Calypso – A Javascript Front-End

Following up from – What next? and WordPress Development is about to radically change – I am writing this post using Calypso, the new Javascript single-page app that is based on the interface that you will already know if you use wordpress.com. It serves as a great tool for exploring what is possible now and in the future with the WordPress ecosystem.

Calypso is built on a stack that comprises of:

  • Node
  • Express
  • React.js
  • Redux
  • wpcom.js

So does this mean that I don’t need to build my own “stack”?

No – mine is going to be a different thing, in the sense that it will be more of a Theme building system for WordPress sites that will enable you to do things that weren’t easy to do previously or that ended up being very messy. Moreover, if like me, you don’t do so much PHP nowadays and work more with JS systems like Angular or React, then it will be the tool for you. I have got an early version of it working that I will share with you as soon as I can.

Calypso is great though, as it’s code is available on Github and provides you with an alternative UI for managing your sites and viewing other content through the “Reader”. I will no doubt dig into the code, to see how things work and perhaps learn new things about React.

So how to you set it up?

Go take a look at github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso to clone the project to your computer. You will need to have a few other tools installed, such as Node, NPM etc, so at this point in time, it may be easier to get up and running if you use these tools in your day-to-day web development work. There is another version available that allows you to run it on any number of platforms including OSX and Windows using Electron.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 15.43.05.png

That is what excites me, soon you will be able to build your own Native mobile apps using the Calypso eco-system – I am going to be exploring that too with a couple of real-world projects I have up my sleeves.

Above all else Kudos to Automattic for this stuff!!!

WordPress Development is about to radically change

Let's kick this off with a thought I had today on what I shall do next with this site. I've been meaning to either revamp this site or start a new one and since I have been procrastinating about it, nothing much has happened. So time to perhaps begin a project where I revamp it but not in the conventional WordPress kind of way....

Let me explain!

I am more of a front end developer these days and have worked a lot with JavaScript frameworks like Angular and now React. These new toys have invited people across the industry to disrupt the way in which we build sites. Thing is it has made me realise how much I don't like about WordPress development and that it now feels like it is something from the dark ages. WP is great for editors and consumers but is not such a great thing for developers, especially if you've moved on to working with these modern tools that I mention.

Wordpress does have an updated REST API and with this we can do some great things.

What things?

Lets say that I am disillusioned with the way in which I build templates for WordPress and would much rather work with some of the
methods I have been learning and working with elsewhere in my day to day work? I can, it can be done and mostly thanks to the guys
behind WP updating their REST API which means it is possible to build seperate applications which consume your WordPress data. In 
other words making it possible to build whatever you wish, however you like and all without upsetting your editorial team, they 
can carry on working with the admin as normal. I really do love WP's dashboard and all of the back-end facilities that it has.

So I am going to explore these options by possibly building two spin off sites from nicklewis.net - yes 2 of them!

They will be nicklewis.tech and nicklewis.photo respectively and both of them will connect to the existing site and its database, both 
of them offering two different experiences for visitors, as one will be dedicated to my programming work and the other to photography 
and video. Once I have these two "micro-sites" sussed out, I will then probably use the same techniques to revamp the main site.

The technologies I am going to use will be React, GraphQL, Relay and NodeJS.

If this all works out, then I may be able to provide these new skills to other people who want to do more with WordPress than 
the current templating system can allow.

More on all of this soon... If you are confused by this, don't worry, it will become clearer!

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