Prompt 5/20 Blog: Tell us about the most creative use of WordPress that you have ever seen. It doesn’t have to be a website you’ve worked on, but it can be!

If we are talking about creative use of WordPress, and specifically of Blocks, the Museum of Block Art is a good place to start.

Created by several designer and developer contributors to WordPress, the MOBA is meant to showcase the creative power granted by core WordPress blocks, without having to rely on custom CSS to get there.

The results are impressive! There’s artistic framing! There’s magazines! There’s Mario! There’s rainbows! There’s Mondrian!

screenshot of the front page of the Museum of Block Art website

Look through the gallery and find something that will inspire you to block creative action. I know that I will be making something pretty with blocks.

Prompt 4/20 Blog: Tell us about the oldest WordPress website you know of/worked on/built that you can find in the Wayback Machine. When is it from? What was it for? Screenshots encouraged.

Alright, I finally have to share this old site. I have avoided it in the past because quite honestly, I assumed that the domain name and header image would have gotten me hit with trademark infringement and a DMCA notice. Thankfully I was far too small time for this 😅

Look at that! A custom header in the NES font! Two header menus! And the same quality of writing 🤣

While the archives here are from 2010-2011, the site had been started elsewhere in 2008. It’s been a while since it was directly online, but it is admittedly nice to be able to take another look at it thanks to the invaluable Internet Archive.

I just made a donation to the Internet Archive in thanks for keeping some of my old sites up well past any value to anyone but me. I encourage you to do the same!

Prompt 3/20 Blog: Do you have a favorite WordPress block? If so, tell us why! If not, tell us why not! (Note: It doesn’t have to be a core block) Post your response on a WordPress website and link it in the comments.

I first wanted to go the route of choosing the humble Paragraph Block as my favorite WordPress block. Besides being the one that is most widely used, it is also such a simple way to represent the power of the web, as well as WordPress. You can type words, hit publish, and they are available for others to read!

Instead though, I’ll highlight the Cover Block. This is the block that showed me the power of the Block Editor most easily. I’ve created Cover Block style designs for a lot of websites, and they always required a lot of custom CSS to line things up properly, make responsive, and look good. Plus they weren’t always the most accessible. Plus they needed extra backend work if I wanted to let clients edit/add photos themselves. Plus they wouldn’t look like they do on the frontend while editing!

My Wonderful Family 🥰

Look at that! A piece of art that I get to share again, with some text over it, and a semi-opaque cover over the image to make it easier to read. Plus, it is wider width than the rest of the content. All done with a built in block.

This is the power of WordPress, with the promise of seamless editing becoming more and more of a reality thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and contributors.

Prompt 2/20 Blog: Tell us about the first website you used WordPress on. What was it for? When was it built? What happened to it? Post your response on your WordPress blog and link to it in the comments.

Oops, it looks like I got ahead of myself with the Day 1 prompt on my WordPress origin story. That’s ok, I made a few WordPress sites around the same time when I started

Besides my personal video game blog that I was testing WordPress out with, I started using the software rather quickly for client sites as well. The job that I was at used a different CMS for the company website. While I was ultimately unable to convince them to switch before moving on to a full-time web developer job elsewhere, I was able to build WordPress sites for some personal clients at this time.

Before WordPress, I built custom sites for clients using HTML, CSS, and PHP. I would also find existing libraries that I could use to do things like add galleries that the client could upload to on their own. Having a system with a lot of tools built in for free was a watershed moment for my career.

The next thing that came close to this was discovering not only a vibrant ecosystem of themes and plugins ready to use, but the community of people who built and supported all of this for free. But that’s a story for another entry…

Prompt 1/20 Blog: What is your WordPress origin story? Share what you’ve already got on your profile, go into more detail, or share a new story. And if you’ve never fully filled out your profile or setup your dot-org account, now’s the time! Post your response on a WordPress website and link to it in the comments.

I explicitly created my new WordPress Community profile on 27 May 2018. Besides being able to move away from a deadname as a username, I was able to celebrate the birthday of the piece of software that has brought so much to my personal and professional life. Now I just need to get a core contributor badge again like my old one had 😅

For WordPress’ 20th anniversary I want to participate in the #WP20 From Blogs to Blocks challenge and remind myself of why I got into WordPress in the first place, and why I continue to use it.

I started learning web development in my rather forward-thinking high school, which offered a class in HTML. While CSS existed, it was very basic, and we were instead still adding styles as attributes or using presentational HTML as opposed to semantic HTML that we use today. I definitely lucked out on being able to get such an early start. While I didn’t go a traditional computer science route in college, I took several programming courses and continued to make websites for myself and friends for fun, before taking on some site projects for paying clients.

Throughout all of this, I was blogging, a lot! I didn’t think about keeping my writing on my own site, but was active on LiveJournal, and maintained some active communities there as well as just putting down thoughts in a place where others could comment on them. While I’ve regressed to not blogging on my own sites as much again, I still use writing to center myself, share what I’m learning, and clarify my thinking.

In 2008 the union of my love of writing and building websites came together when I started looking for a CMS, and was introduced to this fairly stable project that had been around for five years at that point, WordPress. I made a lot of mistakes getting started! I clearly remember using my header.php file to hand-code menus, since I didn’t realize that there existed a menu editor in the WordPress dashboard.

At this point there was a separation of pages and posts, but Custom Post Types was not yet a thing, and so while useful, WordPress wasn’t seen as a potential solution to every type of website.

My first WordPress site was a personal website where I would review NES games, with the intent to cover every game that I was able to get into my personal physical collection. I topped out at a few dozen reviews and about 120 cartridges before that ended, but my usage of WordPress did not.

Fifteen years on and I’m still using WordPress in a personal and professional capacity. I’m sure that I’ll cover more time, but for now I’ll say that it’s good to get back to the WordPress Community, and I look forward to seeing some old and new friends at WordCamp US in August!