Recently WordPress has been changing how it’s built. Obviously we have had Gutenberg which was built on Github, which is so much nicer than Trac, but that’s not what I mean. The actual process, and a lot of the decisions, have happened elsewhere. It’s been hard for casual contributors, such as myself, to follow along.
On top of that there have been a lot of decisions, seemingly made by people at the top (mostly Matt, but I imagine not just him), with no clear reasoning behind them. Why specific release dates? Why specific release paths? Why is there a verse block in core? And so on.
There has, however, been a lot of positive progress since the Gutenberg release, as long as you follow the make blogs.
I started following most of them a few years ago. They use the WordPress.com email subscription system to allow you to follow just the areas you are interested in, and recently there has been a marked increase in both the frequency, and the quality, of the content there.
On the Design blog there is a research team who are currently doing user research, something I have never seen the WordPress project do before; looking at how people use WordPress and what they are looking for. You can see the summary of the findings and some background on how they did the research, and a more detailed summary.
They also post a weekly design update that details the design work that has been done that week, along with links to the relevant Github issues so that you can join in if you think something needs changing, or you can help in some way. Last week’s update can be read here.
If you want to get involved with the design group then they have a weekly design chat on Slack, and there’s notes published that detail what was discussed and how to join in.
Communication was sorely lacking during Gutenberg’s development and these more frequent updates alleviate many of my concerns. They also make it easier than ever to follow along and comment on things that are relevant.
I suspect (hope) the design research findings in particular will have a big influence on the direction of the WordPress project in the future. As such, they would be well worth paying attention to.
But also, taking all these notes and writing up the posts is a time consuming task! So I wanted to publicly thank the people involved for taking the time to help improve the communication of the WordPress project. I really appreciate it!
I’ve found these blogs interesting, educational, and useful, and I really hope they continue.