My Experience Story on SaaS WordPress
On December 2018, “5.0” of “WordPress”, a cloud-based CMS, has come. How the “Gutenberg impact” will turn out to be?
  1. The environment has Changed
    1. From WordPress to WordPress?
    2. It all started when WP.com expanded their service
    3. The overview of WP.com Website we built
  2. What has changed?
    1. Operations have changed
    2. Latest trends become to come in
    3. Considering totally different ways
  3. What should be changed in the future?
    1. Gutenberg impact?
    2. Automation and labor saving of Website operations
    3. More focus on SaaS!

1. The environment has Changed

1-1. From WordPress to WordPress?

May 2018, we have migrated our “Website platform”

Speaking simply, we carried out moving to “WordPress.Com” from “WordPress.Org“. (though you may say “Nothing seems to have changed…)

However, things wouldn’t get going, just like a “home moving”. What it all comes down to get stuck up “wondering whether throwing away or not”, or “being hooked up with nostalgic photo albums”.

  • Formerly: On-premise CMS software “WordPress.Org” (self-operated on AWS)
  • Currently: Cloud-based CMS service “WordPress.Com” (SaaS WordPress)

There are not only “bad things”. In other words, decluttering is done here and there.

I abandoned negative legacies such as “stray plug-in” and “black-box Plug-in”, and replaced with “brand new plug-ins”. I have no choice than giving up those which I have turned a blind eye on till now when it comes to ” Should I bring it to a new house?”

1-2. It all started when WP.com expanded their service

My motivation was simple. That was because “adding arbitrary plug-ins became possible”.

Until the summer of 2017, only plug-ins which had been permitted by WordPress.com were available. But, it is now possible to install third-party plug-ins only for users who purchased its subscription (Business Plan: 35800 JPY). The Automattic Inc. used to acquire the label that is “safe but unfree”, but I found “they are getting serious in the SaaS business at last”.

Questetra is also one of SaaS business operator! We only have to try it aggressively!

2017-08-07: The WordPress.com Business Plan Now Supports Plugins and Third-Party Themes en.blog.wordpress.com

I knew I should pay attention to their activities such as “vip.wordpress.com” since before. I mean, I thought that “it is an interesting company …” with some sort of jealous.

2017-06-12: The company behind WordPress is closing its gorgeous San Francisco office because its employees never show up Quartz

1-3. The overview of WP.com Website we built

I would like to omit concerning actual moving project since it is unrememberable, too many things happened, tedious.

However, as a frank comment, I acutely felt that “it is truly growing”. At the same time, I understood that “it hadn’t been a service which was perfectly prepared”.

And in the “(provisional) Website migration project ” that lasted nine months, the following decisions were made. (Incidentally, I had a desire to deal with companies in various countries.)

  • Adopted “WPML Multilingual CMS” Plug-in
    • A multilingual plug-in by OnTheGoSystems Limited (Hong Kong). A favorite since 2012. I tried looking for other but could not find good one. Charged.
  • Adopted “Astra Theme”
    • Theme by Brainstorm Force (India). It gives me a premonition that WPML will work smoothly on it. “No jQuery”, that’s kinky fabulous. Charged.
  • Adopted the official plug-ins totally
    • Adopts all of Jetpack by WordPress.com, Akismet Anti-Spam, and AMP.
  • Adopted “Shortcodes Ultimate” Plug-in.
    • Vladimir Anokhin (Russia). I wanted to get rid of self-made shortcodes. Extra Shortcodes, with additional Skins. Charged.
  • Adopted “Font Awesome”, icon library
    • Fonticons, Inc (USA). They are beginning to expand paid service. Could we reduce text by using icons a lot? Charged.
  • Shortened the main URL
    • www.questetra.com to questetra.com
  • Separated the Website
    • I want to separate information for core users such as Manuals. Visit support.questetra.com. Technical terms are on the support site.
  • I did good-by to my self-made theme
    • The WP theme we created with various challenges of blood, sweat, and tears. Good-by along with memories of nearly six years …
  • Changed the product logo
    • Got rid of embossing and color gradation…

*As of April,2018= WordPress Version 4.9.5 (PHP 7.0.28)

2. What has changed?

2-1. Operations have changed

When “the environment” changes, “operations” also change. (It is as a matter of course, though…)

For an obvious example, along with this SaaS migration (WP.com conversion), some operations are gone!

Specifically, “backup by ourselves” and “self-arranged failure detection system” have become no longer necessary. Speaking without being afraid of misunderstanding about them, I feel that “useless work is gone” (containing faulty expression somewhat). Although I cannot express it well, it is close to the feeling when I shifted to “server operation on IaaS cloud”, since”server operation in the data center (with getting tangled in cables)” has become unnecessary ten years ago. (Though it is not truly unnecessary…)

On the other hand, with this SaaS migration (WP.com conversion), various operations have increased!?

Specifically, subdivisioning of operations, such as site division depending on the assumed target readers, … or, moreover, dependency on external tools such as Zendesk/Github is raised …, was done. Along with, new “Business Processes” have been added/designed by a new “Process Owner” (administrator). (Plugin update work, manual revision work, inquiry handling Process, etc.)

Well, (although it is rather sensuous), I feel that it can be said that “the works relevant with the platform have been simplified, and the works to be done by humans has been subdivided”. In any case, the probability of occurrence of “business mistake” and “business fraud” decreases, and “work efficiency” is improved as a whole! (I try to believe so…)

2-2. Latest trends become to come in

After migrating to SaaS, “Information inflow” increased!?

It is difficult to explain but to put it exaggeratedly, I think that it is like the situation where “the Japanese government which quit isolation policy and opened the country”.

That is, the CMS that we used to operate on our own platform (actually, it was AWS) so far was a state of “National seclusion”. However, “Isolation was ended” by SaaS migration (WP.com conversion) of this time, and it has become inevitable to accept various technologies (almost forcibly). Questetra is (probably) a Web technology company, but it is quite doubtful when asked if we have followed up the latest trend about “Website operation”.

“What? Google Tag Manager?” “Huh? Accelerated Mobile Pages?”

If we have not ended isolation, I guess that I could be thinking only like “What is it? Is it delicious?”, even now.

(Of course, it is another argument concerning the good or bad of National seclusion. Continuing isolation is also right as one strategy.)

2-3. Considering totally different ways.

We got confused here and there…, since “Work” increased in some part…, and “inflow of information” from the outer world increased…

But “confusion” is not always bad. Rather I think that it is better to occur if it is “confusion” of once in a few years. Certainly, “confusion” will lower productivity, output quality, and ultimately overtime work will result. However, those are temporary things! (maybe) And that sure is the time to firmly consider “what is necessary and what is not?”

“That operation should be changed to this way!”

It is similar to the mysterious law which is the state of “To be” comes up while overnight work to respond to system trouble… And what you realize is not “a unique way in a closed world”. It is “a way applicable to someone else”. In other words, what you realize is, “an irreplaceable precious experience” and is “worth sharing” as “a knowledge”.

I cannot say it well, but I think that this is not noticed in “peaceful days” such as “keep living in the same house” or “keep on isolating” and so on. (As mentioned before, the good or bad discussion is different.)

3. What should be changed in the future?

3-1. Gutenberg impact?

Website managers may know it. Releasing of WordPress Ver.5.0 was announced last week.

In WordPress.com, SaaS CMS, it suddenly (not that so) switched to “5.0” on Friday last week (2018 – 12 – 07)… I suppose that administrators who looked at the information for “WordPress.Org” (*), and misunderstood as “It is still ahead for us!”, were panicked.

(Gutenberg is “HTML editor” newly installed in WordPress 5.0.)

Q: What if I don’t want to update on that date, or I’m not ready? A: That’s totally okay, there’s nothing that says you must update the moment there’s a new version released. You can push the button whenever you’re ready. https://make.wordpress.org/core/2018/12/04/new-5-0-target-date/

(It’s not okay… Mr.Gutenberg is already there…)

However, even this “impact”, it is merely an “inflow of information”. If I have “ended the isolation” once, I have to respond with a strong will. Moreover, it is a new function proposed by the top share, WordPress. Many companies will be forced to accept the “environmental change” from now on. If so, we should understand it straight on the early stage.

Incidentally, what has been changed is only becoming “an editor that manages HTML in blocks”, so that “additional information” like the following, which is rather “noise”, is added.

<!-- wp:heading {"level":3} -->
<h3>3-1. Gutenberg Impact</h3>
<!-- /wp:heading -->

There is nothing to be afraid of…(probably…) If cases where “Shortcodes” become unstable, you just work around by using “wp:html”!

<!-- wp:html -->
[su_box title="Journal-TSV Create" style="soft" box_color="#ff99ff" title_color="#000000" radius="0"]Creates the Journal-Slip TSV. The transfer slip TSV of the sales is generated based on the Invoice data. To generate a file that can be imported into the accounting system, place a converter such as "TSV to Excel-CSV FILE" in the downstream process.<br><a href="https://support.questetra.com/addons/journal-tsv-create/" target="_Blank">https://support.questetra.com/addons/journal-tsv-create/</a><br><span style="float: right;">2018-12-10 (C) Questetra, Inc. (MIT License)</span>[/su_box]
<!-- /wp:html -->

For the time being, we started operation with the “Classic Editor” plugin was installed and “Allow user to switch editor = Yes”. However, Astra Theme is appealing that “Compatible with Gutenberg.” And no noticeable trouble has also occurred. (This post is also written in Gutenberg.)

3-2. Automation and labor saving of Website operations

One of major advantage in using SaaS is the utilization of APIs. “WordPress.com” as a SaaS CMS also has “WordPress.com REST API” (WP.COM API).

Questetra as a company that develops SaaS Workflow “Questetra BPM Suite”, we would like to take the initiative on automation, labor saving, efficiency improvement, and unmanning, of “Website operations” as well.

Specifically, first of all, we would like to expand Auto-steps (Add-ons) such as “Page update” and “Media upload” (Unmanning of Business Process). Then we want to refine those by utilizing them in the daily work by ourselves. Then we would like to propose widely to the world about “what Business Processes should be”. (Promotion of “API economy”)

(Incidentally, although WordPress as software also has an API function (WP REST API), setting up an authorization mechanism is troublesome.)

A workflow in which approved illustration files are automatically uploaded (PAGE)
Workflow which automatically records “pageview count” on 7 days after publication (PAGE)

3-3. More focus on SaaS!

Looking back at the day of establishment of Questetra (April 2008), we have introduced ‘G Suite’ (at that time it was Google Apps Premier Edition) on the very day. Then we led it to the development of the linkage function with Questetra BPM Suite.

However, “SaaS introduction” of ever since seems rather not so aggressive. In other words, although I was thinking to promote in introducing various SaaS products, now I think that it was done “just a formality introduction”, or with the thoughts of “would like to minimize the change of our own”. So It seems like I did not take aggressive changes… In fact, it cannot be said that the active development of “cooperation function” has been achieved.

Migration to “WordPress.com” this time was really a tough project. At the same time, however, we have got a very good stimulus from Automattic. I cannot say well, but I think it was a good opportunity for us to go back to the original intention that is “More focus on SaaS!”.

Workflow-Driven API Economy

Memo 2018-12-14

  • WordPress: 5.0.1 (PHP: 7.0.33)
  • WPML Multilingual CMS: 4.1.2
  • Astra Theme: 1.6.1
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com: 6.8.1
  • Akismet Anti-Spam: 4.1
  • AMP: 1.0.1
  • Classic Editor: 1.3
  • Shortcodes Ultimate: 5.1.1
  • Font Awesome: 5.6.1

P.S.: By the way, I also have a “banner link for affiliate” anyway… (There is never the case sold, but yet I am curious about its mechanism.)

WordPress.com multilingual WordPress

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