Sometimes, even the best of friends can have a disagreement. That’s the sort of vibe that WordPress and its community have been dealing with for quite some time. There’s still a lot of love, but it goes along with some undertones of frustration.
No, it’s not everyone who feels this way. It may not even be the vast majority of those who use the software. But, ever since the process behind the building and release of the Gutenberg block editor (and continuing with some dashboard drama), there seems to be a bit of a trust issue. Some have voiced displeasure with the direction of WordPress and tend to think that there are ulterior motives for various changes that have occurred.
This tension has even led some folks to abandon the CMS altogether and jump onto the bandwagon of an alternative. The drama is real in some corners of the community.
While acknowledging the issues, I can confidently say that I have zero plans to move to another CMS. Why? Here are but a few reasons…
The Software is Still Amazing
At one time in its history, WordPress was but a small up-and-comer. That’s changed quite a bit in recent years, as it has become the dominant CMS on the web. Therefore, as WordPress has gotten bigger, the stakes have gotten higher.
With that growth comes a lot of pressure to keep pushing things forward. As the software adds new features and changes our workflow, it’s only natural that some friction within the community comes to a head. Change is difficult and not everyone’s going to agree (I am no different, as I’ve had my own share of gripes).
That said, WordPress is still the software that has enabled so many of us to make a living. At its core are the features and flexibility that we love.
And even with all of the Gutenberg-related fears that the sky was falling, it didn’t. The controversial new editor (a pretty decent one, at that) is a far cry from any sort of self-sabotage. WordPress still works much the same as it has (and exactly the same, if you opt for the Classic editor).
The reality is that nothing stays the same forever. So, we can either choose to move along with progress or stay in the past. The bottom line is that WordPress still gets the job done quite well.
The Community is Like No Other
The best communities are made up of people who have a variety of experiences, backgrounds and opinions. The WordPress community just so happens to be a very diverse one – and that’s part of what makes it fun to be a part of.
Go to a meetup or a WordCamp and you’ll meet both expert developers and novice users. Not to mention a healthy mix of freelancers, corporate IT professionals and bloggers of all subjects. It’s not “professionals-only” and open to anyone who wants to learn more about the software. Indeed, the WordPress community is a reflection of greater society.
But diversity isn’t its only strength. There’s also a culture of sharing knowledge and a general comradery that makes you want to pay it forward.
Much like the software it celebrates, the WordPress community isn’t perfect. But the good certainly outweighs the bad in my view.
The Ecosystem Remains Strong
There are plenty of other content management systems out there – many of them are quite good in their own right. Some may even outperform WordPress in specific areas.
But what separates WordPress from most everyone else is both its core extensibility and enormous library of plugins. Any type of functionality you’re after has likely been built already.
If not, there are plenty of resources and documentation out there to help you build it yourself. Not into the whole DIY thing? Then the strong development community provides plenty of opportunities to hire a qualified person to build it for you.
That doesn’t mean every developer knows what they’re doing, nor that every plugin is of the highest quality. But the quality is out there, if you know where to look. And no one can match the array of choices available.
The Future Looks Bright
When you invest your time in learning and implementing a CMS, you’re essentially betting that it will be with you for a while. The hope is that the software will grow with you and have the ability to meet your needs as they evolve.
What you absolutely don’t want to see is a product clinging to a paper-thin market with very little chance for growth. More often than not, it leads to a piece of software that either isn’t going to be there or will become seriously outdated down the line.
Time and again, WordPress has been able to rise to the challenge for a large number of users. The fact that it has been around for over 15 years (or more like 100 in “web years”) means that it has had to adapt to numerous changes in the industry. The transition hasn’t always been perfect, but it has been on the right side of the curve overall.
Odds are that WordPress will continue to move along with whatever is next in web design and development. As long as there is a massive user base and a dedicated community, it’s hard for me to imagine using anything else.