Ok so we have launched and it received a fair bit of interest at BuddyCamp however it was apparent that there was a slight misunderstanding on what it is about. This is something that we need to address.
What DataFlexor Is
A way to create a web based app using WordPress as a configurable data store.
What DataFlexor Isn’t
A variation on Advanced Custom Fields or Custom Post Type UI or Types or Pods. All of these are great at what they do and that is for the most part managing the existing functionality that WordPress has for Custom Post Types, Meta Fields and Custom Taxonomies. These are where DataFlexor starts rather than finishes.
Why Do We Need to Go Further than CPT’s etc..?
At this point in time WordPress has come a long way towards being an application development platform. It is used by a whole host of businesses in some way from the smallest to the largest.
It does however suffer a bit in it’s database support to help build out more complicated applications. This is often seen as the province of other technologies such as Drupal/Symfony or Laravel in PHP or perhaps MS MVC or Ruby or Node.js.
To a certain extent I can understand this as there is a definite advantage to building from a framework up with sets of engineers who know what they are doing. The rather large downside to this is that it is not easy or cheap.
BuddyPress is currently downloaded about 30,000 times a week, even if 10% of these turn into actual sites this is 3,000 sites per week that are looking for interactive tools. They are not looking at these other solutions and that is why it is worth pursuing.
A quick review of BuddyCamp Brighton, where we ‘launched’ DataFlexor. Overall I would say that it went very well indeed and certainly achieved what we wanted it to do;
- Force a DataFlexor release.
- Get some exposure for DataFlexor.
- Get some feedback on DataFlexor.
- Connect to top class BuddyPress folk.
BuddyCamp itself was a pretty low key affair with a relatively small attendance when compared to WordCamps. It was more like an extended WP Meetup but, and this is a BIG but, the attendees were very experienced and committed BuddyPress developers. This meant that the quality of both the presentations and the general chat was as good as it gets. I would strongly recommend anyone with an interest in BuddyPress to look it up on WP t.v. when the videos are loaded.
There was certainly some interesting takes on BuddyPress and it’s place in the world. For me there were two very telling statements:
WordPress is for publishing, BuddyPress is for communities: Paul Gibbs
This is very important in that it indicates a fundamental difference in the purposes of the two.
Two or more people engaging on a site is a community: Sven Lehnert
I think that this is spot on and if you combine it with Paul’s statement then this indicates to me that BuddyPress is a suitable start for developing applications on the web.
For myself I would probably extend this to say that a community is two or more people connected for a common purpose.
I am going to follow this post with a bunch of others that will extend of these and other take aways from BuddyCamp. In the meantime I will just say that it may well have been one of the most thought provoking and valuable days of my web development life so far!
The status of the project is that there is a working plugin.
Continue reading DataFlexor Update 28 June