For the past two years I’ve give ten tips on how to better use WordPress so I wanted to continue the tradition. This time, however, I’m taking a bigger picture look at the WordPress horizon. These “tips” are less tangible than adding a snippet of code to a template or installing a new plugin. Still, you’ll surely find them helpful for understanding WordPress more as well as keeping up with the always evolving software.
Also, there’s many posts out there featuring tips for WordPress. Honestly, I don’t have much more to add at this point. That said, after the 3.0 launch in April 2010 there will be much more to discuss.
My prediction is that before long the majority of new themes will be child themes. That is, once the WordPress theme repository supports child themes I think they will catch on quickly with developers and gradually gain users. The reason is simple. Child themes are easier to make, maintain, and switch between than traditional themes.
The parent/child theme relationship is already possible with any theme, but frameworks built for the sole purpose of being said framework are so robust and well thought out that they’ll pioneer the themeing frontier for the next couple of years.
WordPress = BuddyPress + WordPress MU + bbPress
So this equation has long been one of frustration.
- If you wanted to use BuddyPress with WordPress you needed WordPress MU.
- If you wanted to use bbPress with WordPress it needed it’s own install.
- If you wanted to use bbPress integrated with WordPress you got a headache.
- If you wanted to use WordPress MU with all of the features of its standalone counterpart then you had to wait.
This year will be dominated with consolidation. All of these separate projects are already in the works to become seamless. WordPress MU will simply become WordPress. BuddyPress will work in WordPress. bbPress will become a plugin that will fit right into WordPress.
This has to be one of the most exciting things for developers. Suddenly managing these different properties will reside under one roof. Nuff said.
The driving force behind WordPress’ success is community. 2010 seeks to make the community more accessible. Ideas are floating around about how to revamp WordPress.org to be more community-centric, giving everyone a voice and making ideas actionable.
On top of this, the WP user base is so large now that feuds pop up about the differences in how WordPress should be run. While its not ever a good thing to quarrel, it is nice to know that people care enough about this project to put their feelings into it.
And then on the flip side, the user base is so diluted with every type of person out there that wrangling the community is harder than ever. So it may not be long before large groups begin to move away from WP to find their new, upcoming project. There’s nothing wrong with that — its how WordPress grew to be so successful. Don’t fret though, WordPress is here to stay for a long, long time.
Pro, Premium, Core Plugins
I’m not differentiating between these three categories of plugins. They all share the same idea of being well-developed and supported plugins. In other words, its taking more and more to be considered a worthwhile plugin these days. Its the nature of capitalism at work and its been great for producing some high quality projects so far. The downside, of course, is that competing with the “big boys” is becoming harder.
But, an experiment is upon us and officially supported plugins (those that WordPress will put a stamp of approval on) are nearing. The debate is back and forth over whether having “official” plugins is good or not, but it should at least prove to be a move in the right direction for those wanting a bit more stability and longevity out of their sites.
Re-Dedication to Perfection
Matt and the WordPress committers have always been keen on keeping the code clean and bug-free. Nothing can be perfect, of course, but there seems to be a renewed spirit of making sure the best quality code gets into the core. Beyond that, there’s a promise for more stringent testing phases to ensure that bugs are caught and fixed before major releases. This comes from keeping the development cycle more organized and also from a simple spirit of making 3.0 the best WordPress ever.