WordPress: A 5-Yearish Retrospective

2017-11-02 09:38
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The first time a WordPress version of CiviCRM was available it was version 4.1 back in February 2012. It has now been more than 5 years, and I thought it would be nice to outline what has happened since WordPress became available as a CMS option for CiviCRM.

I had been working with CiviCRM on a few sites prior to that, and was looking forward to a time when we could use CiviCRM with WordPress. As with most beginnings, things were a little rough around the edges as WordPress developers learned more about CiviCRM and vice-versa. Later the same year, in October 2012, version 4.3 ACLs were added and the first version of a plugin CiviMember Roles sync was available (which is no longer maintained, so keep reading!). About a year later, another plugin become available to display CiviEvents in a widget and CiviCRM Contribution Page Widget by AGH Strategies. These were the initial enhancement and integrations that came about in the first two years.

At the same time, the CiviCRM community was placing more emphasis on CMS-independent extensions (this initiative actually pre-dates the WordPress integration), as it started in version 3.3. This focus has been extremely beneficial to WordPress, as it lets us extend all the latest CiviCRM enhancements to WordPress users. We are extremely grateful to all the partners and developers who have worked on extensions that make CiviCRM, as a whole, a more versatile application.

We at Tadpole Collective started focusing on WordPress and CiviCRM implementations early. It took us time to learn how these two applications interacted with each other, but we started finding ways to contribute to improvements. That is when Kevin started going to sprints. He's been at a few since and his contributions have helped improve integration between WordPress and CiviCRM immensely. Since our work also involves theme development, we created a CSS Helper extension, which helps manage the CSS output of CiviCRM pages on the frontend, and provides filters for easier customization in theme development.

Another longtime contributor is Christian Wach, whose initial deep dive is documented in Working with CiviCRM 4.6 in WordPress. He has been instrumental in a number of improvements to the integration and has some must have plugins for WP/Civi installs, which are:

These were the first two plugins he released to the community. He also has a couple BuddyPress plugins:

So if you are using BuddyPress, you should check those out.

Recently he has developed CiviCRM Event Organiser, which requires Event Organiser plugin; and we have worked with him on a new plugin, CiviCRM Directory plugin. These last two are currently only available on Github, as they are still in active development.

In searching around the web for development that has been done over the last two years, I found the following:

I reference these to highlight the work that has been done, and highly recommend testing them before using them to ensure they work as intended and meet the needs you are wanting.

More recently, in the past year, Andrei Mondoc has released Caldera Forms CiviCRM (CFC) (which is dependent on Caldera Forms plugin). This plugin has provided an incredible amount of flexibility in how data can be captured on a form and processed into CiviCRM. It's a huge enhancement to the WordPress integration. I have worked with Andrei to report any bug imaginable, and he has been incredibly responsive. Andrei also did a huge rewrite to the WooCommerce Integration v2.0, with more to come!

Lastly, I want to give a quick shout out to Agileware who is a recent contributor to the CFC integration.

There are now at least 2,300 active, WordPress-based CiviCRM sites. We are seeing more and more folks joining the WordPress channel at chat.civicrm.org, and an increasing number of contributors to the WordPress integration, which is very exciting to see! If you haven't checked into these channels yet, please do.

Moving forward, we hope to continue increasing the collaboration around the work that has been started, developing enhancements to support this integration. We are committed to supporting the work both Christian and Andrei have begun, and are open to more collaborations. If you like what you see, please join in and let us know how you can contribute. Also, please share any work that has been done that was not mentioned in this blog post.

Onto the next five years!

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Thanks for laying this all out Dana. It's great that the WP community is getting the benefit of CiviCRM and vice versa.

Great blog about great contributions.


Thank you for taking the time to highlight all these contributions Dana. All the people you mention have been incredibly responsive and helpful and taken the integration forwards in important ways.


You guys give open source a good name!

Great writeup, Dana. Love to see the way you share the spotlight appropriately with folks like Kevin, Christian Wach, Andrei Mondoc and early work by others! Congrats to all, and looking forward to many more successful WordPress CiviCRM installations in the next 5 years with the help of you and others still to join us.

Great to see the progress in this arena laid out in a nicely organized format. Thanks for celebrating our successes as a community. I'm looking forward to the future!