WordPress is one of the most popular open-source content management
systems in use on the internet. But despite WordPress’ popularity, one
knock against it has been the fact that it’s always been more a 
blogging engine‘ than ‘true‘ CMS.

Yesterday, WordPress took a big step toward achieving ‘true‘ CMS status
with the release of WordPress 3.0. That’s thanks to several of the new features it contains.

The two most important features in this respect are:

  • Custom post types. In previous versions of WordPress, content was either a ‘post’ or a ‘page’. But in version 3.0, developers have the ability to easily create post types of their own (eg. events, podcasts, etc.). Each custom post type gets its own section in the WordPress administration area. This not only makes it easier to manage different types of content on the back-end, and easier to display it on the front-end, but with a little bit of extra work, developers can customize how content for custom post types is added in the administration area.
  • Custom taxonomies. WordPress has supported custom taxonomies for some time now, but in WordPress 3.0, custom taxonomies are taken to the next level. Now, fully hierarchical custom taxonomies can be added, making it easier to organize and group content and to display it to users in meaningful ways.

With these new features, WordPress may now be a viable option for projects it wouldn’t have been in the past, as developers will not have to reinvent the wheel to access functionality that is largely expected in a traditional CMS. From a competitive standpoint, WordPress may now be able to hold its own versus Joomla (and to a lesser extent Drupal) with certain kinds of projects that it realistically wouldn’t have before.

Of course, the fact that WordPress has evolved in this fashion isn’t entirely surprising, as larger open source projects have proven to be quite responsive to the demands of the market. This can be seen with two of the most popular open-source RDBMSes, MySQL and PostgreSQL. MySQL, which began its life as a lightweight database solution, has over the years become a much more robust offering, adding features such as ACID compliance. And PostgreSQL, which began its life as a robust, ACID-compliant offering, has become far more nimble.

If past is prologue, and WordPress 3.0 is but the latest evidence, developers can expect better and better open source solutions going forward.

Photo credit: Mykl Roventine via Flickr.