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My Life As a WordPress Specialist

Posted on 3.17.2015

By Marko Heijnen, 1&1 Internet, Inc.

I am often asked the question: “What makes WordPress so great?” The answer is simple: crowdsourced software development. For the past six years I have been able to collaborate with some of the best minds as we all worked toward improving the functionality and usability of the popular CMS. As an open-source application, WordPress opens its code to contributors of all experience levels to deliver a well-rounded product for Web projects.

Starting in 2003, WordPress launched with just one bit of code and only a few users. Today, it is the largest CMS powering 23 percent of the world’s Internet. For me, I began coding at eight years old when my parents gave me a computer. I was always fascinated with finding solutions for complicated situations. At age 11, I wrote code in Turbo Pascall for my math homework and the rest was history. 

I now focus most of my contributions on re-writing or fixing code for WordPress. To date, I have been involved in 10 releases all within the launches versions of 3.0 to 4.1 but the project I’m most proud of is co-leading the rewrites and improvements of the image manipulation API. This API opened doors for others to really create some great things with images. Re-writing non-Web image formats so they are visually accessible during the uploading process and cropping pictures based on eye detection are just a few of the things that are now possible.

Additionally, I am working as a lead developer for GlotPress, a Web-based translation tool. This allows websites to become more internationally accessible by enabling resources like WordPress, BuddyPress, and many themes/plugins to accommodate different languages. We are currently working with users around the world to build upon the translations and make it stronger than ever. Applying this tool to open-source projects and mobile apps will allow the CMS to be used more internationally thus extending the global community.

All of these functionalities are possible thanks to the teamwork between community members. Constantly growing, each contribution influences one another to fuel the evolution and innovation of the platform. But not all contributors are vastly knowledgeable in code specifically. There are various ways in which one can get involved without having to write code. For example, some people are active in responding to support forum requests or focus on improving translations and accessibility. 

Besides working on WordPress Code, I personally enjoy attending and speaking at WordCamps around the world. As an outlet to empower new challenges and achievements, these weekend sessions are open to anyone who is interested in “everything WordPress.” To explore different opportunities for getting involved at WordCamps, visit  

Marko Heijnen, a 1&1 WordPress Specialist and contributor to the WordPress community, has had a hand in developing seven releases since 3.0. Some notable achievements within those contributions include working on XML-RPC in 3.4 and WP_Image_Editor in 3.5. He is also the main core developer for GlotPress and is currently creating a better open-source tool for translations. As a 1&1 WordPress Specialist, Marko is committed to improving the platform by contributing back to the community. To learn more about 1&1, visit For more on Marko, visit or follow him on Twitter @markoheijnen

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