The Top 20 WordPress Stories
of 2010

17 Comments

2010 was a pretty big year for WordPress. A lot happened, but what WordPress stories were the biggest? We’ve put together our own list of the 20 most important WordPress stories of 2010.

When determining this list, we evaluated each story from 2010 based on how important each story will end up being to WordPress in the future. If we did it correctly, the bottom of the list should have the biggest, most important WordPress events of 2010.

Enough introduction, right? Let’s get to the list!

20. WPHonors launches to honor the best of the WordPress community

WPHonors launched in October with an interesting goal: reward the best of the best within the WordPress community. In other words, it was the Oscars for WordPress. A number of high profile sponsors and only a few, very concise award categories probably contributed to the high level of interest. Well, that and the fact that everyone wanted to win.

So who gets WordPress honors? We should find out soon—results should be available sometime this month.

Why it’s on this list: It’s not a new idea, really, but it’s the solid execution that makes WPHonors an important WordPress story of 2010.

19. WPBundle launches with the help of WooThemes

WPBundle began as a project on Kickstarter led by Liam McKay and Spencer Finnell. When enough interest wasn’t shown, WooThemes showed interested and in time a partnership of sorts was formed. With the support, infrastructure, and customer base of WooThemes behind them, WPBundle launched after much anticipation in December with 10 themes available for $250. It’s a pretty cool story, really.

And the themes are great, by the way.

Why it’s on this list: No launches this year had as much buzz and anticipation behind them.

18. WPCandy’s relaunch as a WordPress community news site

WPCandy version 3 is shown on the left, version 4 is on the right.

We were definitely hesitant about including our own relaunch on this list. We are, after all, just a site about WordPress. But then again, if we’re honest, we really think what we’re doing here is something the WordPress community really didn’t have before.

In the short few months since our relaunch, we’ve done quite a bit. We’ve covered over 400 news stories, interviewed a number of WordPress professionals, and put together resources that seem to be proving useful. So far so good, right? See our 2010 year in review for more on what we accomplished in 2010.

Why it’s on this list: We love WPCandy just as much as you folks do. Probably more.

17. WordPress All-in-one for Dummies collaborative book announced

WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson was an important WordPress book, no question about it. It is likely the highest profile book about WordPress currently in existence. But to take it even further, in June of 2010 Lisa announced WordPress All-in-One for Dummies, a collaborative effort between herself and four other prominent WordPress community members. Specifically, Lisa, Cory Miller, Michael Torbert, Andrea Rennick, and Kevin Palmer are writing the book.

Due out in March of 2011, this massive project will bring together collective WordPress knowledge from some very strong and accomplished WordPress minds. The book, when it comes out, will no doubt widen the reach of WordPress even more, possibly more than anything else this coming year.

Why it’s on this list: Brilliant people joining forces, Captain Planet style, on a giant WordPress book.

16. The Page.ly Vertical Platform service launches

September brought a big announcement from WordPress hosting company Page.ly: the Page.ly Vertical Platform, a partnership that allows anyone to roll out their own commercial WordPress hosting. Joshua Strebel of Page.ly explains it best:

This PVP option will cost you a few bucks as a partner. It is essentially a limited use software license of our entire system so of course there will be more than few pennies in setup costs and fees. However a decent sized partner that makes a meaningful effort to promote their system will achieve ROI in a few months.

Why it’s on this list: Everyone can now run their own WordPress hosting shop. That’s just cool.

15. WP Swag Store relaunches with fresh, tasty swag

How did we go as long as we did without the ability to order clothing emblazoned with the WordPress logo? Seriously: the humanity.

Jane Wells relaunched the WordPress Swag Store (previously the WordPress Shop) just before the holiday season, to the joy of unfinished gift lists everywhere. Keep in mind, too, that the Swag Store also acts as the source of the WordPress swag that is sent to most WordCamp events. And what good is a WordPress without WordPress swag?

Why it’s on this list: What good is a shirt without the WordPress logo on it?

14. WordPress Plugin/theme handbook projects progressing

The Theme Developer Handbook and Plugin Developer Handbook really made strides this year. The real work on the plugin handbook started with Aaron Jorbin’s post on the development blog in July, and the most recent news from the Theme Developer Handbook is it’s being led by Daisy Olsen.

When will we have the handbooks in our grubby, digital hands? No telling right now, but the work is happening. In fact, you can probably still get involved if you have the drive. Do you?

Why it’s on this list: Developer handbooks will help everyone improve the quality of the work they contribute to WordPress. That’s win-win-win. Win.

13. FoodPress, aggregating posts about food on WordPress.com, launches

WordPress.com, run by Automattic, brings a massive number of people to WordPress, increasing their familiarity with our favorite content management system. And innovations at WordPress.com typically trickle back down to WordPress proper. So it is important, than, when Automattic launched FoodPress to leverage the content created by WordPress.com bloggers.

Perhaps it also speaks to Automattic’s goals and how those will end up effecting WordPress eventually. In any case, any moves that WordPress.com makes are bound to make a big splash in the WordPress world.

Why it’s on this list: Aggregating user created content the way FoodPress does is pretty unique. Have you seen anything like it?

12. WordPress wins Packt Open Source Award

WordPress needs to hold its own against other content management systems. What better way to do that then by winning an independent Open Source Award? Okay, there may be better ways further down this list, but this one’s a solid number twelve.

WordPress beat out Drupal and Joomla! for the 2010 Packt Open Source Awards, which is no small feat. There are still those that scoff at WordPress’ power as a CMS, so these victories can only help convince them it’s worth its salt.

Why it’s on this list: WordPress winning awards is always a big deal.

11. Various advances in WordPress on mobile devices

Everything’s going mobile. The WordPress powers-that-be think so, with the financing of a WordPress app for just about every mobile device there is. WooThemes thinks so too, creating an iPhone app and plugin just for those blogging on the go. Obox agrees, as they released a plugin and series of themes specifically to display WordPress sites on mobile devices.

It would have been too tough to pick just one of these, so they all get the eleven spot, for WordPress mobile advances in 2010.

Why it’s on this list: Because we can cheat, it’s our list.

10. The merge of StudioPress into CopyBlogger Media

In September of this year StudioPress, led by Brian Gardner, merged with CopyBlogger Media, run by Brian Clark. More than just wordPress themes, the new group brought together copywriting, an SEO plugin, and a theme framework solution (in Genesis) all under one roof. CopyBlogger Media is likely one of the largest businesses centered around WordPress, perhaps after Automattic itself.

This story was also pretty big as it came not long after Brian Clark separated from DIYThemes, a previous WordPress-based partnership of a few years.

Why it’s on this list: Two giants coming together, growing larger and stronger. As long as it’s not happening in a Japanese monster movie, it’s awesome in our book.

9. The launch of Theme Garden, a fresh new theme marketplace

Theme Garden was launched by Jason Schuller of Press75 as a new kind of WordPress theme marketplace. The biggest difference between Theme Garden and other marketplaces is that at Theme Garden, authors keep 100% of their sales. That and a set of criteria any authors must meet to sell their themes there, and you have a steadily growing source of quality WordPress themes.

We still have Plugin Garden to anticipate in 2011. The question is, can it make as big of a splash as Theme Garden did?

Why it’s on this list: Jason took the theme marketplace model and turned it, making something unique.

8. The bbPress plugin project begins

It’s fair to say bbPress is a side project within the WordPress family of software. The idea was similar to WordPress: start a forum with bbPress as easily as you start a blog with WordPress. But as a platform of its own, it was seeing little development. WordPress itself was progressing, and bbPress not so much.

In July, the decision was made to turn bbPress into a WordPress plugin, rather than a platform of its own. Now the bbPress plugin project, led by John James Jacoby (of BuddyPress fame) is well on its way to a beta stage. Perhaps its launch will be on our 2011 top stories list! As we wait with baited breath for the plugin’s release, we’re happy to have it on the list at number eight.

Why it’s on this list: Who doesn’t want a forum in a box? Better yet, how about a forum in a plugin in WordPress? Win.

7. The BuddyPress commit team grows with Boone Gorges and Paul Gibbs

BuddyPress is a fun and important WordPress project: a social network in a box. With the addition of two more talented developers to the BuddyPress commit team, we’ll likely see even more shoved into that box before long. Boone Gorges and Paul Gibbs were welcomed onto the BuddyPress commit team at WordCamp NYC in October.

A growing team typically denotes a growing project, and in this case that matches up. BuddyPress has grown leaps and bounds since it started, showing triple the traffic in 2010 over 2009. With Boone’s and Paul’s help, that number will jump even higher in 2011.

Why it’s on this list: Software is people.

6. Automattic hired awesome people left and right

There were just so many this year. In March Automattic hired Ian Stewart as a Theme Wrangler. Then Peter Westwood and James Huff both became Happiness Gardeners, John James Jacoby became a Code Wrangler, and most recently Paul Maiorana joined as the Director of Platform Services (what’s that, a normal job title?). Did we miss any?

And they aren’t done yet, it seems.

Why it’s on this list: Automattic is one of the major contributors to the WordPress project, and the people they hire tend to become major players (if they weren’t already).

5. Andrew Nacin is added to the WordPress core commit team

No one can question the impact of Andrew Nacin on the WordPress project in 2010, can they? Really? Okay, just for those people then:

  1. Years ago, Nacin happened.
  2. Some time later, WordPress happened.
  3. Later yet, Nacin found WordPress. And then WordPress started happening more.

In February of 2010 Nacin was welcomed to the WordPress commit team. In the last year he has edited a book, spoke at half a dozen WordCamps, and committed an unholy amount of code to WordPress. And it has to mean something that Matt Mullenweg hired Nacin to Audrey Capital recently, primarily to work on WordPress projects. If you weren’t before, you can now consider yourself convinced.

Why it’s on this list: People make WordPress happen, and Nacin has made a lot of WordPress happen so far.

4. Growing numbers: Over 20 million downloads of WordPress 3.0

Numbers aren’t everything. But hey, when a number is as huge as this, it does mean something. According to the WordPress download counter, WordPress 3.0 crossed 20 million downloads in 2010, a new record. It didn’t quite make it past 30 million before the end of the year, but hey let’s not sully the moment right?

So there are a lot of people using WordPress, which is fantastic. Or, it could be that there’s just one of us compulsively clicking the download button. A lot. Anyone want to fess up?

Why it’s on this list: Big. Numbers. So. Many. Hello. Worlds.

3. Microsoft transfers 30 million sites to WordPress.com

I have a number for you: 30,000,000. That’s the number of sites hosted on Microsoft’s Live Spaces when they announced they would be moving the sites over to WordPress.com. Granted, in the end only about 300,000 of those sites were active at the time, but that’s still a lot of new users. The move validated WordPress as a blogging platform, and hugely increased the number of bloggers using WordPress.

Why it’s on this list: Have you ever received hundreds of thousands of customers left over from a failed Microsoft product? Didn’t think so.

2. The public launch of the WordPress Foundation

The WordPress Foundation first went public in January of 2010, to act as the charitable organization furthering the goals of the WordPress project. It was a big year for the Foundation itself, as well. The WordPress trademark came later, and an initiative or two were started, with the end goal being more awesome for the WordPress project.

Moving the primary functions of the WordPress project into a charitable organization assures that it isn’t tied to any one company or person, and will stick around far longer than any of us will. That’s about as important as it gets, right? (Well, obviously not, number two!)

Why it’s on this list: The WordPress Foundation’s launch gives WordPress a place to live that isn’t tied to any one company or person.

1. The release of WordPress version 3.0

Few WordPress releases have been as rich and rewarding as 3.0. “Thelonious” came in June and brought the new menu system, the merge of WordPress and WPMU, the addition of the Twenty Ten theme, custom post types, custom taxonomies, contextual help—are you convinced yet?

How many of these new features do you use every single day? Can you really imagine going back to the pre-3.0 version of WordPress? Crazy, right?

WordPress 3.0 was a huge step forward for WordPress. And it happened in 2010. So it’s number one. Watch the intro video for the 3.0 announcement:

Why it’s on this list: Can you remember using WordPress before 3.0? Way better now, right? Boom.


What do you think of our list?

I personally can’t wait until we make the 2011 list, because unlike this list we will have covered all of the biggest news of the year. Since we only relaunched in the last half of 2010, a number of the news items that happened in the first half of the year lacked WPCandy coverage. Come December, it will be much easier to make the 2011 list.

What do you think of our list? Do you agree with our choices? What would you have chosen for the number one story of the year?

17 thoughts on “The Top 20 WordPress Stories
of 2010

    • There were a couple of GPL scuffles that were considered for the list, but in the end I’m not sure they contribute to a bigger WordPress future as much as they were inevitable ideological clashes that resolved, in a sense, this year.

      • I would think that Thesis adhering to a split GPL is pretty important and does contribute to a bigger WP future, though I’ll agree the ideological argument itself is not worth promoting. nice round up

  1. Probably this should be in the list too:
    More than 10% of websites world-wide are powered by WordPress

    Cheers to WordPress!

    I am now working on a unique WordPress project that adds great value to the most popular premium themes. Hopefully things will turn out well by the end of 2011.

    • Hey Brian L,
      The growth of WordPress has certainly been impressive, and I do think Ryan touches on the numbers pretty well by noting the 20 million download milestone in #4.

      I actually did my own analysis looking at WP marketshare for WPCandy, and it’s pretty tough in my opinion to say exactly how much of the web uses WP, but it is certainly a large number and growing.

      I ended up with a conservative estimate between 8 – 12 % due to the many factors that can play in. New numbers seem to be leaning more toward 12% (and potentially higher) going forward in 2011. Either way, it’s a lot to look forward to, and a great achievement!

  2. Thanks for the great article! It’s great to look back at how successful of a year 2010 was.

    I’d say number 3 was the example I used most to explain to my family & non techy friends just how amazing WordPress is. The fact that Microsoft recognized there was such a better product out there & rather than try to reinvent the wheel they merged their active clients. That’s just major in every way in my mind.

    Thanks to everyone in the WordPress community for your contributions. Let’s rock 2011!

  3. Great list, really puts the year in perspective. Still feels like something is missing though, but can’t think of what.

    And thanks for including WPHonors, final results are coming!

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