Takeaways From State of the Word 2014 (WordCamp SF)

State of the Word is the annual keynote speech by Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt). This year it was given at WordCamp SF on October 26th. Today we will take a look at the current state of WordPress, where WordPress is heading and the challenges WordPress faces.

The State of WordPress

WordPress is more popular than ever, with a market share of 23% (up from 19% a year ago). That is 23% of the whole internet! WordPress is more international than ever, with more international downloads than English for the first time ever. WordPress’ biggest area of growth is its use as an app framework, not as a CMS.

A few key stats:

  • There are now 34,000 plugins and 2,700 themes in the repository.
  • 25% of the people took the WordPress annual survey make their living from WordPress – 7,539 people!
  • 91% of the websites built on WordPress took less than 4-5 weeks to build. How long did your site take?
  • There were 785 contributors to WordPress – thank you to all the contributors!

WordCamp SF Main Floor

Upcoming Features

Going along the theme of internationalization, WordPress is adding new features that widen the reach even more. Coming soon is a “fully localized” plugin and theme directory that will allow other languages (other than English) to search the repository in their native language. WordPress is also doing a lot of work with hosting companies to improve the performance of WordPress on a large scale. Hosting companies will start working with each WordPress user to upgrade to the most recent version of WordPress as well as update their own servers to the most recent version of PHP.

The big focus at WordCamp this year was on moving WordPress in the direction of being an “app framework”. This simply means WordPress can be used for more things than just blogging or being a CMS. Companies are building their SAAS (Software as a Service) companies on WordPress. In the past, these were typically developed in a different language framework such as Ruby on Rails. WordPress is moving to the REST API. REST API will allow developers to more easily build applications on WordPress.

  • WordPress is looking into the eventual possibility of making plugins and the WordPress core auto-upgrade. Matt mentioned a model similar to Google Chrome (where every time you open the program you are using the most recent version).
  • Better Statistics for plugin and theme authors.
  • New communication platform for WordPress developers – Slack. Many of the contributors in the audience were excited about this new communication tool.
  • WordPress is asking anyone who benefits from WordPress to give back 5% of their time – by contributing to the core, organizing meetups and other volunteer activities.

Getting ready for State of the Word

Challenges for WordPress

The biggest challenges for WordPress are:

  • Security: With such a large user base, security will always be a concern. The best way to protect your site is staying on the most recent version of WordPress. Many sites tend to never upgrade, which leaves vulnerabilities to exploit. You can see from this graph the adoption of different versions of WordPress:
Adoption of WordPress versions

Adoption of WordPress Versions (Credit Here)

  • Competing Against Closed Systems: Matt Mullenweg thinks the biggest threat to WordPress is closed systems. WordPress thrives on the fact that it is open source and has a thriving community behind it. A movement to more closed systems could jeopardize the success of WordPress.

View State of the Word 2014 Yourself

View the Video at WordPress.tv

Or view the slides below:


What are your takeaways or questions form this year’s State of the Word?