State of the Word: WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 Out Soon

With WordPress 3.6 expected to drop any day now, the next two versions of the world’s most popular CMS and blogging tool will be released before the year is out, according to WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

In his State of the Word address at WordCamp San Francisco today, Mullenweg said 3.6 wouldn’t be released this weekend so “everyone can have a good time” at the event, but the long awaited release of “Oscar” – named after Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson – would be shipped “very soon.”

Matt Mullenweg
WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp San Francisco delivers the State of the Word.

Mullenweg also revealed more aggressive releases of future versions. WordPress 3.7 will be released in October and 3.8 will be out in December, with the 2014 theme planned for release by the end of the year.

Work on version 3.7 will be led by lead core developer Andrew Nacin and will be an application-focused release aimed at stability and security.

The release will feature better language packs, auto-updates for minor releases and password enhancements. Mullenweg pointed out a lot of that work had already been done as plugins.

Mullenweg himself will lead development on version 3.8, with a deputy lead yet to be chosen. He said the release would take an “experimental approach”, joking “it will either be amazing or a huge mistake.”

The 2014 theme will be a magazine-style release, which will feature a slider and elements you would see in a premium theme, but “in a core kind of way.”

It’s the end of July and while we’ve seen teasers for the 2013 theme, it still hasn’t been released.

“I just want a full year of a default theme, to be enjoyed for a year,” Mullenweg said.

In his address, Mullenweg also revealed WordPress is now powering 18.9 per cent of the web, up 2.2 per cent points since last year.

WordPress powers 18.9 per cent of the web.

He also announced a new WordPress.org website, developer.wordpress.org for developers. As of writing this, the site is yet to go live.

As in previous years, the results of this year’s WordPress Survey were revealed.

A total of 30,000 people from 178 countries took part in the poll, which showed people enjoy WordPress for its ease of use and the community around it.

Respondents said they least enjoyed plugins, followed by updates and security, with “nothing” even making it onto that list.

A total of 98 per cent of people said they used WordPress on the web, with 31 per cent using the software on their iPad or iPhone, 30 percent on an Android phone, 18 per cent on an Android tablet and 12 per cent on a desktop app.

WordPress 2013 Annual Survey
A total of 20 per cent of people use WordPress as both a blog and CMS, down from 25 per cent last year.

People are still primarily using WordPress as a CMS at 69 per cent, compared to 68 per cent last year. However, WordPress use as just a blog has dropped to 6 per cent, compared to 7 per cent last year. A total of 20 per cent of respondents said they used WordPress as both a blog and CMS, down from 25 per cent last year. Seven per cent of respondents use WordPress as an application platform.

Mullenweg also revealed a 96 per cent attrition rate for people starting blogs.

This year has been a busy year for WordPress and Mullenweg highlighted key achievements such as the 10th anniversary of WordPress on May 27.

He also highlighted work on the WordPress mobile apps, which have been updated three times this year for iOS and six times each for the Android and Windows Phone. He said the mobile team had grown and future features would be coming “faster and better.”

WordPress Lego
WordPress is adaptable like Lego, according to co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

In his State of the Word last year, Mullenweg talked about WordPress as an application platform into the future, but today admitted “I think we’ve been thinking about this the wrong way”. He said WordPress was actually being used simultaneously as a blog, CMS and application platform at different levels.

So far this year, WordPress has been downloaded more than 46 million times – that’s 147,000 downloads each day.

A total of 336 themes were submitted to the WordPress theme directory – 2.3 times as many as last year.

As for plugins, 9334 were submitted, with 6758 added to the plugin directory. The directory now contains more than 26,000 plugins.

Mullenweg also talked about the development of the MP6 UI plugin and the removal of the two major features planned for version 3.6 – post formats and icons.

Icons were pulled from the release in February and post formats in May.

WordPress MP6 plugin
Work on MP6 has allowed the development of WordPress icons to flourish.

He said the decision to remove icons early on allowed the development of that work as a plugin – MP6 – to flourish. The MP6 team has worked to weekly releases and, unlike other teams, Mullenweg said the developers had spent much of their talking about the plugin on Skype in private rather than publicly in IRC. He said this had allowed the team members to be more critical and experimental with their work.

He said the post formats UI with the 10 icons at the top of the WordPress editor had not worked and would function better as a drag and drop feature that allowed multiple formats in the one blog post.

“On post formats, we had to do it to know that it wasn’t what we wanted — it didn’t represent the original goal of simplifying,” Mullenweg said.

Did you watch the live steam of the State of the Word, or were you at the event? Tell us in the comments below.

27 Responses

  • The Incredible Code Injector

    RE: The WordPress poll results – “Respondents said they least enjoyed plugins, followed by updates and security”

    So WP responds to this by making plans to release 3 major versions in 6 months?

    What is the benefit of upgrading to 3.6 now – if 3.7 is going to be released in three months, and 3.8 – 3 months after that? If anything, it seems like a disincentive to upgrade.

    I feel like I must be missing something here. :/

    I can’t wait to see 3.8 though. Should be interesting. =)

    • New Recruit

      Someone asked about this in the Q&A immediately following Matt’s talk. Matt joked that “Oh no, you’re right, we didn’t think of that! We’re doing it all wrong! People say they hate updates and plugins, and we’re doing more of both!”

      But in all seriousness, I think they actually will help the situation, rather than make it worse.

      Matt regularly says they’re going for the Chrome style approach here. You don’t think about how often you update Google Chrome, because it just happens by itself and it’s always up-to-date.

      The other thing is, with regular updates, if they do happen to break something in one, it’s not long until the next one to have it fixed again.

      Ultimately, I think Matt believes that by making these things more regular, they’ll get more attention and so the problems that exist will necessarily be resolved.

      • The Incredible Code Injector

        Hi Japh,

        Thanks for the response. It’s good to know I wasn’t alone with the confusion on this.

        I think the next time I fill out a WP poll I’m going to answer exactly the opposite of what I really think. ha ha ha

        I sincerely hope Matt is right about this, but it appears to be little more than poking the bear at this point.

        I’m also very afraid that this is going to cause a cascade of increased costs due to the constant, major changes. Nearly every theme and plugin developer I’m using is already raising prices. I doubt this is going to make things better in that regard.

        Unless there is a major security issue or broken functionality due to plugin/theme updates, I really can’t see trying to justify upgrading to 3.6 to my clients. The cost, potential problems, and any UI changes are just going to confuse and irritate them. That’s something I think we all try to avoid as much as possible.

        • New Recruit

          There was some interesting talk about this after Helen Hou-Sandi’s talk actually.

          Someone asked the question about what do you do when you you tailor the admin for a client, and then a WordPress update comes out and messes it up.

          Helen’s response was essentially that she’s involved in WordPress core development, and a benefit of that is knowing what’s coming. Being able to proactively approach clients before the update comes out, and it becomes an urgent issue, has proven to be much more palatable for clients.

          Really, I think this actually comes down to management. Of the top CMSes around, WordPress is easily the best at managing backward compatibility. The development process is also completely open, so if you don’t see an update coming, it’s because you weren’t looking.

          • The Incredible Code Injector

            You don’t have to sell me on WP Japh. I’m a big fan. ;)

            By their own account, we should be on 3.7 by now. ( http://wordpress.org/about/roadmap/ ) Of course that depends on which page you look at. This other page shows 3.7 should be expected in late 2013 and 3.8 in the middle of 2014. ( http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Versions ). Both pages conflict with the timeline kindly provided by Raelene via today’s discussion.

            I’ve always told clients to anticipate minor version updates every few months. This increase in major version frequency is a horse of a different color.

            In any case WP appears to be moving in the absolute opposite direction (update wise) of what their own polls are telling them. I’m not sure what the point of taking polls even is – considering.

            It doesn’t really matter what I think. Matt is the man, and he’s done pretty damn well up to this point. This is only my two cents.

            I wish I had been able to take part in today’s discussion. Commenting on WPMU is the next best thing. =)

  • New Recruit

    So they are getting rid of post formats all together? Or the options or just the options on each new post being made? I use post formats all the time… I feel like WP, at least in this article of what I was reading, is more about WP and not about the community, i kind of feel like they are pulling a FB here… I could be totally wrong about that, but 3.6 isn’t even out and they’re just going to push 3.8 by the end of the year?… Smells a little bit to me…

  • CEO (of WPMU DEV, honest)

    Early risers huh :)

    I did get the feel that this was ‘more of the same’ [more releases, more on time stuff] etc.

    The 2.2% growth was a surprise – wonder how much of that is wp.com.

    Interesting also that MMs going back on the tools, but not just yet, gonna be a challenge.

    Re: updates, we’re still a long way from the fluidity of a Chrome update, for example, to justify that… as to whether one should be comparing a desktop and web app, that’s another thing entirely

    And a hair update too! I’m infinitely jealous ;)

    • New Recruit

      Hey James! I got up at 2am to watch all the talks :)

      2.2% was pretty surprising, huh!

      Matt said development for both 3.7 and 3.8 will be starting now. In fact, tomorrow at the contributor day, I believe.

      Agreed on auto-updates. Especially, as Jake Goldman said, if more and more people are using WordPress as an Application Platform. There’s no way you want the core of your application auto-updating, right?

      • CEO (of WPMU DEV, honest)

        You & Rae are very committed :)

        Surprised you didn’t go in fact!

        Next year will be even more interesting, assuming they are using the same data sampling etc. we can start to establish trajectories of a sort.

        Also, let’s face it, Chrome (& FF) do it better.

        Personally, just personally, I think fewer arbitrary deadlines [btw, I’m the king of arbitrary deadlines ;)] are a lot better, there’s no need for (or desire from the vast majority of users) for WP to act like some wildly pivoting startup and every time they do it costs an immense amount of time and effort for those businesses, such as both of ours, that support that.

        Although it does also give us an opportunity to stand out from the crowd in that we *do* respond, support and update alongside the platform… but random dates for misc hurried / irrelevant requirements, meh.

        • There was a woman from a design company who asked Matt during the Q&A why he felt the need to aggressively update so often. She pointed out that businesses have to spend more time in a year on update management when there are more releases, rather than focusing on their own development. Matt said faster updates would force core developers to make the updates less difficult, and he’d love to see a release a month, maybe even daily updates…

          It’s a pain for businesses but Matt basically said everyone just needs to suck it up :-/

        • New Recruit

          I went last year, this year I’m doing WordCamp Europe and Pressnomics instead :)

          Something else interesting on the idea of more frequent updates, in light of a post just now from @nacin, is it allows for bigger changes to happen quicker (in theory). I imagine that could be a concern for people.

          It’ll be very interesting to see how it goes. As Raelene quoted Matt saying above, “it will either be amazing or a huge mistake.”

          • CEO (of WPMU DEV, honest)

            They are doing a ‘whole of Europe’ one, cool, that should be well worth it.

            As for pressnomics… hmmm… fun junket tho :)

            Anyway, all this update stuff isn’t going to slow down anytime soon as it’s an inevitable move to the WP singularity.

            One with tighter and tighter integration with JP and more of a move towards an Auto owned TF-esque commercial environment… that’ll excite the IPO audience enough (or force the sale). There’s gotta be something sexier out there than selling domains and pushing adwords on wp.com. Maybe that’s behind the tools bit. Although nacin is a v reliable channeler of Matt most of the time :)

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