This past week saw a huge dust-up over the issue of whether or not WordPress themes are GPL. It’s not my goal to rehash the debate, or even to discuss it in particular; instead, my goal is to share some thoughts I’ve had about software licensing, and in particular, licensing going forward as a result of the WordPress theme dispute.
The reality of the debate is that many, if not most of the participants are software developers of some kind – that is, they derive a considerable amount if not the majority of their income from developing applications of some kind. Given this liklihood, it makes much sense that they have a “dog in this fight” as much as anyone else. And so, the community is doing what it seems to do best: disagreeing, sometimes civilly, sometimes not, and trying to work out a solution.
Last Friday, I did a webcast as a part of the PHP TEK Webcast series. The webcast was on Caching for WordPress. We had a good turnout, and there were lots of questions about the best plugins to use for WordPress caching.
For me, every WordPress blog should have APC installed on it, hands down. APC almost doubles the response rate for WordPress by itself; APC is easy to install and freely available, stable and exceptional. Along with APC I also recommend either WP-Super-Cache or W3 Total Cache. WP-Super-Cache is great for sites that simply want to do static caching; W3 Total Cache is for sites that want to make use of S3 or other caches (like the APC User Cache).
Anyone who has worked with WordPress knows that it’s greatest strength is also one of it’s greatest weaknesses: it’s architecture. The same architecture that makes it easy to include literally hundreds of plugins also makes it slow, resource-intensive and bulky. Unlike Drupal, WordPress doesn’t have a built-in caching mechanism. What is a developer to do?
On Friday, I’ll be presenting a webcast called “Caching for WordPress.” In this webcast, we’ll talk about ways to make WordPress perform better, including aspects of caching from the application perspective and from the content perspective. There will be a discussion of caching plugins available, as well as a discussion of the WordPress API and what it offers by way of caching opportunities.
PHP 5.3 has been out now for eight months, and in that time lots of projects have made decisions to begin developing against this version of PHP. Juozas Kaziukenas makes the argument that you shouldn’t be afraid of PHP 5.3 and he provides a number of excellent points to support his argument.
I don’t dispute that PHP 5.3 is faster, better, cleaner, and more feature-rich than previous versions. In fact, I’m thrilled to develop for myself on PHP 5.3 and even released a guide for installing it on Ubuntu because the Ubuntu package managers didn’t put it in for the last release.
Last week, Aaron Brazell posted a blog entry about the state of the WordPress and PHP communities. At the same time, Keith Casey was in Redmond, Washington, where he was experiencing the Microsoft Web Developer’s Conference. As so often seems to happen with “Aha!” moments, both men came to pretty much the same realization at the same time: the WordPress and PHP communities need each other, but don’t do nearly enough to work with each other.
Keith made his point clear when I explained to him that I agreed with what Aaron was saying in his blog post, but that WordPress supporting PHP 4 was WordPress’ “fatal flaw.” In his…articulate way…he reminded me that WordPress existed and flourished, in spite of our attempts to attack their support for PHP 4. Their use of PHP 4 was certainly not a fatal flaw, as much as our arrogance as a community seems to be.
Thanks everyone for a great Wordcamp Mid-Atlantic and for attending WordPress Caching! Here are the slides so you can download them for your own resource.
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