[wp-hackers] alternative database support

Matt Mullenweg m at mullenweg.com
Sun Oct 8 11:20:18 GMT 2006

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Maybe it's worth inclusion in some FAQ under wp.org...?  Also, it's bound
> to become a serious  problem from  a political  and a technical point  of
> view.   I recently discussed  this  elsewhere,  also  in  the context  of
> WordPress < http://tinyurl.com/s7kbt >. The sooner people get choice, 
> the better, IMHO. Transparency is among one of WP's selling points. *smile*

More options does not make something better. With rare exceptions, the 
cost of the options often outweighs their benefits.

WordPress doesn't do anything that fancy with the database. There is 
feature-comparable software driven purely by text files.

I used to be fairly enamored with the idea of DB-independence, but then 
as I tried it I found the entire concept to be a farce. I have the same 
level of interest of making Oracle, Postgres, DB2, a part of core WP as 
I do having the program also run in Perl, Python, ASP, Ruby, and Erlang.

It's theoretically possible, and even attractive if you imagine *how 
much larger* our userbase could be if we simply supported every 
conceivable server configuration, but at some point the costs add up:

1) Infinitely more complex testing (we have enough trouble with W/LAMP)
2) Same for debugging
3) Non-trivial overhead in code
4) Much slower development (WP Vista in 2008!)
5) No visible benefits to regular users

I will be the first to admit that it is entirely luck that WP happens to 
be attached to the most popular and fastest growing database in history, 
and written in the most successful server-side scripting language, but 
let's not throw away so lightly the benefits to development the 
luckiness in our platform choices provided.

Lastly, as someone pointed out, $wpdb is structured as such that all the 
hard work could be done as a $wpdb replacement with some clever regex, 
with no core modifications. (Aka, a plugin.)

The relatively mature WP ecosystem has generally shown that development 
closely follows market demand, where WP has lagged behind people's needs 
(image handling, tags) dozens of plugins have sprung up to fill the void.

All that said, the one other DB I would see as interesting in the 
context of WP would be sqlite, simply because it is so small and light 
and simple that it could potentially be run in places where any normal 
DB system would be prohibitive, like a Linksys router. Also its bundling 
with OS X and a future version of Firefox (maybe?) opens up even more 
possibilities for the use of WP as a standalone desktop app for personal 
use and/or development. How small a desktop download could we squeeze a 
self-contained light web server + PHP + WP-sqlite into? I have no idea 
if that would actually work, but at least it'd be something compelling 
and different than anything easily available today. However now I'm 
daydreaming and we should probably start another thread if we're going 
to discuss that.

Matt Mullenweg
  http://photomatt.net | http://wordpress.org
http://automattic.com | http://akismet.com

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