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WordPress is amazing not just because it’s a great tool to publish words on the internet, but that it has the potential to encourage you to learn more about the web — if you want.

If you remember the golden age of automobiles, enthusiasts would change their own oil or make the repairs themselves to avoid bringing them to the dealership. An act to save a few bucks or just because you loved the idea of doing the work yourself. Back then, cars weren’t powered by computer chips or electric motors — they were mechanically pure — this was your rig.

You rolled up your sleeves, got out your toolbox, and slid under the chassis of your daily driver. Not only were you learning how cars were built, you were extending that knowledge to work on other cars as well. Industry knowledge that lead folks to have a career in automobiles, wherever that took them.

There was a whole economy of DIY auto mechanics — a whole industry, really.

Chilton Books used to publish guides for the DIYers which included detailed diagrams of the cars they were repair until the internet accompanied by the production of more complex cars laid waste to their business. Breaking apart a car to learn how it worked just wasn’t feasible anymore.

You could even draw the parallels of open source WordPress to the likes of a closed source Webflow, for instance.

Sure, you can learn how to build and design website with Webflow — in fact you kinda need to know how to before you dive in — but that mechanical purity is what’s missing.

In other words, you can’t dismantel Webflow and see how it’s doing its thing, but you can with WordPress. You can’t bring closed source systems to a different hosting server and reconfigure the stack to get it dialed-in for optimum performance or to change where you store your data — you can with WordPress.

The big debate happening right now is understanding who WordPress is for. What kind of software are we building? It’s certainly trending towards a more competent website builder for the everyday user, but I also think it’s ushering in a new type of developer class as well.

Developers are finicky. They are mostly stuck in their ways, have their preferred toolset, and come equipped with strong opinions. Artists in the very sense.

Your typical development stack for WordPress, along with the definition, has been challenged over the last 5 years as page builders became more nascent. If you’re not cracking open Notepad++ to change your theme, are you even a developer?

Advancements in the Site Editor and the Gutenberg project aside, Automattic has been quietly changing the way people can get started with WordPress faster than ever before thanks to Playground and the recently launched Studio app.

Now to the point of the article: This is how WordPress is helping beginner developers.

A look at using Playground

With Playground, you can export the site you build right in the browser as a ZIP download. Want to try a new feature that is only in GitHub and not committed to the release? Pull it from Github and try it out.

Studio lets you run multiple WordPress installs locally on your Mac (Windows soon) along with a full filesystem to interact with. Want to share your customized site with someone? They’ll give you temporary hosting on WordPress.com to share the site you built.

A look at using Studio

This onboarding into WordPress is lightyears ahead of where we were in the past. Even if you’re a curmudgeon developer stuck in your ways, you must admit, it’s never been faster to start exploring WordPress than it is today.

I haven’t even told you about the Create Block Theme plugin, which allow you to design an entire theme inside your WordPress install, allowing you to package it all up into a nice distributable WordPress theme.

I love software that makes me feel powerful. A power user, that isn’t quite a full-blown developer, but I can see the other side of the fence and I want to get there.

This is what I love about WordPress.

I’m not saying this experience is fully baked, and it might even change course, but I think we’ll see a whole new fleet of WordPress developers onboard because of these efforts. A true open source no code solution may be coming soon.

What if I never posted the news again?

I’m just catching up on all the things, back up from vacation, so I don’t have time to wrangle all the news links again this week.

Which makes me wonder…what if I never did the news links again? Hit reply and let me know.

Do you come just for my weekly 5 minute take on the state of WordPress? Do you like the curation of links or are you getting that fill from other WordPress newsletters? Hit reply (or contact us) and let me know if we didn’t do the weekly news round-up, how would that make you feel?

See ya next week!

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