WordCamp SF 2014 Review

The MIGHTYminnow team was out in full force for this year’s WordCamp SF, and what a great event it was! All of the presentations were excellent, we learned a ton about the exciting new features coming soon to WordPress, and the positive energy of the WordPress community was palpable throughout the entire weekend. The future of WordPress is brighter than ever!

We got so excited watching the presentations that we thought we’d go through a couple of our favorites and offer some of our thoughts in response. All of the WordCamp presentations can be viewed on WordPress.tv, including a great presentation by our own Senior Developer Mickey Kay, and we highly recommend giving them a watch. Without further ado:

Andrew Nacin: The Future of WordPress is Global

Nacin is one of the WordPress lead developers and a key figure in the WordPress community, and his talk on growing WordPress internationally was very interesting. In the last couple of years the WordPress core team has been working hard to make core 100% translatable into not just any language, but into any locale. They’ve done this by wrapping each of the 4,000+ strings that are unique to WordPress in an internal translation function, so that each string will always dispay on the screen in the language that the WordPress user has selected. Then they hooked the translation library up to GlotPress, a translation engine project maintained by Automattic that anyone can submit translations to, and with the help of the website translate.wordpress.org the WordPress community has already translated the platform into 40+ languages.

This is huge, because as Nacin pointed out, only 5% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language. With WordPress now ready to use in every major language on the planet, we can expect a massive amount of international growth in the platform in the near future, and that means more developers, more content creators, and more people involved in helping to make WordPress the best publishing platform on the web.

But the core team isn’t stopping there. The big announcement during Nacin’s presentation was that in addition to core being fully translatable, all plugins and themes in the WordPress.org repository are now translatable using the same process as core via the translate.wordpress.org website. This means that you can write a plugin or a theme, publish it in English to the official repo, and anyone else in the world can at any time hop on translate.wordpress.org and write translations for the unique strings in your plugin or theme. Then users of the plugin or theme who are using WordPress in another language can use your plugin or theme without you as the developer having to do any of the translation work!

This is going to be huge for WordPress, and we’re very excited to see the community grow as WordPress becomes the first truly global web platform ever.

Sam Hotchkiss: Data First – How APIs are Changing the Internet

There was a lot of discussion at this year’s WordCamp SF about the new WordPress API, which is slated to be merged into core in early 2015, and Sam’s talk was all about APIs. Although there have been solutions for externally working with WordPress data for a while, the new WP-API represents a huge step forward over the existing solutions and will enable a whole new generation of external apps to be built on top of WordPress. This is very exciting.

The goal with an API like this is to provide a way for the abstract data that is inside WordPress to be used outside of a WordPress install. Almost everything that you can do from within a WordPress install will eventually be possible to do from a completely separate app that can communicate with the WordPress install using the API.

This means that entirely new wp-admin back-end user interfaces or front-end user interfaces can be developed on top of the WordPress data model, allowing WordPress to be used only as a system for interacting with abstract data. In the near future, there might be several popular flavors of the wp-admin back-end to choose from, some tailored for bloggers and casual users and others for businesses with specific needs. It’s conceivable that every major use case for WordPress could eventually have a custom wp-admin, or even several competing wp-admins that offer different optimizations and workflows.

One of the possibilities that we are most excited about is the potential to create front-end UIs that behave like native applications. Popular JavaScript frameworks like Backbone.js could be used to create WordPress sites that respond to user input immediately and never need to refresh the page, and front-end UI wouldn’t even need to live on the same server as the WordPress install because it could communicate with the WordPress install using the API.

The future of the web is all about freeing data from the murky depths of databases and clunky UIs, and the new WordPress API will allow WordPress data to flow more freely around the internet than ever before. We’ll definitely be keeping our eye on the new WP-API.

Guillermo Rauch: Realtime Communication with Socket.IO and WordPress

The presentation given by Guillermo Rauch about using his socket.io real-time web engine with WordPress was simply incredible. He’s clearly thought a lot about how the web of the future will function, and by creating socket.io he has allowed us all to start building futuristic websites today.

Socket.io keeps a connection between the client and the server open after the initial page load, and this allows the page to keep updating itself in real time based on the user’s interaction with the page, or new data from the server, or both. It can be used to create things like a collaborative online whiteboard that multiple users can draw on at the same time, or a super-fast chat application, or a web audio synthesizer where multiple users are collaboratively making music together in real time.

The example integration with WordPress that Guillermo showed off during his presentation elicited disbelieving gasps from the audience. In just a couple of minutes he live coded a script that counts how many users are reading a post at the same time and sends this information to all of the users reading that post. As more people in the audience jumped on his demo site during his talk we could all see the number on the page rising and rising, all in real time. It was totally cool.

After seeing his presentation we’re more convinced than ever that the future web will be all about real time client server communication, and we’re very glad that people like Guillermo are out there building the tools to make it all possible.


There has never been a better time to be part of the WordPress community, and all of the great presentations that we saw at this year’s WordCamp and the enthusiasm and mutual respect that we felt from everyone all weekend really drove this point home. Being a part of an open source web project like WordPress is a very special thing, and we are more excited than ever to keep using WordPress for our client projects and to help contribute to the growth and success of the platform for many years to come.


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