New JavaScript Framework in WordPress Core

The JavaScript Shakeup: What’s Next for WordPress Core?

The heart of WordPress is its open source codebase, powered by the passion and collaboration of developers from around the world. For years, WordPress core has relied on Backbone.js as its JavaScript framework for powering interactive features and experiences. However, as web development practices have evolved, limitations and pain points with Backbone have become increasingly apparent.

Now, the WordPress community is engaged in lively debate and exploration around adopting a new, modern JavaScript framework for core development going forward. This decision has implications for the entire WordPress ecosystem, so it’s an important discussion to follow.

Why a New Framework?

Backbone served WordPress well for many years, but struggles to meet the demands of modern web development. Some key limitations driving the need for a new framework include:

  • Performance and scalability issues: Backbone’s architecture is not optimized for complex web applications at scale. This can impact site performance and create bottlenecks.
  • Difficulty adopting for new developers: Backbone’s documentation and resources don’t fully meet the needs of new contributors to core. A more popular framework could improve onboarding.
  • Limited capabilities: WordPress wants to enable richer JavaScript-driven experiences. But Backbone lacks capabilities like reactive data binding that other frameworks offer.

The right up-to-date framework can potentially help address these concerns through:

  • Improved performance and scalability: Thanks to virtual DOM diffing and other optimizations.
  • Enhanced developer experience: With strong ecosystem support, documentation, and existing familiarity.
  • More powerful capabilities: Like declarative rendering, reactivity, and component architecture.

This modernization could lay the foundation for faster, more robust, and engaging WordPress implementations down the road.

Contenders in the Ring: Top Framework Options

There’s no lack of popular JavaScript frameworks to choose from these days. Some leading contenders that have emerged include:


Developed by Facebook, React is one of the most widely adopted frameworks currently. Its strengths include blazing fast performance via virtual DOM, extensive documentation, and a vast ecosystem. Concerns have been raised over its steep learning curve for newcomers.


Vue has seen rapidly growing popularity thanks to its approachable API and gentle learning curve. It boasts high performance, flexibility, and good documentation. But its ecosystem is less mature compared to React.


Preact is a lightweight React alternative focused on performance and small bundle size. It has good compatibility with React components and is relatively easy to adopt. But its community and ecosystem trail behind React and Vue.

Beyond the Big Names

While React, Vue, and Preact get most of the attention, the WordPress community is also exploring other options like Svelte, Alpine.js, and Hyperapp. These innovative frameworks offer unique capabilities like compile-time rendering that may suit WordPress’ needs.

There are good arguments on all sides for which framework best fits the diverse needs of the WordPress ecosystem. But with thorough analysis and input from the community, a front-runner is likely to emerge soon.

What it Means for Developers and Theme/Plugin Creators

The transition to a new JavaScript framework will undoubtedly have implications for both core contributors and those building on top of WordPress:

For Developers

  • There will be a learning curve adapting to any new framework. But resources like official docs and community tutorials will ease this transition.
  • In the long run, developers stand to benefit from a more scalable and maintainable core codebase.
  • Contributors should share feedback during the process to ensure their needs are met.

For Theme/Plugin Creators

  • Some compatibility workarounds may be needed at first for themes/plugins relying on Backbone.
  • But the new capabilities unlocked will enable more advanced JavaScript features in external projects.
  • Following core development best practices and guidance will smoothen the transition process.

With some upfront effort, adopting a modern framework can pay dividends through opening new doors for WordPress extensions and customization.

The Road Ahead: Timeline, Implementation, and Community Involvement

While no official decision has been made yet, the process is well underway to analyze options and gather feedback from stakeholders:

  • The timeline expects a framework Proof of Concept by mid-2023, with potential inclusion in WordPress 6.0 or later depending on testing.
  • Developers and users will be kept in the loop through blog posts, working groups, and other channels to provide transparency.
  • Those interested can join the #core-js channel discussions, test framework implementations, and share constructive feedback.
  • Challenges like backwards compatibility will be thoughtfully addressed rather than holding the project back.

With open communication and collaboration, the transition to a new standard JavaScript framework for core can go smoothly. This will serve the WordPress community both today and long into the future.

Conclusion: Embracing the Future of WordPress

A modern JavaScript framework marks an exciting step forward for WordPress. While it brings some growing pains, the payoff will be worth it. Core and custom code can achieve new heights in terms of capabilities, performance, scalability, and maintainability.

The WordPress community is resilient because we come together to tackle challenges. So let’s embrace this next chapter with optimism and harness our collective potential to shape the future of publishing on the open web. Wherever the path leads for core JavaScript, the journey will take WordPress to new heights if we walk it together.

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

What frameworks are being considered for WordPress core?

Some leading options are React, Vue, Preact, and Svelte. But other frameworks may also be considered and evaluated.

When will a decision be made?

A tentative timeline is to have a Proof of Concept by mid-2023. But no firm decision is set yet.

How can I provide input on the decision?

Join the #core-js channel discussions, follow trac tickets, test implementations, and share constructive feedback with the WordPress community.

What if I rely on Backbone in my current projects?

Some compatibility work may be needed, but core developers aim to smooth the transition process for themes/plugins relying on Backbone.

How will performance be impacted?

The new framework is expected to improve performance through better optimization. But thorough testing will be done to validate any gains.”

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