This past Monday was the annual State of the Word (SOTW) event where Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, delivered his keynote sharing what was accomplished in the WordPress project over the last year, and what exciting developments lie ahead.

In the past, Matt would give this talk at WordCamp US, but in 2020 he gave it separately, and virtually, for the first time due to the Covid pandemic. Since then, the State of the Word has taken place as a standalone in-person event, and this year it took place in Madrid, making it the event’s first time outside of the US. It was great attending with my colleagues Verdi Heinz, and Angel Zinsel who is an active and long-time member of the local Spanish WordPress community.

Pre-SOTW lunch with WordPress friends in Madrid

The event took place at a beautiful venue in the center of Madrid. There were about 250 attendees, with more than half coming from the local Spanish community who are so warm and welcoming. I love their passion and enthusiasm. The venue was decked out in WordPress branding and you really got the feeling that you were at a flagship event, which was especially suitable for the year in which WordPress celebrated its 20th anniversary

Rocío Valdivia, WordPress Community Steward, got things going with her warm introduction. She said that this event isn’t only about the project, but it’s about the people who make up the project and community. Next Josepha Haden-Chomphosy, WordPress Executive Director, took the stage to talk about the spirit of WordPress and introduce Matt.

Here are some of the topics that were covered in the State of the Word by Matt and others:

WordPress community events making a comeback

Like Rocío mentioned, WordPress is very much about the people, and community meetups and WordCamp conferences play a big role in shaping the project. During Covid, meetups ground to a halt, but they’re making a comeback 2023, with a major uptick in the numbers of organizers and events. This year there were 70 WordCamps in 33 countries, and over 3300 gatherings!

Since events are so important to WordPress, a beautiful and useful new site aggregating all meetups was launched. Visit to find an event near you.

WordPress Playground

As you may have seen, a Preview button for plugins in the repo was recently rolled out so that users can instantly experience plugins before installing them in their own sites. This feature utilizes a very innovative project called the WordPress Playground, which runs an actual WP installation in your browser! The Playground is getting better all the time, and some new features were announced including:

  • The ability to store your WP instance even if you refresh the page
  • Load more PHP extensions like libxml
  • Sync local settings including code changes with Playground for testing
  • A new WordPress pull request previewer to test upcoming WP features that are in beta

Learn more about the project here:

Improved WP performance

Matías Ventura talked about the major improvements made around editor performance, both frontend and backend. The WordPress Performance team has been doing an amazing job making WP faster, and we at Elementor are proud sponsors of that team. Faster WordPress means faster Elementor, and a faster web for everyone.

New Interactivity API

The Interactivity API is a very innovative new project that brings the snappy, application-like loading experience of decoupled and headless architectures to WordPress. You can see a demo at

Want to take a closer look? Check out that site’s code here. Test it out here.

Greater WP Admin customizability

The WP Admin is finally getting not only a facelift, but more customizability. With these planned updates, the WP Admin experience can present different views of main pages, like showing content as a list, Kanban or Gallery. This combined with greater design flexibility means the Admin can be more tailored to the needs of every website. “This means each WordPress site can be unique, yet familiar to everyone,” Matías said. This is a key point since one of the advantages of WordPress sites is that they can be understood by anyone who understands WordPress, so retaining that while adding unique qualities can be very valuable. I think this is a hugely critical project because right now, the UX in the WP Admin is not aligned with the expectations of the modern web and younger app users. This can hopefully make WP more attractive to new users, and also increase retention.

See Matías’ WP Admin demo here.

Data Liberation Project

Matt announced what appears to be a high priority project called the Data Liberation project. Tools and guides are being created to help users of other platforms migrate their content easily into WordPress. Many products make it very hard, if not nearly impossible, to migrate their content off of their platforms. The Data Liberation project contributes to a more open web where people have the freedom to choose their tools of choice. Each “project” will get its own Slack channel and Github repository. Despite the current plugin repo backlog where the wait is 79 days, these projects will be reviewed within one day and Matt encourages people to contribute to them. 

AI experimentation

What’s a presentation without some talk of AI these days? And Matt did not disappoint, with a very cool demo where Playground Blueprints were used to create a site that meets specific needs laid out in an AI prompt. Wow. Check out this part of the presentation here.

WordCamp US dates and location announced

WordCamp US will take place in Portland Oregon on September 17-20. This is the first time that a major regional WordCamp is not taking place on the weekend which is a great development! It’s about time that WordCamps stop acting like we’re all hobbyists with other jobs during the week who can only attend conferences on weekends. Also, Portland sounds like a wild and fabulous place, so that’s another bonus.

Summing it all up

Attending the State of the Word was a great experience, because it was an opportunity to hear Matt lay out his vision for the future of WordPress among other passionate WordPress community members. Gaining insight into the next stages of the WordPress project shows that its future is bright. With the roadmap paying attention to areas that need it, like the WP Admin experience, and backend and frontend performance, WordPress is certain to continue being an appealing and attractive choice for people seeking the ideal website tool. Community continues to power the project, and with a resurgence in meetups and events after Covid, the people of WordPress are helping to lay out the foundations for the CMS’ future.

I’m grateful we had the opportunity to attend this flagship event, and can’t wait to see what lies ahead for our favorite Open Source CMS.

See the full keynote here: