From A User Point Of View

I believe it is in the interest of those who might consider using ClassicPress to think about the future of the project. I am mindful of the user when I write. I prefer to consider that while developers resist including ClassicPress in their long term development at this time, users may or may not benefit by switching to ClassicPress, at this time.

According to the ClassicPress Roadmap there are a few concerns as they might relate to a decision for switching to ClassicPress.

For version 1 of ClassicPress (which has NOT been released yet), things appear to remain the same as what one might expect from WordPress prior to Gutenberg being forced upon their community. Reading the roadmap, it sounds exciting. And it is something that may be a great solution, given the problems Gutenberg seems to have introduced and WordPress has released two updates in an effort to fix.

However, just as ClassicPress team has boasted they don’t have Gutenberg in their project, they also present (if not equal to the uncertainty surrounding Gutenberg) significant questions in the promotion of the ClassicPress version 2.0. If we are to believe what we are told, and that seems to be a requirement coming from the higher-ups over there as well as anyone promoting ClassicPress not saying anything perceived by the team as negative, there could very well be a problem brewing for users.

ClassicPress apologists have talked about how Gutenberg may cause problems, cost money and that Gutenberg will eventually take over WordPress, making it a problem for theme developers and developers of page builders (not that there may be a marketing slant to ClassicPress’ suggestions at all). The proclamation by WordPress that the Classic Editor will be supported at least until December 31, 2021 was met with mockery by some in the ClassicPress community.

The suggestion was made in the ClassicPress forums that 2021 is not far away. I suggest that the second half of this year is even closer, and that ClassicPress has introduced their own, not minor, concern about what will work and what will not work with the introduction of ClassicPress version 2.0.

“Version 2 may start to introduce changes that may break compatibility with plugins and themes that only support WordPress 4.9.x.”

That is intended to reduce concern, I suppose.

“However, we expect incompatibilities to be limited to uncommon edge cases, and we will do our best to maintain compatibility. We will only make breaking changes when it is absolutely necessary, and we will communicate them clearly during the upgrade process.”

I suggest they don’t yet know what they are going to do and therefore, they are not able to make any guarantees.

Given the uncertainty facing millions of WordPress users with what that project is doing and the push by ClassicPress to capitalize on those uncertainties, I would suggest it might be a decent idea to wait and see what ClassicPress decides to do before making a major switch to their platform.

I was sold on the idea of ClassicPress in the beginning. I am still sold on the idea that it may be a great project down the road. But the developers of the ClassicPress project have not sold me on the idea that ClassicPress will be here in 2021, when WordPress may no longer support the Classic Editor plugin.

On Twitter, I was accused by the official ClassicPress account (I can only guess who that is) and a few of the “team” as well as an active user in their forums, of damaging the ClassicPress community when I didn’t support a Facebook group (that may have a few ClassicPress team members in it) being a closed group.

I believe in and have stated support for open, transparent groups, forums and discussions. I have a right to that belief and I don’t support any group or organization that attacks another person for speaking out about the perceived inconsistencies of participating in groups that appear to be more official than unofficial (and being closed groups) while suggesting that their project is better than they complain WordPress community is.

Coming back to the roadmap of ClassicPress.

“The upgrade from v1 to v2 will be opt-in, and we already have commitments from major plugin developers to support ClassicPress v2.”

Okay, how long will that approach be a viable solution if you choose not to opt-in? What “major plugin developers” are making such commitments? And how do those commitments work?

I suggest that, as with the behaviors of some ClassicPress participants, team members and volunteers, things can change. I also suggest the future of ClassicPress is less guaranteed than the success of WordPress and their evolution of the Gutenberg version of WordPress.

Make no mistake, I do not like Gutenberg being forced into WordPress core. I don’t like the changes required to use the Gutenberg version of WordPess. However, I am a realist. I have to keep my eye on things as they develop. I cannot 100% support ClassicPress until they make more significant and direct statements about what they will become, supported by full releases. Neither of which have happened at this point in time. It is my belief that general statements on their roadmap do not meet the same standard they mock with regard to WordPress commitment to the Classic Editor.

Then there is the topic of ecommerce and ClassicPress. I have seen statements made that they are too busy to fork anything that might support ClassicPress, in the event WooCommerce is no longer compatible with the ClassicPress fork of WordPress. That could be a problem for millions of businesses out there.

WooCommerce is owned by the same company putting out WordPress. How much interest do you believe there might be in the WooCommerce world for maintaining compatibility with ClassicPress version 1 or 2, over time? As things change (and they are changing rapidly in the WordPress world) what guarantee is there that those who switch to ClassicPress will have an ecommerce solution? The likelihood is there will be.

Is there a major ecommerce plugin developer committed to working with ClassicPress? Is there the likelihood that WooCommerce stores will have to be rebuilt with something else? Will there be a migration plugin to help with that process? These are legitimate questions for a lot of people.

Further, it is my belief that “Beta” versions of software are NOT ready for production websites. I believe the definition of beta software is inconsistent with making a proclamation that live sites should use that software. Making such statements undermines the standard used by software development teams around the world, in my opinion.

It is my position that if a project is ready for live sites, the version number should reflect it and that a “release” should be made, removing the software from beta. In the software world, there are steps commonly taken to establish whether or not a project is ready for release. “Alpha” comes before “Beta” and that comes before “RC” (Release Candidate). Then there is the release which is a version number that doesn’t contain either of those in the name.

On the day WordPress version 5.0 was released, ClassicPress owner made the statement that ClassicPress 1.0.0beta1 was suitable for using on live websites. In the linked article, he made the argument that there are a few things needed for the release of ClassicPress version 1, that’s why it is still called beta. There is a difference between wanting to add things and it being ready for live sites. You can add things after the release.

Since then, another beta release has been made by ClassicPress. There is supposed to be a release of ClassicPress version 1 very soon. I will welcome that. But I don’t recommend any software that is labeled “BETA” to be used on live sites. I don’t think anyone should.

My question at the time of the announcement was, if it is ready for live sites, why is it still in beta? That is still my question. My rationale for the question is founded in the belief that the standard for labeling of software should be respected. I believe it is reckless to tell people it is okay to use beta software on live sites. It undermines the established norm and what end users understand about that norm.

If you expect me to put my own reputation on the line and recommend your project, then I believe you should have the decency to put your own reputation on the line and make your software a full release, not beta. If you believe it is safe for use on live sites, take it out of beta. If you can’t do that, then I don’t believe you.

Heck, the lead developer hasn’t figured out yet why ClassicPress is faster than WordPress. Maybe it’s something he did? Who knows at this point?

I will continue to post about ClassicPress and WordPress. I will also post about other projects, plugins, themes and even PHP developments. I will give my opinions based on my experience(s) and try to remain as objective as I can.

If you believe that ClassicPress is the direction you want to go for your project, then I believe you should use ClassicPress. If you believe otherwise, I support that decision as well. It is my opinion that no project is a one stop shop in today’s rapidly changing world. What works for you is what you should use. I absolutely do not believe in people who may want to promote your project, not being allowed to point out some of the shortfalls of your practices if they believe those practices to be inconsistent with the message you are putting out.

Some may be angry at me for writing this. Some may mock me for writing this, I’m happy to have their attention. Some may even attack me on Twitter. That’s okay. If ClassicPress is a great alternative to WordPress, and ClassicPress succeeds in using the disgust over Gutenberg to rally support for the project, then I think that’s great. I think it will be better for them if they manage to articulate exactly what makes ClassicPress the better solution, if it isn’t just the absence of Gutenberg.

There are a number of efforts being made to promote ClassicPress as the replacement for WordPress. Developers are being contacted, friends and family are being advised of the usefulness of ClassicPress. I just want to point out that ClassicPress is not yet a production software. A number of developers and friends of mine have pointed that out. I didn’t have to say anything once they saw “BETA”. That is because they understand what beta really means.

Personally, it is the lack of Gutenberg that helped me decide to use ClassicPress. If that was all ClassicPress had to offer and they weren’t planning on breaking things in the future, I would still use ClassicPress. For some projects, I still do.

It wouldn’t be the first time a fork or an opportunity to capitalize on the failures or missteps of one idea or project has resulted in a great alternative or replacement. WordPress was born that way. WooCommerce was born that way. Untold numbers of other ventures have turned into mega successful businesses using the same approach.

I believe ClassicPress is an alternative, should they manage to more fully express exactly what they do better than WordPress, other than not having Gutenberg. I’m not quite convinced they have what will be needed to be a BIG player yet. I believe they need more than volunteers to focus on what really needs to be done. Volunteers can change their minds, walk away or otherwise not be available. Time passes and projects stall. I don’t see a structure yet that promotes confidence in long range development.

I’m just not convinced yet.

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