A couple of weeks ago Paul, Clint, and I attended WordCamp in San Fransisco. WordCamps are held all over the world, but the annual one in San Fransisco is the big convention where WordPress experts and enthusiasts (okay, nerds) all get together to talk about new and exciting features of WordPress and the web in general. It’s also where we put our heads together on where WordPress is going in the future (it’s an open source platform, so the enormous community of developers who use it, also help to build and improve it). Finally, it is where WordPress founder, lead developer, and all around internet hero Matt Mullenweg gives his annual ‘State of the Word’ where he reviews accomplishments and improvements in WordPress over the course of the previous year, and lays out a vision of the future. He’s an inspirational speaker if you are into open source web projects (which we are) and it quickly becomes apparent that his leadership and vision is a huge part of the reason why WordPress has been so successful. WordPress now powers over 23% of the web, and 61% of all content management-based systems (second place is under 8%), and these numbers continue to grow.
I think the key aspect of why WordPress continues to be so popular lies in two often conflicting qualities in web development: WordPress is both extremely powerful and very easy to use. This has made WordPress the website framework of choice for everyone from decidedly non-technical folks who need a website or blog to promote their business, to professional web developers (like us) who need a highly extendible and powerful platform to build complicated custom websites and web applications on. Of course it is also the perfect choice for everyone in between. This breadth of use was apparent in the range of speakers and topics covered over the weekend at WordCamp. My two favorite speakers were Kathy Cano-Murillo, who is an artist and writer that has used the WordPress site she created, www.craftychica.com to build her business from the ground up, and Mark Jaquith, who is a lead WordPress core developer and spoke about backbone views in WordPress (a rather tech-nerdy topic). Both speakers were equally inspiring and were able to contribute a huge part of their success to the flexibility that WordPress provides.
Overall it was a fabulous weekend which left us happy and confident in our choice to use WordPress for the majority of our new projects, and also provided us with some exciting new ideas which we’ll look forward to incorporating into the products we create for new and existing clients.