Before you begin reading I want to stress that this is my opinion only. And like they say, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. My opinion could be wrong so take what I’m saying here with a grain of salt.
When it comes to developer’s opinion on anything at all, you can almost guarentee there will be disagreement. Which language is better (rhetorical please dont answer), tabs or spaces, Mac or PC for development, which editor is ideal, etc etc. However, there will always be something that unites developers. That is the hatred of WordPress. Unfortunately, I’m the guy with the unpopular opinion that breaks this unification.
Now wait, before you all take out your pitchforks and come after my developer card, I’d like to mention something. I agree with many people that WordPress is not the best. But it doesn’t suck. It clearly does not suck. It does some things really well actually which is why it has such tremendous success.
Legitimate Developer concers about WordPress are totally valid. When talking about poorly optimized databases, global variables, cron, inconsistent functionality, gutenburg, absolute paths, maintenance nightmare and spaghetti code, you can totally make the case that WordPress sucks for developers. We know better, and all of these things I just listed off makes us die a little inside.
However, WordPress was never created for Developers. There is no Developer experience when it comes to WordPress. WordPress’ purpose is Content Management. Sure, you can argue it does that poorly at times, but its good enough to generate value for many businesses. As a small business owner I doubt you care whether or not WordPress still supports PHP5. You just want a cheap, functioning website that you can update yourself. This is where WordPress shines. The real power of WordPress is truly seen when you can take the platform and turn it into a multi million dollar business. Its possible and I’ve seen it happen.
I think of it like taking a work tractor to the track for a race and then being upset that all the super cars are faster. The tractor doesn’t suck, you’re just using it wrong.
Part of the issue is that a lot of people who call themselves ‘WordPress developers’ are not really developers at all and they muddy up the term. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the person who codes their own themes and plugins, I’m talking about the person who updates a few settings and changes a few options to make a page look shiny and then calls themself a developer. When the 60th plugin they installed begins to break, they can no longer fix things by changing options and then give up claiming WordPress sucks. Then, a real developer gets called in, takes one good look at that hot mess of a garbage, realizes he’s in hell and then peaces out claiming WordPress sucks.
In this scenario WordPress does not suck. The person who strangled the website with 60 different plugins suck. If you’ve ever seen a website built like this you know the horrors. There are at least 22 plugins ready to update. The WordPress core version is 3 major version behind. You try to update a plugin and then it asks you for FTP credentials. Its a nightmare. Nothing was setup right and everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. By the way I’m a little guilty of doing this so I’m sorry!
Also, the fact that anyone anywhere can create themes and plugins for the platform is a double sided coin. There is a plugin for literally every sort of functionality you can expect from a website. You can turn WordPress into an app (not recommended). With this level of freedom and power comes a lot of responsibility. Remember how earlier I said Developers can rarely agree on things? Well now imagine all these different opinions, coding styles, and skills being used to create plugins and themes. I’m not a gambler but I can bet any amount of money there will be conflicts. (Also guilty of creating shitty plugins so sorry again!) Knowing this, people install tons of custom plugins on the platform and then look like surprised pikachu when it all comes crumbling down.
WordPress is a tool and for many businesses it is a brilliant solution. With the right theme and the right set of plugins, a small business website can function for years with no issues. There are thousands of successful WordPress websites. It will be very hard to argue they all suck. I’m simply trying to make the point that when it comes to WordPress, its usually the implementation that goes wrong. If you install 60 mods on a car which are not built specifically for it, and the car no longer functions at 100%, would you blame the car?
WordPress generates value for a lot of businesses. If the platform is used right it can generate a lot more value for a lot more people.