WordPress: A Summer Update from WordCamp Europe
Last weekend, thousands of members of the WordPress community came together in the beautiful city of Belgrade, Serbia for WordCamp Europe. One of these attendees happened to be Matt Mullenweg, a WordPress co-founder. During the event, Mullenweg led a 50-minute session filling in the WordPress community about the state of WordPress. This was an opportunity to inform and discuss highly anticipated topics like the Gutenberg roadmap and major core releases. The last 20 minutes of the session included a Q&A, allowing members of the community to ask Mullenweg pressing questions.
We’ve summarized some of the highlights from Mullenweg’s presentation.
Public Money, Public Code
The presentation began with Mullenweg’s outright support for the Public Money, Public Code campaign. The campaign, spanning both Europe and the US, requests legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software license. If it is public money, it should be public code as well.
“If a small fraction of federal money went into open source software, I think we could have a Cambrian explosion of open source software. If two cities in different parts of the world are doing the same thing, there’s no reason two completely separate solutions should be created,” Mullenweg said.
WordCamp US 2019-2020 Host City
The host city for WordCamp US 2019-2020 was announced. Following Nashville in 2018, St. Louis, Missouri will host WordCamp US!
Major Core Updates
A lot has been happening in WordPress core since WordCamp US in December. There have been six major core releases in 4 major focus areas: customization, WP-CLI, REST API and Mobile Apps.
Mullenweg reminded the crowd that while Gutenberg is initially meant to change the editor, the plan is to extend the functionality to the entire website. These initiatives included turning widgets into Gutenberg block, turning sidebars into post content and adding mockups for selecting page layouts.
WP-CLI, the command-line interface for WordPress, has been updated twice. Version 2.0 which changes the packaging to be easier for distribution will be released in July.
The REST API has been expanded quite heavily in the past year. Mullenweg attributes this to the fact that Gutenberg is built in the REST API. This expansion included work on the autosave and search functionality.
Mobile Apps are starting to become a major part of how people interact with WordPress. Due to that, the WordPress mobile apps team has been hard at work to improve the mobile app’s functionality. This year, the team have improved the right to left (RTL) support and accessibility. New features include background post for more efficient publishing and the ability to support native OS things like voice over.
In the past month, 13 million posts and 3.7 million photos and videos have been uploaded via mobile apps!
Gutenberg is arguably the hottest topic in the WordPress community right now. The Gutenberg team has been working diligently to put in the massive amount of work to make Gutenberg usable. Work so far has included 30 Gutenberg releases and 1,100 closed issues. Currently, 14,000 sites are actively using Gutenberg.
- Block-based writing experience with 20+ blocks
- Gutenberg is fully adaptive creating a seamless use on a variety of devices
- Optimized for direct manipulation of content (WYSIWYG)
- Handles pasting from multiple sources (fully supported copy and pasted from Google docs, apple pages, Microsoft Word, Office 365, legacy WordPress, Evernote, random web pages and markdown) + auto link when copy and pasting URLs
- Templates with predefined blocks. Allows you to build a pre-built layout that can be used over and over again or assigned to entire pages.
- Global Shared Blocks allow you to reuse things across the entire site. When you edit it once, it shows up everywhere.
- Block Nesting are blocks that live within other blocks.
- Child Blocks are blocks that only work if the parent block is there.
The Gutenberg Ramp plugin allows you to add a settings screen where you can enable Gutenberg selectively (for specific post types). . For even greater control, you can specify Gutenberg loading behavior in code.
With a lot of anticipation leading up to the release of Gutenberg, Mullenweg supplied a detailed roadmap that included month by month feature releases, initiatives and more.
- Freeze new features into Gutenberg – The functionality matches the legacy editor
- Hosts, agencies, and teachers invited to opt-in sites they have influence over
- Opt-in for wp-admin users on wp.com
- Mobile app support in the Aztec editor across iOS and Android
- 4.9 release with a strong invitation to install either Gutenberg or Classic Editor plugin
- Opt-out for wp-admin users on WP.com + tracking who opts out and why
- Heavy triage and bug gardening, getting blockers to zero
- Explore expanding Gutenberg beyond the post and into customization
August and Beyond
- Have all critical issues resolved
- Integration with Calypso, offering opt-in users
- 100k+ sites having made 250k+ posts using Gutenberg
- Core merge, beginning the 5.0 release cycle
- 5.0 beta releases and translations completed
- Mobile versions of Gutenberg by end of 2018
There’s a lot going on in WordPress! More and more sites are adopting WordPress and the community is expanding every day. This means more updates and improvements are happening to core. The ultimate question is: when will Gutenberg and 5.0 be officially released? Mullenweg commented that he doesn’t have a concrete answer for that question. As more sites adopt Gutenberg, there will inevitably be issues raised. These issues could be tiny fixes or huge endeavors so it is impossible to predict an official release date for WordPress 5.0.
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