One of the things that I’m proudest of at LexBlog is our commitment to using WordPress for everything we deliver to our clients. The WordPress open source project’s mission statement – to democratize publishing – aligns with LexBlog’s goals to democratize legal publishing, and aligns with my personal philosophies to make the web accessible to those that can add value to the world’s largest conversation (the internet).

The past two years of the State of the Word have been largely the same. In 2015, Matt Mullenweg called upon a community of PHP developers to learn JavaScript deeply while pushing RESTful APIs as the future of WordPress development. In 2016 this focus was carried over as JavaScript continued to eat the web and major components of WordPress’s REST API were folded into core.

That said, there are always nuggets of information that Mullenweg introduces during his presentations that are pure gold for the larger WordPress economy that impacts content marketers and bloggers, freelance developers and designers, small agencies and product shops, and enterprise companies. So when the State of the Word comes around, we sit, listen, and wait for the other shoe to drop.

This year, the focus was Gutenberg; the new post/page editor being developed as a feature plugin with plans to merge into core sometime in April. I’ve written about Gutenberg on my blog, but development has continued at a fevered pace and the Github repository for the project (as of now) has over 4,300 commits and just over 110 contributors. In short, as expected, Gutenberg is indeed the future of the WordPress publishing experience.

Mullenweg and others in the community tempered expectations, noting how painful various steps in the WordPress project have been with Gutenberg likely being no different. The introduction of the Tiny MCE as the primary editor in WordPress caused its own ripple effect, and even the REST API (which in my opinion had a shockingly smooth introduction into WordPress core) had trials and tribulations as bugs were uncovered and patched. There will be a classic editor plugin available for those not quite ready to take the plunge, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be needed as publishers embrace a new writing experience that will allow for even better experiences down the road (think live preview as you write content).

In short, the WordPress project marches on with the REST API and Gutenberg efforts representing the flagship projects and the Customizer team moving faster than ever. I’m certain that we wouldn’t be able to provide the sorts of experiences to our clients that we do without all the hard work of the WordPress open source project, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As an aside, if you’re interested in the WordPress REST API I strongly suggest that you read this post by Ryan McCue, the REST API co-lead developer. It’s a thoughtful and insightful post that illustrates the complexity of both WordPress as a piece of software and as an open source project that depends on volunteer contributors. The WordPress team makes it seem easy, but with hundreds of developers contributing to each release it’s a mammoth undertaking that we don’t take for granted.