What is WordPress Calypso and what does it mean for self hosted sites?

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic recently announced a new interface for WordPress.com called Calypso. You can now manage your blogs, publish and edit posts as well as read other people articles all from a new look and feel.

This is great, however, what’s truly remarkable is the fact that the new interface is written entirely in Javascript.

By using the new JSON API from WordPress.com they were able to create a brand new admin for WordPress.com sites that is written entirely in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS and it can run locally on a device with a lightweight node.js server setup.


But first… WordPress is still a PHP app

Many people were really excited about this. Javascript and node and react oh my!

Some for good reason and others for not so good reasons 🙂 It seams there’s a lot of misinformation in the community.

Basically, the way I see it, right now Calypso is the future of Automattic and WordPress.com (the company that offers hosted WP installs ), not the Open Source project WordPress.org.

Calypso is the future of Automattic and WordPress.com

Yes, you can:

  • edit your self hosted site using the new interface for connected JetPack
  • it’s fast and really well though out for writing and editing
  • you can manage your posts, pages and menus, themes and plugins and a few more settings
  • it’s open source so you can install it locally or on your server

And it’s awesome, but as far as self hosted sites go:

  • if you install it locally it will still require a WordPress.com account to make it work.
  • there’s no support for custom post types and custom fields (although I’m sure that will / can change in the future)
  • WordPress is still a PHP application

What does this mean for self hosted sites?

Right now, if you do a lot of writing it’s great! The Mac app I’ve heard it’s also really good and there are plans for a similar Windows app.

However, if you’re using WordPress as a general purpose CMS, with plugins to configure and interact daily (like it’s the case with an ecommerce site), Calypso is of very little use right now.

I’m sure you can find a way to integrate it in your workflow, but that would mean switching between different interfaces and that’s even worse then a slower interface with page refreshes.

So nothing has changed for WordPress?

Actually, everything changed. WordPress 4.4 is coming December 8’th and with it the first part of the REST API that’s actually integrated in the core.

This is a great new beginning for WordPress developers and their users because now they can build better interfaces that are easier to both maintain and use.

I guess Matt said it best:

This is a beginning, not an ending. Better things are yet to come, as all of you dig in.

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One thought on “What is WordPress Calypso and what does it mean for self hosted sites?

  1. So for now, Calypso won’t be available for self hosted sites, which is probably a good thing as the kinks and bugs get worked out. Other that a new interface, what would you say are the benefits to an average site developer?

    Rod Salm, the WordPress Fanatic

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