WordPress: Backing the Right Solution

You choice of software platform fundamentally guides the outcome of your project. It is like the foundation of your home. Your platform defines how high you can build, what material you can use and what amenities you get to enjoy. Today, we are rarely asked to defend our choice of WordPress when proposing it as a solution for scaled and complex problems. It has a strong history and many people are comfortable using the platform. But when it does happen, we do have some thoughtful answers.

I just got off a sales call with one of the largest Ivy League universities. The conversation was straightforward. They want to use Events Calendar and were curious if we do customizations. I was quite excited to find out that he discovered our code by looking at Stanford, who uses our plugin to run their arts events site. I love the surprise of seeing our work pop up on brands I recognize. It is a nice modification of version 2.x, albeit they broke the mini-cal somehow (if anyone happens to know who did the work, I’d love to encourage them to upgrade)!

When wrapping up the conversation, he mentioned that they also work with Drupal, and was wondering how I help validate WordPress as a leader within the CMS space. I offered to dig through past proposals and grab something to help out. This was written to Bon Appetit Management Company for a project we won and are actively working on. As you can imagine, its a bit tailored to their situation, but I can imagine it would be useful.

WordPress Is The Right Solution (For Your Project)

17.2% of the top million websites are using WordPress (8x more than any other CMS).

The future of WordPress is as an App Engine, serving as a framework for the
next generation of web application.

– Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress, Aug 2012

The breadth and scope of sites that are powered by WordPress is a testament to its scalability, ease of use and flexibility. Both the 2012 Democratic and Republican national conventions ran on WordPress. Media giants like the NY Times, CNN & Time reach billions of people, while entertainment producers including CBS, AMC, IFC, TED stream amazing content, huge events including Bonnaroo, and sports leagues like the NFL engage their fans on WordPress. Applications we all know and use: Groupon, Woofu, Skitch, Hello Bar & Chartbeat, all built their business on WordPress. Amazing new applications like the University of Washington Maps platform (map) and the game development platform (gamefroot) come from innovations on the platform. WordPress brings the power of a huge framework and the flexibility of PHP to your fingertips.

After detailed research and analysis, we believe WordPress is the best approach to handle both your content strategy and possibly, the menu manager application. The need to have centralized managed content paired with individualized campus content and styles made us instantly gravitate towards WordPress. We’ve solved a similar challenge for two national radio networks and Steelcase’s vendor SaaS.

WordPress is flexible. We’ll take advantage of WordPress’s tested and proven content management tools, and extend them to empower your users and administrators to manage their complex needs.

WordPress is open source. We have all of the tools of PHP at our disposal (the language Facebook was written in) in a world-class framework. This means we are leveraging the work of millions of developers around the world.

WordPress makes business sense. It’s popularity across the web means that you have access to the open-source community constantly adding new features. The large community also means you will never find yourself stranded without strong resources to rely on. WordPress also undergoes extensive security testing and benefits from a regular release cycle.

We’ve built complex applications within WordPress that handle managing live on-air radio schedules across hundreds of stations, event management tools employed by over 500,000 websites, advanced store location finders, powerful loyalty point systems, html5 games like blackjack and slots, product catalogs powered by external data feeds, and myriad other applications. All of these tools are built through extending the WordPress codebase.

Technology + Partners

If you read the section above, you will notice a mixture of platform and of partner. Meaning, its one thing to state that a certain technology is a good foundation for the project you are building. It is just as important to ground it in the skills, experience and ability to execute the vision. We didn’t pick WordPress for BonAppetit because it was the only platform we use. We picked it after a fair amount of research because it was a great foundation upon which to tackle the business problems presented.

Comments (2)
  1. this article was very helpful in helping me make a final decision to stay with wordpress as we evolve our website from v1 to v2 (we were thinking of moving to squarespace). thanks for taking the time to spell out some of the experiences and insights you’ve gained from your deep work with the platform. and why you feel so clear about the strengths of wordpress.

    one of the main new features we are trying to include in the next iteration of our site is an events calendar. i followed the link to the Stanford Arts implementation of your Events Calendar. could you tell me, roughly speaking, if that implementation is highly customized? i love the layout and functionality. is that something we could reproduce for our calendar with a little tweaking? or would it take some major customization?

    i’m specifically interested to know if the browse by category / type is a standard feature of the events calendar pro plugin.

    thanks so much for all your work to make a better interwebs (:

    1. Hey Aaron,

      That is fantastic. The stanford build is on the 2.0 version of our calendar. They did customize it a bit. The browse by category is native, and a lot of the functionality (+ more) that they implemented is native in the 3.0 build. If you have a lot of events, we have an add-on coming out quite soon that will allow your users to filter the calendar by a wide set of options (filterbar demo video: http://tri.be/filter-bar-a-video-preview/). You can play with events 3.0 at our demo site: http://wpshindig.com/events/.

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