Earlier today Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com headed by WordPress co-founder and project lead Matt Mullenweg) announced Newspack by WordPress.com, a “next-generation publishing platform” “aimed at small- and medium-sized news organizations”.
The new platform is funded in part by Google, through the Google News Initiative, and other companies.
This latest announcement marks the beginning of the all-out SaaSification of WordPress. The reality is because of the open source status of WordPress (the software), what Automattic has done with WordPress.com and their other services can be done by anyone, and I’d be shocked if Automattic stays the only player in the market for long. To put it bluntly, the days of WordPress self-hosting as the go-to solution for small-, medium-, and enterprise businesses are numbered.
What competing services like Wix and Squarespace have shown us is people want simple solutions to their web hosting that do not involve having a horde of web maintainers on staff or hiring an expensive agency to run everything for them. The obvious answer to this need is to spin up WordPress as a service and extend it to provide customized services for each use case.
As Automattic has demonstrated, you can slap a whole new skin on top of WordPress core and create a custom experience which looks and feels nothing like the main application. The Wix / Squarespace killer may well be a new service running WordPress in the background and a completely unique experience on top.
Sass is a CSS preprocessor: a programming language that compiles to (spits out) CSS stylesheets. Like any CSS preprocessor, Sass exists to let you write styling rules in a manner that is:
- DRY: “don’t repeat yourself,” meaning less copy-pasting and blind repetition.
- Dynamic: capable of interpreting variables.
DRAWBACKS OF SASS
I’ll also mention three potential drawbacks of Sass, in order of importance:
- Sass means one more layer of abstraction preventing a beginner user from understanding what you’re doing. Compiled stylesheets are not necessarily as readable as hand-written ones—and can be completely opaque if you don’t think about the CSS your Sass is spitting out—and even readable CSS stylesheets don’t always encode the underlying logics that guided the original Sass programmer.
- Sass creates the possibility of versioning conflicts: future users of your software can make changes either to your CSS stylesheets or your Sass partials, and can potentially end up overwriting one another in the process.
- Writing Sass and getting it to compile is significantly more complicated, and marginally slower, than simply writing straight to a CSS file.