JavaScript code

A few days ago I was astonished to read this tweet:

which even after Andrew Nacin tuned down the statement a little bit:

and Macs and More clarified the possible context of the initial quote

Still shows that we may need to revisit soon the typical WordPress definition (from Wikipedia):

WordPress is […] a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL.”

In fact, this was confirmed by Matt Mullenweg himself that chimed in to explain that


At this point I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the evolution of JavaScript code in WordPress since its first release (list of releases analyzed taken from the release archive).

If we look at the evolution of the number of JavaScript files in a default WordPress installation…

Number of JS Files in WordPress

and its number of JavaScript lines of code

Number of JS Lines of Code in WordPress

we clearly a steep progression of the role of JavaScript in WordPress (from one single file to 270 and from merely 162 lines of code to more than 40.000). Nevertheless, this growth must be put in the context of the growth of the overall WordPress codebase which has been also remarkable (as for most software projects, size is always increasing!).

PHP vs JS in WordPress

which means that JavaScript represents (as of today) 16.6% of the total source code of WordPress while PHP is the other 83.4%. To simplify I obviate any other kind of file like CSS, HTML, …

So, JavaScript is not taking over WordPress (yet) but based on these numbers and Matt’s opinion, it seems that if you want to call yourself a WordPress Developer (btw, Google says that there are over 600.000 “WordPress Developers” pages indexed), you may want to start learning a little bit of JavaScript apart from PHP.

Featured Image provided by Dmitry Baranovskiy.

4 responses to “Is JavaScript taking over WordPress?”

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