A few months ago, in May of this year, WordPress celebrated its twelfth birthday. To honor the special occasion, Torque did a piece looking back at some of the most significant milestones WordPress has experienced since that fateful day in 2003.
When you sit back and think about it, WordPress really has made a ton of advancements in a relatively short amount of time. Over the years, we’ve seen architecture for plugins, themes, WYSIWYG editing, widgets, and so much more built into the CMS.
All this reflection raises an important question: with 12 years gone past, where do you think the future of WordPress will be 12 years from now? What new features and capabilities could it have? Is there a possibility that WordPress might not even (gasp) still be relevant to the website development space?
The (Eventual) Fall Of WordPress
Now, please don’t assume that I believe WordPress is going to be dead and buried in 12 years, because I don’t.
What I do know, however, is that history shows that nearly all major websites have fallen over time.
The examples are endless. Myspace. AOL. Geocities. There’s even speculation that Facebook is now struggling to stay relevant to the younger generation (this excellent Medium article, penned by a teenager, reports on the issue brilliantly. I personally don’t think that Facebook is on its way out, but I think it will definitely be in trouble in a decade’s time).
History books will tell you the same story. The Roman, Macedonian, Grecian, British, Mongol, etc. empires were all huge in their time. But where, pray tell, are they now?
Bottom line is: all major web companies do have an expiration date. That goes for WordPress, too. There’s no doubt in my mind that WordPress will, eventually, be replaced by a younger, cooler CMS from a web developer just as brilliant as Matt Mullenweg.
In the immediate future, though, I don’t think WordPress is going anywhere.
Case in point: in my social circles outside of the Internet, I personally am seeing that a greater percentage of my non-web developer acquaintances know about WordPress (or at least have heard of it). For right now at least, WordPress seems to be on the rise. 12 years’ time, I estimate that WordPress will be only slightly past its prime.
But again, all of that’s pure speculation. Let’s go on to discuss more concrete things that we do know could happen.
WordPress’s Future API
Ryan McCue, lead developer of the WordPress REST API, recently wrote a blog poston what he imagines the REST API could look like in 2020 when merged into the WordPress core. It’s an entertaining read—I highly recommend you check it out.
Ryan envisions some of the things that might be possible when the REST API is fully merged into the core, like:
- Share to WordPress.org buttons on major sites like YouTube
- An app directory for WordPress plus WordPress.org to app authentication
- More real-time/live based features
- Easier theme development
A Better UI
Another thing that we can probably look forward to is a better UI. The members of WP Think Thank, a panel of prominent WordPress experts, have talked at great length about this.
Mike Little, the co-founder of WordPress, has also talked about how as WordPress grows in popularity as a brand, the number of non tech-savvy people who use the WordPress UI is only going to increase. A couple quotes from him on the subject:
I know there are multiple strands of work in progress to achieve that [a better UI] and make it even easier for people starting out … I think this is the biggest challenge, because as more and more people use WordPress, essentially you’ll have more people who are less tech-savvy, and it’s important to make it easy for them to come on board.
Stephen Cronin, the quality leader at CodeCanyon, has also mentioned about how rival platforms like Ghost are focusing on simplicity and ease of writing, and how WordPress needs to make sure that it keeps up. He words it succinctly in this quote.
Advanced functionality still needs to be available to power users, but it shouldn’t get in the way of the average user. Finding the right balance will be difficult, but I think they [the WordPress team] are up to it.
Over To You
How do you see WordPress evolving in the coming 10-12 years? What features do you expect to see, and how do you think the community will change as more and more less tech-savvy people try their hand at creating a website?