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In this week’s Tech Time Warp, we’re celebrating one of the most well-known content management systems. This system powering more than 43% of the world’s websites (including this one) celebrates its 19th birthday this year. On May 27, 2003, co-founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little announced they had created a new platform to replace the popular blogging platform b2/cafelog.

French programmer Michel Valdrighi had developed b2/cafelog in 2001 but stopped working on it by 2003. Mullenweg, a college freshman from Houston, Texas, used b2/cafelog for his photography blog, and in January 2003, he posted on his blog that he would continue developing the platform as a “fork”—that is, without Valdrighi. Little, who lived in the UK, commented he would like to help. “I could use the existing codebase to create a fork, integrating all the cool stuff that Michel would be working on right now if only he was around,” Mullenweg wrote. “The work would never be lost, as if I fell of the face of the planet a year from now, whatever code I made would be free to the world, and if someone else wanted to pick it up they could.” The name WordPress was the brainchild of blogger Christine Selleck.

The first WordPress was, of course, simple compared with the powerhouse we enjoy today. The plugin architecture that makes WordPress so versatile was first introduced in May 2004. Subsequent releases offered pages, comment moderation, flexible themes, categories, tags, and more, all transforming WordPress from a simple blogging platform to full-fledged content management system.

On March 1, 2006, Mullenweg trademarked “WordPress” and the WordPress logo and founded his company Automattic, which is today the parent company for WordPress.com (an ad-supported blogging platform with some paid hosting options), Tumblr, WooCommerce, Akismet, and Jetpack, among others. WordPress.org—the starting place for the code that powers the free open-source content management system—is a nonprofit project supported by investments from hosting companies and other parties interested in seeing the WordPress community flourish.

Photo: Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk / Unsplash

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Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

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