Give It a REST

I’ve never done much with WordPress, but the new REST API implementation added to the application core has me intrigued. I feel quite comfortable working in PHP, but almost exclusively lately I’ve been working with Node.js and AngularJS. To my thinking, those technologies are the future of web applications, if not already the present reality. So PHP and the closed-loop systems based on them have been out of my life for years.

What I missed working on the MEAN stack (for the uninitiated, that’s MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js) is a solid content management system. I looked at a few over the past couple years. One or two of them have great potential. But virtually every one has some critical limitation that prevents it from rising to challenge legacy PHP-based behemoths like Joomla, Drupal and, of course, WordPress.

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, figured this out. And now it’s moving forcefully to adapt. Two months ago, CEO Matt Mullenweg identified the complete recasting of the WordPress interface as one of the company’s top priorities. The announcement coincided with the release of WordPress 4.4, with a REST API moved into the application’s core.

When I came across that news a few weeks ago, it really caught my eye. All of a sudden, the internet’s biggest content management system, a giant with a staggering ecosystem, has officially opened up.

By now, I’ve had a chance to do some serious preliminary work with the WordPress REST API, and it seems promising to me. The API itself is rather well documented in both of its flavors, on wordpress.com, the commercial product from Automattic, and wordpress.org, the open source product with a community support implementation of the REST API. Not so well documented is what it takes to extend the API. So I’ve had to study code and use my imagination.

So far, it’s worked out well. With a major assist from WordPress developer Yoren Chang, who posted the best tutorials on integrating AngularJS with the WordPress REST API, I’ve been able to get the two technologies working together rather well. Nothing to show off public just yet, but soon.

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