WordPress has come a long way since its 2003 inception as a nascent blogging platform, forked from b2/cafelog. Now a full-fledged CMS, WordPress enjoys a significant market share, powering 26.9% of the world’s websites all told, and almost 60% of the websites built using a known CMS.
Obviously, it’s important and helpful to know what the WordPress leadership has to say about the future of WordPress. But we wanted to go further.
Specifically, we wanted to find out directly from users what they think about the future of WordPress, so we asked two of them the following questions:
- What do you foresee happening in the world of WordPress in 2017? Where are we going, as a community? Where is WordPress itself going as a platform?
- What would you ask Santa for, in the way of additions or changes to WordPress? What do you want to happen in 2017 or beyond?
Our WordPress-using contributors for this piece are developer Tom McFarlin and writer Michelle Nickolaisen. Their answers to those two questions are below; they’ve been edited for style and clarity.
I know that people like to refer to “the WordPress community,” but if you were to ask me to define what that really is, I think I’d have a hard time.
I mean, generally speaking, I suppose I could say that it’s anyone and everyone who is involved with WordPress in terms of blogging, design, development, content management, managed hosting, customer support, and so on. There’s a lot happening in what I usually term the WordPress economy (because it does tend to focus more like a small economy, in my opinion).
But in terms of WordPress as a platform, I think you’re most likely to hear others talk about the work that’s coming with the merging of the rest of the current version of the REST API. And it’s exciting, don’t get me wrong, but I hope not to see others re-invent the wheel in terms of just building alternative ways to administer WordPress or write posts.
Sure, that will be interesting and I don’t mean to dissuade or discourage those ventures, but what about some of the more powerful use cases that are available like using WordPress as the backbone for mobile applications or completely different web applications?
That’s where I’m excited to see WordPress go in 2017. That’s probably a typical developer answer — and I’m okay with that. As someone who’s a blogger, I don’t really want WordPress to change too much on the publishing front. But, like I said, as a developer, I’m excited to see what ideas people come up with and begin building once the infrastructure is in place just for that.
Generally speaking, I tend to be fine with WordPress as it is and the direction it’s progressing.
Sure, there are always things I’d like to see such as the use of namespaces, autoloading, and what not that utilizes newer features of PHP.
But I’m always one of those who understands the commitment to backward compatibility, the work that would require, and how it simply “may not be time” for this.
Secondly, I also know that in the work I do, I’m able to usually take advantage of those features when working on custom solutions that run on top of WordPress.
Overall, I’ve been happy with the progress WordPress has made this year, especially with the upcoming 4.7 release. I think Helen has done a fantastic job leading the cycle and, not to forget the rest of those who are committing to core and who are helping to lead the charge on so many new, upcoming features, are all bringing some fantastic stuff to the application.
So if this sounds like “I don’t want much for WordPress for Christmas,” then that’s okay. I’m pretty content with where it is right now.
I guess I see WP moving into more of a unified/streamlined interface. Squarespace has become a big competitor and if you’re used to using WordPress, Squarespace isn’t super intuitive, but a lot of people find Squarespace way better. One of the things they love is the ease of setup for things like subscription and eCommerce.
Meanwhile, Automattic has bought WooCommerce, which is a step in that direction, but WooCommerce is frankly kind of clunky and unintuitive if you’re used to dealing with anything that’s better designed (like, say, Shopify for example, which is why I pay Shopify $30 a dang month for things that WooCommerce can do).
So, if I had to make a prediction, I’d say that for WordPress to continue to be a huge CMS and stand out, it needs to focus on a more streamlined and beginner-friendly UI and more well-designed, easily integrated options for eCommerce and subscriptions (although it’s worth noting that I’m coming from the “freelancer running a small biz” angle, not doing a thing like a magazine).
What would be a really great way for them to differentiate themselves would be a way to basically run a Patreon-like campaign through WordPress.
Moving Into Next Year
Perhaps we all lack the requisite crystal ball to know for certain what the future of WordPress may bring, but engaged users and developers plus the inside scoop from Matt Mullenweg go a long way towards illuminating possible future trends.
Over to you: What do you want in your WordPress stocking this year?
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