Eleven years ago, in 2003, a new type of website called a “blog” (weB LOG) had become popular. Shortly after, a blogging software called Movable Type started charging for some features, and many bloggers flocked to a free platform called WordPress. A year later, WordPress introduced Plugins, which were an easy way to add functionality to the software and make it available to others.
One of the first Plugins was called Hello Dolly, a script that could select from a grouping of quotes and display them randomly on the website. In this case, the quotes were from the lyrics of the song Hello Dolly by Jerry Herman. The Plugin, written by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, still installs today with every version.
In the description of the Plugin, it is stated that “This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong.” I’m sure everyone had that feeling of optimism after accomplishing their first WordPress installation.
In some ways, it also describes the feelings one has on a good day of programming: “Well, hello!” “You’re looking swell.” “So nice to have you back where you belong.” It’s nice when things go right, and Louis Armstrong knew how to make people feel real good with his 1964 hit. I was just a little kid being thrown up in the air when that song was playing on the radio non-stop.
Since then, each release of WordPress has been codenamed after well-known jazz musicians, and the freeform styling of the art form carries over to the blogging platform, with an army of Plugin authors constantly contributing and sharing their talents. Although WordPress has come a long way in over ten years, there is always room for innovation. Unavoidable, in fact.