Are You Affected By WordPress Calypso?

Did you hear about WordPress Calypso? What is it? If you’re a busy person, you’re wondering if you can safely ignore it. At first, it does sound like a paradigm shift. A 100% JavaScript version of WordPress that would be incredibly disruptive to Apache, NginX, PHP and so on. With WordPress powering 25% of the web, wouldn’t that be a dramatic change?!

Technically, that is possible. Based on my understanding of Node.js, it’s an excellent language for creating web servers, and I think it could replace Apache, NginX and PHP on the backend, with Javascript. But as it turns out, that’s not what Calypso is.

Calypso really only affects amateur bloggers using the free blogging platform, which is the equivalent of a or Tumblr. Auto-matt-ic (the for-profit company behind the free blogging software) seems to be building something more Facebook-like with Calypso, further distancing itself from, the blogging software used by the greater Internet blogging community.

For the rest of us, Calypso is essentially a cool admin “skin” that our customers/readers won’t see at all. There won’t be any speed improvement for us, because nothing has changed on the backend for users. And from what I’m reading, there’s no definitive roadmap or plan to change the backend over to Javascript.

Because every plugin and every theme would need to be rewritten from scratch. The hosting industry is not equipped either. The hosting industry has a hard enough time keeping up with new versions of PHP.

From that perspective, a 100% Javascript WordPress has the same chance at success as any other blog platform that’s starting out today with zero traction. From a practical perspective, is a Node backend more useful than a PHP backend that already gets the job done? No.

Ideally, I’d like to see a Node-based blogging software replace NginX, PHP-FPM and PHP on the backend, just for the sake of simplicity. That would be a fun project, but I can’t imagine anyone paying me to do that.

I can’t blame Matt Mullenweg and Automattic for going this route. Building something unique is fun and rewarding. At least on their own server, it sounds like they’re making significant changes to their backend architecture. But trying to hot-glue this Calypso code into, it seems like a waste of energy to me. This will create unnecessary confusion and conflict. Because the goal of is completely different from the goals of the bloggers using

I suppose Calypso could emerge as a standalone product that doesn’t use Apache, NginX or PHP. But in my experience, few people are brave enough to switch to a barebones platform with no tools, plugins, themes or community. I’ve seen this play out before. Lots of work and the reward is insignificant and people move on with their life.

What about Is it really that much better now? It’s still the same random collection of random blog posts with no central theme, topic or purpose. I took a quick peek last night. It doesn’t seem like a major improvement to me. The menu interface is convoluted, with toolbars nested within toolbars. I found old blog posts that couldn’t be edited because they “did not exist” even though I was able to read them. Overall, the UI looks like Twitter Bootstrap, big and bubbly. Maybe ideal for small screens and fat fingers. Not all that awe-inspiring. As far as the advertised speed, it didn’t feel faster or slower than any other blog.

In conclusion, I think you can safely ignore Calypso, unless you’re planning to build yet another generic user-generated content farm and you’re fresh out of ideas.


PJ Brunet

CSS & Javascript © 2015
by PJ Brunet

CSS & Javascript © 2015
by PJ Brunet