How does WordPress advance? In terms of code, it’s up to developers to improve WordPress, of course. But in big, open-source software like Firefox, Linux or WordPress, code isn’t everything there is: There is also a purpose, a philosophy to improve as well. In order for WordPress to advance, it needs a purpose to fulfill and a philosophy to apply; and they need to get better and better over the course of time.
We can’t treat software the same as we treat, say, politics; so philosophers of WordPress can’t only philosophize and leave the application to others. Luckily, there are lots and lots of people among WordPress developers and entrepreneurs that take the philosophy and purpose of WordPress forward, as well as application. In this article, we’re going to get to know five of those gurus.
My opinion might be a bit biased on this topic, but the words “WordPress guru” is associated with Tom McFarlin in my mind… possibly because I know more about him against everyone else, and he’s awesome at WordPress. He’s also my editor in Tuts+ Code, he’s one of the few WordPress entrepreneurs I’ve been following, and I’ve been reading his blog for God knows how long.
And my biased opinion is by no means an exaggeration: He’s been in the “influential WordPress thought leaders” for years. He constantly shares great tutorials on his blog (and Tuts+ Code as well), he’s contributed to WordPress core, he attends and speaks at WordCamps, and he’s bootstrapped a few businesses based around his WordPress knowledge (he’s still working on his thriving business called PressWare). So by definition, he’s both a WordPress developer, a WordPress entrepreneur, and a WordPress philosopher.
Another great guy to follow in my list is Justin Tadlock. He’s one of the most productive WordPress developers in the world, with tons of WordPress core contributions, many WordCamp talks and even a theme business, ThemeHybrid. And like Tom McFarlin, Justin blogs frequently in his personal blog. (And by “personal” I mean personal.)
I haven’t had much interaction with Justin (except for a highly productive discussion in the Comments section of one of my Tuts+ Code articles), but I know that we’d be BFFs if we talked more.
Here’s an interesting personality: Syed is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the WordPress business. With his company Awesome Motive, he runs several WordPress businesses like WPBeginner, some premium plugins (Envira Gallery, Soliloquy and OptinMonster), a theme shop called ThemeLab, and an entertainment site (List25) for some reason. He was among the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 by the freaking United Nations.
He even writes at the Huffington Post! Certainly a person to follow.
Helen Hou-Sandí, “Director of Platform Experience” in 10up, is one of the most productive people in the WordPress-sphere. She was the lead developer of WordPress version 4.0, so we should thank her for that awesome set of changes. She blogs, too, with photos.
Alex King–may he rest in peace…
He was one of the first people I’ve contacted with in the WordPress community (for a UTF-8 fix for a plugin in 2006 or 2007, I think), yet I haven’t had a chance to talk to him much. He had been battling with cancer for over 2 years, and sadly, cancer got the best of him.
I, on behalf of the Fuel Themes family, am truly sorry for losing such a brilliant person. My condolances to his family, and his fans and friends in the WordPress community.
Just to clarify: This was not a list of the best of the best people that made the most contribution to WordPress. No sir, these people are a few of the many, many good guys and gals behind WordPress’ success.
What do you think about this list, and these gurus? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below. And thanks for reading!