Fifteen Years of WordPress Themes

Class of 2001 – that’s when I finished high school. WordPress didn’t exist yet, I was about to start my Computer Science degree at UCT, and some major world events had just occurred.

I spent the following 5 years studying at UCT, switching from Computer Science to Information Systems, and became proficient in Java, C#, C++, and a few other languages. And right at the end of 2006 I was introduced to PHP in a very flippant manner – someone in my class showed me this language that was easy and fun to hookup to MySQL, and was free unlike C# at the time. Little did I know that it was to become part of my entire career so far…

Following graduation, I interviewed at a web development agency in Cape Town called White Wall Web, and they hired me as a PHP developer to work on REMAX South Africa and their custom CMS division, and one of the first things I ended up doing was evaluating a replacement for their custom CMS. My eventual recommendation ended up being WordPress MU, and I wrote one of the earliest guides on how to domain map with it.

A few days ago I realized that I’ve been building WordPress themes for 15 years

It’s kinda crazy how many WordPress products I’ve worked on. I briefly checked how many just from WooThemes days before Automattic acquired us, and it’s a few more than 150 individual themes. Most of them included the WooFramework which I maintained for many years, including the immensely popular Canvas theme.

And how could I forget building Sensei, leading Flexslider, and doing the first technical reviews of WooCommerce before it ever launched!

I’ve been privileged to have worked on loads of themes on too, including helping build 2 parent themes, maintaining too many themes to count, as well as leading the current Theme Dev team as we ventured into the new world of Block Themes.

It’s funny how a lot of people along the way have laughed at WordPress as my career choice, telling me it’s not a serious programming platform or that PHP is a joke of a language – I’ve been able to work at scale on multiple open source projects during this time, and on some of the biggest websites in the world. All powered by WordPress.

It’s been a fun career so far, I’ve been able to travel across the world, and even moved countries, and I’m really looking forward to looking back at the next 15 years 🙂

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