Revisiting WordPress as a CMS (Again)
We’ve address the issue of WordPress as a CMS before here at the Myth, and my own personal take on the issue should be quite clear: I am a WordPress plugin developer, technical reviewer of WordPress Books for Packt Press, and a coorganizer of WordCamp Boston (2010, 2011, and currently in planning on 2012). The CMS Myth itself runs on WordPress, as does johneckman.com.
I want to revisit WordPress as a CMS platform, at least briefly, based on on its “visible absence” at this week’s CMS Expo.
On the first day of CMS Expo I noticed that WordPress wasn’t one of the showcased CMS platforms despite the clear goal of having a (pardon the political expression) “big tent” approach and inviting a wide variety of platforms. Amanda Blum (my fellow lead organizer at WordCamp Boston 2010) noted there was a WordPress track a few years ago but that the audience wasn’t receptive (see tweet stream in storify form below).
Then, during Liz Strauss’s lunchtime keynote yesterday, she used the WordPress project, Matt Mullenweg as an entrepreneur, and Automattic as an example of a successful company built by and with a community of its users. She prefaced her comments with a line that said roughly:
I understand where WordPress sits in the spectrum of content management systems.
“I understand where WordPress sits in the spectrum of content management systems.” That is a clever way to put it. #cmsexpo
I was tempted to respond, with something like: You mean at the top of the spectrum, as the most popular, and the one which powers nearly 15% of the world’s top sites, and 22% of active new sites in the US, significantly more than any other platform represented here?
But I didn’t. I’m not interested in starting yet-another this platform vs that platform twitter argument. I am interested in why there’s such a collective desire to exclude WordPress from discussion as a content management system, given that it clearly does manage content. I sometimes think people are more willing to accept “Dreamweaver and FTP” as a content management system than WordPress!
Now, I’m not saying WordPress is perfect for any and all CMS challenge. In fact, I’d argue no platform is equally well suited for any and all CMS challenge. (Mistaking platform selection for strategic planning is also a problem well known to the CMS Myth audience). But given that the audience at CMS Expo includes a wide range of users, from individual freelancers building sites for small businesses, churches, and non-profits to large agencies building complex sites for Enterprise clients, I’d have to say the total absence of the platform (and the occasional jabs in WordPress’s direction in the twitter stream and the hallway conversation) is starting to feel like some form of collective psychological resistance.
Here’s a curated Tweet Stream of some of the choice bits of the discussion – let us know what you think in the comments.