Category Archives: WordPress

Case for the REST API Endpoints

The Open Web and a History Lesson

For this to make sense, you first need to understand how I view the web right now. The internet has become a foundation that a huge percentage of humankind rely on. I think that our future is as dependent on technology, the internet being a key piece of that, as our recent past has been dependent on scientific foundations. I truly believe that the future of all people will be better if this key piece of our technological foundation is freely available to all, able to be used for any purpose, and not controlled or excessively influenced by any particular person or group.

I gave a short talk recently in Phoenix, where I said this very thing, and it came with a small history lesson that bears repeating.

Robert Hooke was a scientist in the late 17th century. Many of you might vaguely remember his name from your junior high science class. He’s the guy that looked at cork under a microscope and discovered that plants, and much more, are made up of cells.

Isaac Newton is a name you probably remember better. We all picture an apple when we think of him, right? Something about gravity? The truth is that Isaac Newton gave us a lot. He invented calculus, discovered many things about light including that white light is made up of many other colors of light, and in his principia he gave us laws about gravity and motion.

In a letter from Newton to Hooke in 1675, Newton famously said:

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

And the best part is, we’ve been standing on the shoulders of people like these since. Much of modern medicine can be traced back to an understanding of the cell. Similarly, our world has been made smaller through things like air travel, where modern jet engine technology could not exist without calculus or the principles of force that Newton gave us.

Because of this, society as a whole has been able to make consistent and rapid progress forward. People don’t have to start over. They don’t have to rediscover the cell or create calculus, and can instead pick up where others left off and move forward from there.

So what the heck could this possibly have to do with the REST API endpoints in WordPress?

We’ve built something that has the potential to be a tool for others to use. It’s part of the height of our proverbial shoulders. It may not have the far reaching effect that calculus has had, but it does have the chance to do things that we can’t currently imagine. Newton probably didn’t imagine the Boeing 777 either.

If we don’t offer these kind of modern tools, built into WordPress, to allow people to build the future of the Internet, then we risk them using similar tools offered by closed solutions from Facebook to Medium.

It’s going to be a lot of work. Not just to merge, but to keep up, improve, and generally manage for the future. But it will be worth it. To push forward the open web. To help make sure that people can pick up where we left off and keep making progress.

Joining GoDaddy as a Full-Time WordPress Core Contributor

Today is my last day at iThemes. It’s been a great two years, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m very appreciative of my time here and I will absolutely miss all the people. If you haven’t checked out iThemes or had the chance to meet Cory, Matt, or any of their amazing team, you definitely should.

So, what now?

Well, the title here kind of gives it away. I’m excited to say that I’m officially joining GoDaddy as a full-time WordPress Core contributor. I start there on September 6th, and am excited to help push WordPress forward with the full support of a company like GoDaddy behind me.

But why?

I honestly can’t remember when I first started using WordPress. I think it was sometime in 2004, because it was before Kubrick became the default theme. And it was certainly before we had things like WYSIWYG editing, which came along in late 2005 with the WordPress 2.0 release.

But while I can’t remember exactly when I started using WordPress, I remember very clearly when I started contributing to WordPress. It was June 12, 2007. That was the day that I opened my first ever bug report for WordPress, uploaded my first ever patch, and had my first bit of code put into the WordPress codebase. Yep, it all happened on one day!

Aaron's First Ticket

The feeling that I got from that was amazing. I loved that I’d just made a small impact on a group of people, most of whom I didn’t even know. I started to slowly ramp up my involvement in the project. I contributed more and more, and got involved enough to really get to know the people. By 2009 I was traveling to WordPress events, and by 2011 I was speaking at them regularly.

I’ve become very passionate about the WordPress project and the community that has built up around it. For a long time I’ve wanted to do more; to contribute more often and to take a more involved role in pushing the project forward. So when GoDaddy talked to me about bringing me on as a full-time WordPress core contributor, I was excited.

What does that mean?

Basically, I’m going to be working to make WordPress better and GoDaddy is going to pay for it!* There are a lot of massive benefits to this, including being able to have very consistent reliable time that can be counted on by release leads, being able to reliably take on projects that span releases, and being able to work on some of the less fun areas that are generally more neglected by volunteer efforts. I think that this kind of dedicated support from companies whose businesses are heavily invested in WordPress is extremely healthy for the project as a whole, and I’m ecstatic to get the chance to do this.

* For those that don’t have experience with open source software development, or don’t understand the pervasiveness of WordPress, this is going to be confusing. You’ll have to ask me to explain it all over coffee some time.