State of the Word 2023 Recap


The WordPress community was abuzz with excitement as Matt Mullenweg, WordPress’ illustrious co-founder, took to the international stage to deliver the first non-North-American “State of the Word”, live from Spain. While there was some retrospection, the theme of the event was definitively looking forward as Matt (and Matias ventura, WordPress’ lead architect) teased new features and directions for the WordPress CMS.

A Look Back

Executive Director Josepha Haden kicked things off with an optimistic look back at the year of WordPress. WordPress celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and Haden predicts that the “Shared Responsibility” of WordPress (if done properly) can fuel the next 20 years as well.

Some numbers:

  • 70 WordCamps in 33 countries (a large step up from the pandemic years)
  • 2,500 organizers powering 3,300+ WordPress gatherings (meetups, camps, etc.)
  • Over 1,300 new contributors to the WordPress project

Alongside WordPress, Matt took some time to mention the “Openverse” initiative – which won an awards from Open Education this year (the “open infrastructure” awards). Matt also mentioned initiatives to not only showcase WordPress sites on the WordPress showcase, but to showcase members of the community who have passed away to honor their memory.

Gutenberg Highlights

We’re entering Phase 3 of the Gutenberg roadmap – Collaboration. Matias Ventura took to the podium to talk about current newest enhancements for Gutenberg:

  • Newly added formatting options like footnotes
  • Improved performance in the editor
  • Full site building with Patterns
  • The “Interactivity API” to allow for instant front-end performance
  • Real-time collaboration prototype – currently available in a plugin

The next phase is one of Collaboration. Highlights for future feature enhancements include:

  • Improved distraction-free writing modes and flow tweaks
  • A “Zoom Out” mode to enable high-level editing with patterns
  • “Globally Designed, Locally Written” patterns – the ability to change global pattern designs without disrupting the text that’s been included in each pattern.
  • Improvements to theme.json to allow pattern styles to be individually controlled.

More performance and speed updates are on the horizon as well.

Data Liberation

Of major focus – simultaneous to Gutenberg’s roadmap – is “Data Liberation”. Matt feels as though the current CMS ecosystem is too set on locking down users into their current content. A new section on the WordPress site – Data Liberation – aims to be a storehouse for moving data to/from WordPress into/out of other Content Management Systems. The goal: the ability to import -any- content seamlessly into WordPress, no matter the structure or system. This also includes an enhanced WordPress-to-WordPress migration as well.

Other Highlights

Some other highlights were mentioned:

  • Playground capabilities that include rapid local development, pull-release testing, and the ability to store playground “blueprints” for distribution – similar to how Kubernetes works.
  • AI prototyping to generate Playground Environments – ask the playground to create a site, and it provides the content and navigation scaffolding
  • Automated State of WordPress translations
  • A revamped Accessibility Team
  • A focus on showcasing WordPress-at-Scale (in the Enterprise Setting)

WordCamp US

The date and location for WordCamp US was also announced. Portland, Oregon will be hosting the upcoming year’s WordCamp, held on September 17-20 2024 (and a subsequent year in 2025).