasing them for resale but they’d end up being pirated by other firms we figured. We DONT create ANY site and just tell a client “Here its done. Thanks. Need anything call us or worse yet email us”. We provide support before we even deploy EVEN if we are managing the site.

    3. Many many CMS systems are out there and many are quite simple to use. Designers dont want learn new things and present multiple options to clients. WordPress is overkill for many a site and something like Simple CMS or others will suffice and they can manage their own sites.

    I cannot begin to tell you how many “design firms” screw up loosing clients or loosing prospect clients via word of mouth. In fact, we get more clients from other firms screw ups than anything else. When a client wants a simple business website with occasional updating we wont use WordPress. We will select a simple CMS. They are happy, they tell others, we get referrals.

    Understand something, they dont CARE about the cost. They CARE about a site being effective and an asset to their business. They dont WANT nor should they NEED to learn or RELY on support all the time.

    We stopped even actively promoting on the web as we get 95% of our clients from screw ups of other firms. At this moment there are 72 jobs in our queue, 17 of those are via referrals, every other one is an existing presence which was completely botched by the original firms they contracted to represent or create their web presence.

    4. Design firms think about THEIR WORKFLOW and ignore the clients workflow. Virtually every single one of them. WIX is a huge success because of design firms ignoring client workflow and I know of at least two entities (one sizeable here local to us) that are going after that exact market.

    5. Workflow in WordPress is not good. Websites need integrate into a given businesses workflow. Not be some foreign disease they need try figure out how to integrate and leverage. Thats why they are hiring us not to just create a pretty web entity for them with bells and whistles.

    6. Design firms like to explain their workflows to a client and thus justify the cost of the work yet ignore the clients needed workflow which is WHY they are looking to a design firm.

    7. Every firm needs a decent software engineer on staff. Why? Because they are the people that KNOW WHAT THE SOFTWARE CAN AND CANNOT DO TOWARDS THE CLIENTS NEEDED WORKFLOWS. THEY can modify perhaps a plugin to suit, stay secure and be effective. For example, last week it took me all of two hours to bridge WordPress to Amazon’s marketplace for a business that wants display and have their products on Amazon available for purchase through their website via Amazon.com.

    They initially came to us after two other “design firms” screwed them. First one was Joomla with Virtuemart (a piece of crap). Second firm they hired did their site in WordPress w/ Woo Commerce and again, not a thought about the businesses success thats “Their problem”. Thats what they were told. The design firm told them, “We can only build the site, we cant make your sales effective via it”. Nice! They came to us via a referrer. I looked at the sites. Re-enabled the Joomla site on their backend of their shared host (Bluehost, another crap operation designers love as they are cheap) to look at it. How do I know they are crap. Just stress test via Visual Studio a website hosted there. Thats how. In comparison 1 AND 1 will hold better than 400% more page views in the same benchmark. I upload a script I coded to a hosting account, run a windows program I coded up and there sits the results. Simple.

    Anyways… Client hired these firms to get them effective sales on the Internet. They failed. First meeting we had in December where I popped their wordpress site up on a projector. I asked them, “What is wrong with this website creating effective sales for you?” The response was one in the area of, “We dont understand it. Everything works. The firm we hired said it would be effective for our needs. When we asked them why we are not seeing sales occur they said we need spend money to advertise on the Internet and that they cannot help us in making our products effective for Internet sales”.

    I asked them, “Did they show you how to effectively market your products via the advertising they advised? Did they state as to how when you pay them to help you advertise they will effectively target your market demographics?”

    You’d thought I just said, “GHOST!!!!!”. They sat there staring at me not knowing what to say.

    I continued and told them there is nothing wrong with their products web viability at all. The problem is they are not getting traffic into their website and if they were to get effective traffic into the website Woo Commerce will completely make a mess of their workflows not even knowing what those workflows were. I said, “Lets say you get 300 orders a day start coming in and you need deal with this ridiculous excuse for an eCommerce storefront presence.” I showed them workflows as are common in Magento.

    They instantly said, “Thats what we want!”.

    I said, “No it is not. As we still have the problem of getting effective market demographic traffic into your website. You are a needle in a global haystack. We can expend tens of thousands of dollars attempting advertise through the common mechanisms of the Internet that are no longer effective such as Adwords, Banner exchanges etc”.

    They looked like Deer in headlights. Thats EXACTLY what they were presented with at this other firm. Non-Web, Non-Marketing professionals thinking about their wallets and not the clients.

    Web sites ARE MARKETING. If a Design firm has no marketing professional then they are essentially snake oil salesman.

    I directed the Web Browser to Amazon.com and said, “Have you ever heard of this company?” Of course they have. I told them, this company is the undisputed leader in eCommerce. They began as a garage start-up. They enjoy thousands of transactions every second of the waking day. This is where you want sell your products.

    The response, “We dont know how and no other firm has stated this to us even though we spoke with many before moving forward”. They asked me how much it would cost for “us” as a firm to make it happen. I told them we can coach you through it, your cost is $40 a month to Amazon.com plus their percentile of fee’s based on transactional amounts. So they asked, “For each product?” I responded, “No. Thats for unlimited products and if you wish for a small additional fee Amazon will even manage end user fulfillment for you”.

    So they said lets do that. Two hours later I had them listing products on Amazon.com fully comfortable with workflow and how they can download order reports to integrate into their workflow.

    When we went to part they asked how much they owe us. I said, “You do not owe us a red cent”.

    They insisted on writing a check in the amount of $1000. I refused it. Two weeks later a new king sized bed and mattress set arrived at my front door (they sell home bedding and home based stuff, lamps etc etc).

    I called them and said, “Whats up with that?”. They told me they had more sales in two weeks then the prior four years of trying operate their own website. They want meet with us and are so excited by what else we might offer.

    We meet few weeks later and I asked them, “What would you think your next step should be?” They responded in saying, “Making our own web presence grow. If Amazon can do this for us surely there is more that we can do as well?”. I said, “Correct.” and continued, “Now we need build your brand. So we need a website that focuses on support of products sold, roll outs of new product, making sure your brand of your website(s) is associated to the brand we set up via Amazon. Getting word out there through opt-in mailing list signups. Making a email enabled advertisements page for effective email marketing. Getting products listed at Amazon unto your website so as people can shop at your site yet end purchase made through Amazon ensuring the customers are confident about the transactions and whom they are transacting with and through.”

    They were semi WordPress comfortable, I handed them our FAQ sheet book, the training DVD they can pop into any PC or DVD Player. Our visual (transparencies & prints) showing the wordpress workflows. Took a few moments with donuts and coffee for them to browse the documents. They said several of the FAQ items they’d already dealt with and had to PAY to have resolved.

    Then the proprietors second in charge piped up and said, “How come more design firms do not engage in this more comprehensive approach to working with businesses interested in using the Internet?” I told her, “Because they are interested in getting work to do and the more they can sell you then the more work they have. They are disinterested in your success .vs. theirs. They are unaware of engineering, they are unaware of marketing, they do not take the time to understand the requirements and for those that do they may not be able to meet the requirement yet do not wish loose a prospect client”.

    I received Deer in the headlights again.

    I told them, “Marketing is far far far more complex than software engineering and I am a software engineer. I also have 15 years of learning marketing from a professional politician who essentially sells people to people. Marketing is chock full of variables as every person is different. Software engineering albeit complex sits within defined finite boundaries of what it as an application is to utilize as input and produce output. The Internet and many websites are all about marketing. If a firm does not understand marketing or care to understand ways of how to market whatever the product, service or information is… What business do they have creating web sites?”

    That is the truth.

    It is EXACTLY the truth that Web.com, Wix and many others to come are and will utilize to put design firms “under”. Yet, those entities cannot provide the level of support and market understanding that YOU designers and design firms CAN. But in order to do that you as designers and firms need A. Have proper staff and/or B. Learn. Take some marketing classes, read some books. Not only will it help market your firm and services but also make your clients a WHOLE lot happier.

    Dont even bother to offer crap like Woo Commerce or Virtuemart or even effective items such as say Prestashop or Magento. Mention them. Leave them in the “To do queue”. Aka: As your brand gets more established via Amazon and the marketing of your website down the road a year we can sit down and discuss deploying web stores essentially expanding your presence and making sure your eggs are not all in one basket.

    It doesnt matter the feature, perhaps its forums or blogs or this or that. The client stays in the queue step by step and in doing so they quite quickly realize that instead of being a designer or firm aiding them in succeeding, ideas and forward movement they instead have a partner, an invaluable one that not only is there for them as they grow step by step but making sure said growth in as far as the web is managed proper, staged at the right times and more.

    We take this approach with EVERY client and you as a designer or design firm dont need chase, cohort, whatall clients. Word of mouth alone will give you all the business you could ever have dreamed of. For every client that no longer needs your service, there will be 10 or more others pounding at your door via word of mouth alone.

  12. Thank you for your kind response.

    Most folks dont like to read which is rather weird since the net tends to be reading.

    When I write something even the above thats the abbreviated edition per se. As a programmer versed in marketing as well (rather rare I am told) I am used to reading enormous books as software engineering / database engineering/administration requires that basically and truth being truth. Pretty much very little can be learned or even understood in brief written prose.

    How design firms work and how small developer / design firms work really has caused this enormous gap in client expectations and that as well as how these open source PHP based applications manage third party development has opened the doors to their own demise.

    WordPress presently enjoys a sized market share. In less than 5 years should they not literally transition the application and refine it and basically the only choice in that is .NET they will go down in the history books. As I said, its not about price. Web.com, Wix etc. Its about the client being able to manage to large extent their web and have it work for them not against them and fit seamlessly into their workflow processes. Anything that cant do that will be victim to these enterprise services who’s goals are to do just that.

    • Yeah reading is necessary – the truth is that our industry is so vivid and develops itself more and more on a daily basis, so keeping yourself up to date requires constant learning. And Internet wasn’t widely available back in the time when I started programming, too. And lots of people think that WordPress is easy, so it’s only natural that they should know it as the back of their hands, period. Which is the main problem from my perspective.

      However, there’s one aspect that I would like to reply to from your previous comment. You’ve mentioned that meetings are the key and everything, and freelancers and small agencies struggle with that since they don’t take on a large percentage of the projects and they waste a lot of time. While that’s true (and somewhat valid), a waterfall model is not the only successful one in the industry – or it may even be dangerous given some recent standards. A more agile, scrum-based approach could be much more effective that requires continuous work and adaptivity, which leads to great results based on the context at any given moment, and a long-term partnership.

      Tons of meetings at first usually lead to signing off a one-time project, contract, which ends up with trying to get the most as quickly as possible, in order not to hurt the margins. I’ve seen that too many times, and while the hourly model is not related to value either, a hybrid one could be a nice fit that actually gets the contractor/agency involved with the future of their client.

    • Incidentally, as I was just reminded. The WP folks never made public statement to the community about WP.NET (WordPress on .NET) a project that Phalcon did to show the power of Mono (.NET for Linux). They did a rather quick port of WP 3.3 to Mono and the results are significant.
      If you look at the benchmarks (http://www.wpdotnet.com/) as well as information on the actual port you will go “oh my”.

      Performance is upgraded by an enormous amount with just a standard install.

      That is what the WP core should be embracing. .NET is only going to get faster. The iterations of .NET and C# or VB being now faster than PHP is quite recent. As microsoft continues to refine code generation and the .NET framework which is far far far more capable than any PHP framework in existence the results are only going to get faster.

      IF WordPress is to survive the onslaught that is coming and in some respects already here in Wix, Web.com, etc. and thus, all of your jobs/work if you get paid for your themes or plugins then all you folks need stress your wants of seeing WordPress on .NET. While it might sound scary ya’ll being used to say PHP believe me…. C# or Visual Basic as well as the development environment itself is so superior its just night and day. You’ll be jumping for joy.

      • I tried wpdotnet in 2013 and wasn’t really impressed. And let’s not forget what’s the history of the .NET platform license- and planning-wise, its future wasn’t very promising before Satya Nadella stepped in.

        As a Java certified guy who tried out .NET 1.0 which was a 1:1 clone of Java, I’m not really happy with the moral part of the story, and Microsoft are notorious with other things incorporated without credit and such. It’s a decent platform and it’s pretty open now which is a good thing, and there are solid ideas in ASP.NET MVC or their various DB layers, but I’m not getting into code flames here :)

        • I am not a Microsoft fan per se. There are commercial projects that should be closed source for obvious reasons and open source which is nice. But alot of the open source has simply gone too far IMHO. Not allowing developers to protect their work with a parent project that benefits in whole from it. I noted this in another post and its off topic for this thread. But I got into it pretty heavy with the Joomla folks many years back. The Joomla CMS is at best average, its all the third party themer’s , developers that make it do all the nifty things that put it into the top notoriety arena of CMS systems. Yet, they will disallow source code protection whilst they jet set around the globe for paid seminar engagements citing how wonderful the CMS is and they are and the third party developers are.

          Its no secret that this stuff is pirated all over the net. I know two people at two different rather notable design/plugin firms (yoo & Rocket) that told me straight up and this was sometime back, for every 1 theme they get paid for there are 3-5 minimum that are swiped.

          Open source can just as easily be dont obfuscate code that a developer/designer whatall may need edit. But code that does callbacks or even hides application critical code should be allowed to be protected. One to eliminate the piracy and accordingly to make sure security matters dont crop in.

          Realize, one decent pirate can wipe out literally any one of these developer studios mainstream products 1-2-3. Alter the code inducing security breaches then as it hits “news” the developer will of course defend it as a pirated edition that there codebase had no such breach. But all a whack job need do is keep banging away at it and they are kaput. I know two different developers this happened to in the Joomla universe. They were essentially disallowed by the Joomla core to protect their work and have the components listed in the Joomla extensions area. Meanwhile, the JCore group jets around making money hand over fist when it fact its the 3P developers who make the real applications that make the CMS notable.

          For them, the piracy is a “good thing” as if 10 copies of plugin “xxxx” are sold and 30-50 pirated that means there are 40-60 sites using the core application and those numbers are what they use to monetize upon.

          The fact now that Microsoft, Adobe and indeed others are going to change that paradigm makes them the bad guys. Themer’s and developers are going to loose groun in Joomla and WordPress to Web.com, Wix and others. These businesses are VERY successful yet they are not doing ANYTHING special per se. There have been “build your won site” web’s and applications around since day go on the net. The reason they are succeeding are multifaceted up to and including designer/developer firms not paying attention to the prospect clients needs to succeed and market effectively but there is much more.

          Consider it like a pie that these third party themer’s and developers have claimed. Make a honest living from. Try their best be that a great best or poor best to stay afloat and grow,
          Meantime operations are popping up eating at the edges of that pie. Atop that, the pirate ants continue to munch more and more. The pie bakers tell everyone who MAKES their pie’s delicious, umm sorry… We will take advantage of your work monetizing albeit indirectly on it whilst we could care less if you are stolen from or not.

          Now the tide is turning. Adobe from what my birds tell me will be releasing a cloud based web service, its part of the “Creative Cloud” Direction and directly why they have move towards a billable subscription base .vs. the traditional pay through the snout.

          If anyone here thinks that WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or every single CMS combined can survive the likes of what Adobe can put out there…. well… then best of luck. Want stay in the web business might start learning how to bake and ship cupcakes.

          I am NOT in favor of it. Microsoft on the other hand is looking to unify all the smart technologies. It is a next logical step for digital goods. I cant say I am not in favor of that as it will revolutionize everything.

          As you noted however, its not about whats wonderful for everyone. Its about control. Its about a predatory nature. No secrets there. Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple are all predatory companies. They have to be. Thats the way the billion dollar chess games play…. sorta. That is to say, sometimes my enemy in this is my friend in that.

          In respect to .NET if you were engaged on .NET 1.0 thats literally dinosaur in compare to what .NET is now. If you are speaking of ASP.NET 2.0 with MVC 1.0 again, thats dinosaur. The new MVC framework is marvelous in fact. Very Very easy to work with, fully integrated into Visual Studio, completely extensible and code generation now with Visual Studio is a much less bloated footprint and much better execution speed.

          I am Java aware, not certified. My brother is a Java coder, was a lead engineer for eHarmony in fact. Left because he got tired of waiting for a stock IPO.

          We are working on a project here that fits into the transition of unification of the smart technologies. Initially we were looking to sell the application and its addons. So, PHP was our obvious choice as the website proprietors tend to be PHP’rs. If they needed install a complex Java application, setup a Java VM etc. on a dedicated server they’d be scratching their heads.

          PHP was just piss poor (excuse my lingo) in templating speeds so we coded up an apache mod that is not as robust as Smarty but runs rings around it in speed. We developed an intelligent cache (sorta) apache mod that can decide given prioritization params whether to Ram cache, HD cache or cache to SSD based on size/server load. We developed a DB connection pool++ mod for apache that also can work in unison with the cache module and templater thus not having to run back to PHP in many instances but instead routing proper outputs to their next stage towards the production output. The system flies. We benchmarked it on WordPress and Joomla and the results are enormous. Never benched against WP.NET but I’d say off the top of my head our three modules yield comparable speed results, perhaps even faster, Cache and Templater use quite a bit of Assembly language for the work.

          In working on our base framework we found that PHP simply cant perform. Its a memory pig when it comes to Object Oriented code, I mean a real fat bloated pig. Atop that performance wise it could not handle what we expect in as far as application session load.

          We had hoped the templater, cache and DB pooling would help. We even tried wield some threading into PHP areas (what a nightmare).

          So… we decided that instead of sell the application we will franchise it. So now we need deal with server management and we protect our codebase at the sametime. PHP no longer matters. We went to the next logical platform. Java. Since I am C++ aware Java is not far out on my comfortable zone. Yet, at the sametime I am perfectly comfortable with C# and Visual Basic. Its just that ASP.NET last I had looked into it was no faster than PHP and also a resource cow big and fat.

          We started porting the framework to Java. Fortunately the PHP code we treated in a strongly typed form .vs. the mish mosh of garbage out there that loose typing causes developers to engage in (amazes me, the performance hits alone due to the loose typing of PHP add up FAST when one looks at a significant amount of sessions active) all that dirty type conversion has a price and while in a single instance it seems like nothing, make it 1000,5000,10000 sessions and its OH CRAP!

          Java SHOULD BE the preferred development platform for all web work. Period. If half of the PHP innovators took the leap to Java and put there efforts there be a very different web universe.

          However… A professor at a local university was in attendance at a seminar I went to. We talked various times over the years. After the seminar some of us headed to a bar for a few cocktails and I was telling him about my experiences. He told me LOOK at ASP.Net. Told him multiple times, I’d done so in the past. Its a very robust framework, more robust than anything else out there. The development environment, far ahead of the rest and notably so, pretty much every piece of software ever made for Windows was made with Visual Studio. 20+ years of refinement, learning, correcting mistakes etc. the IDE should be ahead of the rest as it also does not have a million varied hands of third parties into it or .NET. I told him, its performance curve is no better than PHP albeit it has the extensibility to work in a distributed application model. And… its a fat pig. I told him, PHP when it comes to OOP is a fat pig. We had some relatively simple classes when being instantiated and not yet a method run would swallow 3-4K byes. As I said, for a site that gets 100 or 400 visitors an hour, who cares. But when your looking at thousands of sessions or more… well… PHP is a slow fat bloated pig with not even the most basic support of modern processors.

          Linux is fast, PHP completely negates the advantages of using Linux as a Web OS IMHO.

          Anyways… He incisted .NET and code generation has come a long long ways in the past few iterations of ASP.NET and C#/VB.

          So I looked. I played, I read lots of things online. I was amazed to see it neck and neck with Java in most respects. So… now we have ported the framework to C# and .NET.

          The fact we can when this is all completed run against IIs or Apache/Mono is rather neato.

          We skipped using the Entity Framework ORM as its a fat cow that suffers speed as well. I am sure in time they will correct that. But at least for the application itself we dont need it. Down the pike for say reports generation, data archiving etc. it might be handy but we could use any ORM to simplify the coding and more so keep it flexible which is the paradigm in reporting and archival vs SQL butchery.

          I would say now, “Take a look at VS 2013” as I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

          Again, I am no Microsoft Fan boy or fan boy of any other platform for that matter. All the fanboy stuff is horse hockey. Its brainwash marketing no different than any other industry engages in, “Ours is best” .vs. “No theirs is best”. Apple would be drowning now if it was not for fan boys as they have blown the iPhone, iPod, iPad market just as they blew it with the Mac .vs. Windows years back. Now android is #1 not because its better but because mass market will beat vertical market every time. Though I am sure Apple will reinvent itself again integrating somehow into the smart technology unification. Windows phone will emerge as the leader as Microsoft will be the entity that brings unification into the mass market and thats why .NET open sourced.

          Yes, they are predatory as is Adobe, Oracle, on and on. They now see this mass market “open source” as a big conquest and as you and I both know. These entities play to win. They dont settle for co-existence when it comes to marketshares and dominance in markets.

          I write this stuff and put it out there for readers at a place like WP Tavern not because I am a fanboy. Quite the opposite. I put it out there as I realize the long term (which on the www is accelerated given its 20-25 years of life now, I used the Internet before “WWW” existed, I developed for Electronic Arts, Sierra Online, Atari, Apple (*yes even the mac), Amiga, etc) ramification of it.

          I put it out there as its these small business entities who are the ones who are going to get kicked in the teeth harder than they are currently kicked in the teeth while they try and make a living.

          1. So they are aware of what’s around the corner.

          2. So they can prepare for it.

          3. That perhaps a discussion take place that will ensure that these small businesses scraping out their living can continue to do so in the long term even if that means we all need get a base group together and start making our own solution where the paradigm of it is not for said group to reap all the benefits of everyone elses work but instead the paradigm being one of “All for one and one for all” in the more shall we say true spirit of open source.

          • Again, appreciate the overview, but also agree to disagree :) I mentioned .NET 1.0 simply because it was a disrespectful 100% clone of Java and they closed it and claimed that it’s unique, new and what not. I’ve seen VS 2013 and it’s a pig as well, speaking about performance and calling out a heavy IDE is a bold move! :)

            You mentioned Apache mods being faster than PHP (which is normal) but you haven’t benchmarked them against a .NET environment that does the same. Moreover, you don’t account the amount of RAM for a .NET/Java app since their VMs load everything in RAM so that the bytecode/IL is properly executed on the fly. Since PHP is interpretative, it takes a certain amount of time every time, unless you compile it with phc, phalanger or something else. Not to mention that apache < nginx < hhvm, so there is that.

            I'll stop that here since it's getting out of the scope of the post. I used to love the type of flame wars – and I actually agree that they should happen way more often in the WordPress community since the majority of the people are unaware of what technologies are available out there, how are they any better, or even 101 things such as the difference between compiled and interpretative languages or what's all the fuss about multithreading. Feel free to start a blog (or a section) about these, I'm sure they'll get some decent attention – could be on dzone, reddit or somewhere else too.


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