CMS market share: November 2019 analysis

I wrote an analysis in the beginning of this year of the CMS market share numbers from W3Techs. Over the year I’ve been analyzing them a bit more and I thought I’d share my insights with all of you. So, read on to see when Shopify is going to replace Joomla as the second biggest “CMS”, when Wix is entering the top 5 and why all of their growth pales in comparison to WordPress’ growth.

Table of contents

Notes about these numbers: the W3Techs research I’m analyzing in this post is based on the top 10 million sites on the web as provided by Alexa. While some platforms like Tumblr and are huge, they won’t show up as high in these rankings because the individual subdomains are not considered separate websites by W3Techs.

Raw CMS market share numbers

First, let’s look at the raw, most important numbers as of November 2019, from this table that W3Techs maintains:

  • WordPress is the #1 CMS with a 35.0% market share, 2.8% higher than November 2018.
  • Joomla is the #2, has 2.7% market share and is down 0.3% year on year, that’s a 10% decline.
  • Drupal is also losing, going from 1.9% to 1.7% over the course of the last 6 months.
  • The “winners” are Shopify (1.8%, up 0.5%), Squarespace (1.6%, up 0.2%) and Wix (1.3%, up 0.3%).

Most of this visible (in its relativity) in this chart:

Data from W3Techs, forecast by Joost de Valk & Jono Alderson

But this is only interesting if you look at the trends. I’ve made this Google sheet with the help of my colleague Jono Alderson, which takes the data from W3 Techs and adds more info. So let’s dive a bit deeper.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Shopify is clearly on the rise, and doing well. What’s not so clear is that WordPress, in large part, is also doing eCommerce. W3Techs actually has a report on WooCommerce, but they classify it, rightly, as a sub-category of WordPress.

If you look at the W3Techs WooCommerce report though, you’ll see that an astonishing 5.5% of the websites in this research are powered by Woo. That would put WooCommerce firmly in the second spot of CMS market shares if it was classified as a separate CMS and ahead of its main contender Shopify by 3.7%.

WooCommerce is almost 3 times as big as Shopify

This graph makes WooCommerce’s size & growth even more clear:

Data from W3Techs, source for WooCommerce, source for Shopify

If these trends continue in the same linear direction, this time next year, Shopify will be the #2 CMS in the world. Joomla will drop to the #3 position. Squarespace will be the new number #4 and Wix #5, at the expense of Drupal, which will drop from #3 to #6 over the course of the year. Combined this leads to the conclusion that outside of WordPress, all major open source CMSs are losing.

What we have to realize here is that 0.1% share of the CMS market maybe tiny for WordPress, but for SaaS providers like Shopify, they represent huge growth in customers and revenue. Shopify builds (the name does give it away) shops. Each and every one of these customers makes them money. Money they can reinvest into faster growth. I did some more research into the money these CMSs make in my previous analysis of these numbers earlier this year.

Are so many sites changing their CMS?

What’s important to note is that some of the changes in popular CMSs maybe due to the ever changing growth of the web, as is reflected by the Alexa top 10 million most visited sites. For instance, a CMS like TYPO3 is relatively large in countries like the Netherlands and Germany, where the web has been big for many years. If the relative size of these countries on the web shrinks due to the fact that the overall web is growing faster than the internet usage in these countries, sites will drop out of the top 10 million, and those CMSs might thus look like they’re declining. They might actually be stable or might even still be growing, just not as fast as the entire web.

Is open source declining?

I’ve gone through the list of CMSs and looked up whether they’re open source or not. On the whole, in the beginning of 2018, open source CMSs combined had a 41.6% market share. Now they command 43.4% and if the trends continue the way they’re looking, it’ll be 45.7% this time next year.

Now, those open source totals obscure an important fact:

  • without WordPress, open source CMSs would have lost a full percentage point over the course of this year, from 9.4% to 8.4%.
  • if the trends continue, the group of open source CMSs – excluding WordPress – will decrease next year as well, to 7.6%.
CMS market share over time, by open/closed source
Data from W3Techs, forecast by Joost de Valk & Jono Alderson

Outside of WordPress, all major open source CMSs are declining.

So, while WordPress is shining and growing, the open source CMS ecosystem outside of WordPress isn’t getting stronger. We’ve seen the first moves for Gutenberg to be adopted by Drupal, maybe it’s time for more collaboration to prevent further decline?

New contenders?

The top 10 is a list of names we’ve seen for a while now, relatively speaking. It’ll be very interesting to see whether any other new systems pop up over the next year. Big online players like MailChimp and Salesforce have launched new CMSs, they might use their reach in other areas to grab a bit of this market share.

It will be very interesting to analyze this trend over the coming years, and I plan to keep doing so on a regular basis. If you have feedback on specific things to analyze, questions, or other remarks, please leave them in the comments!


(Why) I’m stepping down from my WordPress marketing role

I’m going to step away from my role as Marketing Lead. I consider this mostly a personal failure, both in correctly setting and getting expectations and in fitting into another type of organization. Matt and I have talked this through and there are no hard feelings on either side whatsoever. At the same time I’m sad about not having been able to leave more of a mark. Let me explain why I’m stepping down.

When I first talked to Matt about this role he asked me to become “the CMO of WordPress”. In my eyes, a CMO is involved in all aspects of a project / company. When I was announced, I was announced as a “change in WordPress leadership”. My experience over the last few months made me feel that while I was doing things and getting things done, I certainly wasn’t leadership. Which is why I want to step away from my role: I don’t want to pretend I have a say in things I don’t have a say in.

What is marketing?

It seems the problem of defining of what marketing is beforehand, is one of the problems of why I failed in my role. Marketing to me is not just the last step of “promotion”, but the entire process of bringing a product to market. It’s clear that others within the WordPress project don’t necessarily see it like that, and when they describe marketing, it’s a lot more like what I would call advertising. A lot more tactical. I don’t dislike that tactical work, but I think my qualities lie elsewhere.

There’s a stark difference between where I thought I would be in the organization in this role, and where I am actually finding myself now. Even things that every outsider would consider marketing (release posts, about pages) are created without even so much as talking to me or others in the marketing team. Because I felt left out of all these decisions, I feel I can’t be a marketing lead.

Clarity about my position

My position is unclear, not just to me, but to many people which makes me uncomfortable. I’ve been asked dozens of times on Twitter, Facebook and at WordCamps why I now work for Automattic, which of course I don’t but that is the perception for a lot of people. On other occasions I seem to be the token non-Automattician, which I’m also uncomfortable with.

At the same time I feel hampered by my WordPress position to do the work I need to do at Yoast. I notice I’m sometimes shutting up about things Yoast does because that would look weird on the outside and could be perceived wrong. I also felt I was “defending” WordPress too much, on stuff I had otherwise perhaps been more critical of.

WordPress mission and vision

I am used to having a strong vision and mission for a company and a product, and to be translating that into product & marketing decisions. Matt has certainly shown some of his product vision in State of the Words over the year but I’ve found it very hard to get more of the vision behind all the recent changes and the roadmap “out there”.

I’ve not encountered (or been brought into) any discussions about our product vision, something I would need to translate into day-to-day actions. I was expecting there to be some backchannels where these discussions were had and these decisions were made, turns out these simply don’t exist. Matt takes his input from core devchats and lots of other chats and then decides what the roadmap should look like. I honestly think that process needs opening up, even though I do appreciate that Matt has so far been pretty good at bringing the product forward.

An inevitable conclusion

Combined, this doesn’t work for me. I was expecting to be actively involved in larger product and marketing decisions. That didn’t happen. At the same time I have to explain what we do to the outside world and to other people within the WordPress ecosystem, because they assume I know and I’ve been involved. I’m unwilling and unable to do that.

I think some of these things need to change. I see the value in what Josepha is doing and also in projects like the governance project, but these processes take time and patience, and patience is a virtue I’ve not developed well. This was my way of trying to broaden WordPress leadership. I’m sad to conclude that I failed. I’m of course still available to advise and strategize should the project want for that, and will give my opinion, whether I’m asked to or not 😉

Turns out failing burns me out faster than going fast does… That’s why I’m taking an extended holiday this summer, after which I’ll focus my work time for 100% on Yoast and my Chief Product Officer role there. In that role, and outside of it, I’ll absolutely still be an active voice and contributor in the WordPress community.

Photo by Ugne Vasyliute on Unsplash


Marketing WordPress – first steps

I’ve had the question a few times now of what I’ve been up to since I got appointed lead marketing for WordPress. The first few weeks have been busy, but very interesting. The marketing team is doing a lot of things. I won’t go over all of them here, but wanted to show some of the projects we’ve worked on and how the processes around them work. As you’ll see, most of my focus so far has been on itself and team processes.

Quick wins

During the first weeks one of the things I started working on were some quick wins: making some of our about pages more reflective of the current state of the project. We:

  • updated the roadmap page (actually a couple of times already, most recently after the 5.1 release);
  • removed mentions of jQuery and other libraries from the features page and added a lot of links to the support pages to it;
  • fixed the testimonials page as it was broken;
  • and finally: started working on a better history page.


One of the things that immediately became clear as I was talking to the marketing team is that the showcase needs an update. The marketing team has been publishing great WordPress case studies on the make marketing blog, but those deserve a better place. At the same time the Showcase, where this content would make a lot of sense, obviously needs more love.

When I proposed changing the showcase I got an immediate enthusiastic response from quite a few people, which was very warming. Pragmatic offered to help with design time and has been hard at work based on my (admittedly very simple) outline, leading to some very cool first designs. In the last meeting of the WordPress design team we’ve been discussing their first designs and based on the feedback that came from that, we’ll iterate on those designs a bit more.

This process has already showed me what an enormous ecosystem we have. Let me show you: in this case the marketing team comes up with a plan. The design team, at our request, starts thinking about a design, someone steps up and starts designing, on which the entire design team gives feedback, along with marketing and the accessibility team. Once we’ve agreed on a design, the meta team will start implementing the changes, after which I’m guessing the accessibility and marketing team will once again review the result. At the same time other members of the marketing team are coming up with a process for what a showcase entry will now require and how to get all that data. WordPress really is a huge organization.

Team processes

We’ve made some small adjustments to the team’s processes and I’m certain more will follow. The team’s Trello board is very useful for smaller tasks, but for bigger tasks like the Showcase redesign, we really need to figure out how we can do that more efficiently together with other teams. This is something that I’m hoping (and honestly, expecting) Josepha Haden, the new executive director for WordPress, will help us improve on.


Last year, as one of the actions leading from the growth council I was part of, Jono Alderson and I did an SEO analysis of (Jono really did the bulk of the initial analysis). Over the last few months we’ve been creating meta tickets to fix those issues one by one. The meta team (the team that handles all things has been hard at work fixing these, leading to 55 closed tickets at the current count and 19 open ones.

Google Search Console is showing us that errors are going down. It’s also showing a small uptick in traffic that could probably be attributed to these improvements. I expect this is a sign of things to come, as I truly think we can get more traffic to


As we’re working on SEO, Jono and I are also slowly improving the Google Analytics implementation. Using Google Tag Manager we’ve started improving our measurement, for instance by tagging more events. This means we can better track events like downloads, thread creation and replies on the forums and other events.

We have already had the first few requests for analytics data from the Docs and Support teams, who want to use that data to improve their pages. It’s been very nice to quickly be able to answer those as our data gets better.

Is that all?

No, not even close. There is some very exciting work being done by the team on social media campaigns for WordCamps, something I hope we can build and expand on in the future. Another project is the promotion of sustainability for WordCamps. yet another one is the ongoing promotion of stuff (which probably also deserves a more prominent spot on There’s also work being done on the mobile page on .org, we’ve started discussing what should happen to the Gutenberg page, and I’m probably still forgetting tons of things as there is so much.

What’s next?

A lot of the above is ongoing work that we’ll have to work on for at least a few more months. At the same time, as I now understand our challenges a bit better, I want to take a step back and produce a “meta view” of how I think we should be marketing WordPress. This marketing plan will then serve as a discussion starter for the marketing team, but I certainly hope also across a wider part of the community.

It’s been very exciting to see what people in the marketing team are capable of. I hope to be able to shine more light on what they do and also to amplify the reach of what they do in the coming months. Combined with my own experience, I look forward to making a meaningful difference in WordPress’ growth.


CMS market share: January 2019 analysis

Update: I did a new CMS market share analysis in November 2019.

As I’m getting into my new role as Marketing Lead for WordPress, I was doing an analysis of the CMS market share numbers. The first thing I noticed was that, according to W3Techs, WordPress’s market share had yet again grown, to now have 33% of the top 10 million sites. As I was diving deeper, the numbers in the W3Techs research show some very interesting trends. I thought I’d share what I’m seeing.

WordPress’s market share is huge

The first thing that’s obvious when you look at these numbers is that WordPress’s market share is absolutely huge. At 33% it’s now 11 times bigger than the number two in the market, another open source CMS: Joomla. I’ll be very happy when we add another .3% and can say that we’re “a third of the internet”.

When you look at the raw numbers, it’s clear that only a few of the CMSs are making any real moves. I’ve highlighted the growth and decline per month over the last year in the screenshot below.

Market share table, the data in this screenshot can also be seen in the sheet that's linked in the article under Data.

Note that the “None” group in this data, with 45% market share, doesn’t mean that 45% of sites are coded by hand. It means that W3Techs did not recognize the CMS (and it recognizes a lot of them), and the CMS is thus probably bespoke. The trends are very consistent though: people are moving to known CMSs and very few CMSs grow one month to decline the next. You’re either growing, or shrinking, with very little exception.

Relative growth and trends

Because WordPress is so big, looking at absolute growth only tells you so much. If we start looking at relative growth, we can see who our new competitors really are. As soon as you start looking at relative growth for the top 20, three systems jump out:

  • Squarespace, which grew 114%.
  • Wix, which grew 150%.
  • Weebly, which grew 120%.

It’s noteworthy that Prestashop, an eCommerce system / CMS, also grew its market share by a very respectable 67%. WordPress grew by “only” 13%, which considering the marketshare it already has, is still massive. But what I was looking for was in the next step: what if all these systems maintained the growth or decline they had in 2018 for another year? If they do, the top 10 of CMSs would look starkly different to today:

CMS2020 forecast2019 ranking2018 ranking

While WordPress will remain number 1, the rest of the top 10 will change dramatically.

Open source on the decline?

At the beginning of 2018, the top 4 CMSs by market share in the world were all open source: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento. So I also dove in and checked whether Open Source as a whole was losing or winning. The numbers are clear, based on the top 25 CMSs (including all the sites that fit in W3Techs “None” category, classified as closed source):

20182019Forecast 2020
Open source37.8%41.0%44.9%
Closed source57.1%53.0%51.7%

On the whole, Open Source marketshare is growing, but really only because of WordPress and a tiny bit of help from Prestashop. I think this is worrying. We’re losing diversity in the CMS market and with it we’re losing open source alternatives.

Financial ramifications

Consider this:

  • Shopify expects to do about 1 billion USD in revenue in 2018, with 1.5% marketshare.
  • Wix expects to do about 600 million USD in revenue in 2018, with 1% marketshare.
  • Squarespace reportedly had 300 million USD in revenue in 2017, when it was still much smaller.

I think it’s not unfair to extrapolate these numbers for theses CMSs and compare them to WordPress’s 33% market share. If we do that then WordPress as a whole is indeed, as Matt said in his State of the Word, a $10 billion industry. In fact when he says that he might even be on the low side.

There’s one difference which we may need to address though: WordPress doesn’t spend a percentage of that $10 billion on marketing. The CMSs that are growing their market share so aggressively are spending a lot of money on marketing, and it’s clear that it’s working. It’s not a problem yet, but we’ll need to be more creative and keep an eye on this.

CMS Market Share Data

I imported all this CMS market share data from W3Techs into a Google Sheet. The sheet, including some of my highlights and forecasts is public and you can view it here. I’d love to hear what else you see that strikes as odd or needs attention.

Personal stuff WordPress

Leading marketing & communication for WordPress

Last week I was appointed Marketing & Communications Lead of WordPress. I think WordPress is one of the most essential platforms on the web and I’m really proud to be able to do my part for it. I have been in the WordPress community for well over a decade now. In that time I’ve done a lot of different things but I think this will be my biggest challenge yet.

WordPress currently powers 32.9% of websites on the web, which, especially in absolute number of sites, is an incomprehensible number. It is also a wonderful project with a great community around it. Many people outside of WordPress don’t know much about the community, something I think we should change. Very often, people don’t even know about the great steps WordPress is making in re-defining content editing. We have to get that knowledge out there. The next phases of Gutenberg will even redefine website building. I hope to be instrumental in spreading this message. Let’s show the 67,1% that’s not using WordPress that maybe they should be.

With the announcement this week has already been tumultuous, but let me describe my next steps below. I’ve also got a couple of questions people have asked a lot, so I’m adding answers to those below.

Next steps

There a few things I’ve already done: I’ve spoken to a lot of members of the marketing team. I had already seen a lot of the things they’re busy with. As I was talking to them I was surprised to find some really high quality work that hardly anybody knew about, that just need a small push. I’m very happy to be able to provide that push. I’m dividing stuff I encounter into two different buckets right now: quick wins and longer term.

I’ve started writing a marketing and communications strategy. This will be based on my own ideas plus all the input I’ve had from people so far. From that strategy we should be able to extract campaigns. Within those campaigns there will be individual tasks that people can pick up.

At the same time I’m looking to update some of the core pages on These pages describe who we are and what we do. For example: we’ve already updated the Roadmap page, it now reflects our plans for 2019 much better. The Testimonials page that was broken has been fixed, and the Marketing team has a new task to update the History page.

Frequently asked questions

Let me answer the questions I’ve had a couple of times so far:

What does this mean for your day to day?

Obviously this comes with a bit of work. Several people asked me how this combines with my role at Yoast and at home. It’s clear: this is going to have to come out of “Yoast time”. I’m simply not willing to spend less time with my family. Now, I’ll admit: I do work a slight bit more than the average Yoast employee. But saying that, this is still going to impact what I do at Yoast. Most importantly it will probably impact my ability to code as much myself.

What did you think about the discussion around your appointment?

There was some discussion around my appointment, due to the fact that Bridget, the marketing team’s leading representative, had not been informed. This was, oh the irony, a communications issue between Matt, Josepha and myself. We’ve all apologized to Bridget, and I think we’re good now. Of course, I hope I’ll be able to prevent these kinds of communication issues in the future.

Let’s be clear: I’m not replacing her. She was a rep for the marketing team (she has stepped down since) and had done a good job as such. I’ve been given a wider task. I want us to do much more than just write content.

What if there’s a conflict of interest between Yoast and WordPress?

These do come up. And let’s be fair: I’m not exactly the first in WordPress’ leadership who might have a conflict of interest sometimes. Not so long ago I urged people to wait with upgrading to WordPress 5.0. (Btw: you’re fine to update now). While I hope that my deeper involvement in the project will allow me to avoid these situations, when they happen, they happen. I’ll deal with them as transparently as I can. It could mean that I, with my WordPress hat on, have a different opinion than Yoast, the company.

Are you being paid for this?

No. This is a volunteer position. I do benefit indirectly from WordPress’ growth, as that’ll probably mean Yoast will grow too, but I don’t think you can really call that payment. The fact that my position is unpaid does not mean there won’t be any paid positions within my team. I think marketing for WordPress as a whole would definitely benefit from having a few people that are able to consistently spend more than a few hours a week on it.

Are you going to fix the ambiguity between and

No. There are limits to what I’m allowed to change and this falls outside of those limits. Not that I’d even want to: I don’t feel like it’s that much of a problem, it’s definitely an ambiguity but both sides benefit from it too.

I do think that we’re not always doing a good job of making the distinction between the two. Just pointing it out to f.i. journalists when they make the mistake might clear some things up and make the distinction more widely understood.

Does this mean Automattic is acquiring you?

It’s surprising how many people have asked me this or similar questions in the past few days. The answer is simple: No. Automattic is not acquiring us. The reason for that is simple: we’re not for sale. We’re having fun, and we’re not looking to be acquired.

More questions? Just ask!

If you have more questions for me: go ahead and ask. In the comments below, on Twitter, or on WordPress Slack, where I am @joostdevalk.


Democratizing publishing

Matt blogged, in response to a question asked at WordCamp US: what does “democratizing publishing” mean to you? His answer:

… the mission of “Democratize Publishing” to me means that people of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities should be able to access Free-as-in-speech software that empowers them to express themselves on the open web and to own their content. …

Matt Mullenweg in his blog post

I agree with this explanation of the mission, it’s something we at Yoast deeply believe in. We also want to further it with Yoast SEO by making it possible for everyone to not just express themselves, but also to be found. If people want to express themselves, a large chunk of those people also want those expressions to be found by others. While search engines aim to get everything findable, getting ranked so other people see you takes a bit more work. Hence our own mission: SEO for everyone.


After WCUS: WordPress & Gutenberg FAQ

I just came back from WordCamp US in Nashville, which was awesome. In this post I want to address some of the questions I’ve had a couple of times. So here we go:

What is it you don’t like about Gutenberg?

There is nothing I don’t like about Gutenberg. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but in general, I seriously love it. Gutenberg makes WordPress ready for the web of today. That’s the reason our development team spent so much time to help make Gutenberg better.

How well does Yoast SEO do with Gutenberg?

It’s fine! In fact, it’s better than ever. Gutenberg has some performance issues (in the admin) at the moment that are more obvious when you use Yoast SEO, but I expect the next few minor releases of WordPress 5.0 to fix those. If you’re suffering from them now, installing and activating the Gutenberg plugin and keeping that up to date will get you those changes earlier.

But I thought you were mad about the release?

I was annoyed with the communication failure around the release. Initially, WordPress 5.0 was slated for November. In the post outlining that, a specific choice had been made to skip December, should November not be feasible, and go to January. Then, when the November timeframe proved unfeasible, the team tracked back on that and Matt decided to release in December anyway, with 2 days notice, despite several people’s objections, including my own.

I still do not agree with the timing of the release, but it’s done now. Matt has offered his apologies for the poor communication around that and with that, we’re now looking onward. I’m looking forward to seeing how we, as a WordPress community, can improve the consistency of our communication in the future.

So should I upgrade to WordPress 5.0 now?

Our suggestion is still to wait, as I said in my post on on WordPress 5.0. Yoast SEO is awesome with Gutenberg and I can’t wait for everyone to try it, but if you’re going to try it now, you might think that it’s annoying and slow. If you use it with Gutenberg 4.7 (currently in RC phase, you can get it here), it’s already much much better. This means that if you update in January, you should certainly be OK.

Is your support team suffering under WordPress 5.0?

Honestly: no. It seems to be doing reasonably fine, with very limited support on our end. Only one plugins so far is left that is known to break Yoast SEO’s meta box: Gravity Forms’ Gutenberg Add-On (which is still in beta). I’m assuming that will get fixed.

Two plugins have already been updated:
WPML you should update to 4.1.2 or higher.
Pods has been fixed in 2.7.11, so update to that, or a newer version.

In general, many plugins will probably need to update a few more times the next few days and weeks.

Should people stick with the classic editor?

No! You’re missing out on lots and lots of cool stuff, so sticking with the classic editor should not be a long term solution. It might be fine for a few months as plugin and theme developers work out their issues with Gutenberg, but I’d suggest switching it on as soon as you can.

There are always going to be people who don’t like interface changes, and such is the case with this release too. The awesome teams in the WordPress forums are helping those people where they can and I assume a few of them will continue using the classic editor for now.

What are you looking forward to in WordPress?

In Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word he announced a longer term roadmap than we’ve had for a while, something I really like. He announced the next phase of Gutenberg, which looks promising, and 9 focus points for the next year, which all seem to be very nice projects. On top of that he announced the intent for WordPress core to support multi-lingual sites, something I’ve been asking for as a core feature for quite some time now.

Was this post just an excuse to use the Yoast SEO FAQ block?

No, not really… Well, maybe a little 😉

My experience: I had to switch to using the Gutenberg 4.7 RC as I was doing this. Otherwise it does indeed become slow when you have more than ~ 5 questions in an FAQ block. As soon I switched to the 4.7 RC though, it immediately became useful and in fact, very nice to work with.

At the same time, I’ve found some minor issues that we’re going to have to solve in our FAQ blocks, so those will get an update too.

Have more questions for me? Drop them in the comments, I’ll answer them there!


WordPress 5.0 needs a different timeline

For the last few months, the WordPress developer community has been moving towards a release of WordPress 5.0. This is the highly anticipated release that will contain the new Gutenberg editing experience. It’s arguably one of the biggest leaps forward in WordPress’ editing experience and its developer experience in this decade. It’s also not done yet, and if we keep striving for its planned November 19th release date, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Update November 9th: WordPress 5.0 has been moved
The new release date is November 27th, 2018. See the Make/Core post for details. While I’m happy that it’s been postponed, I’m not sure whether this is enough to get WordPress 5.0 to be as accessible and stable as I think it should be. Time will tell, I guess.

Let me begin by stating that I love Gutenberg. It’s the best thing since sliced bread as far as content editing is concerned. I’m writing this post in Gutenberg. I started writing it on my iPhone. It rocks. But it also still has numerous bugs. In fact, the editor broke on me during writing this post and failed to autosave all the contents. Luckily I saw it breaking and copied the paragraphs to an external editor.

Reasons for delaying

There are a two main reasons why the November 19th timeline is in my opinion untenable:

  • There are some severe accessibility concerns. While these aren’t new and a few people are working hard on them, I actually think we can get a better handle on fixing them if we push the release back. Right now it looks to me as though keyboard accessibility has regressed in the last few releases of Gutenberg.
  • The most important reason: the overall stability of the project isn’t where it needs to be yet. There are so many open issues for the 5.0 milestone that even fixing all the blockers before we’d get to Release Candidate stage next week is going to prove impossible. We have, at time of writing 212 untriaged bugs and 165 issues on the WordPress 5.0 milestone.

People are working hard

The amount of work being done every day right now by the development team is bordering on the insane. Look at the work for the last three days:

I’d normally be happy with this for a week. This is 3 days, also including a Sunday. It’s been like this for a while. I appreciate all these people doing the hard work, but moving this fast only increases the chance of regressions.

When I mentioned earlier today in the WordPress Slack’s #core-editor channel that I think we should push back, the response was pretty positive:

Let’s get this straight: this is in the channel with a large part of the people working on this release. I’m not the first to say this. I hope this post will help the powers that be come to the same conclusion.

Conclusion: push back, and zoom out

All these things considering, my conclusion is simple: we need to push back the release. My preference would be to January. This would allow us to zoom out a bit, prevent regressions and overall, lead to a better product, with finished documentation. Something that’s worthy of the label RC when we decide to stick that on it. Right now, I feel that the beta is more of an alpha, and we’ll end up with an RC that’s more of a beta.

 “Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.”

Allen Ginsberg, from Ginsberg, a biography

Gutenberg and Yoast SEO

I’m typing this as I sit in Track 1 of WordCamp Europe in Paris. Matt Mullenweg just announced Gutenberg as a plugin is available so I installed it on here and am writing this post in it.

Gutenberg is a radical rethinking of the post screen and that means we at Yoast have to rethink how we integrate with it. Some of what we do, our real time content and SEO analysis will still have to be visible all the time. Our snippet preview though, might actually move to a pre-publish workflow, a concept that the Gutenberg team has been thinking about.

None of this is set in stone yet, I look forward to building an integration that works well. I would also love, if you're reading this, your ideas on how we could integrate with this.

Accessibility and Gutenberg

One of the things that we at Yoast worry about is the accessibility of Gutenberg. We have a team member, Andrea Fercia, who's very active as a WordPress contributor. We have freed him up to work on accessibility on this project so it can be merged into WordPress soon without losing the accessibility that the current editor has.

Install Gutenberg

You should really install Gutenberg on a test site and play with it: