I almost didn’t write this post but it is time to celebrate WordPress’ 12th Birthday (12 years since the first release). But then I thought I wanted to say a couple of things.
So, WordPress has come a long way. A huge collective of talented people maintain and improved every release. The business of WordPress is maturing at an increasing rate. The latest indicator being Automattic‘s acquisition of WooThemes. And WordPress itself is maturing. Some of the latest improvements, including those under the hood, show a maturing code-base. Albeit somewhat lagging in some people’s opinions. But that’s what almost 100% backwards compatibility gets you.
But one thing I don’t see much evidence of is the paths into WordPress development maturing. Getting started as a serious WordPress developer still seems too hard. It’s a journey fraught with poor examples, bad advice, and vaguely improving references. The docs team are doing a great job of replacing the ageing and increasingly dangerous WordPress Codex. But their efforts still seem centred around references.
References are great when you know what it is you need to look up. But if you don’t know what you need to look for, you end up hoping you will stumble upon something useful or relevant. I know the Theme Handbook is coming along nicely — hey! I learned some stuff from it last week — but the tutorial section slides right back into reference mode after just a couple of pages.
As WordPress heads towards it’s teenage years, I’d like to see some better resources for new developers. Both those new to development per se, and those experienced developers new to WordPress. I’ll be heading in that direction. I hope others will too.