02 Feb To WordPress or To Not WordPress
I’m frequently asked by clients in my advertising world if WordPress is the best platform for them to deploy their websites and my answer is always the same, it depends. I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years now and it’s been a love hate relationship. While there are and since I’ve started learning Ruby over the past few weeks I decided to take a new look at WordPress and what it’s about.
What is WordPress
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, originally created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of b2/cafelog.
WordPress started as a simple blogging platform, but has evolved into a full content management system because of its use of custom themes and plugins.
1. WordPress powers almost 27 percent of the entire internet. (Source: torquemag.io)
2. WordPress sites around the world publish 24 posts per second. (Source: torquemag.io)
3. 50,000 WordPress.com websites are being launched daily. (Source: codeinwp.com)
Why is WordPress Great
1. Open Source: IT’S FREE and you can deploy a wordpress installation in a matter a minutes and have a live website running.
2. Create Anything: from blog and magazine sites to e-commerce installations and message boards. WordPress has plugins that can run it all.
3. Easy To Use: Anyone can jump into wordpress and start managing it just by following a few installation videos.
Why WordPress is not so Great
1. Security: due to the amount of sites that run WordPress, it’s an easy target. If a vulnerability in one system is found, there’s a good chance that there are thousands of sites that share that issue.
2. Updates: There are a many and they come often. WordPress is updated so often it makes it difficult to keep every individual aspect of your site up to date.
3. Plugins: Although this also falls under the plus column it also has to be considered a negative. WordPress sites typically have a theme running code from one developer and 5 or more plugins running, all made by different developers. This leaves a lot of room for interference between the programs and their handling of core processes.
4. Bloat: Although WordPress is great due to its almost endless features, the fact that it has those very abilities tends to slow sites down quite a bit. Site load times tend to longer on a WordPress system as compared to custom site builds.
With WordPress on my mind and the fact that I’ve recently started a deep dive into Ruby I began to wonder if there was anything available that could be easily implemented into a Ruby stack that would implement similar functionality to a WordPress installation. My search started combing through GitHub, searching for blog engines that could be integrated into Ruby and while I did find some, I also found that many hadn’t been touched or updated in years. Luckily after a bit more searching I came across an interesting one…Welcome to Butter!
Butter is an API CMS and blogging platform. Butter givers you a hosted editor and an API with client libraries for building your front-end blog. Butter has a gem and is hosted so you don’t even have to worry about updates since they take care of that for you. Now this isn’t free but if you’re in need of the functionality for a client project, this may be an option for you. No need to worry about hosting, upgrades, uptime, security, or performance because Butter does that for you, all deployed in the matter of minutes so you can go back to concentrating on the rest of your stack.
So what’s better Ruby or WordPress?
So again I come to the same conclusion, WordPress is easy but it’s not appropriate for all use cases. Ultimately as a developer you should be aware of WordPress and how to work with it because the sites are everywhere. If you already built out a project and your Client now wants a blog or to add CMS functionality look into tool like Butter.
You have to remember that developing with something like Ruby on Rails is developing on a specific a framework that can be customized to build what you need but it doesn’t come with abilities inherently. WordPress is a full featured platform that typically is a good place to start or a cheap way to easily manage a blog but as soon as you need a speed sensitive or security sensitive solution you’ll have to move over to a custom built framework like Ruby.
Ruby gives you complete freedom in terms of design and functionality while with WordPress you build within their existing limitations. Even with the countless plugins you’re still stuck to someone else’s idea of what should be happening and you may not end up needing all the functionality the plugin gives you. At the end of the day it comes down whether you want a high end custom product made to your very specifications or you’re happy with just having something up quickly or maybe you’re just a die hard fan of WordPress then you could always install it on top of your Ruby framework.
Also published on Medium.