Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 – Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨

Recap Wordcamp US

Saif Hassan November 6, 2019

19 Min Read
Category: Reviews

Last week was crazy at St. Lous! Thousands of attendees, hundreds of sessions, great speakers, business veterans, WordPress enthusiasts – all came under one roof at America’s Center Convention Complex at St. Louis Mo.

Every year, Matt Mullenweg gives his State of The Word speech at WordCamp. In the State of the Word, Matt shares his thoughts on where WordPress has been, where it’s going and takes questions from the audience.

I was scheduled to join WordCamp US, as a volunteer. I was very excited this year because WordPress is maturing. Since last year, WordPress is on a journey to embrace new technologies, and rejuvenate itself.

This year, it was no different. WordCamp US ended with a bang with thousands of attendees, hundreds of volunteers, speakers & fans all around the globe.

WordCamp US – The Biggest & Most Hyped WordCamp

WordCamp US is one of the most important and grandest WordCamp out there. Not only because it usually has the “Word of The State” presentation by Matt, but also it attracts all WordPress fans, developers, designers, community managers across the globe.

This year was no exception. WordCamp US started as early as 8:00 in the morning on November 1st, at St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis is itself a very nice city that has a rich history. WordCamp US happened in America’s Center Convention Complex.

The venue had a great positive vibe all the way.

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 11
America’s Center Convention Complex

There were almost 67+ sessions in WordCamp US, ranging from Content, Marketing, Design, Development and more.

WordCamp US By the Numbers

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 12
WordCamp US by The Numbers

This year also saw a massive number of WordCamps that saw the likes of Google. The WordPress ecosystem is getting interesting because Google has been keen on WordPress development from the last year. Google’s own SiteKit came out of beta just last week, immediately before WordCamp US.

A full list of sessions is still available on the WordCamp US website. I am listing them out for your convenience. The videos should be up soon and I will link each session for your convenience.

  1. Title: Behavior-Driven Development in WordPress with Behat
    Presented by: Mauricio Dinarte
  2. Title: Creating an Environment of Innovation
    Presented by: Tina Peterson
  3. Title: WordPress: An Operating System for the Open Web
    Presented by: Jonathan Wold
  4. Title: Align SEO Efforts with Your Target Market and Today’s Search: Learn How to Perform Keyword Research and Map Them to Content
    Presented by: Rebecca Gill
  5. Title: Automating Your QA with Visual Regression Testing
    Presented by: Andrew Taylor
  6. Title: Contributing to Core, No Coding Necessary
    Presented by: Jeffrey Paul
  7. Title: Grow Your Meetup!
    Presented by: Victor Ramirez, Andy McIlwain, and Meagan Hanes
  8. Title: How to Perform a Quality UX Audit on a Budget
    Presented by: Maddy Osman
  9. Title: Open Source, Open Process, Open Web
    Presented by: Helen Hou-Sandi
  10. Title: Using WordPress to do_action
    Presented by: Tess Coughlan-Allen
  11. Title: The Cost of Contribution
    Presented by: Alain Schlesser
  12. Title: Level Up Your Technical Troubleshooting
    Presented by: Ben Meredith
  13. Title: A Mom, a Lesbian, and an Entrepreneur Walk into a WordCamp
    Presented by: Kori Ashton
  14. Title: The Power of CSS: Cool Things To Do With Styles
    Presented by: David Wolfpaw
  15. Title: User Personas as an Inclusive Design and Development Tool
    Presented by: Carie Fisher
  16. Title: The Hierarchy of Needs for High-Performing Websites
    Presented by: Steve Persch
  17. Title: Practical Project Management Tips
    Presented by: Chris Ford
  18. Title: The Content Framework that Powers Stories, Landing Pages & More
    Presented by: Chris Lema
  19. Title: A Tour Through the WordPress Database
    Presented by: Julie Kuehl
  20. Title: Brand Messaging 101: How to Clearly Communicate Your Value and Get Clients to Say Yes
    Presented by: Jennifer Bourn
  21. Title: Creating a Welcoming and Diverse Space
    Presented by: Jill Binder, Aurooba Ahmed, Allie Nimmons, and David Wolfpaw
  22. Title: How I Built WPBingo: a PWA That Uses Vue.js, Tailwind CSS, and the WP REST API
    Presented by: Brian Richards
  23. Title: Making Your Website Work for Everyone: Accessibility and Inclusive Design
    Presented by: Natalie MacLees
  24. Title: WordPress with Friends: What Board Games Teach Us about Creating for the Web
    Presented by: Taylor Morgan
  25. Title: Code Like a Writer
    Presented by: Alex Ball
  26. Title: Thinking remotely through games
    Presented by: Tammie Lister
  27. Title: Securing WordPress in the age of 0-Day Vulnerabilities
    Presented by: Rahul Nagare
  28. Title: Privacy: How to Survive aCCPAcalypse 2020
    Presented by: Rian Kinney
  29. Title: Technical SEO Checklist: How to Optimize a WordPress Site for Search Engine Crawlers
    Presented by: Pam Aungst
  30. Title: Wrangling Multisite: Tools and Tricks to Tame Your Network
    Presented by: Matthew Rodela
  31. Title: ROI of UX, How to Assign Money Value to Your Designs
    Presented by: Olesya Boreyko
  32. Title: Crafting an Effective Bio for Your Website and Social Profiles
    Presented by: Bridget Willard
  33. Title: Disrupting the Enterprise
    Presented by: Nick Gernert
  34. Title: Everyone Can Help Make WordPress Better – How to Contribute to WordPressTitle: Running a Successful Contributor Day
    Presented by: Ptah Dunbar, Cal Evans,Milana Cap, and Remkus de Vries
  35. Title: The Hacking Mindset: How Beating WordPress Hackers Taught Me to Overcome Obstacles & Innovate
    Presented by: Kathy Zant
  36. Title: The REST API and Authentication
    Presented by: Jonny Harris
  37. Title: Accepting and Applying to Speak at WordCamps
    Presented by: Aaron Jorbin, David Bisset, Tessa Kriesel, and Carrie Dils
  38. Title: How to Leverage Your Online Presence to Get More Clients and Better Job Offers
    Presented by: Andrea Zoellner
  39. Title: Is Something Not Very Usable or Accessible? Change it!
    Presented by: Tracy Apps
  40. Title: Using WordPress With Static Site Generators
    Presented by: Muhammad Muhsin and Jason Bahl
  41. Title: Everyone Can Help Make WordPress Better – How to Contribute to WordPress
  42. Title: Morning Office Yoga: Second Floor Atrium
    Presented by: Zac Gordon
  43. Title: How the WordPress Community Can Embrace the Next Generation (Talk + Panel)
    Presented by: Olivia Bisset, Nathan Ingram, Natalie Bourn, Sophie DeRosia, Dina Butcher, Ema DeRosia, and Emily Lema
  44. Title: How to Create Your First Business Plan
    Presented by: Francesca Marano
  45. Title: WordPress Automated Updates: A Panel Discussion
    Presented by: Mika Epstein, Jake Spurlock, Andrew Nacin, and Jenny Beaumont
  46. Title: Working with WordPress and External APIs
    Presented by: Naomi Bush
  47. Title: How to Organize Events for Youths (Discussion)
    Presented by: Nathan Ingram, Sandy Edwards, Shawn Hooper, and Michele Butcher-Jones
  48. Title: Just Enough React for WordPress
    Presented by: Shannon Smith
  49. Title: Responsible Tracking: Learning from Your Users Without Being Creepy
    Presented by: Katherine White
  50. Title: Templates & Plugins & Blocks, Oh My! Designing the Theme that Thinks of Everything
    Presented by: Michelle Schulp
  51. Title: Unlocking six-figure eCommerce growth with automations
    Presented by: Beka Rice
  52. Title: Defining Fast: The Hardest Problem in Performance Engineering
    Presented by: Zack Tollman
  53. Title: Design Systems: Crafting For Crafters
    Presented by: Jon Quach
  54. Title: From Developer to Manager — How to Survive
    Presented by: Brian Thompson
  55. Title: Unconference!
    Presented by: Joe Simpson
  56. Title: WebWeWant
    Presented by: Helen Hou-Sandi, Alain Schlesser, Rich Tabor, and Carie Fisher
  57. Title: Confidently Testing WordPress
    Presented by: Steve Grunwell
  58. Title: How to Disagree on the Internet
    Presented by: K Adam White
  59. Title: Organizing a WordCamp While Staying Sane
    Presented by: Jenny Wong, Brad Morrison, and Winstina Hughes
  60. Title: Structuring Modern WordPress Sites for Scale
    Presented by: Chance Strickland
  61. Title: The Building Blocks of Building Blocks
    Presented by: Rich Tabor
  62. Title: How to Beat Technical Writer’s Block
    Presented by: Carl Alexander
  63. Title: Take Back Your Web
    Presented by: Tantek Çelik
  64. Title: State of the Word
    Presented by: Matt Mullenweg

I tried to pick up the best sessions but it’d not be a good thing to do. Each speaker gave their heart out to share their knowledge among the community. Each session had different audiences.

State of the Word

This year‘s State of the Word laid out the blueprint for WordPress for the next year. And as expected, the Gutenberg editor is front and center of it.

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 13
Word of The State – Matt giving his annual speech where he shares the future of WordPress

Matt started with the improvements made to WordPress last year. Starting with Cronjob. Cronjob handling of WordPress was a mess before. Matt emphasized how WordPress handles all scheduling stuff now.

WordPress 5.3, coming in November 14th, will be including

  • 150+ block editor improvements
  • Twenty Twenty default theme
  • Date/Time improvements and fixes
  • PHP 7.4 compatibility
  • Revamped Admin Email Verification, will notify admins about their current admin email every six months.
  • A new version of WordPress for phones (iOS and Android) is scheduled to release in the next couple of weeks. The new app will have dark mode and work even without internet access.
Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 14
New WordPress mobile apps will include a dark mode and

83% of all users on WordPress 5.2 or newer are running at least PHP 7. This is a massive win for WordPress as PHP 5.4-5.5 really holds back the true potential of WordPress.

Matt then reiterated the community engagement of WordPress. WordCamps have been happening around the world and this year 141 WordCamps had taken place Worldwide.

  • 141 WordCamps
  • 17 Kids Camp
  • 16 do_action charity hackathons.
Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 15
WordCamp Stats

Matt took a silence when announcing the death of Alex Mills. Alex was the author of the hugely popular Regenerate Thumbnail plugin.


After that, it was all about Gutenberg. Gutenberg had revamped how WordPress works to the core last year. Matt said last year, the work on Gutenberg is just done 10%. This year, he jokingly bumped into 20%.

Since WordPress 5.0 was the biggest change to the WordPress history of 16 years, it didn’t get the best responses from the WordPress community. The Gutenberg WordPress plugin is still one of the lowest-rated plugins by such a huge number of people.

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 16
The Gutenberg reviews weren’t very positive.
Gutenberg Releases
20 releases since WordPress 5.0
  • 20 releases of Gutenberg since last year. 400 developers have contributed to Gutenberg. (100% increase over YoY). 50 million posts have been done using Gutenberg.
  • WordPress 5.3 is coming on November 14, 2019. Matt thanked all the contributors for their contribution.


The loading time of Gutenberg editor has been drastically reduced in the WordPress 5.3 release. It’s almost 2x fast since Gutenberg first came out.

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 17
Average load time and time to type comparison – WordPress 5.0 vs WordPress 5.3

With a performance boost, the editor is also having some sleek new UX updates.

  • Transition effect while restructuring blocks.
  • Typewriter Mode will allow writing that
  • Block Previews will be showing a quick preview about the block
  • Quick Navigation Mode using a keyboard for faster accessing.
Gutenberg Block Preview
Gutenberg Block Preview
Typewriter Mode - WordPress 5.3
Typewriter Mode – WordPress 5.3

Gutenberg/ Tomorrow

After covering what’s happening with Gutenberg, he shared what will happen with Gutenberg the next year. Probably the most important change to the editor is coming with block directory. Users will be able to install a block while writing from the editor itself.

Block Directory You are going to be able to install directly from the Editor. Completely inline, no reload or anything. This is going to be huge for developers!

Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 18
Inline block install

Apart from the Inline block install, Gutenberg will be adding some nifty new features.

Social Icons from Editor You can finally add social icons anywhere in the
Navigation Menu Block to use from the Editor You can add a navigation menu to the editor more nicely.
Button Gradients Gutenberg editor is introducing Gradient buttons
Multi Layout Button Phew! You can finally add two buttons, side by side! Oh god, finally!

Multilayout Button Blocks
Multi Layout Buttons
Gradient Button blocks
Gradient Buttons
Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 19

The idea is to mimic any website and make it using Gutenberg Editor

Matt showcased some great examples of using Gutenberg Editor

  • You will be able to build newsletters directly from the Gutenberg editor.
  • Pragmatic created a plugin that converts the entire Word document (including images) to Gutenberg ready blocks.

The Future of Gutenberg

Matt announced that Gutenberg development will be having 4 phases

  • Phase 1: Easier Editing (more focus on Usability)
  • Phase 2: Customization (more focus on Personalization)
  • Phase 3: Collaboration (more focus on real-time co-editing like Google Docs)
  • Phase 4: Multilingual (making Gutenberg more local)

One More Thing

One of the most surprising announcements from Word of the State was showcasing another plugin named Slide. Matt’s entire presentation at WCUS was made using the Slide plugin, showcasing the power of Gutenberg.

He ended his by providing emphasis on Contributor’s Day & the project Five for The Future


A WordCamp isn’t WordCamp without photos. Companies like Elementor, Yoast, rtCamp, WP Rocket, Themeum, Google all joined WCUS to showcase their products.
Recap: WordCamp US & State of The Word 2019 - Everything That You Might Have Missed Under 5 Mins ✨ 20
Morning Yoga

Did I Miss Anything?

I have tried to recap everything regarding WordCamp US. Did I miss anything? if you attended WordCamp US, let me know what you loved most in the comments section!

[All the information is collected from the web! The pictures were only posted if they were made available publicly on Facebook or Twitter.]

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Saif Hassan

Product Manager by passion & profession. Lead Product Manager at weDevs, former PM @ Poptin. Passionate about writing & tech. He's an advocate of Human-Centered Design and believes that websites and the tools used to build them should be well crafted, intuitive, and accessible. Cyclist. Reader. A WordPress ninja 🥷, HCI expert & a design thinker 💡

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