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You’d think that using a certain app over and over might get boring. That you’d hit the limits of what it can do and where you can push it. Be ready to move on to something else.

This hasn’t happened yet with WordPress.

This amazing app got its start as a humble blogging engine back in 2003. It’s since become one of the most predominant content management systems used to manage modern websites. It’s used by literally millions of folks—from individuals to interactive developers to huge corporations. And the sites that are running this framework are seen by tens of millions of people every day.

In fact, we’ve found that as WordPress has grown in flexibility, it can be used to manage nearly any type of website or application. We’ve used it to manage Facebook apps, to create social networks, to build mobile web apps and ecommerce sites … and more.

In my opinion, there are several elements that make this radical usability possible.

First is WordPress’s extremely flexible theme and plugin systems. This combination allows for a huge range of sites to be managed via WordPress.

On top of this, WordPress allows custom site development to occur separate from the core framework files. This allows us to apply WordPress and plugin updates as they occur—giving the site increased stability and security.

In addition, WordPress is built on PHP and MySQL and is open source under the GPL license. This means that clients fully own and control their site, including the core CMS framework. There are no outside vendors, license fees, or hosting requirements involved, outside of the basic technology required.

It’s also cost-effective. Using WordPress saves clients time and money because we don’t have to write every piece of webware from scratch. Instead, we can utilize the ingenuity of a worldwide network of developers and designers who contribute to WordPress and its many plugins.

I continually find amazing uses for WordPress. And I love the ease with which I can create custom plugins and themes to fit nearly any site or application a customer desires. It’s great being part of the active developer community behind WordPress, and I look forward to finding new and fun uses for the platform well in the future.

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Some of our customers are nervous when we tell them that we use open source software for our web projects. They think that open source means fly-by-night or unregulated.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Open source applications —like Linux, MySQL, WordPress, and Firefox — are reliable and stable. Often they have fewer bugs and security holes than proprietary software. That’s because the source code is open to the public, and a huge community of developers are reviewing it and suggesting improvements. A control board reviews the suggestions and implements the best ones in each new version of the software.

We use open source software in a number of ways for our clients. We think it has some distinct advantages.

  • Flexibility. The code on open source software is literally “open” to developers. That means we can easily change it to meet our clients’ needs. For example, we recently created a WordPress plug-in for realfootballtalk.tv that allows the site administrators to track the stats of various pro football players. That’s an example of a very specific application that you couldn’t get off the shelf—but that we created and easily added in to WordPress.
  • Innovation. Because the community of developers for open source software is so large, there’s a ton of innovation. It’s like apps for the iPhone — it seems like every day someone invents something new and cool. We pull from this universe of plug-ins to constantly bring new features and tools to our clients.
  • Cost savings. Open source software usually costs significantly less than proprietary software, or is even free. We pass that cost savings on to our customers. In addition, using open source software as a base reduces our development time significantly. We spend our time on customization, not on reinventing the wheel. Once again, this saves our clients time and money.

One of the sites we created recently using open source software was chapelhillhouse.org, a weekend retreat for families coping with childhood cancer. Part of the reason we could donate our design and development time for this site was that using open source software made the process so easy.