It’s a cool little piece of functionality that will help out developers building asynchronous apps on top of WordPress.
At first, I didn’t see the need for it. (It’s not too hard for developers to create their own script to poll the server every few seconds.) But I soon realized why an API like this would be useful. If you have 5 different plugins all with their own server polling, you are going to have 5 different hits to your server every 15 seconds. However, if they all piggyback on the Heartbeat API, those polling requests are going to be bundled so you are only hitting your server 1 time every 15 seconds. There are other benefits, but that’s the big one to me.
Let me know if you have any questions about the API and I’ll try to address them.
Brian Messenlehner (@bmess) of WebDevStudios and I (@jason_coleman – you follow me right?) are finishing up a book for O’Reilly called Building Web Apps with WordPress. The book is for intermediate to advanced WordPress developers interested in building full on web applications using WordPress. We’re just finishing up writing now and diving into technical review with some of your favorite WordPress peeps. The book should be available for purchase later this year.
I know you are interested. So head over the book’s website to sign up for updates on when it will become available. If you are at WordCamp San Francisco, look for Brian or me to chat about the book.
Sign Up for Updates at BuildingWebAppsForWordPress.com
At last year’s state of WordPress speech, Matt Mullenweg spoke a lot about using WordPress as a framework to build web apps. I’m sure Matt will be promoting WordPress as a “web OS” during this year’s speech, and in general the use of WordPress as an application framework is going to increase as the WordPress platform and the number of good WordPress developers continues to grow.
Brian and I (and many others) have already been using WordPress to build highly interactive web apps that stretch the possibilities of what reasonable people expect to be able to do with WordPress. Our book will be the first to really dive into WordPress as a framework and codify a process for building apps with WordPress.
It’s an exciting time for us and an exciting time for WordPress.