Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:55:29 +0000In 2016, WordPress meetups had the fastest growth the community has seen in five or six years with more than 62,566 people attending in 58 different countries. Meetups are the seeds of future WordCamps. These local gatherings help users further their WordPress skills and underpin the community’s growth across the globe. Funding a local meetup can be a challenge, as organizers often have to seek out sponsors just like a WordCamp but at a smaller scale. The San Francisco WordPress meetup (WPSFO) is trying something new by publicly managing its budget and expenses with Open Collective. Last week we featured the service in an article and WPSFO lead organizer Shannon Dunn commented on his meetup’s experience with it so far. “It creates a level of transparency for the whole community and lets current and prospective customers understand where the money goes,” Dunn said. “I’d say we’re pretty happy with it and it’s an integral part of managing our meetup.” Dunn started attending and helping out with WPSFO in 2011 and stepped up to be lead organizer at the beginning of 2016. Former lead organizer Zach Berke, who started in 2007, was the one who initially suggested the idea of using Open Collective. “Before we started with Open Collective, sponsors paid for things directly,” Dunn said. “We’ve had various host sponsors (Automattic, Exygy, Pantheon) that have provided meeting space, food, and drinks. These hosts have always paid for the food directly. We also had a relationship with WPEngine at one point. They paid a videographer to film the meetups. All other expenses, usually for minor things, were paid for by the organizers.” Dunn said that Open Collective has helped to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for meetup organizers, as it provides a straightforward process for posting expenses and getting reimbursed. “Funding a meetup can be pretty tough,” Dunn said. “It’s great that we have hosts to cover the big items, but various other expenses come up. Those small things are usually paid for by the organizers. Also, there are times when one of our primary hosts can’t provide a space to meet. We have several alternative meeting spaces but not all of them provide food and drinks. On those occasions, organizers have paid for the food and drink out of pocket. We could have gone without, but we try to keep each meetup a consistent experience.” Dunn said the team wanted to cover these costs without digging into the pockets of the organizers, who already volunteer a lot of time and energy to the meetup. They do not charge for the events and don’t plan on doing it in the future, so having additional funds on hand became a priority. “Pia from Open Collective reached out to Zach about a year ago,” Dunn said. “Zach had a prior relationship with another OC founder, Xavier, from his early Storify days. Zach agreed to sign up for OC because it seemed to address a pain point. Zach handed the reins of OC to Michelle and I, who have brought sponsors onto the platform.” Dunn said using Open Collective has had many positive advantages over the previous system WPSFO had for managing funds. Receiving donations and submitting expenses is now streamlined into a transparent pipeline. The meetup has an estimated annual budget of $6,658, based on current donations. “Being able to provide recognition to our sponsors is a big plus,” Dunn said. “It’s worth noting that this is a young and ever-evolving platform so with that you’re provided direct access to Open Collective’s front line, which is beneficial in addressing any questions or concerns that arise.” Dunn said using Open Collective has opened up additional possibilities, like making WPSFO t-shirts to sell to members and the general public. Having money in the meetup account means the organizers can do it without having to pre-sell the shirts. “It’s not like we’re floating in cash now, but we have [...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 03:26:32 +0000
Promotion for WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville, December 1-3, is now in full swing, as organizers have ramped up social media efforts to stimulate ticket sales. Instead of releasing batches of tickets in stages, all WordCamp US tickets are on sale at once.
“Our goal is to sell between 2,000 and 2,500, but we could accommodate more,” marketing lead Laura Byrne-Cristiano said. “We will also again have a livestream that is fully closed captioned as it was the last two years. Folks who can’t make it to Nashville from around the globe can see what’s happening in real time.”
Music City Center was selected as the official venue. It is within walking distance to several of the city’s attractions and museums. Last week organizers announced The Renaissance Nashville Hotel as the official hotel for the event, which is also within walking distance of the venue and will offer a special discounted rate for attendees.
“At this stage of the game, ticket sales are light which is to be expected with an event is that is eight months out,” Byrne-Cristiano said. The team plans to release more specific numbers in the fall once the full slate of speakers has been announced. Byrne-Cristiano said speaker submissions will be open within the next few days.
“While we would like to see every seat filled, our focus is on putting together a high quality camp for the community,” Byrne-Cristiano said.
You can sign up on the WordCamp US website to subscribe to the latest news for the event or follow @WordCampUS on Twitter. If you have an Android device, check out the WordCamp Android app to add the event to your calendar and follow updates on speakers and the schedule.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 23:48:43 +0000
One of the most difficult things about writing online is expressing tone and emotion. Emoticons and Emoji help, but what if there was a tool that uses artificial intelligence to determine the emotional response readers are most likely to have after consuming your content?
That’s the idea behind Watsonfinds, a free WordPress plugin created by Alfredo Gutiérrez and Max Ortu. Using a complex algorithm, Watsonfinds uses IBM’s Watson to understand content like a human by reading and interpreting complete sentences, the reader’s language, and its context.
Once activated, a new button is added to the editor toolbar. Clicking the button will send the content through an API to IBM’s Watson for analysis.
(image) Watsonfinds Toolbar ButtonWhen an analysis is completed, the results are displayed in a modal window. The report is broken down into five emotions: joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear.
(image) Watsonfinds AnalysisI submitted five posts of various length and each report was generated quickly. Here are the posts I submitted along with the most likely emotional response from readers.
Within the report is a timeline where you can compare results as you add or remove words to the post.
During testing, I found the timeline confusing to use as I thought I had to save the post as a draft after each edit to generate a revision on the timeline. To use the timeline, you need to make changes to a post without saving it and then click the Watsonfinds button to generate a new report.
Being able to see which words are generating the emotions depicted in the report would be a nice feature to have. Gutiérrez says that this feature is in the works and will be in the commercial version of the plugin. The More Insights tab in the report is an advertisement for the premium version which is not yet available.
I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.7.4 and didn’t encounter any issues. While Watsonfinds isn’t going to change how I write, I can see the potential benefits of using such a plugin to try to illicit a certain emotional response from readers and customers whether it’s a renewal email, blog post, or other copy.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:43:41 +0000photo credit: 16th st – (license) Open source software usage is growing across all industries, but this year’s Open Source Security and Risk Analysis (OSSRA) report from Black Duck shows the pervasiveness of security vulnerabilities and license compliance risks. Black Duck conducted audits on more than 1,000 commercial applications in 2016 and analyzed the anonymized data. The audits were primarily related to merger and acquisition transactions but span a wide array of industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, aerospace, aviation, and retail. Open source security and license compliance issues can both pose serious financial threats to a company. Black Duck’s findings show 96% of applications scanned include open source software and the average app included 147 unique open source components. The majority of these applications (67%) contained security issues which have been publicly known for an average of four years. These included high-risk and well-known vulnerabilities such as Poodle, Freak, Drown, and Heartbleed. License compliance issues were even more widespread than the security issues. Black Duck’s audits found 85% of the applications had components with license conflicts. Although 75% of the audited applications included GPL-licensed components, only 45% of them were fully in compliance with the license. The audits also revealed that 53% of the scanned applications had components with “unknown” licenses, which generally means the components were used without permission from their creators. How GPL Compliance Efforts Affect the Future of the Copyleft Ecosystem Stephen O’Grady’s recent article on Redmonk.com hails the decline of GPL, referencing repositories surveyed by Black Duck that demonstrate the once-dominant GPL license is “steadily eroding, giving way to licenses at the opposite, permissive end of the spectrum.” Although developers and companies are readily embracing open source software, the trend is towards more permissive licenses. “In Black Duck’s sample, the most popular variant of the GPL – version 2 – is less than half as popular as it was (46% to 19%),” O’Grady said. “Over the same span, the permissive MIT has gone from 8% share to 29%, while its permissive cousin the Apache License 2.0 jumped from 5% to 15%.” In a reaction article on Opensource.com, Jono Bacon said he has witnessed this same trend with the GPL falling out of favor in terms of practicality for business owners who are uncomfortable with meeting its black and white demands. “In recent years though we have seen a newer generation of developers form for whom there is a less critical, and if I dare say it, less religious focus on freedom,” Bacon said. “For them, open source is a pragmatic and practical component in building software as opposed to an ethical choice, and I suspect this is why we have seen such a growth in the use of MIT and Apache licenses.” The complexity of compliance is one of the chief drawbacks for those who feel uncomfortable using GPL-licensed code. If Black Duck’s open source application audits are any indication, commercial adoption of the GPL has not come with adequate education on license compliance. However, GPL enforcement rarely leads to litigation. In an article that outlines the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) stance on the role of lawsuits in GPL compliance, Donald Robertson said compliance is almost always an educational matter. “Most violators are unaware of their obligations under the license and simply need additional help to come into compliance,” Robertson said. “Almost all GPL compliance cases end quietly with the violator correcting their mistakes, with only a minimal notification of past recipients of the then-violating distribution that anything has happened.” Robertson emphasized that lawsuits should be a last resort but must remain a l[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:30:14 +0000The journey of a Developer that has the pleasure and gratitude of having WordPress as a resource. Who am I and am I good? We define ourselves in order to navigate life. Like we brand our business or our clients’ websites, we brand ourselves. Remember to define yourself, because others are always going to define you. Be true to yourself. I recall the scene in the movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Herrington where he’s improving her social standing. At the end his manners are called into question. He says, “You see, the great secret, Eliza, is not a question of good manners or bad manners, or any particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls. The question is not whether I treat you rudely, but whether you’ve ever heard me treat anyone else better.” We are all the same, yet different. We all hurt and desire, yet what we are motivated by may be different. Be true to yourself to follow what you know is meant for you. Trust in the journey. For it is the journey, not the destination, that not only makes up one’s day, but ultimately defines us once we have arrived! Embrace Your Uniqueness When I was in sixth grade, the yearbook asked us what we would like to accomplish. While most of the girls wrote modeling or acting (we are in Southern California after all), I wanted to discover a new animal. Discovery has always been one of my passions. WordPress has been a way to discover new ways to combine code to ‘make things happen’ by creating plugins. WordPress has provided a place to practice the developer’s craft. I’m a working dev and I have a lot of gratitude to give the WordPress community. I have been given time, support, and much patience. The Meetups have provided a place to gain the ground work. We talk about of what concerns that need attention and best practices to put in place (like ensuring site performance). It takes courage to try and fail and fail again. Practice the art of asking lots of questions. Remember, “sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, that do the things that no one could imagine.” So even if someone questions your work, whether you could ever possibly have done that or do that, keep going. Stereotypes Imagine an engineer writing a program, a developer creating an application, and a social media specialist crafting creative content. Do you see them at their desks? What does the engineer look like? What does the developer look like? Did you picture them as a female? Typically not. Perhaps the one crafting creative content was pictured as female. Rarely is a developer or engineer pictured as being female or looking anything like me. We need to change that. It’s been proven that when given identical resumes with name either David or Maria, the hiring committee will determine David to be identified as more qualified every time. Maria’s accomplishments had to be two times better before she is seen as equally qualified as David. We, both men and women, hold ‘implicit biases.’ It is a cultural thing. Men are seen as a more qualified developer. Acknowledging this is the first step. What can we do to help turn this around? First, let’s visit why we should turn this around. Reason for Diversity (Focusing on Women in Engineering) We are facing real, large complex problems as a community that requires developers to figure out. Specifically, in the WordPress world, we need a platform, as well as themes and plugins, that appeals to a large audience. True innovation requires a diverse team. It will ensure that different viewpoints, ideas, and solutions are discovered. Women are an asset to the team, especially in the role of developer. Consider the fact that many women are making the buying decisions. A woman developer helps create a product that appeals to a larger audience, which ultimately affects sales. Female developers bring insight to the possibilities of products that are currently missing and overlooked. How do[...]
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:33:29 +0000
WordCamp Europe 2017 organizers are counting down 50 days until the largest planned WordPress event to date. Speaker announcements continue to roll out and the recommended hotels are getting booked up at the height of tourist season. As of yesterday, more than 300 of the 500 tickets for Contributor Day have been claimed.
This year organizers are experimenting with sponsor workshops, a perk targeted at the highest levels of sponsorship, which includes Administrator (€ 38,000) and Super Admin (€ 75,000) tiers. This new item in the sponsor’s package is described as a “sponsor “track” in the sponsorship kit brochure and allows sponsors to hold a talk or a workshop in a dedicated space that accommodates approximately 200 people.
In an effort to prevent the event from disproportionately focusing on mega sponsors, the organizing team has created a new sponsorship package exclusively for small businesses.
“We recognized that our sponsorship tiers were more geared towards larger WordPress businesses and felt we were not giving small businesses enough opportunity to showcase their products and services and allow them to connect to attendees,” WCEU Sponsorship co-organizer Remkus de Vries said. “This is why we created the SMB tier and we hope many see this as a wonderful chance to show off their products and services for what’s shaping up to be more than 3,000 attendees.”
The Small Business sponsorship level is priced at € 2,500 and is available to companies that generate the majority of their revenue from WordPress and made less than 1 million euro in revenue in 2016. It qualifies the sponsor for a booth in the middle of the event. The table, banner printing, and setup are all handled by the WCEU Sponsor Team.
“Similar to TechCrunch’s Startup Alley, we want to help highlight smaller companies or ones that have just started out,” WCEU Sponsorship co-organizer Noel Tock said. “Simply seeking out sponsorship funds the fastest way possible would not be fair to attendees. This helps makes the conversations and experiences a lot more diverse and balanced.”
There are 10 remaining Small Business sponsorship slots, along with 288 micro-sponsorships (€ 150.00). Potential sponsors can apply on the WCEU website.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:18:07 +0000Over the weekend, Matt Mullenweg announced that the upcoming WordPress 4.8 release will drop support for IE versions 8, 9, and 10. Core contributors have been discussing browser support for the past two months in relationship to setting technical requirements for the new editor. Microsoft discontinued support for IE 8, 9, and 10 in January 2016, which means these versions no longer receive security updates. Mullenweg said that attempting to continue supporting these browsers is holding back WordPress development. “I realize that folks still running these browsers are probably stuck with them because of something out of their control, like being at a library or something,” Mullenweg said. “Depending on how you count it, those browsers combined are either around 3% or under 1% of total users, but either way they’ve fallen below the threshold where it’s helpful for WordPress to continue testing and developing against.” In an effort to determine how many people are still using these insecure and obsolete browsers, Jonathan Desrosiers collected data from three different sources. The following are numbers for global IE usage published by StatCounter’s GlobalStats, which Desrosiers said are nearly identical to WordPress.com’s numbers: IE8: 0.41% IE9: 0.26% IE10: 0.26% IE11: 3.79% WordPress will not stop working entirely in these browsers, but after the 4.8 release contributors will no longer test new features against older versions of IE. Some capabilities in wp-admin may be more limited. Mullenweg confirmed that the next versions of TinyMCE will no support older IE versions. Global IE usage has declined from 7.44% in March 2016 to 4.18% in March 2017. IE marketshare has been shrinking as mobile device usage has gone up. October 2016 marked the first month in history that mobile and tablet traffic exceeded desktop usage worldwide. As this trend of declining desktop usage continues, IE will likely be buried within a couple of years. “I have been hard pressed to find a U.S. government agency running a version of IE less than 11,” WordPress lead developer Andrew Nacin commented on the announcement. “Government agency websites similarly see negligible traffic from IE < 11.” The decision to drop support for IE 8, 9, and 10 was met with celebration from the WordPress developer community. Focusing on browsers that still receive security updates is a better use of open source contributors’ time and resources. Developers who do client work can also refer to WordPress’ IE support policy when pressured by clients to support insecure browsers. Naturally, the topic of raising minimum browser requirements resulted in developers lobbying to drop support for PHP 5.2, which reached end of life more than six years ago. In March 2015, WordPress stats estimated PHP 5.2 usage at 16.6%, but that number has dropped steadily to 5.1% today. The task of updating a browser to the latest version was designed to be easy for users, but upgrading PHP versions is still somewhat complicated for those who are not receiving help from their hosting companies. The 5.1% on PHP 5.2 represents millions of users who would need to cross a significant hurdle into order to stay current with the latest version of WordPress. [...]
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:13:24 +0000
Brian is joined by guest-host Matt Medeiros — host of the Matt Report podcast, and many other ventures in the WordPress ecosystem. They discuss community building, their experiences building community in the WordPress world, and the challenges of getting involved in a new community.
Prospress makes the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin, that enables you to turn your online business into a recurring revenue business. Whether you want to ship a box or setup digital subscriptions like I have on Post Status, Prospress has you covered. Check out Prospress.com for more, and thanks to Prospress for being a Post Status partner.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:11:46 +0000If you work with WordPress every day you may have learned to tune out the recommended plugins in the admin by now, but the “Add Plugins” screen is an important part of the new user experience. WordPress developers Joey Kudish and Nick Hamze have released a plugin that brings better recommendations to the admin. Hamze contends that the first plugins that appear in the featured section have a smaller, niche audience, and are unlikely to be useful to the majority of new users. The recommended plugins are slightly better, as they are based on plugins that the user and other users have installed. However, Hamze believes they could be tweaked even further to display plugins that specifically benefit new users. The Recommended tab was introduced two years ago to display results based on plugins that are commonly used together. It excludes plugins that users already have installed. “I really want to help WordPress but I think what is most needed isn’t a new editor or more guidelines but rather someone to take all the stuff in this fractured ecosystem and bring it together,” Hamze said. “Get rid of all the crap and only show people the stuff worth using.” Hamze said he doesn’t know if WordPress can solve this problem diplomatically with code. He believes manual curation is required to deliver the best new user experience. A ticket for re-thinking the default ‘Add Plugins’ tabs/filters was is open on WordPress trac, as the plugins that appear in these screens have remained unchanged for some time. The ticket hasn’t received much discussion yet. The Better Plugin Recommendations plugin removes the default and featured recommendations tabs and includes a new recommendations tab curated by Hamze to appeal to new users. Below is an example of the first 10 recommendations the plugin includes: Hamze uses the following criteria to select the recommended plugins: Price (Free) Numbers of users Average Rating Last Updated Support Given When asked why the recommendations don’t include Jetpack, Hamze said it didn’t seem necessary, given its high position in the popular tab and the fact that it already comes pre-installed with many hosts. @jeherve @jkudish @jetpack Haha, I actually like jetpack but since it's already at the top of the popular tab and preinstalled almost everywhere, didn't seem necessary — Nick Hamze (@NickHamze) April 21, 2017 Hamze and Kudish created a web service that delivers the recommendations to sites where the plugin is installed. The node server is powered by hapi and is open source on GitHub “If the idea is well received in the community, I’d love to expand on it further and include some plugins from outside the WordPress.org plugin repository in our recommendations, as I think there’s some great third-party plugins that new users should definitely know about,” collaborator Joey Kudish said. Hamze said he doesn’t expect there to be many regular users who will find and install the plugin but hopes that hosting companies will integrate it by default for their WordPress customers. “What I’m hoping is that I can convince the hosting companies to preinstall this (maybe in the MU folder) for their customers,” Hamze said. “The app blends in seamlessly with WordPress. There are no ads or branding. The plugin is designed solely to help new users find great plugins to help them on their WordPress journey.” [...]
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:12:39 +0000One of the things that surprised me most about when my Dad was sick last year was that while he was in the hospital over about 5 weeks he lost any interest in music, TV, movies, anything on a screen. Music was particularly surprising given that he had music on at his desk pretty much all the time, and really enjoyed loading a new CD or record into the media library he had set up at home. One of the songs I remember playing for him was from a band, Manhattan Transfer, that we used to listen to a lot when I was younger and just learning about jazz, I chose Tuxedo Junction because it might cheer him up. I remember him smiling faintly. (I wish I had played him more music. I wish I had recorded more of his stories, ideally before he got sick. I wish I had figured out how to navigate the hospital and health care system better.) What I didn’t anticipate was how after his death there would be aftershocks of grief that would hit me over and over again, especially while driving or in a plane. I went from crying maybe three times in the past decade to breaking down at the end of a company town hall, when talking to family, when my Mom found out about the anniversary present my Dad had been looking at, and with any number of songs that unexpectedly took on a new meaning. Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s See You Again, is obvious, and was in heavy rotation every public place I went; Lukas Graham’s 7 Years completely broke me down when it talked about children — if I ever have any my father will never meet them; Kayne & Paul McCartney’s Only One, the tribute to Kanye’s daughter and passed mother and I think perhaps his best song; Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, about growing old together, turning 70 as he was so close to doing; Kanye’s Ultralight Beam snuck up on me, I didn’t expect it, but the questioning and gospel and anger and hope in it captured something I didn’t even realize I was feeling. Even jazz wasn’t safe, Horace Silver’s lyric-less Song for My Father had the same effect. John Mayer’s Stop This Train is a song I’ve probably heard a hundred times since it came out in 2006, but all of sudden these words meant something completely different: So scared of getting older I’m only good at being young So I play the numbers game To find a way to say that life has just begun Had a talk with my old man Said, “Help me understand” He said, “Turn sixty-eight You’ll renegotiate” I almost had to pull the car over: he was sixty-eight. What I would give for just one more conversation with him like the one the day before he passed. I wish I had written more down, recorded more of his stories, learned more about his journey. As the year has passed, the surprise crying is much less common even when one of these songs comes on the radio. Usually when I think of my father it’s with a smile. I’ve even had a few treasured dreams where we’ve been able to talk, nothing that made much sense (it was a dream) but I remember waking up with an overwhelming feeling of enveloping love. While the “new normal” is different, I can’t say it’s better — he’s still gone.[...]
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 03:18:28 +0000After the controversial changes to Twitter’s @reply feature, which no longer counts usernames towards the 140-character limit, Mastodon registrations rose sharply. Mastodon is a free, open source, decentralized network that has many similarities to Twitter. The software, named in honor of its creator’s favorite metal band, was launched in October and registered 24,000 users in the first six months. A strong negative reaction to Twitter’s changes has fueled a spike in Mastodon registrations. In the last week alone, the software’s user base has grown from 237,000 users on April 15 to more than 414,000 users today. Mastodon is different from Twitter in that it is broken up into different independently-hosted instances. Whereas Twitter has struggled to combat trolls and abuse on its platform, Mastodon instances can each declare and enforce their own rules. For example, the flagship Mastodon.social instance bans content that is illegal in Germany or France, such as Nazi symbolism and Holocaust denial, excessive advertising, racism, sexism, and other undesirable posts. Mastodon’s Tweetdeck-style interface allows users to post “toots” with a 500-word character limit. Toots can also be published with a content warning so that users can choose whether to view it. With all the increased activity around Mastodon this week, there was bound to be someone with the desire to display toots on their website. The first plugin for bringing Mastodon content into WordPress has landed in the plugin directory. Embed Mastodon was created by David Libeau, a French developer and Mastodon enthusiast. It allows users to embed toots using a shortcode. “I created this plugin because Numerama, a french tech website, was saying that it could be cool to embed Mastodon statuses, like with Twitter, in WordPress,” Libeau said. “I was thinking the same when I wrote a small article on my personal blog. I am using both Twitter and Mastodon but want to progressively leave Twitter.” Libeau said he is not a WordPress developer and Mastodon Embed is his first plugin. He does not know if it’s coded well but said users may be interested in an alternative plugin on GitHub that is a complete rewrite of his effort. The rewrite includes multiple embeds, caching, proper shortcode initialization, and fallback to “direct” embeds if embed via iframe is forbidden. Libeau said he doesn’t know what will happen to his plugin in light of the rewrite, but he is continuing to develop small tools for Mastodon users. Mastodon has an open API for apps and services, which makes it easy for developers to build things that integrate with it. After testing the Mastodon Embed plugin I found that it works but may have a couple of styling issues with the link display. If you find that it’s not working, it’s possible that your particular Mastodon instance configuration does not allow embedding via iFrame. To resolve this you may need to contact the admin of the instance or use the fork of the plugin that has a fallback for this scenario. If you find a bug with the Mastodon Embed plugin hosted on WordPress.org, you can log an issue on Libeau’s Mastodon Tools repository. [...]
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:00:05 +0000It’s been seven months since Grant and Clay Griffiths, founders of Headway Themes, apologized to customers for failing to communicate on a regular basis and provide adequate customer support. In the apology, the founders admit that the company was experiencing financial difficulties and noted that competition in the WordPress drag-and-drop page-builder space was tough. The duo vowed to communicate more, provide better customer support, and continue to develop Headway 4.0. Has anything changed since the apology was published? Headway Themes Migrates to FlyWheel Hosting In December of 2016, Flywheel hosting acquired Pressmatic, created by Clay Griffiths. Soon after, Headway Themes migrated to Flywheel hosting which caused a few hiccups such as site downtime due to DNS propagation, login issues, and an issue with the Headway Dashboard. The acquisition raised questions on how it would affect Clay’s ability to work on Headway. “This acquisition and employment will provide myself and my family much more stability than we’ve had in a long time, and will allow me to better focus on Headway in my spare time,” Griffiths said. “This includes rolling out the upcoming 4.1 release, and working hard to make sure the support and other outstanding issues are resolved for all our customers.” Influx Confirms Communication Issues With Founders Soon after the apology, Headway Themes began to use Influx to provide first-tier customer support. Influx provides customer support for companies, including those in the WordPress ecosystem such as Advanced Custom Fields. Any issues that Influx couldn’t solve are escalated to Clay and Grant. In February, Gary Bairéad, a former Headway Themes employee, contacted Headway Themes support about the status of Headway 4.0 and received the following response. Influx couldn’t answer the question because Headway developers had not informed them of its progress despite inquiring about it. Influx notes that there may be a beta released in the near future but not to be quoted on it because a similar promise was made five months prior. In January, the official Headway Themes Twitter account confirmed that Headway was being supported and that 4.0 would be released soon. @3BugMedia we are fully supporting Headway. 4.0 update coming soon. ^gg — Headway Themes (@headwaythemes) January 4, 2017 Around the same time period, another Headway Themes customer submitted a support request asking about the status of a longstanding issue they were having. Influx explained that there was a lull because the main developers were failing to communicate. The support representative also pointed out that it seemed the only way for customers to get information about Headway Themes was by emailing support. Influx says it tried multiple times to contact Headway Themes developers about the issue and said it was lobbying hard to get it rectified. Payments Stop for Third-Party Block Developers In February, Bairéad published a request to third-party block customers to not renew through Headway Themes.com and to instead, purchase and renew directly from the developer’s sites. Chris Howard, founder of Pizazz WP, and Chris Rault, co-founder of HeadwayRocket, confirmed they are owed money from customers who purchased and renewed blocks through Headway Themes.com. I reached out to both developers to see if they’ve been paid since February. “I’ve sent Clay a bunch of messages, but he’s completely ignoring me and hasn’t paid over another cent since the last long delay,” Rault said. “It’s down to only 2 or 3 renewals a month, but I’m not receiving anything still. I’d estimate they still owe me around $2,000,” Howard said. For Howard, the issue of [...]
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:05:17 +0000
HeroPress has teamed up with Alex Denning, Fred Meyer, and David Hayes of WPShout to offer 10 copies of Up and Running Second Edition at the deluxe tier. The deluxe tier is valued at $249 and includes everything the course has to offer including video tutorials, creating a theme and child theme, screencast series, creating a WordPress plugin, and more.
The scholarship applications are geared towards three groups of people:
Those who qualify have until May 9th to fill out the application. Five members of the WordPress community make up a panel that will review the applications and choose 10 recipients who they feel are deserving of the award. HeroPress will then tally the selections and those with the most votes will be awarded a scholarship. In case of a tie, HeroPress will be the deciding vote. The five panelists are:
Pippin Williamson, founder of Easy Digital Downloads, says he accepted the panelist role because it’s an opportunity to make a significant difference in someone’s life.
HeroPress, founded by Topher DeRosia in 2015, publishes an essay every Wednesday from members of the community on how WordPress has positively impacted their lives. HeroPress has published essays from people in the Middle East, Oceania, Central and South America, and other parts of the world.
To learn the HeroPress story, listen to our interview with DeRosia. In it, he explains his motivation for creating the site and shares a personal story of someone who couldn’t write an essay because they were spending all of their time trying to stay alive.
To learn more about Up and Running Second Edition, listen to our interview with the founders where they explain how and why they created the course.
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:25:44 +0000Checathlon is new business theme on WordPress.org that was designed to seamlessly integrate with Easy Digital Downloads. The name is a combination of the words checkout and decathlon, according to its creator Sami Keijonen. Checathlon combines elegant typography with a bold, pink accent color to showcase products and services on a business or e-commerce website. The theme was designed by Finnish designer Toni Suni and is Keijonen’s 13th theme to be listed in the directory. “I had some kind of vision of what I wanted and Toni created a pixel perfect design based on our discussion,” Keijonen said. “I’m super happy about the end result. Unfortunately, the design and the theme was not good enough for WordPress.com and the theme was rejected from there.” Keijonen opted to create a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative way to monetize the theme. Checathlon has an intuitive way of organizing the content featured on the front page. Unlike many other themes, the front page is not controlled by a custom page template. Once you set the front page as a static page, the Customizer will give access to the service/pricing, products, testimonial, and blog sections. The theme includes support for a Pricing page template and a Team Page template. These features make Checathlon more flexible for use on a business, agency, non-profit, or e-commerce website. The pricing template has a “Service and Pricing widget” area where users can drop in the custom widgets available in the Checathlon Plus plugin. The widgets make it easy for users to set an icon, title, content, price, and a link for each pricing tier, as well as the ability to highlight one tier as featured. Checathlon was built to support several plugins, including Easy Digital Downloads, Custom Content Portfolio, and Jetpack (testimonials and portfolio). The theme includes styles for the Jetpack email subscription widget and EDD downloads and account pages. It’s also tagged as accessibility-ready, which means that it has successfully passed an accessibility audit. Check out the live demo to see Checathlon in action. Keijonen is taking a unique approach by creating a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative to offering a “pro version” of the theme. It extends the theme to include more customizer capabilities, additional widgets, cart customization features for EDD, and two child themes. The free theme is available on WordPress.org and documentation can be found on the theme’s website. [...]
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 21:46:39 +0000photo credit: Jeffrey Betts Last month the WordPress Plugin Directory relaunched with a new design and improvements to the search algorithm. The new design replaced the plugin pages’ previous tabbed interface with a wall of text, truncated by numerous “read more” links. The outpouring of negative community feedback on the new design overshadowed many of the helpful improvements. Removal of the tabs was by far the most unpopular design choice in this iteration, as many found it to be confusing and inferior in terms of navigating the information efficiently. Users, developers, and contributors on the redesign felt their feedback was roundly ignored throughout all phases of the design’s beta and testing period. Four months ago, contributor Jon Ang (@kenshino) opened a ticket regarding the “read more” links, which he described as “a usability nightmare.” The ticket was closed as a duplicate of another ticket which received very little discussion. Today, Otto marked the ticket as fixed, announcing the return of tabs in the commit message: Change single-plugin view to have tabbed design. Eliminates read-more on all sections except developers and changelog, adds tabs back to interface using CSS to switch between them. Tabs control both main display as well as widgets. Known issues: Changelog read-more not working (js issue), developers section is currently split using CSS, future change will split this section into two separate sections. Members of the Advanced WordPress Facebook (AWP) community, who were among the most critical of the new design, are pleased with the change. The new tabs are subtle, tasteful, and in line with the overall design. They eliminate the clutter that the expanded “read more” links created. The Reviews tab now displays six of the most recent reviews, as opposed the the previous two most recent. This makes it not as easy to destroy a plugin’s reputation with poor reviews timed to always be visible on the main plugin page. Otto replied to comments on the AWP community, saying that these numbers are not set in stone and that there are good arguments for displaying different sets of reviews, as opposed to simply the most recent ones. Two weeks ago the meta team brought back stats and older versions of plugins, a couple of features that were removed in the first iteration of the new directory. Screenshot display is still somewhat clunky, requiring users to click on their browsers’ back button in order to return to the plugin details. Future iterations of the design are expected to address the remaining quirks and issues that users and contributors have raised since the relaunch. [...]
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 18:39:31 +0000
Uploading video and audio files no longer result in broken thumbnails and the REST API received a few enhancements related to data handling. WordPress 4.7.4 also restores the ability to Shift-click a range of checkboxes.
Auto updates are rolling out but if you’d like to update immediately, browse to Dashboard > Updates and click the update button.
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 17:54:32 +0000After almost sixty million downloads of WordPress 4.7, we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.7.4, a maintenance release. This release contains 47 maintenance fixes and enhancements, chief among them an incompatibility between the upcoming Chrome version and the visual editor, inconsistencies in media handling, and further improvements to the REST API. For a full list of changes, consult the release notes and the list of changes. Download WordPress 4.7.4 or visit Dashboard → Updates and simply click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update to WordPress 4.7.4. Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.7.4: Aaron Jorbin, Adam Silverstein, Andrea Fercia, Andrew Ozz, aussieguy123, Blobfolio, boldwater, Boone Gorges, Boro Sitnikovski, chesio, Curdin Krummenacher, Daniel Bachhuber, Darren Ethier (nerrad), David A. Kennedy, davidbenton, David Herrera, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling (ocean90), eclev91, Ella Van Dorpe, Gustave F. Gerhardt, ig_communitysites, James Nylen, Joe Dolson, John Blackbourn, karinedo, lukasbesch, maguiar, MatheusGimenez, Matthew Boynes, Matt Wiebe, Mayur Keshwani, Mel Choyce, Nick Halsey, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, Piotr Delawski, Pratik Shrestha, programmin, Rachel Baker, sagarkbhatt, Sagar Prajapati, sboisvert, Scott Taylor, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Edgar, Sybre Waaijer, Timmy Crawford, vortfu, and Weston Ruter.[...]
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:35:19 +0000
It’s my pleasure to formally introduce the Post Status WordPress job board. It actually went live two weeks ago, but I wanted to give it time to work out any kinks before broadly promoting it.
Now, I think we’re ready for prime time. So, why do we need another place to list WordPress jobs?
The signal to noise ratio — both for employers seeking qualified candidates, and for candidates finding quality job listings — is pretty low across the board in the job market. Most people who hire technical professionals will tell you that it’s very difficult to find good candidates. And anyone seeking great job opportunities knows how hard it can be to find out the best opportunities, especially at the times you’re actually looking.
The goal for the Post Status WordPress job board is to take advantage of both sides of this equation.
Post Status isn’t a huge website with tons of traffic. But the traffic I do get is from a highly targeted audience of primarily WordPress professionals, or web professionals who use WordPress as a primary tool.
By creating a highly targeted job board, I’m able to increase the signal on both sides; employers can get quality applications, and applicants can find quality employers.
Furthermore, our team — meaning Katie Richards, and myself — go through each employer’s listing to confirm that it’s a qualified listing of someone actually hiring, provides relevant information, and is properly described for the available position.
We’ve already got 20+ jobs and counting, and I know many of them have had applications start to roll in, even without public announcement yet.
If you’d like to submit a job, the process is currently only for Post Status members. We may open that up in the coming weeks, but for now, you can join and post, or if someone from your organization is a member, they can post it.
Listings last for 45 days (the first listings are being extended out starting today), and will be marketed to the Post Status Club — now over 900 WordPress professionals — as well as the free Post Status newsletter, where we’ll send digests of new jobs.
In the future, we may create new features for job seekers to keep an even closer eye on available jobs, but for now, the email and listing page are the place to go. And we may build new tools for employers as we get feedback and see demand for them.
I look forward to this being a valuable resource for the WordPress community. We’re dedicated to making it work well for a long haul, and we expect general activity to increase as the word gets out that it’s there.
So, if you don’t mind, we’d love your help to promote this job board, both now and when you hear of companies hiring and people seeking positions. It is a truly great feeling to know that you helped someone find their next workplace.
So, check out some WordPress jobs!
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 03:29:43 +0000
WordCamp Europe 2017 has been rolling out speaker announcements over the past week, slowly building what appears to be a strong lineup of both European and international WordPress experts. Speaker names are being released in thematic groups, the first dedicated to development topics, followed by business and content/marketing groups.
Registration for Contributor Day, which will be held the day before the conference on Thursday, June 15th, is now open. Organizers are expecting more than 3,000 attendees for the WordCamp, but Contributor Day is limited to 500 registrants. The signup form allows attendees to select up to two different contributor teams they would like to participate in.
WP Tavern will be on the ground in Paris to cover WordCamp Europe as an official media partner. We’re looking forward to connecting with the European WordPress community and finding the stories that might otherwise go untold. The last remaining tickets are selling quickly. There are 288 micro-sponsor tickets left and just 308 general admission tickets remaining before the event is sold out.
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:07:55 +0000(image)
For the first time ever, HeroPress is taking part in offering a scholarship! The good folks over at WPShout are soon releasing some great new WordPress training material called Up and Running. As part of that release they’d like to offer ten copies for free to those who fit the application qualifications.
Visit the Up and Running Scholarship Application page, read the rules, and fill out the form.
The post Announcing the Up and Running Scholarship, from HeroPress and WPShout appeared first on HeroPress.
Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:43:50 +0000The results of the BuddyPress 2016 survey have been published. This year the survey received feedback from 302 respondents in 61 different countries, a 43% increase in responses from 2015. The top five countries represented in the survey include the United States (27.15%), India (7.62%), United Kingdom (6.95%), Germany (6.29%), and Canada (3.64%). English remains the most popular language for BuddyPress sites at nearly 70% and this year Spanish (10.7%) replaced French for the #2 spot, followed by German (9.96%). A new question in the 2016 survey asked users what PHP versions their sites are on. More than 53% of respondents report having sites on PHP 7.0+ and 63% are using a version higher than 5.6+. Lead developer Paul Gibbs sees these results as an affirmation that the BuddyPress core leadership made the right decision when dropping support for PHP 5.2 nine months ago. We (@buddypress) made the right call 9 months ago to drop support for PHP 5.2 in our last major release. — Paul Gibbs (@pgibbs) April 4, 2017 In fact, our 2016 users survey https://t.co/1LClEoOr38 suggests 88% of respondents use PHP >5.6, maybe we can be more aggressive this year. — Paul Gibbs (@pgibbs) April 4, 2017 Gibbs is currently on a sabbatical from BuddyPress and was not available for comment. Project lead John James Jacoby said that the decision to drop support for PHP 5.2 may not be a direct corollary to its usage falling below 1%, but the core team will continue to bump the minimum version in the future with consideration for user happiness. “It’s hard to know whether increasing our minimum PHP version made any direct difference,” Jacoby said. “My hunch is most users do not care very much, and the ones that do, care greatly. It’s all about keeping users happy – sometimes that means maintaining compatibility with old dependencies; other times it means kindly motivating users to upgrade things maybe they haven’t thought about in a while.” The 2016 results show that 45% of respondents have been using BuddyPress for a year or less. While this isn’t necessarily an indication of users’ ability, it is interesting in light of the project’s recent shift to focus on developers and site builders. The survey results indicate that more users identify themselves as a beginner when it comes to knowledge of BuddyPress themes and hooks. BuddyPress core developers made the decision to focus on site builders and developers based on how they saw the project’s user base changing over time. Making the software 100% turnkey is no longer one of their chief objectives. With the high percentage of users who identify as beginners, the project will need to find a way to get them connected and advancing in their BuddyPress knowledge. “The BuddyPress.org community forums continue to be the best place to get connected with other users to talk about what they’re working on,” Jacoby said. “Our documentation coverage in the codex is constantly being maintained, and we’re still working behind the scenes on a developer site ala developer.wordpress.org. Nothing will ever beat reading the code from inside a quality code-editor, but having public visibility into the codebase is good for everyone, too.” April 30, 2017, marks the 8th anniversary of the first stable release of BuddyPress. Version 3.0 will be released this year and contributors are working towards adding a new template pack and improving the BP REST API, in addition to other new [...]
Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:07:47 +0000
A common frustration I’ve experienced in WordPress after installing a plugin is figuring out where the settings link is located. It can be a top-level menu item or tucked away in a sub-menu. Sometimes, the plugin doesn’t warrant a settings link.
A new plugin called Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation created by Kellen Mace and Gary Kovar seeks to calm the chaos. When a plugin is activated, an Admin Notice is displayed that informs the user where to configure it.(image) Where to Find Akismet’s Settings
The notice can be dismissed by either clicking the dismiss button or hovering over the menu location. The notice does not display for plugins that include a welcome page or wizard such as BuddyPress and WooCommerce.
The number of admin pointers that are displayed depends on the number of menu items that are added. For example, if a plugin adds three menu items, three admin pointers are displayed.
When four or more menu items are added, a notice is shown at the top of the screen that says, ‘Many new plugin menu items were added.’ If no menu items are added, a notice displays at the top of the screen that says, ‘No new plugin menu items were added.’
I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.7.3 and didn’t encounter any issues. Although plugins ought to make finding the settings link easier upon activation, this particular plugin has me wondering if displaying these types of admin notices should be a core feature. In my experience, plugin authors rarely take advantage of admin pointers to explain where to go or what to do next after being activated.
Related to the above, I encourage plugin developers to read this article by Hugh Lashbrooke, that explains how to add a settings link to the plugins listing page. Adding a settings link to the plugins listing page puts it in a predictable location and is something I as a user appreciate.
Wed, 19 Apr 2017 05:00:18 +0000I was born in Luxembourg (Europe), almost exactly 36 years ago. To be honest, I was not one of the children or teenagers who knew what they wanted to become when they grow up. And to stay honest, I still don’t know exactly to this day. After school I got advised to start working for the government; jobs are well paid and stressless. But considering my tasks, I did not have the feeling that there was any particular skill or performance needed to get them done, nor was there any desirable achievement in the years to come. In the following 12 years, I switched administrations and ministries, trying to find more fulfillment and happiness in what I was doing during the day. But sooner or later the daily routine made me feel very miserable and frustrated. I started to realize that though I still did not know what I wanted to become, I knew exactly what I did not want to do anymore: sitting in an office from nine to five, doing the same administrative work, day after day, without any motivation, without any personal goal. There must be more in life for me!? My husband, Alain Schlesser, at that point also a government agent, was fed up as well and decided to quit his job and start freelancing as a web developer focussing on WordPress – so at least one of us had a specific goal. Getting Out In summer of 2014 I opted for a four year sabbatical, we sold everything we owned in Luxembourg and moved to the German “Eifel” quite into the middle of nowhere together with our three french bulldogs Jasper, Duke, and Indra. I did not have the slightest idea of where my personal journey would lead me in the end, but I had the feeling that it was time to take better care of myself. First, I started studies as a dog health & behavior trainer, which I completed successfully. After the studies, I got sick and depressed. I gained more and more weight, was constantly dealing with all sorts of aches and had severe doubts about what the future might bring to me. And the more I doubted, the less productive I got. In summer of 2015 I got the diagnosis that I was suffering from lipedema – a chronically progressive disease which is basically a very painful fat disorder, that almost exclusively affects women. I decided to completely change my life and focus on my mental and physical health. Meanwhile, my husband was working hard to achieve his personal goals. At that point I did not have a very clear idea of what he was actually doing during the day, nor was I interested in any details. I had nothing to do with the web or computers in general, except for Google, Facebook and writing emails. Coding, programming, developing, those were foreign words to me. A few years back, I had started two blogs on wordpress.com where I shared my dogs’ stories and my experiences during my studies – that was the only knowledge I had about Alain’s new world – and about WordPress. Today I agree that these were hard times for us: we spent 24 hours together in the same house but we did not have much to share anymore: I had locked myself out of the life my husband was leading during the day due to a lack of interest and knowledge on one side, and fears on the other. Finding WordPress I entered the world of WordPress because Alain invited me to join him in a trip to WordCamp Europe 2016 in Vienna. Despite looking forward to exploring a new city and do some shopping, I had no expectations of what I was going to experience in Vienna. To be honest, I wa[...]
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:44:51 +0000Automattic’s San Francisco, CA office is located at 140 Hawthorne. Since 2013, it has served as a coworking space, hosted the WordCamp San Francisco 2014 after party, and has been used as a venue for local meetups. On episode 101 of the Stack Overflow podcast, Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, announced that the company will be closing its San Francisco office. At the 45:50 mark, Joel Spolsky, co-host of the show, asks Mullenweg if Automattic is one of the largest fully distributed companies in the world. “Yeah, in fact, we’re looking at shutting down our San Francisco office,” Mullenweg said. “We got an office there about six or seven years ago, pretty good lease, but nobody goes in it. Five people go in it and it’s 15,000 square feet. There are as many gaming tables as there are people.” Automattic has listed the property through Colliers International, a global real estate company that has more than 500 offices across 67 countries. photo credit: Peter Slutsky The building used to be a Fairtex location. Fairtex is a manufacturer of combat equipment and clothing for Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. The building was completely renovated in 2013 and designed by Baran Studio Architecture. The design was based on accommodating 15 to 20 people on a daily basis with options to expand to accommodate a few hundred people. WCSF 2014 Contributor Day One of my favorite parts of the Automattic office is the T-Shirt museum where shirt designs from WordCamps across the world are displayed. Mullenweg says the items in the museum will be saved somewhere. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Automattic’s US office, you can tour the inside of it without leaving your home. In 2016, San Francisco was named the most expensive city to conduct business according to a report by the CBRE. If Automattic’s office isn’t being used by 20 or 30 people a day, as was originally intended, it makes sense to invest that money elsewhere. The closing of the San Francisco office leaves Automattic with two physical offices in the world: One in Cape Town, South Africa where a number of WooCommerce employees live and Automattic East in Westbrook, Maine. Randomly stumbled across this @automattic office in Cape Town, SA after having just listened to @photomatt on the @jaltucher podcast. pic.twitter.com/lnKe8o6XbL — StatusQuont (@statusquont) March 31, 2017 [...]
Mon, 17 Apr 2017 22:04:07 +0000Automattic is hosting a free, remote conference called Design and Exclusion on April 21. The event will bring together design and technology experts who will discuss solutions for the ways that digital products and services exclude people. Lead organizer Ashleigh Axios, Design Exponent at Automattic, said inspiration for the event came from the exclusion that is everywhere in the industry. Automattic is partnering with Mash-Up Americans and MIT Center for Civic Media to bring awareness to the issue. “Exclusion is all around us, but we don’t often take the time to understand how it’s come to be this way, our place in its existence, and our place in combating it,” Axios said. “Together, we’re using research, design, and conversational narrative to open source the prompt to understand the issue of exclusion for further community involvement and refinement.” The schedule for the event includes a message on “Design and Inclusion” from Automattic’s John Maeda and a session on “Opportunities Missed from Excluded Voices” from Joan Shigekawa, former Senior Deputy Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) during the Obama Administration. The conference also includes four panels with experts from Autodesk, Etsy, Airbnb, and other companies. “Design and Exclusion” is a pointed conference name that puts the spotlight on the problem participants are trying to address. Axios said this name, as opposed to something like “Design and Inclusion,” was a deliberate decision. She said that she and John Maeda felt the need to change the language to reflect a new vantage point on the issue in order to garner new insights. “It should now be a well-known fact that technology companies are suffering from a lack of diversity or lack of inclusion in their teams and companies,” Axios said. “This is well-reported and the pressure is building to take on this issue from early-childhood education to educating company human resource offices and hiring managers from questioning social and gender norms as relates to professional roles to crediting those who have been doing the work and not having their contributions and presence well acknowledged. This important work has dominated the ‘inclusion’ dialogue within technology-enabled spaces for good reason. “However, equally important and much less discussed, are all of the ways in which products and services can be, and often are, designed and built to exclude individuals and people groups, even if unintentionally. We shouldn’t have to wait until a company crosses the line, creating a public relations nightmare, in order to evaluate the failures in creating inclusive products.” More than 1,000 people have already signed up for a reminder about when the event takes place. Axios said that even if the event is successful, organizers are not planning to make it an in-person event in the future. The online-only event was designed to offer more access to the conversation than traditional in-person conferences generally provide. “In-person conferences tend to exclude those without financial means to travel or with geographic hurdles to attendance, those with time-prohibiting personal or professional commitments, those who have difficulty navigating crowds or in-person social interactio[...]
Mon, 17 Apr 2017 21:21:35 +0000
If spending time in the woods in Oklahoma to disconnect from technology is not your thing, perhaps staying at a cabin in Florida is. CabinPress, organized by David Laietta, takes place November 3-5, at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, FL.
The location is about an hour’s drive from Orlando, FL and is 4,500 acres large with lakes, hills, and scenic areas.
Similar to CampPress, CabinPress’ goal is to disconnect people from technology to allow them to focus on building and strengthening personal relationships.
“I enjoy camping and spending some time disconnected from technology, spending time with others,” Laietta said. “I get the most out of a conference when I have the opportunity to have deeper discussions with others than general ‘we’re crushing it, work is fine’ chats.
“This is much more comfortable than camping though, so the focus can be on having fun and making connections, while still having a real bed and hot showers.”
Accommodations include fully furnished cabins with beds, air conditioning, kitchens, and bathrooms. Activities within the park include hiking, kayaking, board games, canoeing, and more. Laietta suggests packing for the event as if you’re staying at a hotel.(image) Lake Louisa Cabin Interior
Early bird tickets are available until April 30th when prices will increase from $250 to $300. At the time of writing, there were 15 tickets remaining. Each ticket provides the following:
Sponsorship opportunities are available and the funds will be used to offset the cost of the event. Although CabinPress and CampPress were officially announced around the same time period, Laietta has been planning this event for some time.
“We were discussing it after WordCamp Orlando was postponed due to a hurricane last year,” he said.
“We happened to find good timing availability for one of the nice state parks. Many of them you have to book far in advance to get cabins.”
Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:39:29 +0000If you post the Monday after a holiday weekend, is it still part of the weekend? Of course it is! This week’s Geography collection is from Central and South America, and I’m stretching a bit and including one from the Caribbean. I hope you enjoy them and feel free to leave comments! A Minority Amongst Minorities Custom is not Synonymous with Expensive On the other side WordPress, a Mere Coincidence A Journey of Resilience The post HeroPress Geography: Central and South America appeared first on HeroPress.[...]
Fri, 14 Apr 2017 21:13:58 +0000If you’ve ever heard your parents say something like,”My son works for the internet,” or “My daughter owns some kind of computer company,” then you know the struggle. Many parents have a difficult time understanding the professions of their grown children, especially when they are in the tech industry. This can also be compounded by the novelty of remote work, which sometimes prompts questions like, “Just what is it that you do all day?” or “When are you going to get a real job?” The team at Yoast decided to be proactive about the problem of families not understanding their work by hosting an event called “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” Yoast employs a team of nearly 50 people, with 40 employees working in a central office located in Wijchen, Netherlands, and 10 working remotely. The family event brought 42 parents to the office. “It’s just awesome to have everyone’s ‘home’ team understand what we do and relate to it,” CEO Joost de Valk said. Yoast Community Manager Taco Verdonschot brought his father to work today. His photo below shows all of the parents attending a presentation from Joost and Marieke de Valk about WordPress, open source, and Yoast’s products. Today is 'Bring your parents to work day' at @yoast. Intended result: our parents finally understand what we really do! #byptwd pic.twitter.com/WuhHlGhyeX — Taco Verdo (@TacoVerdo) April 14, 2017 “Most parents didn’t know too much about WordPress and/or open source,” Verdonschot said. “They told the parents about our mission to make the web a better place for everyone and to make SEO available for everyone.” After the presentation Verdonschot said employees showed their parents around the office and Joost took them in small groups across the street to a second office the company will be opening soon. “We ended the Bring Your Parents to Work Day with drinks and snacks (home-made by my colleague Chris),” Verdonschot said. “Personally, I really liked meeting my colleagues’ parents. Some of them just look so much like their mom/dad! I really think that the presentation gave our parents a better understanding of what we do at Yoast, and how much we’re loving what we do.” The “Bring Your Parents to Work” event has been gaining popularity in the past two years. Many large companies participated in 2016, including LinkedIn, Dogfish Head Brewery, HubSpot, ASOS, and British Airways. Verdonschot hasn’t confirmed with the directors yet, but based on the success of today’s event, he expects Yoast will make this an annual event. “For me personally, I really like that my parents have visited the office and met my colleagues, because the world I work in now feels less strange for them,” Verdonschot said. [...]
Fri, 14 Apr 2017 15:48:55 +0000
React may end up being an important part of WordPress’ codebase in the future. If you want to explore the framework without making a major investment, a free online course is a good way to do that. In addition to React Training’s fundamentals course, Codeacademy has two free courses for learning React and Wes Bos has a free course to help students get started with React, Redux, and React Router.
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 02:46:54 +0000photo credit: Eduardo Mueses The Oracle – (license) Security researchers at Wordfence are reporting that thousands of hacked home routers are attacking WordPress sites. Wordfence firewall and malware scanner products are in use on more than 2 million WordPress sites and the company estimates that 6.7% of all attacks on these sites are coming from hacked home routers. “In the past month alone we have seen over 57,000 unique home routers being used to attack WordPress sites,” Wordfence CEO Mark Maunder said. “Those home networks are now being explored by hackers who have full access to them via the hacked home router. They can access workstations, mobile devices, wifi cameras, wifi climate control and any other devices that use the home WiFi network.” Maunder said his team has mostly seen brute force attacks targeting both wp-login.php (the traditional login endpoint for WordPress) and also XMLRPC login. They have also seen a small percentage of complex attacks. Wordfence has detected a total of 67 million individual attacks from the routers the company identified in March. While Wordfence researchers were creating their monthly attack report, they noticed that Algeria had jumped in rankings from position 60 to 24 in thier “Top Attacking Countries” list. Their review of attack data in Algeria revealed a ‘long tail’ of more than 10,000 attacking IPs originating from an Algerian state owned ISP. A vulnerability known as “misfortune cookie” is being used in these attacks. It hijacks a service that ISP’s use to remotely manage home routers by listening on port number 7547. ISP’s should close general internet access to this port, but many have not. “It appears that attackers have exploited home routers on Algeria’s state owned telecommunications network and are using the exploited routers to attack WordPress websites globally,” Maunder said. Wordfence researchers scanned the devices to find out what services they are running and found that they are Zyxel routers usually used in a home internet setting. They found that many of them have a severe and well-known vulnerability in RomPager, the embedded web server from AllegroSoft. “We then dug deeper and discovered that many ISPs around the world have this same issue and those routers are attacking WordPress sites via brute force attacks,” Maunder said. I spoke with Tony Perez, CEO of Sucuri to see if his team has detected anything similar. Sucuri also tracks WordPress brute force attempts, but Perez said current numbers are not remarkable when compared historically to mid-2016. “I think the reason Sucuri and other companies are not seeing this is because it is a weak ranking signal for malicious behavior,” Maunder said. “As we point out in the report, each of these IPs is only doing between 50 and 1000 attacks per month on sites. They also only attack for a few hours each. These combined are a very weak ranking signal for malicious behavior. That low frequency also makes the attacks more effective because they are less likely to be blocked.” This particular security issue is unusual in that the vulnerability is with the routers, not[...]
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 17:44:09 +0000
There’s a new “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list out! I follow the list and try to check out restaurants on it when I’m in the area, and as of last month had made it to 28 out of 50 of last year’s list. It’s a goal but in a rolling, gentle fashion: as the list changes every year I’ll probably never make it to 100%, but I enjoy exploring the highlighted folks and I’ve never had a bad meal at one. I was able to make it to Eleven Madison last month and predicted they might take the top spot, which they did in a well-deserved win. As with any award, there are lots of detractors, but Scott Vogel at Houstonia has a great essay on Why the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List Matters, which encapsulates nicely what the list represents to me.
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:00:38 +0000I started playing with websites back in 2003. I was in secondary school and Internet was relatively new to Somalia. It arrived in 1998-99 but only very few people had internet in their homes. Luckily there were internet cafes and I was introduced to this guy who owned an internet cafe. He had a large collection of Somali music and wanted to upload to somewhere so he could share with other people. I put together a GeoCities website using Microsoft FrontPage. The site I built was literally a blank canvas with marquee at the top and links to the mp3 files. The rest of the page was filled with animated gifs of waving flag, rotating globe and glittering stars. I kept fiddling with FrontPage’s WYSIWYG tab. Every time I add new element to the visual tab I would immediately switch to the HTML tab and see how the generated code would look like. I have managed to teach myself some HTML this way, but I was still very uncomfortable with coding. Buckling Down After a while, I moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and suddenly I had plenty of time so I decided to buy a web design book. It was basically an HTML tutorial and it helped me code table-based layouts without using a visual builder. This led me to discover CSS, PHP and, among other things, WordPress. I would install and test almost every PHP-based CMS out there: Mambo, Joomla, Drupal and few others but I settled with WordPress. WordPress was always user friendly and anyone with half-decent knowledge in HTML and CSS could open Kubrick (default theme until 2010) files in text editor and whip out something unique. Leveling Up It was around this time that I started to take freelance projects. My first WordPress project helped me buy a decent laptop, and suddenly other projects started to come. Most of my clients were people in Europe and United States. Getting paid was initially difficult. Most of international payment systems didn’t work in Somalia until very recently. PayPal’s strict policy meant payment was one-way street: you can make payments but can’t receive or withdraw anything. I managed to team up with someone in another country and we opened a shared account where we could receive the payments. My business partner would then transfer my slice to my local bank account. Things changed recently and although PayPal is still not an option, freelancers can get paid via international bank transfer or Payoneer. My experience with open source in general and WordPress in particular had positive impact in my life. I am quite lucky to wake up every morning and work, all on my own, in a country where 54% of the population are unemployed and over 70% are youth. This has prompted me to seek ways help other people to get into open source, creating hobbies and jobs for many young people who have a lot of time in their hands to learn, contribute and work with open source software. Branching Out Although the Internet keeps crushing physical borders and bureaucracy policies it doesn’t mean opportunities will magically come knocking on people’s doors. However, the advantage of investing in skills that allow the individual to go remote and tap a global market of design, development, copywriting or bl[...]
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:58:16 +0000The Advanced WordPress Facebook group (AWP) is making a radical change. After three years of allowing members to post freely, the group’s administrators voted to restrict posting to admin-approved content only. The popular WordPress watering hole has amassed more than 28,000 members and plays host to many lively conversations. Over the years some have suggested the group switch to using a WordPress-powered site or forum, but Facebook’s infrastructure has proven to be a vital part of the community’s success. Most members are already tied into Facebook’s notification system for their personal accounts and posts receive much more exposure than if they were on a separate website. In more recent years, the group has struggled with a constant stream of low quality content, prompting admins to re-examine the group’s approach to posting. “Our current mode of moderation is reactive,” AWP admin Matt Cromwell said. “Every time a low-quality post gets posted to the group it adds to the noise, and sometimes it might be hours and hours or even a day until an admin removes it — which means thousands of people have experienced the group with more ‘noise’ than it should have. Our only tools in the current setup of the group is for that noise to be added automatically, and the admins having to clean it up after the fact.” Cromwell said the group reached “a crisis moment” and several admins with experience in other large groups said content quality is much higher with admin-approved posts. The majority of the group’s 28 admins voted over the weekend to make the switch to admin-approved content only. Cromwell said the vote breakdown included one abstention and six hesitant no votes. “Some might think that is a lot more work for admins, but the truth is that we’ll actually be able to focus less on moderating in a reactive way, moderating profiles and negativity, and instead admin in a proactive way, moderating content,” Cromwell said. AJ Zane is one of the six admins who voted against the new rule. He said he sees AWP as an extension of the physical San Diego AWP group where he and other members enjoy open-table discussions. “I’m voting ‘no’ because I think this group is about self moderation, open discussion, and letting the posts with good content bubble to the top,” Zane said. “If the physical AWP meetup was not a round table group of people sharing wins/bugs/discoveries/questions, but had curated presenters, I know I would not have been as excited to attend the sessions. You want curated content? Go to Torque, listen to WP Weekly. You want to share that you just realized a method you’ve been using for years has a parameter you never noticed, come to AWP.” Zane said he realizes that it is idealistic to say that “good content bubbles to the top,” since AWP wouldn’t have this problem if all the top posts were high quality. “Our group has grown to the size that we apparently need some guidance from the admins that care about a high caliber of content and a vibrant community, a[...]
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 03:12:50 +0000Coffee Cup on Table — Image by © Michael Prince/CORBIS The first ever WordCamp for Publishers will be held August 17-19 in Denver, Colorado. The niche WordCamp will be open to anyone who uses WordPress to manage a publication, no matter what size. Organizers submitted an application last November and received approval from WordCamp Central in February. A huge thanks to @wordcamp for letting us try this out. It's the first national WordCamp focused on a specific topic/industry. — Adam Schweigert (@aschweig) April 6, 2017 In previous planning stages, the event was going to be called “WordCamp for Journalists,” but WordCamp for Publishers is more inclusive of the different types of professionals who are involved in managing publications. Organizers are planning to have tracks with content for engineering, product, and editorial teams. Attendees will work together to collaborate on open source tools for publishers and best practices. Steph Yiu and Adam Schweigert are the lead organizers of the event. Schweigert used to run engineering at the Institute of Nonprofit News and also led a working group assembled by MIT and the Knight Foundation on CMS-related projects. Yiu was a part of that working group and most of the other 12 organizers came out of it. Others were found through a call for volunteers. “As a part of the working group we decided we wanted to pull together an event that was focused on WordPress, specifically helping improve the open source tools around publishing, and build a community around publishers that use WordPress,” Yiu said. “One thing that was very important to us was being able to reach smaller publishers, which is why, as part of the event, we are hoping to offer travel scholarships for folks who otherwise would not be able to attend.” After discussing a few different event types, Yiu said the team eventually settled on setting it up as a WordCamp because of the community and structure that WordCamp Central provides. However, unlike most WordCamps, the event will offer a mix of presentations and hands-on workshops. Organizers will soon open a call for both speakers and workshop facilitators. “It’s still early days for us since this is a first-time event,” Yiu said. “Our current goal is to have a mix of workshops aimed at people who contribute to the multiple areas of the publishing process (for example: developers, designers, product owners, and editorial staff) and multiple skill levels. We also hope to bring together people who maintain open source projects important to publishing to run workshops on both using and contributing with the goal of helping build up those projects for the long run.” WordCamp for Publishers will be held at The Denver Post, a publication that runs on WordPress as a WordPress.com VIP customer. “Mateo Leyba, who works at Digital First Media, was a part of the original working group and suggested they could sponsor with a venue donation,” Yiu said. “That was very welcome as venues are usually the most expensive part of any event! Also, it’s a [...]
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 21:10:28 +0000The WordPress Editor Experience survey results have been published with data from 2,563 participants, a significantly larger sampling than the 50 who responded to the recent customizer survey. Both the editor and the customizer are included in Matt Mullenweg’s three main focus areas for core development in 2017. The purpose of the surveys is to find out how WordPress users are using or not using the current features. More than half of the survey respondents (66%) identified themselves as developers (in addition to other roles). Since this category of users dominated the survey results, Mark Uraine decided to break it down further to display other categories developers selected. Based on these results, it isn’t surprising that more than 85% of respondents use the markup text editor and 35% of those use it exclusively. Support for syntax highlighting is also a popular request. The distraction-free writing mode received quite a bit of feedback on the survey. More than 75% of respondents said they do not use it. The current implementation of the distraction-free writing mode was introduced in WordPress 4.1 at the end of 2014. The idea was to minimize distractions without having to go through a clunky transition to access the admin menu or meta boxes. Moving the cursor to the right or left of the editor brings them back into view, but many people find the admin interface sliding in and out of view to be distracting. Several who commented suggested that the feature could use some major improvements. The survey also revealed that the majority of respondents (72%) install plugins that add features to the editor. These most commonly include shortcodes, Advanced TinyMCE, Tables, and Visual Composer. The results indicate that users often extend the editor to get more basic advanced layout capabilities for presenting their content. The Editor Experience survey was a good first start, but it doesn’t accurately represent WordPress’ global user base. The results are heavily skewed towards developers’ needs and experiences. Developers are users, too, but there has to be a way to get these surveys into the hands of a more diverse sampling of users. Reopening the survey and circulating it beyond the WordPress developer community might help to paint a more accurate picture of users’ experiences with the editor. A more diverse sampling would reveal whether or not the vast majority of users have no use for the current implementation of the distraction-free writing mode, as developer feedback seems to suggest. It could also provide more feedback on the visual editor features that 35% of respondents to this survey never use. [...]
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 16:30:42 +0000
In 2014, WordPress Trac received a facelift and one of the improvements was the “good-first-bug” tag. The goal of good-first-bug tickets is to get newcomers familiar with WordPress code, processes, and contributing patches.
If you’d like to be notified of new tickets created on trac tagged good-first-bug on Twitter, check out the @GoodFirstBugs account created by Ryan Welcher. In three days since its creation, the account has accumulated nearly 100 followers.
— Ryan Welcher (@ryanwelcher) April 7, 2017
The bot uses predetermined phrases to describe tickets. However, the phrases don’t do much to explain what the ticket is about. For example, the ticket linked in the Tweet below has nothing to do with the Capital P Dangit filter. I’d like to see the first few words of the ticket’s title be used instead.
— GoodFirstBugs (@GoodFirstBugs) April 9, 2017
Many of the tickets linked have the has-patch keyword assigned as well. This means that a contributor has already submitted a patch and it needs to be reviewed and or tested before it can be committed to core. Scott Buscemi suggests that the bot should ignore these tickets, an idea that Welcher may implement in future iterations.
As I’ve highlighted in the past, the tickets tagged good-first-bug help remove some of the fear and anxiety that comes with navigating Trac to contribute to WordPress. Using Twitter to publish links to these tickets will give them more exposure and may lead to quicker adoption from new contributors.
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 02:47:36 +0000This week’s HeroPress geography is from Oceania. I’d love more people from that area, so if you know anyone who would be good for HeroPress, please encourage them to fill out the contributor form. Actually, WordPress didn’t change my life. It All Begins With a Thought When Life Throws You a Curveball, WordPress is There WordPress Set Me Free Love your work The post HeroPress Geography: Oceania appeared first on HeroPress.[...]
Sat, 08 Apr 2017 03:56:44 +0000
Less than three weeks ago Yoast SEO version 4.5 was released with an ugly, non-dismissible notice for sites on PHP 5.2. The notice encourages the user to upgrade to PHP 7, explaining that it is faster and more secure. It includes links for getting started and example emails that users can send to their hosting companies.
In the 18 days since shipping the plugin with the upgrade nag, Yoast SEO creator Joost de Valk has seen a dramatic uptick in sites moving from old, unsupported versions to PHP 7. From December to March, PHP 5.2 usage among Yoast SEO users decreased from 1.9% to 1.7%, a modest drop over three months. After adding the nag on March 21, PHP 5.2 usage dropped from 1.7% to 1.3% for those using Yoast SEO version 4.5. PHP 5.3 usage is also steadily decreasing since de Valk began the campaign to educate his plugin’s users about the benefits of upgrading.
According to de Valk’s stats, 22.2% of Yoast SEO users are on version 4.5 of the plugin. He estimates 1,443,000 sites on 4.5 out of 6.5 million users.
“Assuming 0.5% updated their PHP versions, that’s 7K sites,” de Valk said. “And another 14-20k that updated from 5.3 to something more decent.”
Many developers are hesitant to implement a nag in their plugins, but Yoast SEO is one of the largest plugins to prove that an ugly, non-dismissible notice can be an effective tool for getting users to take action.
“One of the reasons I’m sharing is because I’d love others to join us,” de Valk said. “People don’t like nags, but we’ve had some truly great feedback from users who went from PHP 5.2 to 7 and were astonished by how fast their sites suddenly were. Negative feedback has been absolutely minimal.”
The Yoast SEO team created a project called WHIP that makes it easy for plugin and theme developers to add notices that will nudge their users to upgrade their software versions, starting with PHP. The project also includes a filter for linking to the WordPress.org recommended hosting page, as an alternative to the Yoast.com hosting overview.
De Valk said his team intends to push the notice to users on other PHP versions in the near future, starting with 5.3.
“We’ve got a release coming next week (4.6), in which we won’t do it yet,” de Valk said. “If all goes well and continues to be mellow, 5.3 will be ‘nagged’ as of 4.7, probably three weeks later.”
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:29:55 +0000photo credit: Sergey Zolkin UK-based web developer Jeremy Keith published Resilient Web Design as a free e-book in December 2016. Over the past few months, industry leaders have been raving about the book, so I decided to take an evening to find out what all the fuss is about. Keith has been blogging for more than 15 years at adactio.com. He is an active contributor to the web standards movement, a popular conference speaker, and the author of DOM Scripting, Bulletproof Ajax, and HTML5 For Web Designers. After just a few pages in, I could see why so many have read Resilient Web Design all in one go. It lives up to all the excellent reviews. The book is divided into seven chapters and can be read in a couple hours. It is not a book on best practices, as one might expect, but rather a historical perspective on web standards and the evolution of responsive design. It provides a foundation for understanding technological progress and is essentially a primer on how breakthrough ideas happen and how resilient ideas endure. “The World Wide Web has been around for long enough now that we can begin to evaluate the twists and turns of its evolution,” Keith said. “I wrote this book to highlight some of the approaches to web design that have proven to be resilient. I didn’t do this purely out of historical interest (although I am fascinated by the already rich history of our young industry). In learning from the past, I believe we can better prepare for the future.” Keith’s brief history of web design recaptures some of the magic we felt at the dawn of the web. He said much of the subject matter has been included in his conference talks over the past couple of years but the book ended up taking some twists and turns that surprised him. “You won’t find any code in here to help you build better websites,” Keith said. “But you will find ideas and approaches. Ideas are more resilient than code. I’ve tried to combine the most resilient ideas from the history of web design into an approach for building the websites of the future.” Keith shares some thought-provoking ideas on design in chapter 3 that are particularly applicable to WordPress’ new structure for releases where design and user testing will lead the way in building a new editing and customization experience. The closest thing you can have to predicting the future is an understanding of what has endured in the past and an idea for building on it. Keith’s book examines principles that have proven to be resilient over time. “Design adds clarity,” Keith said. “Using colour, typography, hierarchy, contrast, and all the other tools at their disposal, designers can take an unordered jumble of information and turn it into something that’s easy to use and pleasurable to behold. Like life itself, design can win a small victory against the entropy of the universe, creating pockets of order from the raw materials of chaos.̶[...]
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:25:02 +0000
One of the most common complaints about the WordPress plugin directory’s redesign is the use of read more links instead of tabs. Plugin authors and users contend that tabs make information more accessible. The redesign requires visitors to scroll a one-page design and click on various read more links to discover more information.
There is a ticket on Trac that suggests a jump section be included so that visitors can jump to specific sections of a plugin’s readme file. It’s unclear if this feature will be added but if you’d like to restore the tabbed layout to the plugin directory, check out this Userscript created by Nicolas Jonas.
According to OpenUserJS, userscripts are open source add-ons for browsers that can modify webpages as they’re loaded. Using userscripts is roughly the same as installing WordPress plugins to restore lost functionality. Jonas’ userscript source code contains a mix of CSS and jQuery to generate the tabs.
To install the WordPress.org Plugin Directory Tabs userscript in Firefox, you’ll first need to install the free Greasemonkey extension. Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Add-on for Firefox that allows userscripts to run in the browser.(image) Greasemonkey Firefox Add-on
Jonas developed the userscript in about 30 minutes and used CSS from a CSS button generator. The tabs have a blue background with white text on top. Jonas is open to suggestions and encourages those who want better designed buttons to create an issue with the proper CSS code on his OpenUserJS page.(image) Tabbed Layout
I tested the userscript on Firefox 52.0.2 and didn’t encounter any issues. After navigating the plugin directory with tabs, I can easily say I prefer it versus clicking read more links. I rarely have to scroll and the information I want to see is displayed front and center. Simply put, browsing a plugin’s page with tabs is a better user experience.
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:18:27 +0000
Since the launch of the newly redesigned WordPress plugin directory, the Meta team has been hard at work fixing bugs and updating the design. The directory has undergone a series of visual updates that address some of the concerns readers expressed last week.
The number of active installs, tested up to WordPress version, and author information has been restored to the plugin card view. Previously, this information was only available on the plugin’s single page view.
Plugin stats are available to the public again and can be viewed by clicking the Advanced View link.(image) Advanced View Link (image) Stats For Plugins
Links to previous versions can also be found on the stats page along with a disclaimer that says older versions may not be stable or secure.(image) Drop-down Menu to Download Older Versions
The installation instructions have also returned as a drop-down section.(image) Installation Instructions
These changes bring the directory closer to the usefulness its predecessor provided. Some of the issues that remain include, read more links, distorted plugin banner images, and screenshots linking to a page instead of opening in a lightbox. Although some plugin banners are distorted, the Meta team does not recommend developers update them as the new dimensions have not been finalized.
The plugin directory is a work in progress. To report a bug or enhancement, you can create a ticket on Trac. If you have any questions concerning the directory or would like to get more involved, visit #meta on Slack.
Author’s Note: Although the number of active installs, tested up to WordPress version, and author information was removed during the mockups phase, the redesign at launch included this information.
Thu, 06 Apr 2017 18:21:48 +0000In this episode, Marcus Couch and I are joined by Mendel Kurland, GoDaddy Evangelist, to discuss the news making headlines. We cover what’s new in WooCommerce 3.0, why WordCamp Netherlands may not happen this year, and the WordPress plugin directory redesign. Marcus announced that he is the new head WordPress editor for Smashing Mag. Last but not least, Kurland provides insight into Camp Press, a social experiment focused on disconnecting from technology to strengthen one-on-one relationships. Stories Discussed: WooCommerce 3.0 Brings Major Improvements to Product Gallery, Introduces CRUD Classes and a New CLI WordPress Community Support Shuts Down WordCamp Netherlands in Favor of City-Based WordCamps WordPress Plugin Directory Redesign: Why So Many People Feel Their Feedback Was Ignored Disconnect From Technology at Camp Press September 23-24 in Seminole, OK What’s On WordPress.tv WordPress Community Interview with Bridget Willard – Bridget Willard is the Marketing Manager at WordImpress. She started her career with office work, earned a teaching degree, but returned to the office where she carved out a career in social media and marketing. She is the co-host of WPblab and co-organizer of Women Who WP meetup. In this interview, Willard talks about her role as a member of the WordPress Marketing Team the Four Horseman of WordPress Marketing. Adam Silver and Kyle Maurer: WPBattles – Entrepreneurship vs. Employment WordCamp Northeast Ohio 2016 – In this session, the duo takes a detailed look at working for yourself or for someone else. They share the pros and cons for each and break down the fundamental differences between starting a WordPress company and working for one. If you ever find yourself questioning whether you’re really doing what’s best for you, this session will help you understand which path to choose. Manuela van Prooijen: Long live the customer – how to get more out of your WordPress business – From WordCamp Geneva (Switzerland) – Many companies do not use the full potential of their existing customers. Too often those clients are considered a piece of furniture. The clients are there, but often overlooked and not being paid attention to. The constant struggle to acquire new customers however is 5 to 10 times more expensive than selling services and goods to existing clients. Manuela shares ten strategies to create a crowd of happy and loyal customers and as a result: more return (recurring) business. Plugins Picked By Marcus: WC Documents Tab adds a new tab into the product detail page with downloadable documents. You can use this for documentation, product brochures or anything else that you would need to provide a document for. Rock The Slackbot can help you manage your websites, and stay on top of changes, by sending notifications (following numerous WordPress events) to your Slackbot who will pass them alon[...]
Thu, 06 Apr 2017 02:04:01 +0000photo credit: MjZ Photography IMG_8538-Edit.jpg – (license) “Alexa, tell Blog Helper to create a new post called ‘Granny’s banana bread recipe.'” Imagine logging a new draft on your WordPress site using only your voice while working in the kitchen. That’s what Blog Helper, an Alexa skill, enables for WordPress.com and self-hosted Jetpack users. It is available for free in Amazon’s catalog of Alexa skills. Automattic developer Christopher Finke created the Alexa integration for WordPress after purchasing an Echo and some Dots for his house and experimenting with different ways for making them useful. He programmed Blog Helper to allow users to check WordPress.com notifications, moderate pending comments, and save blog post ideas as drafts. Blog Helper relies on WordPress.com’s OAuth support, which Finke said self-hosted sites can get via Jetpack. After asking Alexa to enable Blog Helper, you will need to link your WordPress.com account and select the blog you want to access. Once you’re hooked up, you can say, “Alexa, ask Blog Helper for my notifications.” Alexa will read off new notifications one-by-one and mark them as read. Blog Helper also enables comment moderation with your voice, so you can take care of that while folding the laundry or doing dishes. If you ask, “Do I have any comments to moderate?”, Alexa will read them to you and you can approve, delete, or mark them as spam. Check out the quick demo video Finke created to hear it in action: Scientific studies have proven that some of your best ideas come to you when your mind is relaxed and your body is distracted by routine tasks. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, Blog Helper is a fun way to help you capture your creative ideas in WordPress before they get away. It allows you to create new drafts without having to pick up your phone or sit down to your desktop. Although Finke works for Automattic, he wrote Blog Helper in his free time and it doesn’t have any official affiliation with WordPress.com. His said his roadmap is to try and make as much of the core WordPress experience accessible by voice as possible. Blog Helper can be a big time-saver for those who want to manage their blogs without being tied down to a screen, but the voice interface can also be useful for those who have vision impairments. Blog Helper is GPL-licensed and available on GitHub if you want to contribute or follow for updates. [...]
Wed, 05 Apr 2017 21:07:37 +0000Jetpack 4.8 was released this week with a settings redesign that is a continuation of the React-powered admin interface introduced last September. The new settings screen has been completely rearranged under a more simplified menu. “We went through every setting on WordPress.com and Jetpack to make sure it was necessary to keep around, and to find a good, logical home for each one,” Jetpack designer Michael Arestad said. “We ended up mirroring the WordPress core settings groups for now — they are familiar to people, and things fit well there.” Arestad said he was inspired by the way mobile devices handle settings, especially how they rarely include a “Save” button unless it’s an option that isn’t a simple toggle. The Jetpack design team applied this to the settings screens so that most of them are now autosaved. This release also introduces the ability to enable the WordPress.com Toolbar, a new feature that replaces the wp-admin toolbar with the My Sites menu, a link to the WordPress.com reader, a Write button that takes you to WordPress.com, and a notifications dropdown. It is essentially the same toolbar you see when working with a WordPress.com site. Jetpack 4.8 includes several dozen improvements and bug fixes. A few of the highlights include the following: New MailChimp Subscribe Popup widget Sitemaps are faster and now support sites with a very large number of posts (1,000+) Contact Form now has a plain-text alternative and better avoids spam filters Debug form includes extra information to better prioritize support requests Photon can now be used within the dashboard and supports bbPress topics and replies Jetpack 4.8.1 Fixes PHP Incompatibility Issue Many users reported fatal errors and blank pages after updating to Jetpack 4.8. A temporary fix was to load an older version of Jetpack. In a convenient turn of events, the WordPress plugin directory restored the ability to download older versions of plugins today (found under the new Advanced View link). Jetpack 4.8 included PHP code that is incompatible with PHP versions lower than 5.4, which caused the fatal errors. The Sitemaps module also included an incompatibility with the WP Rocket plugin. Additionally, the release included many new translation files, which caused updates not to complete on sites that have limited resources for processing large files on updates. Jetpack 4.8.1 was released a few hours ago to correct these issues. The Jetpack development team recommends manually installing the plugin via FTP/SFTP if your site crashed and you are unable to update through the admin. [...]
Wed, 05 Apr 2017 01:56:15 +0000WooCommerce 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly” was released today with significant improvements to the product gallery and developer tools. This version, which was previously going to be 2.7, is the first major release since the plugin switched to semantic versioning. It was released after more than three months in beta and an extended RC testing period that allowed extension and theme developers enough time to get up to speed. The new product gallery has subtle improvements for galleries with multiple images. Clicking on a thumbnail updates the image without forcing it to open in a popup window. Galleries in 3.0 are also more intuitive on mobile with support for touch gestures, including swipe to scroll through the gallery, pinch to zoom, and swipe up to close the current image. These and several bug fixes and improvements deliver a much smoother experience of viewing product images. This release includes significant performance improvements, thanks to the switch from post meta to taxonomies for features like product visibility, featured products, and out of stock products. WooCommerce contributors have also reduced the number of queries required to display related products and upsells. Version 3.0 introduces CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) classes for developers, making it easier to write and retrieve data from the database with less code. “High order volume is one of the best problems a store can have, but it can really slow down your site’s performance,” WooCommerce lead developer Mike Jolley said. “That’s why our team’s main focus this year is performance and scalability.” Scalability improvements are planned for the next several releases. Version 3.0 also introduces a new command line interface (CLI) powered by the REST API. The previous CLI didn’t fully support the same functionality and was powered by its own separate code. The new CLI forks Restful to make REST API endpoints available as WP-CLI commands. It reduces the amount of code that WooCommerce has to maintain and ensures that the commands are always current as the project’s REST API is updated in the future. The WooCommerce support forums on WordPress.org have been lighting up with requests after 3.0 was released. One particular issue pinned to the top of the forums is an incompatibility with Select2 v3. The latest version of WooCommerce uses Select2 V4 and this may cause an issue with AJAX search inputs in plugins and themes loading an older version of Select2. Another issue users are having after upgrade is frontend pages reloading endlessly, which WooCommerce developers have identified as a problem with the geolocation setting. They are working on a fix for 3.0.1. Many users who are reporting issues after updating to 3.0 have discovered incompatibilities[...]
Tue, 04 Apr 2017 20:32:37 +0000Readers may remember in 2015, we highlighted Camp Press, a conference devoted to disconnecting from technology to focus on strengthening bonds that encourage collaboration within the community. Mendel Kurland, who has spent the better part of two years organizing the event, announced that Camp Press will take place September 23-24, at Fry Lake in Seminole, OK. The event is a collaboration between Kurland, Aaron D. Campbell, and Christen Campbell Accommodations include tents, cabins, and RV hookups. Camp Press will take place on Camp Campbell, a plot of land owned by Campbell and his wife. Available activities include hiking, Geo-Caching, swimming, canoeing, fishing, sports, and more. A Lake Where Attendees Can Chill Out “Many of us spend a lot of time online, but it’s the time we spend offline and disconnected one-on-one that’s often most important,” Kurland said. “Those one-on-one connections create lifelong bonds that lead to building better businesses, partnerships, and strategy. Camp Press is about fortifying those in-person bonds.” Kurland chose to host the event at Camp Campbell based on its size, number of available activities, and its remoteness. “It’s centrally located in the US, and remote enough to achieve the goal of disconnection. Additionally, Aaron’s family is pretty great too as it’s their land.” The nearest major airport is an hour away in Oklahoma City so renting a vehicle is recommended. Alternatively, attendees can coordinate rides through the #camp-press-rides channel on the Geek Adventures Slack team. Invitations to join the Slack group are emailed after registering for the event. There is internet connectivity on the property, but it’s for emergencies and can only be used by staff. There are places in and around the Camp Press area for those who need to check-in with family. General admission tickets to attend the event are $100 each but if you purchase them before April 14th, they’re $85. There are also tickets available for reserved cabins for 10 people, a shared cabin, and RV hookups. General admission tickets include the following amenities: Free tent camping Other camping options with add-on (if available) Full Camp Press event + service day (starting Thursday) Event t-shirt Cooking utensils Fire starting supplies Field and water activities Arts and crafts supplies Daily ice service Kurland wants the event to maintain a brand-free feeling and is asking for sponsors to adhere to a set of atypical guidelines. The guidelines state that sponsors may not wear branded gear and that advertising must be hand-made on-site. “We realize these guidelines aren’t for everyone, but we’re looking for creativity rather than corpor[...]
Tue, 04 Apr 2017 17:19:50 +0000WP-CLI has hired Alain Schlesser as a new part-time co-maintainer. The position was made possible by sponsorships from Automattic, Bluehost, DreamHost, SiteGround, WP Engine, and more than 60 individuals who contributed to the project. “With Alain joining the project as a co-maintainer, the WP-CLI project is restoring capacity to meet current demands (e.g. support), and ramping up on new feature development and evangelization,” WP-CLI co-maintainer Daniel Bachhuber said. “We’ve already improved the build time by 33%!” Schlesser first became involved in the project after Bachhuber contacted him last March for input on solving some outstanding issues with Composer, which WP-CLI uses for external package management. Schlesser said he couldn’t afford the time to actively work on the issue at that time but tried to offer meaningful input for the right angle for solving the remaining issues. “This short collaboration changed my perception about WP-CLI and helped me realize that there is a push to use modern and modular code to improve the tool and prepare it for future requirements,” Schlesser said. “So, already at that point, I wanted to contribute to the project. However, I was already involved in a different part of WordPress contribution (which is now the Nextgen Bootstrap/Load Feature Project), and I had to prioritize my volunteer work and keep a few hours left for paid client work as well.” Schlesser said taking on the role of a maintainer became an option once it was a paid position made possible by the project’s 2017 sponsors. Prior to that he would not have been able to financially afford the additional time investment that WP-CLI requires. The new role enables him to work for 5-10 hours per week on general user support, development of new and improved features, writing documentation, managing the issue backlog, reviewing pull requests and working on the project’s infrastructure. In joining WP-CLI as a co-maintainer, Schlesser brings a fresh perspective from developing for other platforms and years experience managing and contributing to dozens of open source projects. “WP-CLI is in a unique place in terms of what it tries to achieve and how it does it (out of necessity),” Schlesser said. “For most other web platforms, the command line interface is a regular part of the core of the system itself, often building what is known as a Hexagonal Architecture. WP-CLI, on the other hand, achieves most of the same benefits even though it has no direct control over the Core source code, and that source code is not meant to support such an architecture. Given the obstacles, the current results are quite an achievement!” Afte[...]