Similarly, you can create new roles and capabilities to manage who has access to your custom functionality. The theme code obviously includes the HTML and CSS for the site’s layout, but also contains some simple logic that integrates with the main SchoolPress plugin (like the preceding branching code). Web Web Build, deploy, and scale powerful web applications quickly and efficiently. Figure 1-3 describes a typical MVC-based application. The plugin API in WordPress and the thousands of plugins that have been developed using it are the secret sauce and in our opinion the number one reason that WordPress has become so popular and is so successful as a website platform. WordPress has a proven database schema and is ready to go. WordPress was developed first as a blogging platform, but through the years and with the introduction of custom post types (CPTs) in version 3.0, it has evolved into a fully functional content management system (CMS). There are many well-supported plugins for all of these functions. On the other hand, because WordPress is open source, you will hear about it when these exploits become public, and someone else will probably fix the exploit for you. When logged in, SchoolPress users can see which discussions are unread. can be launched with a click, and pre-configured solutions from thousands of vendors in the AWS Marketplace are ready to start running when you are. One option to consider is setting up WordPress to serve your static pages (to avoid spending time reimplementing a CMS for this content) and using CakePHP to develop the dynamic application that is the core of what you're building. AppPresser is an easy to use platform that helps you convert any WordPress site into a … Here are some common criticisms: WordPress is just for blogs. If you have basic PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript experience you can use WordPress to develop fast, scalable, secure, and highly customized web apps, mobile apps, web services, and multisite networks of websites. It enables you to update your app’s content quickly. Content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla often get left out of the framework discussion, but in reality, WordPress (in particular) is really great for what frameworks are supposed to be about: quickly building applications. Features delivered by Appmaker’s WordPress App builder: We suggest our favorites throughout this book; you can find a list of them on this book’s website. If a school signs up for a premium subdomain, it can choose from a variety of StartBox child themes; it also has the ability to change any of the theme’s colors, fonts, and logos to better fit its branding. Although there are free options, your best bet is to go with a paid host to … Description. The default behavior can be further customized via the WP_Rewrite API (covered in Chapter 7) and other hooks and filters. Use the Paid Memberships Pro plugin to allow members to pay for access. Even apps that are more task oriented will typically have a few pages for information, documentation, and sales. … Students can post text content and also add one or more attachments to a submission. Details on user roles and capabilities can be found in Chapter 6. You’ve even gone to great lengths to give it a responsive design that your website visitors will enjoy using. In an MVC framework, the code that stores the underlying data structures and business logic are found in the models. The main feature allowing WordPress to be used as a framework is the plugins API, which allows you to hook into how WordPress works by default and change things. Click an image below to learn more This is where designers will spend the majority of their time. First, many plugins add view-like functionality and contain design elements. We’ll create a shortcode that will allow us to add a latest published posts widget in our WordPress website. In reality, this book will help you build anything with WordPress: websites, themes, plugins, web services, and web apps. Statements like this were true a few years ago, but WordPress has since implemented strong CMS functionality, making it useful for other content-focused sites. Details on how to setup ecommerce with WordPress can be found in Chapter 15. Pay to construct a solid database schema. However, if your application needs to be real-time and fully asynchronous (e.g., a chatroom-like app or a multiplayer game), you have our blessing to think twice about using WordPress. There are a handful of indispensable plugins that we end up using on almost every site and web application we build. On the one hand, because WordPress is so popular, it will be the target of hackers looking for security exploits. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to make your web apps work offline. “What is a Web Application?” by Dominique Hazaël-Massieux. The MVC architecture supports code reusability by allowing the models, views, and controllers to interact. The teacher posting the assignment is the author of the post. Emails can be drafted offline in Gmail. You will see references to SchoolPress while reading this book. Add custom forms, tools, and application behaviors for paying members. WordPress is now the most popular CMS in use, with over 50% market share.[2]. The same models might be used in the frontend to display posts and in the backend to edit them. This course is project based. There are many people who believe that WordPress isn’t powerful enough or meant for building web apps, and we’ll get into that more later. The end user uses a controller, which manipulates the application state and data via a model, which then updates a view that is shown to the user. Here are a few cases where you wouldn’t want to use WordPress to build your application. Using WordPress for Web Application Development Now more than ever, developers and designers are beginning to see the potential for using WordPress as a way to build web applications. Most plugins are free. Second, forms and other design components used in the WordPress dashboard are generally handled in plugins as well. If you are already using WordPress for your main site, you might just be a quick plugin away from adding the functionality you need. What we can do is explain some of the features of a web app, give you some examples, and then try to come up with a shorthand definition so you know generally what we are talking about as we use the term throughout the book. Mobile and desktop apps Update your site from anywhere with mobile and desktop apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The school admin then invites teachers into the system. An example would be a contact form on a website or an application form on the careers page of a company website. In the typical WordPress setup, a user visits a URL, which hits a web server (like Apache) over HTTP, kicks off a PHP script to generate the page, and then returns the full page to the user. Launch a New Frontity Project. My name is Morten Rand-Hendriksen and in this third course in the WordPress REST API series, I'll show you how to use the WordPress REST API to build an interactive standalone application. Controller code is generally handled by a programmer and often set up once and forgotten about. For example, use search.php to show search results, single.php to show a single post, etc. Some of those hackers have been successful in the past; however, the developers behind WordPress are quick to address vulnerabilities and release updates to fix them. If the code can be contained enough that it can run outside of the context of the current app and main plugin, it can be built into a separate custom plugin. It also has all of the marketing information for separate school sites on the network, including the page to sign up and checkout for a paid membership level. You’re making money, gathering leads, and building your brand’s presence on the web. If you are building a serious web app, you’re going to check out the plugin code yourself, fix it up to meet your standards, and move on with development. The Custom Post Types API can be used to tweak your WordPress install to support other content types besides blog posts or pages. With Amazon Web Services, you can get your website up and running quickly. The first step is creating a local Frontity project, and then connecting … Figure 1-2 shows that right triangle from Mullengweg’s 2013 “State of WordPress” presentation depicting a stable WordPress platform with a CMS layer built on top and a blogging application built on top of the CMS layer. For SchoolPress, we are creating our own CPTs and taxonomies. WordPress and PHP/MySQL in general aren’t perfect for every task, but they are well suited for a wide range of tasks. Assignments are just like the default blog posts in WordPress, with a title, body content, and attached files. Sure, the interactivity of the Internet is what defines that “web” part of web app, but a site that doesn’t stop working when someone drives through a tunnel will feel more like an app. Remember, web apps are “designed to help the user to perform specific tasks.” Google Maps users get driving directions. Once you’ve chosen your website builder, it’s … Teachers can create classes and invite their students to them. WordPress.com has Jetpack essential features built in, including site statistics, basic SEO, and social media sharing. PHP developers typically cost less than .NET developers and are way cooler! WordPress itself doesn't need any introduction, but let's take a closer look at the recent WP REST API. SchoolPress runs a multisite version of WordPress. You don’t have to throw out all of the work you’ve done on WordPress already, and all of the following are great reasons to stick with WordPress. There are over 27,000 free plugins in the WordPress repository. You can create… Installing WordPress is the first step for website … No single programming language or software tool will be right for every job. We’ll also cover some situations where using WordPress wouldn’t be the best way to build your web app. Web apps will have even more interactive UI elements. In this section, we’ll describe the app we built as a companion for this book: SchoolPress. Building Web Apps with WordPress Let’s start by defining what a web app is and how it differs from a website or a web service. [2] W3Tech has regular surveys on the use of different content management systems. In modern web applications, the content management system is also developed to manage the content of the website. Add Content to Your Site. WordPress already has a solid login process. And now, every WordPress site comes with an API in-built. These classes are fun to work with and allow for the code that you see in Example 1-1. For example, a “fall 2013” semester could be created and teachers could assign this semester when creating their classes. You can make WordPress asynchronous by using using AJAX calls or accessing the database with alternative clients. Examples include toolbars, drag and drop elements, rich text editors, and sliders. And because the code is open source, these exploits will be easier to discover. WordPress’s in-built API is a REST or “RESTful” API. However, as we’ll go over in detail in this very book, WordPress is a great framework for building more interactive web applications as well. So if your application is fairly straightforward, you can create a custom plugin on your WordPress site to program the functionality of your web app. If you have a team of experienced Ruby developers, you should use Ruby to build your web app. One of them involves Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), and the other offers a more holistic approach. This book will not teach you how to program but rather how to program “the WordPress way.” Building your app into your existing WordPress site will save you time and make things easier on your users. The pyramid on the right represents the current state of the WordPress platform, where most of the code is in the platform itself, with a CMS layer on top of that, and the blog application running on top of the CMS layer. There are options available that allow you to change the text that your members will see. With all due respect to those with these opinions, we’d like to go over why we disagree. Even the crappy plugins can be fixed, rewritten, or borrowed from to work better. Details on using a multisite network with WordPress can be found in Chapter 13. Pay to create a login process for your users. WordPress wasn’t always so stable. Please note that with some web apps, the browser technology is hidden, for example, when integrating your web app into a native Android or iOS app, running a website as an application in Google Chrome, or running an app using Adobe AIR. In addition to controlling access to content, the Roles and Capabilities system in WordPress is extensible and allows you to control what actions are available for certain groups of users. Namely, you cannot restrict what people do with your software once you sell or distribute it to them. We chose to focus on web apps because they can be seen as super websites that make use of all of the techniques we’ll cover. A typical session with a Facebook or Twitter app involves about 90% reading. “What is a Web Application?” by Bob Baxley. Security! Submissions, like assignments, are also CPTs. Terms of service • Privacy policy • Editorial independence. We like the Wikipedia definition: “Application software, also known as an application or an app, is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks.”. Sign Up For a Plan That Suits Your Needs and Budget. Websites with forms offer transactional experiences. A style of web architecture based around HTTP’s request methods: GET, PUT, POST and DELETE. In an MVC framework, the code to process user input (in the form of URLs or $_GET or $_POST data) and decide which models and views to use to handle a request are stored in the controllers. Use PhoneGap Build to Create an App If you’re tech savvy and want to get hands on you can use Adobe PhoneGap to actually create an app for your WordPress website. And if you happen to be using the WPML (WordPress Multilingual) plugin, WP Symposium works very well with that too. Again, the comparison here doesn’t map one to one, but “views = themes” is a good starting point. However, in cases where optimization and performance are more important than being able to quickly update the application, programming a native app or programming in straight PHP, is going to be the better choice. A website is a set of one or more web pages, containing information, accessed via a web browser. In reality, this book will help you build anything with WordPress: websites, themes, plugins, web services, and web apps. You can think of it like a single page web application that can access WordPress content through an API. A web app is just an app run through a web browser. Figure 1-1. School admins can add new semesters to their sites. Yes one can create a web application using WordPress as a SaaS platform, But keep in mind that WordPress is not perfect suited for all web application needs, it can be a very useful tool for certain type of web apps. Pick from hundreds of themes for any kind of project Scaling WordPress apps is covered in detail in Chapter 16. If you plan on having a WordPress social network website that’s multi-lingual, you’ll find that WP Symposium can help. The working app can be found on the SchoolPress website. SchoolPress users comment on class discussions. Exercise your consumer rights by contacting us at donotsell@oreilly.com. SchoolPress is a web application we are building to help schools and educators manage their students and curricula. Building Web Apps with WordPress: WordPress as an Application Framework Announce your startup with a one-page website. WordPress.com runs on the same basic software as any WordPress site and at the time of this writing is somewhere between the 13th most- and 22nd-most-visited website in the world.[3]. You can think of each WordPress release as a application framework with a sample blogging app bundled in. WordPress makes adding and editing content easy via a WYSIWYG editor, so you don’t have to use web designers every time you want to make a simple change to your site. This comparison breaks down in a couple of ways. It’s like having millions of people constantly testing and fixing your software, because that’s exactly what is happening. Pay to develop any custom functionality you require. Web apps can also have tiers of users. A fully featured app for your blog or news website is ready! Diagrams from Matt Mullenweg’s “State of WordPress” presentation in 2013. Forms allow users to interact with a site using something more than a click. You could try to use an MVC architecture within WordPress. For example, by default, users with the contributor role can add new posts, but can’t publish them. Free Website Builders. For example, when using WordPress with the Paid Memberships Pro plugin, you can place a folder called “paid-memberships-pro/pages” into your active theme to override the default page templates.[4]. All themes use a responsive design that ensures the site will look good on mobile and tablet displays as well as desktop displays. Take any plugin that adds a widget to be used in your pages. Teachers are given a Teacher membership level (through Paid Memberships Pro) and a custom role called “Teacher” that gives them access to create and edit their classes, moderate discussion in their class forums, and create and manage assignments for their classes. Students can also request an invitation to a class that must be approved by the teacher. It’s one of those things where you know it when you see it. Some apps are still content focused. The MVC architecture supports separation of concerns by allowing designers to focus their attention on the views, while programmers focus their attention on the models. WordPress has everything you need for adding both admin users and end users to your site. Many WordPress developers, including Matt Mullenweg, the founder and spiritual leader of WordPress, understand this limitation. Teachers do not have access to the WordPress dashboard. It didn’t require any of the main plugin code to run and is useful for other WordPress sites outside of the context of the SchoolPress app. In this chapter, we’ll cover why WordPress is a great framework for building web apps. The user would click a post title, which would take the user to a new URL (a controller) that would load the post data (in a model) and display the single post (a different view). Similarly, if you have Facebook’s resources, you can afford to build everything by hand and use custom PHP-to-C compilers to shave a few milliseconds off your website load times. For example, if we host SchoolPress on our own servers and sell accounts to access the app, that doesn’t count as distribution, and the GPLv2 doesn’t impact our business at all. [1] Many of the ideas in this section are influenced by these blog posts: “What is a Web Application?” by Dominique Hazaël-Massieux and “What is a Web Application?” by Bob Baxley. They also have a username that identifies their activity within the app. WordPress comes with two default content types called posts and pages. The main plugin also contains classes for school admins, teachers, and students that extend the WP_User class and classes for classes, assignments, and submissions that wrap the WP_Post class. In WordPress, all page requests (unless they are accessing a cached .html file) are processed through the index.php file and processed by WordPress according to the Template Hierarchy. WordPress doesn’t use an MVC architecture, but does in its own way encourage code reuse and separation of concerns. Each class has a forum for ad hoc discussion and also a more structured system for teachers to post assignments and have students turn in their work. Teachers can also sign up for free to host their classes at schoolpress.me. Progressive web apps on WordPress should not be confused with Responsive Web Design. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes. We can learn by how large sites like WordPress.com, TechCrunch, and the New York Times blogs have scaled on WordPress. If you choose … Finally, there’s the WordPress Mobile Pack, which offers a host of cross-platform mobile web applications, UI and theming options, and easy integration with Google Analytics. Progressive web apps on WordPress vs. responsive web design. Codex information on the Template Hierarchy is available online; the Template Hierarchy is covered in more depth in Chapter 4. We feel more secure knowing that there are lots of people out there trying to exploit WordPress and just as many people working to make WordPress secure against those exploits. Evernote will allow you to create and edit notes offline and sync them to the Internet when connectivity comes back. For example, in a blog application, a user might be looking at the recent posts page (a view). Its architecture is in such a way that users can build the app by drag and drop app builder. You know what a website is. It is very likely that the WordPress core will be updated over time to work better for real-time asynchronous apps (the Heartbeat API released in version 3.6 of WordPress is a good step in this direction), but currently you’re going to face an uphill battle trying to get WordPress to work asynchronously with the same performance as a native app or something built using Node.js or other technologies specifically suited to real-time applications. Progressive Web Apps are user experiences that have the reach of the web, and are: Reliable – Load instantly even in uncertain network conditions. You may find it easier sometimes to rewrite a bad plugin instead of fixing it. WordPress has built-in post types like posts and pages and built-in taxonomies like categories and tags. We’ll cover the intended functionality of SchoolPress, how it will work and who will use it, and—most importantly for this book—how each piece of the app will be built in WordPress. Get Building Web Apps with WordPress now with O’Reilly online learning. There are some highly vocal critics of WordPress who will say that WordPress isn’t a good framework for building web apps, or that WordPress isn’t a framework at all. However, you’re still further ahead than you would be if you had to write everything yourself from scratch. You have a WordPress website that’s performing well. We’d have to use the GPLv2 license, which wouldn’t allow us to restrict what they do with the code after they downloaded it. Let’s start by defining what a web app is and how it differs from a website or a web service. Plugins like Paid Memberships Pro can be used to extend the built-in user management to allow you to designate members of different levels and control what content users have access to. For example, if your app is going to do one simple thing (say just display the current time), you will want to build your app at a lower level. SchoolPress is a web app that makes it easy for teachers to interact with their students outside of the classroom. Take O’Reilly online learning with you and learn anywhere, anytime on your phone and tablet. The WP-API is a … Students are given a “Student” membership level and the default “Subscriber” role in WordPress. When you have an idea for an extension to your website, there is a good chance that there’s a plugin for that, which will save you time and money. Localize the site/app for different countries and languages. Security is discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. Generally, updating your theme or swapping plugins on a WordPress site will be faster than developing features from scratch on another platform. A lot of plugins do something very simple (e.g., hiding the admin bar from nonadmins), work exactly as advertised, and don’t really have room for being crap. WordPress plugins are crap. Students can then easily view a list of all fall 2013 classes to browse through. © 2013–2020 WPEngine, Inc. All Rights Reserved. With it, you can give members the ability to update their profiles while gaining access to special content. If you are happy with WordPress for your existing site, don’t be confused if people say that you need to upgrade to something else to add certain functionality to your site. For a better understanding of how to develop web applications using WordPress as a framework, continue reading this book. SchoolPress uses the Paid Memberships Pro, PMPro Register Helper, and PMPro Network plugins to customize the registration process and accept credit card payments for schools signing up. The template loader figures out which file in the template should be used to display the page to the end user. Not only can you use the thousands of plugins available in the WordPress repository and elsewhere on the Internet, you can use the plugins API to write your own custom plugins to make WordPress do anything possible in PHP/MySQL. Paid Memberships Pro, developed by our coauthor Jason Coleman, is not crap. We will talk more about the overall concept of SchoolPress later in this chapter. Common practice is to allow templates to override the template used by the plugin. Within minutes, you can set up WordPress and have a fully functional app with user signups, session management, content management, and a dashboard to monitor site activity. WordPress doesn’t scale. The upside-down pyramid on the left represents a circa 2006 WordPress, with most of the code devoted to the blog application and a little bit of CMS and platform code holding it up. AppMySite online app builder helps businesses convert website into app. The underlying architecture of WordPress makes applying these updates a quick and painless process that even novice web users can perform. If any custom development is required, it would only be for niche functionality that doesn’t already exist. Figure 1-1 shows a slide from Matt Mullenweg’s “State of WordPress” presentation from WordCamp San Francisco 2013. WordPress is much more than a blogging platform. One of the potential downsides of WordPress, which we will get into later, is its reliance on the typical web server architecture. For the purposes of implementing a simple client portal on your WordPress site, the free version should suffice. Launch iOS and Android wrappers for the app. Extending the WP_User class is covered in Chapter 6. The code in the StartBox theme is very strictly limited to display-related programming. Using WordPress for your app will give you one place to manage your app and all of your content. They have both a hosted version and a WordPress plugin. For a better understanding of how MVC frameworks work, the PHP framework Yii has a great resource explaining how to best use their MVC architecture. Installing WordPress: First Step To Create Website. These (PHP) classes allow us to organize our code in an object-oriented way that makes it easier to control how our various customizations work together and will make it easier to extend our code in the future. But depending on how big your web application is and how much traffic you get, it can be relatively inexpensive. WordPress has a ton of helper functions for interacting with the database, and in most cases you can utilize CPTs and taxonomies to store and categorize your data without much code. Some will point to a default WordPress install running on low-end hosting, note how the site slows down or crashes under heavy load, and conclude that WordPress doesn’t scale. AppPresser allows you to build an app from any WordPress website. WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg said that "when you think about it, we’re kind of building a web operating system." Get unlimited access to books, videos, and. Sync all your devices and never lose your place. The fact that WordPress is used on millions of sites makes it a target for hackers trying to break through its security. A custom taxonomy called “Semester” is set up for the group/class CPT. - [Instructor] Hello and welcome to WordPress REST API Building an Interactive Web App. Pressbooks is online book production software. 2. Website applications like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! You have no idea how your app will hold up against the Internet, but you’re going to pay to try to make your app as secure as possible. Chapter 8 will cover security issues in more detail, including a list of best practices to harden your WordPress install and how to code in a secure manner. WordPress is running on about 20% of all websites on the Internet. Schools can purchase a unique subdomain for their school for an annual fee. Create an app from website in 3 easy steps. Additionally, WordPress is built on PHP, JavaScript, and MySQL technology, so anything you can build in PHP/MySQL (which is pretty much anything) can be bolted into your WordPress application easily enough. In an MVC framework, the code to display data to the user is written in the views. Gmail users write emails. Why You Should Build an App for Your WordPress Site. Using Paid Memberships Pro to handle your member billing and management will allow you to focus your development efforts on your app’s core competency instead of how to integrate your site with a payment gateway. 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