This website and its cohort have been underlining the rapid improvements in development tools and plugins available to WordPress Designers in their UI/UX tasks. These tools and plugins are individually accelerating WordPress Design and Development capabilities. But what we shall see is that they are also collectively revolutionizing WordPress Development because of their complimentary effects on ease of design and speed of development.
Let us examine these critical plugin categories and how they have changed WordPress status in Web Development. Click to pulldown each topic to see the details.
Collective Interaction Among the 8 Plugin Groups
These plugin groups collectively work fairly well together. Yes, there are plugin conflicts [for example, Live Composer Page Builder does not work with Headway Visual Layout Designer and some Page Builders are like Divi – only usable in a very small set of themes]; but the plugin vendors have every incentive to make their tools interoperable. If they don’t others will. Thus the Visual Composer and Headway Visual Layout Designer combo is one of the best WordPress design and build combinations.
Headway Visual Styling Editor modifying Visual Composer post block
Likewise the Image Grid plugins work very well with most Page Builders providing portfolio and Visual Sitemap capabilities that are market leading. Ditto for the Slider plugins which when combined with Scroll plugins make for stunning Landing Pages and portfolio/detail reveals. Again, most of the pro sliders work well and can replace the simple carousels/sliders provided by Visual Page Builders.
While waiting for WordPress plugins to mature, this Web developer is fond of using iframe or JS Embed plugins to put some great jQuery plugins to work in Slider or Visual Layout Designer components. Ditto for using Chat and meeting plugins – some of the better Visual Layout Designers and Page Builders are able to place these tools in widgets and popups for more convenient use. And the number of Forms and Doc embeds used have skyrocketed with Visual Page Builders.
In sum, the collective use of the 8 major plugin groups makes for much faster development and better options for end users. Year after year, WordPress websites garner their fair share of top Web Design awards. In short, WordPress with these tools becomes synonymous with “do-any-Web-designs”.
WordPress as the Web OS
At WordCamp Toronto 2014, James Hipkins of Red 8 Interactive advanced the idea that the “do-any-design” capability of WordPress means that it is becoming the Web’s Operating System – the preferred environment to do Web development. With WordPress being used on 23% [and growing] of all the World’s websites it certainly has market share presence. With 75 million websites using WordPress, it certainly can command attention among vendors offering WP consulting, training, and plugins/themes. So it is no surprise that WordPress has a commanding market share lead in Web CMS usage:
But 2 other ideas, also from WordCamp Toronto, deserve repeating because they support the notion of WordPress as the Web’s OS.
The second factor that makes WordPress like a Web OS is that it has 3,000 free themes and 36,000 free plugins. Talk about being highly customizable. As one WP observer has noted, WordPress’ calling card is rapidly becoming “there is a plugin for that”. Certainly in every one of the 8 key web development categories outlined above, there are several superb plugins available to WordPress users.
So this is the WordPress Development Revolution. Windows on the Desktop became the number one OS for 4 primary reasons:
1)More programs were developed on Windows than any other OS;
2)Windows programs were easy to use with point & click, drag & drop WYSIWYG ops;
3)Windows catered to developers with top flight tools like Visual Studio and MSDN;
4)Windows catered to backend admin with ease of development & maintenance.
WordPress has emulated those success factors:
1)WordPress has 36,000 free plugins and 6,000 premium plugins;
2)WordPress tools and objects like menus, sliders, galleries, widget bars etc are as easy to develop as they are to use;
3)WordPress caters to website developers and administrators with easy updates plus drag & drop simple maintenance operations.
4)If designed and maintained properly, WordPress websites deliver secure and top performance operations for the largest of websites;
5)One can be very productive in WordPress with basic computing, HTML, CSS and media skills.
Right now WordPress developers can say confidently to clients that they can deliver any website or app with the customized look and feel that the clients want. And WordPress developers can change and expand a website’s features or modify its layout and look/styling with ease. Such pledges just reflect the fast development strength of the 8 plugin groups outlined above plus the confidence that “there is a plugin for that” from the 42,000 available WP plugins. Thus it is no surprise that WordPress has become the preferred Web Development environ for websites large and small.