History

Posted by Chris J. Davis

In the winter of 1999 I sat down at my computer, and looked at my weblog, which was rolled by hand mind you, and sighed the sigh of those who no longer want to hand code every post.

2001

I started tooling around the interwebs and came across the website for b2. It seemed like everything I wanted. No more hand coding, and a chance to learn something about web programming.

You see gentle reader, at this time I was an artist and graphic designer. I used the HTML editor in Netscape navigator, and later Dreamweaver, to make terribly designed websites. But I didn't know anything about how they worked.

Within a week I had ditched my old hand rolled site and setup a new b2 powered site on an old 266 grape iMac I had lying around. And thus began my love affair with making stuff.

In those early, heady days there was no theme system, no plugin architecture, there was just you, a text editor and endless possibilities. I cut my teeth on PHP with b2. Although its place in my life was short lived, it is a fond one.

2003

Fast forward to 2003 and the first release of WordPress, the official successor to b2 and a much needed change in direction. By this time I wouldn't have called myself a developer, but I was an accomplished hacker. I brought my enthusiasm, time and energy to the world of WordPress.

On July 1st, 2003 I upgraded my site from b2 to WordPress, and my life changed forever. I immediately dove into the code, trying to figure out how it worked, and more importantly, discover, could I break it? Almost immediately I started releasing the code I was hacking together. The first of these releases was to Thwart Comment Spammers.

I wouldn't release any more code until 2004, but as soon as I did a flood gate opened. A floodgate full of Awesome and Majesty. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

2004

On February 24th I released my first complete hack, WP-CC. This little diddy allowed you to add a Creative Commons license to your site. It was an immediate hit, and gave me a taste for Open Source Development. With this release I discovered the feeling giving of your time and expertise could engender. It was immediately addictive, and like any good addict I needed another fix.

A couple of months later I released Live Preview for Comments, by far one of my most popular hacks/plugins. To this day I still get contacted by people looking for it. In the months that followed I would write and release 4 more hacks. On March 29th coinciding with a bleeding edge version of WordPress that introduced a plugin architecture, I rewrote my hacks and released my first 4 plugins for WordPress.

At this time I was also named one of the "Unofficial Five (six by some counts) Kingdoms of Hackdom" on the WordPress Dev blog.

Another milestone occurred on May 7th, with the release of my first tutorial on WordPress. By far, I am best known for my writing and teaching in connection with WordPress, and I have to say, I am happy about that. In 2004 I would release two of my most popular tutorials, and my first Open Source theme for WordPress, Persian.

Before all was said and done, Persian was ported to 6 different blogging/cms systems and was in active use by thousands of people.

2005

In January I was asked to be part of a team that would suggest improvements to design and usability to the WordPress admin. In 2004 I had released a custom theme for the admin that many people responded to, so it was felt I would be a good fit for the team.

The fruits of our labors was Shuttle, a beautiful re-imagining of the WordPress admin. For various reasons shuttle was scuttled... ahem... but many of our ideas informed the design of the admin for years to come.

In March I released CJD Spam Nuker, a plugin that helped you clear out spam comments from your database. It was a popular plugin, and was eventually used as the basis for the first Akismet plugin for WordPress.

In May I started my seminal tutorial series, Secrets of WP Theming. This 3 part series propelled me even further into the hearts and minds of my fellow WordPress users, and helped land me my first book deal.

In August my good friend and favorite dane Michael Heilemann & I released the first beta of K2, the successor to Kubrick, one of the most famous themes for WordPress. K2 was the first of its kind, a theme that coupled features of plugins into its DNA.

The addition of a functions file to the themes of WordPress was a direct result of my work on K2.

In October of 2005 my son Jakob was born, which was the first, and most important of a series of events that would cap 2005 off as one of the best years of my life. Along with this momentous event in my life, I co-authored my first book, Blog Design Solutions.

Having an author credit added to my name was one of the Big Ones. Along with being a husband and father, being a published author, and winning a grammy round out my main life goals.

So, yeah. One left. Be ready for my Kids Halloween comedy album to drop sometime soon.

2006

If 2005 was a year of WordPress related triumphs, 2006 was the year WordPress and I stopped seeing eye-to-eye.

I wrote another book on WordPress that didn't go anywhere, and released two more themes. But there was a change in the air. I was no longer happy with the way the community and core devs interacted when it came to WordPress.

After talking to some of my friends, I found I wasn't the only one. A group of 4 developers banded together at Ohio Linux Fest, and decided to create something new, something fresh and something more inclusive. This something quickly became Habari, a cutting edge, object oriented PHP content publishing platform.

While still remaining active in the WordPress community, the four of us worked furiously on the first version of Habari. It would take the rest of the year to get to a stable state. My releases for WordPress slowed down, but I still had time to help jumpstart another movement.

Near the end of the year, responding to a post from Michael, I inadvertantly helped jumpstart the Lifestreaming movement by creating the first Lifestreaming plugin for WordPress.

2007

After months of furious coding, on January 8th, I switched Sillyness to an alpha version of Habari. In the days after my announcement, others followed suit and the most fulfilling, gratifying and enriching journey of my life began.