The last two presentations on Sunday at WordCamp 2007 were low-key presentations by the developers at WordPress.
Matt Mullenweg, lead developer and cofounder of WordPress (and the man behind WordCamp), spoke about the State of the Word.
Matt first answered questions that everyone wants to ask about WordPress.
- There are 16 people at Automattic, the company behind WordPress
- There are 100 full-time people working on WordPress worldwide
- Automattic makes money on WordPress paid sites and commercial use of WordPress and the Akismet spam-catcher
In the last year, the WordPress community developed bbPress, MU 1.0, autosave, tabbed editing, import & export, Ajax, extensions to XML-PRC, custom headers, and widgets.
There have been 10 releases of WordPress in the last year and 2,849,349 downloads of the WordPress platform. On WordPress.com, there have been 1,041,846 new blogs, 20,212,994 new posts, 1,648,046,157 page views, and billions of spam targeting blogs.
Matt said that Automattic has done very well at what they’re good at and haven’t done well at what they’re not good at. Matt described his vision of WordPress as a small, light platform. WordPress doesn’t have to do everything.
Matt also envisions modifications to make it easier for users to customize their designs and allow users to extract content in WordPress to other applications. Other planned improvements include plug-in update notification, tags, an improved “draft” and “pending” systems, and internationalization by translation into other languages.
Automattic has planned to announce a major release every four months, meaning that version 2.3 should be released in September and 2.4 in January.
Image handling is one of the weakest parts of WordPress and is a priority for development. Audio and video handling are also important areas for improvement. These functions are currently in plug-ins but may be moved to the core.
Matt Mullenweg emceed the Developer Duke-out, asking questions of a panel of four WordPress developers: Mark Jaquith, Donncha O’Caoimh, Michael Adams, and Andy Skelton. Questions were also invited from the audience.
Q: What plug-ins do you use?
A: Ajax, comments subscription, Hello Dolly, Akismet, stats
Q: What’s your favorite beer?
A: Becks, Leffe, Chocolate Stout, Magic Hat #9
Q: What is most important to get done
A: Automatic update for plug-ins and core, better media, photos
Q: Should WordPress and WordPress MU be combined?
A: They almost are, it would add more bulk, MU has a lot that most people don’t need
Q: What theme do you use?
Q: How timely should security issues be fixed?
A: Three releases a year, sometimes they are released instantly, several fixes may be related and bundled, it depends on the severity
Q: What would you use if WordPress were not available?
A: TextPattern, nothing (drink the Kool-Aid)
Q: How do you deal with a theme that doesn’t work with a plug-in?
A: Go to IRC or WordPress forums to explain the problem
Q: Should WordPress be marketed as a Content Management System?
A: No, no, maybe, maybe
Q: What is your favorite thing to work on in WordPress?
A: low-lying fruit, PayPal instant notification, bbPress, BackPress, writing new code to fix problems that people don’t really know about yet
Q: How do you backup?
A: Gmail account, scripter, depends on host, do MySQL dump every night
Q: What do you do when you’re not programming?
A: Computer games, motorcycling, read, photograph, take car of baby, photograph, walk
Q: What would you change about photo resizing and Flickr tie-in?
A: Behind the scenes resizing – there’s a plug-in, easier way to find images
Q: Parsing XML: XMLParse or regular expressions?
A: Depends, reg ex, no idea, reg ex
Q: Boxers or briefs?
A: boxer briefs, boxers, boxer briefs, boxers
Q: Should we continue IIS?
A: Not that difficult, but MU doesn’t support it
Q: When was the last time you posted to a support forum?
A: A month ago, last week, June
Q: What’s the ghettoist thing you’ve done with WordPress?
A: Blogs of the day, theme, theme, deleted blogs that weren’t backed up, blog order form for Taco Tuesday
Q: How do you get a developer to work on a great idea you have for a new plug-in?
A: Ask, sometimes if it’s cool or easy, they’ll want to work on it, beer
Q: Mac or Windows?
A: Mac with parallels but also like a PC, Mac or Linux + nano text editor, Linux Mac vim, Mac textmate
Q: If we were to write WordPress in a different language?
A: Python, BF, XSLT
Q: Should the default BlogRoll stay or go?
A: It should go, one the face it could just include WordPress resources, don’t care
Q: How about a credits page in the Admin?
A: yes, yes, yes, yes
And so ended WordCamp 2007. For more information (almost to the point of information overload) with photos, information on the speakers and attendees (I was attendee 308, I think, and as of today information on only the first 300 were posted), and synopses of the sessions, visit The WordCamp Report by Patrick Havens.
Copyright © 2007 Stephen J. Danko