Developers as a Target Market for CP

This is an interesting discussion. I’d like to add to it a thought that I did not see mentioned in the replies and that might be something to ponder by the promotional or PR team. Warning: TL might pop up but humor me… I got stuff to say. :slight_smile:

Late last year, I asked my clients if they wanted to stay with WP with Gut and find a new front-end developer or let me move the site(s) elsewhere. All of them said what boils down to the same thing written by one of them, "We contract with your business to do our web work. We run our brick-mortar but brought your biz aboard to handle techy stuff. That’s why we have you. If you decide to move our site elsewhere, that is your decision. Simply let us know what you decide, why, when and what it means to us. "

Now granted, I no longer grow a client base. My path now is sites we own.

But we still have enough client sites that I found that wrap-up of client feelings both flattering as well as a basis for the reason to have ClassicPress.

Why, you think to yourself?

If you click your way over to, you’ll discover content discussing the maturation of what was once known as the web master. When I started building online, I used a vanilla text editor, perl/cgi’s, and dial-up. (gawd). The passage of time brought webdesign software, eg, Dreamweaver, HotDog (yep!) and the like. Nothing stands still, most certainly in the 200-mph tech world, and soon I found myself absent of all human contact while I guzzled wine, pulled my hair and mastered, yes mastered, my first CMS, Drupal. It took a full year to do that but when I finally got it, I was madly in love with that beast Drupal.

By that point on my timeline, I was comfy in the world of php, phpadmin, maria/mysql databases, css, html5, local servers, learned what I needed to learn of JS, and had even got a linux slice on Linode where I deployed my first server from scratch and then decided I really liked wine so why the heck not learn how to add a mail server.

So where I am heading with all this too-muchness?

If you look at my brain filling up with knowledge, you’ll see that I wrote: “learned what I needed to learn of JS.”

That’s an important statement.

Despite my tech skills, I started in journalism! I evolved into PR. I learned and started businesses. I built a PR/Marcom agency. I then got into dev/techy stuff. But I can only learn so much because I use a nonrenewable resource: time. While I was doing all of this, others were learning programming languages like JS at higher levels than I needed to learn.

And then, KAPOW. A few clients wanted WP. I growled at the thought of toying with such an uggy creature. Drupal folks have a sense of superiority, and I had become part of the like-minded herd. (That said, I continue to love, love, love the Drupal approach.)

Then another KAPOW. I noticed the day two years ago that King Mullenberg said, “Learn Javascript. Learn it deeply.”

I didn’t.

I continued to learn only what I needed to learn to create websites using underscores as a starter mix.

And then the world exploded for me as React and blocks and the need to deeply know Javascript hit the land like a dang tornado.

If you’re still with me, you are maybe seeing that there’s a fork that’s occurred in the front-end dev world. There are folks out there who aren’t heavy duty JS programmers and certainly not the library React. Chris Coynier has laid it out very well in that talk:

Front-end dev now is going through, well, something big and gnarly. The job title could mean any number of skills are required. It’s no longer clean. It’s gotten really, really messy.

I hid my head, feeling insecure. And then I discovered there’s a world of us in the same situation. Heck, being a master of CSS and HTML5 … and hey grids and flex… and php and databases and some server stuff and on and on… is a big job.

So the thing is that WP with its Gut – and yeah I love that visual – is for a certain type of person, a certain type of business, a certain type of dev. If you want to run a brick/mortar biz and design/deploy/manage your own site, too, WP, WIX, SquareSpace are your tools. Extensibility and scaling and, well, boundless freedom, aren’t on your mind. You don’t mind paying for every single solution you need for a feature in the form of a fee-based plug-in. It works for you. (universal you being used here.) You don’t mind not being able to build something the way you dreamed it because eventually you believe WP and its Gut will get there.

Devs who have mastered React will also like WP with Gut. They are already happily building blocks.

In the longer run, in the future, I see a time when the world will be full of blocks and those devs, well, hmm. Will so many still be needed? I don’t see it. I think WP with Gut is headed, for its VCs, to be a SAAS under the Automattic umbrella, with one world for all.

Meanwhile, others will be like my clients. People like me can build custom, feature-rich, dynamic sites with the skills we have, which take considerable time to stay on top of. Yeah, yeah, I’ve been giving up sleep to learn JS and React at sky level but I don’t really have a sense of urgency. I don’t want blocks. My small business clients could care less.

ClassicPress is perfect for devs like me who want to build from the ground up. ClassicPress is perfect for small biz clients who want my biz to manage their tech presence.

If you don’t want to or care about what’s under the hood, you’re fine in the visual page-building / blocky world.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


This was a great read, and I totally agree.


I guess I thought it went without saying that most of the people who will be implementing websites for businesses are developers, and therefore, we consider developers a very big part of CP’s ‘business target market.’ Business owners need to be onboard, but typically, it’s web developers and designers who will implement business websites.


I’m a website developer, but a non-coding one.

I went to WordPress (from a PC-based website builder making static html) because it wasn’t too difficult to learn (not like Joomla, Drupal etc.), came with a host of bits I could add on to do what I need for our clients, and gave me control (goodbye Wix, SquareSpace etc.).

I’d been in corporate IT for 30 years, going from providing customer support up to director level … but I was never a coder and never wanted to learn. I can mess with CSS to finesse the sites we build … but I don’t want to do more.

After spending a million years trying to find the right Theme for the first client, I found Headway (then in v.2), which enabled me to build rather than customise - a very important distinction for me. Some sites still use Headway 3x, some Blox (a sucessor), but I’m begining to have Theme issues with my page-builder of choice … Elementor.

I still like Headway/Blox because it gives me a sort of ‘point-and-click’ CSS … so I only add very few specific statements myself.

From all this you’ll know I don’t have an issue with paying for a Theme or plugin if I get good value from the licensing & support (WordFence licensing is way too expensive now).

I started to get disenchanted with WordPress a couple of years ago when things which should be in core were not, and I was told by the WP staffers to get a plugin. The problems with plugins is that its a completely unregulated market place … they come and go. Too much of the WP development effort was in things the developers wanted not features and functionality I could deliver to my clients to help with their business. And that aspect of WP has got steadily worse. I think they’ve got to the large-tech arrogance stage now. How dare MW dismiss other developers as collateral damage!

So, if you can keep me happy … as the deliverer of websites to clients to do a job (not say ‘look how clever I am’) … then I’m with CP.

I’m about to start a new site for a client. It isn’t big (5 pages) and doesn’t need anything fancy … and I’m going to use it to test CP with all the tools I like. It’s a small site so I can afford to rebuild if needs be. It’s a far better way of testing a new product than making something up.

End of rant. Time for bed (why am I still working at 9:45pm?), and a fresh start with CP in the morning.


Yes, and I was amazed to read in a WordFence blog that anyone can just buy a plugin from the developer and take it over. It’s very easy to “repurpose” it, send out the new version as an update and all the dutiful users install who-knows-what onto their sites.

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Fantastic read. It’s WordPress that has actually forked itself with the transition to blocks. If you don’t like the fork stick with ClassicPress. :slightly_smiling_face:


I learned React. It is a pretty interesting technology with a lot of great ideas behind it.

It’s JavaScript, I guess, but it also comes along with a compiler/“transpiler”, a package manager, hundreds or thousands of packages, and sometimes some code that only breaks in production. At the end of all that, what you release is a 5 or 10 MB bundle of minified, obfuscated JavaScript code that is incredibly difficult to debug.

You can do some really neat stuff with React and its ecosystem, but as a developer I prefer systems that are simpler and easier to understand and extend.

I’m not going to pretend that the code we inherited in ClassicPress is perfect – no code is – but there is a reason we call it “powerful, versatile, and predictable”.


Love this.


@Padraig with the win for that comment, for sure :slight_smile:


I could not love your response more. :clap::clap::clap: I am much in the same space with my clients. I know that CP is the best solution for them and they pay me to make those decisions so that they don’t have to.

Moving your response over to the Marketing Forum, because I think there are definitely talking points here. Thank you for taking the time to post all of this.