Case Study

AMP Plugin

A partnership with Google

to bring the latest standards and features of AMP to the official WordPress plugin.

In late 2017, Google partnered with us to bring the feature-set of the official AMP (previously Accelerated Mobile Pages) WordPress plugin inline with the most recent developments of the AMP project. Over 12 months later we continue to work with Google, building on success, to further improve the plugin and bring the value of AMP to any WordPress site owner wanting to dramatically improve performance and user experience.

Services Provided

  • Code Review
  • Consulting
  • Strategy & Roadmap Development
  • Plugin Development

The Problem

By mid-2017, the AMP WordPress plugin had fallen behind its parent project and no longer held parity with the newer features or technical specifications of AMP. The plugin had been introduced to the plugin repo successfully, with mass adoption amongst web publishers, but had not received the attention needed to keep pace with the evolving needs of its users and general AMP project improvements. Common pains from site owners, particularly around monetization and usability, were not being addressed. Google’s recognition of WordPress as the leader in web publishing, and desire to improve the performance of the Open Web, motivated them to engage with us to bring the plugin to the standard needed for WordPress site owners. This work would also set a stronger base for introducing AMP features as they roll out in the future.

Partnering with XWP’s Engineering team has been superb for us, and their contributions to some of our key efforts in the WordPress ecosystem have been very valuable. They have offered us impressive technical depth and an impeccable quality of execution.

Alberto Medina, Google Developer Relations

The Solution

As with all our integration focused projects, we kicked off with our XWP discovery process. This process is designed to break down and align the requirements of a project with business objectives as well as understand the technical considerations that could influence solution architecture and implementation. As well as this general project orientation, the discovery process helped us uncover:

  • Plugin code that needed to be brought in line with WordPress coding best practices
  • The most requested features or updates from existing plugin users
  • The technical requirements needed to bring the plugin inline with the latest AMP specifications
  • The requirements to bring the plugin inline with the latest AMP features

This process produced a clear path forward, as well as identified “quick wins” that the team executed on within the discovery phase itself to address a number of the more pressing problems.

Beta versions of the plugin were released throughout 2018, with the 1.0 version released at WordCamp US in December.

The AMP plugin presents a huge opportunity to impact 30% of the web. WordPress democratizes publishing and the AMP plugin empowers publishers on the platform to provide a great experience for their readers.

Weston Ruter, Google Developer Relations @XWP Alumni

The Impact

The focused discovery equipped our team to move quickly on some of the priority issues of the existing plugin, bringing significant value to current users. This “firefighting” restored confidence within the ecosystem for AMP and set the project up for growing success throughout the year.

Moving into the early stages of the project, the discovery also enabled our team and colleagues at Google to define a clear and agile based roadmap.

The version 1.0 release of the plugin brought the WordPress ecosystem a stable and streamlined experience for implementing the best of AMP on WordPress. Site owners can now, with a very low barrier to entry and a hand-held experience for addressing validation errors, optimize their sites and deliver a better user experience.

Since beginning on the project, the ongoing enhancement of the plugin, as well as the improved support experience for plugin users, has helped increase the number of active plugin installs by 100,000+. The plugin and the development processes beneath it are now better geared towards the ongoing addition of AMP features as they’re rolled out by the parent project.

Key Takeaways

  • Accelerated development to address the most pressing issues
  • A clear roadmap for ongoing development
  • A better overall AMP experience for WordPress publishers
  • User adoption growth
  • A better base for ongoing improvements

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