Automattic Releases wp-now: A Local Development Environment … – WP Tavern

Sarah Gooding
Automattic has published a new project called wp-now that creates a local development environment in seconds. The tool is a NodeJS app that is powered by WordPress Playground, an experimental project that uses WebAssembly (WASM) to run WordPress in the browser.
wp-now allows developers to quickly spin up a new WordPress site with their chosen theme and then open it in the browser automatically logged in as admin without having to enter any credentials. It uses the SQLite Database Integration plugin for its database and developers can quickly swap out versions of PHP and WordPress for testing.
Five minute install? wp-now launches your local environment in five seconds 🚀
Automattic software engineer Antonio Sejas explained how it works:
When you use wp-now from a directory, we create a php-wasm instance, download the selected WordPress version and mount the necessary directories in a virtual file system (VFS). Then, we initiate a NodeJS express server that listens and proxies all requests to the php-wasm. As a result, wp-now can easily log you into WordPress automatically, activate plugins and themes, and automatically configure your WordPress site.
wp-now can be installed directly from npm. It works across all platforms (Mac, Linux, and Windows). Although it doesn’t support custom domains or SSL yet, Automattic has it on the roadmap. wp-now contributors are also looking at auto detecting when a file is modified and automatically refreshing the browser, importing a database from another WordPress site, and adding a deploy feature for SSH/SFTP hosting, among other features.
Who is target group to run PHP in browser?
I’m wondering the same thing.
It’s cool that it’s possible and cool that someone did it, but is there anyone out there who would actually use this for something practical?
I tried this, but is there a step missing ?
I don’t see WP installed anywhere ?
Node was already installed on my PC for other development
Hey Dave!
Can you open a GitHub issue with more detail about how you installed? If you’re alright to use GitHub, it will be a little easier for us to track down your issue.
Dave, I had similar experience and didn’t see any WP files downloaded or install. Just a blank white screen with “404 File not found” msg.
I followed instructions from this resource:
We’re changing this behavior shortly!
I am not sure why anyone would need it.
A lot of negativity, and a lack of vision, in these comments.
I just used wp-now to spin up a WordPress install in seconds, tested the functionality of a 3rd-party plugin and then destroyed it. That’s amazing!
I think the point is, most already have a tool for doing such things. What does adding yet another tool that gets the same result buy us? How does this new tool help us serve clients better?
I think we all get what the features are. The question is, what are the benefits? And on top of that, if the benefits aren’t significant, what is the opportunity cost of wp-now?
For developers, this is an incredible feature. I can clearly say that it might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen for developers, WordPress related.
But what is the practical use of this?
I can spin up a WordPress install in seconds and destroy it without this.
To me, it looks like a cool demonstration of tech, but I don’t yet see a practical use for it.
One of our WordPress developers was curious on how wp-now works as a local development environment and how it differs from local environment created via XAMPP server. He noticed that the process of setting up wp-now is easier and short.
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