2012 was a Great Year for WordPress Development, How Will it Fare this Year?


2012 is long gone. The past month was slightly busy owing to happenings here at 1stWebDesigner (stay tuned, we got a lot coming your way!), and as February begins, I have decided to take a look at how 2012 was, as well as what 2013 has in store for WordPress!

Now, before I actually start ranting about how good or bad 2013 is going to be, let us spend some time taking a look at 2012.

2012: The Year That Was…

All in all, 2012 proved to be a wonderful year for WordPress users and enthusiasts all over the world. The year saw two major releases of WordPress — Green (version 3.4) and Elvin (version 3.5). And, if I may say so, you already know you’ve got a good year if you have two awesome releases of WordPress in your hands!

However, it was not simply the version number that saw an upgrade. WordPress, as software itself, underwent significant changes. The Theme Customizer came into being, the Media Manager was revamped, and the Links Manager perished.


Yet, not all innovations were well received by the community. A good number of users criticized the new Media Manager — it seems to be ideal for creating a gallery, but not for the old school among us, who wish to enter the URL to a given image and insert it directly. Beyond that, the Theme Customizer and the disappearance of the Links Manager was appreciated by the vast majority of folks.


Still need more? The plugin repository incorporated an awesome concept of user reviews and feedback. Personally, I am not sure how effective this review mechanism will prove to be in the long run — most of the time, WordPress end users prove to be lazy reviewers. Ratings are good, but detailed reviews are a rarity. Yet, some innovation is always better than no innovation, isn’t it?

Now, coming to WordPress themes and plugins. I recently did an article about the state of WordPress themes (which, by the way, also has an accompanying infographic designed by Michael Burns — so if you have not checked it out already, DO IT NOW!).


Just like any other year, 2012 also saw many new free and premium themes as well as plugins of which Twenty Twelve is a shining example! Responsive and minimalist desogns have continued to gain momentum, and awesome ideas such as ManageWPInfiniteWP and managed WordPress hosting too, have risen in popularity.

Thus, all said and done, 2012 was a terrific year for WordPress. Oh, and before I forget, voices were also raised against the current shape of WordPress and its user base.

2013: The Year That Will Be…

Having gone through 2012, let us now turn our focus towards 2013.

Ah… well, 2013 is over a month old, and it already looks to be promising enough. Wanna know why? For a start, version 3.6 is already getting ready for a barrell roll. Now, only time will tell whether version 3.6 turns out to be a hit or a flop, but, as is obvious by now, we should be ready to be greeted with new WP releases in 2013.

And while we are talking about getting ready, how about checking URL embedding prowess in WordPress using one of our awesome tweets? 

Last year, Matt Mullenweg spoke emphatically about mobile publishing for WordPress. In 2013, we have every reason to expect to see those words turning into action. As far as my prediction goes, I do not envision an all-out radical revamp of the user interface. On the contrary, I do expect many mobile-friendly innovations to come to the fore.

Let us stick with the mobile for some more time. Having used the WordPress.com mobile app sometime back last year, I do hope that 2013 provides us with a better alternative. The current WP.com app can surely use a facelift, and with the ever happening and versatile community over at WP.com, it is only a matter of time before the much needed facelift greets the mobile app.

Also, speaking of innovations, we are already aware that WordPress is now retina ready. In 2013, I am assuming there will be many new developments in the touch-friendly zone as well. However, by touch-friendly and mobile-friendly, I am not simply referring to a leaner (and meaner) admin panel. As far as I can see it, the popularity of plugins such as WPtouch Pro can rise significantly this year.

What about Design Trends?

When it comes to trends related to web design in general, predicting on the basis of calendar dates becomes difficult. After all, just like any other art form, web design trends happen to take birth without a warning.

Speaking strictly of WordPress themes, one new trend that I can see gaining momentum in 2013 is the Metro style (blame it on Microsoft Windows 8 and its Metro UI). Basically, Metro style means using bold, and often colorful, blocks of content against a light and minimal background. Quite obviously, such innovations are futile without responsive design. Metro Style is a wonderful theme that portrays a design similar to Metro UI.


Furthermore, I do not expect the popularity of responsive web design or minimalism (accompanied by subtle textures and clean typography) to diminish anytime soon. Another interesting design trend that will gain even more popularity in 2013 is the use of Parallax in WordPress themes. For instance, Mercurial is a good example of the use of Parallax in WordPress themes.



Each time I write a “future predictions” article, I feel like a soothsayer from Ancient Egypt (minus the part related to animal sacrifices and shaved eyebrows).

2013 will, in all likelihood, be a good year for WordPress. The apex CMS crown will not be challenged anytime soon, and the number of themes and plugins will continue to rise. I do, however, feel that most of the innovations this year will be on the mobile front, and the desktop version is likely to remain more or less the same. Lastly, I personally do not envision multiple changes in the WordPress UI in 2013. However, if it happens to be released this year, I am surely expecting the Twenty Thirteen theme to surpass all of its predecessors in terms of awesomeness.

What do you think of WordPress in 2013? Furthermore, what are the new changes and additions/deletions that you would like to see this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!



  1. I love the possibilities and the design I have with Worldpress. My sites get all different with the same tool. Add-on, such websites as you make and everything else make it more interesting and easier!! Thanks!!

  2. I simply love WordPress. It has made web development so easy and interesting that even a normal guy without much knowledge of web building can have his own blog. No surprise it was on top in 2012, and it will continue to be in 2013 too.

  3. Yemeni

    I couldn’t describe this new trend until I read your article and it felt great to finally know it’s called Metro them style :-)

    Good work Sufyan, many thanks ^_^

    Zee From Yemen

  4. it was indeed a great year, as a wordpress user, when i received my whole year statistics, it show how my website improved, not to mention that WordPress team introduce the portfolio for photographers

  5. Mobile will definitely be a big trend in 2013 for designers especially to start focusing on.

    It’s getting pretty hard to ignore the mobile interface when up to 50% of your visitors are coming to your site on the platform. It makes having a responsive UI even more important!

    I think it would be great to have more tools available to assist in creating these interfaces and I hope WordPress is thinking about what they can do to make mobile developer’s lives easier.

  6. Great article. 2012 did see a lot of great improvements to WordPress. I personally like the new media manager but it did take a bit of getting used to.

    You mentioned that we would see more about Mobile publishing for WordPress. What are you expecting to see and do you have any insight as to when this will come into fruition?

  7. I’m ready for a new web design trend. I can see the Metro style taking off because it can take advantage of responsive web design. I’ve been a big fan of parallax in web design but I felt the trend diminished a bit, it might pick up again hopefully.

    I’m excited for WordPress in 2013. It is no longer enough just to have a static website and I can see the use of WordPress rising in the next few years as more and more people migrate over.

    Thanks for the article,

  8. Great article Sufyan! WordPress and its themes are awesome! I like the clean and simple design. Now I’m in love with responsive and parallax themes.

    In 2013 I hope WordPress will focus more on responsiveness!


  9. Great info,thanks a lot,We must appreciate the efforts who have put together to make this post .Hope tis 2013 will be blast for web development and design.

  10. What I especially liked was “What About Design Trends” and the explanation of the Metro theme. I was not aware that (1) It was a trend and (2) It was called Metro!

    Keep the good stuff coming, Sufyan —


  11. Thank so much for the article and look back 2012 for a while. WordPress is my favorite cms since 2009, and I really enjoy its simplicity, truly – “Code is Poetry”.
    The Twenty Twelve theme is a break and I like it too. And obviously look forward to Twenty Thirteen :)
    However, I don’t think a 3-4 inch screen is a comfortable space to browse a full feature website, and I wonder how people are getting crazy to build a responsive website. I believe a separate website for mobiles should be the right solution. Though its my personal view.
    But, I am more excited about tabs.

    • Well yes, many people are looking up to solutions such as WPtouch Pro instead of following the responsive web design model.
      And we all are looking forward to Twenty Thirteen. :-)

  12. Dirk Benthien

    A simple thank you to the developers of WordPress. My site is a WordPress site, and I really appreciate the ease of use in combination with rich functionality.
    Please keep up the good work.

  13. Great insights, Sufyan! I think the Twenty Twelve theme was an awesome, minimalist addition to the themes already available.

    I just read about the distraction-free writing module of WP but have yet to try it out. Would be awesome to make that more apparent in 2013.