Japanese is a difficult language, but you have definitely come to the right place!
The first pages of IMABI were created in February, 2009. At the time, it was composed of brief Kanji-related resource pages. Later in that same year, I began receiving DMs via Youtube at the time asking for grammar help as I had been answering Japanese questions people were leaving on music videos of artists that I liked.
Eventually, the idea was brought up that my explanations should be compiled into a website. Soon after, paragraph-sized answers served as the basis for creating the first rough drafts of lessons which are still incorporated into the IMABI curriculum.
By the end of 2009, IMABI had turned into a crash course on Japanese grammar with about 20 pages crammed with information. Within the next two years, IMABI had expanded to approximately 150 pages, offering content for all levels of learners.
Since 2010, IMABI has undergone expansion projects every 1-2 years. With each expansion, 50 new lessons are created - either from existing content or by addressing topics which have yet to be mentioned. This serves two purposes:
1) Allowing lessons to focus on a specific topic or limited set of related topics.
2) Allowing content to ordered in a more progressive fashion.
Orchestrating these expansion projects requires months of planning and then even more months of execution before the final result is made apparent to users.
Currently, IMABI is in an expansion project that began in late 2018. Traditionally in past expansions, I would wait until all 50 lessons have been created before fully incorporating them into the lesson lineup (issuing them a lesson number as well as reordering existing lessons around them to set its difficulty). Due to COVID-19, however, 26 lessons were prematurely incorporated to allow for the website to look more orderly while people were quarantined. Since then, 20 more lessons have been added, which means IMABI is nearing where Veteran II, the latest level, will have 50 lessons.
At the end of 2021, blueprints for a complete site revision project were created which will bring all existing lessons to the same level of accuracy, penmanship, and design.
Phase 1: The first phase of this project involves revising all pages to ensure that they are all written with the same level of care and accuracy. In doing so, all lessons in need of expansion or splitting-up will be handled accordingly. New lesson topics are also included in this revision. Once this phase is complete, the IMABI curriculum will reach 500 lessons. As of September 2022, the curriculum is at 394 lessons. This means a lot of expansion is still in the works!
Phase 2: Many users ask when and if IMABI will ever look better aesthetically, and the answer to this is yes, this is being addressed. Details as to what, how, and who is involved in this phase is to be left confidential.
Most of the time that I spend on this project currently is new content. This is the most time consuming part, and with limited time I have to devote to IMABI, my hope is to get the hardest things done first.
IMABI notably has far fewer traffic than other mainstream websites, but that doesn't diminish the value that its content provides and the accuracy to which one can learn Japanese with it. As is the case for anyone who tries to good for a community, it isn't possible to please anyone. And so, without trying to sound overly defensive, I will address a few common misconceptions that often prevent people from actually going through IMABI.
1. "It's just a blog."
Across the Internet, there are really great grammar blogs such as Tofugu that truly go into detail in a creative and interactive way. Content creators collaborate to post topics which users want to know more about, and in doing so, people are left excited about what they might see next from them.
The purpose of IMABI, though, is not to be a blog. Its purpose is to function as a grammar textbook that refuses to waterdown explanations. This approach may not work for everyone, but for those that want to seriously learn Japanese, this I believe is the better approach. Why relearn things 'correctly' months later because someone thought you couldn't handle the truth?
2. Page Length
When IMABI was going through its initial expansion waves, many lessons that are currently separate were once lumped together as the focus was different for each stage of development. It's important to have crucial grammar explained, but then going back and formatting it in a user-friendly means by splitting up said content has been the flow I've maintained since 2010.
Many are accustomed to the Tae Kim approach, which was creating a popular guide which was aimed at the masses. Each lesson is brief with consistent features such as vocab lists and intervening exercise pages to make it feel like a workbook. The content itself, though, has not been altered hardly at all since it was completed, which was about when IMABI was first entering the scene.
Consequently, many view IMABI as it was in 2012-2015 as opposed to what is like in 2022. Even with only 15% of the lessons being revised in the new format, that amount of work has greatly affected the flow of the website and has brought down the average length of lessons down considerably while still adding more content. All new lessons in the past year have been from expanding upon existing content, allowing for the initial lesson to remain simple and targeted for newer learners and having the follow-up lesson(s) aimed for more experienced users.
If it's one defining difference between Tae Kim's Guide and IMABI is that IMABI will look very different in 2030 than what it does now, but Tae Kim's Guide will not have changed.