Yesterday saw the return to a live State of the Word annual address, broadcast to the world from our new NoHo event space in New York City! Suited up and re-energized by a recent trip to Antarctica, Matt delivered his thoughts on the state of WordPress in 2021 and made some big announcements for 2022 and beyond. Check out some highlights below or watch the entire address!
WordPress 5.9 is Coming in January
Originally slated for December 2021, the release of WordPress 5.9 was delayed until January 25 so that full site editing – which allows for greater customization and simpler site building – could be fully realized prior to the 5.9 reveal. In other exciting news, Matt shared that version 6.0 would be coming later in the year and that 2022 could very well see a total of four new releases instead of the usual three. Watch this space!
2021 WordPress.org Highlights: News, Openverse, Pattern Directory
This year, WordPress.org saw the redesign of the News page, which was inspired aesthetically by the playfulness of jazz, as well as the launch of Openverse search engine (named before Facebook’s recent name shift, we swear!). The search engine allows users to easily find openly licensed photos for their sites. There are currently more than 600 million images available on the Openverse, and early 2022 will see the addition of audio files!
The Pattern Directory was also launched this year, where folks are able to copy and use any of its featured patterns to spice up their sites with little or no coding expertise. Starting with WordPress 5.9, users will also be able to add their own patterns to the directory, empowering them to help others create beautiful online content.
Hey, Hey, It’s the Polyglots
A sign of our ongoing commitment to global inclusivity, accessibility, and the democratization of the internet, 2021 saw a 76% increase in the language packs available as core WordPress plugins. We now have nearly 16,000 active translators in the community, which means that WordPress products can be translated into 71 different languages at release.
WordPress Powers 43% of the Internet (Actually 43.1%, But Who’s Counting?)
The company saw significant growth in 2021, and WordPress software now powers more than 43% of the internet. This year also saw nearly 12% growth in both the number of available themes and total downloads (fresh downloads, not including updates).
It’s a Block (Theme) Party!
At the end of 2020, there were only two or three fully customizable block themes available in the world. As the end of 2021 approaches, we now have 28 – a 1,000% increase! WordPress 5.8 added the ability to manage widgets in the block editor as well as a new Query Block and duotone filters, and next year will see the release of the appropriately titled Twenty Twenty-Two default block theme.
Have a Penny, Leave a Penny. Need a Penny, Take a Penny.
The Five for the Future initiative, launched in 2014, continues to be a top priority. In exchange for all of the benefits that they’ve personally received through their work, Five for the Future asks members of the WordPress community to give 5% of their time back to the community however they see fit – reporting bugs, offering translations, developing plugins or themes, designing code, offering training, etc. – which, in effect, fertilizes the soil for continued future growth.
Watch the Recap
If you missed the event’s live stream, you can watch the full address below.