With the State of the Word now complete for 2017, we have a good idea of what WordPress will look to achieve in the new year. However, does this roadmap represent an evolution of the platform, or simply a sideways shift?
Actually, the signs are all positive – WordPress is taking a number of steps to modernize an already stellar platform. However, 2018’s WordPress will still have to compete with the likes of Wix, Medium, and Squarespace if it wants to dominate the landscape even further.
In this piece, we’ll look at some of the most important upcoming WordPress additions (such as Gutenberg), and discuss whether these new features are likely to achieve their goals. We’ll also touch on where REST API will be headed in 2018. Let’s get started!
A Summary of the State of the Word 2017
As a part of WordPress’ annual WordCamp in Nashville, the State of the Word 2017 offered a deeper look into what we can expect for WordPress in 2018. Many of these developments, while not new, are exciting nonetheless.
There are quite a few major projects on the horizon. WordPress’ vast team of developers is working hard to make them a reality. While some issues have come up along the way, the team is using everyone’s feedback to strengthen the end result. This is especially true for Gutenberg, which had a somewhat worrisome beta release earlier this year. Developers are planning a dozen more iterations of Gutenberg before it will be finalized.
Overall, the theme going into 2018 is a focus on efficiency, and improvements for existing features. Let’s look more closely at what this means for some specific upcoming additions.
How WordPress’ Upcoming Feature Additions Rival the Competition
With a slew of upcoming features prepared to make their debut in 2018, this is a good time to become acquainted with what’s to come. Perhaps the most hyped addition is Gutenberg, a new editor interface for the platform. As of this writing, Gutenberg has been in development for 11 months – the longest feature development WordPress has seen thus far.
There have been concerns about the editor, but also much anticipation. In a nutshell, Gutenberg looks to be a useful addition for bloggers, but non-bloggers may find it clunky to deal with. Developers have taken community criticisms into consideration, and are offering a plugin called Classic Editor. This tool will enable users to continue using the tried-and-true editor when Gutenberg becomes officially available (in April 2018).
Another exciting addition is tide – a program that runs tests against every plugin and theme in the WordPress library. The end goal is to find gaps in software, so developers can improve the quality of existing code. This should give WordPress a significant advantage over its competitors, including Squarespace and Wix.
Open-source functionality isn’t the only area where WordPress excels, of course. The WordPress Command Line Interface (WP-CLI) is a developer tool that aims to balance ease of use and efficiency. It makes administrative tasks – such as site setup and maintenance – a breeze. As a command interface, it enables you to input built-in commands to complete tasks instantaneously. There’s currently no release date, but WordPress did make WP-CLI an official project in 2017, and it will be a continued focus in 2018.
Finally, it seems that Software as a Service (SaaS) will make an overdue appearance in WordPress during 2018. What exactly this business model will look like when applied to the WordPress community is difficult to tell. However, with WooCommerce recently making the switch to automatic renewal, it will be interesting to see which other plugins follow suit.
Where the WordPress Rest API Is Headed
The integration of the REST API into WordPress’ core has been anticipated for years. Finally it’s arrived, although not everyone is excited about the addition and what it means for the platform.
It’s true that the REST API has had its ups and down, including serious security vulnerabilities in the past. With these bugs dealt with, it’s now time to acknowledge the REST API’s improvements and current abilities. Most importantly, its integration with WordPress creates what’s known as a ‘headless CMS’. Essentially, the REST API provides the ability to make your data viewable in almost any front-end interface (such as a mobile application or widget).
As mentioned, there have been a few bumps in development. The team was unable to provide as much functionality as they would have liked, and this cast a shadow on the project for a while. However, the focus of 2018 according to Ryan McCue – a co-lead developer on the project – is authentication, functionality, and empowerment.
In short, while development of the REST API has been slow, recent changes to the organization and the project’s core focus have resulted in steady progress. This progress should continue well into 2018.
Is WordPress Set For a Bright 2018 and Beyond?
This is the main question on everyone’s mind and one that deserves a response. The short answer is absolutely! WordPress made numerous organizational changes in 2017, and it looks like this will continue in 2018. However, the focus has not shifted away from its many core projects (including Gutenberg and the REST API), but has instead narrowed and strengthened.
Even with some projects taking unexpected detours, and a few even experiencing early backlash, what the WordPress team has displayed is resilience and resolve. This continued commitment to improvement is beneficial for the platform and its millions of users.
WordPress is a constantly evolving platform. That much should be clear, given that only a decade ago it was “just a blogging platform.” Now, this content management system is looking to become the dominant player in the game and has developed a solid strategy for doing just that.
In this post, we’ve looked at just how bright WordPress’ future looks. This included a glimpse into its most exciting projects – such as Gutenberg and the WP-CLI – and how they’ll shape the platform over time. In our opinion, WordPress is set to have a productive year, especially with Gutenberg now on a much better path than its first beta showing suggested.
How do you think WordPress will change in 2018? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
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