State of the Word 2018

Over the weekend I was in Nashville with over a thousand other WordPress enthusiasts. I met a ton of people, learned a lot, and was able to share the annual State of the Word address with the audience, which is a big summary of what WordPress has been up to and where it’s going. This year we covered user testing, Gutenberg, 5.0, the future phases of Gutenberg, all the latest and greatest blocks, new minimum PHP requirements, the adoption of 5.0, and some event and community updates. You can also see just the slides. The Q&A is here in a separate video.

If you’d like a text summary and commentary on the speech, Post Status and WP Tavern both have good write-ups.

20 thoughts on “State of the Word 2018

  1. I still have not figured out if I will be able to continue to publish texts, such as the ones I write today, that when they are printed they reach 17 pages, after 2021 (when classic publisher support ends)? You just can not do this with the paragraph block. Where are the writing options?

  2. Just looking at themes on since Gutenberg launched. No clues are to which are compatible with Gutenberg. Similarly with AMP, no clues which are AMP compatible. Seems a fragmented mess.

    1. Hi there,

      I work with themes on We have 30-plus themes available that support the new editor. They are the ones marked featured in our showcase, plus all of the default themes, Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Seventeen, etc.

      We’re working on adding new filters to our theme showcase to surface these better.

      Regarding AMP, all themes can take advantage of AMP. It’s turned on by default and used on all posts. You can read more about that in our support doc.

  3. As an enthusiast of constant growth and moving forward, I appreciate the effort that has gone into Gutenberg — to this point. As has been said many times, “This is the first step — a beginning to things unimaginable, today.”

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way — where there’s no will (to learn) there are excuses.

    We learn by doing and the fun is in the doing;
    — so, let’s have fun learning.

    It’s time for Inspirators.

  4. Great talk Matt!

    It’s very exciting to see how well WordPress is going through this major change. The WordPress project is definitely one of the biggest and most important collaborative initiative of our time.

    We all know big projects that get so big they can´t move. It’s amazing how the WordPress community managed to face this challenge with a two year process to start a fresh new phase.

    Congratulations to everyone!

  5. Thanks Matt for sharing.
    Part of what i just saw from your presentation about phase 2 and 3, looks like beginner developers are going to have an insanely huge learning curve just to contribute to this platfrom.

    I don’t know but just as you said, Javascript is the future for WordPress meaning that only those with GOOD Javascript knowledge will comfortably contribute to this amazing platform. Don’t you think this is getting discriminatory? And i think the same for theme and plugin developers.
    Btw, l love Gutenberg so far as a designer and loving to learn it. 🙂

    1. There is always a learning barrier no matter what technology we use, but one advantage of JavaScript is it’s the standard now for all coding courses and it’s probably the most useful thing to learn right now, across the entire web not just WordPress.

  6. As a long-standing semi-afficionada of WordPress, I find these state of speeches very informative. Gutenberg is so good I have to apologize for ranting on Twitter about my incapability to turn it permanently ON in hosted WordPress and thus I thought that it cannot be turned on permanently, yet. Done 😉 It’s the classics: bugs are often between the pixels and the back of my skull.

  7. Hi Matt, I’ve been using WordPress for my blog since 2005. I appreciate everything that you and your team are doing. I’ve enjoyed using your work. I want to also bring to your attention that the way you guys released WP5 and Gutenberg wasn’t ideal. You’ve no doubt noticed the negative responses and reviews. I personally completely understand where you’re trying to go with the improvements, but you shouldn’t force it on people. A more balanced/gradual approach would have gone a long way to getting people on board. For example, instead of making Gutenberg the default editor in WP5, it would have been better to provide it alongside the classic editor, perhaps a tab in the classic editor, so that people could easily switch back and forth (unless a theme specifically requires one of them for it to work correctly). This is something you can still do with an update. This way, people could still keep using the classic editor, but could switch to Gutenberg and try it out and slowly get used to it without suddenly being confronted by it as the default option, while it’s not compatible with whatever themes and plugins they’re using. This caused unnecessary issues and bad experiences.

    Because the way you’ve done it instead is to force Gutenberg on them and then telling them to install the classic editor. It should have been the other way around. And eventually as more themes and plugins supported Gutenberg and people felt the need to upgrade their sites and are convinced they can benefit from it, they would switch to it themselves.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, it was definitely considered and basically what we started doing with 4.9 over the summer, giving that opt-in experience.

      1. Yes I noticed the opt-in during 4.9. But still there’s a difference with what I’m saying. Perhaps I wasn’t clear so one more try.

        What I would have done, is release 5.0 with both the classic editor and Gutenberg included. Once the user tries to edit a post/page for the first time in 5.0 you ask them if they want to switch to Gutenberg and make that the default (adding ‘ you can always switch back if your theme/plugins are not compatible’ — even better if you can detect if there will be incompatibilities and warn them). If they choose yes, then Gutenberg becomes the default. If it doesn’t work out well with their existing setup (themes/plugins etc.) they know they can switch to classic editor without issues with one click and continue as if nothing happened.

        This way, you wouldn’t get people crying on forums and review sections and moderators having to respond with “install the classic editor plugin” constantly, and users wouldn’t feel as if Gutenberg was being forced on them.

        Even better, at the top of the screen it would be nice to have tabs to easily switch back and forth between the editors so they could experiment with and try out Gutenberg at their own pace. So even if they initially didn’t choose to use Gutenberg, they can easily switch and try it out later with one click on the tab in the editor (perhaps even on a per-post basis). Once they later upgrade their plugins and themes supporting Gutenberg, I’m sure they would want to try it and eventually switch once they experience the benefits. Having the tabs would also keep reminding them that Gutenberg is just one click away from trying it out again.

        And then, eventually over time (4-6 years?) you deprecate the classic editor, similar to how you’re now finally going to remove support for older php versions.

      2. Gutenberg is the basis for other developers to build on, so such a lengthy transition and uncertain status as a plugin after 1.5yrs had a diminishing marginal return. Being in core was an important next stop step.

  8. The minimum PHP version was exciting to see.

    I remembered this post by you way back in 2007 after reading the WP Tavern post about it today. I think the comments you made there are good and still apply today, but like back then, I think moving WordPress to match the official PHP standards is still the best option. So it’s nice to see we’re all now on the same page with this 🙂