Decisions have consequences

Sarah Gooding has reported at WPTavern that the W3C and the agency it selected to redesign its website, Studio 24, dropped WordPress from consideration in a selection process that has ended with Craft CMS as the winner.

First off, kudos to Craft CMS. I haven't had a chance to give it a try yet, but I've heard good things about it. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to have the flexibility and ecosystem of WordPress, but it does have strengths inaccessibility. Craft describes itself as “commercial open source,” which means it isn't open source, although its core code is available on Github.

I'm fine with the “right tool for the job” approach to projects like this, even if it means using non-open source technology. What concerns me most is Marie Manandise‘s statement for Studio 24:

“In this case, we felt working with a smaller CMS development team would be a more effective way to tackle specific accessibility concerns as we could have a direct conversation with the developers who set out the development roadmap of their CMS.”

This made me stop and think. Is the development roadmap for WordPress (or more specifically Gutenberg and the editor) and the way decisions are being made in those areas — for example, the sudden decision to make editing editor pages full-screen by default — having unintended consequences? Like repelling developers, agencies, and their clients who might otherwise prefer WordPress?

We should take note: decision-makers were considering WordPress with the Classic Editor in this case, but they “didn’t want to be left relying on [it because] there is a real risk [it] will be unmaintained in the near future,” according to the selection report.

One project or one customer, even a well-known one, doesn't spell doom or imply WordPress hasn't made great leaps of progress in areas such as accessibility — it has. However, negative perceptions of the decision-making processes in any open source project are a warning sign that shouldn't be ignored.