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WordPress has left the building (kevinjohngallagher.com)
229 points by urbanjunkie on Jan 10, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 209 comments

Wait so he's complaining that a free piece of software that is designed to "create a beautiful website or blog" (from Wordpress.org) doesn't cut it as a high powered CMS?

I think if we're honest, wordpress is a blogging platform and if you try to deform it into your own little niche needs, you need to accept the inherent risks.

The post mentions that the issues extend into WordPress' regular redesigns of the admin interface, and their consistent lack of solid testing:

"This would actually be a much smaller issue if it wasn’t for the WordPress’ update schedule. I am 100% for constant updating of software, but the current desire to redesign the AdminUI 2-3 times a year creates a huge amount of friction from both clients and developers."

"Kev, they released a BETA version that they didn’t even load on Windows. The MENU didn’t work. Not some advanced feature throwing a bug, the fucking MENU didn’t work. I can’t test our themes and software against that. Lets be honest mate, how did it get past their tester and release procedure? Oh, thats right, they dont have a Tester. They just load it on their MacBooks and presume it works for the other 95% of the world. It’s a fucking shambles, and clearly they’ve learnt nothing since the 3.0 fuck-up."

I work with WordPress a lot, and have regularly had similar issues. Even as a blogging platform, WordPress is increasingly difficult to manage.

That portion of the post is the opposite of what I'd pick out to illustrate that it has a point. It's just dripping with misplaced rage and entitlement and doesn't even point out a bug in any shipping version of WordPress. It strongly emphasizes the word "BETA" and then goes on to literally curse them out for the fact that it had major bugs. Like, yeah, that's what that means. Do you go grabbing a cook's half-done risotto and tell them to quit because the consistency is terrible?

I agree that WordPress's issues multiply in proportion to how much you want it to do, but the fact that prerelease software has bugs is not one of them.

"... the fact that it had major bugs. Like, yeah, that's what that means."

No, that's not what beta means. I expect core functionality to work properly in a beta. I expect there to be intermittent issues, and I expect advanced/fringe features to maybe sometimes not work. I expect there to be workarounds for most (but not all) issues that crop up. But the freakin' main menu didn't work. How is that beta-quality? I'd hesitate to call it alpha-quality.

And yes, I know, it's open source, it's free, you shouldn't feel entitled. I know. I wrote and maintained open source software for 5 years. But c'mon, from the perspective of the developer, have enough pride in your work to at least do a little testing before throwing a release over the fence.

1. I know definitions are a little hazy, but your definition of a "beta" is not really the traditional meaning. In a beta, core functionality should mostly be there, but it's expected to be buggy. Beta is the point at which most bugs are expected to be worked out, because that's the point when the software is mostly feature-complete. That's why people who use the beta are called "beta testers." I mean, you're welcome to your definitions, but it seems unfair to curse out free software developers for not adopting your personal jargon. (Here's a handy reference for the anonymous downvoter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Bet... ) At any rate, it is certainly not meant to be an end-user release, so if that's the worst accusation you can find to throw at them before you start swearnig, you're really being unfair.

2. The article is a bit vague (which doesn't help its case), but if the bug is the one I'm thinking of, saying that "the main menu didn't work" is a bit of an exaggeration. I believe the actual issue was that the main menu didn't work in Explorer. Broken Explorer support is very common among beta software unless they're specifically targeting Explorer specially.

> your definition of a "beta" is not really the traditional meaning. In a beta, core functionality should mostly be there, but it's expected to be buggy.

I expect bugs, yes, but the "traditional" meaning of beta is that core functionality is done and it's passed through QA and some form of alpha stage with internal and some trusted external testers to catch, at a minimum, glaringly obvious stupidity.

I'll excuse a beta release with some significant but not absolutely critical feature clearly walled off and labelled "this bit doesn't work yet". I'll not excuse one where critical functionality becomes clearly unusable just by virtue of running on a supported platform. That's so beyond the pale for what is -- even if in a twisted/attenuated sense -- a commercial product as to reflect nothing less than utter incompetence.

What disturbed me about this article is the lack of testing. For a major piece of software like Wordpress, ANY release (alpha, beta, whatever) should include a test phase that stalls the release if it doesn't pass.

If Wordpress was mission critical for my business, after reading this article I'd be investigating their build process very carefully. If it turns out that they don't have an effective test phase, I'd be migrating my customers to an alternative as fast as I could.

I think the author's problem, and the problem of nearly every frustrated WordPress user, is that the alternatives aren't nearly as enjoyable to work with as WordPress. It has a nice, understandable, and flexible API, and even though its greatest strengths are really only in blogging, the friendliness of the environment naturally invites stretching its use.

For these people, I would strongly recommend a look at ProcessWire. It's kind of like a radically simplified Drupal that is at least as easy to use as WordPress, if not more so, and has a similar attention to design and detail. I've been using it for a few months now across two very different projects, and I'm wishing I'd found it earlier.

An alternative that is not as well known is ExpressionEngine. FWIW, we've done a slew of EE installs and a few WordPress intalls and clients that have made the switch from EE to WP have loved it. The admin UI is attractive for end users, and when it comes to theming, designers love the flexibility of the layout variations and front-end developers can actually implement said designs without hacking the EE theming system. This is definitely not the case with WordPress.

Here is a great blog post about the transition from WP to EE written by one of our designers - http://www.viget.com/inspire/wordpress-to-expressionengine/

and here is another unique EE site that shows the flexibility of its native theming system -


As someone who's done his fair share of ExpressionEngine development, the template system is a source of endless frustration as soon as you need to do anything remotely complex on the page or deal with user input. It is a great choice for blogging sites where a group of editors publish content to a site in predefined channels, but really falls down if you push it too hard.

Template processing is slow, processing order is wonky, and it's very easy to create N+1 query loops that can only be avoided by writing custom SQL queries/php. They also made some poor database structure choices in certain areas.

Mostly though it just boggles the mind why they put so much effort into creating a regex-based templating system when the app is already just PHP.

Still, probably the best CMS I've used and it certainly has its uses. I just wouldn't use it to develop anything complicated ever again.

> ...that have made the switch from EE to WP have loved it.

Might want to revise that to "from WP to EE."

Yeah, that confused my balls.

Sorry for the confusion - I meant to say "from WordPress to ExpressionEngine" on the first line... I don't know how to edit a post, so I'm just replying here.

I recently went through the process of selecting a CMS for a client. ProcessWire, was the ONLY one I looked at and thought, "ok, now this makes sense." In the end, I couldn't use it because it doesn't yet support repeatable content sections in the admin. Sadly, had to go with Wordpress.

The roadmap for 2012 is actually pretty exciting: http://processwire.com/about/roadmap/

In addition to repeatable fields, they're planning a versioning system, staging states, and even a forms builder. Not exactly earth-shaking for a normal CMS, but these will open up all sorts of possibilities for ProcessWire.

This is the first I've heard of it, but a quick glance at its website suggests that ProcessWire may be very promising. Do you have any additional thoughts on it, having worked with it before?

What took a little while to click with me, and really hit it home for me once it did, is how simple ProcessWire's approach to content and data actually is. Its primary admin UI looks like it's for editing a straightforward site hierarchy, and it certainly can be, but the key is that its "pages" don't have to be web pages. A combination of some simple PHP and some quick setup in the admin lets you build all sorts of things.

At its core, ProcessWire just gives you an extensible, hierarchical (and relational when you need it) model to build upon, and then gives you a really slick jQuery-style syntax by which to access it. You build templates in PHP, but the selector syntax is so easy to work with, it brings to mind WordPress theming.

One of its founding principles is that it is markup-agnostic. I'm using it right now for an XML source that feeds a site (and possibly later a mobile site, an app, or anything), with the XML being a ProcessWire template.

Just my 2 cents about XML. Don't use it as a feed for data. It's better to use JSON. Specially for mobile applications.

At least with ProcessWire, it would be pretty straightforward to re-template it to output JSON instead of XML (or keep both).

If you play it that way: At least WordPress is user friendly ;)

Exactly. I don't keep up with Wordpress too much, but my perception is that you should go with something like Drupal (or other proprietary options) if you want a platform fully capable of being a CMS.

That said, any CMS will struggle with the challenges that he lists. It's not some sort of magical entity where you turn it on and it's perfect.

I feel bad for his clients...

Except that Drupal is, interface-wise, even worse than Wordpress; and management of the damn thing is difficult even for the developers among us. It's hard to recommend it when you know clients/users will struggle with it.

I have been presented with relatively straightforward CMS site concepts and come to the conclusion that they would be better done in Rails or Django than Drupal because a) it would be easier to present a usable interface, and b) those would actually be less likely turn out looking like a tower of paperclips and bubblegum.

This may just be my lack of experience in Drupal talking (I've got plenty of experience in PHP, just not Drupal), but I put a pretty decent amount of thought into the matter and even mocked up simple prototypes just to see if there was something I was missing.

The big difference is that in Drupal it's possible to get pretty far without ever writing a single line of code, even templates. For some use cases that's very powerful, especially an environment where you have trainable, reasonably technical people who aren't programmers.

But for the talented developers and/or programmers on the team, it's a complete productivity and sanity drain. Moreso if you're, say, part of HN's target audience, because you'll know all the modern web development techniques, and you'll be able to use none of them.

I have had an absolutely terrible experience with it, which sadly isn't unique amongst these big PHP projects.

It's not bad once you get your head around it. Sure, it's not buzzword compliant (MVC, TDD, ORM OH MY!) but for what it is, it can be pretty compelling.

My primary job for the last 2 years has been developing a Drupal site for a group of daily newspapers with monthly page views in the low 8 figures.

We were in a situation where we had to get a site up quickly (Our small group was bought off from a much larger conglomerate, so the huge $$$$ Java system we had been using went away). Drupal allows us to get a tolerable site up in about 3 months, and a much better site up about 6 months later. Have there been pain points? Sure. But if we'd used anything else there's no way we would have been on our feet nearly as quickly.

Are we investigating other options? Of course, if I wasn't I wouldn't be doing my job. There's a part of me that would love to rewrite the whole thing in Rails or Django. That would be a huge undertaking though.

I really don't doubt that for many people it has its place, as evidenced by your experience, but the moment you want any semblance of interactivity (at which point you can argue that a CMS is the wrong tool for the job) or efficiency/optimisation, you're screwed.

We've had different experiences, but I wouldn't touch it with a 10' bargepole, not any more. And I'm glad I've been managing to encourage my boss to start moving away from it. The only positive thing I've been able to take from it is a list of things never to do in my own code.

Like I say, it's not just Drupal. It's a side-effect of over-complication in the name of simplicity, and trying to run in parallel a system that makes it easy for non-devs to use. It's a recipe for disaster if you want lean, maintainable code.

Depends. We serve ~40 PHP requests a second (and that's NOT counting stuff that hits the cache) on reasonable hardware - an 8G webserver VM, and a 4G DB VM, both with 4 cores allocated, and hot copies of each for failover. Our site is pretty interactive, and even the stuff that's cached is short (5 minutes or less) timeouts.

The drawback to that is that all configuration goes into the database making deployment very, very difficult.

Oh, and it causes performance problems too.

>and management of the damn thing is difficult even for the developers among us.

Understatement of the year so far.

I love Drupal, but since there's no bright line separating configuration and content, rolling features up from a dev environment to staging to live can sometimes be a nightmare, particularly if the Features and Strongarm modules don't have you covered.

Agreed. Drupal has an incredibly steep learning curve. I was told to learn PHP BEFORE using Drupal and it's been a huge advantage. I can't imagine a non-developer trying to change some content or add a feature themselves.

Drupal is extremely powerful, but would be a nightmare for users used to the WP platform.

Handing a Drupal website over to a client was always hard. No wysiwyg, no automatic updating, built-in dependency hell (that the client can see in /modules), _constant_ warnings about module updates and security updates and core updates and updates of every other kind, make Drupal an extremely tough sell.

Just a few nitpicks;

Drupal does have wysiwyg implemented as a module http://drupal.org/project/wysiwyg (actually several competing editors are possible),

Drupal also can do automated updates, though I wouldn't advise it. Drush works for it, http://drupal.org/project/drush and a lot of people use it with great success. You would want a carefully vetted rollback plan though. The better road is to forgo updates other than security until scheduled maintenance or a MUST have feature is present. The GUI /update process is actually quite nice if you've set everything up properly.

The thing about Drupal is doing everything doesn't have to be painful, but if you've approached it in a "non-Drupal" way it can get bad quickly. Drupal is complex and the hand off to a customer is never easy with complex software. Have you tried the same with Plone?

When was the last time you tried Drupal?

Yep when we had to do work on drupal sites all the junior staff where frightened to even change add a small piece of content as the interface was so bad an the sites where prone to breaking if you made innocuous changes.

For me personally, I'm moving away from Wordpress as well in favor of either hand-written static pages or just rolling quick Sinatra/Rails apps.

Now of course I don't expect that either of these is as user-friendly to many (and they don't solve many of the ailments that he cites without effort), but what I'm trying to escape from are the things that are just 'broken' about Wordpress. I hate the 'loop' that they use. I don't like PHP one bit compared to Ruby. No automated tests. I really dislike the way theming works generally. The layout of the entire application is just wrong to me. I like the ease of deployment, but I've got enough experience that deploying a Sinatra app takes me only seconds.

For me, what Wordpress once did for me quickly is no longer an asset generally. With my personal skills and experience I can much more quickly get a Rails/Sinatra blog off the ground than I can reskin a Wordpress one and beat it into submission.

Some of the stuff he was listing also sounds like his clients want a CRM, something like Salesforce, Dynamics or Basecamp.

really, like what?

Doc management, Workflow management, Digital asset management, User management, Access Management

In order to be deformable and retain its function, you have to build the program in ways that allow it to deform. You have to decouple the various functions. That's why I love Plone so much. Sure, it's alien technology for most, but it's so great I can't stand most CMSs I see being used and marketed as "professional tools".

Wordpress isn't a CMS, SilverStripe is, and it has a full MVC framework that it's built on too - makes coding extensions MUCH nicer than both WP and Drupal (ughhh).

For me it's rails for the complex stuff, SilverStripe for the simple sites. Keeps me and clients happy.

I suspect a lot of people become expert in a "CMS" like WordPress or Drupal, because it seems easier than learning to work with a proper framework like Rails, and then find themselves stuck inside the platform.

Like project management systems, CMS is destined to be reinvented by everyone, every day of the week.

It's very hard to convince people of going with a proprietary, custom solution. Many people have been burnt here, and it's a tough sell to upper management.

All CMS is necessarily a "proprietary, custom solution". All CMS (like all software) exists somewhere on the spectrum of "easy to use" vs "extensible and customizable".

If management chooses to rely on a vendor to set the roadmap, then they are fools, and there's not much you can do to help foolish management.

Here's another vote for SilverStripe. I've run it in production for a year and a half and been very happy with it's performance and caching options. (You can do partial caching all the way up to a full but automated static export.) The MVC framework borrows a bit from rails and makes it one of the nicest PHP CMSes to develop for. It's much more fun than managing WP custom post types and the interfaces I can create for end users are better. Downsides? Documentation could be better and not as many off-the-shelf modules available. Both LibreOffice.org and OpenStack.org are powered by SilverStripe.

I agree SilverStripe is really clean to theme and extend... however some of its base functionality can be a little dodgy at times :)

Still the best open source CMS I have used.

My first inclination is to agree with you. The OP should never have used WordPress as a multi-tenant CMS in the first place. OTOH, he does raise some issues that affect WP use even in its original blogging context. I use WP, I like it, I don't have immediate plans to change, but if I ever personally hit a "this was obviously never tested" case like he did I'd probably change my mind pretty quickly.

WordPress wasn't ever in the building. Or at least it wasn't in the building the author wanted it to be.

Lots of folks have tried to force Wordpress to be more than a blog platform. I've always seen these efforts in the same light as when guys dumps tons of money and time squeezing horsepower of a Honda Civic: end of the day, it's still a Civic that get its lunch eaten by a stock 'Vette.

Look, you just don't get power and flexibility in the same package as intuitive and simple. The best you can do is cut one to boost another. Take iOS. Intuitive as hell. Flexible as a piece of rebar.

Drupal's been mentioned in other comments. It's crazy powerful and very flexible... it's the Corvette to the hopped up Civic that is Wordpress. It's also hard to learn, the interface can be...challenging and the plumbing is complex.

Edit: Downvote me if you must but at least communicate why...did you build a 11 second Civic or something? ;)

as I've viewed when guys dumps tons of money and time squeezing horsepower of a Honda Civic

Exactly. It's still a fucking Honda, and for the time/money spent on it you should have bought a Lexus. Similarly you can tweak wordpress all day long, in the end it's a blogging software.

FWIW, 92% of WordPress users we surveyed are using it as a CMS. People seem to like to say "it's just blogging software" to put us in a box, but people are using it for so much more, and most much happier than the OP.

How did you define CMS? I've learned (the hard way) that the acronym does not have a uniform definition.

Wordpress is the PHP of web publishing platforms. The barrier to entry is low, you can get decent results quickly, and it provides a great deal of power to the unskilled user. There are lots of things that it's good for; I'd say, in fact that in most cases it's all a company needs.

But it's really easy for it to become the only tool in the box, and pretty soon someone is in over his head trying to brute force it into being the solution to a problem that it was never designed to solve.

I d rather have wordpress be the best blogging software then a Swiss army knife that isn't great at anything. Btw I have used wp to do just about anything, but the only times it was great was for blogging.

Even in the best case- dropping an imported B18 into a stripped CRX HF- even though you'll beat many corvettes it's STILL a Honda. A stripped Honda at that.

Now on the other hand, if you started with a British Mini...

> Exactly. It's still a fucking Honda, and for the time/money spent on it you should have bought a Lexus.

At the risk of being pedantic, I think you mean Acura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura).

After about 10 minutes with Plone, a few months with Joomla, about 2 years with Drupal, and finally 3 years with WordPress, I think WordPress is still a brilliant solution for lots of problems.

The closest competitor, Drupal, is an absolute nightmare. For designers, developers and certainly for the end user. It still doesn't even ship with a wysiwyg editor—hard to disagree that this is precisely what the end user wants.

In Drupal, developing themes is a nightmare, theming Views output is an absolute disaster, and upgrading modules/core will almost certainly result in a whitescreen.

I don't see an alternative to WordPress at the moment. If you want to give you clients a reasonable admin interface I don't see another way around it. And I don't find that clients mind it changing 2-3 times a year—they all say it gets better each time.

Though it certainly is blog-oriented, and you will have to twist and bend it to act as a CMS, having to do this is a lot more fun than trying to wrangle a Views template file.

It's safe to say that you didn't have a great Drupal experience, but did you really spend two years working with it and not see its advantages? I would have moved on long before that.

Drupal does have a steep learning curve, and it is certainly not for everyone. Out of the box, it's extremely easy to install... but you end up with nothing more than Wordpress until you extend it. The goal with any project though should be to find the tool that works best for the situation. For me, Drupal is (or at least can be) the answer the majority of the time.

Once you get Drupal, understand where everything is, comprehend nodes, can appreciate the beauty of blocks, and can recall which module you need for the specific situation - Drupal goes from being a nightmare to a dream. Projects that would normally take days to code in PHP or Rails end up taking hours with Drupal. You never have to think about validation, mobile compliance, or site speed if you know how to customize Drupal. To me, the best part is the community. Time and money is saved thanks to the huge number of modules and themes to choose from.

If you end up giving it another shot, check out the lynda training videos or grab a book from Amazon.

Drupal is halfway between an application framework (like Ruby) and a CMS (like Wordpress). For complex, content-driven sites there's nothing out there that comes close to providing the functionality that it does.

It's definitely overkill for a simple Wordpress style use case, where you have a user who wants to post to a blog. But it provides a lot of the functionality that the OP listed as missing from Wordpress.

There are plenty of cases where you would not need a WYSIWYG editor on a website - for example, when it's simply providing a web services API to another application, when it's just a front-end aggregating content from another source or when it's being used for mobile. All of which you can do with Drupal.

It's certainly not perfect, but it's definitely got it's uses.

Ruby isn't an application framework. You're probably thinking of Rails.

I already posted about this in a different sub-thread, but it's applicable here as well: Take a look at ProcessWire. It might very well cover 80% of Drupal's use cases, it's vastly easier to set up, extend, and maintain, and the admin UI is exquisitely minimal. I've used it on two projects so far, and with its roadmap, it's looking like my go-to CMS for years to come.

Drupal actually has a different paradigm than what most other CMSes atleast pretend at - PAC (http://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/mvc-vs-pac)

The fact that modules break, etc. imho is a Good Thing - in following the rule of "failing fast". Since, you dont need to change/hack the drupal core to do anything complex, if a module is breaking it is typically highlighting incompatibilities with other modules (99.99% of the time). Giving a white screen on module install is exactly the right time to have it happen, rather than 1 month later, when it goes live.

I completely agree with you on the admin UI part - I had just two main peeves with Drupal 6: Postgres support, which got fixed in Drupal 7 and admin UI, which is not yet done. I also wish that they provide a couple of starter "installation profiles" - blog, wiki, corporate, etc. - enabling a quick start for 99% of the population.

Agreed. Before Automattic hired an in-house ui/ux person the admin interface was pretty rough and not pleasant to look at and reasonably okay to use. Moving forward from 3.0 the admin interface should still about the same with incremental refinements.

"""After about 10 minutes with Plone, a few months with Joomla, about 2 years with Drupal, and finally 3 years with WordPress, I think WordPress is still a brilliant solution for lots of problems."""

I agree. And I think this says a lot of the sorry state of Open Source (actually, even proprietary) CMS engines.

Wordpress is kinda nice, but it too breaks down.

For sites after a certain level of complexity, instead of CMS like Drupal etc, what would be useful would be a CMS lib, to build your own solution around.

Don't have my work in your idiotic constraints, just give me something like (fake language):

front_page_articles = get("type"=>"article", "limit"=>5, "published"=>true, "order"=>"DESC");

search_results = search("query"=>$query, "limit"=>100, "order"=>"RELEVANCE", "range"=>[10,20]);

add_document("body"=>$body, "title"=>$title, "createdBy"=>getCurrentUser().id. ...);

The thing that Apache Jackrabbit could be, but isn't exactly/yet.

I know this is a rant, but I get tired of companies with $750k worth of "department heads" and "managers of x" all balanced on re-purposed open source software that was never meant to do what they're trying to do.

Listen: fire a pair of "department heads", hire a pair of very good coders from the community surrounding the project you're trying to use and make the changes you want. Bonus points for giving back those changes to the project when you're done.

Bitching that the free software you tried to perch your business on isn't meeting your needs is just bad form.

I agree. My agency has developed and hosts about 40 WordPress sites for corporate, NPO and start up type businesses. They range from hundreds of pages of complex e-commerce to actual blogs and micro-sites. We have serious PHP devs in house and we write and maintain our own plugins that do everything from talk to Facebook and Twitter to create Google maps and manage complex event registration and payment forms. We also contribute to the core.

WordPress is the best choice for our clients, because it's easy for them to use, FULL STOP.

Enhancing that great UX with our own sauce is hard work, but it pays of for them in the day-to-day and for us in the long run. (Referrals and repeat business.)

The OP may have left the building, but WordPress is sticking around for a long time.

Hello everyone,

I'm Kevinjohn Gallagher, the author of the post.

While I really appreciate all the comments, quite a few folks here have made presumptions that are really wide of the mark.

I love WordPress. I use it for my personal site, and thats not going to change. WordPress is very good at what it does, and Im in no way down on it for that; its just that the needs of my small company is now very different that the options WordPress gives us. There's no real drama there.

What has driven this decision though, is that sites that could/should/have-already been running nicely on WordPress have really been let down by a number of changes in the 3 releases in the last year. We deal with a lot of smaller government and charity websites - which don't pay well - and they simply can't handle the AdminUI changing every 16 weeks. To us techies thats a long time, to your average "Joe Public", thats quite a lot. Given that most of these people have really strict usage requirements (colour blind, no use of mouse, etc) the new WordPress 3.3 AdminUI is shockingly inaccessible.

So much of the change involved in the WordPress product is horribly unmanaged. And thats ok, it's free software. For our small company, this doesn't work for us anymore, so we move on. I wrote the post on my personal website, simply as a marker, to give myself closure more than anything. I'm not really sure how or why thats offended so many of you, but I'm more than happy to talk it through over e-mail ;)

Thanks, Kevinjohn =========

We're a 5 person company, with 2-4 freelancers as needed. We're definitely not some $750k a website agency as someone mentioned. Heck thats more than double our turnover for the year!

> So much of the change involved in the WordPress product is horribly unmanaged.

As the volunteer admin of a small blog network, I cannot agree more.

Having to upgrade whole versions just to get a security fix is terrible practice, but I'm forced to do it.

Agreed, my highly customized installs are occasionally broken by the upgrades, so I was really happy find this plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hotfix/

However, it's often a band-aid that isn't big enough for the wound.

I'm looking forward to your followup post. Primarily, what you ended up switching to and if and when you have moved your clients off of WordPress, what their reaction was.

I've found that a primary reason companies start using WordPress is because the administrative console is literally the only one intuitive enough to use for most non-technical users. I see in your post and this comment that part of issues with WP is because of Admin UI changes, but I'd still bet on WPs Admin UI. I'll be curious as to your reaction when the grumbles of your devs are replaced with the grumbles from the people who write the checks.

Welcome to software. If it isn't changing, it's probably been abandoned.

I hope you're being sarcastic, I'm a techie and I let out a small curse whenever I log into a new WP Admin console.

Generally speaking software tends to either start powerful and try to work its way towards usability, or start usable and try to work its way towards power. The latter approach almost always beats the former.

A simple but usable product attracts new users, those new users eventually start demanding features, the features eventually get added, the new features make the product attractive to more people, some of those people become new users, they demand even more features, etc. It's a virtuous circle.

The powerful but complicated product, on the other hand, doesn't attract new users, and its existing users learn to live with its idiosyncrasies, either because they want to or because their boss orders them to. So there's never enough real pressure on the developers to make it truly usable, which means it doesn't attract new users, which means there's no pressure to make it more usable, etc. It's a vicious circle.

WordPress has been pursuing the start-simple-and-get-powerful model, and they've made a lot more progress in that direction over the last couple of years than the start-powerful-and-get-usable (Drupal, Plone, TYPO3, etc.) have at making themselves more usable.

I do know nothing about Plone and TYPO3, but I had quite a lot of experience with Wordpress and Drupal. Do not be tricked by default Drupal installation UI. Drupal is very configurable by downloading right modules. (obviously you need to have experience with Drupal to know that).

And I am not talking about code side...

> Do not be tricked by default Drupal installation UI

Defaults are extremely powerful things. For most users they are all of your product they will ever experience.

If your default settings are off-putting, people will feel that your software is off-putting. The defaults are the welcome mat. If the welcome mat is studded with titanium spikes coated with blowfish toxin, you shouldn't be surprised if people aren't eager to walk through the door.

You are talking about _users_, not developers developing _for_ users.

Op is _developer_.

This piece is not particularly constructive. While it's not required for an opinion piece to present the perfect alternative in order to rant against the status quo...to say "Wordpress sucks" and say nothing about the alternatives...? What good does that do?

I can think of lots of alternatives for the OP but all of them have certain costs/tradeoffs that are prohibitive in many scenarios. The OP goes into great detail describe how WP doesn't meet his needs...I'm really fascinated to know what alternative he's considered that does meet his clients need and that is realistically doable?


The author does not understand that if a theme is designed properly, an admin can mark comment as spam without editing the post. In addition, just about every single thing he thinks core Wordpress lacks can be added easily with a plug-in.

Sir, you have missed the point.

You need the CAPABILITY to be able to edit posts to be able to mark comments as spam. Many of my clients want to be able to delegate SPAM marking, but not have that person be able to edit any content on the website.

WordPress has hardcoded these two CAPABILITIES together for the last 13 releases.

Personally, I would create my own fork with this capability and try to convince Wordpress to incorporate my changes.

How certain are you that you're going to find software that won't have similar problems? One of the reasons I like open source is that I have control and can make changes when necessary.

edit - also, you basically have customers that are saying they have a pain point, please solve it. I would tell them that Wordpress is designed for the majority and there may be edge cases that don't cover their particular usage. If they would like a customized solution, you can do it for them but it will cost x amount of dollars.

What about using spam filters + Disqus?

<1% of spam gets through by using spam filters.

Consider this: in defense of WP, you're suggesting that the OP work around broken ACLs by installing a theme which allows users to circumvent the security model.

Goodbye Swiss army knife. Although you are great at opening wine bottles, cutting pieces of paper, cutting string and making notches in pieces of wood, you do not:

1. Allow me to kill deer. 2. If I had a dead deer, you do not allow me to cleanly gut it. 3. After gutting the deer, you also do not allow me to cook the deer.

Goodbye Swiss Army knife. I'll miss you, but my clients who don't know how to use the right tool for the right situation won't.

Mr. Gallagher clearly didn't know how to explain to his clients that there isn't a one size fits all solution and that you need to use many tools to get complex business tasks done.

I'd like to respond to some things a number of people have commented on HN here...

1) Wordpress might seem like just a blogging engine, but this is not how the WP developers see it -- on the Wordpress .org About page, it's described as "[Wordpress] has evolved to be used as full content management system" (sic). So they expect people to use it as a CMS. 2) Plone, unless you have a lot of technical chops, is a nightmare to use and maintain. My SO had one set up for her non-profit less than a year ago and they've had so many problems with memory, weird WYSIWIG bugs/behavior (stripping all sorts of tags, including nobr, for one), confusing configuration, costly and/or poor quality plugins, frequent need to modify source, etc that they're looking to move off it ASAP. So I wouldn't recommend it if you're setting up an instance for non-technical folk.

>So they expect people to use it as a CMS.

And they appear to facilitate that. But, it tellingly IMO, doesn't say that WP was designed as a CMS or even that it was modified to become a CMS just that it has grown to be used as a CMS.

Things changed drastically with 3.0. Wordpress is now much better described as a CMS with built-in blogging defaults.

This guy seems to be arguing that Wordpress should turn into a Drupal-like app, which it was never designed to do. Although I am also guilty of using WP for CMS on some simple sites, this is mostly due to convenience of installation and (mostly) ease of use for clients. I don't think most developers who use WordPress seriously consider it a "professional" CMS solution.

On the other hand, the alternatives kind of suck. This author doesn't even recommend one, which is odd considering he purports to have recommended WP to everyone for the last 4 years. Most other CMS solutions I've used over the last years have either been vastly overkill and overly cumbersome, or still severely lacking the features he describes as lacking in WP. It usually turned out almost as easy to develop your own skeleton CMS depending on the site's needs.

Also, why is the font on the site so large?

The font size seems fine to me (Windows Vista, Firefox). The lack of an apostrophe in the last word, however, is killing me.

For some reason the site is trying to fill my entire monitor even though I have my window using only half the screen (Chrome, OSX). The font size I'm seeing is 25px for the body text...

It's also pretty large for me too, font size 25px.

Another error I caught: softwre

I guess he needs spell check on top of WYSIWYG, too?

I disagree with most of the content. WordPress is a great CMS and it can be used for it. I do advanced projects and it fits fine. The list of his hard truths isn't that hard. Some of them are just rare cases that most people even irritate at.

The Admin UI doesn't get a redesign 2-3 times a year. There is a big difference between redesign and adjusting. Most of the buttons are still on the same place as in WordPress 2.8. They only got replaced or have different colors. Maybe they should create admin themes so you have the ability to hold down some versions.

I think he and his team should stop complaining about things where they never tried to make it better. At least it doesn't stand in that post. I do think that WordPress can and should do a better job and I am do help a little bit with it. That was something they should do to.

The complaint about a Beta product is just lame. It's a beta version. What can you expect. A lot of Beta version of other software do break things.

This is just my point of view. If you dive into WordPress Core files you can find solution for problems you thought WordPress couldn't handle. Sometimes it can be little bit ugly code tho.

Time and again, people want to use a hacked up blogging engine as a CMS and lament that it is not working.

Use a CMS that's been around for more than decade which has all the features you want in a proper CMS (single sign on, WYSIWGY, multi-lingual support, a huge community of developers and service providers).

ie., Plone -- http://plone.org

The problem with CMSes that have "all the features you want" is that they have so many features that the average user who just needs to plonk some content down on a page and periodically edit it can't wade through all the features to figure out how to do that.

(I don't say this to pick on Plone -- I'm a big fan of the TYPO3[1] CMS, for instance, which does lots of the things that he mentions very well, but the downside to that power is that it's insanely hard for normal people to pick up and use.)

[1] http://typo3.org

A few years ago i recommended website baker as a nice simple CMS, which is also hackable if necessary. That was three years ago. Maybe the situation has changed, but i would never recommend a complexity-monster like Typo3. Typo3 is "enterprisy" in the negative sense.


Don't be too hard on TYPO3, it has its virtues. For instance, it has the most elegant handling of multilingual content I've ever found in fifteen years of working with CMSes. But for a small single-language site (i.e. 99% of the sites people develop) it's definitely overkill.

For as complex as it is, TYPO3 is pretty usable. I built a site on TYPO3 before I ever messed with WordPress some 6 years ago. Now that I think of it, I'd probably opt for TYPO3 before Drupal.

CMS is a grown-up software.

Selecting and using a CMS requires time, preparation and mostly importantly a budget. If you haven't considered the any of these, then you can't really afford a CMS.

This is an awesome way to rationalize writing software that nobody uses.

I also want it to be easily adjustable to arbitrary needs. This doesn't cut it.

Also, Zope based. I worked with Zope building large portals from 2000-2004. Worked, but not a very pleasant experience.

Plone has improved a lot in the past 8 years.

Zope is just a datastore that happens to be well suited for storing documents. Bad things happened because people did too much magic with zope. "With power comes responsibility" etc.,

What he never says in the article — and what I'd love to know - is what platform is he migrating his clients to? I also wonder if we've grown to expect too much from WordPress: It really started life as a blogging tool - the charm of it was that it wasn't a full fledged CMS.

WordPress core is not trying to be all things to all people. But can he tell me a CMS that makes it simpler to build out the requirements for a vast majority of the websites in the world?

If you are looking for a custom feature set on a project that you claim WordPress doesn't meet your needs, then build a custom CMS for the job and charge appropriately. WordPress allows organizations and individuals to have massive power in their website for a fraction of the cost of a custom CMS. And in comparison to a custom CMS, it gets a great deal of testing.

WordPress is always looking for new contributors, and if your solution isn't something that works for core and the WordPress core philosophy, then you can extend your idea via a plugin.

And in the author's list of things WordPress "has either no, or severely limited" support for, he is way off the boat. There are a slew of highly talented developers that either having working solutions for or are working on almost all of those things, and more.

Good post. Curious, though, about what alternatives they're testing. Wish this would have read less like a eulogy and more like suggestions for potential fixes.

There could hardly be a broader and more vague software category than "CMS". As an exercise, write down the top ten features you expect from a CMS. See how these lists compare.

(Not disputing OP's critique of WordPress dev and testing.)

Come on folks, Wordpress is a CMS. It manages content, and has more features than half the other CMSs. At this point the blogging setup that comes by default is just built on top of general abstractions.

I've used it for plenty of projects, and IMO there are two things holding it back: the violent release cycle (frequent UI changes, out-of-date plugins, mandatory major upgrades) and the shitty performance (a standard install gets barely a single request/second on a common shared box, for a content-rich page - file based caching doesn't help much).

On the other side it's the most flexible, easy to customize and pleasant to use CMS out there. It's a shame, really.

I've used Wordpress on a number of sites for small businesses & restaurants lately. In every case it has fit the bill.

Other CMSs I've looked at are way overkill, and while I've toyed with the idea of building my own custom CMS, the fact is I can get everything I need in a 5-minute WordPress installation and 30 minutes of plugin configuration. Theme development is straight-forward and relatively well-documented.

The investment in rolling your own is a mite more than 35 minutes. Even the act of walling off or hiding portions of Drupal is more involved than that.

I have used Wordpress extensively for any dozens of websites.

"The straw the that broke the camel’s back? My Account Manager: How can we claim that [WordPress] is the CMS for our clients, when you need the capability to edit ANY content on the website simply to mark a comment as spam?"

1) That generally makes sense. You need the ability to edit content in order to edit content (in this case, comments).

2) I have never had a client require a user account which can edit comments but not edit content. This is an extreme edge case.

Wordpress has exploded in popularity largely because of its ease of use. When you start to build a system which incorporates every possible feature to please every user, it will start to suck.

If you have a requirement that is not served with Wordpress (1) built it as a plugin or (2) use another system like Drupal. It is that simple.

I have never had a client require a user account which can edit comments but not edit content. This is an extreme edge case.

Actually, that's a moderator.

Cached version. He's using Wordpress and probably doesn't have a caching plugin installed.


These are the growing pains a lot of WP developers face at some point.

The problem is that WordPress is really, really good at basic things. Things which involve end users and ease of functionality, this covers quite a bit of actual work.

The problem arises when you need to extend that functionality outside the box, you're used to working with something great, you're taking it for granted that it can do anything.

Well it can't, some very basic functions like say a forms API or media API which you consider essential , does not even exist.

I think there has been a strain lately that the core team, especially with J. Wells leadership, has concentrated WAY to much on UI and Design. Developers are starting to look elsewhere for actual functionality that keeps up, the problem is so far there is not much out there that is easy to use.

I think WP is great and the platform has tons of neat plugins. However, even though people try to use WP as a general purpose CMS, it still has its roots in blogging.

Wordpress is still great for small businesses. The problems he was listing off tend to be issues for large organizations.

This is exactly the correct response to this article. He is looking for features this platform is not intended for. Developers have mutated this system by building a ton of plugins that extend WP to match a full featured CMS, and to be honest that's what most people look for, an easy solution to extend a website and connectivity with the popular API's like twitter, dropbox, flickr, crm's , etc. But you should be aware of its limitations.

I've found WordPress to be perfect for small-medium sized things. Blog posts/news, static pages, image galleries, easy Youtube, dead simple social addons, etc, etc.

I'd argue that WordPress is extremely solid and mature for these uses.

Funny at least one BIG publisher i know of is looking to move from MT to WP

All content management systems suck. Why? Because no size fits all. At least that's the conclusion I draw after having worked with WP, EE, Drupal, Joomla, Typo3, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, OpenText, Plone, Orchard, OpenText etc..

At one point most projects will hit a wall where the demands outgrow the constraints of the framework. So, if you're lucky, your framework will end up being somewhat flexible. Stability and good testing practices are also important and often neglected.

"If you get an Answer you don't like, probably you asked the wrong question"

As someone stated in the comments. Wordpress isn't the solution to all. Mainly it's a blogging system with the possibilities to add some static content. Of course there are many plugins which enrich the wordpress expirience but a blogging system stays a blogging system at heart.

If you speak words like

* Document Management * Workflow Management or * Digital Asset Management

It's most likely you misunderstood Wordpress and it's capabilities from begin.

I personally use Wordpress for many purposes private and for professional work. But if the client's demands are to high i switch instantly to better suiting solutions (which does not mean that wordpress is bad but probably not suitable for all use-cases) which makes the client even happier.

About selling the right thing:

If you go to the customer and tell him "This one-shot solution will be Wordpress and you can do everything with it !" You already oversold it and probably you should speak with your business development guys ;)

One point i agree is the release schedule, which creates quite a lot of work trying to stay up to date with every wordpress instance you have. But i never saw the so called "perfect solution" not in OpenSource and not in "I pay fricken lot money for licences"-Software.

just my two cents

All the things he listed that WordPress doesn't have are the reasons why I like it. With the exception of better caching/CDN integration, I like that WordPress is simple, straightforward, and super hackable with plugins and theme functions. A lot of people don't even know all the capabilities. Few know about the WP Transients capabilities, for example. They're quite powerful and useful.

Transients API is exactly what I've been looking for, thank you. The WordPress Codex is not really in a good shape I think.

Glad I could help out. The Codex is in great shape, I think they just have to prioritize their time and they don't have huge human resources to focus on everything. Focusing on the Thumbnails section, for instance, might serve more people than the Transients API. But the Transients stuff is pretty neat and there are other little hooks and functions that really do a lot :)

What's the alternative?


(Although it has it share of cons too, it can do many of the items on the list. Some require coercing, but doable.)

edit, in progress:

- Document management- No, not Word, Excel files etc. but can do revisions/diffs on site content, and manage files to some degree.

- Workflow management- http://drupal.org/project/workflow

- Digital asset management- http://drupal.org/project/media

- Link management - http://drupal.org/project/pathauto and others... not sure what you need here.

- User management - Default may do what you need, can do more.

- ESI Caching / CDN ability. - (no esi in drupal 7) / http://drupal.org/project/cdn

- WYSIWYG editing- Many options but sometimes flaky.

- Single Sign-on- http://drupal.org/project/bakery

- Multi-side Admin - Not sure. Different user groups can have different access.

- Publishing options - Quite a few. what do you need?

- Access Management - http://drupal.org/project/acl and more.

- Application - ?

- Multi-lingual - http://drupal.org/project/i18n

- n-to-n content sharing- user to user sharing?

- Reporting - what kind?

Disclaimer: I've used it for a few projects; More experience than word-press or joomla.

Disclaimer: i've used Drupal for a couple of projects and I like it for its easyness for noncoder, this is just about the cons: Drupal is very good and powerful (i think the best part is the ability to create custom contents with CCK - now included in core in D7), surely more "CMS" than WP, but it's far from being perfect. As someone wrote in another comment, sometimes it's a nightmare (theming or just finding the right module and hoping it wont give you problems with other modules). There are also people saying it has become more and more overbloated http://www.unleashedmind.com/en/blog/sun/the-drupal-crisis others stating that it's better to move to more developing oriented framework: http://erickennedy.org/Drupal-7-Reasons-to-Switch and big consulting company that has worked with Drupal and is now moving to other: http://drupalradar.com/breaking-development-seed-quits-drupa...

I think every single CMS/platform/framework can be criticized or even demonized if you search well.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Expression Engine yet and am curious to hear people's opinions about it.

I am developing a site in Expression Engine at the moment. First time with it and first time using php in a major project. (At the moment I identify myself as a Rails guy with no php experience)

EE is pretty powerful in enabling you to get a site with multiple customized CRUD data up and running quick. Though the makers of EE need to do some serious work on documentation, as it took me about a week to fully understand how all the parts fit together (Our designer is having major issues wrapping her head around it). As with most any other CMS, when you hit the limit of EE, it is a hassle to add that one small item you need.

There is an active 3rd party plugin community. With quite a few being paid plugins.

The overall license charge and additional plugins are just a drop for any major project. It is exciting to know there are a few 3rd party folks making some good money on small EE plugins. I may just write a few of my own.

I have experience with the old version of EE in which the docs were quite good, so I'm surprised to hear there are now problems with it.

In general the plugins / addons create much less problems than the Drupal equivalents. Also, from what I heard is that it's now easier to hack EE through its CodeIgniter base.

Prce is an issue, but really, what is 200USD if you're billing thousands for the whole project? Lack of a demo, no excuse for that if it really is the case.

A lot of us would love to be able to chime in on EE, I'm sure. Not having a downloadable demo or some way of checking out without paying $200 makes it way lower down the list when you're looking for alternatives.

I would love to check it out; but if I don't like it or it won't work for my clients it's a total hassle.

Not having a demo available is beyond ridiculous. I asked about it in their forums and was told to email sales. I went ahead with the purchase anyway.

It would not take much for them to setup a personal sandbox demo just like spree commerce does ( http://spreecommerce.com/demo )

It can't be that they don't want people to think the product is too complicated before purchase, as their after purchase help docs are limited and they have no personal follow up or checkin.

You can usually email them to ask for a free license for testing purposes. Their customer service team has been pretty awesome in my experiences.

Suggested using EE before for a few clients. They turned down because of the license and hassle to renew it.

EE simplified their license with version 2, and there is no ongoing/renewal license fee: http://expressionengine.com/sales_faq/article/do_i_have_to_b...

This was for 2.0. Back then it was 1.6. No longer look at EE these days, just make use of FuelPHP.

We're working hard at building the best fully hosted one at http://www.webpop.com

Our aim is to get close to the power of something like Drupal with a simple and usable interface that's a joy to use. All fully hosted, requiring no maintenance.

We're the only hosted system that is also truly extendible (you can build extensions in server-side javascript) and we're seeing both tiny one-pages and large content driven pages being built with our product by now.

Concrete5 is a pretty cool new CMS that has a lot of the features that this guy asks for. http://www.concrete5.org/

Thanks! Appreciate the mention. We try to bring some new approaches to the open source cms space. (note: I'm the core team leader of concrete5)

I recently released the first version of Wheelhouse CMS - https://www.wheelhousecms.com, which is a Rails-based CMS including WYSIWYG editing, template-based form generation, media library, plugins and a decent UI.

It's not free software but from my biased perspective its by far the best CMS I've ever used and my clients love it.

Demo here: http://demo.wheelhousecms.com

That's the sad part of the story.

Write spec, hire dev, build your own.

I can't think of a bigger waste of time. That is, unless you've somehow convinced a client to pay you to do it.

I suggest Drupal for huge projects but in many case Drupal is so advanced for creating a medium-sized project. For the beginning it may be hard but when you created your CMS or a CMS framework (I would prefer calling CMS framework for such a system), you will found it's incredibly flexible and easy (in many cases) to setup a new project as Drupal or any other CMS.

your second sentence answers your doubts from the first.

WordPress can be installed on hosted Web server space under a user account with no admin access. Plone needs admin rights and runs a daemon. Note: I'm not suggesting that the author's organisation did use WP that way.

I agree with others above that the author could have mentioned alternatives.

If you want a CMS and know what a full fledged CMS does, you wouldn't even mention wordpress in the same sentence.

Ease of install and being able to run on a $3/mo hosting plan is not the game CMSes play.

True, but WordPress can play that managed server game, and we know little of what kinds of installation the author was talking about.

PS: I was thinking more £30 to £100/month with someone else handling the platform...

concrete5 cms is pretty decent.

You may well be right, but I think you should have disclosed your status in the concrete5 community and the fact that you've contributed code to concrete5 and created the blog app.

Mostly because as a first-time poster, no-one knows you here and it would be good to see some impartiality or at least a critical argument about what sets concrete5 apart in respect to addressing the concerns of the article.

buro9, I guess I should have, but i merely stated that a CMS that i know and actively develop for vs. one that the OP is apparently unhappy with. I'm not a bot trying to funnel people into concrete5, I merely intended to provide an alternative without jumping down OP's throat with a canned "critical argument" because I am not a concrete5 evangelist or anything of that sort.

Heh. I'm sure no one else posting in these threads has any sort of deep ties to the software they're recommending.

I have worked in the Enterprise CMS field for most of my dev career. Its pretty much impossible to be "All things to All people" which seems to be the requirement for CMS these days.

There seems to be dozen of CMS users:

* Marketing (free form, reporting, link management)

* Document Management users (structured, access management)

* Store front aka E-Commerce (structured)

* Simple Company Site (blog/wiki)

What I routinely see is CMS' that try to solve all these problems. OR the CMS is basically just a platform/library which really doesn't help the end user.

Part of this is what caused me to start http://snaphop.com which is a mobile campaign management (cms for marketeers) instead of the general mobile content management which has the same problems above except for mobile.

> "Additionally this causes immense trouble for our clients and users who WordPress consider to be “edge cases”, that they no longer cater for. That covers disabled users, colour blind users, those not using a mouse.."

Most every other CMS would not be suitable for disabled users, colour blind users, those not using a mouse.. (unfortunately).

> "those not using a desktop PC"

Wordpress had a pretty nice official mobile interface.

> "those using a microsoft browser, especially those using IE6 or IE7"

IE6 is not supported by most website. Facebook recently stopped supporting IE7. IE8+ works fine.

> "(Bluntly, if you’re not using a Mac, look out)."

There is no basis for this comment.

I am not sure why we are giving this author this much attention.

The beauty of WordPress to me is that you can install it for just about anybody and they pick it up right away. Te plugin ecosystem is fantastic for specialized functionality.

I don't really agree with the OP that all of the workflow functionality belongs in the core. If he thinks this is something a lot of users want, why doesn't he write a plugin? If he's right (and maybe he is..?) then it would be a huge hit.

If more hooks are needed to allow plugin developers to implement these things and make WordPress more competitive with enterprise CMS systems, I would support that. But I would not support adding a bunch of complexity to the core.

Until now I haven't really been able to encapsulate my feelings towards Wordpress, but this hits most of the big points. One can really only do so much with custom post types and custom fields before the question has to be asked if it would better to build a new CMS.

Rolling a custom CMS every time a client needs something isn't really a good, flexible solution. There are other options out there, like CMSes built on top of existing frameworks (e.g. Diem or Sympal, which are built on Symfony), but I'm not really sure how viable those are. I am curious if anyone else has other ideas...

Man what a surprising bunch of uneducated crap I've been reading. Have any of you heavy criticizers installed it, learned how to develop themes, and gain a complete and full understanding of the WP core and the incredibly impressive Codex with a bajillion helpful functions at your disposal?

I've developed customized WP sites for things like realtors, business directories, news sites, restaurants, online stores, local governments, and quite a few small/medium sized businesses.

The only way to use WP to it's full advantage is to first of all, take advantage of custom post types and taxonomies. Organize your content. Also, you need to customize the backend so you're only allowing you client to see certain information. There are great plugins available such as Adminimize, and the User Role Editor for properly assigning permissions to your user roles.

As far as security is concerned, this obviously depends on the administrator. Simple things such as not using "admin" as the administrator, and NOT using wp-admin as your path for the backend, proper file permissions on the WP installation dir, etc, are all simple practices.

To say WP is just blogging software obviously means you haven't been paying attention for the past 3 years.

I guess someone should tell TechCrunch, BoingBoing, GigaOM and the rest of the large sites on WordPress to stop using WordPress, because it's not a CMS, or so we're being told.

What people don't seem to get that WordPress has been morphing from "just" a blogging platform to a CMS ever since 3.0 shipped. It'll just be a matter of time before most of the legacy stuff is gone and we'll have a CMS that can do blogging instead of the other way around.

TechCrunch, BoingBoing, and GigaOM are blogs though. That is specifically what WordPress is designed for.

Sure, you can use WordPress as a pretty good CMS, but there are going to be cases that WordPress chooses not to handle. Some of those cases seem to be what this guy needs in his site, so he's not using WordPress. That's it.

It's hard to say that TechCrunch is just a blog now; it's complex site with millions of pages views that probably uses lots of the CMS features of WordPress.

While it's true that TechCrunch-the-brand isn't just a blog now (it's an event! it's awards! it's an investor! it's InternetDrama!), www.techcrunch.com-the-website really is just a blog. A big blog admittedly, but still a blog.

And unless I'm missing something, www.techcrunch.com isn't even a complex site: blog posts in the left-hand column followed by comments, a smattering of basic widgets in the right-hand column, and ... uh ... that's it?

"X is not Y"

"Please someone inform Z (people/companies that abuse X as Y or even use it as K<<Y)"

Doesn't look that smart this way, now, does it?

Plugins often cause more problems than they solve.

I had way too many situations where a plugin would break after a WordPress update and the author wouldn't support it anymore.

Also, there are malicious plugins on WordPress.org with no direct way to submit report or post a warning. Can you imagine a FaceBook widget that after a while of use starts to promote some rogue site?

I don't get what kind of business goes out recommending WordPress to a bunch of clients as a CMS platform to begin with. I always thought WordPress was a quick yet flexible blogging tool for a one-to-five-man team who doesn't want to get into serious development but just needs to get some content out there. In that regard WordPress does the job more than adequately. He cites department heads and account managers giving him shit over how this or that doesn't work. If they've all been getting a paycheck out of a free blogging engine until now then it sure as hell seemed to have served their business well. Throwing together a quick blog in WordPress is something you do for a computer illiterate aunt who wants to write about her recipes.. probably not something you'd want to build an entire business on.

A business like TechCrunch, that was acquired by AOL last year?

TechCrunch produces content and as such I'm sure they were well served by WordPress.

The OP's company is in the business of selling WordPress-based solutions and that to me seems like a shaky business at best. In another post the OP clarified himself in saying that they are not a large business and mostly work with non-profit and small organization without a large development budget so I guess now his write-up makes more sense. But perhaps instead of ragging on WordPress for not being something they were hoping it to be, they should be thanking the authors of WordPress for for creating a tool and releasing it free of charge allowing the OP's company to stay in business for this long.

Ranting much? wordpress is good at 2 things, blogs and simple websites, it always been good at that (and will probably stay the easiest solution for that)

His company requirements outgrew Wordpress, its how you can resume that big article.. I also don't understand his 'windows' problems? I guess he is talking about ie7 and less, and well in a beta you can expect problems with legacy.

Your a real wp dev? well you know where to draw the line where wordpress becomes a drag, and act consequently, that does not mean removing it entirely from your stack, that just mean using something more custom when the situation arise.

I'm sorry but 3/4 of the world web agencies can't create a better user experience as far as the administration panel is concern.. It's the best bang for buck for simple content and blog websites.

Maybe this guy just got the wrong people around him too..

Having quite a lot of experience with clients wanting to build next social network, yelp, online store using word press, I wrote article "Why Wordpress is Bad" - http://www.yepcorp.com/blogs/pavel-karoukin/why-wordpress-ba... a while ago.

tl;dr; Wordpress is great for a blog. I think they put a lot of effort to make UI perfect for single user blog. And it is easy to install. But what happens next - people try to do something with wordpress it not supposed to do. And that's where problems start comming.

why have a tester work on a beta version? It's free software labelled Beta , it doesn't load on IE x , this happens. If it was released as stable, then there's a reason. You wouldn't be deploying the beta version to your clients anyway. But here is the point. You are running a for profit business, use a tool that fits the needs of your clients and the skill set of your staff. Have it built. WordPress doesn't have the features you need, things you want are not on the roadmap, and it's buggy. Why didn't you switch away earlier ?

What is a better CMS solution? I have client who is asking me to build a WordPress CMS, but after reading this I'd like to hear what the better and easier (to implement & use) alternatives are.

Does your client have a large team of people who will be editing this CMS? Things like workflow management are essential if you're running sites like: http://technet.microsoft.com or http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/

Not so much the website/blog of a startup of 10 people. For that kind of use-case -- Wordpress is awesome.

I still think we need to split up hosting, editing, etc: http://joshua.schachter.org/2009/12/blogging-tools.html

• If you are looking for an All-in-one Content Management System, I doubt WordPress or any other competitors would satisfy you.

• WordPress comes with an attitude and a path. And as long as you are in this same attitude and path, you are fine. Otherwise it's best to part ways...and stop complaining...

• You should have spent more time building plugins to complement the WordPress System. You waited for others to deliver to you... (which is a bad call for a developer of your stature)

This is what happens when you try to use a blog as a CMS.

It's a fine CMS... better than most.

I no longer accept and build projects using WordPress. These days, I stick with FuelPHP. Good authentication and blog package to start with.

I'm too tired to climb on my open source high chair to scream it out loud, so I'll gently say: come again - what ? WordPress was, is and will remain a blog platform and not a CMS. It is open source, so if you have the balls to charge oodles of money for managing it, maybe you hire guys to fix the bugs yourself.

It looks like it wasn't the right tool to base the business on.

He'll be back. Why? Because building and maintaining the alternative that he's asking for and had failed to mention is hard. Looking at his blogging history I see a shit ton of it revolves around WordPress, which I'm assuming roughly matches up with the client work dedicated to WordPress. I'm looking forward to the followup post.

I'm surprised there's no mention of the vulnerabilities in Wordpress or its plugins. I've had nothing but virus infestations on nearly every Wordpress install I've set up. I'm sure the problem lies more with the random plugins, but Wordpress itself sure makes it easy to find and install plugins with no kind of security audit.

Not sure how this is a problem with Wordpress. I'm sure a critical analysis of, say, the Firefox and Chrome plugins sites would turn up some quantity of malware as well.

The trick is to not download random plugins; stick to things with lots of reviews and lots of downloads. Installing some security plugins will help (WebsiteDefender, both the plugin and the service, is a good example), as will putting your site behind a protective CDN like CloudFlare (and since they're free, there's really no good reason not to do this..)

Is this blog post about moving away from wordpress? I can't tell because if so, the new blog seems to be down.

In the OP: they dont have a Tester. They just load it on their MacBooks and presume it works for the other 95% of the world

Really, wordpress.org users are the testers, wordpress.com users are the customers. I'd love to hear what the OP now recommends though, that would provide some good perspective.

Really? You have to ask?

Tons of free software projects have ESTABLISHED testing procedures. Have some of your developers/project members sit and check it is OK before shipping it.

Even more so, if you have a huge company and PAID developers on the project (Automatic).

I work at a firm that employs WordPress to build simple B2B and B2C websites. We share many of the same opinions as this author, and even more shortcomings come to mind:

1) Unable to change content types 2) Funneled into the "Blog" post type, which is simply called "Posts", with no easy way to kill this off and create your own 3) User group management

The list could go on forever.

However, if the shoe doesn't fit, why force it? Did the author ever consider using (or building) a CMS that fit the needs of the project?

Also, it's an open source piece of software. Why not contribute some time yourself and fix the problem related to moderate_comments (http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/4802)?

Other than that, this post is a bit infuriating as it lacks background as well as a solution. Thanks for letting us know you'll no longer choose WordPress as your (seemingly only) choice of CMS. And thanks for not providing one ounce of helpful insight for how to improve the problem or what the alternatives are.

> 1) Unable to change content types 2) Funneled into the "Blog" post type, which is simply called "Posts", with no easy way to kill this off and create your own

http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/register_post_... ?

Try creating a custom post type and adding a handful of posts to it.

Now try moving those posts to a different post type.

Not so easy, now is it?

"Unable to change content types 2) Funneled into the "Blog" post type, which is simply called "Posts", with no easy way to kill this off and create your own.."

I do not understand. Wordpress can certainly use custom content types.

We're currently working on Etherpad Lite into Wordpress which addresses some of his issues.

What's with the current trend of using 18pt font for body in blogs? It's unreadable. Choose a more reasonable font and make the margins bigger.

Then the author should migrate his own blog from WP.

Why? Just because he is no longer using it for business purposes doesn't mean it isn't still perfect for what it was designed to do, blogging.

I think he means if you are going to hate, hate on it all the way.

"I love WordPress. With it, I have felt a genuine affinity for a product the likes of which is matched only by my Commodore64."

Who's hating?

>"It will be exceptionally strange for me to no longer recommend WordPress."

So presumably this is hyperbole and you'd still recommend it, only for a more limited range of sites.

The big question, as others have said I think, is what do you now recommend?

While I disagree with the author, he acknowledges that WP is good for blogging. He's arguing that it's not suitable as a general purpose CMS (for his clients).

On the WSIYWYG editor note, what are the CMS platforms out there that are much better (or just better)? I thought WP's was pretty good.

That's a good example of one of his points that's way off base.

For one, WP is always trying to improve the WYSIWYG experience, but if you're not happy just look at all the alternatives available for free in the plugin repository http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/wysiwyg - some with very high adoption and ratings.

You could even integrate with markdown if you wanted http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/markdown - what other CMS has these kinds of options in the writing experience?

I try to write constructive replies to posts like this... but you sir, are an idiot. I wish I could down vote this.

I've used 9/10 CMS's in the market right now, and although there are the occasional mishaps, it's still the best CMS regardless. Some will say it's only a blogging engine, but it has enough functionality, when used correctly, to battle most CMS systems. Especially with it being free... you have absolutely no room to complain.

"WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog." --Wordpress.com


Wordpress can't please everyone. Stop bitching and write your own.

can someone please clarify what you mean by these points?

* document management (I assume more like an enterprise CMS)

* link management (outbound links on posts? detect 404s?)

* publishing options

* 'application'

i find it ironic that the site complaining about wordpress is still powered by wordpress

What will they use instead?

I find it hard to criticize the author for his obvious misunderstanding of the purpose of a certain piece of software and its inability to be anything other than what it is, as many people have tried and continue to try and convert their particular flavor of blogging software into the mess that is CMS and god forbid, an app.

It serves neither purpose well and someone who who claims to have been working on the internets ever since their immaculate inception should know better than to recommend [hosted] Wordpress to anyone other than the random dreamer who still thinks that they need a website from which to pontificate. In good conscience, I no longer even do that, as I find it to be a cruel exercise to inflict on someone who's otherwise harmless.

WordPress has all of the things listed if you use a plugin. You just have to do a search.

If the inability to moderate a comment is your biggest argument against a system, then I look forward to the follow-up post in six months when you truly try to implement any of the other "major CMS'".

Many people here are mentioning that this isn't what WordPress was built for – and this is true. But WP can be used amazingly well for any style of site. The fact is it has a hockey stick curve of usage because it does make a wonderful web backend.

My biggest curiosity is Drupal. After implementing it for major clients, managing it for major clients, and working with many developers who swear by it, I've never seen it work well for user or admin. It just seems so terrifyingly inbred.

Really? Did he really expect wordpress would ship those specific features out of the box? Come on. That is not even a mater of feature richness, it's simply keeping it bloat free to some extent.

I can agree with him on things like lack of a fancy wysiwyg, but workflows? Multi side admin? Pay someone to implement that for you if you don't want to do it yourself.

There are more important issues with wordpres that should be solved: built in support for syntax highlight, a fancier javascript image gallery browser, etc. A simpler more effective plugin system (current one is an unmitigated mess). Others cool stuff have been added lately such as drag and drop uploads.

This guy is expecting to have someone coding a custom software for him just because it's available with GPL license. Non-sense.

i stopped reading immediately when i saw CMS. you're using the wrong tool, that's it, don't cut your feet to fit in your favorite shoe. and save your time(and ours) to write this, it's just the wrong tool for CMS, and it's not wordpress's fault!

Repeat after me:

Wordpress is not a CMS. It's a blogging engine.

Why would you want to use a blogging engine as a CMS?

I'm mainly tired of helping friends and clients fix Wordpress security breaches. That's why I've been working on a clean php5.3+ alternative: http://www.elefantcms.com/

I usually try to be respectful of anybody making the effort of publishing open source code, but I'm getting pretty tired of you spamming your CMS everywhere I look.

Especially since it is made up of exactly the same kind of procedural spaghetti that makes WordPress such a joy to work with... "clean php5.3+" my ass.

Just because I'm not using PSR-0 in my core (which has its issues, not the least of which is unnecessary verbosity, esp. for core classes in a framework), doesn't mean my code is spaghetti.

And I'm not spamming when I contribute an anecdote or other information to a discussion, or when I post a request for feedback on r/php. Startups come to HN to post their launches and updates all the time and it's not spam. Go look at the front page right now and count the number of open source projects making announcements. I've made exactly one story submission to HN about my project, and I've mentioned it while contributing to a discussion a total of four times in six months.

Why the downvote? I'm not exaggerating, I've seen several Wordpress sites hacked in the past few months, one of them several times (after they reinstalled and updated from scratch too). I know it's a target because it's popular, but it also has a long track record of security issues, and isn't particularly well written code...

On the other hand, alternatives like Drupal are just too complicated for users, which leads to them simply not keeping their sites updated. So I'm building an alternative that focuses on minimalism, so it's lightweight and fast, and easy because it's uncluttered.

Obviously I have a long way to go in terms of supporting the plethora of plugins Wordpress users enjoy, but I've got a solid showing already for being a 6-month-old project. I've been implementing CMSes for about 12 years now, from newspaper and university sites to simple ma & pa sites, so I've personally made all of the mistakes you can make and learned what does and doesn't work.

So I don't mean to just disparage Wordpress, but it's a platform that's been stretched far beyond its central purpase and it shows, and I think an alternative is due.

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