Matt on Gutenberg at WordCamp Europe

The sixth WordCamp Europe is happening now on June 15-16 (it was preceded by Contributor Day on the 14th) in Belgrade, Serbia. As you would expect from a large WordCamp, the lineup is full of great talks given by a diverse group of speakers with a livestream provided for those unable to attend.

The highlight of the event on Friday was when Matt Mullenweg took the stage. Unlike previous WordCamp Europe events that followed a town hall question and answer format, this time Matt framed his presentation as “a summertime update” — and a number of things were shared about the past, present, and future (or at least the next few months) of WordPress and Gutenberg.

Here are the highlights:

  • There is a new link on WordPress.org to Public Code, a site decided to the belief that software created with taxpayers’ money should be released as free software.
  • WordCamp US 2019-2020 will be held in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • There have been six major releases of WordPress since WordCamp US 2017 in December. Matt mentioned some major updates since then, including Gutenberg features like the ability to turn widgets into blocks.
  • WP-CLI has had 2 major releases, and version 2.0 is coming in July.
  • The WordPress REST API has had improvements in security and “process has been laid for interfacing with Gutenberg.”
  • Much was said about the WordPress mobile apps at the conference, and Matt noted they have had accessibility and background processing improvements. 1.3 million posts and 3.7 million photos and videos were uploaded via the mobile apps in the past month.
  • There have been twelve Gutenberg releases since WordCamp US 2017 (30 in total) with 1700+ issues opened and 1115+ issues closed.

Matt then laid out a roadmap for the next three months and beyond:

  • June 2018
    • New features will be frozen.
    • Host agencies and teachers will be “encouraged” to start using Gutenberg so they can get feedback from non-developers and those not involved with it every day.
    • A call-to-action and an opt-in will be presented to the high hundreds of thousands that use the wp-admin interface on WordPress.com, with key metrics being tracked.
    • Mobile app support will be “all fixed” so that you shouldn’t experience problems switching between it and the desktop app on Gutenberg active sites.
  • July 2018
    • There will be a 4.9.x release that will have a “strong call to action” on the dashboard to either install Gutenberg or the classic editor plugin.
    • Switch from opt-in to opt-out on WordPress.com.
    • Bug fixes and exploring the expansion of Gutenberg “beyond the post.”
  • August 2018
    • Integration with Calypso. Matt confirmed on Twitter that both the WordPress admin and Calypso editing interfaces on WordPress.com will be transitioning to Gutenberg.
    • All critical issues resolved.
    • 100,000 sites active with Gutenberg with over 250,000 posts. “I think we will be able to say by this time we have a lot of the bugs worked out.”
    • Merged into core, initiating the WordPress 5.0 release cycle with beta releases and translations.
  • Beyond August
    • Although Gutenberg shouldn’t break your site if you go between the mobile apps and your desktop, Matt stated that by the end of the year a mobile version of Gutenberg with block support should be available.

Matt stressed that we could have “a 5.0 as soon as August,” but that will depend on the bugs that are discovered and resolved between now and then, so there’s no definite release date.

Matt was asked in the Q&A period to talk about the Gutenberg feature he likes or is looking forward to the most. He answered, “Definitely the copy and paste functionality, because I tend to use a variety of apps to write and create content, and with the universal API those can be pasted right into Gutenberg.”

Matt noted that Gutenberg supports Google Docs, Apple Notes, Microsoft Word, “Legacy” WordPress, Office 365, and Markdown.

Nested blocks, child blocks, and media drag-and-drop were also briefly discussed. Matt showcased some templates with pre-defined blocks, saying it’s already possible to “see hints of where we will end up with full site customization with Gutenberg.”

Over 14,000 sites are actively using Gutenberg today, according to Matt. I asked whether that meant 14,000 sites have it installed, or if some additional metric.