No doubt, one will agree with me that the cloud has changed the way the world does business, and changed age old models that have been employed. It’s a brave new world in the cloud, and businesses are flocking to it. Startups are not left out in this trend too.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a model representing how big the game in the cloud really is. Interestingly, more businesses are moving to SaaS model. Little wonder about much a better way to launch your service by utilizing the power of WordPress – the most popular content management system in the world.
SaaS with WordPress can be used in creating services for WordPress-enabled websites, or it can use WordPress as a platform to create an entirely different service.
I was the helmsman behind Yangi Search. I spent several hours if not days thinking and planning how to get the job done in the most effective way that will benefit the users and achieve its goal of existence. While working out my way on this, I enjoyed every bit of each process.
Before starting Yangi project, I had a difficulty in choosing whether to team up with another programmer and develop the project from scratch. Well, it was difficult to do because I was the only developer in my team. Getting another developer to work alongside with me was not a good idea as entire team agreed. So much trust has been placed and bet on me that I can get the real deal done, therefore without further delay, I kick started the project that promise change in the way we access local businesses in Nigeria.
I started by installing WordPress on my localhost using XAMMP to experiment and work out what I am actually going to build. This was the most difficult phase of the job. First, I thought of finding a theme that will suit what I intend to build. I found one that I love and I tried playing the theme structures to give it more functionality and scale it to work according to our objectives. But, the poor theme was not meant to suffer such a thing. Worst still, I tried some other themes and got fed up. It was then I asked myself if am actually a web designer or web developer?
Well, I took my time to outline what I intend to build and how to do that. I suddenly bumped on a theme ad and I checked it out at Themeforest and it seem something workable to me even though it was a hard way to go. Rather than having to custom code several services, I took to using various managed plugins in WordPress to get the job done well, and do it fast as well.
But it didn’t stop there. The theme is very raw and not connected with what Yangi is all about. Here comes the issue of working out APIs and Frameworks that will be incorporated to it to give it a super lift. Of such frameworks was Redux.
An awesome functionality of WordPress I love that benefited Yangi so much is the existence of the JSON REST API, or the WP REST API. Truthfully, this big thing in the realm of WordPress single handedly made Yangi project in WordPress a dream come true as SaaS model application.
From my experience in this, I came to acknowledge that the real driving force behind the API is to make WordPress a fully-fledged application framework – something any SaaS application would love to get its hands on. By this, you can easily move data in and out of your application – retrieving or updating it by means of a simple HTTP request. This could completely customize the way we have been interacting with WordPress. This way, your SaaS could be working off a truly custom WordPress back-end and admin panels. If at all, the REST API won’t stop at being a plugin and integrated into the WordPress core that will be a very huge delight developers like me.
Well, by the time Yangi got online, the REST API was useful in querying the manner in which data are being fetched from the database. Utilizing its transient feature, it worked very much like a CDN powering the whole website files to be working independently and leave less server queries using HTTP.
When it comes to scaling a service that WordPress isn’t quite suited for, you will find even more trouble. That will be the time when you look for a custom coded solution, or a different framework altogether.
It can take forever to build a new service, but WordPress can get you going pretty quickly, even for applications that may not be well suited for the CMS. I said so, because the huge variety of plugins and themes available can help you kick off your SaaS with remarkable speed. The rapid prototyping that comes with this approach will enable you to create a working model of your business at a fraction of the cost it would have originally demanded coding from scratch. Rather than working out the hard way, a developer who knows his way around WordPress will find the process remarkably quick by utilizing the available plugins and API hooks to give traction to a project.
A product doesn’t have to be perfect in its inception I noticed. If your idea sticks, it might be time to qualify it as a fully-fledged product, either on WordPress or with a different approach. For Yangi project, I think it sticks following the user feed backs we have received while running in Beta Testing mode. I have every reason and conviction to believe that Yangi will continue to run on WordPress and grow towards perfection.
When it comes to building and scaling WordPress based site, the best option is using multi DB if possible. And yes, you need to move to other frameworks in case if you are adding many features that cannot be accommodated by WordPress core. That’s what I did at Yangi.
Using WordPress to build Yangi as a SaaS aided me to look at more important things while building any web based solution.
Nonetheless, I am proud to be a WordPress developer and smart at doing that. Open Source is the new order for effective development and I am excited that I can work on one!