Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Interview with Wordpress leader, Matt Mullenweg

I don't know whether Google [our best friend], that is, the people behind Blogger have any restrictions regarding the content of a given blog, however, I'll act the innocent and post an interview with the most important Matt around [according to Google, our best friend], Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, one of the most successful pioneer, when it comes to bringing programming to the level of poetry.
Please don't blame me for posting a WordPress-related article on a Blogger blog. As you may have probably noticed, I'm still minor, and my parents aren't that geeky - they don't sponsor me the way I'd like when it comes to computing, especially internet. I happened upon Blogger back in time when I didn't know too much about the software market, except some of the things I used everyday back then, - Microsoft Office, Yahoo Messenger, and stuff like that - thus I chose the first platform I found. I thought it must be good, if it's somewhat related to Google, so I started blogging. Since then, I suppose I learned very much [sigh, modesty isn't easy ;-)] - also learned what a blogging system should be able to do, and how it should do it. WordPress is an incredible, state-of-the-art software, and it is the to-be platform of this blog (let's tell the secret: the switch is planned for Q3 '07).
So here it goes! Matt Mullenweg answers the questions that have been crossing my brains like some top-notch motorbikes.

Me: Since probably some of my readers don't know who you are yet - I have to ask you to tell us who you are and how you're trying to change the world - with some fair success - by writing today's #1 blogging platform, WordPress.

Matt: A few years ago I was pretty frustrated with the state of tools for
publishing on the web, even though that was considered relatively solved
problem. I began hacking on Open Source and building up my programming
chops, ultimately co-founding WordPress with Mike Little in England, who
I had never met before besides interactions on our blogs.

Much to my surprise, WordPress has enjoyed a fair amount of success
since then, and it has evolved to encompass a large community of
contributors who drive its progress and develop add-ons for the
software. A year and a half ago I left my job to focus on WP full-time,
and founded a company called Automattic to hire a few other folks to
help me out.

Me: Most probably every user has his/her own favorite, but the real one is the author's. Which feature do you like the most in your preccccioouuss?

Matt: My favorite things about WordPress (in order) are the clean and flexible
URLs, the typographic auto-enhancer (texturize and autop), pages
functionality, and the comment moderation system.

Me: Would you consider selling WordPress if you'd receive a compelling offer?

Matt: It's a community, a project, not something that can be bought and sold.

Me: If we don't take it too strictly, WordPress can be used as a kind of CMS too (it can manage content..). Would you consider tinkering an explicit CMS built around/on top of WordPress' core though?

Matt: Absolutely, I think there are some great plugins that really flex WordPress' CMS muscles, and I think in the future it might be worth bundling those into some sort of plugin pack.

Me: What do you think, how much of WordPress' success is due to its Web2.0-ish flavor? Did riding the buzz worth it? Will this change, maybe?

Matt: Since WordPress got started about 4 years ago, I've never really thought of it as part of the Web 2.0 wave. To the extent technology like JS and standards-based designs are now more feasible due to browser support and ubiquitous broadband, we're all over that, but the focus is on the user experience, not who's on TechCrunch today.

Me: What do you consider the other platforms? Equal competitors, competitors which can advance in future and become dangerous in WordPress' point of view, or you say that they don't have a chance against your numero uno?

Matt: Each of the major internet platforms have a blogging system: AOL Journals, Yahoo 360, MSN Spaces, Google Blogger, Myspace Blogs, etc. Of those we see the most overlap (and switchers) from Blogger, the others don't overlap with our userbase much. Six Apart's products have some strong parallels to ours, but I think they have different priorities as a company so we don't pay them much attention.

Me: Do you think WordPress would have the same success if it'd be written in an other language than PHP? Ruby on Rails, for example, is kind of hyped-up these days..

Matt: Not at all. We were very lucky to be attached to two platforms (PHP and MySQL) whose usability, speed, and reach is unmatched in the hosting market right now. It's just so easy to download and install a PHP script, that's one of the original reasons I started hacking in PHP as opposed to messing around with Perl and CGI-bins.

Me: What do you think about these grandiose website transactions going on these days? Do those sites really worth the money they are being sold for?

Matt: On some level something is worth whatever someone will pay for it, but time will tell whether these things create long-term value for the companies that wrote the checks. Big acquisitions and mergers are difficult to pull off well.

Me: There's been debates and debates on the advantages and disadvantages of the GNU General Public License Version 3 (aka GPLv3). Will WordPress use v3, or ave conservativeness, let's just keep v2?

Matt: I don't know, it's something we'll have to look at as a community when the GPL v3 finishes its development.

Me: Do you already feel like those famous people, who by the time don't have the time to do anything but giving interviews, smiling, and taking care not to be the subject of a photo pecking a little girl, or those ugly bloggers will call you pedophile?

Matt: Can't say I do. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Matt! :-)