I love WordPress, both because it's free and because it's free.

I've never been willing to throw too much money at software. As a kid, I'd take weekly trips to a neighborhood software rental shop.[ref]Yes, we used to rent physical disks to play games. It was a different world ...[/ref] I'd bring the disks home, make a quick copy on my parents' machine, and return them later. Paying for games that often crashed didn't seem like something we wanted to do, so I just never did it.

I avoided getting a Mac until a year ago because I disdained the idea of paying Apple-scale prices for hardware and software similar to what I could pick up at Costco. For a third of the price.

Shareware and freeware were also a big part of my youth. My experience with Quake is only the first Episode because I never paid for the full version. I used buggy, free software I found littered in forums and abandoned websites because it was easier (and more affordable) than shelling out for the polished alternatives.

WordPress is the polished, thank God, free alternative to several expensive CMS platforms.

When I was younger, the only programming language available to me was QuickBasic.[ref]Again, I went for what was free and happened to find a compiler buried on a Windows recovery disk. I never moved on to C or C++ because the only free compilers I found were incredibly techy platforms that required command line skills I just didn't have.[/ref] I tried to learn programming through that platform, inspired in part by the hacking done in movies like Jurassic Park and The Net. I didn't get very far.

Trying to understand programs other people had written - or even just the files these programs used to store data on my hard drive - was nearly impossible. Assembly was used pretty heavily in the QuickBasic world to allow programmers to sneak past the limitations of the free compiler. If you've ever tried to learn Assembly, you know my pain. If you've succeeded in learning Assembly, I ask you return to your home planet and leave us humans alone.

WordPress, however, is open source and well documented - we want people to pick up the codebase, learn how it works, and tweak it to their heart's desire.

Hacking apart WordPress is actually how I learned to code.

New WordPress Projects

Every now and then, I consider new projects I want to build. Websites, Internet-powered services, productivity tools. All of them need a framework, and I typically want to base them on WordPress.[ref]I've been building things on Node more frequently as I like JavaScript more than PHP. Until Node ships a stable 1.0 release, though, I won't depend on it in production. Knowing the team has avoided a 1.0 label so they can actually follow SemVer when they do - any other 1.X releases are not allowed to break backwards compatibility - makes me hesitant to depend on what has proven to be a moving target of an API.[/ref]

Every now and then, though, these WordPress-inspired and WordPress-based projects are more about improving the core platform than scratching a personal itch. We don't yet have a mobile app for interacting with WordCamp data. We don't yet have a native Windows app for interacting with WordPress.

Starting one of these projects wouldn't be hard - all it would take is 1 or 2 inspired individuals and some free time. Yet no one's started them; not because we're disinterested, but because WordPress is so large and we're afraid of making a mess of things.

WordPress is free - you pay nothing to get the software.

WordPress is free - you can play with the code and do with it whatever you like.

Start playing. Start working on your new WordPress projects today. Don't let personal fear of failure or doubt in your abilities hold you back.