The last week of 2023 is approaching, and summaries of how the year went and goals for 2024 are being prepared.
Hello, I’m Javier Casares, and you’re listening to WordPress Podcast, bringing the weekly news from the WordPress Community.
You’ll find updates from December 18 to 24, 2023.
2023 is coming to an end, and it’s time to look back at everything that has happened over the year and celebrate what has been achieved in the WordPress Community.
This year, 304 new contributors have been added to the core of WordPress, across the 3 major versions, 6.2, 6.3, and 6.4, and 6 minor versions.
Phase 2 of Gutenberg has ended, and Phase 3 has begun, enhanced with significant performance improvements both in the editor and on the front end.
Support for PHP 5.6 has been dropped, and PHP 8.0 and 8.1 have been moved out of beta, in addition to adding a bunch of new APIs: HTML, Interactivity, Lightbox, Custom Fields, Layout, Block Bindings, and improvements in block synchronization.
The Plugins team has been completely reformed, optimizing processes and plugin reviews, along with launching the Plugin Checker plugin.
The Themes team focused on improving documentation for block themes and on the Create Block Theme plugin.
The Meta team finalized the redesign of different parts of the website, which will continue throughout 2024; included two-factor authentication in the system, and supported many improvements to the directories of plugins, themes, events, and the creation of various microsites.
Many of these changes were carried out by the Design team, which supported designs for WordPress 6.3, WordPress network sites, and block themes.
The Community team supported 70 WordCamp, with over 25,000 tickets sold, reactivated 268 Meetup groups; held the Community Summit after several years, and conducted more than 10 youth-focused events.
The Training team launched its new onboarding system and mentorship program, as well as improved the contribution ladder. Most notably, 104 new contents and 258 online workshops were created, along with new learning pathways.
The Marketing team achieved over 7.5 million views of WordPress videos, published over 3,000 contents on 8 platforms with a growth of 100,000 users, the From Blogs to Blocks twentieth-anniversary campaign, and tools for contribution and collaboration.
The Polyglots team launched Translate Live thanks to Playground, aiding in online translation, alongside the Tour Plugin for the various P2s.
Playground has been one of the most advanced components since its participation in the Cloudfest Hackathon, with over 60,000 users who have used it for plugin previews, block demonstrations, online translations, previewing future changes, or even creating a plugin from scratch.
The Openverse team finally launched openverse.org, added new security filters, surpassed 3 million audios and 700 million images, and won the OEG Open Infrastructure Award.
The Five for the Future project concluded with 45% more companies and 25% more confirmed contributors.
Additionally, the Mentorship Program was launched with 11 graduates and an 89% course completion rate.
And, the Developer Blog was launched, where advanced technical content for WordPress developers is published.
And while this may seem like a lot, there is even more from many teams that have been working quietly, gradually affecting the different projects and versions of WordPress throughout 2023.
But that’s what has happened throughout 2023… and this last week has also seen some developments.
Looking ahead to 2024, there are updates in the Core team and the launch of future versions.
For starters, the launch team for WordPress 6.5 is being prepared, and as seen in previous editions, a shadowing process in the teams of this version is proposed for more active participation in subsequent versions. This new version will be led by Héctor Prieto.
This means that the versions to be released later, i.e., WordPress 6.6 and 6.7, are already being prepared.
For the first, 6.6, beta 1 is estimated to be on June 4th, with the launch on July 16th.
For the second, 6.7, beta 1 is planned for October 1st, and the launch for November 12th, delayed from the initial idea to give some breathing room around WordCamp US in September 2024.
And about of the updates, Gutenberg 17.3 has also arrived as the last version of the year, including some interesting features for Phase 3.
For starters, the revision history now has a very different and more visual appearance, including a small summary of the changes, who made them, and other elements that will facilitate collaborative work.
Improvements have also been made to the preferences panel, and Gravatar has been integrated as one of the social sites.
The Performance team has released a summary of improvements in Core Web Vitals compared to the previous year, going from 28% to 36% on mobile devices, and from 32% to 40% on desktop, meaning an overall improvement of 8% across all devices.
As a general fact, of the 5.35% global improvement on mobile, 1.67% is thanks to WordPress. In the case of desktop, of the 6.26% global improvement, 0.97% is thanks to WordPress.
The Developer Blog published a post on extending plugins through SlotFills, which help integrate with the Content Editor and Site Editor, adding and modifying features.
One of the examples integrated is the possibility of adding native premium features in the editor, or extending the Query Loop system.
The Polyglots team continues to improve GlotPress, and in this case, they have reduced the tabs in the side menu.
The Meta and Discussion tabs will remain as they are, but the History, Other Locales, and Translation Memory tabs will merge into a single tab called Others, which will include the contents of all those elements.
The Community team is preparing the second edition of the Mentorship Program, which will open the call for mentors and students from January 8th and would run from February 19th to March 29th, once WordPress 6.5 is launched.
A novelty being considered is participation in specific projects, in addition to general knowledge, with specific objectives for some teams.
The first week of BuddyPress 12 has seen more than 30,000 downloads on its first day, with this new version already accounting for 25% of active installations and over 2,000 installations of BuddyPress Classic, the backward compatibility plugin.
Following the launch, some corrections for the future have been identified, and the presented agenda for the launch has been validated, although some improvements are being considered, such as a more detailed testing plan.
Thanks for listening, and until the next episode!