But React had one fatal flaw — it’s license. Facebook owns ReactJS and it’s BSD+Patent license for React which is more restrictive than the other open source licenses. And last month, the Apache Software Foundation put it on a list of disallowed license for its members. That made developers hesitant about WordPress incorporating it and eventually Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, decided against using it in WordPress core.
And it’s the best move for WordPress going forward.
Makes it easier for new developers
WordPress is a great entry point for people looking to get into web development. I mean, that’s how I got into web development from being a journalist. And after attending WordCamp San Antonio and the Ft. Worth meet up, it’s clear that others have as well.
But switching to a framework like Angular and React might change all of that. Right now, HTML, PHP, CSS and vanilla JS are very easy to learn. And for those wanting to get into the frameworks business, VueJs is a great entry point to that realm. But Angular and React have a massive learning curve. I’ve spent
Avoids pesky licensing issues
Of course, this whole debate really picked up steam with Facebook’s license issue with ReactJS. And it brings to light a big factor that can be overlooked by many in the web development world.
Currently, anything that goes through the WordPress sphere must have an MIT License or General Public License or something similar. These licenses are favored for open source software, which WordPress is. WordPress core and plugins and themes in their respective WordPress repositories must have one of those licenses.
The problem Facebook ran React with the BSD+Patent licenses, which effectively does the opposite of open source. The license means that Facebook owns the copyright to anything you do with React as well as grants you patent rights. That is until you sue them for something, in which case that all goes away.
For small projects, like creating a basic starter theme to learn React, that’s not an issue. But when it comes down to using React in software that powers about a quarter of the internet, the risk becomes way to great.
It’s an incredibly competitive area. And while WordPress’ main choices will no doubt come from one of the big three, it has so much clout that it could inadvertently pick a “winner” in this battle. Once a decision is made to pick a framework, that framework is going to be as the go to framework for a quarter of websites at least. And there’s a possibility that the others might not be seen as that good since they’re not in WordPress.
This isn’t WordPress’ place to pick winners and losers. While I have a lot of trust in the team of core developers, I don’t know if they should hold this type of power. Instead, I think it should be up to the everyday developers to pick which framework is the best for each of their projects. If they all decide to go to one framework and the others die out, then so be it. That’s how thinks work in an open market. But I don’t think WordPress should be a part of that game.
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