20 years of WordPress

20 years of WordPress

Can you imagine that WordPress is 20 years old? I can't. I still wear the t-shirt that was created for WP's 15th birthday. I also remember how we celebrated those birthday in Kalisz, during a WordUp. A lot have changed during those years.

5 years ago, I worked at Osom Studio as a WordPress developer, and now I'm a DevRel at Kinsta. Back then, WP was taking 100% of my time; now - not so much. But it doesn't change the fact that I owe a lot to WordPress and to its community and that it always will have a special place in my heart. Let me share a bit about how my adventure began and what I wish WordPress in the upcoming years.

How it began

A long, long time ago, I decided to write my own CMS (like every developer). It was horrible, and I quickly learned that creating all the required modules yourself is impossible. This was the moment when I discovered Open Source. I tested all the cool CMSs back then - Joomla, Drupal, PHP Nuke, Typo 3, and WordPress. I fell in love with WordPress because of two things:

  • It had amazing documentation. Also, this documentation was alive, thanks to the comments. Sadly those comments are gone, and the documentation isn't that great (but I know that Milana and many contributors are doing everything to make it great again).

  • It didn't use any templating language. Just pure PHP templates. It is funny looking at how I love Timber now.

And I started "hacking" it. Looking at docs, installing different themes, and learning from them.

If I remember correctly, my adventure with WordPress started around 2005, which means the admin panel looked like this:

WordPress 2.0

WordCamps - the biggest adventure

First WordCamp I ever visited was WordCamp Wrocław, and... it was a disaster. I really remember it as a waste of time with horrible lunch. This stopped me from visiting WordCamps for a while because I considered them a waste of time. And then WordCamp Kraków happened and changed everything. I came back from realizing that I knew nothing. But it also inspired me - I dived deep into Sage, SCSS, Bedrock, Twig, etc. Together with Agnieszka (my wife), we really improved our flow.

I also started making friends in the community. Since then, I have only missed one Polish WordCamp (last year).

Another big thing was WordCamp London. Our first non-Polish WordCamp. This was an amazing event, and I met two WordPress legends - Alain Schlesser (I still remember how helpful he was during the contributor day) and Mike Little.

There are also some specific WordCamps that have a special place in my heart:

  • WordCamp Poznań - my first WordCamp where I had a workshop session (cheers Krzysiu for active help during this)

  • WordCamp Łódź - that I co-organized

  • WordCamp Prague - I was speaking there in English for the first time (big thanks to Eva for chatting with me before my talk - it relieved most of the stress)

  • WordCamp Porto - I lead workshops at the flagship WordCamp

My workshops at WordCamp Porto

It's not only WordPress anymore

Last year I wrote a post, The world outside of WordPress, in which I described that I plan to concentrate less on WP than before. And I'm keeping my promise. While writing this, I'm at a CodeEurope event learning about different stuff (like debuggers for Commodore 64 or hacking Teslas). Of course, that didn't stop me from being a speaker at WordCamp Gliwice (I talked about headless WP).

As I mentioned at the beginning, WordPress has a special place in my heart, but I'm not entirely happy with where it's going. Some great WP-related projects are still happening (WordPress Playground, everything that Roots.io is doing, Timber, etc.), but I feel it's all covered up with talks about blocks or FSE.

What I wish WordPress

On WordPress' 20th birthday, I have some wishes for it:

  • to have this amazing community for the next 20 years

  • to give this community a louder voice in deciding WordPress' future

  • to grow the number of people who really care about WP and make it more important than the market share

  • to lose some market share - maybe this will enable WP to make so more radical moves

  • to believe in people who advocate for some serious PHP changes

  • to focus a bit more on developers, not only users


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