Radical Changes Coming for WordPress, Says Founder Matt Mullenweg

WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg at the paidContent 2012 Event

“One of the things I’ve been working on a lot the past few months is sort of a radical simplification of the WordPress interface,” said WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg recently at the paidContent 2012 conference in New York.

“WordPress it’s a complex tool. It’s like the back of a digital SLR. It’s got a lot of buttons, a lot of powerful things you can do. But that doesn’t work on your phone. … You really have to radically reimagine.”

Pivoting WordPress

Mobile, of course, is changing our world. And it looks as if it will be changing WordPress as well.

At the paidContent event, Matt talked of WordPress embarking on its “third or fourth pivot.” He later took to his blog to expand on his comments.

WordPress was first for pure blogging, then became embraced as a CMS (though some people still deny this), is seeing growth and innovation in being used as an application platform (I think we’re about a third of the way through that), and just now starting to embrace social and mobile — the fourth phase of our evolution.

And though he is clearly working on this latest “pivot,” he admits, “I don’t have all the answers yet — that’s what makes it fun.”

That said, the goal seems to be clear: “I think when we turn 10 in 2013 the ways people experience and publish with WordPress will be shorter, simpler, faster.”

So What Else is New?

WordPress is already morphing for mobile devices in various ways. So what’s all the hubbub about?

Well, it seems Matt has other plans up his sleeve, even if he isn’t quite sure what they are yet. He quotes Betaworks’ CEO John Bothwick as saying, “A tablet is an incredible device that you can put in front of babies or 95-year-olds, and they know how to use it.”

And this, it seems, is the challenge: designing an intuitive system for an intuitive device. And it appears his intuition tells him something completely different needs to be done.

How we democratize publishing on that sort of platform will not and should not work like WordPress’ current dashboard does. It’s not a matter of a responsive stylesheet or incremental UX improvements, it’s re-imagining and radically simplifying what we currently do, thinking outside the box of wp-admin.

The Big Question

But all this talk of simplification brings a simple question immediately to mind: Will this new interface be a replacement or simply another option? In the comments of his post, he answers, “Think of these as alternative ways to use WordPress.”

You can see the videos of the paidContent event here (free registration required).

Now you can polish up Google’s translation of your website

Webmaster level: All

(Cross-posted on the Google Translate Blog)

Since we first launched the Website Translator plugin back in September 2009, more than a million websites have added the plugin. While we’ve kept improving our machine translation system since then, we may not reach perfection until someone invents full-blown Artificial Intelligence. In other words, you’ll still sometimes run into translations we didn’t get quite right.

So today, we’re launching a new experimental feature (in beta) that lets you customize and improve the way the Website Translator translates your site. Once you add the customization meta tag to a webpage, visitors will see your customized translations whenever they translate the page, even when they use the translation feature in Chrome and Google Toolbar. They’ll also now be able to ‘suggest a better translation’ when they notice a translation that’s not quite right, and later you can accept and use that suggestion on your site.

To get started:

  1. Add the Website Translator plugin and customization meta tag to your website
  2. Then translate a page into one of 60+ languages using the Website Translator

To tweak a translation:

  1. Hover over a translated sentence to display the original text
  2. Click on ‘Contribute a better translation’
  3. And finally, click on a phrase to choose an automatic alternative translation — or just double-click to edit the translation directly.

For example, if you’re translating your site into Spanish, and you want to translate Cat not to gato but to Cat, you can tweak it as follows:

If you’re signed in, the corrections made on your site will go live right away — the next time a visitor translates a page on your website, they’ll see your correction. If one of your visitors contributes a better translation, the suggestion will wait until you approve it. You can also invite other editors to make corrections and add translation glossary entries. You can learn more about these new features in the Help Center.

This new experimental feature is currently free of charge. We hope this feature, along with Translator Toolkit and the Translate API, can provide a low cost way to expand your reach globally and help to break down language barriers.

Posted by Jeff Chin, Product Manager, Google Translate

Bring Twitter to Your Blog with Tweets as Posts

Bring Twitter to Your Blog with Tweets as PostsBetter integration between your blog and social media outposts is rarely a bad thing.

Whilst your blog should remain the central focus (it is after all likely to be the only property that you have absolute control over), attracting new friends and followers is important too. Your blog is a standalone entity, but if you can sneak into the day to day lives of people through their social media accounts, you can bring them back time and time again.

Tweets as Posts

Which brings me to Tweets as Posts. There is a possibility that you could take a good guess as to what this plugin does without me saying anything further, but in case you are still wondering, Tweets as Posts pulls tweets from any Twitter account and publishes them as posts on your blog. This is potentially a great way of promoting your Twitter account from your blog and increasing your follower count, and certainly would have more of an impact than a simple sidebar widget.

The settings page is pretty simple – here’s the setup I used to test the plugin:

Tweets as Posts

As you can see, you can determine which tweets are pulled into your blog by specifying a hashtag. I recently re-launched my blog so am using a related hashtag. I gave the plugin a quick test run with the following tweet:

Tweet

Tweets as Posts will run a check every hour by default to see if any new tweets have been published, or you can enable a manual override from the settings screen. I chose to do so about a minute after I published the above tweet, and it was discovered and published on my test blog immediately:

Tweet as Post

Improvements

This is a brand new plugin and at the time of writing has only been downloaded 154 times, so I am not about to tear it to pieces for not being feature-packed. Having said that, Tweets as Posts really could do with some pretty obvious functionality that is currently absent.

The most obvious addition would be the ability to specify a post format for tweets. I can’t imagine many people wanting to publish 140 characters or less as its own blog post, but it would work perfectly as an aside or quotation.

Secondly, it would be nice to be able to include a standardized heading and/or text that could be included with every post.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), an option to save the post as a draft rather than publish immediately would be valuable.

I have a suspicion that the plugin’s author already has some (or all) of these improvements in mind.

Potential

I can imagine this plugin eventually being adopted by the kind of bloggers who like to update regularly with little tidbits such as quotes, photos, and so on (in a Tumblr style). But before that happens, the functionality needs to be tweaked and extended somewhat. What we have here is the start of a good plugin.

Download Tweets as Posts here.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Minette Layne