State of the Word

Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp

Venturing to San Francisco’s WordCamp Conference this past weekend, I most anticipated the “State of the Word” address. WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, presented the speech. He stated with pride that 16.7% of websites are built on the content management system.

Mullenweg summarized a book he admired entitled Mindless Eating. Author Brian Wansink documents often-unnoticed environmental influences on the amount people eat. Factors such as plate size, room lighting, and the presence of dinner companions can affect our calorie consumption. Mullenweg suggested a parallel with software usability; subtle design changes can greatly impact our interface experience.

The last major WordPress release, Mullenweg noted, included enhancements such as the Welcome Screen, tooltips which provide interface explanations, a revised media uploader, and live editing capability. Though these changes could be viewed as small additions, they make working with the WordPress admin interface more informative and enjoyable.

Mullenweg announced we can now anticipate WordPress version 3.5. Slated for December 5th release, it should include the 2012 default theme, Retina display support (for those latest, amazing Mac screens), an improved Welcome Screen, and a streamlined media uploading process. Mullenweg noted the planned features are goals, and the release date will take precedence. Other areas of improvement after 3.5 include media tagging, regular releases (3 times per year), and increased UI testing.

At this WordCamp event, I was impressed with the sense of collaboration in the air and the feeling that your peer’s success is your success. It is a culture, I realized, that resulted in the birth of WordPress and its sustained growth.

With WordPress’s hard-working core contributors, its dedicated theme and plugin developers, and its passionate front-end users, I believe we can only expect that 16.7% to increase. The vibrant WordPress community will ensure the software continues to enjoy great success.

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