First use of the word “wordpress”

Serendipity struck today. Sunday afternoon spent lounging on the sofa reading books. D started chuckling and motioned for me to come over to look inside his copy of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce:

A bone, a pebble, a ramskin; chip them, chap them, cut them up allways; leave them to terracook in the muttheringpot: and Gutenmorg with his cromagnom charter, tintingfast and great primer must once for omniboss step rubrickredd out of the wordpress else is there no virtue more in alcohoran. For that (the rapt one warns) is what papyr is meed of, made of, hides and hints and misses in prints. (p. 20)

wordpress! James Joyce! It came as a total surprise, although perhaps shouldn’t since Joyce was an auteur when it came to messing with words. Here it is in situ:


What is Joyce talking about? There’s a great analysis of it here. He seems to be referring to the intoxication of language, an overabundance of words; how language has developed over time (from cro-magnon man to Gutenberg (who created the first printing press from a wine press)) to become drunk with meaning and sense. “wordpress” is this clamour of words from which sense and nonsense springs.

Finnegan’s Wake is often cited as being the source for the word “quark“, which Murray Gell-Mann took from the line “three quarks for Muster Mark!” While Christine Tremoulet didn’t have Joyce in mind when she came up with the name, it’s fantastic to find this different meaning to the word, one that links our publishing platform to the printing press, one of history’s literary cornerstones, and to language itself. It’ll make a lovely footnote for the book.

Speaking About the GPL at WordCamp Miami

I’m speaking at WordCamp Miami on Saturday 6th April. I had originally planned to talk about contributing to WordPress, but I’ve been doing a load of research on the GPL recently so figured it would be a cool thing to speak on. I had a look through previous WordCamp presentations (those on anyway) and couldn’t find much on the GPL. It seems a little remiss to me, since it’s pretty important. I’ll also be turning it into an article for Smashing Magazine, so if you aren’t at my presentation you’ll get to see an extended version of it on there.

What I will be looking at is the history of the GPL, what it is, what it means for WordPress, and how it became part of the project. There are some fun factoids from WordPress’s history that I plan to share. My research into this side of WordPress is by no means complete, but there’s still some cool stuff that I hope people will find interesting.

cease and desist

An interesting piece of WordPress history for those of you who like trivia. As I’ve been archiving WordPress history, I came across an interesting series of posts on Mike Little’s blog. In April 2003 (about a month before the launch of WordPress 0.7), Mike was issued with a cease and desist notice from a company called The company owns the trademarked name “LinksManager” and wasn’t too happy about Mike’s b2 Links Manager add-on. A back and forth ensued, in which the guy lawyered up, and Mike changed the name of his add-on to b2Links. This solved the problem and everyone was happy.

Today I did an interview with Mike about the early days of WordPress and I asked him about the Cease and Desist. He pointed out that 10 years on and not only runs its website on WordPress, but has a WordPress plugin 🙂



A New Chapter

This is my first week at a brand new job – working at Audrey Capital. If you don’t know what Audrey is, it’s Matt Mullenweg’s angel investment and research company. This means I’ll be working full-time on WordPress, with the awesome team of Nacin, Otto, Scott, Rose, & Matt. This is a huge change for me and I’m a little bit stunned that everything’s happened so very quickly. However, I am immensely excited about the challenges ahead, both in terms of and other projects that I’ll be working on at Audrey. But first… Continue reading →


Speaking at WordCamp Netherlands this Weekend!

This weekend I’ll be in Utrecht, where I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Netherlands. This will be the second WordCamp I’ve attended, having been to WordCamp Portsmouth last year. Coen Jacobs wrote on his blog that he’ll be speaking and it inspired me to write a little bit here.

This is the first time that I’ll be speaking at a WordCamp so I’m a little bit nervous. And I’m not speaking once, I’m speaking twice!

Do’s and Don’ts for WordPress Startups

Bowe Frankema suggested that I do this presentation. It builds on articles I’ve been writing for Smashing Magazine over the past few months. I spent a lot of time emailing people who run WordPress businesses and it’s been great to use these contacts to put together a (hopefully) helpful list of advice for people about to start their own WordPress startup. It also includes some advice from me, that I’ve learned from starting up Words for WP.  They’ve put me on the keynote track – EEEP!

Writing Docs Like a Boss

Since my own WordPress superpower is writing documentation, I also thought it would be a good idea to say a bit about that. I’ve never seen a presentation about documentation at a WordCamp before and it’s actually a really important part of producing a successful WordPress product or service. In the presentation I’ll talk about how you can produce really great docs for a WordPress product. The title comes from a dumb thing that Bowe Frankema says all the time, then I was told by Paul Gibbs that it’s from this:

I’ll be writing up both of these as articles for Smashing Magazine so even if you can’t make it to Utrecht you can find out what I’ve been talking about (minus the silly clanger-voice that I have).

I’ll also be writing a piece for Smashing Mag called “Diary of a WordCamp” so I’ll be doing some roving reporting, taking photos of people and generally trying to keep track of everything that’s going on. If you’re there make sure you say hello!



WordPress Plugins for Writers: Content Audit

Since I’m a writer, and I’m also a WordPress person, I thought it might be fun to do a series on WordPress plugins for writers. I’m always finding new plugins that help to streamline my workflow and organisation in different ways and I thought I should share them.

To start off with, I’m going to take a look at a plugin shared with me by Bowe of BP-Tricks, that we’ve been using for managing the content for the Infinity Theming Engine:

Content Audit

Content Audit is a WordPress plugin written by Stephanie Leary for anyone who has lots of content to manage. It’s particularly useful for plugins, themes, software, services etc, that are in active development. Or any content that’s either time sensitive or has a team of people working on it.

What is It?

Content Audit is a really simple idea but a very effective way of keeping track of your content. It uses Custom Taxonomies that you can create and apply to your content, helping you to keep track of it while it’s being developed and over time.

The Content Audit Taxonomy

the attribute page for the content audit wordpress plugin


You create a content audit attribute by going to Pages > Content Audit attributes. The screen there looks like any taxonomy screen, and there are already some preset attributes creates – Redundant &  Outdated, for example. Anyone who has created a WordPress category before will know how to create an attribute.

Page Admin Screen

On the page admin screen you’ve got some new columns added:

  • Content Owner
  • Content Status

The content owner could be different from the content author – they might be responsible for ensuring the page is created and up-to-date, rather than being the author.

The content status section is what I find really useful. You can quickly see what needs to be done to each piece of content, without having to check each page or keep an external tracking spreadsheet.

Also, some new filters have been added so you can filter by Status, Owner and Author – this makes updating websites with large amounts of content much easier.

Content Notes

Another nice feature of Content Audit is that a page has a new meta-box for adding notes. The content owner or whoever is editing can leave notes about things that need to be addressed, or perhaps ideas for future updates to the page.

Other Features

  • Emails the content owner to tell them if a page is about to become outdated
  • Show notes and status on the front page (works like a dream with Front End Editor)
  • Apply to posts, pages and custom post types (though there are some problems – see below)
  • Control over which WordPress user roles can audit

In Practice

I’ve been using it with Bowe for about a week now, and it’s bee a great tool in bringing the website to completion. Once we installed it I did an audit of all of our content. Here are some of the content audit attributes I created:

  • Needs styling – Bowe needs to add styles
  • Needs copy-editing – I need to copyedit
  • Content Complete – the content is complete (e.g. if it’s marked as Content Complete, Needs Styling, I have finished but Bowe better get busy)
  • Styles Complete – design & styles are complete (like above, but vice versa)
  • Issue – there is a comment on the document that needs addressed
  • Needs Links – content needs hyperlinks
  • Needs Updated – can be used by developer to mark content as needing updated after an update to Infinity. He can also leave notes in the Content Notes section

You get the idea.

Any Negatives?

The only real problem i have encountered with it so far is that while the Content Audit table columns appear for pages, they don’t appear for posts or custom post types. We use CPTs a lot on the site and now that we’re used to being able to tell a piece of content’s status in an instant, it’s a bit sucky that we can’t do it for CPTs. Bowe suggested that we could make it work with a bit of hackery but I’m hoping we’ll get that option in a later update.

The Verdict

Content Audit is a fantastically useful WordPress plugin for writers, or anyone managing a large amount of content. It has made my life a lot easier, and I’ll be recommending that my clients install it when we’re going major documentation projects. There’s no learning curve, it integrates with your workflow and it improves your documentation process instantly and in a meaningful way.