The shape of things to come: WordPress 3.8

“WordPress 3.7 JUST CAME OUT!” you say.

It did, but attention has already shifted to the upcoming WordPress update – WordPress 3.8.

And the attention is not necessarily positive.

Where there was near unanimous applause for the technological improvements made to 3.7, there is certainly an “angels and demons” dynamic surrounding the release of WordPress 3.8.

Should you be excited or scared?

In short: A little of both.

Form over function

With WordPress 3.7, we were given a list of great new features.

Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic and creator of WordPress. There is no question that he is a creative visionary, like Steve Jobs.

Both parties simply see the world differently and can therefore market products differently and more effectively.

Much like Jobs, Mullenweg is a right-brained entrepreneur.


Steve Jobs was obsessed with typography (I wonder if Helvetica Neue Ultra Light was his idea?). Matt went to a high school dedicated to the arts and also studied the saxophone.

But why do I bring all of this history to light?

Matt is the head of development on WordPress 3.8.

His artistic mentality carries to the design of WordPress 3.8.

My point is, nothing feels like an actual ADD to the coming WordPress version. There are no functional bullet points here. No automatic updates to make life easier. No code improvements or new language packs.

WordPress 3.8 simply feels like an improvement to usability.

Let’s look quickly at the competition

The new Ghost platform, which was briefly touched upon in the Week in WordPress, is designed to be the web platform for the bloggers.

Ghost, while in its infancy, will “supposedly” be the place where a journalist or blogger goes for exclusively that purpose – journalism or blogging.

Businesses. Just bloggers.

App Platforms

Plugins like Gravity Forms (which is designed primarily to allow people to subscribe or contact others) are becoming more open-source to enable others to code on top of the existing plugin.

In the future, entire app platforms could be made for the simple purpose of community outreach and email campaigns.

Ever heard that old saying, “jack of all trades, master of none?”

“I see the future of the blog as a web operating system”

– Matt Mullenweg

WordPress is becoming the “jack.”

WordPress has been the best and only option for most web solutions, with other platforms like Drupal being much more developer-oriented. This explains why WordPress powers 20% of the web, but will that change?

WordPress as a business platform

In fact, WordPress is becoming the go-to solution for businesses everywhere.

Any small or large business owner can get awesome themes for WordPress with some fantastic premium or free plugins. These components are where WordPress currently has the edge. They help to mold a WordPress website into the form desired by the business or organization.

With WooCommerce for eCommerce solutions and calendar plugins for tracking events and selling tickets, WordPress is the easiest way to sell a website to a client as a reseller and is also the best way for a small business owner or corporation to display content and products efficiently.

When you want a great filet mignon, you don’t go to a TGIFridays. YOU GO TO A STEAKHOUSE.

If WordPress wants to survive, it has to embrace the depth of its menu (like that TGIFridays) and continue making improvements to the core software. Improvements to incentivize people to come to WordPress.


Proposals for WordPress 3.8

Here are a couple of the changes being made as WordPress 3.8 comes nearer to completion.

Read these initiatives and decide for yourself if WordPress is headed in the right direction.


MP6 is the new visual redesign – already featured in – that frees up some of the clutter on the WordPress dashboard. It changes some of the design to be more natural to newcomers and easier on the eyes for all.


While I understand why this may be viewed as pointless, I also understand the benefits.

The dashboard does not function much differently, but the eyes are guided to appropriately distinct pieces of the dashboard. Before, it could be a sea of white noise to the uninitiated.

Widgets Area Chooser

Some may call it fluff, but I really enjoy the new proposal for a Widgets Area Chooser.

Rather than dragging a bunch of widgets to that one clustered content area, the new motion keeps things organized. The user clicks on a widget and then chooses where it goes from a drop down menu, underneath the widget.

From a business perspective, I think this empowers users who may not be as technologically savvy to move around content without placing content in the wrong area.

With mobility in mind, the design is also easier for a person using their fingers to interact with the interface.

What do you think?

Is WordPress doomed to fail with specialized “apps” or content management systems entering the playing field?

As updates are made to WordPress 3.8, we will post them here.

In the meantime, please post your thoughts below and subscribe as we post more WordPress-centric content.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.