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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.