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Philosophy Governing WPLib Box

The following philosophies are those the WPLib Box team uses to govern our strategic vision and tactical decision regarding everything we do related to WPLib Box.

Make development easier

Our #1 job is to make WordPress development easier. Full stop.

Everything we decide and everything we do contributes to this goal. Both for the site, theme and/or plugin building newbie as well as the most advanced WordPress developer on the planet.

It should just work

First and foremost, WPLib Box should be like dial tone on a telephone land line and that is it should always just work.

If at all possible WPLib Box should never leave you stuck with a broken local development environment simply because you may do not have the Linux expertise or the time to fix a problem, especially when you are in the 11th hour of an intense project that needs to be done tomorrow morning!

The box should never fail on you in those, or any circumstances.

Yes "never failing" is idealistic

Yes, we admit, "never failing" is idealistic.

However, we can and do strive to achive as close to 100% of that goal as we possibly can. It was for this reason we decided to eliminate the need for Vagrant (which we should get to in the very near future.)

So our primary goal is: You should always be able to depend on WPLib Box.

But because software is complex and we cannot guarantee that the software we depend on will not leave you stuck, we are more than happy to support you for free whenever you need, especially on Slack.

Provide instruction in error messages

If WPLib Box generates an error message, the message should include the instructions that you would need to resolve the issue.

This is an ideal, but the only acceptable exception to this ideal is if that it is simply not possible.

Functionality should be in the box

If functionality that can benefit users can be installed and run in the box, it should be installed and run in the box (instead of needing to be installed and run on the host computer.)

This means that you should not need to install Grunt/Gulp/WebPack, Composer, WP CLI, PHPUnit, etc. on your host computer when you have WPLib Box to do it for you. Everything you want or need for WordPress development should be pre-packaged and available to run from within the box.

Why? So you never need to try to install and then have to debug the install of a new developer tool again. Thus, if can run in the box, it should run in the box.

We are not here yet

While this is one of the things we badly want to see happen, we have not gotten all the the standard functionality WordPress developers will want to use running in the box.

For example, we do have Composer and WP CLI, but not PHPUnit or anything requiring NodeJS/NPM. Why? Because unlike servers delivered as binaries, all of these tools are delivered as scripts that require a PHP or Javascript runtime. And while we could package the runtime with their script into a container we want to implement a better architecture that allow us to pair scripts with a container that provides the necessary runtime.

Still, we know that shipping is a feature so if you have an urgent need for any of these tools or other tools that are not currently implement please reach out to us on Slack

Functionality should be containerized

If we or any users add functionality to WPLib Box it should be added via container, never installed directly in the virtual machine unless otherwise impossible.

All service running in the box, and all executables to be run in the box should be packages in a container. We will never just install software directly into Linux — except Docker itself and a few other infrastructure bits — and we'd advise you not to do so either.

This means at times software will not behave as expected because the software was written within expecting to be run in a container. If you run into any of these cases we ask that you contact us for support so we can either find a solution for you or a workaround.

Proactively notify about issues

If WPLib Box can in any way proactively recognize that a user would be having an error then it should notify the user of that error in advance, in an non-obtrusive and easily dismissable manner.

We are not there yet

While this is one of the things we badly want to see happen, we have not gotten to the point where we can users of issues in advance the way we envision. But good things come to those wait (just a bit longer.)

Empower best-practices

Too many people avoid best practices in WordPress because following them can take too much time to setup and learn.

So a key goal for WPLib Box is to make following best practices easier than not.

Be it 1.) using test, stage and production servers, 2.) implementing automated testing, 3.) version-controlling your source, or 4.) developing structured object-oriented code WPLib Box should make implementation of those best practices and more trivial,
and it should make learning how to use them easy.

So much so that you'll wonder how you ever managed to cowboy code in your past.

We are not here yet

While this is one of the things we badly want to see happen, we have not gotten to the point where we can empower best practices in the way we envision. But good things come to those wait (just a bit longer.)

These are not all

This page is not yet complete, so expect more points related to our philosophy in the future.