Using WP REST-API and Angular Universal as a wordpress workaround – Part 1

Since I was pretty lazy about my blog in the last years, I wanted to start a new series (hopefully) about a private project which has been online for about 2,5 years.

WordPress has become a standard for smaller and even bigger websites as a CMS or blog system. I faced the challenge to work with wordpress even though I am not the biggest fan and would never use if I had a free choice. Anyway I got a more private project with the following acceptance criteria.

Acceptance criteria on a project level

  1. Use wordpress, since this is the preferred customers choice
  2. Good SEO of the site
  3. Low maintance costs

Since this is a private project I also had some acceptance criteria.

Acceptance criteria on a personal level

  1. Want to have as little contact with wordpress as possible
  2. New technology
  3. Easy to deploy

Using the WordPress Rest-API

After some research I discovered the WP Rest API. For me this was a wonderful use since I don’t have to handle wordpress themes. It comes quite natural to use a SPA (Single Page Application), like Angular, Vue or React. The problem with SPA’s is that they are not really good when it comes to search engines, since SPA are rendered in the browser. So I discovered that angular offers a library for ServerSideRendering called Angular Univeral, which executes on a node server and renders static pages, that later get bootstrapped on the client. 
So all I need was a node server, I took pm2 and nginx as http server.
so I got this little nice setup which can run on one AWS ec2 micro instance and even use the free tier in the first year.

CI/CD Pipeline

Having a basic architecture the next challenge was the deployment.
Since the WordPress blog was running on a simple webhosting space and for simplicity I decided to leave it there. I only had to take care for Nginx and the angular app.

My prefered choice for CI/CD Pipeline is currently GitLabCi. So I decided to have two docker container, one for the nginx and one for the angular app.

For the nginx container it is obvisouly very simple, it just builds and pushes in the docker repository.
Since I have two container I use docker-compose in order to orchestrate them.

For the moment I decided to have a separate CI/CD pipeline just for the deployment, I just change the versions manually in the docker-compose.yml, run the pipeline and only deploy the docker-compose.yml file and restart the container on the ec2 instance, after that I run my cypress e2e tests, to make sure everything works. There are probably better and more automated solutions for that but right now I fine it.

So finally I have a pretty nice solution for working with a wordpress site without any wordpress hazzle. The site is fast easy to maintain and scalable, and all this with very low maintenance costs.