WordPress is extraordinarily popular, and that’s only becoming truer over time as it now backs one out of four websites. In celebration, WordPress.com gets a makeover.

  • Huge Milestone in WordPress Growth
  • Admin Interface Released
  • New Script in Town
  • One-Click WordPress Cloud Hosting

Huge Milestone in WordPress Growth

One out of every four websites that are currently online were developed using WordPress, according to an analysis released earlier this month by W3Techs. It’s behind 25% of all sites, representing 59% of the ones that use a content management system.

You’ve probably heard before that WordPress is extraordinarily popular today, but it looks especially impressive when you look at its growth over the last five years, especially in relationship to the other top CMS choices, Joomla and Drupal. WordPress experienced steady growth during that period, expanding from 13% in January 2011 to 25% in November 2015. Meanwhile, the second and third top content management systems gained less than 1% of usage (0.2% Joomla, rising from 2.6% to 2.8%; 0.7% Drupal, increasing from 1.4% to 2.1%).

Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress developer Automattic, commented on the incredible milestone statistic on November 8. He mentioned that there is still a lot of growth room for WordPress and other open source CMS software because only 43% of sites have a content management system deployed today.

To underscore the importance of those sites that do not use any CMS option, WordPress’s market share has actually declined to 59% since peaking at 61% in October 2014.

There are notable limitations to the way that W3Techs scans. First of all, the extent to which a site uses WordPress is not known because the intent is simply to reveal how many sites were using it on any of their pages (so many of those sites would only be using it on their blog). Also, W3Techs doesn’t actually look at every single site, explains Emil Protalinski of VentureBeat. “To limit the impact of domain spammers, only the top 10 million websites are investigated,” he says, “based on the popularity rankings provided by Alexa, using a three-month average ranking.”

Admin Interface Released

On November 23, WordPress.com (the commercial version of WordPress) released a new interface with which users can manage their blogs, publish content, and look at other WordPress users’ sites. The immediate experience will be different for everyone, but coders will be particularly interested that the developers shifted from PHP to JavaScript.

If you are using the free, open source WordPress software, you can access the interface by running the plugin Jetpack. Automattic also unveiled an app for OS X and released the code of the interface, which should certainly please the open source community.

It’s certainly no exaggeration that WordPress has exploded since Mullenweg introduced it in 2003 as an open source project to improve a previous blogging system called b2/cafelog. Beyond the incredible statistics listed above, Automattic – created specifically to commercialize WordPress – now has a staff of 400. The code was beginning to become a little stale though.

This project to improve the administrative interface has been underway at Automattic since the spring of 2014. The basic objective was to speed up the environment and make it easier to use on any device.

The interface, which is called Calypso, could potentially be integrated into the open source project, but only if that’s what WordPress users want. That transition could introduce technical difficulties since Calypso isn’t just a design change but a major reworking of the code.

New Script in Town

WordPress was originally developed using the general-purpose scripting language PHP, simply due to the speed and user-friendliness of that language. Although most of the WordPress code is still PHP, the interface is JavaScript.

JavaScript, a language initially directed toward running programs in Internet browsers, has become more interesting to developers because of tools that enable a much higher level of sophistication. It is now possible to use JavaScript for both the client and server sides of programs, making it substantially simpler to design web apps (like Gmail) that offer similar complexity to desktop programs. React, a JavaScript framework created by Facebook was used to build the new interface’s front end.

Node.js, a server-side JavaScript platform that is becoming increasingly prevalent, was used for the backend, notes Klint Finley of Wired. “For users who host their own version of WordPress, Automattic will host the Node.js portion of the code on their own server,” he says, “with which the Jetpack plugin will communicate, freeing up web hosts from having to support Node.js.”

The same basic tools were used to create the Mac desktop app and mobile apps so that is easier to introduce additional features for all types of devices.

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