With over ten years of professional web development experience working for digital advertising agencies, software startups, and eclectic freelancing contracts, I build and maintain eCommerce WordPress websites for international retailers with custom WooCommerce stores. Using React, I also build time-saving web apps and custom WordPress plugins.
When I'm not coding or making WordPress magic, you can find me making gloomy electronic music (Bandcamp coming soon!) suited for rainy Seattle canal strolls or geeking out on the latest web dev news from some of my favorite podcasts like Syntax and Shop Talk.
Other fun hobbies include hiking around the Pacific Northwest and collecting first edition 60s/70s paperbacks from hole in the wall bookstores while they still exist. (I was a copywriter before I became a developer.)
my recent rants about the latest in full stack web development, WordPress + React, and web accessibility (a11y)...
Gatsby vs Next.js: What's Best for WordPress?
After hosting my portfolio site on WP Engine for years (where I still happily host my freelance clients for the strongest security and performance in managed hosting for WordPress sites specifically), I recently decided to dive into static site generation (SSG) and experiment with using WordPress as a headless content management system (CMS). I’m still learning and experimenting with the nuances of SSG over server side rendering (SSR) but so far I am very pleased with my switch to Netlify for my portfolio site.
(Not least among the reasons being the $$$ saved on monthly hosting costs!)
I am still using a WordPress install locally to store my blog posts and build my main page, even writing SASS and building with Gulp locally as I did before. The extra step is in pushing to production, where I pre-render the HTML files locally and push just those files to Netlify, manually or directly from my GitHub repo by only typing a terminal command for continuous deployment (CD), which is very cool.
What you see in your browser right now is nothing more than static content. I can even serve you a functioning contact form without PHP!
Naturally, my portfolio site became much faster to load and navigate, but perhaps even more appealing are the security benefits in not having an accessible login page or any FTP creds to worry about because there are literally just static HTML, CSS, JS, and image files on Netlify’s end – that’s it! Nothing to compromise.
I am now exploring using Gatsby for my web apps and experimenting with Next.js to see which is a better fit for WordPress sites in general, and plan to update this post with my insights and shifting conclusions along my journey. We still have quite a while before PHP is completely overshadowed by Node + React or static WordPress sites (given that you can’t use most of your most used plugins when using WordPress as a headless CMS) but I predict the Gatsby solution will win out in the long-run. That said, it will be fascinating to watch the ecosystem that evolves from Next.js with the support of the React community.
selections from my latest WordPress websites built the past few years while a full time Web Developer at VOLTAGE AD and more recently as a contract WordPress developer for Seattle software agencies and freelance web developer for JavaLox Studios
my latest React apps and WordPress plugins
simple medication reminder app built with:
Node + React + PostgreSQL
check out my older apps and other code samples on GitHub