208 – ClassicPress V WordPress

Debate with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

The debate season ends with one where Nathan and I may genuinely  disagree. I’m ready to storm off telling Nathan where to stick the next season.

Setting up the Debate

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So for those who don’t know what ClassicPress is we had better say:

  • It’s fork of WordPress 4.9 before the Gutenberg block editor was introduced and a reaction to the decision.
  • It was started by a Laravel developer called Scott Bowler, a long term WordPress user who first campaigned for Gutenberg not to go into core (at least without being a majority support for it).
  • It started in August 2018 and continues to be developed with folk writing plugins solely for it, as well as some forking of other needed plugins like eCommerce and SEO options.

ClassicPress (David)

The appeal of ClassicPress is that it offers a chance to take the good and remove things that were less democratically added, or seem bloated, or otherwise problematic to many.

So Hello Dolly and Akismet stopped being preinstalled.

XML-RPC (a security risk?) is due to come out of core, and probably the premade privacy page was a knee jerk reaction to GDPR is going to be going as well.

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It might not have been suggested, but it’s tempting to suggest they look at taking out post formats (something from Matt Mullenweg’s love of Tumblr before he bought it).

They have a concept of core plugins, so you could add them back in as needed, but make the core fast (what’s not to like?).

The also want to make the minimum requirement for PHP to 7. This will cut out bloated low quality code in WordPress.

More practically I can offer a way of avoiding the maintenance cost that comes with Gutenberg. It’s software development being done on all our live sites creating issues for us or indirectly to the authors of plugins we use, and which we pay for.

  • It increases updates and security fixes needed.
  • ClassicPress aims to make Security a priority.
  • The process seems more democratic.
  • It allows for better versioning.
  • Presently it does not have to be one or the other. You could move back to WordPress if needed.
  • One of the most appealing things presently (but probably problematic) is the Classic Commerce folk of WooCommerce. So much breaks with WooCommerce, and there’s so much upselling! If they get the core plugins needed for most sites, there’ll be less Yoast style advertising in the admin area.
  • It’s Page Builder friendly.
  • It offers less clicks for writers.
  • No one can guess the future, and Gutenberg might not pan out.
  • There’s less issues with editorial staff – too much design control with Gutenberg.
  • Finally, there’s a chance to make your mark in a new community.

WordPress (Nathan)

  • WordPress has a huge ecosystem – too many people with a vested interest in keeping WordPress on the right path.
  • More Plugins / Theme choices – this is important as many people cannot code and don’t want to learn, but do want the complexities that WordPress plugins can afford them.
  • It’s great for writing text (no matter what David says!).
  • Who knows if ClassicPress will be supported – you really want to put all your eggs in this basket, only to discover 2 years from now that the project has not enough interest to keep it updated?
  • You have to move with the times, and a modern interface like Gutenberg is moving with the times.
  • There’s less of a future with ClassicPress – all the interesting stuff is happening in Gutenberg right now. Just read the WordPress news and it’s one Gutenberg related story after another.
  • The Classic Editor is rubbish… 😀. It’s like using MS WordPad when you’ve got Google Docs. In five years it will really be something that you cannot sell to clients.
  • Gutenberg might well become the editor for the web. Look at the adoption in other platforms like Drupal et al.
  • Full site editing – I know that there’s third-party solutions for this, but most won’t have, and if it’s in core, imagine the power that that will bring to the masses – and that’s the point of WordPress.
  • Translations are coming into core.
  • You’ve got to imagine that WordPress is more secure than ClassicPress because of all the eyes (particularly security companies) on WordPress.
  • We have to love Gutenberg, because it’s given us so much to talk (and moan) about!

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, this is episode number 208 entitled ClassicPress versus WordPress. It was published on Thursday, the 3rd of December, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley, and a couple of bits of housekeeping just before we get. Into the main event, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash black.
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Are still available. WP Builds.com forward slash black. The only other one is WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. That's the page where you can keep in touch with all that we do at WP Builds. We produce the podcast episode. That's what you're listening to now that comes out every Thursday. And then every Tuesday we produce this week in WordPress, it's a video live.
And also we turn that into a podcast and we also have a newsletter which comes out. WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. You can join our Facebook group on that page as well. It's a very polite, welcoming place to ask your WordPress questions and there's our YouTube channel and a variety of other things too.
The WP build's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elemental Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.
You can check it [email protected]. If you would like a B split test to advertise on WP Builds, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. Okay. What are we talking about this week? It's David Walmsley and I having a, another debate. In fact, it's our final debate. After this, we're going to be moving on to the, a, to Zed or a to Z, depending on where you live of WordPress, but for now the last debate.
ClassicPress versus WordPress. I don't know if you've been following this story, but when Gutenberg came out in WordPress core, a fork of WordPress took place and it was called ClassicPress. It's been going from strength to strength ever since. David is going to be fighting its corner. Whereas I'm going to be fighting the corner of WordPress.
There's an awful lot in here. It's actually really interesting what the ClassicPress posture is, what it is that they claim that they do better, how they've changed things and how they are hoping to keep things maintained into the future. I hope that you enjoy the podcast.
David Waumsley: [00:03:04] In today's debate. We are talking about ClassicPress versus WordPress.
So this is actually the end of our debate season. And it's, I think this is what I've been looking forward to. Cause I think we might actually genuinely disagree. So I'm ready to. Storm off Nathan, you were to stick the next season.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:25] I love it. That you've decided that we did a debate season.
You've put a wrapper around it. there was any intention to have it like that. Yeah. The debate, I think this is number 20 though. So 20 felt like a good time to call it a day on debating.
David Waumsley: [00:03:39] Yeah, exactly. Should we talk about what we're going to do next?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:42] Yeah, it's really quirky. I'm sure that you must have come up with this idea.
Cause it's clever and I like it.
David Waumsley: [00:03:50] we're going to try and do the eighth Zed or a to Z if you're an American of a WordPress. So each chat that we have coming up every two weeks and then we'll, we'll take a letter and we'll talk about something related to WordPress. So hopefully the idea is that we'll cover the whole range of things related to WordPress.
We'll cover, everything's kind of security and updates and. Whatever
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:18] X Q, which really struck.
David Waumsley: [00:04:24] Yeah. we've worked out cheats around those haven't we? But I think, yeah, I think it'll be fun. Anyway, it gives us some kind of structure. To our conversations and keeps us on point. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:34] yeah, Israel. Yeah. I liked the idea of doing an is that, so that'll last more or less a whole year if we do every, you do an episode every couple of weeks.
Yeah. It's amazing. Oh, a more than a yet clear. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:04:47] Yeah, I'm woke coming up to probably about four years of talking to each other. So as it goes over here, yeah. This'll take us up to five years of you and I talking to each other. It's
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:57] not healthy for anybody,
David Waumsley: [00:05:00] but we've got to get through today and falling my storm out.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:04] Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:05:06] okay. People won't necessarily know what CA ClassicPresses, so shall I just point out a few things about it? Yeah, that's good.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:13] Yeah. But
David Waumsley: [00:05:14] yeah, it's well, it's a fork of WordPress 4.9 before the Gutenberg block editor was introduced and. Really it is a reaction against this decision. So it's a fork of WordPress at that point for those people who didn't really want Guttenberg and it was started by a Laravel developer.
Who's a long-term user of WordPress Scott bowler. I think that's right. Isn't it?
yeah. So when he first started campaigning against Guttenberg not to go into court, at least until the majority of support was there for, or to keep it as a plugin. So he started this project and that started in August of 2018. And he still continues with actually they've got their own developers now writing plugins for it.
I think Scott has. Actually bowed out on it because he's got other commitments, but there's still plenty of people doing it there. And at the moment they're actually forking some other plugins. Some they're doing a fork of, woo commerce or creating their own classic e-commerce and this SEO plugins and other things.
So it's still going and I'm going to argue for. ClassicPress, which is a tough one really
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:28] well. No, I think you've got some, obviously for those people listening, we'd spend quite a long time, often several hours chatting before we pressed record. And there's an awful lot of stuff that you've got, which I think makes a lot of sense.
Can I just ask about this classic prestige? Do you have any, do you have any insight as to whether or not it's still. Growing that is to say, you said that the Scott Guy who led the charge stepped away, do you get the impression that, its growth or its statistics of installs or anything like that is still growing?
Or is this, are we really just talking about, a plugin, which is, it's got a use case for people who are definitively against Gothenburg, but nothing else.
David Waumsley: [00:07:08] Yeah, I think it's a real, really small group of users. they've got some clearly clever developers are really behind it. And one of the arguments, for joining in with it is that it's a small community now, so you can make your Mark, you're you become a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
I guess if you get involved in this, you've got this. A smaller community around you. I don't think it's Diane. I joined because of this debate that we're going to have. I asked a question about how they could help me to argue for ClassicPress on their forum. And I've joined in on other little bits of debates on their forum.
It's very slow movement, but you can tell that since it started a couple of years ago, we'll just over. It's continued to keep doing some work, but of course it is only so there's a lot of debates within it as well about how it can move forward as WordPress continually moves forward. But yeah, I think it's got there's really no.
Answer to how many people are using it. There's no statistics there.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:09] the other question I have again, before we get into the debate just about it is, do you know whether or not it's the moment in time, 4.1 4.9. It was forked off WordPress 4.9. Is that a moment where the two were completely inseparable or do you know if they keep going back to WordPress core in its latest dissertations five and 5.1 and so on to two.
To take other things which are critical. I'm struggling to think of anything, but that I'm imagining there were scenarios where plastic press could benefit from some of the things that have got nothing to do with the block editor that are in newer versions of WordPress. Do you know if that's happening?
David Waumsley: [00:08:49] I don't, but I don't think so. most of their project, you can see if you go to their website, they give you 10 reasons for why you might be interested in it. And there's also a roadmap as well. And most of it, in fact, the work has started it because there's still, I think. They're just moving into their second stage of their roadmaps.
So that first stage has been about getting rid of stuff, actually. So I'll go on with one of the benefits, for them is the fact that they're removing a lot of the stuff that is in WordPress that they felt wasn't needed now. So things like, security is that big thing. So XML. RPC is the, one of the biggest security risks come in.
So they're taking that out, that connection that you could make with the, I don't know how it's used. It was used for,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:35] Oh, it was for things like apps and things too, to call back into WordPress and so on and so forth. But if you, so for example, I've got a few plugins that tell me, you'd like the security plugins that give an illustration.
if you're not using it for X, Y, and Zed, then just disable it. And virtually every security solution that I've ever looked at in WordPress tells me, look, unless you absolutely know that you're using it, switch it off.
David Waumsley: [00:10:00] Yes. And I know it's so used on one of the sites that I look after and that's because they wanted to be able to send from an email, a publisher post.
But it's on by default in WordPress. So that's something that will go out. So they've got this concept there where they will take out things that are just not needed by the majority of people. And if they aren't likely to be needed, there'll be put aside as classic. Plugins that you can add in, should you need it?
So one of their benefits is about the fact that it's going to clear out some of these security risks by default and get rid of some of the other stuff, which is still under debate. So things like the GDPR add-on where instantly creates that page. that was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction at the time to GDPR coming out.
It gives you something which is a format, but it's not something that's going to be legally of much use. So things like that. Unnecessary and other debates like post formats when Matt Mullenweg was a big fan of tumbler before buying it, it, he had this post formats where you could make WordPress behave like tumbler, but that, I think that's another one in the debates for coming out.
So the moving slowly on the things, one of their things is that they can, because of a smaller community, they can meet the minimum requirements. PHP seven. And there's a lot of, there's a lot of stuff in WordPress STO that is a needed or not. it's not the best quality code as I understand it because it needs to support earlier versions.
so ClassicPress can start with that. So it's the opposite to what you're suggesting. Are they borrowed stuff? No, it's more been the projects be more about taking away stuff that's not needed in WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:39] Yeah, obviously it's my job today to defend WordPress, I suppose the first thing I would say is, in terms of stripping stuff out that I don't really have a defense against that if XML, RPC, which I never pronounced correctly, I had to really say that slowly isn't being used.
It just seems like a great idea to strip it out. I would imagine most of us have not implemented it for a goodly period of time. And, you've immediately your, WordPress security plugin of choice has flagged it as a thing that you need to fix. That just strikes me as quite a good idea.
And like you say, if they're going to build that in as, as, an additional plugin, which you could re you know, replace that functionality once they've stripped it out, that seems like a good idea. The only thing I suppose in WordPress is defenses that WordPress is job. Forever seems to have been to honor backwards compatibility.
And so I would imagine if the slate was being drawn and WordPress was being created right now that technology will, wouldn't be implemented given the landscape of security issues and threats and so on. But they're presumably not wanting to break the countless thousands of sites. Like the one that you've just mentioned, that's using email, they're not wanting to break it.
I can see why they haven't stripped that out in terms of privacy policy. That, yeah, that really goes nowhere. That does seem a little bit odd, I don't know if anybody's ever looked at that, but when you install WordPress, you get this draft privacy page, which is. Got some prefilled texts in, and then just a bunch of headings, which are blank.
So it is purposefully not useful. The idea I suppose, is that you would go in and, don't create a privacy policy based upon a template because that's not going to be an actual privacy policy. It's going to be a template. So
David Waumsley: [00:13:18] yeah, I think it's. Yeah. there's an argument for moving that because it was perhaps a bad idea because if you understood the first thing about GDPR, it was about getting organizations to review their own situation, how they treat data and then be transparent.
So by giving you a. Template is defeated the purpose of GDPR.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:38] Yeah. I see what you mean. And it does seem like it was, something which anybody with half an ounce of common sense could have done by just creating a page of their own. I guess somebody somewhere was trying to be helpful. And we did seem to be in a furor in 2018 with GDPR.
There were lots of, yeah. Headless chickens running about, but in terms of the, in terms of the security going to, I guess I'm going to have to disagree with that because although they, you say that they've got a, an emphasis on security, I can only imagine that the army bowls, the number of valuables.
On WordPress security must be exponentially more than are on ClassicPress security. And what I mean by that is, people who are contributing to core, trying to constantly update that and fix security issues, but also, all these third party systems like Wordfence I theme security, web box security and so on and so forth, always discovering things on their own by looking.
For problems and largely to do with WordPress and plugin architecture. So I guess, yeah, you may have the argument that ClassicPress might be a bit more secure because there's a different set of eyeballs and they've stripped out a load of things, but equally, I think you could make the counterpoint that WordPress because of its importance and because of the fact that there are people who literally their career is to make sure that WordPress is secure.
I think you could probably argue that, it's not. More secure. That is to say ClassicPress. Isn't more secure. Okay,
David Waumsley: [00:15:08] then let's go from a different angle on this. So the benefits obviously is an, a lot of people using ClassicPress, all the C WordPress fans who just didn't want Gutenberg for various reasons, which I'll come on to as my points, but.
Maybe the security risk to WordPress is not generally WordPress itself. And this has taken a version which will be fairly secure. What you're doing there is you're limited in the number of changes which are coming after, which have obviously increased with the Gutenberg project, increasing the chances of more new security issues, but also you're cutting down.
If you've not got so many updates, then you don't have so many plugins that need to update, and then you don't introduce more security. so I guess they're trying to get the basis secure as possible by removing the weaknesses, but having less updates will probably. Keep it more secure.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:58] Yeah, I suppose the number of updates must, sorry, only the number of updates and lack of updates for the countless tens of thousands of plug-ins considerable security vector, or a, a vulnerability, could be in almost any plugin that hasn't been updated yet.
So if less of those compatible and also if literally nobody's installing, because the installed base for ClassicPress is so small. Yeah. Literally zero people have installed this particular plugin, which has now got a vulnerability spread across 40,000 WordPress websites then. Yeah. That's security as an accident, not by design, if but yeah.
Fair enough. Good point.
David Waumsley: [00:16:38] Yeah, it's a huge, I think it's biggest keel is this idea for somebody like me who loves stability and finds that maintenance of WordPress is becoming quite a problem. because there's so many updates, so many things to consider. If they manage to succeed in their project where they've been working on it, the community forum is there where you can put your votes in for the future of this.
And most people are voting for what are going to be the essential plugins that are going to be needed. As it breaks away, further from WordPress, what's going to need to run on it now at the moment, they're in the situation where most things are going to be backwards compatible. So most of the plugins out there.
And they'd been looking around to find out who is likely to continue to support them over the years. So there are, I know there's this, BeaverBuilder intend to carry on having their plugin work with the ClassicPress. There's also, I think they got a commitment from, what's the form use that you use, then you want
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:36] fluid forms now.
David Waumsley: [00:17:38] Yeah. they've given a commitment. So there's those, but in other terms, they're talking about I'm forking, some of these, as I mentioned as the, we that's the classic commerce as they call it, which is a fork of woo commerce and some other ones. Yeah. So this idea that you might have this value, stable bunch of plugins, which work with that version, which do the job that you want is really appealing.
So a lot of people are using it. Yeah. For the idea that they build a site, it's a fairly static site, but where they say a page builder that doesn't need updates. That can just stay on that. It's not going to need so many updates just wouldn't need to maintain it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:16] That's interesting. So a use case where you build a, let's say a fairly basic site where the owner of that site is really, ultimately not that bothered about adapting things or modifying things or updating necessarily all that often.
And you just installed ClassicPress. Let it go and check in with it far less frequently because you've only got these committed plugins. Yeah, that is interesting. Just in terms of the form plugins. I do wonder if, for example, form plugins have got a kind of, almost like a commitment, all of them to support the classic editor, because at the moment, a lot of them can deploy little classic editors as one of their.
Options. You know what I mean? You can have a text widget that you throw in for a multiline, form elements. And so I wonder if there's a commitment there, which you know, is just a requirement. yeah, that's interesting. I suppose the drawback of that argument though, is if you've got a limited array of.
options, which are stable. The let's say for example, that tomorrow a new plugin comes out, which is just utterly fabulous. It's completely beguiling everything about it is exactly what you need. I know I'm crystal ball staring, but it's perfectly what you need. And yet, for reasons unknown, it doesn't work on ClassicPress.
And yet it is the exact thing that you need. What I'm saying is you're going to be constrained by the limitations of ClassicPress in the future. Whereas everything will work on WordPress, whether it's something which is compatible with ClassicPress or not, it'll just work on WordPress. hopefully it will work on WordPress without any problems.
And so that seems like you're potentially limiting what's possible, even though in your setup, it may be. much more stable. And I know that for a lot of people, me and you, the stability of things is crucial. And so I can see that from both sides, but there's something about looking at new solutions and looking at new plugins and imagining things that haven't yet been built, which is quite beguiling as well.
David Waumsley: [00:20:14] well, ClassicPress have got the argument for that. Now whether they can maintain that at that presently. And I think it's one of the 10 reasons for considering ClassicPress is that, if you need that, you can upgrade to, they're not changing anything. it still is WP. Admin login. It's still is WordPress frozen there.
but you can still go and upgrade. So should this new beguiling product come out then? Okay. You take your site, you upgrade to WordPress and you use that new solution.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:45] I wonder though how, I wonder how long that would maintain itself. yeah, as an example, right at the beginning we said, are they still observing WordPress 5.2, 5.1 and so on, and then just stripping out the Gothenburg bits each time that happens.
And there must be a point at which the part others have divided so far that trying to upgrade. If you like, it's interesting to use the word upgrade. trying to upgrade yourself to WordPress would break. Many of the things that we're working in WordPress 4.9, but no longer worked in WordPress 5.9 or whatever it moves 6.2 or whatever, you've imagined what I'm saying, that at some point your compatibility will break down and make it so that the two are completely incompatible.
David Waumsley: [00:21:29] Yeah. From what I saw, I think this is something that's been considered, particularly with the one that does appeal to me particularly is the classic commerce, the fork of commerce, because recently I've been trying to do some work on woo commerce and I CA I can, no, it's the same issue. I do a small tweak to weed.
Commerce using a snippet and by the next upgrade it's broken or I'm installed in one of their, ad-ons and again, the instructions aren't quite right. I'm not that happy. I love calmness because it allows me to do so much, but the changes, and I think particularly at the moment, I think the concern is that there are lots of changes, which will mean that you won't be able to.
Too. Nice. Yeah. I don't know a better word for upgrade. Yeah. You're going to have to be Thomas like that. What do you want to change back to the press? I think there might be a problem, with, I think there's so much more connections now with jet pack and things like that. And, it's taking over so we're commerce, so yeah, it's no one really knows where it's going to go with a ClassicPress with this.
And of course, it. It's its appeal. Is that because it seems to correct some of the things that make you unhappy about WordPress at the moment. So clearly one of his other things is to make sure that it's version and controlled in isn't done in the same way that frustrates developers would WordPress, that are going to do all through get hub things that I don't really understand.
They're going to. Try and make sure that the community has a clear voice and that there is no one kind of central leader who makes all the decisions, obviously a reaction against WordPress. So it all sounds very lovely, but how long you can keep it in line with WordPress so you can possibly upgrade.
I really don't know about.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:16] Do you know, it's really interesting because a lot of CMS projects keep, seem to manage, to update and be in development and be innovating with really tiny user bases. we're so used to WordPress growing. We view that as the model of success. And if you look at other ones and again, not to denigrate anything, but obviously you've got things like Joomla and Drupal, which for a period of time where.
Running very successfully and seem to be dwindling in terms of user numbers, bots. There are other ones, countless little CMS platforms that seem to just keep going. So I'm not entirely sure if the scope of ClassicPress is to do everything that WordPress can do. Bar the choice of the editor. Then, or rather bother what the editor is capable of.
Then I think that's doomed to failure, but if it's got a much more limited scope and maybe in the years to comment, draws up a kernel of what it's going to be good at, and it might be, we do a fairly stripped down e-commerce solution. We will be reliable. We'll work on any hosting, we'll work with PHP seven and so on and so forth.
That might be a way to take it because you don't need. Millions of people to make it successful. You just need a few committed people who are willing to give back and users to, to comment on it. So it doesn't have to be. A WordPress equivalent. It doesn't have to be economist with WordPress installs in order to be successful.
It just needs to keep going. And from everything that you've said, there are really useful, really useful implementations where it might work potentially even better than WordPress. So I am going to concede that point.
David Waumsley: [00:24:58] Yeah, I think, it's already got its own developers.
There's one person who seems to be developing a lot of plugins for it. So there's not the choice you're going to have with WordPress, but, as they've got the advantage of being able to fork with the licenses, all of the kind of best stuff of WordPress as it is now, Compatible this, you can, today we could still build and we have done, I have for the last five years, being able to build perfectly good sites and many of those sites, some of them going on 10 years that have not needed any changes.
So all the work that I've been doing on these sites have been purely due to. The updates for things that we don't need on the sites. if the only reason I update them is I'm fearful of the security risks that might, go with that all, but they might need something later down the line, but in reality, that's not the case.
So I could see probably 80% of the sites that I look after could probably be on ClassicPress. Uh, with the older plugins frozen in time and the clients are not going to need anymore.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:05] We should probably also address and I'll get into my points in a minute, but we should probably also address the fact that the setup that you've got and the setup, which I've got has morphed away from ClassicPress naturally.
Anyway, over the last, what should we say? Five years towards. Plugins which amend or entirely replace in many cases, the classic editor, capabilities. So in your case, in my case, we're both proponents of page builders. no. That many people use element or divvy Beaver, builder, oxygen. The list goes on and on.
So for those people, it's become a bit of a moot point. Anyway, you're really not that bothered about what the classic editor is doing. The only reason that you would ever bother to go and look at the classic editor or Gothenburg is to create the post title. Change the permalink. Yeah. And then you're done that space may be change Damasio settings and couple of other featured image possibly.
And then you're out of there and you'll never look back. in case it may be that's the reason why you can accommodate ClassicPress because, I would imagine you're going to slap BeaverBuilder on every single one of those ClassicPress sites as the first plugin and take it from there.
David Waumsley: [00:27:14] Yeah, exactly. And I think, some of the other people, somebody made a comment that they felt that the people who probably least wanted. Guttenberg and you'd probably argue the opposite of those writers, who just used to write in with the classic editor and that's all they needed. and on top of that, some of the difficulties for editorial teams where they didn't want all of the extra control that suddenly Guttenberg would give, that would add confusion to the systems that were already in place so that there are some people that are more from the content creation background who don't want.
The thing that Gutenberg was really created to help that the change of editor. So there's that side as well as the page builder side.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:59] Yeah. Yeah. I can see your points, but I'm going to now launch into my laundry list of points, which I think make them all just go away. The first one is a slightly, slightly incendiary and it's basically that the classic editor.
Is rubbish,

it's a piece of technology, which it was fabulous in its day. I remember, I can't remember where I saw it, but the first time I saw something akin to a text editor online that is to say, not in a, in something like Microsoft word or something. And I just thought it was the most.
Beguiling and amazing thing. And, but that day has gone, we're used to much better experiences. And so I likened it to using something like ms. WordPad when you've got something like Google docs or, Oh, I don't know some publishing program, which is available to you. In other words, it's an old interface five years ago.
It was fine. It did what you needed, but there were still struggles, doing basic stuff inside of that editor was. It was a nightmare. And the only reason that you didn't think it was a nightmare was because that was the constraints that you had. You just accommodated it. But many of the features which have hopped into Gothenburg in the last couple of years have obligated that, and I know there are quirks and I know that constant updating changes to the UI things being in unfamiliar places.
And so on really. Stymie the support for Gothenburg, but the classic editor compared side by side to the new Guttenberg editor or the block editor, we should probably call it. there's just no comparison in every way I would argue it's superior. writing texts is a dream inserting images.
Whilst not perfect is much better. Creating columns is trivial putting text in those columns and rearranging text and rearranging items on the page is trivially easy. So that would be my first opening, slightly incendiary gamut is that the classic editor is just rubbish.
David Waumsley: [00:29:58] Yeah. Do you know what? I think, even when I came into.
Using WordPress for the first time, but 2007, I'm sure there were still lots of debates there about it being fairly useless. but the thing is, I guess the ClassicPress argument is the fact that kind of work, you knew where you went. for, I gave the example to you earlier about the person I cite high look after who does updates and the blog posts, the.
The new editor was difficult because all she ever did really she'd go in and create a new post. She could see her URL very easily. Now you have to search for it, and change that. That's what she needed to do. First thing. And then all she needed to do was to write and every so often left or right align.
Some images, which was fairly easy to do. Now, this becomes quite a task for her to do if she tries to do it because it's a block and it's separate, and it doesn't automatically float either side of a text too.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:52] So there
David Waumsley: [00:30:54] are examples where you just think actually the writers, some of the writers who know already WordPress are stung because the basic stuff, the really simple stuff they always did is suddenly now more complex.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:06] Yeah, I know what you mean, but I would just basically say she's a lazy client and she needs to be, no, she needs to spend three minutes in the editor and click around. There are certain paradigms that you've got to start to understand though. and one of the things which I think is the most peculiar is that everything is a block and by everything, I mean everything.
you hit return. After a paragraph and in every typing experience, until now that did nothing except put a carriage return and an essentially puts something on a new line. Whereas now in Gothenburg for the first time that I've been aware of that creates a new entity, a new block, a new thing.
And because that new thing is. Decoupled from all the other things on that page, you can move it around. So you don't have to, highlight to that paragraph. Should you decide it actually belongs at the bottom. You just click a button and it moves out of view and it moves up and it moves down and you can actually move it left.
And right. If you know the key stroke, which is a pain by the way, that needs to be fixed. but that paradigm is difficult. the idea that. We've all used word processes in any, it just doesn't behave that way. But what that allows in the future, everything being a blog, everything being separate from everything else that has some blindly cool implications.
And I know. But one of your arguments is going to be, it's all crystal ball gazing world. you can't possibly know the way this is going to work out. And I concede that, but I do think the architecture of this, the way that everything has been designed as a block. And I, when I say everything, everything, like navigation will be applied, images, blocks, text blocks, anything is a block.
Yeah. And it's completely agnostic of all the other things and that's going to be really cool. So what I would say is it will take your client three minutes. To learn the new interface, but that's three minutes that maybe they're on willing to sacrifice.
David Waumsley: [00:33:03] Yeah, no, I agree. And I have to concede it, but maybe, you're arguing, it's a much better experience than what we had,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:11] but then if I throw in
David Waumsley: [00:33:13] how come we're not seeing the reviews that reflect that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:17] I think the people that were reviewing, the people that are dissatisfied with it, I think maybe we've taken a swing now. And the people that were dissatisfied are writing the reviews and the people who are satisfied are just happily using it. And they're not writing any reviews.
David Waumsley: [00:33:34] Yeah, it's a standup because yeah, it would have to apply to all plugins.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:39] Exactly. All I can say is from my perspective and my perspective is basically text images, the occasional bottom. For that, it's just so good. it's so superior and I really did hold off. I installed the classic plug in everywhere when 5.0 camera. And just largely because of, I was fearful of breakages and nothing broke, and then I've stripped out the classic editor and that's not true.
I've had a few visual. Remnants of something weird, I don't know some, shortcode, didn't get put in the right place and something like that's happened a few times, but very little, nothing that couldn't be cleaned up pretty quickly. And I can't really explain the negative reviews other than it.
it isn't what everybody wanted. it's not familiar. Yeah. I suspect there's also a fair bit of politics at play here, which will, which we probably should get into now, actually, the idea that this was. Forced upon us. Should we use those words? It was, it didn't feel right. Look like this was a democratic decision.
It was just something which came about. And I, I really can't argue with that. I think the best way to have approach this with hindsight was voting possibly. No, not even voting. Let's just put it in a plugin. That would have been a really handy way to do this, put Guttenberg and a plugin and see what the, see, what the community wanted to see whether it got installed.
But I suppose automatics position would be, what? The plugin could fail, even if it's brilliant. Whereas if we put it in core, we're going to iterate with millions of eyeballs. and we've got something which is good enough. And I'm just not hearing anybody shouting about how bad Gothenburg is anymore.
one notable exception. We shouldn't, but the, yeah, so anyway, sorry, drink, drawing it back to the politics. I think that's probably part of it. People felt that there th the, the tool they'd invested in over many years had been hijacked by an entity, which they had no insight or way of voting upon.
David Waumsley: [00:35:39] Yeah, I think, it's hard to justify why this plugin, which wasn't rated high, had to go into core. not feel like it's democratic until it was ready and that's, that is why we have ClassicPress and, and I can see it as well, but it hasn't really bothered me. there has been a few updates recently.
We've got more updates and unclearly, somebody has to pay the cost. Elementor. Had a big update and it had its own problems with that big update. But I did feel that they were probably right where a lot of it was still the up, some of the changes that had been made in 5.5.
it meant a lot of work, I think for most of the plugin authors out there. and there's some way we all pay the cost for that. that decision, because if Gutenberg's in and it's effectively all the sites that we've built now, WordPress due to this decision is turning all our sites into some experimental, project going on, impacting on it.
So that's one reason to maybe want to say, okay, I'm just wanting to go in ClassicPress and leave it. There you'd want to. Keep experimenting then, I want nothing to do with it. And that's pretty much, I think that the ClassicPress, uh, situation is moment is a way of opting out of, all of these changes.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:55] I've had more
David Waumsley: [00:36:55] issues, I think with WordPress updates since Guttenberg, than I've ever had before, but I get very few.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:02] Okay. That's interesting. Yeah. I think it was just a curious choice just to. Just to make everybody accept it or not. And obviously there was no hint that ClassicPress was going to come along.
It was just a, let's just make everybody have it. And there was a lot of discontent, sorry. disconcerting talk about it. And there was even a WordPress governance project, which I'm not sure if that's still on the go or not, but for a while, that was, that was the thing. people were ticked off with the way that the decisions had been handed down.
and you're going to. You're going to take this book to be fair to automatic. They did. They did freely make available the classic editor plugin, which up until now is still available. It's still being updated. I think the date is at some point next year, where they're going to stop updating that, but they did.
They did offer a period of time where you didn't have to in any way, shape or form take part in this experiment. Sure enough, the payload of Gothenburg came along for the ride in WordPress, but you could stop it. In infecting if you like your pages and posts, but, yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna change direction a little bit if that's all right.
Just to say the roadmap forgotten bug again, crystal ball gazing. Sorry about that. It's just so exciting. so many of the things that we've. We've wanted out of our CMS, the ability to edit things easily, the ability to let's not get into the whole page builder side of things, because I think that's still totally unknown how that's going to look, but things basic things like headers and footers and the block architecture where.
Simple little things like you might want to testimonials thing, a nicely defined, neat testimonials display on your website. You'll be able to download a very lightweight little testimonials block from a repository where you can choose from thousands of other testimonial blocks, or you might want to form block, or you might want to goodness knows.
I don't know, a hero image block or whatever, all of that, those little components in nature. Of WordPress going forward. And the fact that you'll be able to do most of the things, which currently are a bit of a puzzle for your clients, because you have to go to the menu area of the, you have to go to dashboard, appearance menus, then fiddle with the menu, make sure you've got the right one, then click save and then go back and look at the site.
that will be handled in the editor, all of that's going to be taken care of. And so I think the roadmap. Just in core, forgetting all of the great third parties, the stuff that's coming around, thinking of things like generate blocks and things like that. All of that is very exciting to me.
David Waumsley: [00:39:35] is, but also that there's a downside. Hi to that as well. So the one you mentioned about the fact that there just be maybe hundreds of testimonial blocks that you can install, you get there's the choice, paralysis element of that, which makes it difficult. But also the fact that. You don't know which one is going to be a well coded one amongst all of that.
Where as if you jump on board with your preferred provider for WordPress. So if, if you go into say Elementor, which is really getting much further away, as time goes on to be in it's own site builder, they renamed themselves to flat, separate to WordPress. when you. Go and do the global changes.
When you go and put in the templates, it doesn't look like WordPress. It's separated from that, but you're in with that supplier, whether you like them or not, you they decide your experience with it. If everybody's allowed to shove in what they like through the repository, there's this, that goes out the window.
And it's the same with the talks about WordPress going forward and having an onboarding system. But this kind of surely only works in a world where you consider. WordPress is like a SAS app where it's owned and controlled by one person who determines that their client, that customers should have this one experience where I see WordPress.
And I think this is crucial as literally a very simple blogging platform that wasn't even a proper CMS. Because of its simplicity, attracting so many different people who could serve independently, their own type of client and give them their own onboarding that suited their client. And that's what I think it breaks away from, with the new WordPress.
it becomes something where they've got the design, something that's going to work for
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:18] all of the people.
David Waumsley: [00:41:20] that might actually be just more confusing. So my fee that I need to see this future that you can see in the crystal ball and see how it works out. Cause I can see the downside of that as well as the good side.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:31] Yeah. Yeah. I take your point. in terms of things like the blocks and the myriad choice of blocks that you might have, I suppose that's not really any different from. What we've currently got with plugins, really, you could go and type in forms or something in the repository and get a ton of things.
And we're going to have to figure out a way to surface the good from the bad and no doubt, WordPress will be able to figure that out in terms of, I don't know, installed base number of installs, commenting. star reviews and that kind of thing. I don't know how that would fit in a tiny UI. I've seen illustrations of how they're going to try and tackle some aspects of this, but we'll just have to see, they've got this clever sort of like window, which pops up when you hover over blocks on the right hand side.
now, and maybe something like that can be deployed to show her a brief summation of what's in there, but it's, I don't see the choice being a problem. I see that only as being a good thing cause hopefully people will. Right surface to the top, the ones which are good. I just feel it's such a, how to describe it.
I feel 18 months ago, I was far less optimistic. And now that I see. Really serious development companies, really serious developers getting on board that the maturity of the technology seems to be to the point where they're prepared now to invest their time into it. And I'm imagining that many of these people wouldn't have invested time if they didn't see a future in it.
So we're all crystal ball gazing a bit, but it seems like the picture is solidifying within the crystal ball, their commitments and their. Innovations. and I won't mention any names, you're probably thinking the same things than I am certain developers who are doing certain things.
It just seems like this one fabulous interface is going to be really good. And just as an aside, there was talk recently about the Guttenberg interface. P potentially becoming almost like the interface for editing on the web, not just within WordPress, because it's an open source, project, the Gothenburg editor can be stripped out.
It can be put into a different CMS, but there seems to be talk at the moment of perhaps having this as a mobile. Interface, because who knew there isn't a one there isn't one superior text editing interface, which is available. Cross-platform on the mobile and Gutenberg could be a real contender for that.
And then I just love the idea that the editor that I'm used to using, it's purely self-interest here. You understand the editor that I'm used to using becomes the editor. That's everywhere on the internet. Now, whether it's perfect or not is, again, you could discuss that, but I do like the idea of everywhere I go, a familiar interface follows along.
That seems quite beguiling to me.
David Waumsley: [00:44:14] Yeah, absolutely. honestly, most of the stuff and the idea behind Guttenberg and I get excited about this, just like this, someone mentioned this on WP Tavern and it was something I'd been looking for this while I first identified with this whole project for good to Berg and this, could this be a second system syndrome?
This is something I don't remember the name of coined this, but this, Phenomenon. That seems to happen with technology where a very simple system is successful for a long time, but there's always seems to come a point when its failure, when it decides to make an update and become something much more complex.
And that's always my big worry about the whole goods and boat project. Could it be that itself, is it really going to get, are people going to latch onto it? we expected, as soon as it went into core that there was going to be a bit of a gold rush. That was going to be a lot of people that are going to keep adding on kind of add on packs for Gutenberg to make it work and address some of the issues that aren't taken care of now.
And I think. My difficulty with jumping on board with any of those is the fact that as far as I know, Guttenberg will. Possibly, but I'm not sure addressing all of the things that people are building for now. So if you want a better layout tool for creating your pages, like a page builder, people have got solutions on the market now, but I'm still unclear what this Gutenberg project intends to be at the end, because I don't hear it from the very top, the person making decisions saying, yeah, actually we wanted to be like a page builder.
We want people to have the same experience they can get. If they go to Wix Weebly, Squarespace, We don't hear that we hear the opposite, but yeah. But a lot of people think it is that
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:01] it's interesting, isn't it? Because the reason that we're so happy with our kind of page builders of choices, because they've been able to iterate so fast because they can just make decisions arbitrarily.
They can say, okay, we now want it to do this. Let's just put our energy into making albums. So they're able to turn out an amazing interface in a matter of. let's say it's a year from the time you begin writing the code for that to the point at which you're able to release it to the world. but we haven't managed to have that with Guttenberg and I suppose that comes back two things.
First thing is the user base. It needs to be. It needs to not break anything, which must be jolly hard. But the other thing, and slightly controversially, is that one of the things we like about the fact that we've got these page builders is that we're just told what it's now going to do.
And if you're in the community, you can probably have a change on that. But, oddly, we don't like that when WordPress tells us that, okay, it's now going to do this. that's different. I like it when you tell me automatic what to do, but I'm okay. When my page builder tells me, they're just going to introduce this new feature.
David Waumsley: [00:47:03] I'm not so keen on that myself. Cause I'm, yeah, I'm a bit about the fact that, if you sell something to somebody on the opposite to what most people are, most people just want the new technology to get very excited about something new to play with where I'm always thinking. Huh? I earn small amount of money building the site.
I earn much more by keeping these sites pretty much the same.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:25] yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:47:27] And that completely, it changes my perspective on why I lean towards the ClassicPress. Of course. I would guess most ClassicPress fans. I don't think they don't want WordPress to succeed and do well, and they don't want to break off and be able to.
To be able to, I've got to say upgrade. Cause I think that is the way you're going to look at it. If there is an upgrade to be had. But I think for the moment, it's, it is a reaction, but a necessary one to say, okay, I'm not so sure because there's so many things to be decided about how this goes. And as something you said, which is probably the same, but I don't think it is where if you come from your editor select from a number of blocks, very easily, as you're just dragging them into the page you make, I think that's quite a lot different from having to go out.
And then search for a plugin and then install that. I think it's a very, I think that's a different experience altogether.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:20] Yeah. Yeah. Maybe it's destined to break things more often because the, the search is trivially easy to do. The w the one thing I can say about, about all of this is that I'm delighted that there is ClassicPress, because, if there wasn't.
If there wasn't problems with Guttenberg, we'd have nothing to moan about. We need, we do need Gothenburg to, to have its failings because honestly, David, you and I would w what would we talk about if there was no moaning about Gothenburg, it's essential that it keeps going on.
David Waumsley: [00:48:49] I know. I'm fascinated by it. I'll give him the ClassicPress side and, I want to stay on both sides of this, but I am seriously, I've got a ClassicPress installed and I'm trying out their stuff and I. I'm on the verge of thinking. Yeah. There's a few sites here that I just know we're not going to change, like just stick classic, press on it and see how that works out.
So they have swung me over a bit.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:14] Yeah. I, no problem with it. I think this is one that we need to come back to in. I'd say two years time. And, at that point you can have all the contrition in the world and, tell me that it didn't work out over on the case and the cotton plugs, maybe not.
You never know. It might just be working out perfectly, but, certainly at the moment we're in late 2020 that we're recording this well, not late 20, 20, mid to late 2020, it feels like, we're still unsure. Could go either way with Gothenburg, but I feel very bullish about it.
David Waumsley: [00:49:47] Yeah, no, you're very positive about these things and I want to be as well. but, it's just like kind of realism. I have a sort of worry about it. It comes back from my background of working in government agencies with, when you try and build something as complex as Gutenberg, WordPress was fine.
It largely was a very small bit of code that everybody was able to adopt. But when you've got big ambitions like this, I see. W in bigger organizations, how difficult it is to get everybody moving on board with the same vision and deliver it. So I think that's the big challenge. So I, there's always a bit of reserve with Guttenberg, which is why I like the idea that ClassicPress will be there as a backup.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:31] Oh, David, jump in the water is cool. The water is fine. You'll be fine. we should probably knock it on the head though. We're on 50 minutes already. Good grief. Oh, wow. Yeah. Okay. Anything crucial that you want to throw in there before we end? Or are we happy?
David Waumsley: [00:50:46] No, not at all. Okay,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:48] perfect. Yeah. next time you catch us.
We'll be, we're starting on a right. We're going from a to Z. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Perfect. So we'll tell you what EI is. a bit later when we actually have put the time into it, but thank you. That was a really interesting debate. I like that one. Thanks.
David Waumsley: [00:51:05] Bye-bye.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:51:07] I hope that you enjoyed that. Always a pleasure chatting to David Wamsley about these things.
The truth is I didn't really know a lot about ClassicPress and I've learned a lot during the making of this episode. Seems like they've got some really interesting ambitions for the project and also some noteworthy reasons why they came about in the first place. Anyway, you can go and check it out. As we mentioned in the podcast, go and see what you think.
Perhaps it's something that you yourself would like to pursue. The WP built podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in just a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else.
Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out in a [email protected]. Okay, we'll be back next week. Next Thursday, for a podcast episode, they come out at 1:00 PM UK time, every single Thursday, except during the holiday season, which is coming up also, we'll be back on Tuesday.
As I said this week in WordPress, the live version 2:00 PM. UK [email protected] forward slash live. Or you can get the newsletter by going to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. And you'll get all of the content that we produce in that as well. Okay. I hope you have a nice week. Stay safe. I'm going to fade in some dreadfully, cheesy music as I always do and say, .

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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