The All New WordPress – What is Calypso?

The All New WordPress – What is Calypso?

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of WordPress’ parent company, Automattic, announced a new interface for WordPress late last year called Calypso. What was unusual was that the interface was written in Javascript, Node, and React (which excited the vast majority of developers) but it remained a primarily PHP based application using a REST API.

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WordPress Calypso has created a lot of confusion with many people thinking WordPress was being completely rebuilt, but in fact Calypso is just an admin interface with a WordPress.com JSON API. This means that they have been able to create a brand new admin system for existing WordPress.com sites (or self-hosted sites using the Jetpack plugin), built solely in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. WordPress Calypso will be able to run locally with a really simple node.js set up.

What does this mean for WordPress users?

WordPress Calypso looks like the way WordPress.com is headed with hosted installs. This is completely different from the open source WordPress.org project, although in the future we could potentially see these two projects merging into one with the trends of Javascript web development and applications at the moment.

Is this just for WordPress.com accounts?

Calypso in its own most basic form is simply an editor and an RSS reader for WordPress.com sites. But you’re also covered if you wanted to set up Calypso on your self hosted site. All you have to do is add the Jetpack plugin, and once enabled, you can manage your content using the Calypso web app, desktop app or mobile app. So for standard WordPress users, Calypso doesn’t change a lot, since it does the same things just in a prettier and more powerful way, but you may benefit from an easier navigation and content editor.

What does Calypso mean for a WordPress Developer?

Right now this doesn’t mean a lot, but this potentially shows the direction WordPress is taking, as most theme creation can be done in Javascript, WordPress as an API. I don’t see the entire WordPress platform moving to Javascript any time soon, but I do expect WordPress developers will find themselves writing lots more Javascript over the next few years.

We have already seen changes come through in the WordPress 4.4 update late last year which integrated the REST API in the WordPress core.

It’s great to see a potential new beginning for WordPress Developers, and it’s exciting to see what’s to come in the future. As Matt Mullenweg says, “This is a beginning, not an ending. (1.0 is the loneliest.) Better things are yet to come, as all of you dig in”.

Useful links and resources

Andrew Collins