WordPress.com reboots from scratch to take on Medium

WordPress.com reboots from scratch to take on Medium

Big moves are coming to WordPress.com as the CEO responsible for powering 25 percent of the world’s websites unveils an open sourcing of the company’s code and API endpoints.

Matt Mullenweg, CEO of WordPress developer Automattic, has taken to his blog to outline the project, codenamed Calypso, which is the product of 20 months’ work by 127 engineers and designers.

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Unveiling the new, pure JavaScript platform that uses libraries like Node and React to offer a fully responsive Web experience, Mullenweg admitted that this was the missing key to WordPress being able to ‘disrupt itself’:

Many of us attempted to give it a reboot with the MP6 project and the version 3.8 release, but what that release made clear to me is that an incremental approach wouldn’t give us the improvements we needed, and that two of the things that helped make WordPress the strong, stable, powerful tool it is — backward compatibility and working without JavaScript — were actually holding it back.

The new WordPress.com back-end interface looks to be taking Medium head-on, with new ‘discover’ and ‘recommended’ sections that pretty much directly borrow from the newer platform’s structure. The company has also launched a standalone Mac desktop app to help people get started more quickly with the new WordPress.

Mullenweg then explains the decision to go open source:

A lot of people thought we should keep this proprietary, but throughout my life I’ve learned that the more you give away, the more you get back. We still have a ton to figure out around plugins, extensibility, contributions, Windows and Linux releases, API speed, localization, and harmonizing the WordPress.com API and WP-API so it can work with core WordPress. Thousands more PHP developers will need to become fluent with JavaScript to recreate their admin interfaces in this fashion. I’m also really excited to revisit and redesign many more screens now that we have this first version out the door.

Calypso looks like a huge leap forward for a project that seemed to stagnate for many years, no doubt spurred on by recent efforts made by Medium.

A spokesperson from Automattic told The Next Web that these new tools are also available to sites that use the open source Wordpress.org platform, but you’ll need to install the company’s Jetpack plugin in order for Calypso to work.

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