Version One of The WordPress History Book is Ready For Review

WordPress History Book Featured Image

During the 2013 State of the Word presentation at WordCamp San Francisco, Matt Mullenweg announced a new project called WordPress The Book. After nearly two years of writing, Siobhan McKeown has announced that version one is ready for review. She also states that the book will be produced in just over a month and that now’s the time to give feedback.

While you can download the book, I recommend browsing and reading it on Github so you don’t have to worry about opening files with the .MD extension. It’s also easier to submit pull requests to correct typos or grammatical errors. The book is divided into six parts that contain a few chapters each.

Chapters Of The WordPress History Book
Chapters Of The WordPress History Book

If you come across any errors while reading the book, you can submit corrections by creating a pull request or an issue on the tracker. Here are a few things to look out for as you read:

  • Factual errors: notes about factual errors are welcome. All suggestions for changes should be evidenced with links that back up any claims. Any facts that cannot be corroborated will not be included.
  • Clarity: any paragraphs or sections that you feel are not clear. This would be of particular help in sections that are technical in nature.
  • Omissions: anything that you feel has been omitted or not sufficiently covered. Note that this is a lengthy piece of writing and many issues have to be condensed to ensure that it is a manageable and interesting read. Suggestions about omissions should be accompanied with information about why it should be included, and backed up with evidence as to their importance.
  • Images: if you have any images that you feel would complement the text, we’d love to have them.

McKeown is also looking for help writing haikus. Ideally, she’d like one for the book’s opening and one for each section. It will be published in two forms, a digital edition for the web and an e-book. McKeown also hinted at the possibility of printing physical copies, “We’re investigating different print options, so the feasibility of doing a print run or of offering print on demand.”

I’ve read a few chapters of the book already and it’s like a trip down memory lane. It’s interesting to read some of the historical moments of the project’s history, especially the years of GPL debates. Whether you’re brand new to WordPress and want to learn its history or you’re a veteran who needs a refresher, this book delivers. Please help McKeown by proofreading the first version and help make it the best WordPress history book possible.

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5 Comments


  1. Great stuff. It is like taking a trip down memory lane. Well done.

    One omission that stood out to me is it seems to omit the history of the plugin community (outside of touching on the concept of core plugins) and completely omits any discussion of the rise and success of the commercial plugin community.

    Themes seem to get all of the attention when there is so much that has happened with plugins: plugins going commercial and becoming a successful niche, similar GPL debates as with themes, debates around SaaS vs. non-SaaS, the forking of Jigoshop, WordPress plugins surpassing mainstream startups in marketshare (Gravity Forms vs. Wufoo/Formstack/Etc., WooCommerce vs. Magento/Etc.), theme companies focusing more and more on commercial plugins as the theme market becomes oversaturated, etc.

    Without plugins WordPress would just be about blogging and we all know it’s far more than that.

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  2. Jeff,

    Great read! I appreciate the link. As a WordPress ‘user’, it was very interesting to read what has transpired over the years.

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  3. The WordPress community in general seems like it was left out of the history book. I think the WeblogToolsCollection and other sites were instrumental in pushing WordPress into being a popular platform… Just my 2 cents.

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    1. WLTC and WPDesigner.com made WordPress popular back in the day. I know I and many others would’ve never been involved in WordPress without those sites. They were the only “community” that I knew of early on.

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      1. I’d say John Hesch’s period of running BloggingPro.com and getting it in the WordPress feed when it was first created is worth noting. But that’s Pre-2.0 era community development…

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