WordPress.com recently finished a year and a half of iteration in their admin interface, which is now driven by a React-powered app, called Calypso.
What Framework Should You Learn?
There are a lot of frameworks to choose from. Determining which one to learn is a difficult decision.
My personal answer is “AngularJS.” I have no interest in debating this. They are all just tools. Choose the one you are comfortable with and move on.
“What Framework Should I Learn” is also the wrong question to ask.
Learning a framework provides tremendous value. It helps you get things done, become more familiar with the language, and gain a better understanding of how that type of coding works. Roy has a great series on building web applications with Angular and the WordPress REST API, which is a useful resource for those looking to learn these skills.
Start With What You Know (Or Don’t)
I think this speaks to the tension between practical learning and learning the language deeply. I know from personal experience. I used jQuery for a long time to manipulate the DOM, without realizing that all DOM elements were objects and attributes.
Back end Vs. Front end
During the podcast and the follow-up conversation with Carl, I declared, as I often do, my preference for back-end work in PHP. Maybe it is because PHP was the second language, after English, that I became fluent in. Or, maybe it’s because back-end fits my skill set better.
Carl, who I think of as more of a back-end developer, stated that he “hates being labeled as one or the other.”
“The exception is node, which I have no problem using and learning because it’s stable,” he said. “But I already know PHP better so there’s less use cases to use it.”
Where To Learn
During the WPCrowd discussion, Roy recommended a few educational resources. Many were from Wes Bos — including his list of books for learning JS, his course React for Beginners, and his YouTube channel. In addition, Roy recommends The Frontend Masters beginner’s course.
Start With The Fundamentals
You may not start building something as quickly as you would by learning React or Angular. You will, however, learn more about the languages you use every day in WordPress development. This will pay off big time when it comes time to fix something that doesn’t work on your site or to make something that isn’t currently possible with your chosen framework possible.
Go Forth And Learn, Deeply
I learned PHP quickly because WordPress helped me with the tricky parts. But until I started learning its fundamentals, I wasn’t particularly good at it. On a practical level, I was limited to what I could cobble together from common pre-built pieces. I wasn’t able to create anything unique.