WordPress State of the Word 2021: Highlights and More

WordPress State of the Word 2021: Highlights and More

The WordPress project’s 2021 annual State of the Word address was delivered on December 14 to a live studio audience in New York City. 

The State of the Word is the annual keynote address delivered by the WordPress project’s co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. Every year, the event allows WordPress users to gather and reflect on the project’s progress as well as the future of open source. 

This year’s event was also live-streamed on YouTube with a majority of WordPress users attending the State of the Word virtually. Twenty-six watch parties were held across eleven countries, with more than 300 RSVPs.  

“We had people join by plane, train, and automobile,” Mullenweg said. “Those who didn’t make the trek to the live event watched the live stream from wherever they call home, all around the world.”

2021 State of the Word Highlights

Mullenweg used the address to provide a retrospective of 2021, celebrate the WordPress community’s achievements over the past year, discuss the latest trends he is seeing in the industry, and explore the future of WordPress. 

The address began with Mullenweg examining the growth of WordPress in 2021, highlighted by the WordPress Polyglots continued efforts to make WordPress fully accessible to non-english speakers. 

In short, 2021 was a great year for improved WordPress access via language packs and active translations. 

Here is where both stood at the end of 2021:

  • 13,659 language packs in core (+76%)
  • 15,900 active translations (+28%)

Additionally, the WordPress Diverse Speaker Training programs gained more than 130 new participants across 66 cities from 16 different countries.

Mullenweg said that the Learn.WordPress.org site is now available in more than 20 languages and that it will become an increasingly more integral part of what users see when they visit a WordPress website. 

Highlights of the Learn.WordPress.org site’s growth include:

  • 186 learning spaces
  • 73 workshops
  • 70 different lesson plans 
  • 2 courses available (which include collections of lesson plans)

“I think this is actually one of our biggest opportunities to expand the knowledge of what WordPress is, and also define it to a new audience through these courses,” Mullenweg said. “The more people that use a program like WordPress, the better it gets.”

On top of the efforts to make WordPress more accessible, the State of the Word also covered the current state of the tech landscape including web3, merger and acquisition activity, as well as the growth and support of open source software.

One of the biggest highlights from the year was the rise in WordPress distribution. Last year, WordPress’ usage on the web was 39.1%, and 2021 saw that figure rise to 43.1%.

Mullenweg even had some fun with the stat stating that “We actually grew two entire Wixes this year, which is a new unit of measurement.”

There were two major WordPress releases in 2021 (WordPress 5.7 and WordPress 5.8), which was one less than the WordPress core had planned for the year. 

However, since WordPress pushed the release of WordPress 5.9 to 2021, Mullenweg hinted that it could be the first year to feature four major WordPress releases. 

After the State of the Word, users were invited to stay for an interactive question and answer session where Mullenweg answered a range of questions that had been submitted and selected prior to the event, as well as some on-the-spot questions from the live stream and in-person audience. 

Full highlights from the 2021 State of the Word address can be found here.

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