Matt Mullenweg State of the Word, 2017

Matt Mullenweg has just finished the 2017 State of the Word address, where he offers the lay of the land for all things WordPress.

WordCamp in Nashville

This is the first WordCamp US in Nashville. The first two WordCamp US events were held in Philadelphia, following a long run of the primary event of the year being WordCamp San Francisco.

Amanda Giles recited her poem, “Code is Poetry” to kick off the event. She then introduced Matt, who started off his talk by thanking the top sponsors for WordCamp US: SiteLock, WooCommerce, Bluehost, and Jetpack. I second Matt in thanking these sponsors as well as the other 36 sponsors who help make this event happen while keeping ticket prices so low — only $40.

WordCamps and Meetups

WordCamp US makes for the 128th WordCamp of the year, and 40,000 tickets were sold across them. There were more than 1,008 organizers, 2,310 speakers, 1,091 unique sponsors.

Since adding the meetups to the WordPress News widget, meetup attendance is up more than 30%. I can confirm that I met people at my own home WordCamp who discovered it was happening this way.

Last year three charities were chosen to donate to, and eachHack the Hood, the Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code received $15,000 — more than the original goal.

WordPress Foundation donations open

With the first step I’ve seen of Matt opening up the WordPress foundation in any way, he’s enabled direct donations to the foundation. I look forward to seeing how else this may evolve.

Hackerone update

52 bugs were resolved through Hackerone, with 39 reward to 46 hackers that were thanked.

The top reporter submitted 9 reports. It’s been an effective way thus far to resolve WordPress security issues.

Updates to

One of the big updates in the last year has been to update non-English versions of, that includes new landing pages in 26 languages.

Language packs are now supported by 1,166 themes and 2,023 plugins, making WordPress even better for people, no matter what language they prefer it in. The top 10 WordPress plugins have between 19 and 56 translations.


Matt spent some time talking about the Tide project, which originated from XWP, but was adopted by the WordPress project. Tide runs automated tests against every plugin and theme in the WordPress directory.

WordPress Growth Council

Matt updated on the WordPress Growth Council, which he admitted has been slow, but says that the fist meeting will be next week.

The goal of the council is to bring together WordPress advocates together from all over, including commercial companies, to share ideas and find new ways to market and grow WordPress.

There will be two councils — an enterprise council, and a consumer council — in order to effectively serve two primary WordPress audiences.

Update on WordPress core focus areas

We had two major releases in 2017, WordPress 4.8 and WordPress 4.9. Gutenberg is slated for WordPress 5.0.

The was a great deal of work in 2017 has been on Gutenberg, but there have been efforts amongst all three core focus areas.

The Customizer

The Customizer has had a lot of work done in WordPress 4.8 and 4.9 led by Weston Ruter, Mel Choyce, and Jeff Paul. Weston and Mel joined Matt on stage to talk about these releases.

Weston Ruter
Mel Choyce

The customizer and Gutenberg have several complimentary goals that will align in 2018.

The WordPress REST API

Ryan McCue gave a State of the REST API in blog format that’s worth reading, where he highlights the highs and lows of the REST API since its December 2016 release, including some challenges he believes it faces going forward.

Matt acknowledged that there is a great deal of room to improve with the REST API.

The editor, Gutenberg

Gutenberg has been a huge focus of WordPress development in 2017. Gutenberg has had 4,302 commits from 100+ contributors. There have been weekly releases and 18 major iterations. You can actually use Gutenberg yourself and use it now.

Matias Ventura

Matias Ventura came to the stage to talk about Gutenberg, including a live demo. Matias walked through how blocks work and the progress that has happened since it started. I was really impressed with the accessibility efforts that have gone into the project.

Matt also noted that there’s a classic editor plugin now in the directory, just in case some users aren’t ready for Gutenberg.

Other core updates

There were a few updates about other core projects and endeavors.

WP-CLI an official WordPress project

There have been four major releases with 124 contributors to WP-CLI this year. Lead by Daniel Bachhuber, it is a really amazing way to interact with WordPress.

It became an official WordPress project this year and has a bright future.

No default theme for 2018

For the first time since it started with TwentyTen, there won’t be a new default theme for 2018. This will allow more effort to be put into the block concepts with Gutenberg.

Looking forward

WordPress has grown another 2%+ this year, now 29.1% of the web, and Matt wants to continue to see growth. He says he’s keeping his “lead hat” on for another year, to see the Gutenberg project all the way through.

Three focuses for 2018

Matt said he’s excited to announce three big focuses for the next year around Gutenberg and core development.

  • Gutenberg editing
  • Gutenberg customization
  • Gutenberg theme

And with that, he’s ready to take questions.

Photos by Brian Richards, for Post Status

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  1. Oh no, there is no default theme for 2018. I am really waiting for Twenty Eighteen, but its Ok, there is still a beautiful Twenty Sixteen and simple Twenty Twelve.

  2. I see Gutenberg is still being rushed through despite the major concerns that have been stated and I have seen what the plugin can do to a clients site (I have the screen shot if your interested) and still feel that WordPress is going to loose ground when I have to tell my clients how much it is going to cost to fix there websites.
    I am not alone in feeling that a large part of the community is being ignored on this issue.

  3. What happened to including information from the survey that Matt pointed to in his email when 4.9 was released?

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