WordPress is one of the most popular open source content management systems available, with global and vibrant user, developer, and support communities. While it can be compared to Drupal and Joomla as a user-generated content workhorse, WordPress distinguishes itself with a broad array of hosting options, functional extensions (plugins), and aesthetic designs and elements (themes).
With the rise of self-publishing, low-cost web hosting, and freely available core components such as the MySQL database, blogging software followed the same trend as most other digital technologies, moving from high-end, high-cost products to widely available, low-cost consumer or “hobbyist” systems. WordPress isn’t simply about creating a blog so that you can have a digital diary attached to your vanity URL; it has evolved into a full-fledged content management system and burgeoning application development framework used by individuals and enterprises alike. This section takes a brief tour through the early history of WordPress and brings you up to speed on the current release and user community.
WordPress started similarly to many other popular open source software packages: Some talented developers saw a need to create a powerful, simple tool based on an existing project licensed under the GPL. Michel Valdrighi’s b2/cafelog system provided the starting point, and WordPress was built as a fork of that code base by developers Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. WordPress first appeared in 2003 and was also built on the MySQL open source database for persisting content with PHP as the development platform. Valdrighi remains a contributor to the project, which is thriving as it has a growing and interested community of users and developers.