WordPress Lessons Learned

Lessons learned 1: Maintenance creep.

Problem:

The cost of updating the core, updating plug-ins, and updating integration code for a system built with WordPress is much higher than expected.

Context:

WordPress core, its themes and plug-ins can provide a very fast solution by integrating their features. It works best for used for achieving a general solution (for example corporate websites with predefined business processes).

However their very frequent updates are painful too.

If we do not apply the updates to the system then we may have risk of potential security issues.

Therefore the maintenance of a WordPress based system usually takes more effort than systems built using other web frameworks that do not require very frequent updates.

The problem become worse when we apply the updates to the system and the integration may be broken because of incompatibility among the plug-ins owned by different software providers and WordPress.

Solution:

If you have have opportunity of building a system for a client using WordPress and its plug-ins then you should plan a considerable maintenance budget for updating WordPress, specific plug-ins and integration code.

This lesson learned applies to any system built with a plug-in based architecture (i.e. microkernel architecture) in which the core and plug-ins owned by different software providers.

Lessons learned 2: Customization creep.

Problem:

The cost of integrating a theme with various COTS plugins and integration code for building a system using WordPress is much higher than you expected.

Context:

Customizing a WordPress solution for specific business processes takes more effort than using other general web frameworks because we do not have full control of the themes and plug-ins.

Even we can modify the themes and plug-ins or build new specific plug-ins using PHP and mySQL the solution still depends on WordPress core the architecture of which is not good for domain-specific enterprise systems which often rely much on domain-specific rules that should be isolated from specific infrastructure.

Solution:

If you have have opportunity of building a domain-specific system using WordPress and its plug-ins then you should

  • refine business requirements into appropriate user stories or use cases.
  • create an architecture first and evaluate it carefully using various scenarios, and
  • create a poof of concept.

Lessons learned 3: WordPress and Salesforce integration decision.

Motivation:

You need to evaluate options for integrating WordPress with Salesforce so that development and maintenance cost is acceptable.

Solution:

IMO an enterprise solution based on Salesforce and WordPress integration may be proposed based on a client’s needs and budget.

I define a long term project as a project many big enhancements of which will be required after the solution is deployed.

I define a short term project as a project only some small enhancements of which will be required after the solution is deployed.

I define an important project as a project the requirements of which must be satisfied exactly as the Client requires.

I define a flexible project is a project the requirements of which may be implemented not exactly as the Client requires due to constraints of tools.

If the client needs Salesforce CRM (a must requirement) and they have a big budget then I would recommend that they use Salesforce for file storage and all Salesforce tools (i.e. LWC, community portals) for implementing their own business processes for a long term and important project.

If the client needs Salesforce CRM (a must requirement) and they have medium budget then I would recommend that they use BOX or DropBox or Sharepoint for file storage and all Salesforce tools (i.e. LWC, community portals) for implementing their own business processes for a long term and important project.

If the client needs Salesforce CRM (a must requirement) and they have low budget then I would recommend that they use WordPress for file storage and Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) plug-ins for implementing their own business processes for a short term or “flexible” project.
In this case, the development effort may be reduced much but the maintenance/enhancement effort may be increased much.

If the client does NOT really need Salesforce CRM and they have medium budget then I would recommend that they use general frameworks and tools (including WordPress and custom plug-ins) for implementing their own business processes for a long term and important project.
File storage can be local server or any service.

If the client  does NOT really need Salesforce CRM and they have low budget then I would recommend that they use WordPress for file storage and WordPress COTS plug-ins for implementing their own business processes for a short term or flexible project.

 

 

 

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