Last week, in its news section, The Next Web posted what could only be described as a hit: Developers hate WordPress – and marketers should, too. The claim was that despite its current 40% market share, people should start looking for alternatives for a better experience.
The first developer interviewed for this article was Storyblok CEO Dominik Angerer. Storyblok is a headless CMS competing with WordPress.
The second person interviewed for the article was Doeke Leeuwis, the founder and technical director of Story of AMS. The agency focuses on headless e-commerce. What is one of the three platforms he uses? If you had guessed Storyblok, you would have understood correctly. Bonus points if you predicted it was listed first of three in their marketing materials.
The third developer interviewed was Mitchel van Bever, who also works for Story of AMS. The company has been featured on the Storyblock blog several times and is a featured case study.
Are you already starting to see a pattern?
If you read the rest of the article, you’ll notice that the post was sponsored by Storyblok. At least they were being honest about it.
Somehow, I think most readers would have skipped the article if it had been published before the content.
It’s easy to find developers who don’t like WordPress. But you lose credibility when you write an article featuring interviewees who directly sponsor or benefit from the story.
The centerpiece of the whole story was the 2019 and 2020 Annual survey of Stack Overflow developers. There is much to be learned from the data provided by over 65,000 field workers. However, the post just focused on one point: WordPress was voted 67% most feared language or technology last year. Everything else centered around what those with a vested interest in Storyblok had to say.
We could talk about scalability, but with WordPress.com as a great example of running WordPress software at scale, do we really need it?
We could talk about flexibility, but when WordPress has more free third-party plugins (59,000+) than Storyblok has in total live websites (500+ according to BuiltWith), is it really worth diving into?
As a writer in the WordPress sphere, you may think I am entirely biased. This is at least partially true. However, I have worked with several systems. Laravel is one of my favorites, but its beautiful architecture doesn’t always translate to fast work the way WordPress does. I have helped friends and family start projects on several non-WordPress services. It all depends on what is the best tool for the job.
I even created my own custom CMS for my personal blog. I felt like WordPress was overkill for what I needed. You can use another tool although you generally prefer to work with something else. My custom blogging system was designed especially for me, but now it works on two websites. I had another pretty crazy developer friend to try it out.
My love for WordPress is not absolute. It is not unconditional.
But I still love him. There are thousands of others who also enjoy working with it, and these developers are more likely to tell you what the real the problems with the platform are. We can honestly criticize it because we are in the trenches, working with the platform every day. We know it’s not always the ideal programming experience. We know he has inherited baggage. Despite his warts, we have built something that most others only dream of doing. We have created a large community.
If you thought it was about who had the brightest code, you’d be wrong.
These are business competitors eager to communicate and even help others in their space.
It’s about Five for the future, a program in which companies related to WordPress contribute free software.
It’s about mutual aid forum volunteers lend a hand.
It is about the hundred people on the Make WordPress teams that contribute to various aspects of the project, from code review to translations.
It’s about sharing a drink with a longtime friend you just met IRL for the first time in a WordCamp, although mostly virtual in recent years.
it’s about the podcasts that people produce for the sake of the platform and its surrounding projects.
It’s about leaving your 9 to 5 to start a new business as a plugin developer.
It’s about participating in a movement that has enabled millions of people to post on the web.
No, not all developers who take the annual Stack Overflow survey like WordPress. Most of them can dread working with the platform, and this trend could very well continue. What we have is bigger. WordPress is its community.
It just smacks of another hit piece of a WordPress competitor as we have seen before. At least some of the Wix videos were funny (come on, you know you laughed at at least one or two of them), and people got free headphones through the deal. This Storyblok sponsored post just leaves a bitter taste.
Like my grandmother – probably everyone’s grandmother – used to say, “You catch more flies with honey.” It was an opportunity to sell the features of Storyblok to potential users. Maybe bashing the competition brings traffic, but I doubt it brings goodwill or lasting benefits.