As PHP continues its march into the future with improved support for objects, better memory management, and notable performance boosts WordPress seems to be dead-set in sticking to the “must support old technology no matter how bad it is”. As of this writing, on the verge of the much-anticipated WordPress 5.0 release with the almost-modern reactive components interface — the past continues to hamper the technology by insisting on clinging to PHP 5.2 as the baseline version that plugins and themes should support.
PHP 5.2 Is Dead
Not recently dead. Long deceased. PHP 5.2 support officially ended OVER SEVEN YEARS AGO in January of 2011. That is about 3,000 years ago in human-time.
Far too often people do NOT ask me, or my colleagues in the industry, whom they should use as a web hosting company. Most business owners figure they are smart enough to at least select a host — especially when it comes to hosting a WordPress site.
And they Google it.
From the instant they made that decision they are screwed. Web hosting is an insanely profitable business and as such it has attracted tech titans; companies with a couple zeros in the “millions column” on their revenue sheets. They earn millions every month in hosting fees and pay a LOT of money to be the “first recommended” by Google or others.
WordPress REST performance sucks. There, I said it. Not because I dislike WordPress — in fact I think it is the best open source web application we have seen thus far. It is a great piece of technology. It even has the potential to be a great web application framework — in fact I use it for the Store Locator Plus managed service, MySLP.
However, unless you are in 100% complete control of every component in the system you are going to very likely end up with an underperforming over-burdened web service if you build your tech on typical WordPress components. Even the highly customized MySLP service is 5-10x slower than it would be if it was build on a completely customized application stack outside of WordPress.
WordPress is NOT built around performance. WordPress is built on two core tenants – ALWAYS support legacy users at all costs. Be extensible.
Businesses have been hiring programmers for decades now. Back in the 70s it was something only Fortune 100 companies did. Today everyone from your local cafe to full-fledged software companies do it. Unfortunately few now how to hire a programmer.
Nearly every-single business outside of the tech sector gets screwed when paying an outside agency to write their apps. If you’ve hired a programmer recently it is very likely you are on that list. If you don’t think you’ve been screwed, you are likely just wallowing in a pool of naivety as your coder-for-hire laughs all the way to the bank.
Testing Store Locator Plus with lots of locations is a chore. Thankfully Cypress.IO data list processing makes this a lot easier.
It turns out that the old-school Selenium IDE scripts that we’ve been using to test Store Locator Plus for years will no longer work. We already knew Firefox versions beyond 54 broke things — but we kept an old install on hand so while we port 500+ test scripts to a new system. What finally broke the old-school Firefox bandaid was moving Store Locator Plus towards a reactive application using Vue.