Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg laid out his vision for his company’s blogging platform today in a presentation at its WordCamp San Francisco conference. Called the “State of the Word”, Mullenweg spoke about the progress WordPress has made, highlighted its upcoming WordPress 3.6 release, and shared additional statistics.
In his lengthy talk, the WordPress co-founder shared insights into the platform’s pipeline — he shares his thoughts on versions 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8, and announced the launch of a developer resource site to help evolve WordPress to an app platform.
Reminiscing about WordCamp
In the eighth conference in San Francisco (it’s flagship), Mullenweg reminisced back at the event’s history, including the three weeks organizers had to get things set up, including finding a venue, handling Internet connectivity, searching for seats, but the event went well and everyone appeared to have fun. He said that while there have been many WordCamps around the world, he prefers local events than regional ones because they offer up a chance for people to better connect with one another.
There have been 314 WordCamps to date with 72 happening in 2013 so far. 1,026 people have spoken at WordCamps over the past year. Mullenweg says videos from WordCamp have been watched over 1.4 million times on the platform’s site.
Year in review
There are 46+ million downloads of WordPress and added 336 themes, 2.3 times more than last year. 9,334 plugins were requested, while 6,758 were approved, with a total of 26,000 to date in the library.
As for mobile, there have been 15 updates, 3 for iOS, 6 for Android and Windows Phone in the past 12 months.
Mullenweg announced the results of a survey of 30,000 people his company conducted to understand usage of WordPress. Among its findings, he revealed that WordPress is primarily being used on the Web. 31 percent of users are using the platform on their iOS app, 30 percent on their Android phone, 18 percent on their Android tablet, and 12 percent through the desktop app.
When asked what those surveyed use WordPress for, 69 percent specified they used it as a Content Management System (CMS), while 20 percent chose to implement it as a hybrid blog/CMS, 6 percent as a blog, and 7 percent for an app platform. Mullenweg highlighted the app platform response as something new — it didn’t even make the response list from last year.
WP Engine, a hosting provider for WordPress sites, also did their own study, in which they looked at a broad, statistically valid sample of American adults and asked them whether they’ve heard of WordPress. The results showed that 29.3 percent showed that they had.
In perhaps a boon for WordPress, Mullenweg says that the blogging platform is now powering 18.9 percent of the Web, a 2.2 point increase from 2012.
— WordCamp SF (@WordCampSF) July 27, 2013
Automattic is planning on releasing a new version of WordPress, but it won’t be today — Mullenweg says that a worldwide release will happen “soon”. Called ‘Oscar’, it will natively support video and audio files through the use of one line of text, and offer an updated way to handle versioning.
From blog to app platform
In his talk, Mullenweg says that he’s seeing the evolution of the blogging platform change from simply being about posting thoughts, but moving to being a CMS and ultimately an app platform. He thinks that WordPress can be the foundation for many offerings, almost like Lego building blocks whereby it hosts a CMS, blog, and e-commerce offering.
To help realize this vision, Mullenweg announced the creation of a developer resource website. It’s not quite ready yet so if you go to the URL, it will redirect to the WordPress.org site.
With this shift in thinking, Mullenweg shared his thoughts about WordPress 3.7 (yes, there’s already an update in the works).
Available in the beginning of October, it will be a platform-focused release with a focus on stability and security, including offerings in language packs, auto-updates for minor releases, and password enhancements
Mullenweg says that Automattic and the WordPress community will focus on reducing trac components and cleaning up parts of the platform.
Released in December, this update will focus on smaller teams, quicker iterations, less bottlenecks, and temporary hooks. All development will be down in units as plugins to help make things easier on teams. It will be lead by Mullenweg directly, after a long haitus working on WordPress.com and mobile apps. The update will take some risks as it experiments with a focus on design, widgets, and more.
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Photo credit: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images