On the 5th of March ClassicPress released its first stable version, the long anticipated Version 1.0.0, an LTS version compatible with WordPress Version 4.9.x
Functionally, it’s not much different to the RC and Beta versions, but it means ClassicPress can now be marketed as a stable product. This is very important, because web hosting companies and plugin developers will not consider a CMS that is still in Beta or development stage as a finished product.
The fact that CP is now a “stable” release, opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the fledgling WordPress fork. Until now, promoting the CMS has been hampered by its Beta status. With this release, it can stand on its own two feet as a viable alternative to WordPress.
Ideally, ClassicPress should be offered as a one-click installation by web hosts, but that could not happen until this release. Now that goal is something the CP team can work toward. Similarly, plugin developers can now consider forking their WP 4.9 versions as CP ones. This means all their past work has not been in vain and a new market is available to them. For developers who do not want to venture into the Gutenberg style of WP, this will be a godsend.
Similarly, theme developers and page builder developers will have a new market, instead of becoming obsolete because of Gutenberg. It seems everyone will benefit from switching to ClassicPress, including the millions of users who want nothing to do with block editing.
Overnight, users websites were automatically upgraded to 1.0.0, which will have surprised a lot of people. Until now, it was your choice when to move to the latest version. While this should not have caused any problems for most users, it does seem a bit of a bold move on CP’s part. If there has been a problem and people don’t have a current backup, it will leave them in a bit of a bind.
Point releases of the 1.x.x branch will also be automatically applied and the next chance to avoid upgrades will be with version 2.0.0, in a similar way that WP does its upgrades. With CP being such a new CMS, that requires users to have complete trust in the capabilities and professionalism of the developers. I would err on the side of caution and recommend users get into the habit of making regular backups, just in case.
ClassicPress has come a long way in a short time. It has only really been six months from Alpha 1 to Version 1, which is quite remarkable for such an undertaking. An enormous amount of work has had to be done by the code developers and they will be breathing a sigh of relief that it has paid off.
Now the focus will shift from development to promotion. It is one thing to have a viable product, but if no one knows about it, then it’s just sitting there gathering dust. New ventures take time, effort and often money to gain traction. The one thing CP has in its favour is that people are actively searching for alternatives to WP that don’t use Gutenberg or any other block editor by default. This will give them a good head start.
There is still much to do before CP can produce a product that is attractive enough to encourage users to switch from the behemoth that is the proven, 15 year old WordPress, but they are situated in the right place at the right time. As they develop their plugin directory/repository and dedicated themes, users will see the benefits CP has to offer.