← back to the writings

Create innovative apps with WordPress

Posted on March 28th, 2015 in WordPress, Articles by Graeme

Did you know that WordPress can be an excellent framework for creating many different types of web applications? If you're handy with PHP, or know someone that is, it can be a great choice of platform to build on as the core functionality is great, and it's easy to extend.

In fact its simplicity could actually have acted against it, having lead to a plethora of free themes and plugins, some of which the quality can be questionable. This, and the fact that any amateur can quickly build a customised website with WordPress (without even touching any code) may have lead many developers to quickly dismiss it, overlooking its true power. 

However, if you ignore the noise, WordPress is just code in the end - JavaScript, PHP, HTML and CSS. And anything you can create with those languages, you can with WordPress. It’s a great framework that can be used to build pretty much anything you could build with another framework. Here’s a few cool, varied examples of what has been created using WordPress:


Bata Screenshot 

Bata is a family-owned global footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer. Being a global brand, the website gets a huge amount of traffic, showcasing WordPress's ability to deal with such demand.

Tasty Kitchen

Food community

Tasty kitchen is a community website, allowing members to search for recipes, interact with each other, and even share their own recipes. This site is almost a social network including forums and friend connections.

BBC America

BBC screenshot

BBC America uses Wordpress as a huge Mulitsite installation. It's home for all BBC America shows, with each site within the setup has its own child theme, powered by the main framework.

 101 Holidays

 101 holidays

101 Holidays uses WordPress as a content management system to categorize holidays by price, destination, experience and much more. It allows users to query the site and discover holidays, showing pictures and highlighting quotes.

Clouds 365 Project

Clouds 365

The Clouds 365 project uses WordPress quite uniquely. It's purely a photo blog, showing up to 45 large high quality images at a time. It also uses many different category and page templates. 

The flexibility of WordPress

All these examples have been built starting with WordPress's core, transforming it into something unique. A factor in enabling this is that WordPress makes the development process easier and faster, as you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for common actions. Registering users? Adding posts? They’re all challenges that have been overcome by the WordPress open source community. Being open source also leads to something more secure than building something yourself, as it's had expert contribution for many years for years. 

Let’s look at a quick example of adding a user - you can just use the function:

$user_id = wp_create_user ( $email_address, $password, $email_address );

It’s one line of code! You just provide the name and details to the function, which does all the hard work - it abstracts you from having to even touch the database. And if you did want to dig further, you can go and look into the function to see what it’s doing.

Obviously there are drawbacks to using WordPress and there are other frameworks out there that can do certain things better. One of the larger concerns is that WordPress can be quite resource intensive, so you have to make use of database caching plugins and techniques. However, to get something started quickly, there’ s not much out there with such a supportive community that beats it. 

Have any thoughts?