Takeaways from 2012 WordCamp San Francisco

2012 WordCamp San Francisco

On Saturday, I joined my first ever WordCamp, by watching the live stream. Given how cheap it is ($10 for the live stream), I would recommend attendance to one in the future, if you have the opportunity. There’s a lot of useful information on offer, so it will be the cheapest WordPress crash course you’ll ever get your hands on.

With that said, I thought I’d share a few short takeaways from what I saw over the weekend, most of which are from Matt’s State of the Word speech:

In 2012, there will be 75 WordCamps, attended by over 10,000 attendees. That’s up from 54 last year.

wordpress.com runs over 200 plugins on its site, so stop berating plugins. Well written plugins are seamless and shouldn’t be a burden on your site. wordpress.com aims to serve up each page in less than 500ms, so stop telling people they have too many plugins; tell them they might just have bad plugins.

I didn’t know much about bbPress and BuddyPress, having never been exposed to them, but bbPress is an excellent forum tool for WordPress and BuddyPress is for building a social network within WordPress.

Automattic are revamping the plugin listings. Some changes like plugin headers and easy support links have already been implemented and some under consideration include the ability to mark your favourite plugins and then install them with one click on a new site, and increasing the ability to provide feedback and discuss issues with people.

In the last year, WordPress was downloaded 44,000,000 times, for a total of 145,000,000 total downloads.

A preview of the TwentyTwelve themeThe new Twenty Twelve theme (right) is expected to be ready for release very soon.

WordPress v3.5 will be released on December 5th and will include full Retina support, revised Welcome screens, and huge revisions to the media uploader.

Jetpack has been successful in bringing the features of wordpress.com to wordpress.org sites to increase parity between the two. Two of the most requested features are already implemented and the next 2 most requested features will be included soon.

There has thus far been over 5 million downloads of the official WordPress mobile apps, underlining the importance of mobile to blogging. There is also a change to the mobile layouts forthcoming, replicating the WordPress dashboard more closely.

In the recent official WordPress Survey, over 27,000 responses from 158 countries were received (including North Korea…). 66% of users are using WordPress as a CMS; an ever-growing number.

Matt sees WordPress moving from a CMS (which it evolved into from a blogging platform) to an app engine in near future, enabling even more functionality for your sites.

In 2011, WordPress powered 14% of the top 1 million sites on the internet. Today 16.7% of the top 1 million sites online run WordPress. That’s 1 in 6.

“Nothing recedes quite like success” – Matt Mullenweg

Matt recognises that there are shortfalls in WordPress. Some of these are forthcoming improvements, and some are still in the dream phase:

  • Media (galleries, zooming, face tagging, commenting)
  • User Interface (more testing, rethink everything, user testing)
  • Enable automatic updates of core and/or plugins
  • Tackling attrition
  • More internationalization
  • Real time editing.

Remember, WordPress is powered almost entirely by a massive army of volunteers, so if you want to see some of these features, in the words of Matt, “make it so“.

Automattic are actively reviewing the WordPress plugin repository for security problems and contacting developers when they find an issue and helping them to improve their code to remove that security concern.

WordPress is an excellent platform for selling Software-as-a-service (SAAS). A great talk was given on the happytables.com site, which runs a freemium model, giving restaurant owners the ability to create their own site for free and buy more advanced features for a paid subscription.

In closing, I really enjoyed my first WordCamp from over 2,900 miles away. I’m very much looking forward to attending my first WordCamp in person in Orlando later this year. Have a look at the WordCamps on offer and see if you can’t find one near you and supercharge your WordPress skills.

5 thoughts on “Takeaways from 2012 WordCamp San Francisco”

  1. Sue Surdam says:

    Thanks for the recap! I loved the fact that live stream tickets were available, like you I watched from a far. If anyone missed out on watching, I got an update that said the videos will be up on WordPress TV in a couple of weeks.

  2. Dan Norris says:

    That’s really cool. I’ve never been to one either but they did have one on the Gold Coast where I live recently. That’s interesting about moving to an ‘app engine’ I wonder what that means in practice. Also the auto update feature would be awesome. WordPress have been ahead of curve with this, they were doing 1 click updates about 3 years before Joomla, auto updates are the next step.

    1. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it evolves. I think there’s a lot of security risks in permitting automatic updates, since it’s an open-source project, but if they can find a way around that, it would be an awesome addition.

  3. I thought about buying a ticket myself but the time difference put me off, I would have to stay up pretty late to catch them, was there a catchup service?

    1. I don’t believe so, however, I believe that all of the video will eventually be posted at wordpress.tv. At the very least, Matt’s State of the Word speech is up there.

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