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Wordpress Content Management System

A term that you’ll hear regularly in the WordPress community is the term CMS, which stands for content management system. Whether you run a blog, a website, or both, you use WordPress to manage your content by publishing and editing it regularly. Hummingbird: Well, we all live in the Google universe and Google says that your site.

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WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), powering up to 29% of all Internet websites (source). A CMS is a generic term for any system that facilitates the creation and publication of any type of digital content. This category includes platforms for creating static sites, blogs, forums, online stores and everything in-between. Other well-known CMSs include Joomla, Drupal, Shopify and SquareSpace, all of them with a much lower market share: 60% of all sites using a CMS go with WordPress, the only one with double digits (Joomla takes second place with a 6.4% market share).

“A suite of word counters, keyword counters and readability analysis for. When first launched, Yoast was the answer to an analysis of SEO. Content management is a techie task that’s made easy by using WordPress’ built-in tools and its extensions. Really, that’s what this post details. Content curation is more of an art, performed by an editor more so than a geek (not to say they’re mutually exclusive).

Given its importance, WordPress deserved to have a dedicated impact column in the IEEE Software magazine.IEEE Software‘s mission is to be the best source of reliable, useful, peer-reviewed information for leading software practitioners. The goal of these impact columns is to develop a better quantitative understanding of software’s impact on different industries. As such, the goal of the column is not just to describe a specific software product but to provide some insights on how the software is being developed and some metrics that help to assess its impact.

With this context in mind, I hope you enjoy my impact column on WordPress – A Content-Management System to Democratize publishing. Keep reading for the unedited (but free) version of the column.

WordPress started in 2003 when Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little forked the b2 blogging platform and created the first version of WordPress. WordPress is an open source project released under the GPLv2 (or later) license. The WordPress Foundation was started in 2010 (inspired by the Free Software Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation) to further support its sustainability and promote the project. The foundation owns the WordPress Trademark.

From the beginning, the WordPress mission has been to democratize publishing, ensuring that any non-technical person was able to create her own website while at the same time building a product that can scale all the way up to enterprise clients with complex needs (e.g. eCommerce, multilingual, mobile). The recent addition of the WordPress REST API is a step forward in this direction. Thanks to the API, you can now use WordPress as a headless CMS to build your own web applications on top of WordPress while benefitting from all its core backend functionalities (e.g. for collaboration and content and user management).

The WordPress Codebase

WordPress comprises over 500K lines of code mainly consisting of PHP code serving HTTP requests by querying a MySQL database. However, there is a quickly growing presence of JavaScript, especially in all components implied in the frontend aspects of WordPress. React has been chosen as the core JS framework for its new JavaScript-based developments.

Figure 1 displays some stats on the evolution and growth of the WordPress codebase. Nowadays, PHP still represents over half of the total number of LOCs (Lines of Code) with an additional 30% of JavaScript. CSS, HTML and XML make up for the rest. Its compound annual growth rate over a 14 year period (from the 16314 LOCs it had in Dec, 2003 to the 565917 LOCs in Dec, 2017) is 28.8%, which puts WordPress in the upper end (but still within the typical range) of the calculated CAGRs for software projects[1].

Figure 1 – Evolution of LOCs in the WordPress codebase grouped by language – Source

The database schema is rather simple with only 12 core tables (see the Entity-Relationship schema of the tables, showing the relationships between them though the corresponding foreign keys are not part of the WordPress database SQL DDL script).

WordPress code itself is organized into a few dozens of core components based on the functionality they provide (rather than size or language). Each component is coded using a mix of procedural and object-oriented programming techniques. Typically, new functionalities are developed with a more OO style and a few class wrappers have been added to better encapsulate related sets of functions.

WordPress development

WordPress uses Subversion as version control system with the current development version available at this location. Trac is the bug tracking system in place where all important discussions take place with Slack as a complement for real-time communication. There is also a GitHub mirror but only as a read-only version of the SVN repository.

Since its inception, over 30 versions of WordPress have been released, the current one (at the time of writing) WordPress 4.9.4. WordPress strives never to break backwards compatibility. This is contrary to other CMSs like Drupal, which is prepared to break it at every major release if this simplifies radical code improvements. Note that, for historical reasons, WordPress does not use semantic versioning and therefore the first two digits are the actual identifiers of a major release with the third one identifying minor releases (mainly for security patches and bug fixes). Until recently, releases were fairly regular, launching a new major release every four months, give or take. In 2016, it was announced that WordPress would move towards a more feature-driven approach with each new version focusing on the release of a major functionality. Editing, customization and the REST API were the first three planned. In the end, we have witnessed a mixed model with different release models happening in parallel.

Each release has a lead developer with the recent novelty that we may now also have a nominated designer lead paired with the lead developer. This trend of recognizing the key role of designers in the development process is something we are seeing as well in a number of tech companies that are drastically improving their developers/designers ratio. Leaders rotate in each release, which helps to involve more people in key positions of the project and therefore helps to increases its bus factor, a measure to calculate the risk of concentrating too much information in a small number of developers.

The release leaders decide on all technical aspects of the release but they depend on the WordPress community to move the code forward. This also includes adding unit tests (WordPress uses PHPUnit and QUnit for automatic testing of PHP and JavaScript respectively). For instance, 443 contributors participated in the latest major release (4.9), of whom 185 were new contributors. Beyond the lead developers, a number of core committers have write access to the SVN and can, therefore, commit the patches submitted by those contributors. Sometimes commit access is granted on a temporal basis to work on specific components but a number of people have a permanent commit access and constitute what is known as the WordPress core team. Moving up from external contributor to core team is mainly based on meritocracy. This meritocracy takes into account not only the technical skills but also the attitude, professionalism, and respect to the project’s core philosophies. And at the top of the chain, Matt Mullenweg, the WordPress co-founder, supervises everything under his (unofficial) role of BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life).


Wordpress Content Management System Cms

A weekly open bug triage meeting is held every week but security vulnerabilities are immediately addressed (you can see the list of all declared WordPress security vulnerabilities) and, if necessary, a new minor security release is prepared and all WordPress sites automatically updated since by default all WordPress sites automatically update themselves as soon as a new minor release becomes available. The WordPress security team is made up of approximately 50 experts.

How people make money with WordPress?

WordPress is a multi-billion market today and everything points out that it will continue to grow in the future. A key factor in this business growth is related to the huge user community around it. As an example, WordPress organizes WordCamps; a focused event in a city favoring local speakers and attendees. Last year only, there were 128 WordCamps and over 4000 meetups adding up to more than 100K participants.

Beyond all kinds of consulting services (installing, configuring, tuning, migrating …) to serve the WordPress community many people decide to build and sell plugins extend the core WordPress functionality or themes to customize the look and feel of WordPress sites. WordPress offers many predefined hooks that plugins can “hook into” to provide their functionality without modifying any core WordPress files. Around 2000 hooks are available and each hook corresponds to a common WordPress event (saving a post, approving a comment, creating a user). In response to those events, plugins and themes can either perform a specific action or filter the current content to change how it is going to be displayed to the user.

As of today, there are 47K plugins in the official repository that have been downloaded over 600 million times. Plugins can be completely free, paid (sometimes as part of a subscription service) or follow a freemium model, and similarly for themes. The quality of the plugins wildly differs and, in fact, more often than not, they are the ones to blame when a WordPress site gets hacked. There is a plugin review team and a theme review team that checks that each submitted plugin adheres to the plugin guidelines (verifying security, quality and “spammy” aspects of the plugin). Like all sets of rules, they try to be precise but are always open to interpretation and there has been some controversy regarding decisions on the inclusion/exclusion of certain plugins and themes from the official repository. The upcoming Tide initiative will make the process more transparent by helping plugin developers to run automated tests on their plugins to check for PHP compatibility errors and warnings prior to the submission.

While creators of plugins and themes are mainly independent developers or small agencies, larger companies offer WordPress hosting services with a more predictable and recurrent revenue model. While you could install WordPress on any internet hosting provider, some provide a more dedicated support for WordPress sites, offering, for instance, staging sites or integrated cache systems. Automattic (Matt Mullenweg’s company) is one such company, offering hosting services under the domain, not to be confused with, the home of the open source project itself.

Roadmap and challenges ahead

WordPress has gone a long way from a humble blogging platform to the flexible CMS it is today. But it will need to continue to evolve if it wants to stay on top. The CMS market is very appealing with new competitors popping up every year in all areas of the CMS spectrum trying to become the best CMS for specific customer profiles / sectors in contrast to WordPress’ aim to be the one-size-fits-all solution with the help of its broad ecosystem of plugins, themes, hosting solutions, etc, mentioned before. A WordPress Growth Council has been recently created as a reaction to this threat. The “Five for the Future” initiative complements this by requesting all companies living on WordPress to dedicate 5% of their people to contribute back to the WordPress core — be it development, documentation, security, support forums, theme reviews, training, testing, translation or whatever it might be that helps move the WordPress mission forward.

On the technical side, the next version will ship with Gutenberg, a major architectural shift for WordPress and the longest feature development effort in the history of WordPress. Gutenberg aims to simplify all previous concepts of WordPress (menu, widget shortcodes) in one elegant concept: the block. According to the WordPress founder, Gutenberg will be the future of WordPress writing, editing and customization for the next ten years. As any major change, Gutenberg has stirred a lot of controversy in the community since it will force many plugin and theme authors to rewrite and rethink how their plugins work and it will make many of the popular page builders obsolete unless they invest considerable efforts to adapt to the new Gutenberg methodology.

While these changes go in line with WordPress goal of dominating the CMS market, from large enterprises to individual bloggers with little technical knowledge, there is also the risk that some communities of WordPress users feel the project is evolving in a direction that no longer represents their views and decide to fork the project and create a specialized version to better fit their needs.

One way or the other, the research community has a lot to contribute to the future of WordPress. It is somewhat surprising that so few research articles focus on WordPress compared to, for instance, papers analyzing Linux from every possible perspective. I think the richness and importance of the WordPress codebase and ecosystem pose many interesting challenges for the research community, especially for researchers working on the mining of software repositories. As a long-time WordPress user and researcher (e.g. see some of my ideas on the benefits of a closer relationship between WordPress are the research community, most of them still valid today), I encourage you all to contribute to the growth of WordPress and its community.

[1]Compound Annual Growth Rate for Software. M.van Genuchten, Les Hatton. IEEE Software 29(4), 2012

The Vocabulary and Structure of the WordPress Content Management System(CMS)

Our first presentation of the 2017 Austin WordPress Beginner “Back To WordPress Basics” series was devoted to learning the vocabulary and structure of WordPress Content Management System, with a short review of how WordPress works. The goal of this class was to help our community of WordPress Beginners really understand how WordPress CMS handles content and displays it in a web browser. Our discussion about how the WordPress Content Management System functions was a reminder that content is more than text on a screen — WordPress site content also includes images, audio, and video files. During the presentation, we reviewed the Best Practices for developing a content strategy that works for both desktop and mobile.

A Quick Review of Our October 2016, ‘How WordPress Works’ Presentation

The WordPress Content Management System (CMS) is an open-source computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content in the form of web-based publishing. The main purpose of the WordPress Content Management System is to provide the capability for multiple users with different permission levels to manage a website or a section of the site’s content, without needing to know HTML or other coding languages. Managing content refers to creating, editing, archiving, publishing, collaborating on, reporting, distributing website content, data, and information.

In short, the WordPress CMS gives non-technical users the ability to publish their content on the Web. When a user clicks the PUBLISH BUTTON on the WordPress Dashboard, they aren’tJUST changing the Post to Page content from private to public. That activated PUBLISH BUTTON is transferring that content, which can include images, audio, and video in addition to text, into one or more “boxes” of organizational structure within the WordPress database.

A Review of Some Content Management System Basics

Your WordPress theme retrieves the content from the database and displays it through your browser. A WordPress theme is a collection of templates. Each template contains the programming code to get specific content from the database, An example we are all familiar with is a Blog Archive page that, based on the themes instructions, will display five or more of the most recent posts.

Content vs. Appearance

WordPress separates the site’s content from the database from how it appears based on the theme. The key to understanding how the WordPress CMS works is remembering that WordPress holds ALL Content in the Database, and how that information is presented on the web by the browser is the job of the theme. With WordPress, you can change the Theme without affecting the content.

The WordPress Theme

The theme you choose determines the look of your site. The theme consists of bits of code. PHP files with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, all working together to display your site in a unique way. Remember, you can change your WordPress theme without affecting the content of your site.

Benefits of the WordPress CMS

The primary benefits for the WordPress CMS for a new user is quick and easy page management. The CMS ‘Roles & Responsibilities’ function allows any approved user can quickly and easily publish online without complicated software or programming. As we learned when we reviewed how WordPress themes work, your site’s design is separate from content.The WordPress CMS allows you to manipulate content without fear of accidentally changing the design. Another benefit of the WordPress CMS structure is that your WordPress theme’s design templates provide a consistent branding and standard navigation across your websites.

Because the WordPress CMS is database-driven, the user only needs to change data once for it to be updated throughout the WordPress site. Through the WordPress CMS, site managers/owners have access to shared resources, such as modules, images, audio and video files, etc. This feature makes it easy to track content revisions to see who has made changes to page content. The CMS also has archive capabilities and can display a list of historic or related content. The user approval system (roles and Responsibilities) can give different levels of access to different users, and the CMS has mechanisms to ensure content is approved before going live. Additionally, the WordPress CMS helps to scale your site’s content to fit tablets, mobile devices, and smaller browser windows. How the WordPress CMS structures content helps to optimize your website so that search engine users can easily find your information.

Some Content Management System Basics

Understanding the WordPress “Dashboard”

Your WordPress Site’s Dashboard is how you control the Words and Media (Content) that are part of your site. There are Two Parts To WordPress: The Public Part, and The Private Part. This is similar to the public area and back office of any business The front end of the site is what the site visitor sees in their Browser the private part is your Dashboard.

Who Gets To Do What— CMS Roles and Responsibilities

The CMS allows users of various skill levels to be involved in managing a WordPress website. How you use the CMS will depend on your role ContributorsContributors can create, post and update content, including Text and images. Contributors can only add or update their own content, but can’t publish the results. Multiple people in the organization can be designated Contributors, allowing subject matter experts to create and update content in their own areas within the organization.


Editors have the ability to create, post and update content, including text and images. Editors also can approve content to be published on WordPress sites they are assigned to manage. As Editors have the ability and the authority to review and publish content―making it visible to the public―this role should be limited to individual responsible for the site’s content.

Site Administrators

Site Administrators are most closely aligned with the traditional role of webmaster. In addition to the ability to create, approve and publish content, they are responsible for the overall design and functionality of the site. Site Administrators can build and integrate modules, modify administrative features, authorize and set up user profiles for Contributors, Editors and peer Site Administrators.

WordPress CMS Structure


WordPress pages are called ‘Static Pages’ but does NOT mean the Page can never change…just that they are less time- dependent than Posts. Pages usually display content that is not likely to have frequent changes to their content, The most common use for Pages on a WordPress site are the Home, About Us, Services pages. These type of pages populate the site navigation (Menu) bar.Pages do not normally allow comments and can be organized in a hierarchical fashion— arranged in order of rank Hierarchical Pages can act as a “Parent” to “Child” pages. If your theme supports drop-down menus then the “Child” page will appear under the “Parent” page in the navigation bar Pages can also be used to present a selected archive collection of blog posts Page Templates apply only to pages to change their look and feel A page template can be applied to a single page, a page section, or a class of page Think of Parent pages and Child pages as a site’s Tables of Contents. Many WordPress sites skip the blogging option and chose to have only static pages.



WordPress was originally created for blogging, the writing and publishing chronological “Posts” Posts are time-sensitive articles normally listed on your Blog page Posts usually appear in reverse chronological order. Sticky Posts – sometimes called Featured Posts — override the reverse chronological order of the blog page and stay at the top of the blog. Posts allow you to close or disable comments on individual posts.

Posts have categories. You setup your post categories in the Posts > Categories menu If you create a post — but don’t assign a category, it automatically gets assigned to the ― “Uncategorized” category Post categories can show up on your sidebar.

Categories tend to be pre-defined and broad ranging Like pages, categories are hierarchical. A post can be added to more than one category. Try to keep categories “big picture” and to not have a category with less than 3 posts in it (unless your blog is brand new of course).

Tags are similar to Categories in that they’re also a “Taxonomy” — a system of classification — a way to group things together ( Tags are non-hierarchical — like posts, there are no parent and child tags, and you can have as many as is appropriate for your subject matter.

WordPress CMS Structure Review

Understanding the difference between Pages and Posts — When you’re writing a regular blog entry, you are writing a “POST.” In the default WordPress set-up, a POST will appear in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page.

“PAGES” are used outside of the blog chronological structure to organize and manage any content such as “About,” “Contact,” etc., to present information about your site that is applicable to longer periods of time.

Other Ways to Extend Content — Custom Post Types

A Custom Post Type (CPT) can be page-like or post-like in its usage and can be used solely for bundling content in a theme or plugin that is not actually displayed individually on the front-end(public) side of the site. You can use Custom Post Types to separate types of content, such as product listings, real estate listings, movie/music database, testimonials, or portfolio items. Custom Post Type Plugins are another way to extend content. There are several CPT creator/manager Plugins that help you efficiently many-to-many connections between posts, pages, custom post types — A slider plugin may create its own post type; A directory or classifieds plugin will most likely create its own post type, and WordPress themes can include their own custom post types.

Custom Taxonomies

Custom Taxonomies are another way to extend content. Taxonomies are a way to group things together and Custom Taxonomies are effective for organizing custom post types,which are a very effective for publishing similar items.

Custom Fields

Custom Fields are neither Post Types nor Taxonomies. Custom Fields contain data about a Post, which is why they’re called “post meta” or “metadata” (i.e. data about data). A Custom Field for a WordPress / WooCommerce site post could be a serial number, price, or warranty length. Unlike custom post types and custom taxonomies, WordPress, by default, provides a way to add custom fields and insert values for existing fields.


Widgets appear under the ‘Appearance’ tab in the admin sidebar. The Developer writes the code to create the widget areas so the user can drag and drop widgets.

Dynamically Created Pages

WordPress displays similar posts together in dynamically-generated pages, called Archive Pages or Archive Indexes. Author pages are actually archives just like category and tag archives. Dynamically generating pages with like-kind content is one of the main benefits of using any content management system. WordPress has a lot of ways to display content dynamically. Some WordPress themes have distinct styling for every scenario, like category archives looking substantially different from tag archives, for whatever reason The archive for categories and tags would look the same but display different content.

Wordpress Content Management System

Looking Under The Hood of a WordPress

Wordpress Content Management System Free Download

What Exactly is a MySQL Database?

Wordpress Content Management System

MySQL is the database that powers the WordPress CMS. Functionally, a database is a way to organize information so you can find it when you need it. The MySQL database connects related information such as images with captions, Images with their Posts or Pages, related Posts or Pages and people with activities. The MySQL database can gather and parse stored data and format this information into reports. and is the foundation of the WordPress CMS.

I hope these class notes helped. I have included a link to my Slidedeck below. I’m sorry if the transfer from Keynote to PowerPoint format sometimes does odd things to the headers and some images. We look forward to seeing you at an Austin WordPress Meetup soon. Drop by for the class schedule.

Wordpress Content Management System Tutorial

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Drupal Content Management System

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