TBL Systems "Going Live"
WordPress is an astoundingly successful Content Management System (CMS) by any measure. As of 2021, it has a full 60% of the market share for all content management systems in the world. By comparison, Joomla!®, the next most popular CMS, has a paltry 5.4% share (no shade on Joomla, it is a tremendous piece of software in its own right). What is even more impressive is that Wordpress has grown almost monotonically since it essentially created the CMS market 2003.
Neither of these facts should be much of a surprise, however, given:
- It natively integrates with MySQL, but is compatible with a host of persistance layers.
- That world-famous 5-minute installation process
- The intuitive ease-of-use
- The plethora of plugins available
WordPress was originally created in 2003 by a surprisingly not-very-famous guy named Michel Aldrighi (here is a picture of him), who open-sourced his bulletin-board software called "b2". A kid (at the time) named Matt Mullenweg had some pictures from a DC trip that he wanted to share with friends. Ironically enough, Facebook wouldn't go live until 2004. Anyone alive at the time knows that MySpace was fun for showing off sparkly backgrounds, but it wasn't great for sharing snapshots. Thus Matt settled on b2. It worked great, until one day, as Matt explains it:
… My logging software (meaning b2) hasn’t been updated for months, and the main developer (Michel Valdrighi) has disappeared, and I can only hope that he’s okay.
… Fortunately, b2/cafelog is GPL, which means that I could use the existing codebase to create a fork, integrating all the cool stuff that Michel would be working on right now if only he was around…
I’ve decided that this the course of action I’d like to go in, now all I need is a name. What should it do? Well, it would be nice to have the flexibility of MovableType, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2, and the ease of setup of Blogger.
The rest is history. Matt forked b2, re-named it WordPress, and he was off to the races. Today Matt is still a WordPress contributor. He appears to be something of a polymath, and he runs a wide-ranging blog at ma.tt. It runs on WordPress, of course.
So what is the point of this history lesson? It's very simple, when we started TBL Systems, we were highly reliant (and still are) on open source software products. When we made our presence known on the worldwide web, it was via a WordPress site. For 8 years, WordPress soldiered on, delivering a consistent, high-quality experience for both our developers and customers. And so we wanted to take a few minutes to tip our Stetson to Michel, Matt, and all of the unsung heroes who have built a publishing juggernaut.
But time moves on, and with it moves the balance of technological interplay. There were several specific reasons why TBL needed to move on:
- To abandon PHP, which is (in my opinion) brittle
- To embrace Vue and Vuetify, which makes user interfaces which are both attractive and robust
- To embrace C++, which improves execution time and diminishes code entropy
- Primarily, we needed tighter integration with our cloud product, so that the user experience for both could evolve together.
And so, we wrote our own CMS, in Vuetify and C++. We are excited about the new frontiers that we well tackle with our custom codebase. Farewell WordPress. We will not forget you.