Do You Use WordPress as a PHP Development Framework?

A short while ago, we had given you a link to a presentation on using WordPress as a web development framework. Today, we want to take it a bit further and get some input from our readers.

Our discussion today focuses on using WordPress as a framework for building applications on. We all know that WordPress is a great tool for blogs and websites in general. However, there isn’t a great deal of information or real-life examples of developers using WordPress as a framework for building custom applications. In other words, if your boss or client asks you to build something like an invoicing system, time management app, quiz system etc, would you consider building this on WordPress, or go for a PHP framework like CodeIgniter, Yii or CakePHP?

Some of the few resources on this subject are this post by Chris Jean as well as a video presentation by Jeff Pearce, reproduced below:

We also do have some real-world examples of apps built on WordPress:

Mobile applications are now a big thing, and sure enough, there are solutions for building mobile apps using WordPress as well.

I’m sure many of you have faced the decision of choosing a framework for PHP application development, so we would like to know from you what your experience is, and what is your take on this subject. Looking forward to your comments!

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About Jean Galea

Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the podcast. His personal blog can be found at

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8 Responses

  1. Pieter Carette - SiteOptimo
    Pieter Carette - SiteOptimo December 12, 2011 at 19:30 | | Reply

    (Wrong link on FaultPress)

  2. Brad Trivers
    Brad Trivers December 13, 2011 at 13:54 | | Reply

    I think that WordPress is great as a framework – at the very least for “simple” apps (e.g. like people organized in a directory or as a reservation system – two plugins I’m building for clients).

    I’ve only been working with WordPress since May 2010, but here are a couple of areas that maybe could use improvement (off the top of my head):

    a) Relationships between entities – i.e. posts (with metadata), users, taxonomies. Trac ticket 14513 discusses this at length, and there are a couple of plugins that enable this instead of having to write long SQL joing statements yourself – most notably Scribu’s Posts 2 Posts plugin. Couple this with Pippin’s premium Easy Content Types plugin and you can hit the ground running fast. I think these sort of interfaces would be great as core WordPress functions – but there are lots of arguments for and against.

    b) Custom login and “front-end” admin tasks: Currently I don’t think it is trivial to “hide” the back end from WordPress users and allow them to do “admin” type tasks like logging in, updating posts / custom fields. Some discussion about login at, and also about redirecting users (particularly hard after login error if I remember correctly).

  3. Sergey Vlasov
    Sergey Vlasov February 19, 2012 at 13:54 | | Reply

    About using WordPress as a development platform – WP MVC plugin is definitely worth checking out. WP MVC is essentially a plugin which provides core MVC functionality and basic set of code generators. So, your MVC application is a secondary plugin (dependent on WP MVC core). WP MVC is not as sofisticated as other MVC frameworks, but still has its own APIs for models, views, controllers, helpers and routes. One of nice features I personally adore is separation between public and admin controllers. And yes, it’s source is hosted on GitHub!

  4. Richard Guay
    Richard Guay April 12, 2012 at 16:17 | | Reply

    Yes, WordPress makes a great platform for building any kind of webapp. I created the Script Manager plugin for WordPress to help out in this area. Please check out my demos and tutorials to see how to accomplish this feat.

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