DOTW: How and when did you get involved with WordPress? (Participation = 3 Hero Points)

Going with just a casual DOTW this week. We did a “How did you find WPMU DEV?” DOTW awhile ago, let's take it a step further back:

1. How and when did you first get involved with WordPress? Or even Web Development in general.

And when I say “Web Development” there I refer to building/maintaining websites and all the different roles that are involved with that. So you don't need to specifically be the "Developer" to participate. You could be the Writer, Marketer, Designer, Developer, etc. maybe you are all of the above :smiley:

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-At least one comment = 3 Hero Points(must participate within 7 days of thread post date)
-DOTW = Discussion of the Week
-Last DOTW: WHITE LABEL! WHAT ARE WE MISSING?

  • PTaubman

    I am late to the party - 2009. Before that, I was a "real developer" (i.e., snob) building websites by hand/Dreamweaver. I have a developer background so the idea of using something so 'simple' as WordPress was out of my realm of thought. That wasn't a real site.

    Of course, once I learned about it and saw how easy it was for clients to make changes, I was sold! I only have a few sites now that are not on WP.

    What got me to see the light? I took an "e-commerce" and marketing course which used WordPress as the platform. I took the course so I could learn the marketing aspects and apply them to my htlm / asp sites.

    I was permitted to take it again (lifetime perk - repeat as many times as you want) so I did. This time, I thought about the fact that the "experts" were teaching WordPress, so I may as well pay attention to it and see what it had to offer. I was hooked.

    It has been a fun journey!

  • debbien

    2012 after Apple discontinued iweb. I have an advertising agency that slowly morphing into a web design firm. I found that a large part of my income was coming from web design and apple wasn't including iweb in ilife any longer. I knew it was the end but I didn't want the revenue stream to end. I had looked at adobe's business catalyst but I didn't know much about css. At the time they also had a hefty cost for investment. The research I was doing showed that wordpress was the go to for building websites that clients could maintain themselves. So I gave it a shot and loved it.

  • Tony G

    My main career follows database usage and business application development. In the 80's the languages included BASIC, RPG, Fortran, COBOL, assembler, and a bunch of others. In the 90's I had a passion for inter-system communications, more languages and protocols. It was apparent that we needed GUI. I went through tools like Dreamweaver and MS Publisher but never felt the power. So I sub-specialized in .NET and Java and all kinds of front-end components for building better UIs. That also allowed me to get into web services, speech synthesis, and later mobile development. But I tired of writing everything by hand all the time - I appreciate hand-coding details, I want to know everything that goes on under the hood, but I don't mind using tools that make the mundane tasks easier. So in the 00's I tried Joomla, Drupal, Concrete5, ModX, WordPress, and others - and out of necessity had to develop chops with Perl and PHP. I still had the feeling that WP was mostly about blogs but never really found a home with the other CMS's. So at some point around 2006, WP was evolving outside of blogs and I started to see the power (and global domination), so I committed to WP.

    I'm not "a web developer". I'm still an application guy (actually doing most of my work in BASIC). When I build a site for myself it's to support some crazy new business idea that I have, not for cookie-cutter posts and pages. But I'm also getting a lot of requests now for portals, poll sites, and eCommerce, as my clients want more of a front-end presence than before. So WP is my go-to tool to start or at least prototype any new project. I find WP is still a bit limited, the ecosystem of plugins and themes is frustratingly chaotic. But WP gives me just enough of a start with a front-end that I can later decide to keep that part as a pure user-facing portal while shifting the back-end to whatever suits the current fancy. The fun and allure of doing everything with plugins keeps me firmly planted in related FOSS, the WP core API, and all of these forums.

  • Chris

    Love this topic! Over 10 years ago I was very active on a paint contractor forum, before blogging was a "thing". We had shared stories on the forum and had a contest and someone asked me, we should create a space for contractors to blog (more here) and I bought a domain and learned Wordpress! I became the "grand dame" in the industry and the site continues to be a great revenue source and I build, host and maintain over 40 sites for contractors. Ironically, I left the painting industry a few years ago and work in K-12 education and manage/teach WP to school districts in my day job. Win win!

  • Debbie

    Fun to see when & how folks got started, thanks Tyler Postle !

    I started in web design in 1999 hand-coding sites. I loved custom designing sites and resisted using WordPress until it became clear that most people wanted to be able to update their own content. I started playing with WordPress in 2010/2011 (talk about late to the party!) and to my delight discovered I could design themes and therefore continue to custom design sites for those who wanted them, yet I could also offer pre-designed themes. From there I started offering maintenance plans, which is how I found WPMU Dev.

  • Fabio Fava

    I started using CMS in 2005 with Mambo (then Joomla), and I had 5 websites with all my content. In 2015 I've decided to give WordPress a try, since I wasn't at all happy with Joomla (the updating process was a nightmare).

    In December 2015 I've started my personal website (about ram-air wings safety and aerobatic paragliding) - https://fabiofava.com/ - wich allowed me to reach 10k pageviews in December 2016 when I was very active on the site.

    From January 2018 I've started my own WordPress Hosting Service (will be effectively from January 2019) using WPMU DEV Plugins, to offer Multi Network Environment to my customers to create their own websites and Multisites (niche Networks). It's hosted at Cloudways and it's working just fine.

  • Jaxom

    Great Topic Tyler Postle
    Well I have been coding since MS basic and my dad bought me a Spectrum X10 with a cassette tape drive and an old black and white TV.
    I discovered WordPress back in the days of Duke (2.0) and built a blog for a friend and then when Ella was released in Jan 2007 I built a site for my WOW Guild. I was having fun and playing around with different ideas and a few projects for friends. Then in April of 2008 I had a major accident at work and after major spinal surgery discovered I was now 60% disabled for life. Between WOW and WordPress and a team of Physios who put me back together I stayed reasonably sane.
    Then in 2012 I created a small WordPress support company with 2 clients, both friends and now we run a slightly bigger WP Support company, a little in house hosting and I have added linux to my knowledge and manage a few VPS for clients and am currently increasing my knowledge of java-script and trying to wrap my head around the Rest api. I joined WPMU back in early 2013 and the rest as they say is History.

    Jaxom

    • Tyler Postle

      Jaxom wow, that is quite the roller-coaster! Sounds like you turned the experience into something positive though :slight_smile: :chart_with_upwards_trend:

      That's funny about WoW, I was big into Runescape :smiley: back then I considered it the poor mans WoW since it was free and only required a dial-up connection, all that was available in my area at the time lol. Must of been 2002-2005ish. I so wish I knew how to build sites back then - never even considered it. Would of loved making an RS related site. Not sure I would of stopped playing the game long enough to do it though ha

  • elliot

    a friend asked me to setup a ecommerce store for his friend. i didnt know anything about wordpress or woocommerce. had less than 3 weeks.

    got the entire store up and running within 2 weeks.

    at that time there were weird requirements like

    price should only show when they are a member
    users must be manually approved
    source images are different sizes but must somehow fit into woocommerce default style
    product attributes must properly appear and set.

  • Tyler Postle

    Quite a few in the 2010-ish range, interesting! That is about when I got into WP as well.

    While in college for a Business Admin Degree(because I had no clue what I wanted to do) I took an Internet Marketing course, was about 2009 I think, and that really got me interested in web development before I had ever thought about it. I credit the teacher of that Internet Marketing course a lot for actually getting me interested too - he was extremely passionate about the subject and was just great at passing that excitement over to the student, at least in my case anyway.

    Anyways, after that I took a Web Design course as an elective that ended up focusing on building sites with Adobe Dreamweaver and Fireworks. The main project was building a simple site and had to include different things like nav bar with hover/active states, photo gallery, simple animation, etc.

    I spent way more time than I needed to on the project just messing around and trying different things. Definitely felt like a sign that I may have found my calling haha. After that course and some more messing around with web design stuff I eventually read somewhere that it was easier to build sites with WordPress... They were right! :smiley:

  • Manuel

    Great topic, with great stories and very genuine wp member's beginnings.
    To a certain extent I fall within Greg’s category.
    Started with WPMU DEV (2 years ago) without even realising that there was a’’ backend and a front end to my websites’’! This will give you an idea of how difficult it can be to some!...
    I used a link from wpmu dev Academy to login to my sites. I kept saying…to any of our ‘heroes’ trying to convince me to use this and that wp link instead:
    ''No I am not with wordpress I am with WPMU DEV... I this …I that… (apologies to support Heroes!)
    A good thing that I wasn’t relying on becoming a wp developer for a living though.
    But how many among 664, 504 happy members (as the clock shows right now) fall in this category of mine, worries me.
    Maybe the topic for another DOTW, Tyler.
    Manuel

  • James Morris

    Ooooh... This is a fun topic... OoooK. Let's see here. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

    2002 - I took a Introduction to Web Design course in college. It was a course on FrontPage. I got so annoyed with the drag'n'drop style of teaching that I started researching everything online I could find. I ended up doing my skills assessment in code view mode (much to my instructor's disdain), but aced it and started my path in web development. Yeah, I was one of those geeks who proudly displayed the "coded in notepad" button on his pages.

    2002-2004 - I bounced around from static pages to simple CMS systems, eventually getting very up close and personal with PHPNuke and phpBB. Eventually PHPNuke forked to become MyPHPNuke which then forked to become XOOPS. I got involved once XOOPS was born as a community member.

    2004-2007 - I was a frequent contributor to XOOPS as a theme and aspiring plugin developer. I loved the SMARTY template engine and back then, I was progressive in that everyone else was still doing tables and I was doing fluid CSS layouts. It's during this time that WordPress was cutting its teeth and I saw a great deal of potential with it. I started doing some side projects with WordPress and even collaborated on a modularization of WP=>XOOPS.

    Late-2007 - After contributing to XOOPS and working my way up into Systems Admin, Forum Lead and eventually Project Manger, some internal tensions ensued and I chose to leave the project and helped create another fork... ImpressCMS. By this time, I was fully invested in XOOPS/ImpressCMS but WordPress had already matured to the point that it was clear it was going somewhere big. I had a few projects running WordPress and had already developed a few for clients. I loved the simplicity of the code and the speed of the framework, but it was still very limited in plugins and functionality. To build anything substantial required a lot of dev time. There were still some early security issues at the time as well.

    2008-2010 - After helping get ImpressCMS off the ground, I stepped away from OSS to focus on my career and to just get a bit of a break from the drama. During that time, I went to work for a major firm as a Project Manager and Systems Admin doing work for large telecommunications companies, as well as a few other notable Canadian companies. The foundation we built on was still primarily the ImpressCMS framework, but all my personal and side projects transitioned over to WordPress. It's during this time that I started doing WordPress themes and really getting to know the guts of the framework.

    Mid-2010 - After about 8yrs of non-stop work in web development and open source software, I walked away. I needed a break, I guess. I kept tabs on the industry during my hiatus, but I focused on other aspects of life.

    Mid-2015 - I returned to web development and there was only 1 framework I was willing to build with... WordPress. I started back out freelancing and working for a small, regional firm, but I quickly found that the WordPress market had exploded and that having a go at it was a lot more difficult than it use to be when you try to got at it alone or with a small firm. When I saw that WPMU DEV was hiring in 2016, I applied and have been here ever since.

    Throughout the last 16yrs, I've worked with huge array of platforms and have seen the rise and fall of many open source projects. Through it all, I gained a great deal of perspective on the industry and a large amount of knowledge regarding what works and what simply doesn't. I always return to WordPress because, by far, it's the most stable, well thought out and best executed platform for developing web sites. Is it perfect? Absolutely not! But it has saved me thousands of hours of dev time and is fantastic to work with as a whole.

    Great topic! It's fun to get to know each other and how we got here a bit better! :slight_smile:

  • Jordan

    Well, perhaps not as far back nor adventurous as others my 'Web Development' journey began in 2008 when I was 11 and my brother gave me his MacBook (White) so I started to make my first website in iWeb.

    In 2009, I then found WordPress when looking for a free, easy to use and modular (plugins <3) CMS for my Habbo fansite. The setup went well but the way everything worked went way over my head so styling it was impossible for me.

    2011, I came back to WordPress wanting to give it another go but had the same issue, there was just no proper way to style the theme without code.

    And then late 2013, Divi. This is what hooked me on WordPress for life, drove me to learn more about WordPress to the point that I can modify the style and structure of pretty much any theme with confidence without Divi Builder or Divi itself, but it's what paved the way and I haven't look away from WordPress ever since.

    Again, great topic and it's interesting to see where everyone started and ultimately where they are now.

  • Michelle

    Showing my age here, but back in the late 90's is when I started hand-coding sites, specifically - Guild sites for games like Ultima Online and Everquest.
    It was just a hobby for years. Through the rest of the 90s and up to around 2005, I built & maintained my hubby's band website, and did it as a side job for many other bands on the local scene. I still did Guild websites for Dark Age of Camelot, WoW, City of Heroes...etc - whatever game we were currently playing.
    It wasn't until around 2013 that I decided to try my hand at it full time. I was a Multi-Store Manager for Blockbuster for years, and really just didn't want to go back into the retail management field after they closed down. Had a new baby, didn't want the hours and stress that came with retail.
    I went back to school to finish my degree, received a Bachelors of Applied Science in Web Development and Cybersecurity. Got my first full-time job as a developer and all of their sites were Wordpress!
    It kinda felt like cheating at first, I have to admit. I always considered Wordpress as just a free tool for bloggers. Now I'm hooked. I found WPMU DEV through WP SMUSH, and then it seemed like anytime I was searching for some new features or had a question on StackOverflow, WPMU DEV was being linked to.

  • Fetseun

    Probably back in 2010 when I moved out into my own studio and needed to stand on my own two feet. I'd been renting space in a fitness first gym as a Personal Trainer in a gym and broke away to open my own studio.

    I realised pretty quick that word of mouth wasn't going to get me sorted and I had crack at designing a site with a short code plugin and a theme I'd bought. It all rolled on from there.

    Now I build sites for small business's and hope I never see the inside of a gym again! LOL!!

  • Steve - Just Think BiG

    I started to use WordPress back in 2007 after getting slightly fed up with the time it was taking my web developer to update my website and the costs involved.

    I remember being charged £75 to add a short video to my site - after having waited over 3 weeks for it to happen. A networking associate told me about WordPress and showed me how he could add the same video to his website in less than 60 seconds and I was hooked. I've been doing my own ever since.

    Now I run several business mastermind groups, helping sme's build their businesses and I offer a range of free tools within the membership. The free hosting of WordPress websites and access to a load of very helpful plugins are amongst those tools.

    Steve

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