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December 21, 2022

Last week we got a taste of what’s to come for WordPress, and 2023 is looking more promising than ever for the open-source platform. Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word revealed new features, introduced improvements to the creator’s experience, and touched on what may develop with AI technologies at our disposal.

State of the Word was a celebration of community and collaboration. Here’s the hard and fast recap of what you missed, what’s to come, and what all of us are really jazzed about for the future of WordPress.

Building community

In 2023, WordPress will be turning 20. WordPress has always been about its users, and the return to in-person events was something we all couldn’t wait for. In the past year, the number of Meetup groups doubled and the number of WordCamps skyrocketed from one to 22.

Contributions also saw an impressive jump in 2022, with 1,399 individual unique release contributors. With measures being taken to make it easier for newbies to contribute, Mullenweg expects to see that number soar past this year’s record.

Looking ahead to Gutenberg Phase 3, we can expect real time collaboration. WordPress will make creating and updating websites as easy as editing a Google Doc.

Phase 4 will bring more support that enhances the global community WordPress has fostered by going multilingual.

We’ll also see another all-woman release team in 2023.

Giant growth

Twenty Twenty-Three, bundled with 6.1, may become the penultimate theme. Block themes (and the Create Block Theme plugin) provide unlimited possibilities, especially when combined with style variations. Along with full site editing, no-code site building is quickly becoming the standard experience.

Bonus: Twenty Twenty-Three is fully responsive, accessibility ready, and has an improved writing experience.

A fully integrated Openverse and an improved interface are also coming, and it’s looking like a new notifications infrastructure is in the works.

Per Mullenweg, Gutenberg is set to become bigger than WordPress itself. Its encompassing functionality lets you build, design, and update an entire site quickly and easily. You’ll be able to create entire themes solely with blocks.

Gutenberg has also seen a significant uptick in adoption. Gutenberg is now being used by:

  • BuddyPress
  • Engine Awesome
  • Pew Research Center’s Political Typology Quiz
  • Day One
  • … and many more.

They’ve modernized WordPress.org support now that Gutenberg is embedded on bbPress forums and are gradually redesigning pages on WordPress.org. Additionally, Mobile Gutenberg has been relicensed. We’re looking forward to the possibilities cross-platform blocks will give WordPress and its applications.

New and shiny

In addition to in-person events being back, the crowd in New York (and viewers streaming, alike) were thrilled to hear the WordPress Community Summit will be returning in 2023 – and will be held in conjunction with WordCamp US in National Harbor, Maryland next August.

Full integration for the open-source WordPress content search engine “Openverse” is expected next year as well.

WordPress Playground was announced, and is a means of testing plugins, themes and more without ever having to change your actual site. This temporary site sandbox emulates a staging site (though does not replace it).

Oh! The places WordPress will go

The Learn project has been enormously successful. There’s the possibility of certifications for WordPress, with Mullenweg indicating he’d like to ensure expertise is free to learn and master.

Tumblr – already on a streamlined, augmented version of Gutenberg, will be brought fully over to WordPress in the near future. This means that the social blogging platform that younger generations are already familiar with will also be their introduction to WordPress.

Finally, Mullenweg excitedly discussed the potential of AI integrations within the Media Library and content generation. Referencing DALL-E and Chat GPT and the potential to generate content on demand open the door to quickly made, truly unique content.

6.2 is coming in March. Stay tuned.

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