Happy Birthday WordPress: Here’s to 15 years of Awesome!

Happy Birthday WordPress! You Can Get Your Learner’s Permit Now!

That’s right everyone! Our friendly neighborhood content management system, WordPress, has turned 15 this weekend. Happy birthday WordPress! It’s hard to believe that just 15 years ago this system came screaming into the world…wide web. Just look at how it’s grown and changed the entire way we look at the internet! In honor of WordPress’s 15th birthday, let’s take a quick look into its history and how it got to where it is today.

In the beginning, there was Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little…

A long time ago (2003) in a galaxy not so far away, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, along with many others, were working off of the opensource b2/cafelog blogging software. That January, Mullenweg made a blog post stating his interest in creating a fork of the codebase after its discontinuation was announced by the original development team.

He was quickly contacted by Mike Little. and a journey for the history books began to unfold. By May they had published the first version of WordPress.

Fun Fact: Every update for WordPress is named after a famous Jazz musician.

The Great Migration

In the dark shadows of 2004, a storm was brewing on the internet. MovableType, the dominant blogging tool of the time, announced that it was changing its terms and services as well as its pricing. These changes were very poorly received by the majority of users, who began looking for alternatives.

WordPress, then on version 1.2, offered a stable, flexible, easy to use platform with ambitious goals for the future of blogging. WordPress took many of MovableType’s most influential users during this period, and continued to grow.

A Quick Timeline of Notable Features and Events

2005: Version 2.0, Duke, was released, introducing AJAX for a huge performance boost, and the first WYSIWYG rich text editor!

2006: Matt Mullenweg’s Automattic files trademark registration for WordPress and the WordPress logo.

2007: Widgets introduced with version 2.2, tags and update notifications with 2.3. Functions.php first appears!

2008: Version 2.7 introduced a radical new UI overhaul, bringing the CMS into the aesthetic that we know and love today. The familiar install/activate process for plugins that we take for granted now was also introduced in 2.7. Prior to that, manual installation was the only method! This was also the year shortcodes cam to WordPress.

2010: Custom post types and taxonomies introduced with WordPress 3.0 (Thelonious). Also, goodbye, Kubrick. 2010 marked the retirement of WP’s most loved theme with the introduction of Twenty Ten. Automattic transfers the WordPress trademark and logo to the WordPress Foundation.

2012: Theme customizer and previews introduced!

2013: WP 3.8 ushers in the modern UI we work in now, with the added bonus of a fullly responsive backend. Yay mobile editing!

2014: Benny (WordPress 4.0) brings improved media management, embeds, and compatibility with PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5.6.

2017: 4.9 ushers in a much improved theme customizer, a new gallery widget, and improved text and video widgets

Recognition Far and Wide

As WordPress continued to change and develop, it also earned itself awards and recognition in its field for the outstanding service it provides. Though the awards are to numerous to focus on, here is a section that can give you an idea of WordPress rich history of success.

  • Winner of Infoworld’s “Best of open source software awards: Collaboration”, awarded in 2008.
  • Winner of digitalsynergy’s “Hall of Fame CMS category in the 2010 Open Source”, award.
  • In December 2010, Matt Mullenweg was awarded the Winner of the TechFellow Award in “Product Design and Marketing”.
  • In March 2011, Matt Mullenweg was named one of the top 10 most influential people online for changing the face of the internet by Business Insider.
  • Winner of Infoworld’s “Bossie award for Best Open Source Software”, awarded in 2011.
  • In June 2013, Mike Little was given the “Outstanding Contribution to Digital” award at SAScon for confounding and developing WordPress.
  • Winner of CMS Critic Award’s “Best CMS for Personal Websites”, awarded in 2015.

Today and Beyond

Today, WordPress continues to be one of the most revolutionary systems for adding content online. Not only have they changed they way we operate and think about web development, but they also continue to improve on their own innovations and models.

Current data shows that WordPress is used by more than 58% of all websites whose content management system is known.

Later this year, WordPress has announced that they will unveil WordPress 5.0 (codenamed Gutenburg), and Mullenweg has stated that the future of WordPress lies in social and mobile features, as well as an application platform. What does the future hold? We’re looking forward to many more years of WordPress!

One Last Time. Happy Birthday WordPress!

From all of us at Ninja Forms, we want to say Happy Birthday WordPress! Thank you for everything you’ve done over the past 15 years. We can’t wait to see where the next 15 will take us!