In: , , ,
On: 2008 / 12 / 15
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With the recently launched WordPress 2.7, bloggers now marvel at how clean, beautiful and usable is the new interface. But do you remember what it used to be a couple of months ago? For those who started using WordPress years ago, can you remember what your admin area looked like?

Since I have an archive of all versions of WordPress on my development computer for function implementation historical purpose, I thought it could be fun and interesting to install them all and get reminded of what we used to use.

Ready for five years of UI evolution, from 0.7.1 in 2003 to 2.7 in 2008? Let's go!

WordPress 0.7.1 (May 2003)

The first version of WordPress had a clunky manual install procedure with a bloated b2config.php file, where you had to edit a bunch of stuff.


The landing page of wp-admin was directly the "Write Post": no dashboard in those ages of prehistoric blogging, no emphasis of satellite tasks such as managing comments. You could only assign one category to a post.

Simple interface, simple menus with no sub-menu. The page where you would manage users was called "Team" which I find interesting.

WordPress 1.0.1 (January 2004)

Weeee, the WordPress version I began playing with!


A major maturity step had been made with this version: the genuine concise wp-config.php as we still now it, almost unchanged. This is when WordPress was really born and quitted from being a half baked B2 fork.

The whole interface already looks like to what it's going to be for a couple of years. You can notice that this version introduced the ability to assign an arbitrary number of categories to a post (which was precisely what caught my interest at this time)

I remember the default look, still available as "classic", getting a lot criticism at this time.


WordPress 1.2 (May 2004)

Not a lot of change in the design, but still a revolution in the coding world: notice in the admin menu an new entry, labelled… "Plugins". Oh my. Now this is getting seriously fun.


WordPress 1.5 (February 2005)

This version introduced a menu logic that was going to last pretty long: top level links with submenus (precisely what enticed me to make the Admin Drop Down Menu plugin a few months later) Not sure why the logo is all messed up on my screenshot, I'm pretty sure it wasn't like this back in the days :)


Major change in the blogging philosophy: now with "Pages", not just "Posts". Major change in the coding philosophy: the menu "Template" is now labelled "Presentation" and gives access to… Themes! Themes, shipped with "Kubrick" (still known as "default") was probably the feature that really launched WordPress as an ubiquitous platform with an ever growing community.

This version also brings the beginnings of a dashboard. Nothing was using AJAX so things were rather slowed down when it would fetch news from the dev blog or the planet.


A few months later, WordPress 1.5.1 shows a slight variation in the layout: no more WordPress logo and light grey page background.

WordPress 2.0 (December 31, 2005)

Just in time for the party, say hello to the "big blue header".


The Write Post interface got a major overhaul: a real WYSIWYG editor, and movable/expandable items to make yourself comfortable and put oftenly use features on top of the page (aka "above the fold")

Notice the "Import" menu: while importing from other platforms such as Blogger or MovableType was a feature since 1.0, it got more proeminent in this release. "Take over the world"?

WordPress 2.1 (January 2007)

Nothing much on the top of the iceberg.

Visible changes in this version: "Links" renamed "Blogroll", "Comments" gets its own menu.


The Dashboard gets a pretty much needed AJAX enhancement, allowing for faster loading.


WordPress 2.3 (September 2007)

Right below the main textarea, you'll notice a new little feature: "Tags" appeared in this version, with huge impacts on the DB architecture that for once broke quite a few themes during the upgrade.


WordPress 2.5 (March 2008)

The "DO NOT WANT" release: an attempt to reorganize the user interface that was, in my opinion, a major failure.

Admin links spread in 4 different locations all over the place, half of the information "below the fold" for maximum scrolling, menu links renamed with no logic and a washed out look. If you ask me, I hated this release, UI wise.

The Dashboard got a rework, and it started to become more customizable and usable instead of a rather useless static page.


WordPress 2.6 (September 2008?)

Two little new features show in the screenshot: a word count in the Write Post interface (wow) and the "Turbo" link for using Google Gears.


WordPress 2.7 (December 2008)

"Hey, wait a minute, is it the same platform? Everything looks so different!"


Now that's a redesign I like. The dev team asked users what they wanted and what they liked, and the result is light years beyond what the design studio produced for 2.5 six months earlier. One word to summarize it all: "Above the fold!".

The Dashboard is much more useful now and is a page from where you can interact with your blog, instead of just reading information.


Now what?

So far, UI wise, 2.7 is the best release to date, with, at last, a real menu where any page is reachable from any other page. I hope that the next major release won't change everything in the layout once again, and I do have the feeling that this design will last some time.

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This entry "A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface." was posted on 15/12/2008 at 3:46 pm and is tagged with , , ,
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130 Blablas

  1. Ryan says:

    Thanks for this. It's nice to see how the platform has developed over the years.

    Good point about 2.5 and how it was supposedly developed 'by professionals'. The community advised approach seems to have been much more effective in creating a better user interface.

    I assumed WordPress had a wysiwyg editor for a long time, interesting to hear it was only from 2.0 on. I think that's about the point I first tried out WordPress.

  2. […] hat sich die Mühe gemacht alte WordPress-Versionen zu installieren und nimmt uns mit auf eine Zeitreise durch die Entwicklung des Administrationsbereichs. Angefangen bei Version 0.7.1 aus dem Jahr 2003, bis zur aktuellen Version […]

  3. Andreas says:

    Thank you for this nice history lesson!

    I am really surprised how much I like the look of version 0.7.1 (I started with 2.3): it seems so clean and easy and light compared to the sometimes uberinformational interfaces.

  4. Florian says:

    Thanks for this great wayback-machine-a-like!

    The 0.7.1 admin interface is the only interface I would need…

    The rest I would simply code…

    Greetings from Germany

  5. ...paul says:

    Really interesting, thank you. :) I've liked the 2.7 UI a lot since first seeing. Comparing it to the others in this way tells me why I like it so much.

    I think the first time I looked at WordPress was around version 1.5, but I couldn't really see how it would fit my needs at the time. Started properly at version 2.3, with very different needs, a different project, that WordPress is perfect for. Frustrating thing is, now I understand WordPress a little better, I think I could have done what I wanted back at 1.5 — and I wouldn't have a 100+ page hand-built website to migrate at some point.

  6. […] Wer mag kann sich die verschiedenen Ansichten des Backends von WordPress seit der Version 1.7.1 bei Ozh anschauen. Er hat sich die große Mühe gemacht und die alten Versionen noch einmal installiert um […]

  7. Ian says:

    Thanks for that; was something I was thinking about doing this weekend. Nice to be reminded of how things evolved – Pretty sure I started at 0.7.1 but don't think I missed much skipping over 2.1 – 2.5!

  8. […] designs, from the initial release of 0.7.1 in May 2003, to the recently released 2.7 version. Check it out for a walk down memory lane, or just to see how the interface have changed – and improved – over […]

  9. […] RSS feed to read our new posts every day.Ozh, a WordPress community superstar in his own right has compiled an awesome post highlighting the WordPress interface from version 0.7.1 which was released in May of 2003 all the […]

  10. Jeffro2pt0 says:

    Awesome compilation Ozh. I started using WordPress during 2.2 and I remember when I was using the popular Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin. Thankfully WordPress 2.3 had a tag importer from UTW which was nice. However, I remember that the change in the database dealing with categories gave many people issues. Love your description of WordPress 2.5 and as far I'm concerned, 2.7 is the best version I've used thus far. I hope they continue to pile icing on top of the 2.7 cake.

  11. Thanks for a useful look back. I have been using WP since around version 1.5. Back in the old days I was still installing TypePad on some systems and WordPress on others. Even just used Blogger for a while. All that is behind me now!

    WordPress 2.7 finally feels like a useful mature application, not just a platform. With it I really don't feel the need to have a local machine based authoring platform that I then have to publish online from.

    Congratulations to WordPress! Oh, and you should throw a screen shot of the iPhone app in there just for goofs and giggles.

  12. Xavier says:

    I did the exact same thing for the intro of a forthcoming book – it was written many moons ago, hope you're not planning on suing me for stealing the idea ;-)

  13. […] zainstalowane wszystkie do tej pory wydane wersje WordPressa w celach testowych, opublikowa? przegl?d interfejsów od najwcze?niejszej wersji 0.7.1 z maja 2003 roku, do najnowszej, wydanej kilka dni temu […]

  14. Jeremy says:

    Man, I only started using WordPress about a month ago, so I have only a little more experience with the 2.5 interface compared to the (far superior) 2.7 one. Always nice to get a good history lesson though. WP has made quite some progress over the years.

  15. Kim says:

    Thanks for the look back. I played around with WordPress over the years, but it was never what I needed for the project I was working on at the time. I got started really using WordPress for projects at the 2.3.2 stage earlier this year, and have to say that the 2.7 interface puts the finishing touch on what is already a powerful publishing platform, whether it is a simple blog or a complex website.

  16. MK says:

    hard to believe its been this long hahaha

  17. flöschen says:

    Thanks for the look back into "history". ;-) It's amazing that in so short time the technology evolved so quickly!

  18. Cabalamat says:

    I hope that the next major release won’t change everything in the layout once again, and I do have the feeling that this design will last some time.

    It had better do. It pisses me off severely when the design changes just as I had got used to the last change.

  19. […] RSS aqui. Gracias por tu visita!Ozh, una gran estrella de la comunidad WordPress por derecho propio recopiló un increíble post en el cual destacó la interfaz de WordPress desde la versión 0.7.1 que se […]

  20. mkjones says:

    Aw come on. 2.5 wasn't THAT bad and at least they hurried along and fixed the issues with 2.7.

    You were right about the admin areas being spread all over the place. I lost count of the amount of times I enabled a plug-in and had NO idea where the settings would be…

  21. Taylor Dewey says:

    Wow, I didn't realize that WordPress was so young. Makes me feel less like a fool for not knowing about it in 2003 when I was busy re-inventing the wheel in PHP.

    I also didn't realize that 2.5 was disliked so much (That's the version I started on). I agree, though, that 2.7 is much, much better in terms of UI.

  22. […] recently came across an interesting post on the historical different looks of WordPress. Now John knows exactly what WordPress has been […]

  23. Editor B says:

    Fantastic. I started using WordPress around the same time as you, March 28, 2004. It has been a pleasure to see the steady increase in quality over the years. It would have been a cool tribute if they had named 2.0 "Armstrong" since it came out just as New Orleans was struggling to get on its feet, but ah well. I'm knocked out by 2.7. Thanks for providing this retrospective.

  24. DouglasVB says:

    Oh for the days of WP 0.7.1! I think I still have a copy of my old b2config.php file floating around somewhere. Ahh the memories…

  25. Adrian says:

    A trip down memory lane!

  26. Gelay says:

    Nice. Somehow, I completely missed 2.5.

  27. […] Blog PlanetOzh elaborou um post mostrando a evolução da interface do WordPress desde a versão 0.7.1 de maio de 2003 até o WordPress […]

  28. richardginn says:

    This is such a great post.

  29. Chris says:

    I also started on 1.0.1 and even with its flaws back then, it was always the best platform available. I think that tradition continues with 2.7. Great work.

  30. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. Screenshots from WordPress 0.71 to the current 2.7 release. (tags: wordpress blogging design history) […]

  31. […] do Ozh (aqueles mesmo do plugin Admin Drop Down Menu que Rodrigo comentou no post anterior) sobre a história da interface do WordPress, desde a sua criação em maio de 2003. Acompanhe a evolução através das screenshots da página […]

  32. […] Blick auf diese Entwicklung hat planetOzh geworfen und das ganze eindrucksvoll bebildert – auf jeden Fall einen Klick […]

  33. Paul William says:

    Great article. To think that we could have been stuck with the wordpress 2.6 admin design for years makes me feel sick.

  34. WOOO. Never new wordpress was so ~6 years old!

  35. […] mai la première version 0.7.1 en mai 2003 à la dernière 2.7 sortie la semaine dernière, la petite histoire de WordPress illustrée à travers la mutation progressive de son panneau […]

  36. […] Burada Ozh WordPress yönetici arabiriminin 2003 y?l?ndan bu güne kadarki de?i?imini yazm??. […]

  37. […] En Planetozh me encuentro con una recopilación de todas las interfaces de WordPress, desde la prehistórica 0.7.1 (que no conocí) a la actual. Tenía todo guardado y lo desempolvó en un post para museo que los invito a visitar: A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. […]

  38. Ben May says:

    Wow, some incredible screen grabs-

    LOL at 1st screen shot

  39. Daniel says:

    Ugh. No anti-aliased fonts for your screenshots? It makes even the latest release look dated compared to the very first shot.
    You should sneak in the nice fonts around 2.0 to help the transition ;-)

    Good timeline, though. We've come a long way.

  40. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. Take a look at what the WordPress interface looked like at the beginning of 2008. How far we've come! (0) PreviousPost […]

  41. […] man hier sehr gut nachverflogen. Ich finde das sehr interessant und freue mich schon auf 2.7, wenn ich […]

  42. […] I've been using WordPress for more than five years now and have seen it through all its revisions. For those of you who came online recently, take a look at a picture journey through the several years of WordPress. […]

  43. BoltClock says:

    Ah, the good 'ol times!

    I'd never heard of WordPress before 2005. I had only just begun blogging, and the first platform I used was of course Blogger.

    The first time I found and tried WordPress was in December 2005, @ with, I believe, the WordPress 2.0 interface. However I still stuck with Blogger for the next couple of years, entered a blogging hiatus between 2006 and 2007, but at last started my WordPress 2.2 blog in end of May 2007 and proceeded to shut down my Blogger blogs three months later.

    Since starting BoltPress, I've lived through all the WordPress releases from 2.2 to 2.7, and I've never looked back.

    Cheers for such a great blogging platform like WordPress!

  44. Dirk says:

    I prefer the first interface look. Simple and clean and in logical order (title, category, status, options, excerpt, content)

  45. I started using WordPress back in May but never realized from where WordPress might have evolved from. I started with version 2.5 and was completely impressed by its functionality.
    The menu was a little annoying but your plugin "Ozh' Admin Drop Down Menu" solved the problem. :P
    2.7 is the best and rulezzz!!

  46. Andrew says:

    I started with 2.1, which at the time I thought was amazing (coming from a Xanga blog). Like you I tolerated 2.5 and 2.6. So far I am a huge fan of 2.7 and hope they keep the left-hand navigation in all future releases. Nice post.

  47. Viper007Bond says:

    I still remember using v0.7.1 on my blog. Oh how long ago that was and how far we've come…

  48. […] cool article looking at 5 years of WordPress Interface Design. Via Matt. This entry was posted in asides and tagged design, ui, wordpress. Bookmark the […]

  49. Kirk M says:

    OMG! Version 0.7.1??? (choke-gasp-wheeze-die!)



    Actually I started with 2.0 and I had forgotten how much I'd hate going back to the old interface. And I have to agree, 2.5 may have been a step forward functionality wise but 2.5 made an already clunky menu interface even worse (although the actual Admin pages were showing signs of what was to come).

    Guess when I started using your "Ozh' Admin Drop Down Menus" plugin? Go ahead…guess.

    WordPress 2.7 turns it all around though. Amazing job done by the developers and those ever loyal testers alike. And Kudos to the devs for taking a chance and letting the users drive for awhile.

    Wonderful and memory wrenching post, Mr. Ozh. Makes me want to go right to the closet and dig out the old Apple II-E and fire it up for old times sake.

    Well…maybe not. :P

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