Yes, you read it correctly: WordPress as a SaaS (Software As A Service) application platform. You must be thinking WordPress is a blogging platform, right – what’s this about developing applications?
Well, the thing is, WordPress has no limit and there is a lot more thing you can do with WordPress if you have technical knowledge about it.
Well, WordPress is not just what you think, it is much more than what you might assume. In this blog, we will learn how you can use community plugins, custom themes, good server setup and a little automation to build a full subscription-based application using WordPress.
The community is one of the best things about WordPress web development. the set of talented WordPress developers have developed thousands of plugins that elevate and extend this little CMS platform lightyears exceeding just living as a blog. Some of many reasons to choose WordPress SaaS is the availability of quality, pre-built plugins and the fact that we are already very familiar with the capabilities of the platform itself. If you want to get something built with minimal effort, time and cost, but still, have a great product in the end than WordPress can be the best choice for you. The functionality, community plugins provide allows us to focus on building our application and create a compelling product.
As with any SaaS application, the first thing we need to take care is a way to manage our users. WordPress’ built-in user system linked with a good membership plugin can save you a lot of setup time and provide you with nearly all the functionality you will need with little effort. You can estimate quite a few plugins out there including WPMU Membership, WishList Member, WP E-Commerce Membership and s2Member amongst others.
With plugin installed, you can have a turn-key solution to subscription management, payment processing, brute force login security, as well as diverse page access limitations for multiple user tiers and inclinations. There could be free or premium plugins. It would be more preferable to choose the plugin which can provide all the previously mentioned features along with integrated payment subscription to accept all kind of payments. The plugin should provide a highly hooked architecture via WordPress’ powerful action and filter based Plugin API, allowing you to execute your own actions on significant events like account tier upgrades and cancellations.
WordPress is the exemplary system for an openly accessible website, but it demands a little customization to secure it down to use as an application platform. Knowing this, Automattic set WordPress up in a manner that all of these customizations (most of which are free) are easily accessible in the plugin community. Most of the time the plugin will provide you with some brute force login protection as well as the capability to lock down access to specific pages and URLs so only logged in, registered users can access them. The paid plugin will also provide real-time backups of your database, theme, and plugins, as well as plugin and theme scanning for malicious code, was well worth it.
While community plugins can get you up and running swiftly with a platform base, you would require to start writing our own code to customize your application’s experience. WordPress’ powerful APIs for developing plugins, shortcodes, themes, and widgets, it’s extremely configurable and flexible code, and its database architectures all can give you a powerful set of tools to achieve what you are set up to do.
You can develop a custom plugin for the management. This plugin can take advantage of WordPress’ custom post type system to store Hello Bar data. This can provide you with the experience to use many of WordPress’ built-in functionalities for the CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) actions encompassing the data. By using custom post types as the storage method you can do many things as listed:
To keep your application running smoothly as your things get started, you should start creating a custom plugin that requires users to manually approve before they could access the website. This plugin also approved users to provide unique beta keys either at registration or post-registration to initiate their accounts. You can utilize WordPress’ action and filter API system to secure the user login and registration processes to determine your status policies and authentication policies in addition to WordPress’ can give you more accurate control over who and how many people could access the system.
You can later expand on the capabilities of this plugin by adding a viral sharing component to it through a secondary plugin. This secondary plugin can secure in via procedures and filters into the initial Beta Key plugin and allow to approve users to share beta keys with their friends.
You can also add the sharing add-on if you want to have a little more granular control over how the registration and login process will look. While some plugins do provide some primary login and registration page customization capabilities.
To make your application experience smooth you have to personalize it. You should lock down access to /wp-admin so, your users should never know that they are using WordPress and doesn’t expose any expose administration interfaces that would take them out of the application’s simple and streamlined experience. In addition to locking things down, you should customize some of the URL paths by redefining a few constants to obscure that it is WordPress. This can allow changing where your files will be uploaded, where your plugin should exist and where the contents of /wp-content should live. If you want to hide WordPress completely some plugins will not allow you to do that. So for that, you need to modify some files manually to make the file paths match your configuration. Keep this in mind if you decide to change file paths with your application; it makes things a little troublesome for bots to locate, but it might get some plugins a little more difficult to integrate.
After you create a personalized WordPress environment as per your requirements, you should start creating the application interface itself. Your plugin will provide primary level access restriction but you still need to write your own author level restriction for access to individual your application and their related pages.
To output interaction areas for users, you can take heavy advantage of WordPress’ theme template engine and Shortcode API. For self-user management, Plugins presents various shortcodes for users to modernise profile data, eliminate their paid subscriptions, sign up for a fresh paid subscription, or update an existing paid subscription. You can use any desirable model of portable markup deployment and follow it with your own core plugin to implement shortcodes for your application interfaces.
So, as we have listed, WordPress offers lots of transcendent tools and turn-key contributions to develop your SaaS application up and working in no time. Using its persuasive and robust API system, plugin architecture and community designed plugins you can build an application and start making money in no time. Next article we’ll talk about how we set up our server(s) to handle the service of our application to our users.
Got any questions about how we used WordPress web development as SaaS Post a comment and I’ll answer you as best I can.