A Great Alternative to WordPress can be found with ClassicPress

In case you have not heard yet, there are several WordPress Alternatives, but one is a content management system (CMS) called ClassicPress. It was launched back on August 18, 2018, by Scott Bowler. It’s a fork of WordPress, which means that the source code was taken from WordPress and is now available as an alternative to WordPress.

Is ClassicPress WordPress?

ClassicPress is indeed WordPress, but only for the initial development period. Their team is determined to make something new and completely unique. What good is a fork of WordPress if you cannot make it unique, right?

The source code that is forked from another is done to become independent with a whole new product. I’ve personally seen this done before with another content management system called Joomla!

Joomla is a Good Example

To give you a good example, the popular Joomla content management system was forked from another CMS called Mambo. I remember this because I started exploring Joomla when this happened back in August 2005. This means that after 13 years, it was obviously a huge success.

When Joomla began, most of the source code was still using Mambo code. Much like you will see ClassicPress using WordPress code. It took some time, but they were able to completely strip out ALL Mambo code and built a much stronger product.

This will potentially be the same for ClassicPress as it transforms the WordPress code into its own. The team is also encouraging feedback from anyone who is interested in contributing ideas to help make it a strong contender.

Was ClassicPress Created Because of Gutenberg?

Speculation is that WordPress Gutenberg was the catalyst that started this whole process. For a long time, the frustration with Gutenberg (now called the Block Editor) being forced into WordPress grew. Sure there are many who like the block editor, but it seems 10-fold that people were loathing it. Seems this was mostly the development community because most WordPress users were not aware of what was brewing. That has changed though once you update to WordPress 5.

One little hint is the FAQ about ClassicPress:

ClassicPress is a modified and enhanced version of WordPress (without Gutenberg)…

That last part will make many people happy to know Gutenberg — the block editor is not included!

Enter the Classic Editor

I won’t get into the politics of WordPress and the backlash, but ultimately people were not wanting the block editor. The solution, albeit a temporary one, is a plugin called Classic Editor. This simply lets you get back into the comfort zone of sticking with the editor that you have been accustomed to.

The only problem is that this is a temporary solution because eventually, you will have to say goodbye to the classic editor. In fact, you have maybe another year before that happens.

However, something tells me that the classic editor plugin will be around for longer than WordPress is probably anticipating.

WordPress is Changing

What many people are not aware of, is that WordPress is going through a major transformation of its own.

Think of it this way…WordPress as you see it now is going to be completely different over the next couple of years. Most if not everything will become blocks. Sidebars will become obsolete. The whole premise will be that “everything” will be built from what appears to be a WordPress Gutenberg page builder concept.

Plugins and themes will have to change and adapt. Themes will become very basic and primarily consist of CSS that styles the blocks. Headers, sidebars, and footers will no longer exist as these will become part of the editor.

Based on the multiple phases of these WordPress changes, they will stretch over the next couple of years.

ClassicPress Compatibility with Plugins and Themes

This is going to be on the minds of many people. Compatibility is critical if the goal here is to give WordPress users an alternative

However, for ClassicPress, it will step away from WordPress, and so will the changes with plugin and theme compatibility. Developing new plugins and themes will eventually create a new market, and it won’t happen overnight either.

This is what their FAQ states…

ClassicPress Version 1 will remain fully compatible with WordPress 4.9.x and will be an LTS version (Long Term Support) as we plan to support the ClassicPress v1.x release series with bugfixes and security updates for as long as people need it.

As version 2 comes about, this is where things will change, but they will definitely inform users when compatibility will start to change. This is normal as a new product begins to create its own identity and breaks away from where things came from. Joomla went through this, and things worked out great for them as I am sure this will be the same here.

Will Rough Pixels Themes Work?

I can definitely say yes. Although I create themes for WordPress, I’ve done something a little different by making them compatible with WordPress, the Gutenberg block editor, the Classic Editor, and also ClassicPress.

As things continue to evolve, so will Rough Pixels themes, but we will still be creating amazing themes for WordPress that are compatible with ClassicPress.

If You Want the Older WordPress…

I would recommend you check out ClassicPress and especially their FAQ section to give you more detailed information. You can even get involved, or just pop into their community forums and post your questions and concerns.

This is a big topic and I will continue to add new articles to continue this discussion as ClassicPress continues to develop itself into something new and different. Something that is an alternative to WordPress 5 for anyone wanting to switch.

The Future Going Forward

As an update to this post, it’s hard to say how far ClassicPress will go. Back in December 2022, they were polling its users to determine the next step for the software. WPTavern did a post titled ClassicPress at a crossroads… which didn’t seem overly promising, but you just never know.

In January of 2023, WPTavern did an update called ClassicPress Community Votes to Re-Fork WordPress. There is talk about re-forking it.

At the moment, ClassicPress is still the closest you will get if you want to avoid the block editor while keeping the familiarity of WordPress.

I’m still watching how things progress with CP, especially since my themes here at Rough Pixels still (for the most part) support ClassicPress.

What do you think? Share your comments below.

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