WP came to be on 23/05/2003.
WordPress – the free open-source content management system that powers 18% of all websites. Despite its prestigous achievements, WordPress had humble beginnings as the brainchild of a 19 year-old bloke with an entrepreneurial spirit — Matt Mullenweg.
In the Beginning, There Was B2/Cafelog
In 2001, b2/cafelog (a “classy news/weblog tool, a.k.a logware”) was launched by Michel Valdrighi. Michel had written it in PHP, compatible with MySQL (just like WordPress today).
Matt Mullenweg used this software to run his personal blog. After a couple years of using it, though, Matt complained at the lack of functionality and suggested a few technical improvements. The first commentator on that blog post was Mike Little, a web developer. He said that if Matt was interested in creating a fork of b2/cafelog, he would definitely be interested in contributing.
And on May 27th of 2003, WordPress was born.
The original version, WP 0.7, was a far cry from WP 3.8 (the latest version). There were no plugins, no widgets, no familiar admin bar — not even spell-check!
As Matt’s team began to expand and new developers were joined (like Michel, the original founder of b2/cafelog), mini-updates to the WordPress interface were rolled out every few weeks, and major updates came once in a couple months.
With that initial burst to spark its career, WordPress quickly pulled away into a league of its own, winning the Packt award in 2007, the Best Open Source CMS Award in 2009, the Hall of Fame CMS in 2010, and the Open Source Web App of The Year in 2011. Their trophy room continues to grow steadily.
WP Admin Updates & Technical Upgrades
Each major update to the WordPress user interface was code-named with the name of a popular jazz band. The very first update, Mingus, introduced plugin support. Back then obviously, there wasn’t much of a database of plugins to choose from.
Today, there are a whopping 25,000 free plugins out there, and a new one is added nearly every hour. Nearly 100% of those plugins have been contributed by WP users.
WordPress v1.5 (nicknamed Strayhorn) introduced themes and templates in 2005. Fast forward nine years, and thousands of awesome WordPress templates (like ours) allow you to customize every aspect of your blog’s paint job.
During that same year, the commercial company Automattic, which owns WordPress, was founded and trademarked.
2007 saw a great many changes, the chiefest being the introduction of widgets in v2.2, Getz. The UI was given a facelift in January, and notifications, tags, and customizable URLs figured eight months later in September.
In the years that were to follow, the backend system was overhauled several times, and built-in theme & plugin installers, image editing, threaded comments, default themes, the well-known admin bar and new APIs and a million other upgrades were all added.
All these functions together make WordPress what it is today: the best choice of CMS there is.
Where Is WordPress Headed in 2015 and Beyond?
The answer to that question will only be revealed with time. However, it’s a fair guess to say that it’s just going to increase in popularity, particularly if Matt and his developer buddies continue to release cool updates at the pace they do now.
What does Matt envision in the future?
I see the future of WordPress as a web operating system.
- Matt Mullenweg / March 2013
I don’t doubt it.