Author: Ray Gulick

I'm a web designer/developer who resides in New Mexico (USA), serving business and professional organizations with my company, Evolution Web Development (Evo) since 2000. In my spare time, I'm likely to be found with human, canine, or equine friends and relatives (pretty sure I'm related to one of my dogs).

Meet the Community: Patrick Klein

Patrick van Noort

ClassicPress Slack Handle: Klein
ClassicPress Forum Handle: Klein
Social media handles: I don’t really use Social Media
Website: I don’t have a personal website.
Where in the world are you located? The Netherlands

Tell us about yourself — occupation, hobbies, etc.

I am an avid reader and lover of history. I often study historical figures just out of interest. I used to love chemistry as well, but that love has died down a bit. I got into programming and computers quite late in my school career. It took me a while to find my place as I originally studied Biochemistry. During this study I got a part-time job doing simple data entry, and my interest grew from there. I took up a study in basic web development after that.

Do you ever regret switching to web development?

Honestly, in the beginning I did. It was something completely different and pretty difficult to wrap my head around. But as I learned and continue to learn, I find it much more enjoyable than my old studies. I like front-end development because you can see immediately what is happening. It can be very frustrating at times, but the feeling when everything clicks and works is amazing.

What do you do now?

I finished my studies not too long ago and work for an advertisement company. The company is more than half a century old now, and trying to branch out into the web world. It is great to sort of pilgrim ahead while still having the security of a respected name. I still have a few of my own projects (most of which use ClassicPress) but most of my work hours are in a brick-and-mortar office for the company. I also took some time recently to get Google Certified, which was a new experience that I really enjoyed.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

My biological clock, haha. I am what you would call a morning person, which means I am always up early and do not really have the ability to sleep in. But in a metaphorical sense, what gets me up is that I really feel happy right now and like I have my life together, something that wasn’t always the case.

What’s your dream job?

If I can let my fantasy run wild, paleontologist or professional historian. But that is more a childhood fantasy than anything. Honestly, I really love the work I do now.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

Like many companies that rely on WordPress, we were confronted with Gutenberg. Thanks to our way of working, Gutenberg was a nightmare and the hunt for a good alternative came soon after. We considered the options, but we mostly serve clients with a small budget. I came across ClassicPress and had to make several reports about its pros and cons to convince my higher ups. During that time I got quite familiar with the project and its community, and so I decided to stick around. I have gotten involved in a few things since then, like the Dutch translation, but my proudest achievement for ClassicPress is the creation of the welcome potato emoticon on slack. CP potato

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

All our actively maintained legacy sites currently run on ClassicPress. Since we serve many clients with limited budgets, we try to keep their sites running as long as possible. A new site would just cost them too much. But we don’t just use ClassicPress for legacy. A lot of our newer projects also run on ClassicPress because we believe in its future.

Done fast; done cheap; done well: what’s your choice(s) and why?

I would love to do fast and well of course. But because we serve many people with smaller budgets, cheap is important. This mostly leads to done simple. We still want to provide quality and don’t want to take ages, but that does mean we’re sometimes limited in scope.

Meet the Community: Alan Coggins

ClassicPress Slack Handle: @ozfiddler
ClassicPress Forum Handle: @ozfiddler
Twitter: @computingsimply
Where in the world are you located? Australia

Tell us about yourself — occupation, hobbies, etc.

I have a small website design and maintenance business, mostly built up through word-of-mouth. I’m at the age (64) where I’m starting to feel “semi-retired”, so I don’t have any grand plans to build an empire. Our clients pay an annual fee to have us look after everything for them, which means it brings in a small, regular income. This is handy because my wife is a violin maker and her income is somewhat less predictable.

Hobbies tend to revolve around music — lately I’ve been getting back into playing the piano, mostly pop music and venturing into a little jazz and blues. I’ve also developed an interest in martial arts (probably some sort of mid-life crisis thing), and I’m currently doing Aikido.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

Not even the alarm clock! For the past 20 years I’ve been getting up to see my two children off to school, but they’ve now passed that stage and I’m in the curious (but very relaxed) position of having no pressing need to get up at all. But the first thing I do every morning is make a large pot of tea (real leaves!), fire up the laptop and see what’s been happening on the other side of the world overnight. And, of course, that now includes checking the ClassicPress forum and Slack channels. So, I guess what gets me up is the need to put on the kettle.

What’s your dream job?

Anything that doesn’t involve monotony or repetition. I’m the sort of person who constantly has to be learning new stuff, so working with computers is an ideal area for me. I love problem solving and having to think my way around finding the optimal answer to a new question. And invariably the best solution is also the simplest. I’m a huge fan of the Occam’s Razor approach — hence the name of our computing business, Simply Computing.

Tell us a little bit about your background/history as a writer.

I started writing when I was working with my wife as a violin maker. I had some full-length articles published in an English string magazine called The Strad, then I came up with a wacky notion to write some shorter, light-hearted jottings from the viewpoint of an elderly and cynical violin repairer. The Strad liked the idea and I ended up doing a monthly, one-page column for the next three years: Confessions of a Luthier – the diary of Stanley Potts. It was published anonymously and generated a lot of speculation about Stanley’s true identity. He even had his own website and would regularly receive emails and send off suitably crusty replies.

Over the years I’d also been collecting and researching information about Australian violin makers. When I reached the 500 mark I realised I needed to preserve and circulate all this information, so in 2009 I self-published my book, Violin and Bow Makers of Australia. I couldn’t find anyone to do the necessary photos (violin photography is a very specialised field) so in the end I just had to teach myself. I’m still picking up some occasional work as a violin photographer.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

I first saw ClassicPress mentioned on an Australian computing forum. I’d already checked out Gutenberg and decided it was a totally unnecessary complication for my clients, so I was interested in finding a simpler alternative. The Classic Editor plugin was clearly only a short-term fix. As soon as I started looking into ClassicPress I very quickly realised this was the answer I needed.

I was keen to get involved because I’ve always loved the collaborative nature of the internet and the way people so often help each other freely, with no thought of personal gain. There have been a lot of people who have helped me out over the years with advice and answers, so I always try and give something back if I can. Sort of like computer karma.

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

I’ve worked with a good number of CMS programs — Joomla, Wordpress, Magento, Concrete5, Perch — but I’ve always come to them as an outsider who just accepts things as they are, warts and all. With ClassicPress I feel like I have the opportunity to take a little “ownership” of it as it forms — that’s an exciting idea. I’m really keen to see how ClassicPress grows and develops and I’m looking forward to being a part of that. Maybe I could even suggest an idea via the petitions that will eventually get adopted.

Done fast, done cheap, done well: what’s your choice(s) and why?

I’d have to say all three. I think in the computer world “done fast” can be vital, so I don’t see that as a negative. I like to get onto problems as soon as they appear, and my clients would expect that, especially those with ecommerce sites.

I work from home, have no employees and very few overheads, so I am able to keep my prices quite low. I guess a lot of people would consider our services to be “done cheap”.

And I would certainly like to think they are “done well”. We commit to ongoing maintenance of websites, so I’m ultimately responsible for all my work in the long term. If I don’t do it well the first time it only means I have to go back and do it again.

Hmmm… you know, I think I may have found a new tagline for my website.

Meet the Community: James Nylen

ClassicPress forums username: james
ClassicPress Slack handle: @James Nylen
Social media handles:

Tell us about yourself — occupation, hobbies, etc.

I have enjoyed working with software and technology for as long as I can remember. As an occupation I write and maintain websites and other kinds of software for several different clients.

I also enjoy playing guitar and making/building physical things. One of my next projects will be a sit/stand desk using a counterweight and pulley system.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

I am not much of a morning person. I often work late at night when there are fewer distractions and end up sleeping until late morning. All of my work is online with very few meetings, so I’m fortunate to have the flexibility of schedule required to do this.

What’s your dream job?

Basically what I am doing right now: building and maintaining websites and other software solutions for clients on an independent/freelance basis, and also working on other projects I’m passionate about, like ClassicPress.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

I don’t remember how I first heard about ClassicPress, but it became clear during the development of WordPress 5.0 that the WordPress classic editor was going to be phased out, leaving many site owners without a good option to move forward.

When I saw that Scott Bowler had started ClassicPress with a strong marketing push, I knew that his skills and mine would complement each other really nicely, and I sent an email offering some technical suggestions and help. I was officially named lead of the core development team a short time later, and we’ve continued growing since then.

WordPress with the classic editor was a stable, battle-tested website platform that is relatively simple and easy to debug and understand. I’m excited about maintaining this platform under the ClassicPress name and using it as a foundation for new development.

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

ClassicPress is already my preferred solution for most new websites that need a CMS. I’m also looking at moving client sites over to ClassicPress, though there are still some more challenges to solve first, mostly around plugin compatibility and support.

Other than that, I’ve never helped build an online community from scratch before, like we have with ClassicPress. I’m really excited about the level of participation and engagement we’ve achieved already, and I’m excited to continue this work in the future, for example by continuing to build our own community of plugins and by making ClassicPress version 2 even faster and leaner.

Done well, done fast, or done cheap: Which two do you choose?

I think most of the time you only get to choose one of these options! I would definitely choose “done well.”

We’ve all used software that, for one reason or another, just doesn’t work very well or do what it’s supposed to. In my opinion this always comes down to the same reasons and the same set of problems: a failure to consider the possible inputs and outputs for the software, or, to put it another way, a failure to consider lots of different ways that people might try to use it, and what the results of each of those actions or cases may be.

I consider it part of my mission to make the world of software better. When I release a software product or change, especially to the public like we do with ClassicPress, I want it to be solid and well-tested.

This kind of development is not quick or cheap, but it stands the test of time and serves as a foundation for other people to continue building great things.

Meet the Community: John Alarcon

The Basics

Name and ClassicPress Handle: John Alarcon [CodePotent]
Social media handles: @codepotent on Twitter, Slack, and forums
Where in the world are you located? Pacific Northwest, USA

Tell us about yourself — occupation, hobbies, etc.

Code Potent is based in the Pacific Northwest. Most of my family is here and we get together on Sundays to eat, play games, and catch up. I don’t have a significant other or kids, so, I tend to write code or do something related if I’m just hanging around the house.

Away from the keyboard, I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, camping, and photography. I like spending time with family and friends, talking shop over a craft beer, and building things with my hands.

I’ve been a freelance developer for most of my tech career. For nearly a decade, I’ve been delivering a variety of bespoke solutions and functionality, primarily for WordPress. Mostly spec-work, mostly uninteresting. Right now, virtually all my free time is going toward ClassicPress – the new website, long-form articles and tutorials, free plugins, and helping out a bit around the various support channels.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

I tend to be awake for 20ish hours and then sleep for 8, so, “morning” is a relative term to me. Some days my morning will be your morning, and other days my morning will be your night. That said, inspiration is what gets me out of bed every day.

What’s your dream job?

To me, a dream job comes down to three things: doing something you love, getting fairly paid for it, and still having free time to enjoy other aspects of life. By this definition, I’ve been working my dream job all along. Generally speaking, if I’m able to use creativity and logic in a project, I’ll probably be happy.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

I found out about ClassicPress on Twitter. I’d been working under NDA/NCA which precluded me from getting involved with WordPress in any substantive way. That ended in 2018, so, I was free to join the public space. Since I was already transitioning my business activities, ClassicPress really just happened at the right time. And, since I had more than a decade of immediately-transferable WordPress experience, it wasn’t a tough choice.

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

ClassicPress is integral to my future plans. I am providing a lot of free content at my site to establish my experience with the platform, to advocate for better practices, and to create a brand under which I can run a full-time freemium plugin business.

Tell us what got you started on your recent ClassicPress plugins efforts?

My intentions were to start a plugin development business in the WordPress space during 2018 – but, I ended up switching to ClassicPress instead. It was natural to simply do what I’d already planned, but, do it in the ClassicPress space.
So far I’ve release three new plugins, forked one, and dragged one along…

You forked TinyMCE Advanced, a plugin I consider(ed) essential. To me it’s a really big deal that plugin’s capabilities have been retained in your fork, WYSIWYG Advanced, without the added Gutenberg code.

I’d been relying on the plugin for some time, but, it’s one of those that you setup and forget about, so, I didn’t realize it was slowly taking on Gutenberg code. I only realized it when my site had an issue that was related to the editor and I went to look at the settings. I didn’t really think there was a choice – I needed the editor like that day!

That plugin has put a lot of people at ease. I’m more happy with that than anything.

Me included! I know I was not prepared for Gutenberg code ‘infiltrating’ various ‘classic editor’ stuff.

I was also not completely expecting this, though, in hindsight, I’m not sure how we could have thought otherwise.

You just launched a new site at, with the tagline ‘High Quality Resources for ClassicPress’. Tell us about the site and where you see it a year from now?

Because I’m moving into the public space with my work, I’ve got to prove myself. The site creates a platform from which I can talk about my experience, advocate for better practices, and provide solid examples of what I think ‘high quality’ means. The site will be geared toward new and seasoned developers, but, will also offer some content for site owners, as well.

A year from now I expect I’ll be doing much the same, with the exception of having added some premium plugins to my offerings.

This article is part of our new “Meet the ClassicPress Community” series. We <3 our ClassicPress Community!

Why Choose ClassicPress for Your Business / Professional Website CMS?

CMS Rankings

As the newcomer business-grade CMS, ClassicPress has a lot to prove. WordPress is the dominant CMS, currently powering more than 30% of all websites (60% of websites built on a CMS); for some perspective, see the chart. As a fork of WordPress, ClassicPress plans to capitalize on what we believe is a misstep for business and professional users in WordPress’s decision to integrate the block editor into core (originally introduced as the Gutenberg plugin).

ClassicPress v1.0.0 will be the beginning of a Long-Term Support stable release series, including all changes from WordPress 4.9.9 as a starting point. We’ll continue to release security updates and bug fixes in future 1.x versions, as well as maintaining full backwards compatibility with the WordPress 4.9 branch. (Related thoughts on longevity near the end).

When deciding on a CMS, I believe businesses and professional organizations should look at the following factors: who owns the platform (open-source vs proprietary); flexibility and extensibility; developer availability; security; SEO support; ease of use; and prospects for longevity.

Open-source vs. Proprietary

Open-source CMS solutions (ie, WordPress, ClassicPress, Joomla, Drupal) offer a great deal of freedom to do what you wish with the software on whatever hosting platform best suits your needs, while proprietary solutions generally allow only their own ready-made solutions on their own hosting platforms. While proprietary solutions (ie, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly) can be a good choice for certain kinds of business websites (eg, brochure-ware), their limitations make them a poor choice for most. It’s no accident that open-source platforms dominate the business CMS market.

Flexibility and Extensibility

Historically, flexibility and the ability to extend its capabilities have been major advantages for open source platforms like WordPress and ClassicPress. Any good developer can use them to produce websites that meet virtually any business need, in no small part because these sites are usually hosted independently, and the software can modified to suit. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly platforms are not open-source, which means their platforms cannot be modified if you need something they don’t offer.

What currently gives WordPress the extensibility edge over other open-source platforms is a large number of third-party plugins that can provide features without having a highly-skilled developer on board.

Notably, at least until WordPress drops support for Classic Editor (end of 2021?), most plugins that work with WordPress will also work with ClassicPress. Enthusiasm for ClassicPress is growing among developers and we are optimistic that a robust plugin ecosystem will evolve.

Developer Availability

Developer availability is something businesses and professional organizations must consider. The more competent developers available, the more likely they can found and hired, and the more affordable their services. Because the block editor is React.js-based, it’s a departure from previous WordPress technology, and relatively few WordPress developers are competent to work with it yet.

The ClassicPress developer pool is actually much larger, because all competent WordPress developers are also competent ClassicPress developers by default (this also bodes well for ClassicPress plugin and theme development).


Security of any system is only as strong as its weakest link. None of the platforms are ‘bad’ at security out of the box. However, while open-source platforms’ major strength is flexibility, this strength is also a potential weakness, as modifications made utilizing poor security practices can create a bad situation.

Likewise, poorly developed plugins can increase security risks or create conflicts with existing site features. To select, configure, and customize plugins while keeping security risks low, the judgement and experience of competent and savvy developers is highly recommended.

ClassicPress shares the same core code as WordPress and has committed to a “security first” approach to development. What this means to our users is that they will enjoy the same level of security available to them as a WordPress user, but as we develop past v1, our security team will actively seek ways to improve and make CP a “best choice” for business websites.

SEO Support

Much like security, SEO for a website is only as strong as the people managing it. It’s important to realize that underpinning any SEO effort, there must be a well-thought-out program of content production. Any SEO support applied to a site that produces no content is useless. That said, WordPress (and ClassicPress) benefit from several good SEO plugins that, in the hands of content producers who know what they’re doing, can boost SEO significantly.

Ease of Use

It’s worth remembering the original purpose of Content Management Systems: enabling website owners to quickly and easily add and update content on their websites. Historically, WordPress has held an advantage in this area (it’s a major factor in why Drupal fell behind WordPress). In the last few years, however, some of the proprietary platforms have implemented drag-and-drop interfaces that cater to low-end users, and WordPress decided it needed to do something to ‘keep up.’ The Gutenberg plugin (integrated into core as the block editor with the 5.0 release) was the result of those efforts, promising a fun and flexible (layout/design) editing experience. Although it may improve in time, at launch the block editor is buggy and difficult to work with.

But in business or professional settings, the goal in managing content is neither to have fun nor to have a lot of layout/design options. The goal is to add or update content quickly and easily so a business owner or employee can move on to the other 99 things on their daily to-do list. The block editor is significantly more difficult to use for simple edits, and having the flexibility to design pages is not only a time-suck, but presents a risk to branding and consistency. A system of professionally designed templates and custom fields (with an easy-to-use text editor) is much better able to help businesses meet their content management goals while maintaining consistency in branding.

ClassicPress not only retains the classic editor, but has committed to making improvements after v1.0.0 that will better serve CMS users in business and professional organizations. From a business CMS perspective, it really doesn’t matter if the block editor becomes less buggy: it’s the wrong tool for the job.

Prospects for Longevity

WordPress has an impressive track record, but it started even smaller than ClassicPress — with two developers — in 2003. Intended as a way for its founder to share photos with friends and family, it almost unwittingly became the dominant CMS by developing features that allowed developers to customize it (ie, custom post types, custom fields) and by encouraging and enabling an ecosystem of third-party plugins and themes. ClassicPress intends to build on what we believe WordPress did right, making improvements that make it an even better CMS.

Those of us involved with ClassicPress are deeply committed. We know how much work is in front of us, but we also know we’re up to the challenge. With every ClassicPress site launched, with every new volunteer, with every third-party plugin or theme that commits to continued support, ClassicPress moves toward its goal to become the CMS of choice for business and professional organizations.

Want to help out? Head over to our Slack workspace, and/or our forums at

ClassicPress chooses a path to serve business / professional organization websites

The initial impulse for ClassicPress was the upcoming release of Gutenberg, and the need for existing WordPress site owners to have a stable option for the foreseeable future. However, we quickly realized that the situation with Gutenberg highlights a distinction between two groups in the WordPress market: bloggers versus business and professional organization* site owners.

From the beginning, WordPress has been dedicated to democratizing publishing, making it easy for people who don’t have significant web development skills to publish personal content in the form of blog posts. In fairly short order, developers discovered the platform was flexible enough to be used as a lightweight CMS for business applications. That usage really took off with the introduction of custom post types, in combination with custom fields. For a few years it appeared that WordPress would fully embrace WordPress as a CMS and support both bloggers and CMS users. A robust ecosystem of plugins and hosting arose to support WordPress as a CMS, and a lot of developers earned a living making and supporting such websites.

With Gutenberg, however, WordPress emphatically reaffirmed its commitment to its original purpose of democratizing publishing. ClassicPress respects their decision, and has resolved that it will dedicate itself to improving and strengthening its features for business sites, which we feel are no longer well-served by WordPress.

*Professional organizations would include, for instance, higher education and government. For the sake of brevity, this post includes such entities when it refers to ‘business’.

What’s the difference between a blog site and a business website?

Let’s acknowledge that there are edge cases that fall outside of these generalizations, and that many sites exist in the blurred lines between (certainly a blog can be a business platform, and some small business sites may have more in common with what we’re describing as blog sites), but let’s make some general, simplified distinctions.

Blog sites

Blog sites are typically managed by a single person or small group of people. Their web development expertise is often limited or non-existent. Their content may be very personal to them, and they may want the ability to customize individual pages and posts beyond what their base theme templates and CSS allow. Most blogs are not run for profit, but when they are, their business model usually has to do with the value of their content. The blog site market primarily uses ready-made themes and often page builders, which enable them to over-ride the limitations of their selected theme.

Business websites

Business sites are typically managed by employees, although many small business owners shoulder the responsibility themselves. In either case, updating the website is only one of their many responsibilities, and fussing with pages or posts is not something they value or desire. They more often prefer to minimize the time spent on the website so they can move on to other tasks. Adherence to branding and style guides is usually more highly valued than original layout for a particular page or post. As a result, this market is usually best served by custom themes designed and developed specifically for their business needs by professional developers.

With these two fundamentally different use cases, it’s easy to see why WordPress has had a split development community: they involve fundamentally different markets with different needs and motivations. Inevitably, WP had to choose between them, and Gutenberg makes their choice apparent.

Where do Gutenberg’s costs to business occur?

Virtually every article that expresses concern about Gutenberg’s impact for business mentions cost. While it is impossible to quantify, there are a lot of well-founded arguments that business will suffer expenses when Gutenberg becomes part of WP core. We won’t attempt to quantify the cost here, but instead will focus on where those costs may be expected to occur.


A large part of WordPress’ appeal to business has been its reliability, predictability, and uncomplicated maintenance. With adequate hosting, a security plugin or two, and minimal attention (keeping core and plugins updated), WordPress offers a virtually trouble-free experience for website owners.

That changes with Gutenberg. Even Gutenberg’s supporters acknowledge that it may break some sites. For many the issues will be forestalled by using the Classic Editor plugin, which will be fine (apparently) as long as TinyMCE remains in core, but many have little or no confidence it will be included forever.

Uncertainty bothers business owners and people charged with responsibility for the company website. They don’t know what to plan for, which means they don’t know what to budget for, which makes them uncomfortable. This discomfort often causes them to look around for other, more predictable options.


Businesses with the resources to do so will likely be the best prepared. They will likely do audits and tests, and be in position to make necessary adjustments when Gutenberg arrives in WP core. But this preparation is not free. It requires time, which is the same as money, and actual money spent if an outside developer is involved.


Gutenberg represents a very different approach to managing on-page content. It is unrealistic to expect content creators and editors to figure it out for themselves, particularly in the context of website updates being only part of their work responsibilities. Again, training requires time and money.


Inevitably, Gutenberg will cause some plugins and themes to break. Maybe not completely, but badly enough that fixes are needed. This may be a short-term opportunity for developers with the skills to make the fixes, but spending money on fixes is not something website owners will be happy about.

Plugin compatibility and availability

Many plugins are made and maintained by single developers or small companies. Such plugins are often free, and often serve edge cases, but provide critical functionality to business websites that have come to depend on them. Developers of edge case plugins often do not have the time or resources to recode to support Gutenberg. WP website owners are left with the choice of searching for a Gutenberg-compliant alternative or altering site features or functionality and potentially impairing a site’s ability to provide a great user experience.

ClassicPress steps in

To the business website owner concerned about Gutenberg’s immediate impact, there is little difference between installing ClassicPress and installing Automattic’s temporarily supported Classic Editor plugin. But beyond Gutenberg, there are literally hundreds (thousands?) of improvements that can be made to better serve the business market, and WordPress won’t make them because they run counter to their goal of democratizing publishing.

ClassicPress picks up the challenge of making those improvements and dedicates itself to becoming the business website CMS. As a result, we place a high priority on security, accessibility/usability, stability, efficiency, simplicity, and above all, listening to our growing community and our market.

There’s a lot to be done, but we’re here for the long haul. We hope you’ll join us.

Clarification 11/1/2018: If you build ‘blog sites’ as described above, ClassicPress will absolutely support them. In fact, you’ll most likely find ClassicPress simpler to use than WordPress (from a blogging perspective, more like the ‘old’ pre-Gutenberg WordPress).