One of the reasons we all love WordPress is because it lets us create amazing new projects in ways we never could before. Projects that enable us to share new ideas, new initiatives, new messages, new media, open for business to the entire world, with the potential to accumulate millions of interactions in the years to come.
For us at WP Engine, we share the exhilaration of creation! Which is why I’m so excited to unveil Alpha Lab—a new team at WP Engine dedicated to technical invention both inside and outside the company.
The mission of Alpha Labs is two-fold:
- Full-time employees contributing back to open-source projects, mostly WordPress of course but also projects like nginx and HipHop (HHVM), and
- Inventing cutting-edge, brand-new technologies that are too new for heavy production use, but allows us to move fast and invite our customers to participate even before it’s ready for prime-time.
(You can check out its swanky new website at wpengine-labs.com)
Giving back to WordPress
One of our core company values is “Aspiring to lead. Committed to Give Back.” A company like ours couldn’t be possible without the generous community efforts behind open-source software projects like Linux, nginx, Apache, Varnish, MySQL, memcached, and especially WordPress. Therefore, we believe it’s a moral imperative that we contribute back to those same communities and projects, sharing the bounty of our success, so that our success strengthens everyone in the WordPress community.
Although we’ve done some of this for years (for example, as one of the major WordCamp sponsors and part-time contributions the WordPress community), it’s high time that we devote full-time engineering efforts to WordPress Core development, as well as increase our level of contribution to the many themes and plugins that our customers depend on.
Therefore, we’re hiring two software engineers, immediately, to work on WordPress Core. (Interested? Please tell us here!)
Cutting-Edge New Technology
Fast-growing technology companies like ours are constantly in a balancing act when it comes to their technology stacks.
On one side is cutting-edge innovation—exploring, inventing, creating, testing, trying. In tech, if you stop inventing, you start dying. Brand new technology, however, always has bugs—problems that weren’t obvious until it’s applied in practice.
The other side is stability—uptime, performance, scale, monitoring, automation, and measuring. This is what our customers actually pay us to do—deliver a dependable technology platform.
So this is the yin-and-yang of technology: Needing to constantly advance the dependability and performance of the platform, and yet also needing to push the envelope with brand new invention, which by definition is not stable!
This is why we’ve launched Alpha Labs. “Alpha” means just that—brand new products, which are not yet ready for prime-time. Our support and infrastructure teams cannot yet support them 24/7 over chat, phone, and email. Because they’re new, they might change in significant ways from week-to-week.
But it’s exactly because it’s “unsupported and immature” that buys us the freedom to truly explore brand new ideas!
And, as those ideas firm up, they will graduate from “yin” to “yang”—becoming operationalized and stable and monitored and automated and scaled until indeed they’re ready to be part of our standard, stable platform.
The best part is: You’re invited too! If you’re interested in getting a peek and even getting to play with the future of managed WordPress, come read about our first few projects here and sign up! We’d love to explore with you.