An Interview with Travis Chang – WCTPE2019 Speakers

An Interview with Travis Chang

WordCamp Taipei 2019 concluded with huge success last month on 28th December at GIS NTU Convention Center in Taipei. This was the second of its kind and it received a lot of love and support from WordPressers around the world. There were many amazing speakers at WCTPE who inspired attendees to learn and grow. Travis Chang was one of the speakers and his presentation revolved around WordPress REST API.

Travis is a Lecturer of the Progress Bar online course. He has rich experience from website construction, mobile APP to the bottom of the system. He is pretty good at the integration of different system architectures and the realization of innovative ideas.

DevotePress had the opportunity to interview Travis Chang and we are very thankful. Thank you, Travis, for taking out time for this interview.

Here’s the full interview:

Could you please introduce yourself and how you got into WordPress?

Hi, I am a web/iOS developer who likes to build websites with WordPress. The first time I met WordPress was through one of my clients. Her website was not very solid and I helped her to rebuild the website with a customized theme in WordPress.

How do you keep yourself updated with the latest news and trends in WordPress and the web overall?

I do not spend a lot of time on it but I stay updated through the community. People usually post updates and news in WordPress Taiwan Facebook groups. And that’s how I come across new things while browsing through them.

Can you tell us about your talk at WordCamp Taipei 2019?

My English topic translated by WordCamp Taipei staff member is “Create React iOS App with WordPress REST API”, but I think the translation should be “Create React and iOS App with WordPress REST API. My talk was about what REST API is and how we can use it. I demonstrated two kinds of different apps like I had mentioned in my title with simple customized REST API including WooCommerce. And I also had prepared some very common developing knowledge slides for those who have never written code before.

Please tell us a little about the WordPress REST API and how one can use it to create iOS applications?

My iOS APP demo in my talk was about WooCommerce. WooCommerce has very detailed documentation on how to use it. But the official APIs are not very convenient when you just want a public API endpoint, as the API to list all products. In official APIs, even this kind of read-only API endpoints is restricted with oAuth. So it means that if you want to build an app to release on the app store, you need to make another server to control authentication, which I think is really inconvenient. I think a better way is to register your own API endpoints. And after we do that, WordPress is not really different compared to other frameworks as an API server. It’s really common to learn things like Firebase which also has API endpoints when learning how to develop iOS APP, so iOS developers know how to use APIs to build an APP.

What are 3 to 5 takeaways from your presentation?

These are a few takeaways for attendees:

  • Separate front-end and back-end, using React app as front-end and WordPress as an API Server to build a single page application (SPA).
  • Consider the smartphone app as a different kind of front-end.
  • Even Gutenberg is built up with React and lots of AJAX including form submission at the end.

So, don’t be afraid to use React as a UI lib instead of building a SPA.

Any tips/suggestions you want to give to those who’re confused about the REST API?

Just focus on the data you want to get at the beginning. Don’t be bothered by things like authorizing, verification, or attack prevention. Do those refactoring works after finishing the feature if you need time to study.

What does the future of WordPress look like to you? Will it still be the most popular CMS in the next 5 years?

I think WordPress will still be a popular CMS in the next 5 years. To what I have seen, there is not really a big difference between other CMS platforms. So, it seems very difficult to replace WordPress in the next 5 years if the competitor framework is also a CMS.

How do you think the Gutenberg implementation is affecting the WordPress ecosystem?

Gutenberg is pretty good. However, it is not that easy to customize now. And I think there will be more and more plugins to make customizing easier in Gutenberg.

What do you do for fun besides WordPressing?

Usually, I spend time with my family; too much programming in my daily life already.

DevotePress would, once again, like to thank Travis Chang for this informative interview. We wish him all the very best for his future endeavors.

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