A Decade of WordPress

WordPress celebrated its tenth birthday last week, neatly marked by Matt Mullenweg’s warm and wise words.

Ten years is an insanely long time in internet years. It’s web services to cloud, or client-server to web services with Java, XML, and the dot com boom as points on the line. WordPress got me back into development, empowered me to read the code again, and stimulated the kind of “how does that work” thinking that I’d previously reserved for device drivers. The WordPress core is a subtle mix of urban planning, grand challenge questions and a community bound by the most nuclear of strong forces – empowerment.

WordPress has let me: Compliment a childhood hero and reach his niece with my words. Get a compliment from one of my favorite authors, just before his passing. Express joy in loss. Express love through loss, and joy in the community. Prove that on the Internet, nobody knows you’re not a moustache.

Why? One of the themes that Brad, David and I constantly floated during the writing of Professional WordPress was that WordPress isn’t just about blogging; it’s about content management. But even that slight abstraction undershoots the import of the WordPress community, from themes to plugins to core developers. It’s not about walking the
Gutenberg press down the consumerization path of the cell phone camera, ubiquitous yet passive. WordPress creates activity; it makes us think about what and how and where to share our words. It is the new power of the press, a formal closure of the set of Gutenberg, Berners-Lee and Steve Deering, combined with the power of an open source community of developers and an equally larger community of designers. It makes me want to write more, and to tinker, and to investigate.

The first-ever digital birthday I observed was that of Sun Microsystems, and Sun’s tag line for its birthday cake applies even more aptly to WordPress at double digits: Not bad for a ten year old.

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