WordPress gets even more open-source with Calypso update

Recently, WordPress.com, which is the fully hosted version of WordPress, got its most significant update in recent memory. Automattic, the web-development business known for WordPress.com and its contributions to WordPress, rewrote WordPress entirely under the secret code name Calypso. This means that everything has been overhauled in the CMS.

In a blog post on the developer section of WordPress.com, the company announced the new changes as part of a project it’s been working on for almost two years. According to project lead, Andy Peatling, the team behind the update reimagined the tech and the development workflows that served as the basis for creating with WordPress.

The biggest change by far has to be that there’s a complete distinction now between WordPress.com and the WordPress core. The former is an administration interface interacting with the latter, much in the same way any other third-party app and interface would. WordPress.com relies on a REST API to get your posts, publish any new ones, upload images, and everything else.

Inquisitive designers and developers should also notice the presence of a totally new stack. As opposed to using PHP and MySQL, the update team created everything by utilizing API calls and JavaScript. Here’s how this breaks down for you in practical terms: when you access the website, the server is going to distribute a fully functional WordPress client that will mainly work in your browser.

A single-page app, it ensures that you only see very few loading screens as you interact with its interface. As a result, it will work in harmony with both your phone and tablet, thanks to responsive design as part of the package.

If you’re utilizing the backend of the CMS, you’ll still be able to directly access the backend. The big difference is that you’re greeted with a new option when on WordPress.com and using a WordPress VIP site, a self-hosted WordPress featuring a JetPack plugin, or simply a hosted WordPress.com blog.

Of course, everything is open source and available on Github right now. Designers and developers are empowered to look at the code, fork it and then reuse it—with a catch: you have to observe the GNU General Public License version 2.

That’s not all, though—remember, this is a complete overhaul.

There’s a new Mac app for access to WordPress.com. Users familiar with popular apps like Slack should have no problem making the transition, as the Mac app takes advantage of web tech as well as desktop features to provide people with mainly the same user experience as on the WordPress.com site. Linux and Windows apps are coming later.

The decision by Automattic to overhaul WordPress can be traced back to competition, particularly from blog-publishing sites and apps like Medium, that have been getting more popular in the last few years. WordPress.com provides a user experience that now feels closer to a modern web app, ensuring that it stays relevant as other technologies pop up.

Marc’s a copywriter who covers design news for Web Designer Depot. Find out more about him at marcschenkercopywriter.com. More articles by Marc Schenker
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