Designing in Wix is faster
Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, wondered why a redesign of the WordPress home page and download page would take weeks to complete when the same project would only take one person an hour to complete. finish using a website building platform like Wix or Squarespace.
What happened was that a group of WordPress contributors decided to revamp the WordPress home and download pages using the WordPress Block Editor as a showcase of what could be accomplished with the new editor.
Everyone who commented on the proposal said it was a great idea to use the WordPress block editor.
But a month later, Mullenweg asked why it took a team of WordPress developers weeks to build just two pages.
He wrote that he had a hard time imagining someone taking more than a day to complete the project with Software as a Service (SaaS) website building platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
“…it’s such a basic layout that it’s hard to imagine it would take more than a day for a single person on Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, or any of the WP page builders. “
The implication of his statement is clear.
WordPress Block Editor
The block editor, also known as the WordPress Gutenberg editor, was introduced in 2018. templates, was released as part of WordPress 5.8 and the template editor.
Other parts of the site’s full editing experience followed over the months.
The purpose of the block editor is to modernize WordPress and make it easier to install and quickly create a website.
The Block Editor is the future of WordPress, but it’s not quite finished as it continues to be improved.
WordPress homepage redesign
On July 8, 2022, a WordPress contributor (and Automattic employee) announced the launch of a redesign of the official WordPress.org home and download page, with the proposal to do so using the editor of WordPress blocks.
The Block Editor is part of the WordPress initiative to modernize it and make it easier to design websites without learning code.
The idea was to present the WordPress block editor.
The announcement was well received.
A WordPress contributor commented:
“I’m very excited to see this project blossom for WordPress.
… Leveraging the homepage as a place to showcase all that modern, innovative, and empowering WordPress can be would be a terrific goal.
In other words, with WordPress you can do almost anything – create anything.
I’d like to see the design showcase the modernized site editor and layout capabilities – even going so far as to do things many haven’t seen before.
“I’m super excited about this project!”
Someone else wrote that this was a great way to introduce the publisher and the WordPress community:
“The biggest opportunity I see, on the homepage in particular, is for a more consistent WordPress story.
Besides the power of the software itself and what it can do, there is the whole community of people who come together regularly to share a movement.
All comments were positive and upbeat.
Then about eight days later, Mullenweg criticized how long it recently took to redesign the WordPress News page and noted that this project shouldn’t take that long.
“It should take a week or two to launch, not months, and the most interesting part will be the post-launch stats and feedback, and all subsequent iterations we do from there, not a long process before .
Redesigning /news took a criminally long time.
We have a lot of .org to rethink, and a lot of accumulated crufities, for example in the navigation at the moment – we can’t take too long on a single game.
A month later… Mullenweg criticizes the pace of the project
A month passed as the team worked together to create the two pages, and on August 1, they shared an update in a post titled Developing the Redesigned Home and Download Pages.
The post is a cheerful update on all the progress that has been made on the still incomplete revamp.
Eight days later, Mullenweg kicks off the discussion by critiquing the effort, commenting:
“It’s not a good use of time, nor the real goals of a new home or download page, and we have better places to spend our development time.”
The developer leading the redesign defended the pace of progress, writing:
“It’s been less than three weeks from concept to launch and I’m very proud of the collaborative work the team has been able to do. The new theme is awesome. The teams involved built an exceptional theme in record time. I think people are going to love it.”
Others also showed their support for the progress.
Mullenweg criticized the pace of the redesign:
“33 days since project launch doesn’t seem like a quick time to me, but I think it’s worth diving deeper into not trying to quickly turn Figma designs into a theme (again, this should take ages). hours not weeks)…”
He then expressed his vision that this should progress more quickly:
“You can imagine a world where instead of taking more than a month to launch a single design, which implies a maximum rate of less than 12 of them that we could do in a year, we did 20 to 30 designs in advance, ideally with very different design approaches and copy, and focused our development time on measuring the success metrics of each approach and then iterating from there.
He then compared the slowness of development on WordPress to its speed on SaaS website building platforms:
“…about ‘hours not weeks’ to implement – it’s such a basic layout that it’s hard to imagine it would take more than a day for a single person in Squarespace , Wix, Webflow or any of the WP page builders.”
Finally, he suggested using the legacy code approach:
“So if we’re just making a prettier version of the same thing, quickly make those changes with the existing code approach and move on to something more valuable.
If you’re trying to push WP itself forward, you need a fundamentally different approach.
Response to criticism
The response on Twitter ranged from sarcastic WordPress searches to support for the team working on the redesign.
WordPress owner complains (to his volunteers) that a block theme takes too long and they should just update the custom HTML in their current theme… Welcome to the last five years of block editing @photomatt!https://t.co/mI4zKBnO6T
— Brian Coords (@briancoords) August 11, 2022
33 days from launch to launch is fast in any business project.
— John Locke 🐝 (@Lockedown_) August 11, 2022
Wow. Did Matt just block nuclear themes in general? It was very worrying.
—Hendrik Luehrsen (@hluehrsen) August 11, 2022
But some supported Mullenweg:
I must say that I am with @photomatt here. 33 days for a smooth relaunch of two landing pages, page builder or not, is… a lot.
I too used static php/html to load heavy pages. That being said, developers let loose on their own, it happens in every project. No big deal, I think.
— Pierre Carqueville (@PCarqueville) August 11, 2022
Is WordPress inferior to SaaS website builders?
Mullenweg’s comment likely reiterated WordPress’ vision that development should be fast and easy.
From this perspective, 33 days to recreate an existing design might be considered less than ideal.
Could it be that SaaS website builders like Wix, Duda, and Squarespace have already overtaken WordPress?
Featured image by Shutterstock/Luis Molinero