A Complete Profile of WordPress, Past and Present
WordPress is commonly used by bloggers, and in recent years its user-friendly interface has led to widespread creation of entire, fully-functional websites. While the platform is synonymous with “Web 2.0” interactivity—supporting comments, easy linking, and social networking—it did not start this way.
WordPress’ beginnings date back to a niche blogging platform called “b2/cafelog” according to WPCandy.com, a site dedicated to “everything WordPress.” The platform, commonly shortened to simply “b2,” was launched in 2001 and enjoyed a two-year run. In 2003, when it was announced that the b2 blogging platform would cease operations, Matt Wullenweg decided he would use the openly available b2 codebase as the groundwork for a new blogging platform to be called WordPress.
Shortly after announcing his plans to build on the b2 code, Matt Wullenweg was contacted by Mike Little and a partnership emerged. A little later in the development WordPress, Michael Valdrighi, the original creator of b2, also stepped in to work on the project. Created by this powerhouse team of bloggers and coders, a functional beta version of WordPress was quickly created and made available in May of 2003 according to WordPressThemesMarket.com. While this beta version was praised as highly functional and relatively bug-free, it still took until 2004 for a fully released alpha version to become available.
Over the years, WordPress has been upgraded from its initial b2 roots. With its 2004 alpha release, WordPress became more functional, complete with easier link capabilities and intuitive comment features to encourage networking and collaboration between bloggers. In 2007, the system received a facelift, featuring a newly designed interface and increased editing user-friendliness. In 2008 the platform saw another interface upgrade, revamping the administrative tools to better suit Web 2.0 blogging needs and even more increased user-friendly functionality.
With its current version, similar in appearance to the 2008 release, WordPress offers users the ability to manage blog postings as well as page updates from a user-friendly, point-and-click “dashboard.” The dashboard centralizes WordPress administrative tasks in one area, with several collapsible menus appearing on the side of the screen. Users can navigate through different screens for content uploading and editing content, as well as comprehensive tagging, linking, and comment moderation. The WordPress dashboard also features a built-in traffic counter with detailed statistics. Bloggers using the WordPress platform are thereby able to see how many visitors they receive in a day, month, or year, as well as what clickable sources refer the most visitors.
While WordPress was initially developed as a blogging platform, its advanced features have rendered it usable for full-fledged website creation. RSS blog feeds are still a standard feature on many websites created by WordPress, but the “pages” function allows users to also create static pages utilizing the same editing tools commonly used during blog “post” creation. Users are able to seamlessly work between pages and posts using the same interface on the WordPress dashboard, adding website text, graphics, sound, and even videos at the click of a button.
Fortunately, the overall shift from simple blogging to more complex, holistic web design has not compromised WordPress’ easy customization. With WordPress’ so-called “intelligent text formatting,” text and images inserted into the WordPress dashboard do not need to be reformatted if the website owner decides to change the WordPress template. Users are able to continually upgrade page aesthetics and content without compromising past work, making the platform ideal for rapidly growing, ever-changing businesses or personal websites.
Those interested in using this popular platform, taking advantage of its functionality and ever-growing list of features, can do so for free. WordPress.com allows users to create free blogs and pages within the WordPress.com domain; however, you’re not limited to using the WordPress.com URL. If you have your own domain name and reliable web hosting, you can use the open source WordPress platform on your page. You can add the WordPress platform to any webpage using PHP 4.3 or greater or MySQL 4.0 or greater. Many popular web hosting companies offer one-click WordPress platform installation, and many others can add the platform with just a little administrative technical assistance.
Overall, the platform’s rich history of continual upgrading, open blogger collaboration, and increased user-friendless has led WordPress to become “the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day” according to WordPress.org. It is widely used for its many positive features, and it will likely remain a dominant force in the blog marketplace for years to come.