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All We Learned From State of the Word 2023


Yesterday we got a peek into what’s coming to WordPress in 2024, and it’s more exciting than ever. The most important WordPress event of the year, State of the Word 2024 took place in Madrid and previewed tons of new features and enhancements.

Heavily focused on collaboration and community – a core of the WordPress philosophy – we learned all about what to expect from playgrounds, patterns, and how Matt Mullenweg refrains from eating onions to maintain good friendships.

Let’s dive into the meat and potatoes (or Spanish omelettes) of what we learned.

Enhancing community

The community is getting stronger and more diverse. Josepha Haden Chomphosy noted they just wrapped up 6.4, whose team was run by underrepresented genders.

This year’s event was also the first international State of the Word – and Matt discussed how they’re continuing to honor the Spanish community (even if he needed a little help with translation during the Q&A session).

WordPress is truly about the people. There have been 70 WordCamps in 33 countries and over 3300 gatherings like WordPress School Days and Kid Camps. Events have doubled year over year. There were 1339 new contributors, which Matt noted is only “2 away from being 1337.”

Matt also announced a survey seeking ways to improve meetups and a new WP admin widget that helps you find local events.

More language support is coming, in a variety of ways. Matt committed to adding additional languages to the WordPress slack workspaces.

Through the use of AI, yesterday’s event will be viewable with AI-generated translation. It’ll be Matt’s face, but the voice will be live translated into a variety of languages.

Viva la revolución

The internet relies on access and the ability to keep evolving.

The WordPress OpenVerse project recently won the 2023 Open Education Award for Excellence in the Open Infrastructure category. A testament to the work of its many contributors and dedication to open and free content, OpenVerse is a truly outstanding feature that adds value to the community.

Nothing stays the same, and neither should your site. When discussing the road map of where WordPress is going, Matt revealed a focus on data liberation. WordPress has been open source from day one, and much like we believe, your data should be your data.

Matt noted that Wix doesn’t even offer exports right now and many others don’t make it easy. WordPress seeks to “unlock the web” and make it easy to move your site over to them.

Seeking to introduce one-click migrations that are frictionless, Matt says plugins, tools, and workflows will move over seamlessly. Each project within the data liberation effort will have a dedicated help repository, ensuring users are supported throughout their journey to data freedom.

The power is yours

We know WordPress powers a third of the internet, including the White House and NASA websites. Recently, Swifties tested the limits of WordPress performance with over 100k requests per second, and servers didn’t need time to “shake it off.”

Moving forward, the editor will be getting a nice performance boost, estimated to be two times faster. WP admin will become highly customizable to each individual’s particular needs. While there’s no timeline for Live Collaboration, you can try it now. Be forewarned, it’ll be buggy.

Another thing you may want to try out is WordPress Playground. Over 50,000 people have experimented with it now, and you can basically create a virtual machine right in your browser.

Also in 2024, we’ll see strengthened performance and design. We don’t just mean from the visitor’s perspective – we mean on the user side too. Many have complained that blocks were too granular.

Changes will be focused on the two things WordPress does really well: writing and design. Enhanced patterns and retooled custom fields will become an important tool in this respect.

You’ll be able to swap patterns related to specific categories without changing your whole site, just individual units. Patterns will become a hybrid of their former selves. They’ll allow you to customize text but still update design globally and will act as a powerful tool for workflows between developers and users.

Custom fields are getting a refresh too. You’ll be able to update them without making custom blogs, giving developers and bloggers the best of both worlds.

The big news

Matt and friends revealed the snazzy new theme Twenty Twenty Four, which boasts 35 patterns and is the first theme to utilize the full power of Gutenberg. The sleek design full of fresh style variations and elegant aesthetics, is touted as the best theme yet. The site-building process is quicker than ever with the latest WordPress theme.

Alright, we know what you’re really waiting for. Someone during the Q&A wanted to know whether Matt eats his Spanish omelets with or without onions. He was pretty indecisive and said if he were with people, he’d go the no-onion route – but if he’s alone, he’s all about the onions.

Just kidding. Where is WordCamp US 2024? It’s time to keep it weird with WordPress because it’ll be in Portland, Oregon and tickets are undoubtedly going to go fast.

See you in 2024

We can’t wait to see where WordPress will be in a year. Check back with us next December for an all-new recap after State of the Word 2024.

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