WP Engine is currently beta testing WP-CLI support with approximately 200 select partners. Those who serve clients that host with the company are eager to see it rolled out to more customers, as WP-CLI has become an indispensable part of many WordPress developers’ workflow.
WP-CLI on @wpengine! From the entire WordPress Community, THANK YOU!!!!!
— Brad Williams (@williamsba) May 13, 2015
“We find that with technical products it’s often better to roll out to development partners who we have a prior working relationship with, to get candid feedback from highly technical folks, and thus build a better product before rolling to a wider audience,” founder Jason Cohen told the Tavern.
There is no set timeframe for beta, but Cohen said that the plan is to offer WP-CLI support to all customers on all plans.
“Our timeframe for exiting beta is like one of the rules of Fight Club: ‘The beta goes on for as long as it has to,'” he said. “If everything is smooth and few issues arise, we can roll faster, but if we find things we want to fix, it will take longer. The main thing is to release high quality product, not to release it as quickly as possible.”
Many other hosting companies that cater to WordPress customers, such as Bluehost, SiteGround, and Site5, have had WP-CLI pre-installed for years, which makes it curious that WP Engine has taken so long to add support for it. Cohen says that it’s trickier when you plan to offer it to all customers.
Some of our competitors offer WP-CLI only on dedicated plans, not on shared plans, whereas we offer it on all plans. An example of why it’s tricker: there are security implications (e.g. when running system commands outside of the PHP sandbox, which many WP-CLI commands do) in a multi-tenant system that are less of a concern in a dedicated system. We wanted to take the time to get all that right.
Cohen said that it wasn’t hard to come to the decision to support WP-CLI but WP Engine has been concurrently working on launching other technical tools. Most recently, the company has been focusing on polishing Mercury, its enterprise HHVM hosting platform, which launched last year.
“We’ve been building and releasing features that no one else has,” Cohen said. “So, sometimes we’re first-out with a feature, and sometimes not. That seems natural in a market with a dozen good competitors, all innovating in the space.”
Development partners who have been granted access to WP-CLI during the beta period can find a list of known issues in the WP Engine documentation, which includes a list of commands that are currently not supported. Documentation will be updated throughout the beta period to reflect progress on issues reported by testers.