by Al Morel
WordPress was originally blogging software that has become the dominant content management system (CMS) on the internet today. According to Wikipedia, WordPress manages 22% of all new websites and manages more websites than all the other content management systems combined.
It’s interesting that it’s only in the last year, with the release of WordPress 3.0, that it has become a true CMS. The addition of the menu system allowed for, well a decent menu system, and the addition of custom post types allowed for elegant organization of lots of information. Previously, all of this had to be done using software add-ons, or plugins.
Plugins allows one to extent the ability of the software beyond the base install. Basically, the rule of thumb is that the closer that you can stick to the base install, and the fewer plugins, the better you are. Plugins are a wonderful way to add capabilities, but they have to be updated and they produce additional vectors into the build that can open up other issues.
When we first started dabbling in building websites using WordPress as the CMS, in September of 2008, there were only 2,933 plugins. Today there are over nearly 20,000 available for download on the wordpress.org website.
WordPress itself came on the scene in May of 2003. A year later, the first plugins were introduced. Searching the the Wayback machine on archive.org, the first documented count of plugins that we can find is 1,044 September, 2007.
The take-away from this seems to be that WordPress has achieved incredible traction in the marketplace. Aside from the fact that it is far easier for the end user to use, there are more people using it, solving problems, developing software, and developing websites.
We’ve developed websites using all the major CMS platforms and many that are not mainstream. We didn’t want to become religious zealots in all of this but we’ve come to the conclusion that it is almost always in the client’s best interest to use WordPress. A static website or other CMS varieties just don’t make sense.