WordPress 3.8 Parker features an Updated WordPress Dashboard

WordPress 3.8 Parker was released only a few days ago on December 12th, 2013 and the latest iteration of the world's most popular blogging and content management system has just gotten a major backend design update.  Checkout the refresh below when I updated one of my other websites, CarNewsCafe.

WordPress 3.8 Oscar

wordpress 3.8 parkerThe new WordPress dashboard and backend is much cleaner and seems to be more inline with how a lot of WordPress themes look nowadays.  I imagine this is not a coincidence on the part of Automattic, the company that handles WordPress development.

The new backend uses Open Sans font, which most people probably didn't know about but it works well in the WordPress dashboard.  The idea is to make things less cluttered and easier to read and manage.  In addition icons have been updated and they are now vector based which means they can scale to your screen.  That means they load faster and work better.

Dashboard Color Schemes

wordpress dashboard color schemeIn addition to the udpated look you now have options in terms of what colors you want the WordPress dashboard to look like.  There are currently 8 options to choose from which includes Default, Light, Blue, Coffee, Ectoplasm, Midnight, Ocean, and Sunrise.  The idea is to provide more options and better contrast to be easier on the eyes for WordPress users and admins.

If you have a WordPress website that a lot of different people access, a user can individually choose what WordPress dashboard color scheme they prefer.  A pretty cool update to the backend.

WordPress Twenty Fourteen ‘Magazine' Theme

wordpress twenty fourteenFor WordPress 3.8 Parker there is also a new theme called Twenty Fourteen (2014).  It has the layout of a magazine which seems to be what a lot of people use WordPress for.  The new theme is by far the cleanest default WordPress theme Automattic has come out with.

Other WordPress 3.8 Improvements

In addition to all these cool updates to WordPress 3.8 Parker there are several other nice updates.  This includes better theme management which allows you to see more advanced previews of themes you might want to switch to.  Also the widget menu is easier to handle.

It seems that the WordPress team also has improved the functionality of WordPress for mobile phones and tablets.  Creating and managing posts should be easy no matter what device you are using now.

There are other WordPress tweaks you might notice too.  For instance if you check your plugins page eeactivted plugins are highlighted in white while active plugins are in blue.  (I personally find this confusing.)  Also there is no “Quickpress” in the WordPress dashboard anymore and in it's place you will find a “Quick Draft” box.

wordpress quick draftAt first I was apprehensive about the WordPress 3.8 update since I've been using WordPress for awhile.  Automattic didn't change too much and they make ease-of-use a top priority unlike a lot of other open source software.  After a few days I really like the updated WordPress dashboard and backend.  It is definitely faster and snappy and I imagine that Automattic developers worked hard on improving the WordPress core code to achieve this in addition to reworking the design.  Kudos to everyone that contributed to WordPress 3.8 Parker.

By the way WordPress 3.8 was codenamed “Parker ” after the great Alto saxophone player, Charlie Parker.  Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, likes to use Jazz musicians to codename WordPress releases since he is Alto saxophone player.  WordPress 3.6 Oscar was named for Oscar Peterson and WordPress 3.7 Basie was named after Count Basie.  Matt Mullenweg and these these other Jazz giants might be great musicians but they don't have singing dogs. 🙂

If you haven't updated you WordPress website(s) or blog(s) to WordPress 3.8 I would recommend you do it to enjoy the new features.  I would encourage you to make a backup of your WordPress installations before you pupated though.   You never know what might happen in an update and it is always a smart precaution.

If you are used WordPress 3.8 Parker are you thoughts about the updated and new dashboard?  Do you love it or hate it?

2013 State of the Word with Matt Mullenweg

state of the word
Matt Mullenweg giving the 2013 State of the Word

The 2013 State of the Word was recently presented at WordCamp San Fransisco.  State of the Word is an annual presentation given by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress.  He talks about the developments and progress WordPress has made in the past year and the future plans and hopes for the platform.

Even if you don't personally use WordPress and use another content management system (Joomla, Drupal, etc) it is still good to watch the State of the Word's to know what is going on with WordPress. Keep in mind WordPress is the largest content management system (CMS) out there and is getting more popular and more powerful everyday.  I don't see this trend changing anytime soon and I don't think any other CMS can catch-up with it's rapid development.

So what is new with WordPress?  Apparently the Automattic team has reworked the plugin review system.  “Now all ratings are attached to reviews.” commented Mullenweg.  Essentially this means nobody can give you 1-star without saying why they think it deserves that rating.  Also the plugin author can now respond in a thread to a negative review.  If the plugin improves a reviewer can change it.  Matt Mullenweg did many 1-star reviews have been changed to 5-star reviews.

Another interesting development is that there will be a WordPress book coming out soon.  According to Matt Mullenweg it will the first book to be written on Github, which is for sharing coding databases.

There was also talk about the fact that WordPress will start to become not just a blog/CMS platform but an application platform.  Automattic will be focusing more on becoming a developer resource (developer.wordpress.org). Mullenweg thinks of WordPress as a platform that with different building blocks such as a CMS, blog, or e-commerce blocks you can build in or take out as you need.

Matt also talked about the MP6 plugin project within Automattic.  I have never heard of this but apparently it changes the user interface administration in the backend of WordPress.   You can change colors, it is responsive, and it looks pretty slick from what I could tell.

WordPress 3.8 apparently will feature Luke Skywalker and Automattic hopes to release it sometime in December this year (I think).  Mullenweg also said he would like to start releasing the default WordPress theme like automakers.  (Automakers release the new model before the year even starts often.)

At the time WordCamp San Francisco took place WordPress 3.6 was not released but was on August 1st, 2013.  WordPress 3.6 “Oscar” was named after Oscar Peterson, the great Jazz pianist.  In State of the Word 2013 Matt Mulleweg highlighted some of the rising “WordPress rockstars” as he called it that have helped with it's continued development.  They did show the video for WordPress 3.6 (which I am running now) and it is sweet!

“Be the change with WordPress.” said Mullwenweg at the end of the presentation.  He really encourages people to get involved with helping out in the WordPress community.

You can watch the State of the Word right here or by visiting WordPress.TV.  There was also a Q&A session after the State of the Word presentation.

Some of the most interesting parts of Matt's State of the Word presentations is when he mentions the growth of WordPress along with some WordPress Stats and numbers. I've tried to organize them here;

WordPress Stats

  • 18.9% of the web now runs on the WordPress platform.  This is a 2.2% increase from last year.  (Matt mention it should be as popular as Justin Bieber.)
  • 46 million WordPress downloads from (46,355,774) in the last year.  175,000 everyday.  (That number does not include automatic scripts installations only downloads from WordPress.org.)
  • In a WPEngine survey they asked US adults, “Have you heard of WordPress?” 29.7% of survey respondents said “Yes.”
  • 336 WordPress Themes were added to the directory this year.  That is 2.3 as many as last year. Impressive considering each theme goes through a theme review process.
  • 1,500 people were active in WordPress Core development over the past year.
  • 30,000 respondents from 178 different countries took part in the WordPress survey.  “Community” and “ease-of-use” are what people like the best about WordPress.  The least?  “Plugins” are the least favorite along with “updates” and “security.”
  • 15 updates for the WordPress mobile apps were released.  There were 3 updates for iOS, 6 for Android, and 6 for Windows phones.  (Who wants a Windows phone?)
  • Make.wordpress.org blogs have received 10,945 posts and comments in 2012, which is double the amount since last year.
  • 50,000 blogs that were created 7 days ago on WordPress.com will be active today.  That is only a 96% rate of attrition rate of bloggers.  They believe this number is higher for WordPress.org users because of the extra steps.  Since you have to buy a domain, hosting, and setup a few things yourself.

WordPress Plugin States

  • Over 40,000 plugins have been relaunched.
  • 9,334 plugins requested to be reviewed in the past year and 6,758 were approved for the WordPress plugin directory by Automattic.
  • There are now 26,000 WordPress plugins in the directory.

WordPress Usage

  • 98% of people use WordPress on web.
  • 31% use WordPress on an iPad or iPhone
  • 30% use Android mobile phones
  • 18% Android tablets
  • 13% Desktop Apps

What do you use WordPress for?

  • 69% use WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)
  • 20% Blog/CMS
  • 6% as a Blog
  • 7% as an App platform (new entry this year)

WordCamp Stats

  • 314 WordCamps have been held to date
  • 72 WordCamps have taken place in the past year.
  • 1,026 people have given talks at WordCamp over the past year.
  • Videos of WordCamp presentations on WordPress.TV have been viewed 1.4 million times.  So you better prepare a good talk at WordCamp! 🙂

WordPress 10th Anniversary

WordPress 10th Anniversary and some cool WordPress facts

wordpress 10th anniversary

WordPress, the most popular blogging and publishing platform on the net, turned 10 years old today.  Happy 10th Anniversary WordPress!  This marks an amazing occasion and milestone for the content management system  first released 10 years ago by Matt Mullenweg.  

In internet terms 10 years is essentially “forever” but it feels like the content management system is still pretty new.  You might have noticed the majority of my websites and blogs run on WordPress.  (I use MyBB for forums since WordPress is really not ideal for forum software.) I feel like I have been using WordPress forever but realized it has only been a couple of years since I started using the easiest and best content management system around.  Some people have been using WordPress a lot longer and their expertise goes far beyond where my knowledge probably could ever go.  I learn more about the depths and capabilities of this powerful publishing platform everyday though.

To celebrate the WordPress 10th Anniversary there are special meetups for WordPress users, enthusiasts, bloggers, etc. happening in 639 communities all over the world.  If you want to participate in one of these special WordPress 10th Anniversary events click here to find a MeetUp in your area.

If you don't plan to celebrate the WordPress 10th Anniversary by meeting-up and partying with people, that's fine.  Here are some awesome and cool facts about WordPress you might find interesting  though and you can have a party at your computer;

  • Installation files for WordPress, from WordPress.org, were downloaded 44 million times in 2012, which is a few downloads every second of every minute during the day.  Something to note is this does not include automatic script downloads using Softaculous, Fantastico or other scripts.  Matt Mullenweg was even impressed with this number during his “State of the Word” speech at WordCamp 2012 in San Francisco.
  • WordPress.com runs over 66 million websites including some of the largest sites on the web.  This includes CNN, NBC Sports, TED, TechCrunch, Forbes and many other major news and publishers that all run on WordPress VIP.
  • It is estimated that 17% of the websites in the world run on WordPress or use a customized WordPress framework.
  • 52% of the top 100 Technorati blogs run on WordPress and no other content management system comes close to matching that number.
  • The 2012 WordPress survey had 27,000 respondents from 158 different countries around the world.  2/3 of those were from outside the Unites States.
  • Roughly 20,000 people are making money from WordPress or their entire living.  This includes designers, plugin developers, managers, third party software, etc.
  • WordPress was launched on Memorial Day!  (Happy Memorial Day everyone!)
  • WordPress will save the world!

Ok, that last one might be stretch but I think it is true fact.  People can share ideas a lot easier and make the world a better place with WordPress in my opinion.

Do you have any cool WordPress facts you want to add to this list?  Please leave a comment below and let me know.  I'd be happy to hear if I have missed something because I know I probably have.

Remember to keep blogging, writing, and making open source platforms such as WordPress continue their dominance on the web.  Congrats to AutoMattic (the company behind WordPress) , the developers, enthusiasts, coders, and the entire WordPress community that has made it all possible.

I probably wouldn't be online and blogging today if it wasn't for WordPress.  Do you feel the same way?  I'd love to hear from readers about how WordPress has changed your life as it certainly changed mine.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

Matt Cutts doesn’t recommend ccTLD Domain Hacks

In a Google Webmaster video that was released today Matt Cutts seems to suggest that using what is known as “Domain Hacks” is not necessarily a great idea.  Here is the question that he responded to in the the Google Webmaster video.

We have a vanity domain (http://ran.ge) that unfortunately isn't one of the generic TLDs, which means we can't set our geographic target in Webmaster Tools. Is there any way to still target our proper location?

Aaron D Campbell, Phoenix, AZ

I am glad Aaron asked this as using a vanity domain, aka Domain Hacks, is something I was curios to know since I have thought about registering a few.  For those don't know, Domains Hacks or a vanity domain is when a person, business, or site decides to utilize a country code top level domain (ccTLD) to complete a word or phrase.  This is instead of using a more generic top level domain (gTLD) such as a COM, NET, or ORG.  A good example of a Domain Hack would be Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, using Ma.TT for his personal blog.  The .TT domain extension is technically for Trinidad & Tobago but Matt Mullenweg isn't using it for a business for Trinidad & Tobago just his personal blog.

Over the past couple years vanity domains and domain hacks have really grown in popularity and use.  Most domainers, internet marketers, and web professionals know that finding a good .COM domain at a reasonable price is slim nowadays.  Even finding a suitable .NET  and. ORG domain these days that has not been taken can also be a challenge.  I felt lucky when I was able to get the domain for Singing Dogs.

A lot of savy internet entrepreneurs have turned to using domain hacks and vanity domains like Aaron and his business partners with Ran.GE which I think is a smart domain.  (In case you didn't watch the video that is the ccTLD for Georgia. No, not the the US state the country.)

While there are quite clever domain hacks and vanity domains in use, Matt Cutts warns that Google categorizes ccTLDs as being for the specific country that they were originally intended for.  So if you are using .ES, the ccTLD for Spain, Google will assume you are targeting Spanish traffic since that is mainly what the domain is for.  So unfortunately Aaron and his buddies can't tell Google specifically that, “Hey, this domain is not for the country of Georgia.”

There have been a few successful ccTLDs that have gone mainstream in the past few years.  This includes .ME the original ccTLD for Montenegro, .CO which was originally for Columbia, and .TV which was the ccTLD for islands of Tuvalu.  A lot of internet start-ups really like .ME and .CO which I don't really understand honestly.  The domain extension .TV is somewhat popular due to the fact it can be used for video and show purposes.  (Keep in mind though that since these were adopted for use globally they are treated differently by Google now.)

What I took away from the video was that it is better to stick with a gTLD (com, net, org) since there won't be any confusion with Google or more importantly site visitors.  So you might want to think carefully before registering  domain hacks or vanity domains.