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2017 State of the Word Recap


WordCamp US 2017 was the 128th WordCamp of 2017 and full of WordPress tips, lessons, and announcements. While the attendees ranged from WordPress beginners to advanced developers, everyone expressed their excitement to see the annual State of the Word lecture at the end of the weekend.

In case you don’t know what the State of the Word is, it’s a presentation given by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg and stuffed with details about new WordPress features, noteworthy stats from the year, and where they see the industry moving in 2018. And, to make it even better, GreenMellen was in the front row for it!

Here is the recap and highlights of this year’s State of the Word and what you need to know going forward into the New Year.

Highlights of WordPress Growth from 2017

  • WordPress now powers 29% of the web.
  • The Events/News widget from the 4.8 update increased Meetup attendance by 31%. Because of this, there were:
    • 4,379 Meetups worldwide (including our A Brighter Web Meetup)
    • 99,301 attendees
    • 128 WordCamps in 48 countries
    • 2,310 speakers
    • 1,008 organizers, and
    • 1,091 sponsors.
  • $45,000 was donated to three web-based charities.
  • 52 bugs were fixed through Hackerone.
  • is now in 26 languages, and language packs are available through 1,100+ themes and 2,000+ plugins.
  • 36% of WordPress websites are using https.
  • This year’s 4.8 and 4.9 releases were focused on editing, customization, and rest API. However, Matt did admit that the rest API does have room for improvement.

What’s to Come in 2018


The Tide Project runs a series of automated tests on every WordPress plugin and theme in the directory. This project’s goal is to help developers better understand how they can improve their code’s quality.

WordPress Growth Council

While this was discussed last year, it has moved slower than expected. How slow? They’re having their first meeting this week. This council’s goal is to find innovative ways to grow WordPress. The two councils will be made up of WordPress advocates, enterprises and consumers to find the best way to market WordPress to multiple audiences.

No Default Theme

Twenty Ten, the first default WordPress theme, was released in 2010, and ever since there has been a yearly release of a new theme. However, for the first time in seven years, there will not be a default theme for the upcoming year. This is so Gutenberg’s block concepts (see below) can stay in focus.

Gutenberg: A Name You Need to Know

Okay, we mentioned it twice in this post, and we’ve saved it for last because this was the single most significant takeaway from the State of the Word. Gutenberg is the longest-running major feature development of WordPress, and it’s been taking its time for a good reason. It’s going to become the default editor for WordPress.

As described by Mullenweg, Gutenberg is, “an effort to simplify into one elegant concept: blocks.” It’s going to give WordPress websites the ability to make the backend a real WYSIWYG editor, which is going to ease the way people build their websites. To truly understand it, it might be worthwhile to watch the live demo of Gutenberg that was presented during this presentation, which was also the SOTW’s first live demo.

While it won’t be available until a few more iterations, you can prepare for this to tentatively be rolled out with WordPress 5.0 in April 2018. If you’re so in love with the classic editor that’s currently available on the backend, you can download a plugin that will keep the default editor as a temporary fix.

In summary, you can expect WordPress’s next frontier to be Gutenberg-based site customization, editing capabilities and theme. To better prepare for Gutenberg, be sure to keep a lookout for our training materials coming over the next few months at A Brighter Web.

If you have any questions about the State of the Word or WordPress, contact us today!

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

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