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The future of WordPress and Gutenberg Editor – Matt’s talk at WordCamp Europe 2019

The future of WordPress and Gutenberg Editor – Matt’s talk at WordCamp Europe 2019


What seems to be the future of WordPress and Gutenberg Editor? These are the topics Matt covered in his summer state of WordPress at WCEU in Berlin and all the great things coming ahead.

2019 WordCamp Europe record-breaking

First of all, couldn’t go forward without mentioning that this year’s #WCEU is the largest one in history! 3200 registered attendees with more than 2600 showing up! Great work of all organizers led by a guy from our home country, Milan Ivanović!


Top WP Hosting recommended by Meks

But, that’s for some other story, let us cover Matt’s future of WordPress highlights.

Summer state of WordPress and Gutenberg Editor

As Matt just held his WordCamp Europe 2019 keynote speech, all these info are brand new and fresh. These are the very things that will happen in the coming months.

First of all, he did a quick recap of Gutenberg Editor launch – similar to the one from 2018 WCUS. On top of that, Matt introduced us the next two phases, that include:

III – collaboration, multi-user editing, workflow

IV – multilingual support – very important for Europian WordPress community, yes? 🙂

Furthermore, he explained that we are now in phase 2 of Gutenberg where we are working with widgets (old school blocks), customization, and menus. Also, these cool improvements are happening as well:

  • The team behind Gutenberg brought the block manager to WordPress post-Gutenberg launch, along with “snack bars” and other improvements.
  • Pre-existing widgets and block grouping, putting several of them together and move them around as a single unit
  • Nesting and column improvements – think of it as blocks inception, blocks within blocks within blocks…
  • Snack bar notices as a new feature. In the old days, whenever something new happens, we would put it on top. Now, it’s a snap bar pop up in the bottom left corner of the screen.

A few cool interesting facts Matt mentioned:

  • over 150,000 posts gets published on Gutenberg every single day!
  • 21 out of  23 Democratic presidential candidate websites are on WordPress!

Additionally, Gutenberg for Drupal is here! The Drupal community was able to adapt and get it embedded into Drupal very quickly. Therefore, Drupal and WordPress developers could work side by side,to create or improve blocks that are immediately accessible to both communities. Nice one!

The future of WordPress and Gutenberg in the coming months

  • Grids blocks as an add-on plugin that creates new sections of blocks
  • Installing a new block “in line” in the editor.
  • Block directory in the making, something like a top menu level item in WordPress. It will take over other “top-level navigation” and brings a “playfulness” to discovering Gutenberg blocks. Imagine Lego blocks creativity, where the world is your oyster. That’s the feeling we want people to have while exploring and navigating blocks.
  • Navigation blocks – everything that we used to do on the menu screen can now be done in the block, and you can put it in any place you like. And as we get to more and more block-based themes, you’ll be able to have a navigation block menu wherever you like.

Gutenberg experiments

Earlier, there was no visual relationship with what came before and after; people were confused when blocks moved around, with all that instant changes. Now, improved animation and moving of Gutenberg blocks are being tested and experimented. Motion ability to have blocks with a subtle motion feature which brings much cleaner and better semantics seems like a good thing.

New footnotes feature is something team tests in Gutenberg as well as a “resize and snap to grid” feature that would be under the rules of the WordPress theme. Basically, when you resize an image, it will bring in a grid that can be defined by a theme. And as you move things around it, it will snap immediately. Very cool.

Gutenberg for mobile apps is live. It’s tricky work, the team has to duplicate all of the work of the hundreds of contributors that contribute to Gutenberg, but it’s coming along nicely.


The future of WordPress Q&A

Q: Without Envato, Wix and Facebook pages would outcompete WordPress because there is no high end designed/team on Envato to WordPress is like a twin brother. Would you ban your twin brother from speaking at your birthday, who worked so hard to help you out in the last ten years?

A: All parts of the WordPress community, including Envato, contributed to its success. I don’t think I would agree that WordPress wouldn’t be where it is today without it.

Q: Are there pros and cons to paid entries in directories?

A: I think that paid directories are totally fine. Automattic itself, WooCommerce has a paid directory, 100% GPL of add-ons for the WooCommerce extense. And talking about directories, we launched a new feature on jobs directory. Contributor jobs, for people who seek contributor or would like to be a contributor and be sponsored, to connect.

Q: When will a democratic structure implemented on and related to set a transparent decision-making process, when will this happen?

A: We always experimented with different ways of writing the software and running the project. Democracy is an interesting one. It is interesting to have a particular directory there or a representative democracy, where we can somehow let the tens of millions of WordPress users know that they can click on something to represent their interest. We would need a way to help that citizen be informed, and to so many things. That would be fascinating; I haven’t seen that kind of democracy implemented too many outside experiments we’ve done as well – where you might do voting or polling on a feature.

Q: How are we addressing accessibility? How do you plan to address the real concrete of the WP Campus in-depth accessibility audit recommendations?

A: I do believe that we will never be done with it. It’s always gonna be a journey, and we can always will better. The technology changes, our learnings, and growth in that area changes too.

WP Campus audit was really fantastic, and one of the things that made me really appreciate our community is how quickly some things have already been fixed. Accessibility is hard, if it were easy, everyone would do it, and we would have done it. By tracking the issues and by working together collaboratively, to try to figure out, especially where there is no one right obvious answer. We’ll get there. I do believe that we can make every release of WordPress better than it was before. It is challenging because Gutenberg does a ton of things that have never been possible with the WordPress core before. With more use, we will improve accessibility and make the web better.

/remember these great accessible design tips from last year?/

Q: Do you think themes will ever go away in the future thanks to Gutenberg?

A: I don’t know. They’re gonna change, for sure. I don’t think they’ll ever go away. It’s a very user-friendly concept. I can see kind of an array, a menu of designs, and use that as a starting point.

Now what we call a theme has a specific definition, and it could evolve over time. Like a starter template and you can imagine it being a library of patterns that you can choose from. You can build with Gutenberg using a nest of blocks or something like that. But it would take you a hundred clicks or something. So if you could just choose it, perhaps from in-line or similar fashion, I showed you, that would be a really fast way of creating complex layouts that would work across different themes. And finally, you have aesthetic styles. A lot of our themes right now represent a kind of very similar aesthetic, kinda like businessy, minimalist, a lot of colors or like white and blue. It’s so inspiring walking around Berlin, and we have some examples of graffiti here. Even just by looking around, how cool it is that some of these aesthetic differences, there are thousands of years of art history now that we are not incorporating well in our theme directory and I would like to see that more.  That could be a style that you apply to anything.

I think that we’re gonna decouple what a theme is a little bit but don’t know when or how or what’s that gonna look like.

Q: With Gutenberg and other advances in progress, is there a new underscore to be developed in the future?

A: We are in the experimental phase. Themes don’t go away, but I think we might have new concepts that do the part for users what they currently get from themes in the bundle package, maybe decouple a bit, and underscore frameworks will become important for that. Perhaps that is an area to work on maybe in 2020.

Q: Is there going to be more focus on the Latin/South America regions for WordPress space?

A: We are starting to explore more regional WordCamps. WordCamp US and Europe are in English, so I’m curious to see regions, not in English.

the future of WordPress keynote


All this work around Gutenberg, new features and experiments are what’s been going on for the past seven months. A big part of what Matt and his team are doing with Gutenberg is that they don’t just want to make it possible. They want to make it beautiful, to make it easy to make really beautiful, rich web experiences. Because it’s part of what the web needs to win. Finally, while we wait to see what’s next in the WordPress themes department, let us remind you that all of our themes are Gutenberg compatible!

In case you missed Matt’s talk, or you need to catch up, these are all the highlights from his keynote speech. Feel free to share it on Social and let us know which part you liked the most!


*photo credit: Twitter


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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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