What next?

A crossroads

The clocks have gone forward and I am fast approaching a time of the year where another crossroads presents itself, that interesting time when a contract is coming to an end and where to go next? On April 26th, it could be the last day of working with Save the Children, although it may roll for another 6 months, do I go with the flow or do I daringly break away in pursuit of something else? Do I return to my office here in Farnborough full-time or do I continue to commute into London 4 out of 5 days of each week? I have been lucky that Save the Children let me work from my own office each Thursday as not many on-site contract roles would facilitate that.

Recently I have been given some other options, all but one of them have fallen through and there are my own projects to pursue. So it may well be that I stay with Save until the Autumn, as I don’t think there will be much more available there after that with the projects being completed by that time.

Onwards and upwards

In the future I plan to change my business model (a fair bit) and take a step back from contracting and I need to find a suitable niche to get my teeth into and I think I may have found it. If you read my last post about the WordPress REST API, you will have an idea as to what this may be.

If you are an indie web developer like myself, you will know how hard it can be approaching potential clients with the proposition of “Can I build a website for you?”. Often times you will receive the response that they already have one and they are happy with it. So many people and businesses these days have a website and many of them are probably built in WordPress.

So what if we shift out focus to offering services that can enhance your existing website and make use of the opportunities that REST offers? Then if you combine this with GraphQL, Relay and React (Native) there are a lot of things that can be conjured up and offered even if they are just very open-ended bespoke services.

WordPress has become a commodity over the years in it’s own right with an industry built up around it. Companies make a lot of money out of selling ready made templates to developers who are not that design savvy. So I think there are a wealth of opportunities here, especially when we have more than a few WordPress clients on our books already.

The future of the blog

I was reading the other day that one of the best ways of working out what you are doing in life, is to write, why throw away thoughts when you can write them down and as I am here, share them with an audience. I am eager to write about my initial experiments with some of this new tech and share some stuff via Github…. I am also going to start recording more video podcasts too…. anyway that is enough for now and enjoy the remains of your Easter weekend 🙂

Edit 29th March

I’ve got something up and running using node, react, GraphQL, relay and the API. A great start but a lot more ground to cover yet. 

14 thoughts on “What next?

    1. Thanks David – I think the process of writing helps a great deal. I love writing anyway and I also think it helps me “spec” out what it is I wish to achieve with this technology. How it can be turned into a service that my company can provide to clients ultimately.

      The REST API opens up a massive number of possibilities and some of the things that one can conjure up are. I hate the template engine in WordPress, sorry. So being able to build a front-end using anything else is great. Mobile apps – we can use this tech to build apps! What would you build with this kind of stuff?

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      1. There are few examples at the moment to be honest but I think the gain would be in performance and the possibility of creating mobile apps backed by the WordPress data. I am excited by the fact that this opens up WordPress beyond the constraints of its own templating engine. So going to explore and demonstrate what is possible. Let’s keep an eye out for examples!

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    2. Oh and another idea I had was – one of the websites I look after http://handcraftedfilms.net (co-founded by Tim my brother) could benefit from a mobile app. Lets imagine that they wanted to run campaigns via the World’s NGOs whom they do a lot of work with, I believe that the next step would be to look into how a mobile app could be conceived. Ok a bit of a vague idea at the moment but it wouldn’t have been possible without the REST API – now for the genius bit – we could build a React Native app which uses Relay/GraphQL to connect with the good old API.

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    1. Hi Stephen, choosing technology for the future is tough and I think the future is more about GraphQL and tools like React. WordPress has a massive user base but it is in need of something extra to keep it going for the next ten years. I am looking more at what could be built on top of WordPress, the new JavaScript based UI. Het it working for WordPress and then it could be adapted to other systems.

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    1. Just looked up the link to Calypso and what I’m doing is similar but for self hosted WordPress sites rather than WordPress.com. I recently tried Calypso desktop out but hit a barrier when I realised it was designed for the .com version of WP. My project will enable JavaScript developers to build apps that connect with existing WordPress self hosted sites. Later it could be extended to work with various other API based systems.

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    1. I will take a look at this later but having taken a quick look, I think we are talking about similar stuff, currently trying to steal some time to work on this idea of mine and have got some bits together. Just need to produce a meaningful series of blog posts about it that demonstrate what you can do, especially if like me, you are more of a front-end dev who loves building applications with JS.

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