2013 State of the Word from Matt Mullenweg

wcsfMatt Mullenweg just delivered the 2013 State of the Word, his annual update about WordPress.

He started off discussing the history of WCSF, and the first WordCamp San Francisco 8 years ago. It was pretty low tech at first, and organizers have learned a great deal since then. There have in fact been 314 WordCamp’s to date and 72 already this year. At the WordCamps this year, there have been 1,026 speakers. And there have been 1.4 million views of WordPress.tv this year, where most presentation recordings are hosted.

Significant events

December 2012 marked the release of WordPress 3.5, or Elvin. The release included a completely new media interface, the release of the twenty twelve theme, and making the admin “crisp” on retina devices.

Matt highlights lots of questions and rumors about 3.6’s release, but notes that it will be released “soon”. However, for the first time, Matt has highlighted WordPress 3.6 with a world premier. My in-audience recording of the 3.6 “Oscar” video is here:


WordPress 3.6 looks amazing.

Update: the entire State of the Word and Q & A with Matt that followed is now available on WordPress TV. Also, Japh Thomson has done a Storify with some extra information and pictures you will enjoy.

The last year in review

In the past year, there have been 10,945 posts and comments on the Make WordPress blogs, more than 2 times than before.

Matt also highlighted the plugin repository ratings that are now attached to reviews.

The history of WordPress book is being written. The text is on Github. Matt notes that, “it’s very appropriate, that the text of the book is written as open as the software itself.”

There have 46+ million downloads of WordPress in the last 12 months. There have been 336 new themes released to the repository, a 2-3x hike from the year before.

The plugin repository is just huge. There have been 9,334 requests for new plugins, 6,758 of which have been approved. This means that there are now over 26,000 plugins in the directory.

The Automattic Mobile team is growing. There have been 15 updates of the iOS, Android, and Windows phone apps.

It’s been a busy year.

Recent rockstars

Matt highlighted some recent rockstars in the WordPress community. This is a wonderful tradition that’s starting.

Konstantin^2 got the first mention. That’s Konstantin Obenland, who has done a ton of work with themes. He also highlights Konstantin Kovshenin, who simply does everything in my view.

Mike Schroeder and Adam Silverstein have had a large influence on core this year. Scott Taylor has been hugely influential in general, and specifically in regard to new media features. And Drew Jaynes has done a great deal of core work, plus has been pivotal to the documentation effort.

Finally Matt gave some very appropriate kudos to Dave Martin and Joen Asmussen. Dave led many efforts on usability and admin design for WordPress in the previous cycle. And Joen designed the Twenty Thirteen default theme.

WordPress Survey

There were over thirty thousand responses to the survey from 178 countries.

The survey asked what devices people use to access WordPress:

  • Web: 98%
  • iPad/iPhone – 31%
  • Android – 30%
  • Android tablet – 18%
  • Desktop app – 12%

WordPress as an app platform

Impressively, 7% of respondents said they’re using WordPress as an app platform. Matt said, very appropriately, that perhaps we’ve been talking about WordPress as an app platform innapropriately, as in reality we’re using it in multiple ways at once, versus using it just as a blog, or as a CMS, or as an app platform. We’re using blogs, eCommerce, a CMS, and many others, all on top of WordPress. The future is one that uses WordPress as the foundation that people do a variety of things with.

WP Engine recently did a brand awareness survey. They asked, “Have you heard of WordPress?” A whopping 29.3% said yes, of 1500 responses.

Matt updated us on the global usage of WordPress. 18.9% of the web runs on WordPress, up 2.2% from last year. He also noted that the number now represents the top 10 million sites.

Next, Matt highlights Nir Eyal and his presentation on Automatic customers: how to design user habits (and a shoutout to the Nir and far blog).

Matt talks about the phantom buzz, relates it to emotional attachment to phones. Matt spent a significant amount of time discussing the importance of mobile devices in our lives. It goes to show just how important mobile is for the future of WordPress.

In an exciting move for developers, developer.wordpress.org was just announced. The idea is to create a function reference and helper guide for developers. There wasn’t too much detail on this yet.

WordPress 3.7

WordPress 3.7 will be a platform update led by Andrew Nacin and Jon Cave, and is planned to release in October. Matt says the release cycle will be able to be so short because much of the development of core features is now starting in plugins. For instance, MP6 has been working on a new WordPress admin for months. And after being extracted from 3.6, post formats UI is moving to further development in a plugin.

Admin design

Matt spent a good deal of time showcasing MP6, the development of it, the process, and the model of using plugins for future development. MP6 has had active development all year, with weekly updates.

The future of WordPress development

Even more shocking than the expected October release of 3.7 is that Matt said he’d like 3.8 to be released in December. He further described how he envisions pretty much all future development to start with these plugins. He notes that it’s the closest thing to date to the historical talk of core / canonical plugins.

Essentially, each feature can become its own component, with its own team. And people can track components they’re interested in, and what they can participate in.

Matt talks about the 96% attrition rate of WordPress.com users. So only 4% of people are sticking with it, and he things the .org numbers would be even higher. He notes just how much we can improve these numbers, and how it can further achieve a larger mission of “democratizing publishing.”

Getting involved

Matt talks about how these new practices should make it easier and more seamless for people to get involved. Our community is one of the most important aspects of WordPress. Many people start using it purely because the community is so large and there is so much support.

“Be the change.” Get involved and be part of this open source project.

Matt believes that a decade later, we are just getting started.

A fantastic state of the word.


*image by David Laietta

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  1. Wow! You’re fast! Matt is still answering questions in his talk! Lol BTW, he also mentioned that the 2014 default theme should be released at the end of the year too.

    1. Is that a critique or a compliment? As a Sorkin fan, I’m going to take it as a compliment. 🙂

  2. Great coverage! Thanks for taking the detailed notes, writing it up, taking the video, posting it, and summing it all up, with links no less, to chronicle it for those of us unable to attend. A+.

  3. Hey Brian! Nice write up man, seriously good coverage. Did want to point out a small little correction, I think you accidentally typed “Elvis” instead of “Elvin” for 3.5

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