Oh my goodness, I cannot believe it has been 10 years that I have been using WordPress. I feel like I just had a birthday too. WordPress is growing up and as old as my own son.
Before WordPress, I used b2, which was the blog platform that the beloved content management system was forked from. The change from b2 / cafe logic for those who were not developers, were immediate and easy. Those, like myself, had to spend a little time cleaning up a hacked b2 core in order to move all posts over.
A 10 Year Walk Down Memory Lane With WordPress
After a 3 day hiatus cleaning up, I made the switch to WordPress. Gone were the days of fiddling with database tables and PHP commands looking at b2_ as the prefix. It was wp_ now! Learning WordPress was not difficult at all. It was just a mere change over in name and coding. I am sure it was a pain for some of the plugin developers to switch over.
At the time, my favorite plugin was b2grins by Alex King. The plugin allowed you to put custom emoticons, also known as smileys on your blog posts, and even allowed your visitors to use smileys in the comments. You could extend the functionality by adding more smileys and a shortcode to the files. The downside was that unless you were unfamiliar with coding, you were stuck with WordPress provided. Smileys could be animated, have l33t speak, and much more. It was awesome.
The backend was pretty basic, which was to be expected.
2005 – We have pages and WYSIWIG!
Oh my goodness, when WordPress allowed you to manage pages, I was practically shouting and singing with joy. The problem was that I had 150 static pages on my site prior to the update in WordPress 1.5 – Strayhorn. It is one of my most favorite updates as I just copied and pasted over my pages to WordPress. I didn’t have to theme my site’s blog in an iframe anymore. Don’t get me wrong, iframes can be cool, but for web accessibility, I was not a very nice webmaster. I did though have some gnarly themes that scrolled side ways and had several windows. Ah, those were the days with funky web design experimentation.
So with all the pages, I was happy to see that there were plugins to exclude pages in the navigation and the fact that pages had a hierarchical ability. This meant that if I had a section of site with similar material, I could place child pages (or if you like to say- sub pages.)
Of course, in 2005, the dashboard got some styling and color, so it didn’t seem so plain. I didn’t care either way… I was still high off of Strayhorn. Other features I loved in this year was the WYSIWIG and being able to upload images instead of upload them directly to the server or some third party image service.
2006 – Finally settled on Blondish.net as my site
I was a domain whore. Wait… what is a domain whore? Well, back in those days of the blogging, a domain whore constantly changed domains. I was one of them… for over 6 years! I finally settled on Blondish.net and moved my WordPress site over. It was easy, much easier than when I converted my site from b2 to WordPress.
WordPress: 2007 through 2009
Throughout this time, I was merrily blogging away and building a following. Much of the blogging community was shifting towards social networking, or at least including it in their online on-goings alongside their blog. I was the same. Slowly sites with celebrity blends, website competitions, and cute layouts were fading out some. This was due to the time it took to maintain such sites. I even had Blondish.net set up with several themes that the visitor could choose to view the site in!
A lot of the WordPress updates were for security and the user end, at least for those who were not developers. I just know I had a lot more to learn during this time in order to keep up. And by the way, I NEVER EVER used the Kubrick theme. I used my own. Trust me, I didn’t want to be laughed at.
WordPress is starting to look really sleek in 2008 and 2009
In 2008, with version WordPress 2.7 – Coltrane, the backend was starting to look pretty sweet. In fact, the influence of the design then can still be seen in WordPress as of 2013.
In this time, I started going to WordCamps. I wanted to meet other WordPress users in person. I had already been designing and helping people for years, so I wanted to meet others. It was great! I met Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Chicago in 2009. I felt like a fan girl.
I started speaking at WordCamps in 2010 with WordCamp Chicago on Rocking Our Your Site With WordPress. It was really fun and I was really nervous. The room had been packed and people were standing in the doorway. Apparently the presentation had not been a flop… thank goodness… because I hadn’t done any public speaking since college.
In 2010, WordPress got a new theme, the Twenty Ten theme. It was about time! By the way, as a follow-up on Kubrick… people chuckle at the memories it stirs when you ask them about it at WordCamps.. well. With Twenty Ten, web designers were picking up on learning hooks and filters. In fact, for some of the most popular premium themes today, it is essential to know these.
With WordPress 3.0 – Thelonious Monk, was a godsend. I could get rid of my exclude pages plugin (bless its dear coding), and use the natural WordPress menu system. It my second most favorite update and has been fun to teach people all about both the design and development using the WordPress 3.0 menu system.
2011 and 2012
I spoke at 10 WordCamps within these two years. It was a blast meeting different people and also seeing how each community was interacting. In fact, not every WordCamp is the same. Each city is actually at a slightly different levels with different interests. One city might be more interested in content generation and content marketing, while another might be more into design and development. Of course, there are some cities that they really try hard to balance the topics so that all types of users can be covered.
WordPress went through some more security updates and we also gained themes Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve. Twenty Twelve blew a lot of people out of the water as it was not the typical blog design that previous default WordPress themes. In fact, this was a huge indicator that WordPress and the people using it were not typical bloggers and needed something that was more flexible. That age old… well, nearly decade question about what WordPress really was is finally out – that WordPress IS a content management and not just another blog platform.
In 2012, my 10 year old son finally got his first domain! I am feeling old!!!
2013 – WordPress is 10 years old!
My, my, my… ten years of WordPress and I am still loving it! It’s been a wild and exciting ride. This year I actually did a theme revamp and switched to the StudioPress Genesis theme framework. I am still helping people use WordPress. I even started the Facebook group All About WordPress that is very successful.
To the future of WordPress
I am a long time WordPress user, designer, and developer… and as Matt Mullenweg once said… “I am a WordPress Evangelist.”
I am proud of it. May WordPress last many more years!
If you use WordPress, how long have you used it for? What is the link to your WordPress website? What features in WordPress are your favorite? What do you believe needs improvement with WordPress?