I was thinking about what should be the first post on this blog. I already had the introduction post wherein I made everyone aware about the idea behind this blog. So when I thought about it, I realized that the first official post has to be an introduction about the platform we will be talking about in rest of our posts i.e. WordPress. I know that there are numerous posts out there which talk about WordPress, its features and how good a CMS platform it is. However everyone has a different style of writing and everyone has different views about WordPress. Also the kind of work I do with WordPress may not be exactly the same as others and hence when I thought of this idea of writing an introduction post about WordPress. I had the complete layout in my mind, along with the things that I wanted to mention about WordPress and my love towards it. Although WordPress needs no introduction being the De-facto CMS leader, I take it as an opportunity to let the world know about WordPress in my words.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under GPL license. It has been created out of an open source software called b2 which was launched in 2001 by Michel Valdrighi as a weblog or blog publishing tool. Later Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress along with Mike little took b2 as the base and created WordPress out of it. The initial idea was to have a blogging platform for everyday writing with enhance typography and better user experience. Till version 3.0, it was mainly a blogging platform, however with the release of custom post types, custom menu management and other feature enhancements; it became a full-fledged CMS which can be used to create a website of any kind. WordPress is very user friendly, extensible to your imagination and has all the nuts and bolts that you would need to create a web application of any sort. It has been used in many different ways and the extent to which you can extend it is only limited by your imagination. WordPress supports themes, plugins and hooks, these let your separate the presentation layer of your site completely from the code behind it. You can decide how your WordPress site should look and feel without touching the core files of WordPress. You can also add new features by using plugins. All this you can do without knowing a single line of code. The beauty of WordPress is that it shapes up in the form as you want to see it. It is equally good and user friendly for a novice and a tech savvy.
List of Features
The reason WordPress is the most used CMS today is because of its simplicity and extensibility. Its so easy to install, configure and extend. This is the reason that every time I get an opportunity of developing a web application, I look up to WordPress and its provides the required extensibility to create such solutions. With conditional tags, social media integration, Support for Widget and Drag and drop widget interface, it becomes cake walk to manage a WordPress powered website. Its so easy and user friendly that you don’t have to worry about the geeky stuffs like Search engine optimization (SEO), WordPress out of the box is 80% optimized for SEO, so you have to really not worry about working on your site’s SEO. There are so many innovative features exclusively available with WordPress like ping feature which pings all the major web services every time you publish a content. It supports Multisite which can be used to create community websites and social networking websites. Also WordPress has the most detailed and updated documentation available online covering each and every bit of it. It is such a helpful resource for everyone interested into WordPress development. The code generated by WordPress is also W3C compliant and it makes your life easier in getting your site validated by W3C if you are using WordPress.
Its really hard putting all the features of WordPress inside a single post, however here is a brief list of the important features of WordPress
- Standard Compliant code
- Support for creating static pages
- WordPress Links
- Cross blog communication tools
- Spam Protection
- Full User Management
- Password protected posts
- Easy installation and upgrades
- Easy Imports – It allows you to import your content from major publishing platforms
- XML-RPC Interface
- Typographical niceties
- Intelligent text formatting
- Multiple authors
- Ping away
WordPress has a very democratic approach of including features. It is community software and it includes features driven by ideas voted by users.
The first version of WordPress was launched back in 2003. WordPress has this tradition of naming releases in the name of famous jazz musicians. The WordPress core team loves Jazz music and it is their way of appreciating jazz musicians. Since version 1.0, all major WordPress releases are named after some famous jazz musicians. I have compiled a list of all those releases in the form of a table and the same is attached for your knowledge.
|Version||Release Date||Musician||New Features|
|1.2||22-May-04||Charles Mingus||Plugins are introduced|
|1.5||17-February-05||Billy Strayhorn||Theme system and static pages were introduced|
|2||31-December-05||Duke Ellington||Persistent caching, a new user role system, and a new backend UI were introduced|
|2.1||22-January-07||Ella Fitzgerald||A new UI, autosave, spell check and other new features were introduced|
|2.2||16-May-07||Stan Getz||Widgets, better Atom feed support, and speed optimizations were introduced|
|2.3||24-September-07||Dexter Gordon||Tagging, update notifications, pretty URLs and a new taxonomy system were introduced|
|2.5||29-March-08||Michael Brecker||New administration UI design by Happy Cog, dashboard widget system and the shortcode API were introduced|
|2.6||15-July-08||McCoy Tyner||This release introduced post revisions and Press This|
|2.7||10-December-08||John Coltrane||Redesign of administration UI to improve usability and more customizable admin tool. It also introduced automatic upgrading, built-in plugin installation, sticky posts, comment threading/paging/replies and a new API, bulk management, and inline documentation|
|2.8||11-June-09||Chet Baker||built-in theme installer and an improved widget UI and API were introduced|
|2.9||18-December-09||Carmen McRae||Image editing, a Trash/Undo feature, bulk plugin updating, and oEmbed support were introduced|
|3.0||17-June-10||Thelonious Monk||It was a major release, it introduced custom post types, made custom taxonomies simpler, added custom menu management, added new API's for custom headers and custom backgrounds, introduced a new default theme called "Twenty Ten" and allowed the management of multiple sites (called MultiSite)|
|3.1||23-February-11||Django Reinhardt||It introduced post format and the admin bar|
|3.2||04-July-11||George Gershwin||This release made WordPress faster and lighter, this version upgraded minimum requirements to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0.15, and introduced a new default theme called "Twenty Eleven"|
|3.3||12-December-11||Sonny Stitt||This release made WordPress more friendly for beginners with welcome messages and feature pointers.|
|3.4||13-June-12||Grant Green||It introduced the theme customizer and theme previewer.|
Note: There were three releases before 1.0 that were not named.
Some cool facts about WordPress
- WordPress 3.4.1 was downloaded 3 million times in first two weeks of its release
- Over 100,000 new WordPress sites created every day
- 15% of Alexa Internets top 1 million websites powered by WordPress
- 22% of all new websites are built using WordPress
- In 2012, an estimated 58,000,000 sites run on WordPress, i.e. 16% of all websites on the internet
- Indonesians are the most prolific WordPress users on the planet. WordPress.org is the 8th most popular website in Indonesia. It’s the 21st most popular in the United States, and 18th in the United Kingdom.
- WordPress holds 53.8% of the market share for Content Management Systems. Half of the people choose WordPress over any other CMS. Joomla, the closest competitor to WordPress in terms of popularity, holds just 9.2% of the CMS market. Drupal sits in third place with 6.7%.
- WordPress has been translated and localized into at least 73 different languages.
- At the time of writing this post, there are 20,698 plugins freely available in the WordPress Plugin Directory, these have been downloaded over 332,471,665 times
- Similarly there are 1,568 free themes available in the WordPress theme repository and they have been downloaded 52,822,702 times
- “Hello Dolly” was the very first plugin available. It simply printed random lyrics from the song “Hello Dolly” to the WordPress admin dashboard
- WordPress mobile apps are available for all the major platforms. That means you can publish content using any device running on these platforms
- WordPress has the easiest installation process as compare to other CMS platforms. It can be installed in less than 5 minutes.
Some popular sites using WordPress
There are so many big companies and corporations using WordPress as the CMS of their choice. Some of them are Yahoo, CNN, Ford, Flickr, The New York Times, Samsung etc. You can find a showcase of sites that are using WordPress over here.
Want to learn it?
I am sure after knowing what all can be done using WordPress, you must be interested in digging deep into it and to use and learn it. The best way of learning WordPress is by reading the book “Digging into WordPress” written by Chris Coyier and Jeff Star. Chris and Jeff are established WordPress and web experts and I recommend reading their book for everyone who would like to learn about WordPress.
I have tried writing a detailed introduction of WordPress; however being the kind of software WordPress is and the ways it can be extended, I am sure that I have missed loads of them. We will definitely catch up those elements of WordPress as we move ahead in this journey of using WordPress and getting more and more WordPress Gyan.
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