WordPress is Open Source Software written in the language PHP. It is one of the most popular & powerful Content Management Systems.
There are two distinct legs: WordPress.org that manages and releases software and WordPress.com which provides a basic level of hosting, security, backups & themes. WordPress.com also provides other dashboard services for website hosts, like me. where we can consolidate a dashboard of all the websites we host.
The WordPress project is run by a core leadership team and led by co-founder and lead developer Matt Mullenweg. There is a core team of a couple of dozen people. Then there are contributing developers as well as people responsible for design, support, documentation, mobile, theme reviewers, plugin reviewers and community communication.
The lifecycle is no different than any other I.T. shop:
- Beta test
- Release Candidate
Anyone with a website using the software can participate in the Beta testing and anyone who has an account can answer questions for the community.
WordPress.com is great if you just want to get up and running quickly and don’t need any customizations. You can get free website hosting, but you won’t have access to any customization, email or Google Analytics. You will also only have access to a select set of themes and you will have ads placed on your site. For a little more you can get more space and no ads. If you go for their Business setup you get Google Analytics and the ability to do customizations.
This integrates with Jetpack software we install on every website we host. It allows us, for example, to update a single plugin on EVERY website simultaneously if we want to. BTW, this is NOT our practice as we like to open and update every website individually because there is a different mix of plugins on each website. But, when there is an urgent update for security reasons, for example, we love this feature.
It also gives us a bird’s eye view of which websites have which software installed, as quick access to basic analytics.
Every year communities all over the world participate in individual Wordcamp events. If you Google Wordcamp 2016 you will find them EVERYWHERE. I will be attending Wordcamp in New Orleans in August. You can find lots of people who do what you do, or do what you aspire to do, get fresh ideas and meet new friends.
I hope this answered some of your questions. If you have more please ask them in the comments section below and we will answer them.