We started developing wpDataTables as our own product in 2012. It was built as a tool solving the typical problem that most web site owners have: quickly and easily display complex tabular data, that already exists in some format (price lists, catalogs, statistical data, etc.). We were inspired by solutions we saw in other technologies (e.g. DataGridViews in C#), where one can easily create an interactive table by just adding a Grid component on the screen, and providing a data source. We implemented something similar - but for non-tech-savvy users in WordPress environment - a plugin that allows creating interactive, sortable, filterable, paginated, and editable tables based on literally any data source (MySQL, Excel, Google Spreadsheet, CSV, JSON, XML) in just several clicks without any coding.
Initially the tool was built as a standalone PHP+JS library. We chose DataTables as the front-end grid (and never did regret this). Initial version took about 6 months to be built, and took about another 2 months to create a WordPress plugin, as a “wrapper” to the PHP version. It was released early 2013.
Since then we continue to develop it, adding new features and releasing new versions averagely every 3-4 months.
The key “breakthrough” releases were version 1.5 in 2015, when we introduced built-in WPDB and MySQL query generator tool, where you can simply generate queries to databases by configuring these through user interface, and an advanced charting engine; and version 2.0 in 2017, when we re-built the admin panel interface from scratch, using Google Material UI guidelines, and added advanced DB tools such as Foreign Key support.
Recently wpDataTables celebrated it 5th birthday, and it is only the beginning!
Working with products like wpDataTables is very different from working on client’s projects: we are very limited by WordPress environment, by the fact that we need to ensure compatibility with hundreds of thousands of different theme and plugin combination, to provide a tool that can work with outdated PHP versions (a lot of WP users still run PHP 5.4 and earlier), and with low-resource shared hostings, with no ability of using tools like Redis or ElasticSearch that could speed up the performance.
More than 15,500 companies and individuals from different parts of the world rely daily on wpDataTables to solve different tasks like database interaction, business reports, catalogs, scientific dashboards, and many others.
Recent surveys show that our customers find wpDataTables easy to learn and use, UX intuitive and convenient.
The plugin is proved working on quite different environments, from Windows servers to most recent Linux distributives. We saw large banks, financial companies, investment advisors, equipment manufacturers from all over the world use our plugin, with quite different use cases.