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, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, this is episode number 242. Entitled Q is for quibbles. It was published on Thursday, the 12th of August, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a few bits and pieces just before we begin some housekeeping. If you like, if you enjoy the WP Builds podcast, please feel free to share it in whichever way fit.
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Check it out and get a free [email protected] Okay, let's get stuck into the main event this week. We are doing one of our eight as heads of WordPress and it's Q is for quibbles. I don't know if the word quibbles is universally understood, but it's one of those little finicky things that annoy you, something, which you can get by if it didn't change, but which just ticks you off anyway.
So we're talking about all of the different little things. Annoy us in the WordPress community. And we take it from two different angles. We take it from the angle of people who use WordPress, so that inside, if you like things that annoy them and people on the outside who were just casually using WordPress, but aren't really in the community, what annoys them as well.
It's a really interesting episode. And it's lovely because David and I are in full on Mon mode. I hope that you enjoy it.
David Waumsley: [00:03:42] Hello. It's another a to Zed of WordPress, the series where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WordPress today is Q four quibble.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:54] I wonder if quibble is even a word throughout the rest of the world, is it strikes me as that could be a really kind of British English word.
It is it? It really,David Waumsley: [00:04:06] to me, I, I always a word like that. I think Rowan Atkinson now, I don't know how well known it is around the world. He will be for Mr. Bean for playing that and probably for the movies, Johnny English, but it's really him in his kind of black adder early stand-up that kind of genius time when he used to just say words in a certain way that would just make you laugh.
So him saying quibble, I
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:28] would just laugh at that. He probably literally would. Whipple, no reason other than his face.
David Waumsley: [00:04:38] Yeah, but I got a definition of it. A quibble is a slight object, objection or criticism about a trivial matter. And here we're going to be looking at objections and criticisms, both outside of the WordPress community.
So people looking in and complaining about it and also what we do within when we're having our little moan sessions. So this one is going to be two. I'm going to call myself an old man. I'm going to call you a middle age, man. We had to just vent in our spleen. That's the
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:11] nicest thing you've said to me over the, I think this episode could have been Emma's for moan or w is for wins.
Yeah, basically, it's the same stuff we get to moan, which is great. We don't typically moan. So I think we're odor a Moni episode. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:05:29] And also just, overall, when you start to look at the criticism of WordPress and some of the issues that you just end up being know, it's been my life for so long, it does so much for me that all these moans, just, part of being in the community, you know?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:46] Yeah. You can't be in the WordPress community for any length of time and not come against, come up against somebody objecting about something or, saying there's a better way of doing this and that's now deprecated don't you don't do it that way anymore. So it's really just summing up some of the things.
But I do like your take of doing it from the outside, looking in, and also from the inside looking right.
David Waumsley: [00:06:11] Okay. Should we start then with the kind of wider world and the criticisms in blog posts? A lot of the time we must, there's a caveat to these really all of these blog posts that I've seen when they talk about these issues.
It's really because they're comparing it with other site builders that are out there. So things like Wix and Squarespace. So this UC that's where it's coming from.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:34] Yeah. And which is totally legitimate. Cause that's the ground upon which they are going to be compared now aren't they? So that feels like the right place.
If it doesn't behave like Wix or Squarespace, then there's room.
David Waumsley: [00:06:47] Yeah. So we'll start with the kind of regular users, people who just want to build their own site. So the complaints I've seen the first one at the big one, you said, this is the big one as well. Security. Yup.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:00] Yup. Awesome. Lots of people that I've built websites for, they you know, they get you in, I, don't never used to really mention the fact that I would build with WordPress.
And so that conversation would occur at some point. And I would then say, and we use a CMS and it's called WordPress. And more often than not, that would be a smooth conversation. But occasionally people would say, I've heard that's insecure. I don't like the sound of that. I've heard that those sites gets hacked all the time and so on.
And yeah, it is part of the problem. And you've written down this amazing number here, which comes from Securi, which is 94% of all infected CMS is our WordPress, which on the face of it is a terrifying statistic. Unless of course you provide the context, which is it's because if you were a hacker and you were designing some kind of.
Compromise or vulnerability, you were exploiting, what's the surface you're going to go for and on the web, it's going to be WordPress because it has the biggest payload that you could imagine, 42% of the web you'd write your hack for that, wouldn't you?
David Waumsley: [00:08:07] Yeah, exactly.
And it's that, isn't it's the, it's the old debate again with windows and Macs, that's what I used to hear all the time as a PC user, when you're going to get off that, insecure, rubbish and stuff like that. But it's because it was so popular, but also, what's mislead in most of the time when people put that forward is the fact that it really it's very rarely WordPress itself.
It's just, send of the thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins that are out there that people can use that genuinely introduces the insecure.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:42] Yeah. My, my knowledge of securities is poor. You the real actual experts who know about security would obviously have something different to say, but from what I've heard of those people the core of WordPress, just that you're going to download from.org is pretty good.
There's not a great filter to go out. And and that's a Testament to decades of support, not dates and people constantly being. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:09:12] Yeah, absolutely. I really don't have security issues at all. I had one and that was because I was stupid and I bought a bad theme from people who tend to have security issues.
And that was my only real personal issue with it. And not updating for the clients who have gone on their own way with it. That's it. Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:31] Okay. That's good to know. So we can put that one to bed. So any whingeing about security while it's either your own fault or or you're wrong?
David Waumsley: [00:09:40] I think that security figure may be misleading itself because they genuinely deal with WordPress.
That's mainly their customer. So I wonder whether they're a little bit skewed anyway, but of course it's been used to gates WordPress, isn't it? In this case. Yeah. Good point though. Yeah. Yep. Yep. Difficult to use. That's the other.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:59] I, I, I, I'm two sides on this. The first one is it's way more difficult to use than it could be in, in the, I think when you first log into WordPress and you've got all these menus in the settings, and actually before we recorded this, you and I looked at all of the different settings that our WordPress install has gotten.
Some of them for users, who've never used a CMS before, or have no experience of running their own website. Some of it's just, it would seem like complete gobbledygook, but from my perspective, coming from something like Drupal, as I did all those years ago, I found that it really wasn't difficult to use, it was.
Beautiful at the time, but I still think there's a technical impediment, and if you were coming from something like a SAS platform that only did building websites there's quite a bit of a learning curve. You've got to adopt some new language. You've got to learn what permalinks are.
You've got to figure out whether you want to have comments switched on or switched off. And there's like a myriad of choices in there. So I think it's easy to use just to. And as soon as you want to stray outside of just pure old blogging, actually having said that even that's not obvious, it's not entirely obvious where your blog posts will end up and how many will show on a page and where the thumbnail will go.
And what's a featured image. And that I still think it is technically quite difficult, but honestly not that difficult.
David Waumsley: [00:11:32] Yeah. I think you journey could be really difficult. You start with WordPress and then you start to add on and the settings there, but the other, it's the pros and the cons of all in the same thing.
You've got this freedom and all this ability to change what you like. And you could technically use something that runs off WordPress. That's got a nice onboarding that turns off the things that you don't need if you're using that template. You know, effectively you could have a more Wix like experience if you pick the right kind of theme that was set up to do that, should you want, you've also got the right to be able to change things.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:07] I find this one quite difficult to answer actually, because from, we are just so the wrong people to say whether it's difficult to use, because we've both been using it for years and we now know what we want of it. And so we can do the things that we want of it, but it would be interesting to stick.
Let's say, I don't know my grandmother in front of WordPress and say, do you know what grandmother build me a website, write me some blog posts, see how that works out. And I have a feeling that might be different.
David Waumsley: [00:12:37] Yeah, no, I agree. And it's right, but I just think, the well within our community, solutions, good onboarding, you stick in this plugin or page builder, it goes through the processes you need to do to sort out some of your settings for you with a clear instructions and that.
You know, I think you could probably have something close to a week's experience if you want the restrictions that come with something like Wix templates, you
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:02] know, I'm not a Yoast user, but I. I did for various reasons go through their onboarding the other day. And it really was a great example of how to do it.
You'll have this wonderful kind of wizard that you went through and, step one, step two, step three, and spit you out the other end. And it's set up largely for what it's supposed to be doing. And I think you're right. The difficulty does come with the third party stuff, the plug-ins and the themes, and not spending enough time explaining what everything does, because that's not a core part of the product that could be done with a knowledge base or support or whatever.
But Every time you're opening a support ticket in effect something's gone wrong. So having that answered in the, the onboarding is a really good way of solving that I would add at this point, that Gothenburg you know, I know everybody around here is a big fan, but Gothenburg has a fairly nice onboarding system.
Every time I start a new site, I dismiss it immediately, but there it is pops up and shows you what to do. Yeah, they're they're trying.
David Waumsley: [00:14:09] Yeah, they are trying on that stuff. Yeah. And I think, yeah, I think I'm pretty sure you could set something up with someone. If you wanted a templated site, you could probably recommend something that's in the WordPress community, if not good and bug something that will onboard you fairly well.
So I think it's there. I think it's a unfair criticism, but it is easy to get lost without a
Nathan Wrigley: [00:14:31] doubt. The thing it's the thing about that one is that it's completely subjective. And being difficult to use is completely a product of how probably how technical you are, how much time you're willing to spend on it.
How terrified you are of clicking on things that you don't understand. Yeah. You know, I could imagine some of my friends, they would get stuck right in and they would make the assumption that if I break it, I can undo it. It doesn't matter whether the other people might be I don't want to click that because I'm not sure what the consequences of clicking that would be.
And so difficult to use is probably more a product of how willing you are to throw yourself at it. Yeah. And
David Waumsley: [00:15:09] then I guess this is probably people who are writing posts more than actual users, regular users, but they hidden costs is often mentioned and including the time cost, the time it takes for you to update, manage conflicts, managed, hosting, et cetera, that you don't get with kind of some of those plug and plays as you called it solutions.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:30] Yeah, I think there's, there is no. There's no way you can compare the, the sort of learning curve. No, that's the wrong phrase that the hidden costs of Squarespace, there really aren't any, you just pay and you get what you get and it's sold up front. It does this, this, this, and this, and outside of that, it doesn't do it.
You can't have it. Whereas WordPress is more sold on it can do literally everything. You can either build that solution. If you've got the technical expertise or you can probably get that solution, but it never ceases to surprise me how much you can get sunk into costs very quickly, a form plugin over here on an annual license, a page builder over here on an annual license, a security solution.
And it's true. You could spend a thousand dollars off the bat before you've even got halfway to what you need. And that is a real thing. And I, I only see the prices going up in WordPress. I don't really see the prices coming down to the point where more recently, some of the plugins that have been coming out, you have to take a bit of a breath when you see the amount that they're willing to, to ask for.
Yeah. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just, I'm used to them being cheaper than they are.
David Waumsley: [00:16:46] Yeah, I manage a beginners group and that gives me a bit of an insight. In fact, most people are building sites for other people in that group, oddly enough, but there are some people and you get the impression I do at least that I could see people do fall into that because they feel that because that's how everything needs to sell itself, that they need to buy a premium solution for what they need to do.
So they bought them and then they have really expect high expectations based on the amount of money they spent so far, so they, they may have bought the wrong plugins that are really going to help them for their overall job. But but the fact that they spent money then they have high expectations.
So I can understand a lot of regular users getting really frustrated with WordPress for that they spent money, they thought that might solve it. And then they spent money on something else and thought, and all that goes well.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:34] Yeah you and I hopefully are over that hump a little bit.
Aren't we, and again, that's one of the things which makes you. Your business viable is that you can say, look I'm going to just put on the stuff, which I know how to work with. And I know that this works and you're going to avoid the miasma of things that you may be wishing to buy. There are nine form plug-ins well, I'm happy with this one and I know how to use this one.
So I'm going to avoid all of that, but there's so much money you could sink into WordPress. Yeah, I know.
David Waumsley: [00:18:08] To be honest, it's not as a criticism of gates, WordPress. I think, it's equally true. A lot of people come off Shopify to WordPress because of the fact that hidden costs that grow over the time, their plugins are more expensive on their system.
And some of the general running costs money that's taken out of each of their transactions may be greater than you would need to have on WooCommerce or something. So it works both ways. I think.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:35] Yeah. Good point. Okay. Yeah. There's no way of avoiding it. There is money to be spent if you're going to start a WordPress site and be serious about it.
So I guess we just have to decide what functionality we want and pick the one best and go with that.
David Waumsley: [00:18:50] Yeah. And another criticism is that it looks a bit dated outdated.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:53] Yeah, this is fascinating because when I came to WordPress, it could keep banging this gong. I'm sorry. I say it all the time, but Drupal was seriously not as attractive as WordPress.
I have no idea what's going on the Drupal side of things anymore, but certainly WordPress, the basic look of a WordPress install, hasn't changed. Almost at all. I know we've had some very minor things, like they've changed the, they changed the blueness of the blue bits and they've added a different background shadow, sorry, a border shadow and things like that.
A lot differs that's right. But basically it's the same. And it does feel to me as if it is looking a little bit like a refresh would be, would be warmly welcomed. That would be nice. And actually some third-party developers have taken this in hand haven't they, and they've developed their own.
I'm going to say probably it's a plugin. I don't know how it works, but you can download this thing plugged in. I'm guessing. And it amends the UI to be a bit more like something that you'd expect from a SAS company. And there is a big difference. Go and have a look at some nice, shiny new piece of software.
They've probably used some sort of templated kit to, to make the elements look standardized and so on, but, and then come back to WordPress and you may be thinking. That's not quite as modern as it felt yesterday.
David Waumsley: [00:20:18] Yeah. You can modernize your backend. You can change that as lots of tools today.
And just, this is off topic, but I'll ask you. Cause I don't know. I thought at some point there was the idea of Guttenberg being able to come to Drupal.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:34] It's totally possible. And they did, there was a while I was going to say part of it, but it's not really a part of it that I guess they forked it.
I'm supposing and then fitted it in with Drupal and yes, it did happen. But from that point on, I haven't followed it in the slightest. It was big news because it had happened. And then of course the news at that point, it's less exciting because they're just talking about presumably the little updates that they've made and what have you.
But yeah I don't know if that will become the default, but it's more than it's. It's not really the Guttenberg, but it's all the other, it's the admin UI. And I'm talking about the settings menus and the, all the things that you have to interact with the dashboard and so on. Yeah, it's okay. It's not bad.
It just doesn't feel like the most modern approach. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:21:22] And I think we were talking about this earlier and again might go off topic but that was, I think my experience coming in 2007 to WordPress was like any, I think it was just an easy way to get online when blogs were the things that, and then I worked out because the concepts were so simple, how to blog in the first place, download a theme and then just fill in this with text and stick in a photo that you could get online quickly.
And there wasn't something confusing. Like it was with Drupal. Drupal was really the big player out there, but I just couldn't understand the concept.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:57] Yeah. And it didn't the UI didn't really make it all that easy either. It wasn't as attractive as WordPress is. And I, again, I don't know if that's the case anymore, but yeah.
Could it do with an update? Yeah. Does it a hundred percent need an update? No, we could probably soldier on like this for a few more years, but I'm hoping that in some recess of WordPress to all go possibly automatic, somebody has been handed the memo. Okay. It's now your job to take on the role of updating the WordPress backend to you.
David Waumsley: [00:22:30] So, um, should we just move on to the criticisms from the war wide world again, but from business users perspective bigger businesses, I think. Yeah. Yeah. Sounds good. Okay. So there was only a few things really here is that some businesses won't want to go to an open source software. But that's community rather than community supported and not have the liabilities.
So they're likely to go with a business where particularly government or something like that might not entertain WordPress because it needs, it's using public money. It needs to be able to know that it'll get money back if they let them down where that wouldn't happen with weather.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:10] Yeah, this is a really interesting one.
Isn't it? Because there seems to be in the UK, at least at the moment you may not know this David, but there seems to be a kind of move a bit towards open source in software a because it saves money because it's open and everybody can download the same tool and use it and so on. I'm not entirely sure if that will win or not, but it certainly strikes me as a movement, which is gaining some credence, but you're absolutely right.
If there was a government website, let's say, I don't know something to do with taxing vehicles or something, you just can't imagine them. Being able to not have a system where there is 24 7 somebody able to fix every problem. The instant that it happens because too many people are going to be impacted and the same would carry for business.
If it's a critical business you can't rely on community support. Oh, something's gone wrong on my website, but it's okay. I can cope with it for a couple of days. You just can't really have that. And the community support just won't cut the mustard. But then again, you've got, if you think about it, for example, the hosting company may take this on.
It may be that you would go with one of the big managed WordPress hosting companies and you pay for a package where no matter what happens, they will step in and save your bacon. Whether that's going to some kind of backup or they'll, they've literally got bodies on hand who are WordPress experts.
There are ways around that. But it's not community support any longer. You're basically paying again, back to money. You're paying for somebody to take on the role of supporting it because they've been in the community and learnt it over time. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:24:58] There's an old friend of mine. And then back from kind of school, who's always worked for theaters or big music organizations and a lot of those that get government funding as well.
So they have to be careful what they do. And so he's been behind the building of a couple of major websites for theaters, big, expensive jobs. And I'm pretty sure the first time he, I talked to him when I was interested early on in that they'd built a site there and I'm pretty sure he indicated that, WordPress, wasn't an option.
He wouldn't be playing with the silly toys that I was playing with. They needed proper developers coming in. The next time I spoke to him more recently, when is the last job? And they did one, he said to me, oh, WordPress is no brainer.
Yeah. Yeah. I might be misrepresenting what you said in the early days, but yeah, I could see that change effectively was doing the same thing with the same kind of responsibilities and, assurances were needed, but the attitude to WordPress has changed.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:58] I wonder at what point it becomes a no-brainer.
In other words, I wonder if there's some sort of financial threshold that you pass by. Let's say it's a hundred thousand pounds or half a million or 10 million, whatever it might be, where you step out of the bounds of well open source. Was good enough, but now we want complete and utter control of every line of code.
We want to know what every single thing is doing. And we want nothing in there that we don't have any control over. You know, you've got to imagine that if you're installing WordPress with it's many lines of code, and you're just doing one specific thing, you've got to imagine that quite a lot of that code is never used and is a bit pointless and is a vector for an attack at some point, possibly.
And presumably these things have to be weighed up. And again, if you're, let's say Ferrari or something like that, and you're selling Ferrari cars direct to the public, you got to think their pockets would be deep enough to just get something bespoke built just for what they need. Yeah, no, this is an interesting one.
You could go back and forth on this because in both directions does merit. I like the open source nature of it. You know, there's things that you could contribute back to the community to improve the code for everybody. But equally you just want something where you know what everything does and you've paid for your developers and you own it.
David Waumsley: [00:27:28] If you're Ferrari, then I think, and you're going to, you're going to customize most of what you're doing, why bother to stick in those almost 2 million lines of WordPress code to have that as your simple base, you might as well build it from the ground up. And also if you build on top of WordPress, then you inherit the license, the GPL license that goes with it.
So you lose some of that control that you have over your own
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:53] code. Yeah. That's a really good point. But I wonder in the case of your friend, what was the moment where it became a no-brainer? Why did that person go from that? We couldn't possibly to. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That's absolutely what we're going to do.
That is fascinating because there must have been some impediment, which he overcame. Yeah, I honestly,
David Waumsley: [00:28:14] wasn't going to come. It was just such a shock that it was built on them. Cause I'm pretty sure, with a similar project, many years before it was. Yeah, no, it wasn't seen that. Wasn't an option they were building from scratch, but here it was a no brainer.
That's what he said. And I thought, oh, okay. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:30] great. I would be really fascinated to line up like 1000 people who were in charge of the top 1000 businesses in the UK and say to them, would you ever use what and just see what their reaction was. It would be really interesting. Yeah. And I bet you, most of them would.
No. I don't, I don't even know, but I'm just fascinated by your friend's story swapped. Flip-flopped maybe that argument is so compelling. Now imagine all the Croft that you've got to build, like all the user management and all of that, and WordPress is it's just gone. You just don't have to waste time doing that stuff and it's done it and it's done it in a fairly Bulletproof way.
So you are saving a lot of money and if it's public money, Yeah, that's quite compelling.
David Waumsley: [00:29:18] Yeah. The idea is you've got all these, this, this heritage, it goes back over long-term and all of these people who depend upon it, that makes you feel more secure. I think it's definitely changed, but then there are some other sides of it, which are, so Gutenberg's there to make it much more attractive and do much more than it's ever done before and money has been invested into it, but it also has the other side of it where we lost, um, the W3C website as being built on WordPress.
And now for the redesign, wasn't considering it because there are so many massive changes. So there were two things going on, but I think overall more people just see, I think WordPress is a no brainer these days where that wasn't the case. When I started.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:03] Yeah, perhaps it really is just a question of time.
It needed to get to some maturation or have been around long enough and nothing catastrophic, really bad to have happened repeatedly and often that people are now trusting it. And imagine how many eyeballs have been through the WordPress code on every release. Just trying to pick it to pieces, trying to figure out ways to see if we can obviate the permission system and so on.
And presumably it's passed those tests because we have quite a lot of big websites using it. Yeah. Fascinating. I can totally see both sides from a business, a large business point of view. Really interesting.
David Waumsley: [00:30:47] Yeah. I called this general objections. I don't know the difference really between a criticism and an objection, but from the outside world, again, just general ones that we cover this quickly.
So I think a general overview of WordPress might be that it's too common, too. Generic, too much protector. Blogging platform, which is where it started and is still known as many. And you put that it's not, set and forget it, plug and play stuff. So I think they're the general objections.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:15] Yeah. I think there's something to be said about that. It's quite interesting. I don't know if you play this game occasionally, but when I'm browsing the web, I will, occasionally just in my head be saying, I'm pretty sure that site was built with element or I'm pretty sure that site is a WordPress site and I've got, there's just no actual concrete indication that it is.
And you go, and sometimes you look at the source. That's the word and that's not a WordPress site. And that menu, that menu is in a really weird place. That's probably not WordPress. And so it goes and, and you're right. And I worry about that a little bit. I'm not a through and through designer so long as it looks okay.
And it's usable. I'm happy with that, but I kind of imagined that. We've fallen into this pattern, especially with page builders of, yeah. There's a row followed by a row, followed by a row and then there's another row and that's a little bit, you said we're generic. That is becoming a little bit generic and who knows what will come in the future to enable us to have like magazine layouts.
That was always the goal. Isn't it. To have layouts like magazines, and then we just didn't settle on that. Cause phones and different layouts and sizes and all of that came along and it made it impossible.
David Waumsley: [00:32:37] Yeah. Dealing with the actual web game and real issue. Yeah. Really held us back. No. Yeah.
But yeah, actually that wasn't the perspective I was thinking of on those general objections, but you're absolutely right. And I think when you, this is why I think something that is in its growth Squarespace do so well, even though their templates are so simple, they are quite unique in their layout.
That you see. So if you go across and see the majority of WordPress sites, they do look a bit boxy and standard. Compared to something like that, but they get to control it. Doesn't they Squarespace. They only offer a very limited number of templates and they're all beautifully designed and that's all you get to see
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:22] is that it's very compelling.
If you go to the Squarespace website and you look at their templates, they. Lovely. Can't like, but you know what, there are people in the WordPress space doing equally. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:33:34] exactly. Exactly. Elementary. It's not what I use, but you know, some of the sites built with elementary because it's got so many designers have been attracted to that, that there was some phenomenal.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:46] Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. It's the designers, it's a tool which is really working for designers. Isn't it? People who don't want it. Get themselves messing about with CSS. They want to point click drag, save sort of thing. And and, but their designs can shine because they've got the chops in, I don't know, Photoshop and what have you and drag things along and they know how to position things and all of that can be done.
Now that's a good point. Do you
David Waumsley: [00:34:11] know if I was outside of WordPress, if adopted earlier on? I think I might just be the type of cabinet to might just throw out the objections on both. That's just saying everybody's on it. I'm not giving there
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:25] the contrarian in you. Yeah yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:34:27] Sort of element of that.
And also the idea that, let's say I want a particular type of website that I'm having. I just think, oh, okay. I read that everybody uses that one. It's so generic for everybody. Yeah. Find something that does the very thing that I want,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:41] well, I mentioned a minute ago about the 2 million lines of code and what have you.
And if you look back the websites that you've built most recently, those 2 million lines of code, did you actually need what you really needed was a tool. Yeah. Which would spit out some HTML, which you could then save as a HTML file and then possibly a third party SAS platform for forms. And you'd have probably about 800 lines.
There'd be no code other than HTML markup, maybe a bit of Java script. I don't know. But, and as some CSS and you'd be.
David Waumsley: [00:35:18] Yeah, I've got a friend of mine as well. Dennis, some of these play in bands with for years and for a while, he went off and he was teaching in schools how to build websites with HTML and CSS at that.
And I've just noticed that he's recently started to do some client work for this sort of stuff, but I've seen some of his comments and he just, one of his selling points is that it's not WordPress is that this is custom credit, cleft crafted than just, few lines of code. That's his big thing. So I just thought, yeah, I could have easily been in his shoes so I can understand that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:51] One of the UV pieces is not WordPress. That must resonate right here. We are sat in the WordPress bubble thinking it's the best thing since sliced bread. And yet to some people. It's a point. It's a badge of honor that it's not WordPress. Wow. That's so interesting. Yeah. So
David Waumsley: [00:36:11] your site is crafted by us.
It's just the code. That's needed all your code done by you. Not all this nonsense off the shelf. WordPress
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:20] powered by WordPress.
David Waumsley: [00:36:23] Yeah. So I don't understand it, but anyway, I don't go with it. Cause, as obviously, I love WordPress. It's been my life uh, yeah, we can reject all of those criticisms.
Should we move on to the sort of stuff that we like to do daily? I'm moan about stuff within WordPress. So from the community itself,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:45] So what we've been talking about so far is people outside looking in and going why not WordPress? What's wrong with it? And so now what we're shifting gear and we're going people who are already in the community using it.
And so what are we finding critical. Okay.
David Waumsley: [00:37:00] Yeah. So we've got a little list here where we could get stuck on any of these for ages. So notifications and adverts in admins, same thing, although slightly different, uh, acquisitions. That's another one of your concerns, isn't it at the moment?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:15] Yeah. Just because it seems to be taking on such a pace, if it had, have been like one or two a year, I wouldn't have had any concerns at all, but right. At this point in time when we were recording this, there just coming so thick and fast, and it's not really that I'm concerned. It's more that I don't really know what it means.
I don't know how this will fall out. If, if, if some of these big companies. They happen to be hosting companies so far, but that could be, that could change. We did see delicious brains just acquire ACF and don't forget.
David Waumsley: [00:37:46] Yeah. Or not. Awesome. Awesome. Motive of a huge,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:50] yeah. Very good point. Yeah.
Okay. That was probably a ridiculous thing to say, but it, on the whole, it tends to be the hosting companies. I just don't know how this is going to fall out. The concern of course, is that at some point you've just got these big hosting company who bought up all the in inverted. Good stuff. And they make it such that if you really want to have a decent experience you can either build the solution yourself or just go to this company, pay for their monthly subscription or whatever it may be, and you'll get all of that thrown in.
So that's my concern. It hasn't proven itself. That concern is absolutely not a reality. And I don't even see any evidence that it's going to be a reality, but the, that, that is to say in the WordPress space, but in the wider world, you see this happening all the time. Don't, companies buy up other companies they clean out, basically.
They're just buying all the staff, they're consuming the competition so that there isn't any competition left standing and so on and so on. And so that is a concern. And if, especially if I was a big company, and let's say for example, that I built a, I don't know, let's say Ferrari again. And their website had been built using ACS.
All of a sudden you are deeply concerned that ACF has just been acquired by somebody else. I am so certain that acquisition is going to work out perfectly, but you would have massive concerns because your entire business would have been stacked up with things which you thought you knew.
David Waumsley: [00:39:25] And, that's quite a good example as well, and why I'm slightly concerned with acquisitions, but not too much because for what I do, which is different from most WordPress users I depend on my income coming from sites being based stable.
So I go, I price that above all things. So I pick the plugins and developers who not necessarily add many features, but they look after the code and it's, and I think the influence of big business with their marketing budgets, they're going after a different audience to me. So I worry about the space for those.
If you like those developers who just take pride in the small plugins that they do that work very well, but maybe not the most exciting things. They're the ones that I'm attracted to. So I do worry about acquisitions in WordPress and how the nature of the open source community might be.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:22] Yeah, it's an ephemeral thing.
And there's nothing really to hook your argument on, is that because it hasn't transpired, but like you say, if let's say plug in X over here that you've got installed on 50% of all your websites has just been acquired. And two years down the road, that company just gets bored of it. It wasn't proving to be profitable and it was totally profitable for this one individual to, to create it and make it, they could just make that work.
But over on this side, it's been bought, it's no longer getting updated, they've lost the mojo. Yeah. That is a concern. And we're just beginning, we're treading into this at the minute. Aren't we're just crushing crossing the threshold of this starting tab. That's not true because obviously you've got things like eye themes, which were acquired a long time ago, so it has been happening, but it just feels like it's hard.
Much more at the minute.
David Waumsley: [00:41:16] Yeah. The only downside, criticisms within it's the fact that they are bought and you don't know necessarily what's happening and what they're going to do with that. You know, some are being bought and, functionality has been changed or deals have been changed and that on an individual basis at the moment, though, I'm quite happy because there still seems to be the routine for those people who, Concerned about keeping very clean sites with well-crafted plugins and stuff.
There still seems to be plenty of room for those people.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:48] So yeah, the expression that I like to use here is a rising tide carries all boats, so there's, there's things to be said on both sides, aren't they, because let's say that a plugin gets acquired and it goes into a stagnant phase.
That creates a gap in the market for somebody else to step in, even fork the GPL code of the various in which has gone stale and have a real head start on all of that. So yeah, I don't acquisitions concern me, not concern me, it's a bit like. Yeah,
David Waumsley: [00:42:19] we got into the big questions that this was far light to criticism supposed to be this section.
So media liability. Yeah. Okay. We've moaned about the media library, I think
Nathan Wrigley: [00:42:27] a few weeks ago. Yeah. Honestly, when I started using WordPress, it was the best thing ever. I loved it and I don't see, forgive me. I could be completely wrong here. I haven't really seen any major changes. And I feel that a lot has moved on in manipulation of images and the ability to edit things.
There's so many clever initiatives out there creating images, things like stencilled and what have you, all of that sort of stuff feels like it could be part of WordPress, but it doesn't really fulfill the WordPress mission. So I guess the most I could hope for would be that the media library gets a bit of a facelift and and has some, some options in there to not always view it as a little square thumbnail in amongst a bunch of other things.
Perhaps we could actually see what it's sizes are and have a bit more information. Actually. Interestingly, the media library is getting a bit of an update today or yesterday.
David Waumsley: [00:43:24] I saw it. Yeah. This is the 5.8 updates. So this will be going out sometime after, but I went in there today and I saw the load more button is for accessibility.
Isn't it? So it doesn't have it all.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:38] Yeah, no, there's one more thing. There's another thing, if you load an image into the media library, you instantly have access to the URL of it. So yes. Which is actually quite
David Waumsley: [00:43:49] cool. Yes, it is. Yeah. I, yeah. I had to put a plugin in to do I needed that for some point.
Yeah, no was great. Also
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:56] you had to explain to clients. No, no. Okay. So you've uploaded. All right. Now you need to click on it. And then over there is a thing and you've got to click on that and it probably clicked loads of times until it's highlighted or just do command a then copy it. And that's where it is.
Whereas now you just stopped voting and there it is, which is great. Yeah. Okay. So we should stop moaning the media libraries.
David Waumsley: [00:44:19] Yeah, it's brilliant. I'm not sure going to bump this one up plugging conflicts that may be a criticism within as users. We get that sometimes I don't to be honest these days,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:30] I, I feel that this is not a thing which I'm familiar with. I think honestly, it's happened to me once or twice. And it was an it, every scenario that I've had with plug-in conflicts, which I can count on one hand has been the most minor thing. Something that I probably don't really need, didn't quite load correctly.
And, and I've had it resolved really quickly. I've either figured it out myself or go on to support and they figured out, okay, it's conflicting with this. We'll do a patch. It'll be out in a day. And yeah, not got experience of this, but I imagine it's a horror when it does go.
David Waumsley: [00:45:08] It's sad, isn't it? We're making them criticisms for WordPress.
Cause we're quite happy. Cause you're right. Yeah. Plugging complex is just something I haven't really experienced. I've picked my plugins. So it seems to be something that happens to other people, right?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:22] But this goes back to your selecting carefully vetted plugins, where you have some understanding of the heritage of the developer, that they're in the WordPress space, they understand WordPress and how it works and so on.
And the problem for the newbie would be so with, sorry, I'm stepping outside of, we're supposed to be criticizing from the inside now but the problem for a newbie would be, they'd just download anything and they get 15 of anything and they're all low quality out of date and all of them conflict with each other and Ooh, white, totally white.
David Waumsley: [00:45:58] Yeah, actually, maybe these aren't really true criticisms these up off the top of my head and you've had a look over there, but the next one probably is also not a problem I have, but I put it in there. Overload of choice these days, we have so many they're great plugins and it's great to have so it's choice, but, amongst the sort of eight really good, forms, plugins that are out there, you can just spend your entire life going through all of these, working out which ones.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:27] So what what are, what a problem this is? Yeah. So it's not really a criticism, is it? Because it shows that's how healthy the WordPress ecosphere is. It's just there's enough space to have eight making it up. There's probably more like 50 or something form plugins as an example. So on the one side, stop moaning.
That's a good problem. On the other side, Especially for somebody who's curious and really wants to make the right decision. You could spend so many days just looking at, let's say form plugins again, and trying to decide this one, does this have this feature? Does it connect to that service that I want?
Oh, this does 90% of what I do, but I need it today. But there's one thing over here that I really want. And it's, it is really hard. And for yes, especially people who have the knowledge. So this works perfectly on the inside of WordPress. If you've heard of all these things, to go and look and read all about them and what have you, if you're on the outside, I suspect it'll be form plugins.
Oh, Google it. WordPress forms click the first thing. Oh yeah, that looks pretty good. I'll get that one. Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. And it does create from, I have this all the time, especially around, let's say something like black Friday, when there's a sudden moment in time where you feel you can make some savings.
And so you sort of decide to buy three or four things all at once. So you are suddenly, the clock is telling you when you need to buy, not the amount of, the amount of research that you've done. And all of a sudden, it's I've got to do all this research into these different things all at the same time.
And you suddenly hit the problem of too much choice. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:48:08] I still, I it's, it's not buying for the first time, because I bought all the solutions that I really need. And it's just the temptation that something else has got to come along. That might be the new thing, or might just do a bit better or might be a better deal because there's a lifetime deal.
I go through that. I'm pretty good really at saying, look, what I've got works. I'm going to stick with it until somebody, but I still spend a lot of time looking at the other stuff and dribbling over the exciting stuff that comes through.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:41] That's totally the antithesis of what you would want. You would want that choice to be clear and defined.
And even if you don't have let's say settled on one thing, you want that to be the close of it. You never want to go back and say, now I'm presented with this conflict on something I've already got, I feel that that's capitalism, that's just here. That is how it goes. You're going to have to cope with choice and and I suppose it's better than the alternative.
David Waumsley: [00:49:13] Yeah. Yeah. Which the systems are really pretty lame on a, should we just go onto some of the main, I guess this is more political stuff that I'm calling these, the objections from our, of WordPress from within, and we've had a few, we have a few major Tiffts I guess the first one being over the whole GPL license and with the early commercial themes, the thesis theme by Chris Pearson and the opposite that was Brian Gardner's revolution theme, which were coming out as the first sort of commercial themes.
And one said, no, the work I've done on top is mine. It shouldn't be affected by GPL. And the other said, no, we need to go with the GPL. My theme is full GPL. And that was a big blow up at that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:57] Yeah, I think I strayed into WordPress at about the time that this was happening. And so pretty much all of that was beyond my capability at that point.
So I can understand with the benefit of hindsight that all happened, but I didn't, I wasn't involved in it. So for me, it's an interesting marker in the history books of WordPress, but I don't really know how heated that got or whether or not it was a, a moment in time where things could have gone horribly wrong for open source.
David Waumsley: [00:50:28] Yeah, it would have been, it was, you classic kind um, I think it was a recorded interview, wasn't it with Matt mother work and Chris Pearson and Matt mulloway definitely came on top for defendant, the GPL rights threat. And I think, I think there'll be few of us who would think that was the wrong decision, because I think it might change the very nature of WordPress itself.
So that was one of the big kind of objections within the WordPress community itself. I think a big one. I think it's still there.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:51:00] Yeah, I was going to say what happened to Chris Pearson and the C the thesis thing, did it stagnate because it was no longer operating under the license terms that Chris desire, do you know?
David Waumsley: [00:51:11] maybe don't even know. I don't think it actually affected his business. People loved it and they joined it and then he did a second version and people didn't enjoy it and got very upset with the changes he made. So he was the architect of his own downfall. I think we'll come to that theme.
So that's my understanding. Yeah. So, but it's the early days, you know, what people were creating, there were really convoluted. And, even with the revolution, the Brian Gardner Sidon, who went on to do Genesis, uh, now looking back, I was a big Genesis user. I still think it was such fabulous work, but now it looks really convoluted today in this age of page builders.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:51:51] Okay. Things move on. Speaking of moving on, Gothenburg came around the corner and that created governance.
David Waumsley: [00:51:59] Yes. Again another yes. So we had this is dead, isn't it? There is a website WP governance.com. And it was set up by Rachel Cherry and I always say his name, wrong Morton, rad, Eric.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:15] Hendrix.
I'm going to say it. Molten, Rand Hendrickson. And I'm sorry, Martin, if I butchered your name, but yeah this at the time felt like a little earthquake, like something. The ground began to crack and who knew that, which way that was going to go, the, the earthquake could have continued and the ground got wider and the gap bigger and bigger, or that was it.
It was just a little quite get back to life. Nothing's happened here and it turned out to be the latter that project has now died. I actually hopped into it a few times. I looked, I didn't contribute by looked cause I just thought this is a really important moment. And on the back of Guttenberg, when it came out in WordPress five in two thought, crikey, when was it?
Was it 2008? C 18?
David Waumsley: [00:53:09] Yes.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:10] Wow. 2018. Yeah. When it came out, there was a real moment where it felt like the community could have a bit of a schism. And so things like classic press got made, which is still going, although I don't know how well it's still going. And this governance project was set up because people were just saying.
This is really important to us, this piece of software. And we don't like that. There's no account, not even accountability. There's no open decision-making process. It was just, it is. Yeah. Yeah. And it, but it kinda, I think it just ran out of steam that the sky didn't fall in. I know that some people still don't like Gothenburg and you know, I count you possibly against them.
I'm not sure the, the sky didn't fall in, you could still carry on using WordPress in the same way that you always did. And so what's to see here, where's the argument. And so it is if you go to WP governance.com, now you'll notice, I think the last post was in 2019. So we're approaching two years since then.
Piece of blog posts went up there. So it's looks like it's gone away and we've got the benevolent dictator for life and that's how,
David Waumsley: [00:54:24] yeah. What we've always accepted. And I think, but it is questionable. I think most of the kind of objections within it fall around this whether it's good or bad.
And I really don't know. I kinda, I like to challenge Automatic's role in WordPress cause I'm worried, The commercial interests of that might lead it in a way that it shouldn't. But overall, I think it always find the right path, but yeah, it's always a really about lots of things that the role of automatic or mat, so even having the WordPress name for.com as the commercial outlet for WordPress the open source community, that's connected just the ability to be able to effectively fall Guttenberg on every bond when there wasn't really indications that people were willing to accept it.
Yeah, I think most of the issues also about, and dominance over the e-commerce side of WordPress because they own WooCommerce. So really there's not going to be, it's going to be very difficult for competition. So I think most of the objections stem around that role. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:55:37] it is. It's a really interesting one.
And obviously, from the outside, if you're just a consumer of wordpress.org stuff and you don't need to get involved in any of this stuff, it just works. It gets updated. Everything seems to be hunky-dory. But the, obviously there's people in the community who have given their lives to this, and they really want to have an understanding that their work, their business, whatever it is on a solid foundation.
And that there are collective decisions made to push the project forward that are out in the open. And I can see this, this, this debate is just going to keep going. It'll never stop. I don't think with the model that we've got, but it also feels like it's run out of steam. So people will still raise it.
There should be more in terms of open governance, but it feels like the initiative to, to change. Is sort of, it's dried up. And also, I don't even know if there is a way to change it with the way it's set up at the moment. And to be honest with you, from my perspective, I don't even know if I have, I don't think there's a desire to change it.
I'm happy with the way things are going. Well, we'd like the
David Waumsley: [00:56:49] good side of things. Having something like automatic that has a lot of money that it's made it really out of the wordpress.com name, which means that everything that we talk about WordPress to promote, it helps to promote them to make money as well.
And, but there's also a good side to that. So I haven't really drawn a decision over what I think I don't, I don't necessarily see automatic as being evil to WordPress. I don't always see it as being good, but there are some good things that he does. We wouldn't probably have things like word camps and the community would have, if it wasn't.
A large enough company to be able to support that. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:57:29] Make no mistake. There is a lot of good that comes out of that without a doubt. Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:57:35] So, but I think that's where most of the contentious more, one of the more recent ones for people like us, the freelancer community or smaller agencies who build client websites, the fact that we're past.com decided to set up that service now potentially argues that it would be making work because it's doing it through third-party service.
So people that go to wordpress.com on its own could be given back to people, but still, it becomes tricky because it's obviously going to be in WordPress's history. It's going to be those small agency developers who might have given up their free time to help the WordPress project, because it would help them also within their businesses for serving clients as well.
Yeah. So yeah, most of our arguments from within, um, kind of based on who we are and what we're doing, I think.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:58:29] Yeah. Wow. There's just so much in this, isn't it? So especially the governance side of things as well, that just there's just so much. What else have we got where I'm just, wow.
I've just looked at the clock. We've really we're approaching an hour, so we should probably try to wind up quickly. What have we got still? Oh,
David Waumsley: [00:58:47] He's just got other things like a little practices. And one of the controversies was hidden affiliate marketing within that you theme structure, which is banned, which apparently I think is allowed in the plugin.
The community. What's one of the odd things about WordPress, isn't
Nathan Wrigley: [00:59:04] it? Yeah, that's true. Yeah. That, that seems to be that storm. That was a bit of a storm in it too. Wasn't it? It got discovered it got it, got somebody, got their knuckles slapped and then it went away until maybe the next time it happens.
So that's a storm in a teacup. You mind. I think really
David Waumsley: [00:59:22] all of our kind of stuff. It might be a big thing to us and we might get lots of debate about our concerns about, but most of it is it is exactly that a stove and a teacup, it goes away. No, one's really damaged as a result of anything that happens in WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:59:38] what you're basically saying is the last 56 minutes have been absolutely pointless. There was nothing to see here. This is, we don't have any quibbles, then we've set the word quibbles. Since we started recording this, we don't have any quibbles whatsoever. Everything's fine. Happy we're on the happy train.
We're all good.
David Waumsley: [00:59:59] Yeah. Quibbles, because as the definition says, it's about something trivial and I think isn't it. Matt Mullenweg, who says it's only soft.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:00:08] Yes. Yes. Nice. Nice. To be able to say that from his perspective, I'm sure he's built something pretty incredible, but the ability to go it's only software, eh, we'll figure it out.
We'll, we'll all be fine. Are we done then? Is that us finished with this episode? Yeah. Okay. Do you wanna just give us a quick clue as to what we might be doing next time or should we just save our for two weeks from now?
David Waumsley: [01:00:33] Make people guess
Nathan Wrigley: [01:00:34] yeah, let's do guessing. Cause actually the truth is we're not sure are we yet deeply?
We got a few things written down, all right. That was nice. Cue for quibbles. Thanks for joining me. That was brilliant. Thanks. Cheers.
bye. I hope that you enjoyed that episode as always a real pleasure to chat to David Wamsley about these things. I hope that we didn't come across as too Mony.
There's some legitimate stuff in this week's episode, there's lots of things to moan about. Most of it we can pass by and just ignore, but some of those things, it would be really nice if they got changed. If you have any commentary about the podcast episode this week, be sure to head over to WP Builds.com.
Search for episode number 242, or you could leave a comment in our Facebook group. WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook. We'd love to know your thoughts. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress.
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Okay, we'll be back next week because this week was a chat with Dave next week will be an interview. So look out for that coming out Thursday, 1:00 PM UK time. Alternatively, join us on Monday, Paul Lacey and myself do the, this week in WordPress show where we're joined by some notable WordPress guests.
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