2014 State of the Word with Matt Mullenweg

state of the word

What's more important than the State of the Union address?  The annual State of the Word address given by Matt Mullenweg, created of WordPress, at WordCamp San Francisco.  This is if you like open source software and are a fan and user of WordPress. 🙂

You might have read my 2013 State of the Word round-up last year or my WordPress 10th Anniversary post which summarized the 2012 State of the Word.  Well since WordPress gets better each year so will this State of the Word summary.

2014 State of the Word

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Notably for this year's State of the Word Mullenweg is wearing tie and plaid jacket perhaps showing that him and WordPress are growing up?  Also he has cut his hair.

Whether or not Automattic is “growing up” WordCamp San Francisco is getting bigger and better too.  The last year WordCamp San Francisco is going to be held at the Mission Bay conference center since the venue is too small, “We are literally bursting at the seems here.” said Mullenweg.  For next year's WordCamp they will move to a new location and rename it.  A date, time, and location will be announced but they are going to do something along the lines of WordCamp Europe.

One of the things Mullenweg talked about during the 2014 State of the Word was making WordPress more internationalized for users who do no speak English. Language Packs will be coming in 2015 which will allow plugin and theme developers to automatically get their WP products translated.  This means you do not have to speak other languages to make a WP contribution available to the world.  This is potentially a huge development with the introduction of full International Domain Names (IDNs) this year. I assume these IDNs will have a much wider adoption worldwide if WordPress can be easily used in non-English and Roman based languages.

Automattic is working on making searches within WordPress more localized experience for those that speak other languages as well.  What does that mean?  If you speak Spanish you can see plugin and theme reviews in Spanish and search in Spanish in addition to other languages.  This will make it easier for non-native English speakers to use WordPress.

Mullenweg also talked about how people making a living with WordPress.  “People pay their mortgages, feed their families, send their kids to school with WordPress.” he commented proudly.

Something Mullenweg attempted was to get a new post for 39 days everyday.  I've wanted to do this too… but failed… life. 🙂

Better Stats for plugin and theme authors will be introduced.  I assume these improved stats will help authors figure out and understand who actually uses their plugins rather than who just downloads it.

Updates  will be getting major improvements soon.   “Work like Chrome” is something Mullenweg said this year and he even said he was “Jealous” of the way Chrome worked at the 2013 State of the Word.  Basically they want to make updates more of a backend thing rather than attaching numeric versions to them.  He mentioned competitors, if you can even call them that, such as SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly.  (You should definitely switch from Blogger to WordPress by the way.)

“The hosts have been pioneers at this.” said Mullenweg regarding automatic WordPress updates.  He emphasized help keep web hosting companies servers secure and make it so that less WordPress sites can get hacked.  Mullenweg pointed out it is a PIA if you do get hacked and that you need coding skills to really clean it up.  Automattic is going to use their relationship with hosts to get more people upgraded to the latest version of PHP, the coding language WordPress is written in, which will help with compatibility.

The new default Worpdress theme, 2015, looks pretty slick. “Book like typographer, book like feel.” commented Mullenweg about the themes look and feel.

Automattic will not be using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as a primary communication method.  They are moving to using Slack since it is easier to search old conversations and it works on multiple devices.  Also anyone will be able to sign-up to Slack and see what's going on with WordPress chats.  Visit – chat.wordpress.org – to get an idea of what's happening with Slack and WordPress .

Mullenweg is encouraging “Five for the Future” which means they are encouraging 5% of their time to the core WordPress community.  This means Wordcamps, meetups, or contributing in the forum.

There was a lot of discussion about mobile developments.  Mullenweg pointed out that there are more mobile phones on the planet now than people.  Kind of scary but show you just how much people love their phones.  “The web capabilites of these devices are getting better, and better, and better each year.”  He believes WordPress not only need to ride the wave but be active contributing to mobile.

There were 33,378 responses to the WordPress survey this year from 179 countries. “We don't promote it that much, we just put a link to it on WordPress.org” said Mullenweg at the beginning of the 2014 State of the Word.

For those that don't want to spend the 45 minutes watching the State of the Word address I've summarized some important stats.  (You should watch the State of the Word if you are interested in WordPress or web development though.)

2014 WordPress Stats

  • 23% of respondents from US
  • 77% of respondents from outside the US
  • 2014 – first year that non English downloads surpassed English downloads of WordPress.
  • 87% of people said that used WordPress “Mostly as a CMS”
  • WordPress usage as a Content Management System (CMS) has declined since 2012.
  • 20% of respondents said they used WordPress “Mostly as a blog”
  • 6% stated they used WordPress “Mostly as an Application Framework”
  • 25% of respondents to the survey make a full-time living from WordPress.  That is 7,539 people.
  • Those who make a living from WordPress make up over 1 billion dollars in economic activity per year.
  • The Good about WP – 1. Easy 2. Plugin 3. Community
  • The Bad about WP – 1. Plugins 2. Themes 3. Updates
  • Almost 1,100,000 sites have been built on WordPress from survey respondents
  • 6% said they had only built 1 site with WordPress
  • 91% of these sites took less than 200 hours (4-5 weeks) to build
  • Since the last Wordcamp San Francisco there have been 5 major WordPress releases (3.6 Oscar3.7 Basie – , 3.8 Parker – 3.9 Smith – 4.0 Benny)
  • 785 contributors over the 5 major WordPress releases
  • 23% of the Web runs on WordPress
  • 6,459 plugins were added to the WordPress plugin repository, a 26.5% increase since last year.
  • There are now 34,061 available WordPress plugins in the repository.
  • 684 themes were added, a 36.5% increase
  • 2,781 themes are now available for free on WordPress.org
  • 1,000,000 WordPress VIP commits
  • The WordPress Android app received 2 updates
  • The iOS app received 5 updates
  • 100 meetup and Wordcamp organizers at Wordcamp San Francisco, 21 different countries represented, 105 meetup groups active
  • Only 25% of people are currently using the latest version of WordPress, 4.0
  • All mobile apps are developed on GitHub now

Pretty impressive huh?  The WordPress goal to “Democratize Publishing” becomes more of a reality each year.

Also watch this Question and Answer session that Matt Mullenweg conducted after his State of the Word address.

WordCamp San Francisco Q&A – Matt Mullenweg

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If you have any opinions about these WordPress stats, the 2014 State of the Word, or WordPress in general please leave a comment below.  Answer this, how has WordPress changed your life and made it better?  I'd love to hear answers to this as I know it's made my web experience better.

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