On Memorial Day, while the U.S. was basking in the glow of the first holiday of unofficial summer, the software known as WordPress celebrated its tenth anniversary.
WordPress began as a forked project in 2003, when Matt Mullenweg took the code from b2, its parent project. The code was originally designed to be a blogger's platform, but has since growing into something much more.
(Read ReadWrite's own tenth anniversary celebration series.)
Two Flavors Of WordPress: Blogging Platform & CMS
WordPress actually has two implementations, which can confuse newcomers to the software. WordPress.com is a free service (not unlike, say, Blogger) that lets anyone create blogs using pre-built themes and tools.
The other implementation is the open-source WordPress content management software, a standalone platform that you can install on a Web server with relative ease and have a website going in minutes. That's not hyperbole, mind you, it really does take only minutes.
Over the course of its existence, WordPress has matured from that simple-to-use blogging platform to a full-blown content management system (CMS) that rivals the sophistication of its open source rivals Joomla and Drupal - and a lot of closed source platforms, too. With a huge array of add-ons, WordPress can run anything from a community Web portal to a large e-commerce site.
Strength From Simplicity
WordPress's real strength isn't the sophistication of the platform - though that doesn't hurt - but rather the core simplicity that runs all the way through the system. WordPress has always been easy to build with and manage. That is a huge advantage in a world where individuals and organizations often have to create websites at a moment's notice.
That consistency of simplicity is something Mullenweg noted himself when he penned a poignant letter to WordPress on the day of WordPress' tenth anniversary:
You’re so beautiful… I’m continually amazed and delighted by how you’ve grown. Your awkward years are behind you. Best of all, through it all, you’ve stuck with the principles that got you started in the first place. You’re always changing but that never changes. You’re unafraid to try new things that may seem wacky or unpopular at first.
Anyone familiar with the passion that drives open source projects won't be surprised by the tone of Mullenweg's missive, and in this case, WordPress deserves the affection. For 10 years, it has proven to be a powerful content management platform and one of the flagships of the open source software movement.
Blogging platforms like Tumblr may be getting all the headlines right now, but a lot of those headlines are being hosted on WordPress sites. Here's to another decade of success for WordPress.