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. cenzi says:

    do you know that anyone doing automatic upgrading, via a plugin, to the latest version does not get to see the glorious new dashboard?

    why you may ask?

    because one plugin won't allow it. Your drop down one!! crazy shit no?

    Yup, I had to do manual delete via FTP (no biggy, but damn it took me a while to figure it out) but then I could see the new version, and I loved it!

  2. […] nuevas funcionalidades el panel de administración ha sufrido grandes y buenas modificaciones. Via: sin comentarios en: tecnología, software libre karma: 20 etiquetas: blog, bitacora, software, […]

  3. […] ????????????????????????WordPress 2.7???Theme?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? […]

  4. Ken says:

    I agree that v2.5's admin interface was fugly. Ever since I left v2.3, I've been using the Easy Admin Color Schemes plugin, which has the option to reformat v2.5 and v2.6's interface to look like v2.3. Works perfectly for me. I wonder if I'll want or need it in v2.7…

  5. Lorelle says:

    Wow, this brings up so many memories. Thanks so much for giving us a step back through the UI history of WordPress. Goodness knows I've blasted each one of those versions at one time or another, and yet loved every one intimately as it was my connection to the would outside of my tiny life.

  6. Rori says:

    This is SO cool. I cannot believe I have been using WordPress for that long. I remember the day I jumped from MovableType to WordPress. It felt like finding the Holy Grail.

  7. […] car dies on tracks in path of an oncoming train. Dials 911 instead of GETTING OUT OF HER CAR Evolution of the WordPress interface from 2003-2008 Ask HN: How do I go about […]

  8. […] Mike Fruchter: Evolution of the WordPress interface from 2003-2008 (via Google Reader) Share and Enjoy: […]

  9. […] care folosesc WordPress de mai multa vreme nu au cum sa nu fie nostalgici cand deschid linkul asta, in care pot vedea cum a evoluat interfata celui mai cunoscut CMS de blogging de-a lungul timpului. […]

  10. […] "a 36.736 years old dude living in France", made the effort of collecting screen shots of all the WordPress' back ends we've seen in the last five years. From WordPress 0.7.1 (May 2003) to WordPress […]

  11. ben says:

    I must have started WordPress at about 1.5 or so thanks a lot for posting this. I just had to link this to my blog for future reference. I am sort of scrambling my way through teaching myself PHP code so that maybe one day I will be able to contribute something of use to the wordpress community. Again thanks for all your hard work.

  12. […] has chronicled the changes to the WordPress interface over the past five years. I began using WordPress with version 2.0 (I was a Textpattern user before […]

  13. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. « planetOzh […]

  14. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface (planetOzh) Interesting historical archive of WordPress administrative UI. I was just looking for something like this since I can't look at my WP 2.5/2.6 dashboard any more. It also gives context for why people hated the 2.5 administrative views so much, though I though they were pretty good. (tags: wordpress design userexperience history usability gui) […]

  15. […] we look up to most. I am damn bewildered that the industry has really decided not to talk about the WordPress 2.5 redesign, one that was almost immediately altered and then just as quickly replaced. Aesthetics and terms […]

  16. Bryson says:

    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 had that idea like 2 years ago. I thought people thought it was dumb. Glad to see I was on to something atleast. I really really like the new UI.

  17. […] * A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface: […]

  18. Shari says:

    I first started playing with WordPress when it was version 1.0.1. I think I'm a bit of a weird geek, though, because instead of getting all excited about new WP releases, I tend to get all nostalgic about previous releases. I like simpler, and the internet is going through a very cluttered and noisy phase right now.

    I'm going to hold off on 2.7 for a while. It just looks like it's going to take over my blog somehow. There's too much noise and it doesn't leave me room to just write – actually I find that interesting – the place where we WRITE our actual CONTENT is so tiny! Hmm.

  19. […] Ghosts of WordPress Past: Ozh released "A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface" and Peter Westwood brought back memories with "Useless graphs (What went […]

  20. […] Years WordPress Interface –  A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. […]

  21. […] since day one, but I have used it a long enough time to remember some of the classics.  Over on planetOzh that have a look back at the past five years of WordPress and the various styles.  Here is a […]

  22. […] Ghosts of WordPress Past: Ozh released “A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface” and Peter Westwood brought back memories with “Useless graphs (What went before),” each […]

  23. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface. […]

  24. […]      All six texture sets for $15, only a week left on this offer. 15/  A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface (      With the release of 2.7 it seemed a good time to look back at the past […]

  25. […] Planet Ozh released a wicked-cool article outlining the journey we have taken as users as far as the WordPress back-end is concerned, and how it has evolved over the years into what can now quite clearly be called a masterpiece! […]

  26. […] Ozh y la evolucion de la interfaz de WordPress […]

  27. […] 5 Years Of WordPress – Ozh who is a very active contributor in the WordPress community has published an awesome post which highlights the past five years of WordPress development. The article includes photos as well as short stories regarding each version from 0.7.1 to 2.7. A great way to look at how far WordPress has come.- […]

  28. Ben Tremblay says:

    "Above the Fold" … yaa, basic isn't it.

    The one series of EMail I exchanged with TimBL was on that topic. We discussed why, if ever, a web page should be more than 1 screen high. And why, if ever, it would need to ever ever be more than 3 or 4. (I still hate blog homepages that stream down enlessly, as though they're trying to show their entire archive!)

    But it's hard to make things easy … and simplicity is complicated … so this is really a very instructive walk through the evolution of a really fine platform.

    congrats and season's greetings to all hands

    p.s. 500K downloads, and 10000th commit by Ryan! *wh000t!*

  29. […] A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface – 5 years of WordPress and the interface changes over the years. It's come a long way and I think 2.7 is the best by far. […]

  30. Viper007Bond says:


    It's quite apparent you haven't tried 2.7 yet. I advise you actually do before commenting on it. ;)

    The Write page is fully widgetized. If you so desire, you can literally remove all of the elements and then drag the content box to make it bigger to fill up your whole screen.

    If that isn't enough screen space for you, then I don't know what is. :)

  31. Shirley says:

    Great post. WordPress has come a long way over these last few years. And soon, the WP developers will commence working on 2.8… I can't imagine what they'll have in store for us.

  32. Wishu says:

    Very nice. Thank you for your Work ;)


  33. lars says:

    looks like history ;)
    nice to see.

  34. WP Cult says:

    Thats really cool, I remember climbing aboard the WordPress train around 2.3! :)

  35. cuocthiseo says:

    This is a great history, now I'm wait for WordPress 2.8…

  36. Excellent post! WP grows so quickly.

  37. […] If you're a WordPress user for a while you can remind yourself of all updates and go through a journey of five years WordPress interface. […]

  38. […] ???????? ??? user interface ??? worpdress ??? ?? 5 ????????? ??????…: ??? ???????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ?? control panel ??? wordpress […]

  39. […] a good write up here about the evolution of WordPress. I love stories like this, because it reinforces the fact that software doesn't have to be […]

  40. […] En Planetozh muestran un viaje de 0.7.1 en 2003 a 2.7 en 2008 […]

  41. […] Ghosts of WordPress Past Ozh of PlanetOzh has released "A Journey Through Five Years of WordPress Interface." It's an amazing step back in time for WordPress fans exploring the changes in the […]

  42. Stephen R says:

    How cool! Thanks Ozh — this was actually quite interesting.

    I think I came over to WordPress around version 2.0 or so — before that I was on Greymatter.

    At my workplace we've just gotten a new web site built on Drupal, and I'm the guy who gets to make updates and such. With virtually every thing I do, I find myself asking "This could have worked so much better on WordPress". A shame WP is billed so strongly as blog software instead of CMS — I think that is a big part of what shot down my arguments to use WP. The fact that the coders did a significantly rough customization (page types and a plugin) doesn't help — but even with that Drupal just doesn't look nearly as polished as WP.

  43. […] 5 years of WordPress interface from 0.7.1 to 2.7 (via weblog tools collection) […]

  44. […] Planetozh a publié des captures des interfaces d'administration de WordPress depuis les débuts. Si je me souviens bien, j'ai pris le train WP en 2004 et je n'ai jamais changé de crèmerie. Souvenirs. […]

  45. […] Ozh's Journey through 5 Years of the WP Admin UI […]

  46. Camellia says:

    I still remember WordPress 1.0.1. :) because first time i learn to blog I use blogsome. Until now they still use wp.1.0.1. Because they never update it i move to wordpress . com.
    Honestly , I like wp 2.2 in widget section. It so easy for me to drop widget between sidebar 1 and 2. Not like wp.2.7 which the widget show in drop down menu. But it's just my opinion. Overall i like wordpress. Great CMS today

  47. ansel says:

    I totally agree that the 2.5 UI was horrible and the new one is a huge improvement. Not sure what that design studio was thinking.

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