SummaryI am a React Developer and I wasn't willing to give Wordpress a chance, up until recently.
I was wrong about Wordpress.
This blog post is about bias, realizations and valuable learnings.
A few words about ReactI learned React in 2019. And since then it's awesome to work with. A few weeks later I stumbled upon Next.js, a progressive React Framework that gives React the horsepower it needs to be fully off the leash. The recent release of Next.js 12 makes me even more optimistic about this technology.
Of course there are plenty of packages that can help you to abstract things and make your life easier. Still, the framework on its own leaves you pretty alone and you have to connect the dots yourself in order to build something great.
And Wordpress?Let's get back to the playground example. With Wordpress, instead of building all the different items manually and then putting them together, you would rather start with a full playground. That playground would then look wrong - it has the wrong color, it has climbers even though the client didn't want it and it would miss a swing. You would then tweak the playground to finally match the client's vision.
TL;DR: Wordpress is optimized to give you all the tools you need to build a website directly out of the box. You can set up a basic blog within 1-2 hours, while building a usable blog in React can take hours or even days (trust me, I speak from experience, as this blog is built on React).
Why I was wrong about WordpressAll I said above is nothing new. Everyone knows that Wordpress is a "building block" system, and that it's the solution for Content Management. So what were my misconceptions that held me away from Wordpress?
"Everyone can do Wordpress"It is very easy to get started with Wordpress. In many cases, you don't even have to code a single line.
Maybe because of its simplicity and straightforwardness I was like:
My wrong assumption rather was that Wordpress is easy to master. While Wordpress is easy to learn, mastering it is a different story.
Another misconception was the belief that I should use the more complex technology (React, Angular etc.) because a toolkit where you can do more must be better. I noticed that this is simply wrong for some use cases. Why hunt down a fly with a flame thrower when you can simply use a swatter?
"Wordpress misses customization"The second bias was that the Wordpress widgets you insert are not customizable to the degree I want them. I was so wrong about that.
For instance, Elementor lets you change all common CSS properties of the elements you insert, and if you're not satisfied you can always add custom CSS.
React vs Wordpress: What's next?So, is Wordpress my favourite technology now? Will I choose it over React from now on?
The answer is simple: It depends. Apart from all advantages Wordpress also has cons compared to React:
- Worse performance because of the bloated bundle and plugins
- Many plugins cost money, while in React you get much more packages entirely free
- Next.js offers Vercel as completely free hosting solution (even including SSL), while for Wordpress you have no or extremely limited free hosting
I for my part are very thankful that I got to know Wordpress, used it in my first project already and can use and enhance it from now on as part of my tech stack!