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What is the value of WordPress? Literally.

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19 August 2010

Originally, WordPress was a blogging platform (the blog you are reading, for instance, runs on WordPress). These days, though, more and more websites – including several sections of the New York Times – are built on top of this very powerful publishing platform. WordPress was and is developed by an open community of developers, so this week we wanted to find out, just for the hell of it, how much estimated developer hours went into building WordPress so far.

We posted a question on the wp-hackers mailing list. Within 24 hours the post turned into quite an animated discussion, with everyone trying to analyze the problem from all different angles.

The following two vastly different methods of estimating the result floated to the top:

The results of the two methods were remarkably close to each other.

  • Ohloh: 100 000 developer hours.
  • “The mythical man-month”: 160 000 developer hours.

And that’s not taking into account any time spent by people building plug-ins, writing documentation, maintaining the wordpress website and resources … the list goes on.

Incredible that we can all tap into such an amazing resource for free, isn’t it?

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