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I hope that you had a great holiday season. Just like you, we’re working on plans for 2012 and I want to share our.

WPML became a commercial product in 2011. While last year, we focused on adding new features, our goal for this year is broader. We’re seeing major trends in the WordPress landscape, and intend for WPML to play a key role in them.

WordPress Trends in 2012

While WordPress became the dominant CMS in 2010 / 2011, we think that 2012 will see WordPress maturing as web-application. We’re already seeing a lot more focus on e-commerce, listing and review sites and other complete applications.

There are already new and exciting e-commerce plugins, joining the older and more well-known ones. It’s been great for everyone. As JigShop, WooCommerce and MarketPress came out, WP E-Commerce developers had to step up and revamp their code. No matter which e-commerce plugin you’re using today, you’re getting a much better product than you did a year ago.

Besides e-commerce, plugins that help customize WordPress have gotten extremely popular. Almost any WordPress site today uses something for custom fields and custom post types management. This means that we’re all using WordPress far beyond pages and posts.

There’s also a wide selection of great themes, that help build complex sites without any coding. Just drag the elements you want, where you want them, and you’re good to go.

Our part is to provide you with a seamless integration experience, allowing you to create complex multilingual WordPress sites, with all these great features.

Mobile Everywhere

Mobile web and touch screens are no longer somewhere over the horizon. They’re here now and they’re here to stay. If my 8 year-old knows how to operate a tablet – I can say for sure that that’s a winner.

We need to make sure that everything that runs well on a PC, also looks great on a tablet. For WPML, it means making it easy for admin and visitors to choose their language.

Never Forget the Basics

Trends are great, but we must never neglect our basics. These are the features that got WordPress and WPML to become so popular. To stay ahead, we need to always keep these basics in mind and in the code:

  • Stability – it needs to work without bugs or glitches
  • Security – it must be bullet-proof secure
  • Compatibility – it needs to work with other plugins and themes
  • Performance – it must run lightening fast and stay lean
  • Ease-of-use – it must be intuitive, even without having to read Help documents

Stability, security and compatibility have been our main focus in 2011. We’re looking to boost performance even more in the next major release of WPML.

Our own sites run pretty fast because they’re already optimized. If you build a theme from scratch, you can guarantee its performance. We see most performance issues with complex themes that were not exactly designed to work with WPML. In the near future, I’ll write more and explain about how to check if your site’s performance is great and if there are things to improve. Then, we’ll be happy to receive test cases from you, showing where there are bottlenecks.

Also, we recognize the fact that as we added more and more features to WPML, its interface might have gotten a bit complex. We’ll be doing a major round of usability improvements and we’ll be happy to get feedback about it.

Our Goals for 2012

Full Compatibility with all Major E-Commerce Plugins

I know that we’ve been through this before and not always with the best results, but we feel that things are going much better now.

We’ve already got good compatibility with MarketPress and WooCommerce. JigShop is coming next and should be available in the next plugin release.

We finally managed to nail down the major issues with WP E-Commerce. With a bit of help from you guys, I hope that we can push our suggestions into WPEC code and be finally able to announce that it’s working great together.

Allow Building Complex Multilingual Sites

It took us six months, and now, we’re ready with Types and Views (still in Beta, but looking great). These two plugins are our solution for running complex WordPress sites, which are fully WPML compatible.

The upcoming Types and Views versions will allow to build things, never before seen with WordPress. We’re taking powerful features from web-development platforms, such as Ruby-on-Rails and implementing them inside Types and Views. We’ll try to give all that power, but without a fraction of the complexity. Yes, it’s a challenge.

This will allow building complex sites that have interconnected content types, inline lists of related data and other goodies. I’ll write more about that, as we approach the finish line.

For multilingual sites, the challenge is to make everything easily translatable. Since we’re using WPML, Types and Views for our own sites, we’ll make sure that this happens.

Run Faster

We want to see multilingual sites run faster, without having to spend days optimizing database queries. This means that WPML will pre-load and cache results and avoid hitting the database for content that it already loaded once. This is easier said than done. With different themes using the database very differently, we’ve got a lot of analysis and design work, before we can get down to coding.

Be Simpler

Simple can mean many things. Just having a minimalistic GUI doesn’t always mean it’s easy to quickly find what you’re looking to do. We want to make the entire user-experience around WPML better. This includes the site administration, content entry for writers and editors and translation process for translators.

We’re pretty used to how things are, so we’ve kinda developed a blind spot to usability issues. Suggestions are welcome 🙂

See You There!

We’re very happy about how 2011 ended and we want to make sure that 2012 turns out even better. A lot of the new development in WPML was due to your feedback. Keep working with us to make WordPress, WPML and your projects the best they can be.

If you have ideas or suggestions, leave comments here. For technical help, check out our technical forum.

33 Responses to “WPML Outlook for 2012”

  1. Features look promising. I also hope you keep up with Buddypress and BBPress so that we can have a really complete multilingual solution for all major WP products.

    Shane

  2. Hi there,

    first of all keep up the good work done so far.

    One Goal for 2012 ist to give better response to forum topics.

    In many cases I found questions unanswered, problems that I have too but in finding only the question and not a single answer is is of no benefit.
    Maybe there must be done some afford in increasing the community.

    Regards

    • Yup. We’re on that too. In case you noticed, we now have 2 people working on the forum full time job.

      We also have a completely revamped forum code that’s nearly complete. This will give better visibility for:
      * Who’s handling what
      * Which threads require attention
      * How happy people are with the support

      If you have a specific forum thread that’s not been answered properly, please pop another message there and say that it’s for Amir. I’ll look into it.

      • Amir,
        I have the same suggestion. Although you have 2x dedicated staff but I guess the response time has to be improved. Plus the goal should be to take the ownership of the problem and drive it till the resolution instead of just passing an advice to check this or try that.

        I am referring to an issue dicussed on this thread:
        http://forum.wpml.org/topic.php?id=5939&page=2

        At the moment, I am not impressed with the way our issue was handled.

        Hope you’ll make a difference.

        Thanks again.

        • Not all issues are as simple to understand as they appear. Brooks is debugging this problem right now. In many cases, we trace this sort of problems to issues with WordPress, or other factors that are beyond WPML. Anyway, we still debug the problems. When Brooks cannot debug it himself, he creates an issue in our bug-tracking system and a more senior developers takes it. This often takes a bit of time, as each of these issues takes a long time to reproduce. What happens on your server does not always appear when we debug – not even when we have a complete DB dump.

          • True. I can understand that. If this would have been explained in the discussion thread then that would create a customer delight experience 🙂

            Consistent communication will help a lot in setting our expectations and I appreciate your clarification in this regard.

            I am looking forward to the resolution.

            Cheers!

  3. Just waiting for support for the Shopp ecommerce plugin (actually, my client is :), I hope that gets added to the mix!

    Thanks!

    • I’m on that waiting list too. Shopp author said that he’s adding it to Shopp 1.2, but I have no idea when it might be ready.

    • Yes, we’re going to add this feature. When I say that we’ll focus on system issues, it doesn’t mean no new features, it just means that we’d like to handle the bigger issues, that we didn’t have enough time for during 2011. We’ll always be adding new features in new releases – we love them too!

  4. Big thumbs up for concentrating more on the user experience. Now that your feature set is feeling mature, I can’t wait to see improvements in ease-of-use. I feel options and set-up could be simplified, and integration with ICanLocalize could be a lot less confusing.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Hi! Thanks for the great article and lot’s of energy for 2012!

    We are defiantly following very closely what you are doing. We are especially looking at the BuddyPress eCommerce side of things, as we think that social eCommerce will also be a very very hot topic in 2012.

    Could you say something about your plans with jigoshop and woocommerce?

    Thx! Martin

    • Our JigShop and WooCommerce integration is looking good. We’re working with these developers now to include our changes in their code. It should all be there in the upcoming updates for these two plugins. Then, we’ll need to keep working with them and maintaining this code, so that it remains in fully functional state as updates come along.

  6. A big wish of my clients is a correct xml sitemap for each language in case of WMPL Site with different domains for each language, or is this problem solved since the last months?

  7. Thanks for the 2012 update! The one feature I’ve been left wanting is the ability to disable the automatic header javascript insertion for the menu. I don’t use this part of the plugin (WPML is most useful to me as a WP back-end), so it’s a shame that every page has to load an additional external javascript, since this unnecessarily decreases page load speed. Any plans for enabling this as a plugin checkbox option for 2012? Otherwise, great plugin — especially since you’ve permitted duplicate slug names for different languages.

  8. All these planned improvements are great but before big pictures plans which sounds great, I’ll personnally be interested in seing the roadmap for basic functionnality:
    1- ability to translate links (link title, link description…)
    2- ability to have the language code displayed in the URL of the default language too if I want to
    3- the ability to copy post title and URL post-name from the original post to the translation (which I found a hack for: http://forum.wpml.org/topic.php?id=5947)
    4- ability to have post in translated language without creating post in the default language (it is possible with the current version but it creates all sorts of problems)

    I personnaly realy have a problem with the concept of WPML. It is based on the idea that there is a post in the default language and that you translate this original post in other languages. In other words WPML is more a translation plugin than a multilanguage plugin.

    In my blog, the setup the default language as French, but sometimes I create posts in English and Japanese only. So in my case the all concept of a default language (which code is not displayed in the URL) is a problem and I don’t think I’m the only one.

    So again, the plugin is globally a fantastid plugin (your doing a great job) and your big pictures plan sounds great but as far as I’m concern there are some basic improvements to do before that.

    • All your points are very good. Indeed, we want to add these new features and I’m sure they will make it into the code soon.

  9. The multi language solution you provide is a great step forward to transform WP into a real CMS!

    But as long as there are no ways to create different content types as site elements like other CM systems can (joomla, typo3, contao, …) WP is not a proper alternative right now.

    But maybe my statement is ridiculous because i overlooked an existing extension?

  10. I like the way 2012 is shaping up for WPML, and I plan to renew my subscription come February. That being said, I find many developers in WordCamps reiterating that using a WordPress Multisite install and putting each language in a separate site is better and easier, as it reduces dependency to WPML, especially when it comes to 3rd-party plugins.

    Any chance your wizards could compare both approaches, and highlight where WPML shines, when compared to that approach, or even other ones I haven’t mentioned (sub-domains, etc)?

    Cheers!

  11. Thanks for all the work that you have done, and continue to do, to make multi-lingual WordPress a reality. I think those are good, and attainable, goals you’ve outlined here. Happy 2012!

  12. I love your plugin and your big fives are perfect to me. Stability, Security, Compatibility, Performance and very Ease-of-use – For me it out of the box with all the Child Themes I use. So heres another late “happy newyear” and thanks for eberything you do to make WordPress the best CMS out there.

  13. Make it simpler and better. Just keep an custom.css file in it and do not update it if its already exist in the server. Eash time i lose my css stylings when i upgrade the plugin.