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Evolution of WordPress User Interface (2003 – 2009)

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Evolution of WordPress User Interface (2003 – 2009)

WordPress we see now is the product of the love the community has provided it with. Without the suggestions, tips, and new ideas of the valued users, and the hard work of WordPress staff implementing these ideas, it would never be where it is. Right now we see WordPress as a power house script that is so versatile, and adaptable to any use. In this post we will show you how WordPress evolved to what it is now by showing you the changes of admin panel user interface in each version.

Since 27 May, 2003 when WordPress was launched, there have been a total of 52 releases so far. In this post, we will only highlight the ones that we see a huge change in admin panel user interface. You can see the releases on the Official WordPress Site, and you can also download them.

WordPress 0.71 – Gold (May 2003)

WordPress 0.71

The landing page of WordPress 0.71 admin panel was directly the write post page. As you can see there was no dashboard. Features were very limited, and it was kept simple. You could only assign one category to each post. This version of WordPress had a tedious installation method where you would have to change a lot of information manually.

WordPress 1.0.1 – Miles (Jan 2004)

WordPress 1.0.1

Starting this version, WordPress started naming its major releases after Jazz musicians. As you can see this release was named after a famous musician, Miles Davis. In this version, WordPress stopped using the b2 file structure and moved toward its own style of filing structure. In this version, the feature of assigning multiple categories to a post was added. You could also make Search Engine Friendly Permalinks using mod_rewrite. The installer in this version got a lot simpler then the first version. Edit this page / Edit this comment links were introduced. Also comment moderation feature was highlighted.

WordPress 1.2 – Mingus (May 2004)

WordPress 1.2

This release was named after Charles Mingus. One of the most important upgrades in this version was “Plugins”. WordPress plugin architecture was introduced in this version, and to this latest release is still the same. Sub categories were included in this version’s feature list. In this version we also had custom fields, thumbnail creation, post preview, encrypted passwords, and an ability to ping more then one service at a time.

WordPress 1.5 – Strayhorn (Feb 2005)

WordPress 1.5

This version of WordPress was named after Billy Strayhorn. In this version we see the first glimpse of a dashboard. Now WordPress is no longer just about posts, you can also have pages. Multiple theme support was also included in this version. This admin panel was not powered by Ajax, so it was slower then the ones we use now.

WordPress 2.0 – Duke (Dec 2005)

WordPress 2.0

Named after Duke Ellington, this version was the first version that we see a major change in the user interface. We have a big blue header, which you will see through out for a while. This version was the first one to include the full WYSIWIG editor. Akismet Spam Protection was introduced in this plugin. Other features in this release were: Image/File Uploading, Theme preview via thumbnail (screenshot.png), Improved Administration abilities via AJAX, Improved Posting Speed, New Hooks for Developers, and more.

WordPress 2.1 – Ella (Jan 2007)

WordPress 2.1 Dashboard

WordPress 2.1

This release was actually named after Ella Fitzgerald. WordPress had a lot of new features included in this upgrade. Some of the notable ones was the fast admin panel interface. Other features were Spell Check, Comments with its own menu and more.

WordPress 2.3 – Dexter (Sep 2007)

WordPress 2.3

WordPress 2.3 was named after Dexter Gordon. In this release, there were a lot of security fixes. There was a few admin panel changes as well. Users were now able to add tags to WordPress. Update notification was added in this version, so now we see plug-in and WordPress upgrade notification, if the version we were using was outdated. WordPress added a feature where it will redirect users to the right URL automatically such as the one with www. if that was the one you chose. Also they added advanced visual editor button.

WordPress 2.5 – Brecker (Mar 2008)

WordPress 2.5 Dashboard

WordPress 2.5

This version of WordPress was named after Michael Brecker. Developers actually skipped version 2.4 to 2.5, so this version contained twice the amount of new stuff. We see a completely new admin panel interface. The dashboard got much better as they added more useful information there. This was the first version where we saw one click upgrade for plug-ins which were in WordPress plug-in directory. Much better visual editor and a built-in gallery was also included in this release.

WordPress 2.6 – Tyner (Jul 2008)

WordPress 2.6

McCoy Tyner was the person which this version was named after. They added a word count in the post writing section, and Turbo feature was included which let you use Google Gears.

WordPress 2.7 – Coltrane (Dec 2008)

WordPress 2.7 Dashboard

WordPress 2.7

This version was named after John Coltrane. We see another huge admin panel makeover which is liked by majority of the community. The dashboard is much more resourceful and there are multiple other options included in this release. This version included automated installation for plug-ins through the WordPress admin panel. Reply to comments from the admin panel, threaded comments, sticky posts, keyboard shortcuts, comment paging, and much more were added in this release.

WordPress 2.8 – Baker (Jun 2009)

This version was named after Chet Baker. The reason why there is no screenshot of this one is because we want you to upgrade right now if you haven’t and check it for yourselves. Really in the admin panel, look wise not a lot has changed, but it has certainly got much faster.

As we look back, it seems that WordPress has come a long way to be what it is. We have had a lot of success until now and more to come in the future. WordPress could not have done it without the support of the community. We urge you to join the Beta Release List and test new versions, so you can help WordPress grow by reporting bugs and suggesting features.


WordPress Versions and Changelog

Wikipedia WordPress Page

A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Tegar says:

    i love wordpress, i like the way you gathered the wp-admin layout

  2. Masud Rana says:

    Thanks for the gathered history of wordpress.

  3. Trisha says:

    I’ve just upgraded from 2.7.1 to 2.8.4 and three critical features seem to be missing for me even though others are not having this problem (although some are)

    1. Word count on the post write/edit panel is gone;
    2. Edit timestamp (to schedule posts) is not working; and
    3. Image/media uploader is not working

    I’ve already tried disabling all plugins, switching to the default theme, reinstalling WP (not using upgrader), adding a define statement for alternate cron to my wp-config.php, and using multiple browsers/OS – all suggestions from the WP forum, not getting anywhere – hass anyone here heard of these issues and/or know of a fix?

    • Editorial Staff says:

      Haven’t had any issues with this. Nor heard of any of the users or client that had this issue. We think that it is the JavaScript that is not working with you. Because there were some issues with TinyMCE that were reported to us. But its user end issue on browsers. You should check to see if you have JavaScript upgraded in your system.

      • Trisha says:

        Thank you for the tip – but I’m a little confused……I was not aware that javascript could be “upgraded”….isn’t it simply a matter of keeping your browser updated? I have the most current versions of both Safari and FIrefox, both of which support the most current version of javascript. Unless you are referring to Java, which I also have the most current version of installed.

        And actually quite a few people are complaining in the WP forums about these issues, but none of the suggested solutions work, so I’m trying to reach out beyond the WP forum in the hope that someone else may know of a fix.

        I’ll try looking closer at the TinyMCE scripts since you mention that as a possible culprit.

        • Editorial Staff says:

          Yes and the problem can also be on your server side. If your server is not updated TinyMCE will have bugs. It happened to a client of ours because they could not move the widgets in the theme page. Please try and see if you are able to do that. If you can’t move things around, it is definitely your host end.

        • Trisha says:

          An update in case anyone is interested – after deactivating and reactivating (one by one) all of my plugins the culprit turned out to be the Podpress plugin by MightySeek – i had not upgraded that plugin to it’s latest version because I’d heard that it was not compatible – while the old version worked fine with WP 2.8, it was apparently causing the problems I described – unable to use image uploader or edit timestamp – once I upgraded it now everything is working fine.

  4. plumber randwick says:

    It looks like They were simple and user interactive style from the beginning,
    am using it from 2.6

  5. robby says:

    world of wordpress reflects the power of community
    maybe i should consider to move from blogger to wordpress

  6. Ryan Hamilton says:

    Wow, got a bit nostalgic there, even though it was only a few years ago. When I was first introduced to 2.0 in 2005 I had no idea it would be nearly as useful and versatile as it now is today.

    Here’s to another 4 years.

  7. Scott Bernadot says:

    This was a great trip thru time. Thanks for putting this all together ;-)

  8. Brad says:

    Great post! That was really cool to see the evolution. Makes me wonder how awesome WP will continue to get…

  9. subcorpus says:

    just upgraded to baker … the latest version …
    lets see how that goes … :)

  10. Hugo says:

    Wow… I started using WP in the version 2.5
    I have never seen the previous versions… nice post.. thanks

  11. Jason Sack says:

    I can’t wait for Pepper.

  12. Tom Hermans says:

    Since WP 2.7 the design of the back-end interface is certainly up to par with the power and possibilities of the WP-CMS. The only thing I don’t like very much is the way the plugins are presented. It used to be easier to see which were active and which were not.. But all in all, that’s a minor issue. Keep up the fantastic work you guys.


  13. Knoxville Website Design says:

    It has been a great ride so far ;-).

  14. Giovanni says:

    WordPress is the primary inspiration for my own CMS

  15. Sebastian Schertel says:

    Thank you. I always wanted to see the evolution of the interface. I love wordpress. I wished there would be another wordpress stickers give-away.

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