Why do you love WordPress?
I love WordPress because it keeps things simple. I think in the development world people are moving past the mentality of giving software all the features they can, instead giving themthe right features, and WordPress really embodies that.
I’ve heard some criticize WordPress for its simplicity, but the overwhelming number of people flocking to WordPress shows it’s onto something. Users can work in it without being overwhelmed, and coders don’t need to learn some new templating language unique to WordPress.
All those people, in turn, enable us to add the features we want when we need them. The amount of plugins and themes available is pretty incredible. To get there, WordPress needs not only a robust development community, but lots of people out there consuming what they make, and it has that.
What is your favorite plugin?
Right now I’d say it’s a plugin called Restricted Site Access. I like to develop online, and I use it to keep the things I’m working on away from the public. Just about every site I work on has it.
I like things that keep it simple, things that just work, without having to think about it. Restricted Site Access is not only reliable, but it’s options blend right into the WordPress privacy page, you wouldn’t know a plugin put them there if you didn’t install it yourself.
I was working on a membership-only site recently. Wanting to give my client a lot of flexibility, I started with a feature-rich membership plugin. However, after finding it just wasn’t working right I scaled back — and found Restricted Site Access did the job wonderfully and with much less ado.
What’s the most interesting project you have ever done that involved WordPress?
I’ve done some interesting migrations from other systems into WordPress. These sites had two much content to make it practical for my client to move manually and there wasn’t an importer available for them, so I had to work to put a export from them into WordPress’s import format. Some features of those systems became huge roadblocks when I had to migrate their sites. It’s made me appreciate how straightforward WordPress is; it would be a lot easier to move WordPress content somewhere else.
What is that one thing WordPress doesn’t do that you wish it did?
I wish WordPress had an alternate configuration that would make it into a non-blog site at a much deeper level than simply giving it a static front page, or removing posts from the admin menu. It’s no longer just a blogging platform, it’s used for a lot of different kinds of sites. However, the blog functionality is still in many ways difficult to get away from. I’ve never had a client that wanted comments on their static pages, for instance, but that’s still the default, and there isn’t a setting that just turns it off. I want a button I can click that would make it so someone using WordPress for a non-blog site would never even know the blog functionality existed, and then be able click it again later to bring the blog back if they decided they wanted one. I’ve been gathering code snippets that one by one will bring me closer to this end, and at some point I may bundle them together in a free plugin.