The open web’s challenge

I missed this article when it was first published, but Zack Rosen has a great post on the open web over at TechCrunch. Zack is the CEO of Pantheon, a web host specializing in Drupal and WordPress sites.

He says, “the open web is not keeping up with the wider technology industry,” and notes, “for the open web to survive, website owners will need to be able to create more and more compelling experiences.”

Zack references what I’ve been referring to as a major challenge for WordPress (and other open source projects): rapidly moving goal posts.

We are chasing simplified and more performant user experiences that are only a couple years old — or even a couple months old — with a CMS that is thirteen years old. And we are being compared, by users at least, to whatever the easiest web application they use frequently is, not other content management systems.

If we don’t make using WordPress as delightful of an experience as whatever their favorite app is, then we have work to do. That is hard, and maybe impossible. But we can improve, and it’s a consistent reminder to not sit on our laurels.

WordPress exploded in popularity because it was easy to use, easy to install, easy to update, and easy to tweak. But what was easy thirteen years ago, or five years ago, can seem hard by today’s standards. It’s like Moore’s law applied to the simplicity of computational interfaces.

I think the WordPress community is moving in the right direction, but it will be interesting to see if we are moving fast enough, and how open source in general can keep pace with the rapid-firing, mega-funded, closed source world.

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