The grass is rarely greener, but it's always different

Wordpress shortcomings when creating a web application


Recently this week I was discussing with a friend whether Wordpress could be a viable choice for a web application over a custom solution in order to have a working MVP as fast as possible. This app would include some more complex features such as in-app video chat & messaging.

Ideally the huge amount of available plugins combined with the ease of installation and minimal code would provide a solid solution almost out of the box.

Since my experience with Wordpress is limited and as a developer my first reaction is develop something from scratch, the possibility of using Wordpress to fulfill all the business cases just combining plugins seemed interesting.

Thus, I resolved to do some research and enumerate some of its shortcomings for future reference, as well as when is it a good choice to roll your web application with.

Complexity & Customization

you often need to add a lot of plugins for baseline functionality.

Highly Structured Content

Wordpress enforces a data model oriented towards content, where entities are laid out in a rigid way and relationships between them are not modifiable, or are very hard to. If the project's data can be mapped into a relational database, Wordpress perhaps is not the best choice. For example, a Wordpress plugin may provide a list of users that you will internally divide into dentists and patients, but they are all stored into the plugin's context.

Let's say you want to make a dental clinic management software with Wordpress. If you only need to know who's a Dentist and who's a Patient you can trick your way into that logic and associate a patient to a dentist with some sort of affiliate links plugin (by assigning an affiliate id to a dentist and making the patient purchase from the dentist's affiliate id), but eventually if you need to extend the information related to either of them, you need to create your own data model.

What if you want to associate treatments to patients, or add a new feature where dentists can recommend different products based on patients' medical data? Eventually you'll need to break the mold to attain that level of customization.

Database management

Roles & Permissions

If you need a feature on your web application that is only available to certain users, the way the privilege system is laid out in Wordpress may make it extremely hard to limit the access of those users for that custom feature. It might be necessary to either provide them with too much access to Wordpress' admin panel, or force them to contact you to manually apply changes.

When to use it?


#learning #wordpress