Why the WordPress REST API is a big deal

Some insight into the WordPress rest API and how it affects WordPress developers.

Francois Brill

Francois Brill

08 March 2016

WordPress has changed my life as a Web professional and it’s changed millions of other people’s lives as well. It really is an amazing product.

Most people see WordPress as a blog and yes that’s how it started out, and yes, you can get your blog on WordPress.com and blog happily ever after, but that’s not how I see it.

Since reading how Chris Coyier and Jeff Star built WordPress themes from scratch (Back in version 2.7) and learning how to build my own plugins and the ideologies behind taxonomies and custom post types (which are basically just data objects) you can literally do anything for anyone. You can make WordPress jump through hoops that wasn’t ever imaginable to me. And best of all… It took minutes to set-up, and you have a platform that you can start building on.

The WordPress REST API has been a “feature as a plugin” for a while, and it has proved to be a hot topic of discussion on many levels. The possibilities of a REST API takes WordPress to a whole new level, and excitingly enough in December they included part one of two into the core of WordPress. (Part two to follow in version 4.5).

For developers and BIGBrave as a solutions company this is really exciting on many levels:

Build WebServices

Giving core a REST API means we can expose WebServices which allows us to securely get data out of the backend and build our own customised user experience.

Custom Front-ends

Once we have the data out, we can use this to build a frontend experience in a variety of different technologies.

Single Page Applications (SPA)

The immediate excitement is built around SPA, where we can call the data, store it locally on a device and serve a lightning fast frontend as a result. If you think about it, you “call” the data on the homepage – as an example – you’re loading the blog post titles, description, and featured images. Then the user might navigate to the blog page loading all the data again, and ultimately open a blog reloading all the data a third time. The idea of a SPA is to load the data once, and use it multiple times – locally – resulting in lightning fast page loads.

Multi platform

Using WordPress as a platform allows us to query the data from various frontends, but keeping one central point to manage how data and content is stored and updated. This means we could have a public facing website with the data, an App building from the same data, and perhaps a secure internal product database all feeding from a central point yet living in 3 completely different environments.

Deployment

Deployment is a lot easier as you can just change the url of your data feed, work locally and deploy your changes with ease, subsequently not interfering with any live sites.

WordPress has gravitated more towards JavaScript and when Matt did the annual State of the Word, it was no secret that JavaScript was the future. He even gave everyone “homework” to brush up their JavaScript skills. The admirable thing is Matt answered the question: “why?” by saying that they asked themselves the hard question of if they had to start from scratch today, and technology wasn’t a prerequisite what would they build? They then went out and did it when building Calypso.

Conclusion

To innovate we have to ask ourselves how we look at the day-to-day and not to follow the easy road of doing the same things in the same ways, but rather how can we do the same things in different ways.

To all our clients, you can rest assured that BIGBraveTM remains at the forefront of technology and best practices to ensure we deliver world class solutions to you.

Back to all Blogs

Have a project for us?

Let's Chat