In case you missed it, WordPress 5.0 was released almost two weeks ago, one day prior to WordCamp US 2018 (December 7-9). At WordCamp US, Matt Mullenweg gave his yearly ‘State of the Word’, outlining what’s been going on with the WordPress Project. A reflection, but, most certainly also a look at the future. Let’s dive in!

WordPress 5.0.1 and what’s next?

As discussed before, WordPress 5.0 is the biggest change in WordPress in years. The introduction of the brand new Gutenberg editor into core is by far the biggest change we’ve seen in the writing experience. Since there are so many things hooked into the editor, this update has a lot of consequences. So many, that we at Yoast, in fact, recommend postponing updating to 5.0 to January. If you do decide to update now, we recommend you test WordPress thoroughly, but, again, we suggest you wait until January before updating to the 5.0 branch.

We’ve already seen the first update to the 5.0 branch in the shape of 5.0.1 which addressed a bunch of security issues. The next point release is scheduled for this Wednesday and this upcoming 5.0.2 release will focus on performance improvements. Specifically in relation to the new WordPress editor.

WordCamp US 2018

Team Yoast was present at the largest WordCamp in the United States in Nashville. We attended, sponsored, spoke at and volunteered for the second WordCamp edition in the Music City of the US. And it’s been a great one! There are a couple of talks I’d like to highlight:

  • Morten Rand-Hendriksen gave an inspiring talk about Moving the Web Forward with WordPress and introduced the WordPress Governance Project initiative. It’s an initiative that intends to explore how to effectively represent and embody the spirit of democratized publishing. With WordPress now having 32.5% market share, the project leaders’ decision-making processes need to be clearer than they are now. Anyone can sign up via this Google form to participate in future meetings.
  • Marieke and Joost co-presented an inspiring talk as well about the importance of valid business models to surround our (but any, really) open source community so it can thrive. Their presentation explained that a community becomes unstoppable when every company in an open source community gives back to it.
  • Gary Pendergast gave one of the first Gutenberg-related presentations on the first conference day with the title The Future of WordPress is Gutenberg. Gary brought up an interesting view stating that the next iterations in WordPress will move us closer to platform agnosticism. In other words, with Gutenberg, we’ll end up with true separation of content from presentation.

(As soon as these presentations are uploaded to WordPress.tv, I’ll update this post and link to these presentations directly.)

State of the Word

In his yearly ‘State of the Word’ at WordCamp US, Matt Mullenweg discussed a couple of interesting points that I’d like to highlight and share here:

  • As Matt Mullenweg demoed in a video how the new editor blocks offer a better experience, he showed a very nice example of copying and pasting from Microsoft Word and Google Docs into the WordPress editor. You should give a try if you’ve updated to WordPress 5.0.
  • There is now a dedicated section in the plugin repo where you can find plugins that provide Gutenberg blocks.
  • Gutenberg will be available in the mobile apps for WordPress, with a beta release expected in February 2019.
  • One of the goals of 2019 is to start working on optional auto-updates for plugins, themes, and major versions of WordPress.
  • WordPress will finally start updating its minimum PHP version. The proposed plan is to move to PHP 5.6 by April 2019 and to PHP 7.0 by as early as December 2019.

You can watch the 2018 State of the Word in full on YouTube.

Gutenberg phase 2

With Gutenberg now being the default editor in WordPress, you’d think that’s the last we’ll hear about the Gutenberg project, right? Well, not quite. During his State of the Word, Matt Mullenweg discussed the focus of the next phase of Project Gutenberg. Phase 2 is going to focus on Menus, Widgets and Customizer Integration.

I, for one, am very excited with everything Gutenberg already allows us to do, but this next phase makes me even more excited. How about you?

Read more: Should you update to WordPress 5.0 »

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