Web Development

History of WordPress

WordPress is without a doubt the most popular and used website builder out there. It powers more than 30 percent of websites worldwide and dominates the CMS industry in its entirety. But have you wondered about the history of WordPress and how it became so prevalent in the IT industry?

That’s exactly what I want to talk about in this article. I will dive into the history of WordPress and tell you all the important facts on how the platform came to be and evolved into the giant it is today.

So, without further adieu, here’s a brief history of WordPress.

Brief WordPress history

I’d argue that the beginning of WordPress is a pretty humble one and tells a story of how a talented developer community can create something both powerful and free-for-all.

If you’ve read something on WordPress before, you’re probably aware of the size and activeness of its community. Heck, maybe you’ve even browsed some of the official WordPress forums and looked for tips on how to maintain your website.

This was the case since the beginning: a group of enthusiastic users, developers, and support working towards creating the best web development platform on the internet.

The beginnings

At its inception, WordPress began as a brainchild of two developers looking to expand on a platform called b2/cafe blog. It by itself began as a blog, however, before it could come to fruition fully, the original team of developers abandoned the platform.

In came these two users, with the intention to develop a convenient platform for others to use. Little did they know that their work will eventually influence millions of people online, create job spaces, and basically reshape the whole IT industry in general. 

Nowadays we have writers, bloggers, designers, and developers who revolve all of their craft around WordPress and its intricacies.

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WordPress 1.0 (2003-2005)

The first WP version, launched in 2003, was just a result of basic improvements to the b2 platform and included a unique admin menu, templates, and post editor

Later on, with version 1.2 to be precise, the platform introduced its first plugins which allowed both users and developers to expand the functionality and flexibility of the platform to a new level.

What made WP unique at the time, was the fact that it was very much different from other available blogging platforms.

It offered many features and great stability which rivaled and even edge competitors in some ways. And the best part was it was completely free.

As WordPress grew and became more and more adaptable for differently purposed blogs and websites, the user community grew along with it.

The last biggest update from version 1 came in the form of themes when 1.5 introduced an entirely new system for website themes 

WordPress 2.0 (2005-2010)

At the tail-end of 2005, specifically that December, WordPress released a completely renewed admin console and dashboard.

Now users could finally do minor changes to their pages without the need to load them in their entirety. Along with this came the functionality of being able to add tags and categories to posts without leaving the editor.

A thing that we so enjoy using these days.

Another significant change with version 2 came in the form of security. This was the first version that came with the Akismet security plugin that was designed to protect websites from spam.

Later on, through the years things such as shortcodes, one-click updates, and more default plugins were added to WordPress.

The most significant moment from this era came in 2010 when Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of WordPress and the two original developers, transferred his ownership of the WP trademark to the WordPress foundation

This meant that WordPress now belonged to the community and was completely independent of any company.

WordPress 3.0 – 5.0 (2010 – present)

The release of version 3 in June of 2010 saw WordPress moving more and more towards a fully functional CMS instead of being a standard blogging platform.

Some of the things introduced here included the ability to customize backgrounds, post types, headers, menus, a more functional admin screen.

These refinements continued throughout the years and with 4.0 launching in 2014, Users of WordPress not only had the ability to customize their website’s main stuff but use an improved localization platform as well include emojis in their websites.

In 2018, WordPress version 5 was finally released to the public and offered many changes in content editing, some of which received mixed reviews from the community. 

The Gutenberg editor introduced a new way to compose and revise posts, in the form of blocks. Some people, including me, did not like the look and usability of it at all.

So, WordPress introduced a button to go back to the old editor later on.

What’s next for the platform?

In all honesty, it’s difficult to say, but I do think WordPress will continue to be a go-to platform for many web developers since the community is so active and so many users love the functionality of such sites.

The upcoming versions should improve WordPress even more.

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Elioverbey is a Hillman professor of information science and human-machine emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University. Elioverbey has a broad interest in design technology and social effects, spanning from computer-based teamwork and computer-assisted collaborative research to human-robot interaction.

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