WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville wound down as Matt Mullenweg walked on stage to deliver his annual State of the Word address. The speech delivered the latest WordPress news as well as what to expect for 2018.
A huge focus of last year’s State of the Word was Gutenberg. This year was no different.
Mullenweg said Gutenberg has been the longest feature development WordPress has ever had. It’s been 11 months since the kickoff. In that time it’s had over 4.302 commits.
“It’s really drawn together the community in a really cool way,” said Mullenweg.
It has gone through over 18 iterations, and the team at WordCamp US set up tables in the sponsor hall to let whoever wanted to test Gutenberg and give feedback in real time. They were able to run over 90 user tests.
After Mullenweg introduced the project, Matías Ventura, a developer who has been working on the project since the beginning, came on stage to perform a live demo of Gutenberg. Ventura went through creating a post with the project step by step. He showed what it looks like to add images, embeds, headers, and more.
“The block is there when you need it and disappears when you don’t,” Ventura said.
Ventura also went into what it looks like to add custom HTML within the post, with the ever-popular marquee command. He then showed how you can save a custom block in order to use it over again. It’s a way to create blocks on the fly without creating custom code.
After the demo, Mullenweg estimated that project will be released in April after about 12 more iterations. He explained that we need better documentation for the project, plugin developers to start to see how their plugins can live in a Gutenberg world, and more conversations about the project.
“Think of it as the thing that will be here for awhile. This is the basis for everything that will be happening in WordPress,” he said. “How can we build things that people never would have imagined before.”
Mullenweg acknowledged the fact that some people are worried about the project and announced a new plugin called Classic Editor created by the Gutenberg team that is out now. This ensures the classic editor will remain and developers can make sure nothing they have will break when 5.0 is released.
Mullenweg will remain the release lead through 2018.
Meetups and WordCamps
The community came out in droves for WordCamps and meetups. This year there were 128 WordCamps across 48 countries. 1,008 organizers total. That’s up 33.9 percent from last year.
This number was dwarfed by 4,379 meetups in 73 countries. That means 99,301 people attended a meetup this year. All of these were facilitated by the Events Widget in 4.8. The widget reminded people of events near them right on the Dashboard. Mullenweg credited the widget for increasing the meetup number by a third.
Last year, Mullenweg announced a change to the Foundation. It would be used to donate back to the CMS while WordCamps would be moved to a different umbrella. This year, the program donated $45,000 to Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code, more than Mullenweg projected last year.
Money also went to do_action events across the world in Johannesburg, Beirut, Cape Town, and Montreal. These act as hackathons where people can meet and get help developing their site.
The Foundation also added a Donate button allow for more diverse donors to get involved. Users can set up a yearly donation starting at $10.
WordPress launched Hackerone in May of this year and 52 bugs were resolved from 46 people this year. The program allows people to find security breaches and bugs and get rewarded for it.
Mullenweg announced this service will soon be available for top plugins and themes as well, working to make an overall safer WordPress.
Coming this year, a new program called tide will run automated tests against every plugin and theme in the directory. This is a way for developers and users to see where plugins and themes need work.
Each test will have not only have a pass/fail, but show the line where the error is and a link to Github where anyone can update it.
There will also be a way for developers to challenge the test. All of these will be available right in the directory. We don’t have a release date for this but there is a Slack channel up and running.
For the first time since 2010, there will not be a new default theme. Mullenweg said this opens teams up to focus on “bigger changes.” One of those being WP-CLI.
This year WP-CLI became an official WordPress project. There have been 4 releases.
Mullenweg also spoke about the REST API, saying it will get more focus in the upcoming year. Though we don’t know what exactly that means, Mullenweg assured the audience it will be a priority for 2018.
A huge focus of Mullenweg’s speech last year was SSL and Let’s Encrypt. He called for every WordPress site to use the free service. This year, 36 percent of all WordPress sites are using https, which is double what it was last year.
Last but not least, Mullenweg shared that WordPress now officially powers 29 percent of the web and announced his three focuses for the coming year. These are a Gutenberg Editing, Gutenberg Customization, and a Gutenberg Theme. It will be interesting to see what 2018 will hold for the CMS.