San Francisco, CA (PRBuzz.com) November 19, 2012 -- With roughly one-fifth of the web's one million largest sites operate on WordPress software, developers are promoting the open source platform as more than a blogging tool.
That is according to Brad Williams, who helped organize the third annual WordCamp Philly event, held last weekend.
Thirty-seven speakers appeared over eight hours Saturday in Temple University's Alter Hall.
"We really try to hit every hot topic that we can," said Williams. "I think we came up with a really good, solid list of speakers this year." He added that WordCamp Philly is designed to offer conversations on WordPress trends as well as networking opportunities for platform users.
About 400 people attended the event. They ranged from those who have only a small amount of knowledge on the software to those who are capable of developing custom plugins.
On Sunday, participants gathered at the Quorum in University City for a developer day, in which everyone could contribute to work on WordPress software.
Williams began using WordPress in 2006. He and Doug Stewart co-founded Philly's WordPress Meetup Group, which now has more than 800 members. The group meets monthly for hour-long presentations and discussions on the evolution of WordPress. "[It] has been really fun," said Williams.
"It's been active, it's a good group of people. And that's also one of the reasons why we're doing WordCamp Philly, which is pretty much like that, but obviously on a much larger scale."
The software, said Williams, has morphed significantly over the years since he began using it.
"[In 2006] it was blogging software. If you wanted to blog, you used something like WordPress. Now it's really trying to shed that blogging tag because it's much more than that. You can build anything in WordPress."
Many in the web development community are aware of that, it seems. In August, WordPress co-founding developer Matt Mullenweg announced at the State of the Word address in San Francisco that WordPress is running 16.7% of the web's most trafficked one million sites.
"[That's] a pretty huge number," Williams said. "It's the most used open-source content management software there is, by far...The amount of people using it really blows my mind when I sit down and think about it."
As a result, more people are bringing their online communities to their websites as opposed to directing viewers to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, said Williams. They are also using WordPress to store their data, he added. "Twitter's great but who owns that? Where does it go? What happens if Twitter shuts down one day and I want an archive of my tweets? They're gone. I don't own that data, I don't have copies of it. So a lot of people are using WordPress not only as a publishing platform but also as a way to back up their archives."
Lisa Sabin-WIlson, author of WordPress for Dummies, traveled from Milwaukee for the WordCamp Philly event. She said she began using WordPress in 2003 after years of teaching herself web design. A regular speaker at WordCamp Philly, this year, she spoke about WordPress themes. "I speak about different topics," she said. "I like to change it up to keep it fresh and interesting, and so I don't get bored."
Wilson said the biggest change she has seen in WordPress over the last year is the different types of available content: "It used to be just pages and posts that you could write with WordPress, but now there are these items called custom post types that allow the user to define different types of content. Now you can start writing things like recipes and format it out in a true recipe fashion or different reviews. The possibilities are endless with the flexibility that we have now with WordPress, and that's really exciting."
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