WordPress has changed dramatically in the past 3-5 years. First, there is the opening up of the database to developers with custom fields, posts, pages,queries and taxonomies. This means that WordPress can now deliver any content desired. Second, and related to the swing to custom content is the adoption of sophisticated data integration beyond XMLRPC and its WP security risks with the use of the JSON REST API. This gives WP developers more options for creating great gateways to other applications. without having to develop a plugin architecture.
The Impact of WordPress Visual Designers
But perhaps the change with the greatest impact to WP Designers and Developers has been the return to drag and drop Visual Design of Pages & Posts plus overall WP layout . With the rise in use of convenient shortcodes, WordPress’ Visual Editor had lost large portions of its WYSIWYG capabilities. Users had to master the hieroglyphics of many shortcodes to get state of the art UI features,
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However, the new WP Visual Designers reversed that trend in the past 3 years with tools that translate shortcodes into visual elements right in the Page or Post editor. Even better, many of the Visual Designers are able to to this with a Frontend Editor that makes changes to the Page or Post as its being displayed live [see Visual Composer or Themify PageBuilder]. Net result much greater productivity as outlined in this WordCamp 2014 presentation:
The net result is that WordPress has with these UI improvements again renewed its Web Designer friendly features while not sacrificing advances made for Web Developers. Now designers and developers can deliver just about any combination of page/post designs and layouts in remarkably fast development time.