I use WordPress every day. I both blog daily and work for an agency that builds web-based solutions on top of WordPress. I contribute code to WordPress core to help it grow.
So why am I constantly critical of the platform and its features?
Building a Tool
WordPress is, first and foremost, a tool for writers. Unfortunately, the vocal minority of the WordPress community is overwhelmingly comprised of developers. This breeds a conflict between the people most using the platform and the people most talking about the platform.
Many end users of WordPress are non-technically minded. They don't know what AJAX is, nor do they care about which version of PHP they are using. The average WordPress user simply wants to be able to write without problems or interruption. These are the users that we design the software for as they are ultimately the ones who are going to spend the most time using it for what it was built for.[ref]WordPress Philosophy[/ref]
I started blogging daily in 2014 for several reasons - many of which have been hypothesized frequently by my peers on Twitter. The largest reason, though, was to better connect with the platform I build.
I realized late last year that, though, I use WordPress daily, I didn't use it the same way my clients do. I wanted to get a better idea of what they experienced writing in the platform.[ref]Particularly after WordCamp Seattle where I was heavily criticized for pointing out how the presenters in both talks that day on "WordPress writing workflows" used tools other than WordPress to write their content and merely copy-pasted into the editor for publication. If professional writers felt the platform was insufficient for writing, we were failing, and I wanted to know why.[/ref]
As a writer, it's taught me a lot about the daily frustrations other writers hit while trying to use WordPress. It's also exposed to me, as a developer, specific things we can do to improve the software for writers.
I critique WordPress because I love the platform. I want nothing more than to see it continue to improve and be successful.
Publishing articles proposing core features is my way to:
- Demonstrate that I see something that could be improved
- Recommend some ways that improvement could be accomplished
- Test the waters to make sure I'm still focusing on changes that improve WordPress for the majority rather than "just me"
If my proposals go no farther than a discussion on this site, that's perfectly OK. The discussion has happened, and I feel much better about things. When the discussion shows others are interested, I'm more than happy to turn my proposal into a plugin or core patch - which I have on several occasions.
Let's keep our eyes on the prize and keep working to make WordPress the best publishing tool it can be.