State of the Word 2021 was held on December 14, 2021, at Automattic’s office in New York City. 2021’s hybrid event marked the return of the live event after State of the Word 2020 was held virtually due to the pandemic.
Only a handful of attendees were present, and each one was fully vaccinated. Those who couldn’t join the live event watched the livestream on YouTube.
Year in Review
Mullenweg started by providing a walkthrough of 2021.
In 2021, WordPress only had two major releases — WordPress 5.7 in March and WordPress 5.8 in July — because WordPress 5.9, initially planned for a December 2021 release, was moved to January 2022. Traditionally, WordPress aims to provide four major updates per year.
While looking back on 2021, Mullenweg also highlighted the following Make projects that improved accessibility and functionality:
Openverse is WordPress’ search engine for openly-licensed media. Automattic paid the Creative Commons organization for its Creative Commons Search engine.
The Openverse project catalogs all openly-licensed content — from images to audio and other media assets.
During his talk, Mullenweg also introduced the new WordPress.org Photo Directory, which hosts open imagery that can be used commercially and non-commercially. Mullenweg shared that he envisions WordPress users being able to insert works from the Openverse into their content with a click.
WordPress expanded its Diverse Speaker Training program, gaining 135 participants in 66 cities across 16 countries.
In 2021, translators increased access to WordPress by installing 13,659 language packs in the core and doing 15,900 active translations (+76 and +28%, respectively, from the previous year).
These translation efforts are also in preparation for the fourth and last phase of the Gutenberg project — multilingual support — wherein WordPress will offer official support for website translations and multilingual websites.
Web3 and WordPress
Mullenweg closed his one-hour talk by briefly touching on how WordPress adapts to Web3. He focused on decentralization and individual ownership, both of which WordPress was already doing.
Looking Back and Moving Forward
2021 was a fruitful year for WordPress.
The WordPress community can expect exciting things to look forward to next year, starting with the WordPress 5.9 release in January 2022.