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Exciting day for the WordPress community, as Matt Mullenweg delivered his first State of the Word address from a non-US location. Live from charming Madrid, Spain, he shared annual insights into the WordPress project, celebrating its remarkable 20 year journey and expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the diverse community that propels it forward.

Reflecting on the Year’s Successes: A Dynamic and Innovative Community

Matt took a moment to reflect on the achievements within the WordPress ecosystem over the past year. From its humble beginnings as a blogging tool to evolving into a robust website-building platform and now a powerful application framework, WordPress has reached its 20-year milestone (woo-hoo!) with resounding success.

Noteworthy mentions include WordPress’s prowess in scalability (as witnessed during Taylor Swift’s Time Person of the Year announcement (with 100k requests / second) and security, demonstrated by sites like WhiteHouse.gov and Nasa.gov.

The WordPress Playground continues to astonish, allowing users to set up a fully functional WordPress site in the browser in a matter of seconds – showcasing the community’s spirit of innovation.

Here’s a brief demo (narrated by Adam Zieliński):

That will never cease to amaze me. […] It’s the closest thing to sci-fi we have going on right now in WordPress.

Matt

Introducing the Twenty Twenty Four theme, a masterpiece with 35 built-in patterns catering to artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone seeking the full potential of Gutenberg. Explore the theme’s highlights in the image below – and try it out (available in the repo here).

Highlights of the Twenty Twenty Four theme

Other highlights included 70 WordCamps in 33 countries, 1.3k new contributors in 2023, the upcoming WordCamp Asia in Taipei, Taiwan as well as Openverse being awarded the Open Education Award for Excellence in Education Infrastructure.

Peering into the Future: Collaboration and Workflow Environments

Matías Ventura, WordPress Lead Architect, unveiled the plans for the Site Editor, aiming to enhance the experience for both writers and designers. The focus is now shifting towards collaboration and workflow environments (Phase 3 of the project), with a working prototype already available. While there’s no concrete timeline, you can dive into the Gutenberg plugin to test these developments and share your feedback on GitHub.

Matías showcased the prototype’s main features, emphasizing:

1. Patterns: becoming more versatile

Explore a new era of patterns, allowing users to dive into exciting new features, like:

a. Swapping related patterns

b. Applying theme JSON to specific pattern

Additionally, Matías announced the creation of a hybrid type of pattern, offering text editing while maintaining control of the global design:

2. Custom fields: the best of both worlds

Offering the ability to connect blocks to custom fields seamlessly, bringing together the best of both developer-friendly and user-friendly capabilities:

3. Performance: for both creators and visitors

From a new dashboard tracking Gutenberg commits to editor performance improvements, WordPress is gearing up for version 6.5, promising significant speed enhancements:

WordPress 6.5 expected to be significantly faster than WordPress 5.4

On the front end performance, Matías shared the team’s focus is on the Interactivity API and demo-ed the improvements – instant transitions and instant search. You can check it out on https://wpmovies.dev/.

4. Admin design: your own WordPress

Empowering users to customize their admin area to fit their unique needs:

AI in WordPress: Playground Blueprints

Looking ahead, Matt explored the opportunities of AI tools, introducing Playground blueprints on the WordPress site. This feature enables the creation of playground sites using natural language. He encouraged community members to commit to using AI to expand their knowledge:

our growth and development will only be limited by our curiosity.

Matt

Related: practicing what he preaches, Matt shared that in order to enhance accessibility, the State of the Word recordings will soon be available in five languages, thanks to AI tools lipsync-ing addresses in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Japanese. Available over the coming few days!

Charting the Course for 2024: Data Liberation

Matt emphasized a new focus for 2024: unlocking the web’s full potential, by focusing on 1-click data migration – from other platforms to WordPress and among WordPress sites. He invited community members to join the initiative, and shared that the teams will have all necessary tools at their disposal to deliver on this priority.

SOTW Reveal: WordCamp US Heading to…

In an exciting revelation, WordCamp US is set to unfold its magic in Portland, Oregon, for the next two years. Matt describes the city as ‘super fun and weird in amazing ways.’ More to follow from the organisers.

For a deeper dive into the State of the Word address check out the full recording below:

Resources mentioned during the address:

WC Asia 2024

2023 anual meetup survey

wp.org/meet

wp.org/showcase

wp.org/remember

developer.wp.org/playground

Twenty twenty four theme

github.com/wordpress/gutenberg

https://wpmovies.dev/

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