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WPTavern: From Building WordPress Sites to Selling Plugins in One Year

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:08:26 +0000

Katie Keith This is a guest post written by Katie Keith, co-founder of Barn2 Media. In this post, Keith shares the lessons she and her husband learned transitioning from client work to selling WordPress products in one year. If you’ve ever dreamed of quitting client work and earning passive income by selling WordPress themes and plugins, you’re not alone. Selling products instead of providing services is the holy grail for many WordPress professionals. This is the story of how I switched from building websites to selling plugins in just one year. Along the way, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned some valuable lessons. Here’s how you can make the switch too. Seven Years Building WordPress Websites I co-founded UK WordPress studio Barn2 Media in late 2009 with my husband Andy. We had always wanted to work for ourselves, and felt that web design was the perfect way to combine our skills. (His background is in web development; mine is project management and marketing.) For the next seven years, we built the business by designing WordPress websites for clients, both in the UK and worldwide. We were successful and always had more work than we needed. However, from very early on, we both aspired to sell our own products instead of building websites for other people. Our Transition Into A Plugin Business Working with clients is great, and you get to know a lot of interesting people from different walks of life. But as a business owner, I found it frustrating to spend all of my time helping other people to build their business, with very little time to develop my own. I wanted to run a business where I could reap the rewards of my hard work. And that’s where products come in! In the early days of the business, we tried launching a few products in our spare time, without success. In 2016, we committed to transforming Barn2 Media into a premium plugins company. Within three months, we had launched two free plugins and a paid one. Within six months of our product focus, we were able to stop accepting new client work. Within a year, we had five premium plugins. Income from the plugin business overtook the original client business, and we haven’t looked back since. Plugin Sales Report Lesson #1: Commit by Any Means Necessary A lot of WordPress professionals try to develop themes or plugins as a side business, alongside their client projects. Some have found success that way, but it’s much more difficult. I tried this in 2012-13, and failed miserably. In 2012, the WordPress themes industry was less mature and some fairly simple themes were seeing huge success. We wanted a piece of the pie, and started building a simple multipurpose theme. The reality of day-to-day client work made it difficult to commit much time to the theme. Before we knew it, a year had passed before we were ready to submit it to ThemeForest (our chosen marketplace due to the easy route to market). By then, the themes industry had changed and was dominated by much more advanced themes that we didn’t have the resources to compete with. The market had moved on, leaving us behind. When we started building plugins in early 2016, we learned from this mistake. Andy stopped designing websites for clients, and focused 100% on the plugins. I continued with some client projects, but dedicated 50% of my time to marketing. It was scary to intentionally limit our income by turning down client work – especially when there are bills for pay. Fortunately, the extra commitment was worth it. We made excellent progress and got our plugins to market quickly. This made all of the difference. If you want to build a successful theme or plugins business, commit as much time as possible to it – even if it means a short-term drop in income. You may still need to do some client work to pay the bills, but do the absolute minimum and don’t be afraid to say No. This will make you much likelier to succeed. Lesson #2 – Go Niche, and Avoid Marketplace Fees When we were developing a theme, we planned to sell it on ThemeForest because we’d struggle to achi[...]

WPTavern: AMP Project Turns 2, Automattic Partners with Google to Improve WordPress Plugin

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:54:16 +0000

Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project is two years old today and the company published data demonstrating its growing adoption across the web. More than 4 billion AMP pages have been published by 25 million domains. AMP performance has also increased and Google reports that the median time for loading AMP pages from its search engine is less than half a second. The AMP team also cited several examples of success for sites that have integrated AMP, along with an as yet unpublished Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact study that linked AMP to a 10% increase in website traffic and a 2X increase in time spent on the page. The study, which was commissioned by Google, also showed that AMP pages on e-commerce sites have a 20% increase in sales conversions as compared to non-AMP pages. Google credited AMP’s 400+ code contributors and the 10,500 others who have engaged on GiHub, along with Automattic, one of the earliest publishing partners on the project: We’re also seeing other organizations take an increasingly proactive role in supporting AMP. Automattic, for example, has been working with us to improve the quality of the WordPress plug-in over the past several months. In addition to strong adoption across the community, VIP clients like The New York Post and PMC have seen great results with their implementations.’s VIP team also published specific instances where their clients have benefited from AMPing up their articles. “Across Automattic (including and VIP) hundreds of millions of client page views per month are delivered through AMP today,” VIP Strategic Partnerships director Tamara Sanderson said. “Over the last two years, many of our clients and partner agencies have customized and optimized the AMP experience for their particular needs, with impressive results.” AMP WordPress Plugin Updated after 10 Months Automattic updated its AMP WordPress plugin two months ago, but the average WordPress site owner doesn’t have the budget to customize and tweak it to achieve success. Users haven’t fared well with the open source plugin, which went for approximately 10 months without any updates. Many have encountered difficulties ranging from activation errors to incompatibilities with other plugins, problems with analytics, and validation errors. Users also cannot get support on the forums and 0/39 support issues have been resolved in the past two months. Although there are several alternative plugins in the directory for implementing AMP on WordPress sites, Automattic, as a partner with Google on the AMP initiative, seems to the best positioned to author the official plugin with the company’s experience AMPing up pages at scale. Automattic is still committed to improving the plugin but users may need to hire a professional developer for AMP-related plugin support. Version 0.5, released in August 2017, included just a handful of updates for having been 10 months in development. The release brought the plugin closer to the AMP spec, replaced fastimage with fasterimage for PHP 5.4+, and added support for new embed handlers, including Vimeo, SoundCloud, and Pinterest. Automattic Aims to Work with Google to Push AMP to be more Open Throughout the past year, AMP has come under fire from critics who believe that it is harmful to the open web. By default AMP forces users to load JavaScript from the AMP project site, loads the cached content from its own servers, and uses a subset of HTML that optimizes pages to benefit Google and Google search users. Many critics take issue with the fact that Google is incentivizing AMP’s use by prioritizing AMP pages in search results. It’s easy to forget that Google Search, with its overwhelmingly dominant market share among search engines, is not a public service to the world. It’s a company that seeks to make a profit. Can the AMP project be open enough to stay immune to Google’s drive for profit? Word[...]

WPTavern: WooCommerce Stores on Track to Surpass $10B in Sales This Year

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 22:30:27 +0000

The third annual WooConf, the official conference for WooCommerce, is underway today. It started off with a keynote by Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce, providing an overview of the project’s accomplishments over the past year and a preview of what’s to come. #wooconf — @woocommerce — John Kent (@johnkentsf) October 19, 2017 When the crowd was asked to guess how much in sales WooCommerce stores would generate this year, guesses ranged from $10M to $1B. According to Wilkens, WooCommerce stores will collectively generate more than $10B in sales this year and says the figure could be as high as $15B. WooCommerce extension sales are expected to generate more than $30M. Wilkens thanked and acknowledged the 616 contributors working on the platform. He then outlined three distinct user segments the company is catering too: store builders, store owners, and extension developers. These user segments are causing the company to reorganize internally and are providing the focus for features going forward. WooCommerce is used by a lot of small-to-medium sized businesses but it’s also used by businesses that generate $100M or more per year. Wilkens profiled H-E-B, a large grocery retailer in Texas that uses WooCommerce for its sister company, Central Market. WebDevStudios built the site on WordPress and used WooCommerce to handle the company’s eCommerce needs. Coming to A WooCommerce Near You WooCommerce is making investments into its design and user experience with the insight of John Maeda, the company’s Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion. The company is also investing in user research, testing, interviews, feedback, and doing what they can to learn about its users needs. He acknowledged the hiccups users encountered when upgrading sites to WooCommerce 3.0 earlier this year and says the experience has placed a heavier emphasis to establish a reliable upgrade and maintenance path. WooCommerce will combine its affiliate program with so that everything is managed under one roof. As WooCommerce has improved, it has also developed closer ties to Jetpack and in order to provide additional services. Automattic has years of experience building and maintaining SaaS infrastructures. Instead of creating a separate infrastructure for WooCommerce, the team decided to leverage Automattic’s infrastructure with Jetpack. We’ll publish more about this relationship in a future article. WooCommerce will revamp its mobile application and is opening its marketplace to extension authors. Extension authors can expect higher commissions, more control, and better access to their customers. Authors will also be able to provide support to their own customers on the site. Earlier this year, WooCommerce dropped its 50% renewal discount forcing customers to pay full-price without explicitly notifying them. Near the end of keynote, Wilkens provided context for the move saying it was about sustainability. Although comments on the article indicated that many customers were upset with the change, Wilkens says it has proven to be successful and has led to a substantial improvement in customer support. Those involved in the WooCommerce ecosystem can expect to see many more changes to both the website and platform in the coming months.[...]

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9 Beta 3

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:18:09 +0000

WordPress 4.9 Beta 3 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.9, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

For more information on what’s new in 4.9, check out the Beta 1 blog post. Since the Beta 1 release, we’ve made 70 changes in Beta 2 and 92 changes in Beta 3. A few of these newest changes to take note of in particular:

  • The plugin/theme editors now show files in a scrollable expandable tree list. See #24048.
  • Backwards compatibility has been improved for MediaElement, which is upgraded from 2.2 to 4.2. See #42189.
  • When you create post stubs in the Customizer (such as for nav menu items, for the homepage or the posts page), if you then schedule your customized changes or save them as a draft, then these Customizer-created posts will appear in the admin as “Customization Drafts”; these drafts can be edited before your customized changes are published, at which time these posts (or pages) will also be automatically published. See #42220.
  • Theme browsing and installation experience in the Customizer has seen some bugfixes (e.g. #42215 and #42212), with some known remaining issues outstanding in Safari.
  • There is now a callout on the dashboard to install and activate Gutenberg. See #41316.
  • Menus in the Customizer have seen additional usability improvements. See #36279 and #42114.

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Many refinements
Exist within this release;
Can you find them all?

WPTavern: Google Chrome v62 Adds Support for OpenType Variable Fonts, Expands HTTP Warnings

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 04:51:57 +0000

Google Chrome version 62 was pushed to the stable channel for Windows, Mac, and Linux today and will be rolling out to users over the next few days. The browser is continuing to put the pressure on website owners to migrate to HTTPS. As expected from the roadmap laid out earlier this year, a “Not Secure” warning is now displayed when visitors land on an HTTP page that includes a form, as well as on all HTTP pages in Incognito mode. Previously, Chrome displayed the warning if it detected any forms on the page that transmit data such as passwords or credit card information. Version 62 shows the warning on all HTTP pages that include forms of any kind. This is another gradual step on the road to eventually showing the “Not secure” warning for all HTTP pages. Chrome 62 also introduces support for OpenType Variable Fonts, a new technology that combines multiple font files into one compact file, delivering all variations of that font, including stretch, style, and weight. Developers can use the updated CSS properties to customize the font display and specify variations in its axis parameters using numeric values. Animated Amstelvar and Decovar variable font examples – Image credit: Chromium blog OpenType Variable Fonts is a collaborative effort led by Microsoft that includes contribution from teams at Adobe, Apple, Google, and input from independent font and tool makers. Microsoft is calling it “the biggest enhancement to OpenType since the OpenType specification was first released nineteen years ago.” The company’s announcement, published in 2016, describes a few of the most important advantages of OpenType Variable Fonts: OpenType Font Variations enables web site designers and application developers to deliver typographically rich experiences while using very little network bandwidth and small font files. Variable fonts will also give document creators a broad palette of typographic features without having to manage hundreds of font files. Variable fonts are all about doing more with less. Last year, after OpenType Font Variations were added to version 1.8 of the OpenType font format specification, Tiro Typeworks co-founder John Hudson wrote an excellent article explaining how variable fonts work and their potential impact on typography in the future: The potential for dynamic selection of custom instances within the variations design space — or design-variations space, to use its technical name — opens exciting prospects for fine tuning the typographic palette, and for new kinds of responsive typography that can adapt to best present dynamic content to a reader’s device, screen orientation, or even reading distance. Variable fonts are currently in development for Microsoft Edge and the team is also working on a formal proposal to add support to CSS. Just submitted the PR, should be live on the status site soon. Variable fonts are in development in @MSEdgeDev — Greg Whitworth (@gregwhitworth) September 30, 2017 Chrome adding support for OpenType Font Variations puts the technology one step closer to becoming more widely adopted, which should improve performance for sites across the web. Google is also working on bringing variable fonts to the Noto fonts project, Google Fonts, and other products.[...]

WPTavern: GoDaddy Launches New Managed WordPress Hosting Platform Aimed at Professionals

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 21:57:58 +0000

GoDaddy has expanded its managed WordPress hosting plans to include a new “Pro WordPress” platform with tools aimed at professionals who are hosting multiple sites. Although GoDaddy currently has 4 million customers running on WordPress, its more basic plans were not adequate for those who require additional tools to manage multiple sites and clients in one place. “Our new Managed WordPress platform is for WordPress professionals, which we’ve struggled to serve well in the past,” GoDaddy’s Head of WordPress, Gabriel Mays, said. “We’re fixing that.” Pro WordPress, a product the company teased at WordCamp Europe 2017, uses PHP 7.1 as the default, Kubernetes container management, and gives each site isolated, dedicated resources. It also includes ManageWP premium tools (GoDaddy Pro Sites), 90 days of backups powered by ManageWP, staging site environment, a Gravity Forms license, a library of 10,000+ free stock images, scanning and monitoring powered by Sucuri, and free SSL automatically installed on every site. GoDaddy’s new offering is aggressively priced at $10/month for one site and ranges to $99/month for 25 sites. Mays said that hosting millions of WordPress sites has allowed GoDaddy to gain economies of scale and pass on the savings to customers. For comparison, WP Engine’s personal plan pricing starts at $25/month for one site and $249/month for 25 sites. Flywheel’s bulk pricing starts at $92/month for 10 installs and $229/month for up to 30 sites. SiteGround is still somewhat of an outlier with unlimited installs for any of its bulk WordPress hosting plans, which begin at $5.95/month and range to $11.95/month. “Our chief competitors are other hosts who serve Web Pros like WP Engine, SiteGround, and others,” Mays said. “We differentiate in performance, quality, and value. For example, while our competitors serve their products from a shared environment, we don’t. Our customers get a fully containerized environment with isolated resources. This delivers high performance and failover for high redundancy.” GoDaddy’s WordPress customer base continues to outpace the growth of the market. In 2016, roughly one third of all GoDaddy sites were running on WordPress, and half of all new sites were using the software. Over the past several years, GoDaddy has been working to overcome its poor reputation in the WordPress community. During that time, the company acquired several large WordPress-related products to boost its offerings in the space, including ManageWP (September 2016), WP Curve (December 2016), and Sucuri (March 2017). The acquisition of these products, as well as partnerships with Gravity Forms, Beaver Builder, and WP101, were all milestones in what Mays said is GoDaddy’s goal – to become “a one-stop shop for WordPress professionals.” The company continues to invest in the community by sponsoring WordCamps globally and supporting WordPress security team lead Aaron Campbell as a full-time core contributor. “Five years ago, GoDaddy wasn’t involved in the WordPress community; we were the mammoth host that made money off of WordPress without giving back,” Mays said. “We’ve made some big strides in changing that, and will continue to ramp up our commitment to the WordPress community.”[...]

HeroPress: Be Brave and Trust Yourself

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:00:27 +0000

Beginnings I was born into a working-class family in Targoviste, a small town in Romania situated around 50 miles from the capital, Bucharest. My childhood was a normal one, mostly happy but marked negatively by the frequent conflicts between my parents. Growing up, they didn’t have much to offer to me and my brother. They struggled to give us as much as possible, and at the end, they did offer us quite a decent life, but all those shortages can be quite difficult to understand, especially for a child. “Why the other kids can have things that I don’t have?” “Why didn’t my parents gave me more?” I knew since then, part of the answer. They didn’t give me more because they didn’t have more, not because they didn’t want to. Thinking more about this, years later, I actually realized, that this whole situation was actually more of a blessing for me, and I am now really grateful for it. Why I’m saying this? Because not having everything gave me an incredible motivation to grow, overcome my situation, be creative and don’t ever give up on my dreams. Facing the world Wanting to do great things with my life, I always knew that staying in my small town forever is not an option. So, at 19, after finishing high school, I got admitted to Politehnica University of Bucharest, to study Computer Science. My brother was the one that convinced me to pursue this subject of study, as I wasn’t very sure on which path I should choose because I was not having enough self-confidence that I would be good at it, even though I always was better at this fields of study in school. I have to thank him for that. Going to University was by far the most important moment in my life at that time. It was hard but beautiful at the same time, the whole experience. At first, it was a total shock for me. Between all the big changes in my life, like leaving home for the first time, living in a college dorm with three new girls, taking care of myself and all that, school was not that easy anymore either. Even though I always liked studying and was one of the best students in my class, University was at a totally different level. It was really difficult to adjust, as I started to think again that maybe I wasn’t good enough for this, that it’s not something I can do, and I should give up. Luckily I didn’t do that, and with lots of work, in time, I managed to adapt and eventually finish the University with both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Computer Science. From my second year at University, I started thinking seriously that I should start working. I always wanted to have financial independence, as I also knew deep down, how difficult it would be for my parents to sustain me over the course of the next years of study. So, I started to search for jobs. I had so little self-confidence that I thought that nobody will ever hire me, so I took the first job offer that I received. I started to work part-time as a junior web developer at a small IT company. Looking back at that time, I can’t say I learned much there, as the company itself and the people in charge of it were not very interested in teaching me something or giving me interesting projects, so I could evolve professionally. And this was not happening just for me. Months later I realized this was their thing. They were mostly hiring students, paying them very small salaries and in some ways taking advantages of them. For example, in my case, they didn’t make me a contract even after 6 months there, even though they promised me that since day one. So, I was working illegally all that time, with no paid taxes, with a salary of just 90$ a month. But considering all this, I’m honestly happy I’ve had the chance to work there. I didn’t have the chance to learn much programming there, but I learned other valuable things that helped me through my life. All I’ve experienced that time, gave me a much m[...]

WPTavern: Medium Opens Partner Program, Allows Anyone to Publish Behind Its $5 Paywall

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:51:55 +0000

In March 2017, Medium scrapped its previous ad-driven revenue model to become a publisher of premium, subscription-based content. The company launched a new $5 subscription program and gave a select group of writers and publications the ability to publish articles behind a paywall inside its network. Medium’s invitation-only Partner Program launched in August but has now been expanded to include any author or publisher who wants to publish behind the paywall. “Starting today, anyone can enroll in our Partner Program and earn money based on the depth and value they provide to members, not the fleeting attention they deliver to advertisers,” Medium CEO Ev Williams said. “Along with that, we add stories from the world’s best publishers and seamlessly combine it all in an ad-free, personalized experience. The end goal is to offer the world’s best source for important stories and ideas.” Authors are rewarded based on engagement with their posts, as measured by the number of “clap” reactions a post receives via the network’s new applause button. Readers can clap multiple times and the system evaluates claps on a per-user basis, tracking the number of claps a reader assigns relative to the number of claps that individual typically sends. Subscribers will have their membership fees allocated to different authors based the claps they have given to posts behind the paywall. Medium quickly changed its “no access” paywall to a “metered” one after launching with a small group of publishers. This means that members can still read a limited number of locked stories each month before hitting the wall. The idea behind this move, according to Sam Duboff, Medium’s head of product marketing, is to give paywalled posts exposure to a wider audience while still paying content creators, instead of having articles simply get buried due to lack of exposure. with our metered paywall, we're hoping to enable both reach & $$. also lots of great writers haven't joined b/c they can be paid elsewhere. — Sam Duboff (@duboff) September 18, 2017 Perhaps, but note the paywall is (now) metered, a la NYT, so free readers can still access (w/login) — Ev Williams (@ev) August 22, 2017 Some authors have posted publicly about their earnings and Medium representatives told TechCrunch that 83% of those who published paywalled stories received payments during the month of September with payments averaging $93.65. The largest payment for a single author was $2,279.12 and the largest payment for a single publication was $1,466.68. It’s too soon to see the effects of opening up the partner program to anyone who wants to participate, but Medium’s membership fees will need to stretch further to accommodate all the claps for newly paywalled content. update on my @Medium partner program testing -> $113.91#MakeItClap — (@hunterwalk) September 20, 2017 Non-subscribing readers were not enthused with the paywall when it first launched. With the number of Partner Program participants going up, there are bound to be more links to paywalled content floating around social media. Stop posting links to paid posts, or at least include “Paywall” “Premium” “Subscriber Only”, ANYTHING! Create a Medium Premium handle maybe? — Branden Bytes (@BrandenBytes) September 30, 2017 click the @Medium article link to see it is behind the paywall. Close the page and move on. That may teach people not to click at all ;) — Denys Vuika (@DenysVuika) September 30, 2017 Muted @Medium for a month. Maybe after that they’ll stop tweeting paywall’ed articles. — spookywatermelon (@smartwatermelon) September 23, 2017 Readers are finding, however, that they are frequently encountering articles behind Medium’s paywall that [...]

WPTavern: Bear App Users Want WordPress Publishing Integration

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:17:43 +0000

Ever since the demise of WordPress’ old distraction-free writing mode, users have been forced to look elsewhere for a truly zen writing experience. Gutenberg’s current design trajectory doesn’t seem to be putting it on track for delivering the minimalist writing environment that many writers crave. The project has a lot of publishing and design-related functionality to account for in its UI, but I am hopeful that the plugin ecosystem will offer extensions that pare Gutenberg back to just the essentials for writing. In the meantime, those in search of a minimalist writing experience have found it in dedicated writing apps like iA Writer, Ulysses, WriteRoom, OmmWriter, and others. The Bear app, a newcomer launched in 2016, is a rising favorite that works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Although somewhat better known as a note-taking app, Bear’s beautiful writing experience won the app a 2017 Apple Design Award. Bear blends the best features of a note-taking app with a writing app. Users can turn on Focus Mode using the bottom right icon, which hides the sidebar and note list to provide a more minimal writing space. Bear saves users’ writing in real-time, offers in-line support for images, and syntax highlighting for 20+ programming languages. There are no distractions while the user is composing, as the editor instantly displays rich previews. It’s easy to see why Bear has become an instant favorite. Many Bear users still have the need to publish their writings to the web, a capability that the app doesn’t currently support. Naturally, a WordPress export or “Publish to WordPress” option is one of the most often requested features. However, Shiny Frog, the company behind the Bear app, is not yet working on publishing features. “Medium and WordPress publishing features are on our todo list, but not on top priority right now,” Shiny Frog co-founder Danilo Bonardi said when I asked last November about the company’s plans to support a WordPress export option. Other users have also posted to the app’s support forum and its subreddit, asking for WordPress integration: I’m really enjoying using Bear for my writing, and the newer features are great, but I’m trying to get started with my own blog and more as I am developing my own business and being able to export to WordPress would be incredibly helpful for me going forward. This is the one feature that would allow me to switch from Ulysses. With Ulysses going to a (more expensive) subscription, the time seems right for Bear to offer a “publish to WordPress” feature that could match what Ulysses offers. This is about the only thing holding Bear back for me. I’m currently deciding between Bear and Ulysses, and right now the dealbreaker is Ulysses’s ability to push to WordPress. If you were able to build that functionality, it would seal the deal! Bonardi confirmed again, as recently as last month, that the company is still keeping a tight focus and has not yet prioritized publishing to WordPress. “Publishing features have been asked before and we will address them sooner or later,” Bonardi said. “Our hopes are to integrate Bear with Medium/WordPress apps instead of implementing our own publishing tool with their APIs. Using their APIs is the other solution but in this scenario we have to build a specific UI for this functionality instead of relying on external apps.” In the meantime, Bear App support staff recommends using the Markdown export option, available in the free version. Additional export options, including HTML, are available Bear’s $14.99 per year Pro version, which is much more affordable than pricey competitors like Ulysses and others that cater specifically to long-form writing. Quadro also has an option to share Be[...]

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9 Protects Users From Fatal Errors Created in the Theme and Plugin Editors

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 21:25:31 +0000

Over the years, there have been many discussions and debates on whether or not WordPress should have a built-in file editor for themes and plugins. The file editors, while convenient, allow users to easily trigger fatal errors that can be difficult to fix, especially if they don’t have FTP access.

Instead of removing the editors from core, the WordPress development team has enhanced them by adding fatal error protection in WordPress 4.9. When a user accesses the theme or plugin editor for the first time, they’re presented with the following warnings. The warnings are a result of a three-year-old trac ticket.

(image) Plugin Editor Warning (image) Theme Editor Warning

If you try to save changes to a file and WordPress detects a fatal error, the change is not saved and a warning message is displayed that explains where the error occurred. Although the changes are rolled back, the code in the editor is not replaced with the original. To replace the code, simply refresh the browser tab.

(image) Fatal Error Detected

In addition to safety features, the code editors are powered by CodeMirror, an open-source, JavaScript powered text editor that adds features such as line numbers. The plugin editor includes the ability to look up documentation for filters, hooks, and actions with many of the links pointing to the new WordPress Developers Resource site.

Even with the addition of CodeMirror in core, the file editors in WordPress are not a replacement for an integrated development environment. However, the warnings and fatal error protection are huge improvements that will prevent many users from creating a White Screen of Death situation on their sites.

WPTavern: GitHub Launches New Dependency Graph Feature with Security Alerts Coming Soon

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 18:56:34 +0000

GitHub announced a new Dependency Graph feature at the Github Universe conference yesterday. It lists all the dependencies for a repository and will soon identify known vulnerabilities. The graph can be accessed under the Insights tab and currently supports Ruby and JavaScript dependencies with Python coming soon.

Public repositories display the graph by default and private repository owners also have the option to enable it. Below is a screenshot of Gutenberg’s dependency graph:


GitHub plans to extend dependency graphs to show security alerts when one of the dependencies is using a version that is publicly known to be vulnerable to a security issue. The alerts may also in some cases be able to suggest a security fix. Security alerts for dependencies is the first among a collection of security tools that GitHub has planned to release.


The dependency graph isn’t yet as useful as it could be for many PHP-based WordPress projects, but GitHub’s decision to start with support for JavaScript and Ruby dependencies is in line with the data the company collected from repositories. JavaScript and Ruby are among the top four most popular languages on GitHub, as measured by the number of pull requests. JavaScript is by far the most popular and PHP isn’t too far behind Ruby, according to stats from the State of the Octoverse 2017.


GitHub is also launching new efforts to connect its massive community. The company reported 24 million developers working across 67 million repositories in 2017. The new community features are aimed at helping developers make meaningful connections in the vast sea of repositories on the platform. Users will notice a new “Discover Repositories” feed in their dashboards that makes recommendations based on their starred repositories and the people they follow.


GitHub has also launched a new curated Explore section to help users browse open source projects, topics, events, and resources.

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9 Beta 2

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 06:29:09 +0000

WordPress 4.9 Beta 2 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.9, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

For more information on what’s new in 4.9, check out the Beta 1 blog post. Since then, we’ve made 70 changes in Beta 2.

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Let’s test all of these:
code editing, theme switches,
widgets, scheduling.

WPTavern: WordPress Replaces Browserify with Webpack for Build Process

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:58:57 +0000


During a core JavaScript chat held in May, WordPress contributors agreed on using Webpack (and ES6 imports) instead of Browserify for JavaScript bundling in the build process.

“Since we split the media files in #28510, the core build process has used Browserify to combine the media files,” Adam Silverstein said in the ticket proposing the replacement. “While browserify has served us well, Webpack is probably a better long term choice for the project, especially with the introduction of a new JavaScript framework that may require a build.”

Over the past four months contributors on the ticket have worked on making sure the Webpack setup is working well to build the files. WordPress core committer K. Adam White also reached out to some Webpack contributors for an additional review during the process before replacing Browserify as the JavaScript bundler.

Webpack has rapidly gained popularity among the many utilities for bundling JavaScript files and is one of the most prominent examples of a project that has successfully found a sustainable source of funding through its account on Open Collective. The project funded its first full-time developer through the platform and has an estimated annual budget of $241,650, based on current donations.

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 291 – All Hands on Deck on The Ship of Theseus

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:10:58 +0000

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week including DonateWC sponsoring its first recipient to WordCamp Cape Town, WordPress 4.9 Beta 1, and WooCommerce 3.2. We also have a bit of fun with and blurt out a few crappy puns. Last but not least, we dissect Matías Ventura’s vision of Gutenberg.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 4.9 Beta 1 Released
WooCommerce 3.2 Released
WooConf 2017 Livestream Tickets Now on Sale
Gutenberg Engineer Matías Ventura Unpacks the Vision for Gutenblocks, Front-End Editing, and the Future of WordPress Themes Launches Pro Version at Aimed at Theme and Plugin Developers
Disqus Data Breach Affects 17.5 Million Accounts
We’re sending a speaker to WordCamp Cape Town
GitLab Raises $20 Million Series C Round, Adds Matt Mullenweg to Board of Directors

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, October 18th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

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Listen To Episode #291:

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.2 Adds Ability to Apply Coupons in the Admin, Introduces Pre-Update Version Checks for Extensions

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 19:07:49 +0000

WooCommerce 3.2 has arrived a week ahead of the plugin’s upcoming WooConf Developers Conference in Seattle. The release went into beta at the end of August and an extra week was added to the RC testing phase to give store owners and extension developers ample opportunity to prepare for the update. Version 3.2 adds the ability for administrators to apply coupons to existing orders in the backend of the store. This feature was requested on the WooCommerce ideas board four years ago and had received 374 votes for consideration. WooCommerce will now automatically re-calculate the order total after applying the coupon and the same in reverse if a coupon is removed. Although it seems like a small improvement, implementing it without breaking extensions was a fairly complex endeavor for the WooCommerce team. “This was tricky to develop because of the way the cart and coupons were built initially, so some refactoring was needed, but we tried to implement these changes in a backwards compatible manner so extensions wouldn’t require changes,” WooCommerce lead developer Mike Jolley said. WooCommerce 3.2 Adds Extension Support Version Checks Prior to Core Updates One of the most exciting new features in 3.2 is support for a new plugin header that extension developers can use to specify which versions of WooCommerce have been tested and confirmed to be compatible. This information will be displayed to users in the plugin update screen when future WooCommerce core updates become available. These warnings save time for store owners by identifying extensions that need further research and testing before applying a core update. It makes it easier for admins to confidently update their installations without having to worry about extensions breaking. After a few more major releases of the plugin, it will be interesting to see how this new system improves updates overall and how other plugins with their own ecosystems of extensions might be able to benefit from something similar. Version 3.2 also brings improved accessibility for select boxes, updates to the new store setup wizard, a new “resend” option on the edit order page, and a host of admin UI enhancements that make it easier to manage products and extensions. Adds New Subscription Sharing Feature Customers who have purchased extensions from can now take advantage of a new subscription sharing feature that allows them to specify additional sites (via email address) where they want the extension/key to be active. This is especially useful for agencies, developers, and multisite store owners who can now grant the use of an extension without having to connect their own accounts to client sites. The original purchaser of the extension will be the one billed for the subscription and can revoke access for connected sites at any time. WooCommerce 3.2 had 1610 commits from 98 contributors. Currently, 47% of installs are still on 3.1 but that number should go down as store owners start updating to the latest. The WooCommerce team reports that all changes should be backwards compatible with 3.0 and 3.1 sites, but site owners will still want to test their extensions before applying the 3.2 update.[...]

HeroPress: Queer Woman In Tech … In A Bowtie

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:00:22 +0000

Did you know there are still several states in the US where employers can fire me for being gay? Legislation and protections have improved in the past several years, but there are still large gaps throughout the United States for queer and trans people. In addition, I hear horror stories of toxic workplaces that my LGBTQ+ friends have endured and/or have pushed them out of a job due to not feeling safe. I have been incredibly lucky to have a career full of supportive companies where I have felt safe and accepted. But I also have another big thing that has helped me for over 13 years: WordPress. A Little History Back when I was in high school in the mid nineties, I was fortunate enough to have access to a computer that connected to this new “internet” thing. This was in 1996 when we had to call the internet. I remember vividly spending nights browsing all these “homepages” of people—even people that were my age—from all over the world. One night I thought, “One day I want to make one of these…” I literally stopped mid thought and decided that I was just going to start right that instant. I signed up for a free Angelfire account using my mom’s email address, and was off and running. Angelfire gave you an advanced option of a code editor, so I copied and pasted and poked and prodded code all summer. As a result, I taught myself a good chunk of HTML by creating some of the ugliest pages in internet history. But that started me on a path that I would never look back from. I saw such great potential in connecting with others using this whole “World Wide Web” thing I had just discovered. A Web Log Fast forward some years into college and the dawn of the 2000’s when this crazy idea of sharing a journal on the internet started. Web logs—later termed “blogs”—started popping up left and right. I hopped on board with a blog almost exactly 17 years ago (10/19/00), then moved to this blogging platform known as b2 just about a year later. Some may recognize this, because b2 by cafelog was the codebase forked to create the first WordPress. So technically, I’ve been using WordPress since before it was WordPress. Creating Community Back when blogging first became a thing, commenting systems weren’t developed yet, so it was more like just shouting into space wondering if anyone was listening. But people were. Some of us added message boards to our sites. Conversations happened, connections were made and communities started to form. Some of these connections are still some of my close friends today. We share a special bond because we all kind of learned the internet together. These created communities also helped me feel less like an outcast and gave me hope that I wasn’t the only one that felt out of place like I did. People’s blogs were vulnerable glimpses into their lives and hardships, really helping me see I was not alone and even helping me face some of my own struggles. Back then I didn’t realize I was gay, but I did feel strangely out of place in so many parts of my life. Coming Out In my late 20’s I finally realized, accepted and came out to myself that I was a lesbian. For many years following I stumbled around a lot to find my true expression and identity. Not to mention shed—and recover from—the many external pressures that were forcing me into a completely fabricated heteronormative “box” that I did not fit. It took well into my 30’s to find my comfort zone as an androgynous/masculine of center expressing, gay woman. With that, my outward expression and style creates a daily “coming out” to everyone I meet… or at the very least, draws attention to me wh[...]

WPTavern: Gutenberg 1.4 Adds HTML Mode for Blocks

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 04:57:39 +0000

Gutenberg 1.4 was released today with a new feature that allows users to edit HTML on a per-block basis. HTML mode can be triggered by toggling the ellipsis menu and selecting the HTML icon. This will switch the block between visual and text mode, without having to switch the entire document into text mode.


Contributors debated on whether or not to place the HTML button in the quick toolbar or to add the button to the side of the block. Eventually, they landed on putting the trash icon, the cog settings, and this new HTML mode under an ellipsis.

Gutenberg testers will also notice that version 1.4 redesigns the editor’s header, grouping content actions to the left and post actions to the right.

This release adds the initial REST API infrastructure for reusable global blocks, an idea Matias Ventura proposed several months ago. The pull request was created by new Gutenberg contributor Robert Anderson, a web and mobile developer at Tumblr. It is based on the technical details that Weston Ruter outlined for creating dynamic reusable blocks. Anderson highlighted a few examples of what this infrastructure will eventually enable for users:

  • Convert a block into a reusable block, and give it a name
  • Convert a reusable block back into a regular block
  • Edit a reusable block within a post and have the changes appear across all posts
  • Insert an existing reusable block into a post
  • Delete an existing reusable block

Anderson said the next step is adding a core/reusable-block block to the editor that can be rendered and edited, followed by a UI for adding, deleting, attaching, and detaching reusable blocks.

Gutenberg 1.4 will now show a users’ most frequently used blocks when hovering over the inserter. If the editor doesn’t have enough usage data, it will display the paragraph and image blocks by default.


Version 1.3 of the plugin introduced a new feedback option for testers with a link in the Gutenberg sidebar menu. Ventura reported that the team has received 12 responses so far, which included four bugs and two proposed enhancements. Check out the full changelog for 1.4 for more details on what’s new in the latest beta release.

WPTavern: GitLab Raises $20 Million Series C Round, Adds Matt Mullenweg to Board of Directors

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:55:49 +0000

GitLab celebrated its sixth anniversary as an open source project yesterday and announced a $20 million Series C round of funding led by GV General Partner Dave Munichiello. The company’s CEO Sid Sijbrandij joined Municheiello with guest hosts, Adam Stacoviak and Jerod Santo from The Changelog podcast, for the GitLab live event that aired yesterday. “When we think about investing, we want to be involved in the fastest-growing companies in the world,” Munichiello said. “We think about that a little differently than most firms in that we are looking for looking for dev-focused tools. We think software will disrupt the enterprises of the future and so we think the best tools that help enable and empower the best software teams will become enormous companies over time. We’re certainly seeing that with GitLab.” Munichiello said he favors investing in open source because it is “the most secure and the best software in the world.” Although GitLab is a much smaller company than its more prominent rivals GitHub and Bitbucket, it currently dominates the self-hosted Git market with its open source tools. GitLab is used by 100,000 organizations and customers include NASA, the Nasdaq Stock Market, Sony Corp, Comcast, Bayer, among many other large companies. In addition to the $20 million in funding, the company also announced that it has appointed Matt Mullenweg to its board of directors. “I’m very excited to announce that Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic and founder of WordPress decided to join our board,” Sid Sijbrandij said. “He’s a leading figure on how to think about open source and how to build a business on that and a remote-only work culture.” Sijbrandij said GitLab’s board of directors sets the tone for what the company is allowed to spend its money on, how it approaches the balance between open source and closed source, and the features that the team decides to make money with. “GitLab’s powerful momentum and scaling have a lot of parallels to Automattic and WordPress in their early days,” Mullenweg said. “WordPress had to battle a lot of competitors, and ultimately came out on top as a successful company on an open source business model. I hope to help GitLab achieve the same triumph. Fundamentally, I want to help create the kind of internet that I want to live in and I want my children to live in, one that reaches a global audience and one that is able to make a difference.” Mullenweg also said he was impressed with GitLab’s transparency and how the company shares many of its internal documents, whether it’s a sales manual or employee onboarding information. GitLab, which employees nearly 200 people, also shares a similar work culture to Automattic, as 100% of the team works remotely. “Not only being ahead in terms of transparency, GitLab is exciting for me bc I think distributed work is the future of work.” –@photomatt — GitLab (@gitlab) October 9, 2017 When asked if there is anything down the line for collaboration between GitLab and WordPress, Mullenweg said, “It’s definitely something on our minds. Core WordPress is still Trac and Subversion, so I think that it’s not our top priority this year, but in the future it’s definitely on the radar.” GitLab started with basic version control and an issues tracker. Last year the company announced its first master plan to make GitLab a complete developer solution, which it completed in December 2016. Sijbrandij said the company is aiming to [...]

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9 Adds Scheduling, Drafts, and Front-End Preview Links to the Customizer

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:32:18 +0000

While WordPress 4.8 focused on adding new widgets, visual improvements to links in the text editor, and a new dashboard widget that displays nearby events, WordPress 4.9 places a heavy emphasis on customization.

In WordPress 4.9, the Customizer has a new publish button with options to publish, save draft, or schedule changes. Edits made via the Customizer are called changesets that have status’ similar to posts. These improvements were incorporated from the Customize Snapshots and Customize Posts feature plugins.

(image) New Customizer Publishing Options

Those who design sites will appreciate the ability to easily share a link that provides a front-end preview to changes. Note the About This Site widget at the bottom of the page.

This eliminates the need to publish changes to a live site or give users access to the WordPress backend. Links are generated by saving a draft in the Customizer.

Clicking the Discharge Changes link removes unpublished edits. Scheduling changes is as simple as choosing a day and time for them to take place.

These are just a few of the improvements in WordPress 4.9 which you can try out for yourself by downloading and testing WordPress 4.9 beta 1 on a test site. Alternatively, you can install the WordPress Beta Testing plugin on a test site, configure it for point release nightlies, and update to 4.9 Beta 1.

Stay tuned as we go in-depth on some of the other features in WordPress 4.9 in the coming days.

WPTavern: Gutenberg Engineer Matías Ventura Unpacks the Vision for Gutenblocks, Front-End Editing, and the Future of WordPress Themes

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 03:56:37 +0000

photo credit: KaylaKandzorra i miss you grampa. – (license) In a post titled Gutenberg, or the Ship of Theseus, Matías Ventura breaks down the vision for how the project will transform WordPress’ content creation experience and the decisions the team has made along the way. Ventura describes how WordPress has become difficult to customize, as online publishing has embraced rich media and web design has evolved in complexity over the years. “WordPress can build incredible sites, yet the usability and clarity that used to be a driving force for its adoption has been fading away,” Ventura said. “The present reality is that many people struggle using WordPress as a tool for expression.” Ventura’s words hint at the growing threats from competitors whose interfaces define users’ current expectations for a front-end editing experience. If WordPress is to stay afloat in a sea of competitors, it can no longer continue expanding its capabilities while leaving a disconnect between what users see while editing in the admin versus what is displayed on the frontend. “WordPress has always been about the user experience, and that needs to continue to evolve under newer demands,” Ventura said. “Gutenberg is an attempt at fundamentally addressing those needs, based on the idea of content blocks. It’s an attempt to improve how users interact with their content in a fundamentally visual way, while at the same time giving developers the tools to create more fulfilling experiences for the people they are helping.” Ventura elaborated on the foundations of the block approach to content creation and how it will expose more functionality to users in a unified interface, bringing more opportunities to the plugin ecosystem. The post offers some clarity for those who have been wondering about the decision to “make everything a block.” Ventura also anticipates that blocks will become a big part of WordPress theming in the future: Themes can also provide styles for individual blocks, which can, in aggregation, fundamentally alter the visual appearance of the whole site. You can imagine themes becoming more about the presentation of blocks, while the functional parts can be extracted into blocks (which can potentially work across multiple theme variations). Themes can also provide templates for multiple kind of pages—colophon, products, portfolios, etc., by mixing blocks, setting them up as placeholders, and customizing their appearance. Ventura also introduced a few new possibilities that Gutenberg could enable. He shared a video showing how granular control over each block can pave the way for a future where WordPress core allows for real-time collaborative editing. This is a feature that has been painfully lacking from the CMS but is nearer on the horizon with Gutenberg in place. “This same granularity is allowing us to develop a collaborative editing framework where we can lock content being edited by a peer on per block basis, instead of having to lock down the whole post,” Ventura said. Ventura sees Gutenberg as the path to finally bringing front-end editing to WordPress: Once Gutenberg is capable of handling all the pieces that visually compose a site—with themes providing styles for all the blocks—we end up with an editor that looks exactly like the front-end. (And at that point, we might just call it front-end editing.) Yet we’d had arrived at it through gradually improving the pieces of our familiar ship, in a way that didn’t[...]

Matt: Potential of Gutenberg

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:47:58 +0000

Matias Ventura, the lead of the editor focus for WordPress, has written Gutenberg, or the Ship of Theseus to talk about how Gutenberg's approach will simplify many of the most complex parts of WordPress, building pages, and theme editing. If you want a peek at some of the things coming down the line with Gutenberg, including serverless WebRTC real-time co-editing.

WPTavern: WPThemeDoc: A Single-File HTML Template for Documenting WordPress Themes

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 04:44:51 +0000

(image) photo credit: Lia Leslie

ThemeBeans founder Rich Tabor has open sourced WPThemeDoc, the template he uses for documenting his commercial WordPress themes. Tabor is also the creator of Merlin WP, a theme onboarding wizard that makes setup effortless for users. After applying his aesthetic talents to the documentation aspect of his business, he decided to package up his efforts and release WPThemeDoc on GitHub to benefit other theme developers.

WPThemeDoc is neatly organized and easy to navigate. It can be used without any design modifications or as a starting point for your own branded documentation design. Check out the live demo documenting Tabor’s York Pro theme.


The template is a single HTML file that is easy to extend by adding or removing sections. It includes a set of “find and replace” variables that developers can use to quickly customize the document’s information for their own themes. The template itself requires very little documentation, as it uses nothing more than simple HTML and CSS.

For many theme developers documentation is a chore – it’s not the fun part of creating themes. WPThemeDoc makes documentation as simple as filling in the blanks. It is licensed under the GPL v2.0 or later and feedback and contributions are welcome on GitHub.

WPTavern: Disqus Data Breach Affects 17.5 Million Accounts

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 03:13:32 +0000

Disqus, a comment management and hosting service, has announced it suffered a data breach that affects 17.5 million users. A snapshot of its database from 2012 with information dating back to 2007 containing email addresses, usernames, sign-up dates, and last login dates in plain-text were exposed.

Passwords hashed with the SHA1 protocol and a salt for about one-third of affected users are also included in the snap-shot. Disqus was made aware of the breach and received the exposed data on October 5th by Troy Hunt, an independent security researcher. Today, the service contacted affected users, reset their passwords, and publicly disclosed the incident.

Jason Yan, CTO of Disqus, says the company has no evidence that unauthorized logins are occurring due to compromised credentials. “No plain-text passwords were exposed, but it is possible for this data to be decrypted (even if unlikely),” Yan said.

“As a security precaution, we have reset the passwords for all affected users. We recommend that all users change passwords on other services if they are shared. At this time, we do not believe that this data is widely distributed or readily available. We can also confirm that the most recent data that was exposed is from July, 2012.”

Since emails were stored in plain-text, it’s possible affected users may receive unwanted email. Disqus doesn’t believe there is any threat to user accounts as it has made improvements over the years to significantly increase password security. One of those improvements was changing the password hashing algorithm from SHA1 to bcrypt.

If your account is affected by the data breach, you will receive an email from Disqus requesting that you change your password. The company is continuing to investigate the breach and will share new information on its blog when it becomes available.

WPTavern: Launches Pro Version at Aimed at Theme and Plugin Developers

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 19:17:47 +0000

photo credit: hiljainenmies – cc Six months ago, the team behind WP All Import and Oxygen opened to the public, a service that offers free unlimited WordPress installs for anyone who needs a temporary testing site. Public testing went well enough that a commercial tier of the service is now available at, with plans ranging from $49/month – $699/month, depending on the number of installs required. “On any given day we have around 3-4K active installs,” WP All Import team lead Joe Guilmette said. “We actually got around 7K the first day and the infrastructure didn’t go down. So we were pretty stoked.” Guilmette said a few plugin and theme shops are using the service and one developer even wrote a script to iframe their installs for use in their theme demos. “We’ll probably put a stop to that at some point, but it was pretty cool to see,” Guilmette said. “Tons of people use it for testing plugins, themes, and just all sorts of general WordPress testing. We’ve been using this internally for years, and every time we’d fire up localhost or a testing install, it’s just faster to use” Pro users get all the convenience of under the more business-friendly domain with a dashboard to manage installs, SSH and SFTP access to their installs, and the ability to hot-swap between PHP versions. Having open to the public has given the team an opportunity to address any remaining pain points with hosting thousands of test installs. “Since launching everything has actually been pretty smooth,” Guilmette said. “We’ve already been using various versions of this internally to sell millions of dollars worth of plugins over the last five years. So it’s already been hacked to pieces, DDoSed, etc. We’ve already been through all that.” When the team first started as an internal project for WP All Import, they had a difficult time trying to host it on a VPS with the requirement of isolating installs from each other without any professional systems administrators on board. “We were getting hacked all the time, so we started using CloudLinux, the same software that a lot webhosts use for their shared hosting servers,” Guilmette said. “This also prevents resource hogging, where someone could start mining bitcoin and then everyone’s installs would take forever to load. “Then came the spammers, using their installs to send out email spam. So we learned we had to discard e-mail silently while allowing scripts that expect e-mail to be available to still function correctly. “Once we went on that whole journey, it was kind of a no-brainer to share this tool with everyone else. We’ve been through a lot of pain in building this platform, and in opening this up to the public we hope we can help others avoid those same issues.” The team now has two systems administrators on call 24/7 to get the service back up and running quickly if anything breaks. WP Sandbox Service is Aimed at Theme and Plugin Developers In the past six months since opening to the public, Guilmette’s team has learned several valuable lessons in how to market the commercial service. “We use the Sandbox for so many different things, so the in the beginning the temptation was to kind of market it to everyone w[...]

WPTavern: WooConf 2017 Livestream Tickets Now on Sale

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 03:04:03 +0000

The third edition of WooConf is being held in Seattle, Washington, October 19-20. This year the event is narrowing its focus to developers and will feature eight workshops and more than 30 speakers. Topics include scaling, client relations, A/B testing, and enterprise e-commerce.

WooCommerce is currently active on more than three million sites and the plugin has been downloaded 31 million times. Developers are using the plugin all over the world, but only a small fraction of them will be able to make it to Seattle for the conference. WooConf is less than two weeks away but in-person tickets are still available at $699 per attendee.

A livestream of the conference is available for those who would like to attend but are unable to travel. Livestream tickets went on sale today for $50/each.

“The in-person ticket prices, the live stream tickets, and the support of our sponsors are what funds the conference,” WooConf co-organizer Aviva Pinchas said. “For those who are not in a position to pay for the live stream tickets or attend the event in-person, the video recordings will be released later for free, and there are a number of other ways people can participate.”

Pinchas said the team will be sharing updates on social media, the event’s blog, and in the WooCommerce Community Slack. They have also arranged with local WooCommerce meetup organizers to livestream parts of the event during free IRL meetups in 12 major cities across the globe. These satellite events will include local speakers and offer attendees the opportunity to connect with other nearby WooCommerce developers and store owners.

All of the recorded sessions will be published to the WooCommerce YouTube channel sometime after the conclusion of the event.

WPTavern: DonateWC Successfully Sponsors its First Applicant to WordCamp Cape Town

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 23:33:57 +0000

DonateWC has selected and successfully sponsored its first applicant to WordCamp Cape Town. The recipient has chosen to remain anonymous although they are a speaker at the event.

Funds left over from the initial crowdfunding campaign and from the general donation pool were used to cover expenses. The total cost of sponsorship is €669.24 with €197.37 coming from donations.

In addition to sponsoring recipients, DonateWC is also publishing stories submitted by contributors on the benefits and impacts WordCamps have. Arvind Singh published the first story on DonateWC where he explains how his experience at WordCamp Udaipur translated into WordPress meetups in Delhi, India and eventually, the first WordCamp Delhi.

There’s no word yet on who will be the next recipient of a DonateWC sponsorship but the initiative still needs your help. If you believe in the cause, please consider making a donation. The funds will be used to help others who are less fortunate attend WordCamps.

WPTavern: Gutenberg 1.3 Adds New Feedback Option for Plugin Testers

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 22:01:03 +0000

Gutenberg 1.3 was released this week with many small tweaks and improvements to existing features. One of the most visible updates for those who are testing the Cover Image block is the addition of an opacity slider. It brings more flexibility to the feature than the previous on/off background dimming toggle provided. Users can now slide the opacity along a range snapped to percentages of 10.


Version 1.3 also introduces an option to convert a single block to an HTML block when Gutenberg detects conflicting content. This is a precursor to an open issue that proposes an HTML mode for blocks, essentially a mechanism for each block to be edited as HTML. Contributors are still discussing the best approach for implementing the UI, which we will likely see in a future release.


Gutenberg 1.3 adds a new submenu item that ramps up the potential for gathering more feedback from people who are using the plugin. The Feedback link appears in the plugin’s sidebar menu and leads to a polldaddy form that separates users’ comments into either either a feedback or support channel.


Instead of relying on testers to know where to go to offer feedback, the new link offers them an easily accessible avenue for sharing their thoughts and concerns. This option is especially helpful for those who are not as adept at using GitHub or writing meaningful bug reports. The forms guide the user to report important details of their setup, browser information, screenshots, and other useful information.

Gutenberg does not track any information about users who submit feedback via the Polldaddy forms and there is nothing to indicate that the responses will be made public. It is unrealistic to expect that the Gutenberg team will be able to respond to each submission individually, but it would be helpful if they provided summaries of trends in user feedback and how it is informing the design and development of the project. This could go a long way to prevent users from perceiving that their concerns are being buried.

Version 1.3 also adds expandable panels to the block inspector, support for pasting plain text markdown content (and converting it to blocks), and accessibility improvements to the color palette component. Check out the full changelog for more details.

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 290 – Putting The Rad in Brad

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 07:21:14 +0000

In this episode, I’m joined by special guest co-host Brad Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of the website design and development agency WebDevStudios. Brad shared his experience at CampPress and is looking forward to attending the event again in 2018.

We discussed the recent move to moderate all comments on the Tavern again. We covered the news of the week and near the end of the show, Brad describes why his company gives back to WordPress by participating in the Five for the Future initiative.

Stories Discussed:

Camp Press – A Detox from Digital Life
Yoast Publishes an Alternative to Gutenberg While Raising Concerns About its Development.
New WP-CLI Project Aims to Extend Checksum Verification to Plugins and Themes
Regenerate Thumbnails Plugin Passes 5 Million Downloads, Rewrite in the Works
Drupal Core Maintainers Propose Adopting React for Administrative UI’s
WPCampus 2018 is Taking Submissions From Host Cities
Jetpack 5.4 Released

Picks of the Week:

If you have any WordPress related questions, consider asking them during the Ask Maintainn event on October 5th using the #askMaintainn hashtag on Twitter. Jim Byrom, Director of Client Services, will answer the questions directly through the Maintainn Twitter account.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, October 11th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

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Listen To Episode #290:

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9 Beta 1

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 05:54:02 +0000

WordPress 4.9 Beta 1 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.9, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip). WordPress 4.9 is slated for release on November 14, but we need your help to get there. We’ve been working on making it even easier to customize your site. Here are some of the bigger items to test and help us find as many bugs as possible in the coming weeks: Drafting (#39896) and scheduling (#28721) of changes in the Customizer. Once you save or schedule a changeset, when any user comes into the Customizer the pending changes will be autoloaded. A button is provided to discard changes to restore the Customizer to the last published state. (This is a new “linear” mode for changesets, as opposed to “branching” mode which can be enabled by filter so that every time  user opens the Customizer a new blank changeset will be started.) Addition of a frontend preview link to the Customizer to allow changes to be browsed on the frontend, even without a user being logged in (#39896). Addition of autosave revisions in the Customizer (#39275). A brand new theme browsing experience in the Customizer (#37661). Gallery widget (#41914), following the media and image widgets introduced in 4.8. Support for shortcodes in Text widgets (#10457). Support for adding media to Text widgets (#40854). Support for adding oEmbeds outside post content, including Text widgets (#34115). Support for videos from providers other than YouTube and Vimeo in the Video widget (#42039) Improve the flow for creating new menus in the Customizer (#40104). Educated guess mapping of nav menus and widgets when switching themes (#39692). Plugins: Introduce singular capabilities for activating and deactivating individual plugins (#38652). Sandbox PHP file edits in both plugins and themes, without auto-deactivation when an error occurs; a PHP edit that introduces a fatal error is rolled back with an opportunity then for the user to fix the error and attempt to re-save. (#21622). Addition of dirty state for widgets on the admin screen, indicating when a widget has been successfully saved and showing an “Are you sure?” dialog when attempting to leave without saving changes. (#23120, #41610) As always, there have been exciting changes for developers to explore as well, such as: CodeMirror editor added to theme/plugin editor, Custom CSS in Customizer, and Custom HTML widgets. Integration includes support for linters to catch errors before you attempt to save. Includes new APIs for plugins to instantiate editors. (#12423) Introduction of an extensible code editor control for adding instances of CodeMirror to the Customizer. (#41897) Addition of global notifications area (#35210), panel and section notifications (#38794), and a notification overlay that takes over the entire screen in the Customizer (#37727). A date/time control in the Customizer (#42022). Improve usability of Customize JS API (#42083, #37964, #36167). Introduction of control templates for base controls (#30738). Use WP_Term_Query when transforming tax queries (#37038). Database: Add support for[...]

WPTavern: Jetpack 5.4 Introduces Beta Version of New Search Module Powered by Elasticsearch for Professional Plan Users

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 23:17:10 +0000

Jetpack 5.4 was released yesterday with many small enhancements to existing modules and an expansion of features for users on the paid plans. A new date picker field is available for the Contact Form, allowing administrators to request additional information such as project timelines, event reservations, or any other date-related data. This release also fixes a bug with Jetpack’s Comments module where the form had whitespace beneath it when displayed in some themes. It now has a set default height, which will expand automatically as commenters are typing. A few other other improvements for all Jetpack users include the ability for third-party plugin and theme authors to add new menu items to the toolbar, connection process updated to allow for more users, improved display of Facebook embeds, and a better migration process for Widget Visibility rules when switching to the new WordPress Image Widget. Check out the full list of changes in the plugin’s changelog. New Features for Jetpack Personal, Premium, and Professional Plans: Welcome Screens and Search Module in Beta Jetpack 5.4 adds a new welcome screen for users who upgrade to a paid plan, highlighting some of the additional features included. The plugin will soon be introducing a new Jetpack Search module for users on its Professional plan, the top tier that caters to those who need more business and marketing tools. Version 5.4 adds the architecture for the feature, which is powered by Elasticsearch and runs in the cloud. Users who want to participate in the beta can enable the feature at Settings > Traffic on and then add the new Search widget within wp-admin. WordPress’ native search function is notoriously slow and often provides poor and inadequate results for sites with large amounts of content. Jetpack’s new Search module aims to deliver faster, more relevant results using the same powerful infrastructure that runs Jetpack Related Posts and the search on hundreds of VIP sites. In July 2017,’s reported that its network averages 23 million actions per day that trigger indexing of 75 million Elasticsearch documents into hundreds of indices. Jetpack Search boasts a zero configuration setup, real-time indexing (’s VIP indices have a one-second refresh rate), and the flexibility for developers to create custom Elasticsearch queries. The Jetpack Professional plan’s $299/year price point is highly competitive for access to a hosted Elasticsearch engine. Ordinarily, developers looking for the most economical way to implement Elasticsearch on a WordPress site will have to host and manage their own instances on Amazon AWS or other cloud services. This often comes with more ongoing maintenance and setup. Most managed WordPress hosts do not have a hosted Elasticsearch solution built into their plans. Earlier this year 10up launched to fill this need for for enterprise clients. The service starts at $299/month for up to 20GB of storage and unlimited Elasticsearch bandwidth and goes up to $999/month for more resources. VIP also offers Elasticsearch for their customers on plans ranging from $5,000 – $25,000 per month. Access to WordPre[...]

Matt: Consciousness of Matter

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 22:22:30 +0000

Nautilus Magazine has an interesting look at the question of Is Matter Conscious? Worth reading to learn what the word "panpsychism" means. Hat tip: John Vechey.

HeroPress: WordPress Research Behind The Scenes

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:00:01 +0000

When I moved from Bogota (Colombia) to Paris I did a degree in translation and found myself, years later, working for one of the most important publishers specializing in research. But my dream since I left Colombia was to study Psychology. After about two years, I quit my job and went back to college. It was not an easy decision, but it never is, is it? My interest in starting this new career was to work in Clinical Psychology and Psychopathology. However, as far as I continued with my degree, I was finding subjects that put in doubt what I really wanted to work in the future. Health and Occupational Psychology was one of them. Finding a Purpose At that time I was still living in Paris with my husband, Andrés Cifuentes, a chemical engineer who ended up doing a master’s degree in web programming. Afterwards he became a WordPress enthusiast and nowadays he works within the WordPress ecosystem. Back then, while he spent his free time getting to know and learn more about WordPress (I didn’t know at that time that I was discovering WordPress too!) he listened to different podcasts and many of them addressed issues of the problems that remote workers had to face. All of these people in the podcasts mentioned burnout as a result of their work and what they suffered for it. It was at that moment that I made the connection; I had found what I wanted to do. The same day I started to investigate more about remote work and its impact on stress and burnout on the web (blogs, articles, essays). Putting It Into Action When time came to start my master I presented my project to my thesis director: I wanted to establish a relationship between remote work and burnout. Although he accepted my first subject of study, there was a long path waiting before establishing and defining my research area. Getting into the first steps of the research, I started an arduous research work of the literature review on remote work, which turned out being quite frustrating, as I could not find any scientific paper for my study on the subject. The only helpful information I could find was the research that had been done on telework, which was the closest type to remote work although it was not good enough. On the other hand, as a requirement for the master, I had to find an internship in a company, so I spent hours and hours writing cover letters and applying to boring internship offers which practically wanted the interns to make coffee. Nice! Fortunately, my husband had the wonderful idea for me to apply to companies working with WordPress. Since those companies are mostly 100% remote, this would help with my research along with having personal experience on remote work myself. Lucky me! I had the great opportunity to do my internship in Human Made. My proposal was to do a psychosocial risk assessment in the company that would also serve for my study. They were very kind to me and welcomed me warmly. No doubt they are a great company, Tom Wilmot truly cares for the wellbeing of his Humans and among themselves they help each other a lot, which for me is the basis of the success of the company’s growth. I really hope they have learned as much as I did. Narrowing Focus For several months I delivered to my thesis [...]

WPTavern: Drupal Core Maintainers Propose Adopting React for Administrative UI’s

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 23:04:06 +0000

Both the Drupal and WordPress communities are now knee-deep in weighing JavaScript frameworks to modernize underlying architecture for building user interfaces in 2018 and beyond. Yesterday Drupal founder Dries Buytaert published a summary of his discussions with core committers, framework managers, JavaScript subsystem maintainers, and JavaScript experts at DrupalCon Vienna. Together they concluded that Drupal should consider adopting React. “We agreed that today, React would be the most promising option given its expansive adoption by developers, its unopinionated and component-based nature, and its well-suitedness to building new Drupal interfaces in an incremental way,” Buytaert said. “Today, I’m formally proposing that the Drupal community adopt React, after discussion and experimentation has taken place.” The proposal is now available to the broader Drupal community and Buytaert’s recommendation during his keynote presentation in Vienna was to test and research how Drupal’s administrative UX could be improved by using a JavaScript framework. Two years ago Drupal explored adopting a JavaScript framework and at that time Buytaert was considering React, Ember, and Angular. Facebook’s patent clause in React’s licensing made him hesitant to want to pursue it for Drupal but the license has since been changed to MIT. The Drupal community was not eager to select a framework at that time and in response Buytaert opted to focus on improving Drupal’s web service APIs instead. “By not committing to a specific framework, we are seeing Drupal developers explore a range of JavaScript frameworks and members of multiple JavaScript framework communities consuming Drupal’s web services,” Buytaert said. “I’ve seen Drupal 8 used as a content repository behind Angular, Ember, React, Vue, and other JavaScript frameworks.” Buytaert shared an illustration showing how he envisions Drupal “supporting a variety of JavaScript libraries on the user-facing front end while relying on a single shared framework as a standard across Drupal administrative interfaces.” This approach is similar to what WordPress’ Gutenberg contributors are proposing with framework-agnostic block interoperability where core would adopt a framework internally but developers could extend the new editor (and other UIs) using any JS library they prefer. In addition to giving developers more flexibility, this approach also helps to protect the project from the effects of the rapid pace at which JavaScript frameworks and libraries are coming and going. “Several years later, we still don’t know what JavaScript framework will win, if any, and I’m willing to bet that waiting two more years won’t give us any more clarity,” Buytaert said. “JavaScript frameworks will continue to evolve and take new shapes. Picking a single one will always be difficult and to some degree ‘premature.’ That said, I see React having the most momentum today.” The proposal on, authored by Lauri Eskola, Dupal’s core framework manager who specializes in JavaScript, [...]

WPTavern: Regenerate Thumbnails Plugin Passes 5 Million Downloads, Rewrite in the Works

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 21:53:27 +0000

Regenerate Thumbnails, written by prolific plugin developer Alex Mills, has passed 5 million downloads. The plugin was first released nearly a decade ago in August 2008 during the days of WordPress 2.6. Regenerate Thumbnails is used to retroactively generate new thumbnail sizes for past uploads. It has become an indispensable utility over the years, helping millions of users successfully transition between WordPress themes that have different featured image sizes. Regenerate Thumbnails version 1.0.0 “I was freelancing at the time and according to an ancient post on my blog, I apparently wrote it as a client needed the functionality,” Mills said. “I don’t remember that though and I certainly never figured it’d be installed and activated on over a million sites like it is today!” Regenerate Thumbnails is downloaded thousands of times every day, and, fortunately, it is the type of plugin that doesn’t generate too many support issues. Mills said he is thankful for the many volunteers on the support forums who have also helped manage the load. Despite the continued and widespread use of the plugin, Mills has never considered cashing in on it. “I’d never monetize any of my plugins,” he said. “I write them for fun not profit. It would be a conflict of interest anyway due to my employment at Automattic.” Regenerate Thumbnails is a fairly straightforward plugin that rarely requires updating, but this year Mills said he has tried to give it a lot more love and will soon be releasing a complete rewrite. “The rewrite is currently taking place on GitHub and is a complete rethink of the plugin, both in terms of the interface and underlying technologies,” Mills said. “The interface is powered by Vue, which I’m learning and using for the first time, and the WordPress REST API. I also have a full suite of unit tests for PHPUnit to verify that the plugin code is working as intended, both now and into the future. Those have been incredibly useful while writing the plugin and I highly recommend other plugin authors make use of them too. WP-CLI makes it very easy to set up.” After nine years of supporting Regenerate Thumbnails, and many other plugins, Mills said he doesn’t consider himself the best example when it comes to maintaining plugins. His advice to other developers is “try to make sure to write your plugins to be future-proof.” “Outside of some updates last month, the last real changes to the plugin were made in 2012!” Mills said. “I wrote the plugin well the first time around and it’s just worked mostly fine ever since because it uses built-in WordPress code to do the work.” This is the reason why Regenerate Thumbnails has already blazed past its major milestone at 5,762,713 downloads and is well on its way to 6 million before the end of the year. Users still find the plugin to work as reliably as it did in 2008. Have loved this plugin for years, just used it to relaunch a website with 50000 images and 30 image sizes. — Scott Fennell (@scottfennell123) August 14, 2017 Mills said[...]

WPTavern: New WP-CLI Project Aims to Extend Checksum Verification to Plugins and Themes

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 18:37:56 +0000

The WP-CLI team is initiating a new project that aims to bring checksum verification to plugins and themes. Checksums are a method of verifying the integrity of files. Three years ago, WP-CLI added the capability of verifying WordPress core checksums using the MD5 algorithm. This is a useful security feature that allows developers to easily see if any files have been modified or compromised. The core checksums are handled via WordPress’ official API ( and WP-CLI contributors are planning to extend this infrastructure to plugins and themes hosted on “Having this kind of functionality for plugins and themes as well would be a huge security benefit,” WP-CLI co-maintainer Alain Schlesser said. “It would allow you to check the file integrity of an entire site, possibly in an automated fashion. However, there is no centralized way of retrieving the file checksums for plugins or themes yet, and the alternative of downloading the plugins and themes from the official servers first just to check against them is wasteful in terms of resources and bandwidth.” Contributors are currently exploring different options for implementation in a discussion on GitHub, inspired by an existing wp-checksum project by Erik Torsner. “The simplest possible infrastructure to go with would be flat files (no database),” WP-CLI maintainer Daniel Bachhuber said. “I’ve chatted with the corresponding folks about hosting. If our middleware application can generate flat files served by some API, then it will be fine to sync those flat files to a server (with rsync or similar).” The team is considering building the API under a separate URL for testing and iteration and then incorporating it back into’s infrastructure once it is ready. However, the sheer size of the SVN checkouts and the CPU required to sync the files makes it an interesting challenge. DreamHost has volunteered a server for the team to run its checksum generator on while the infrastructure is being developed. Torsner’s WP-CLI subcommand to verify checksums for themes and plugins currently only works with those hosted on, but he is also experimenting with mechanisms for getting checksums from some commercial vendors, including Gravity Forms and Easy Digital Downloads. He said he hopes the project would be capable of keeping these capabilities for commercial plugins after it is incorporated back into The Plugin and Themes Checksums project is currently in the initiation stage and will have an official kickofff during the next WP-CLI meeting on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 11:00 AM CDT. Anyone who would like to volunteer is encouraged to attend, especially those with an interest in security, systems administration, and the technology required to get this project off the ground. “This project will have a huge impact on the perceived and effective security of WordPress installations,” Schlesser said. “It can greatly reduce the amount of malware-infested sites plaguing the[...]

Dev Blog: The Month in WordPress: September 2017

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:00:00 +0000

This has been an interesting month for WordPress, as a bold move on the JavaScript front brought the WordPress project to the forefront of many discussions across the development world. There have also been some intriguing changes in the WordCamp program, so read on to learn more about the WordPress community during the month of September. JavaScript Frameworks in WordPress Early in the month, Matt Mullenweg announced that WordPress will be switching away from React as the JavaScript library WordPress Core might use — this was in response to Facebook’s decision to keep a controversial patent clause in the library’s license, making many WordPress users uncomfortable. A few days later, Facebook reverted the decision, making React a viable option for WordPress once more. Still, the WordPress Core team is exploring a move to make WordPress framework-agnostic, so that the framework being used could be replaced by any other framework without affecting the rest of the project. This is a bold move that will ultimately make WordPress core a lot more flexible, and will also protect it from potential license changes in the future. You can get involved in the JavaScript discussion by joining the #core-js channel in the Making WordPress Slack group and following the WordPress Core development blog. Community Initiative to Make WordCamps More Accessible A WordPress community member, Ines van Essen, started a new nonprofit initiative to offer financial assistance to community members to attend WordCamps. DonateWC launched with a crowdsourced funding campaign to cover the costs of getting things up and running. Now that she’s raised the initial funds, Ines plans to set up a nonprofit organization and use donations from sponsors to help people all over the world attend and speak at WordCamps. If you would like to support the initiative, you can do so by donating through their website. The WordCamp Incubator Program Returns Following the success of the first WordCamp Incubator Program, the Community Team is bringing the program back to assist more underserved cities in kick-starting their WordPress communities. The program’s first phase aims to find community members who will volunteer to mentor, assist, and work alongside local leaders in the incubator communities — this is a time-intensive volunteer role that would need to be filled by experienced WordCamp organizers. If you would like to be a part of this valuable initiative, join the #community-team channel in the Making WordPress Slack group and follow the Community Team blog for updates. WordPress 4.8.2 Security Release On September 19, WordPress 4.8.2 was released to the world — this was a security release that fixed nine issues in WordPress Core, making the platform more stable and secure for everyone. To get involved in building WordPress Core, jump into the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, and follow the Core team blog. Further Reading: The WordPress Meetup program hit a significant milestone this month — there are now 500 meetup groups in the official chapter program. The SWFUpload library will be remove[...]

WPTavern: Gutenberg 1.2 Adds Postmeta Support and Extended Settings Placeholder

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 04:21:32 +0000

WordPress contributors have not yet made a final decision on the JavaScript framework to adopt for core, but Gutenberg development continues on with version 1.2 released this week. The update provides a better experience resolving block conflicts when switching between the “classic editor” and Gutenberg. Previously, if a user had created some paragraph blocks in Gutenberg but switched to the classic editor, the tags would get stripped out, making those blocks invalid when moving back to Gutenberg. Version 1.2 merges a pull request that detects whether the post contains blocks and then disables the wpautop behavior in the classic editor to prevent it from stripping the tags. This release also offers initial support for postmeta in block attributes. Gutenberg contributor Gary Pendergast tweeted an example plugin for those who want to experiment with it. Just between us, the new Gutenberg 1.2 release includes the first version of postmeta support! If you want to start experimenting with it, here's a sample plugin to get you going. — Gary (@GaryPendergast) September 29, 2017 Another new item you’ll notice in version 1.2 is the addition of word and block counts to the table of contents. The value of knowing how many blocks are in play on the page or how many headings have been used is not immediately evident. It strikes me as a rather large and obtrusive display of non-essential information, which for some reason has been given priority placement at the top of the editor. Gutenberg is getting ready to support metaboxes and this release adds a placeholder for the proposed Extended Settings panel. The metabox placeholder shell currently sits beneath the content with a “coming soon” message. Developer Ross Wintle commented on the pull request with a few concerns about the naming and placement of this panel with notes on how it might impact interfaces that have required meta fields: a) Meta boxes currently have several places that they can live: in the sidebar, below post content with different priorities and contexts b) I also have cases where I’ve improved the editing experience for my users by having meta boxes above or below the title because this fits with their content editing flow. c) I really don’t like the “Extended settings” title. For some editing workflows the information in meta boxes is actually critical, core content/settings, not something optional/added-on/extended. Is this editable? Can developers add additional sections of their own like this? Gutenberg engineer Riad Benguella acknowledged these concerns as legitimate and said the team is still exploring different options for the panel. “For the first iteration, we’ll probably keep the collapsed state but have multiple areas,” Benguella said. “There are some good design proposals dropping the expanding area (for the content area) and replacing them with “separators,” which might be good as a v2.” It may have seemed like Gutenberg development has been on hold due to th[...]

WPTavern: DigitalOcean Partners with GitHub to Support Open Source Projects during Hacktoberfest October 1–31

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:16:08 +0000


DigitalOcean is organizing its fourth annual Hacktoberfest in partnership with GitHub. The event was created to support open source projects and participants can earn a free t-shirt by contributing four pull requests during the month of October.

More than 29,000 people signed up for Hacktoberfest 2016 from 114 countries and 10,227 people completed the challenge. The event tracked a record-breaking 92,569 total PRs opened, up from 49,000 the previous year. Participants contributed to more than 29,000 repositories, spurring progress on thousands of open source projects and making maintainers very busing during the month of October.

In preparation for the event, maintainers can add the “Hacktoberfest” label to issues in their GitHub projects that would be suitable for new contributors to work on. Participants can browse all the “Hacktoberfest” issues if they need some inspiration to get started.

Both WooCommerce and Gutenberg plugin maintainers have already started applying the “Hacktoberfest” label to issues to help WordPress developers find a good entry point for contributing.


Hacktoberfest begins Sunday, October 1, but participants can sign up anytime between October 1 and October 31. All participants will receive limited-edition Hactoberfest stickers, even if you don’t complete the four pull requests. Those who complete the challenge before October 31st will be eligible to receive a shirt. Pull requests can be made in any public GitHub-hosted repository and are not limited to those with the Hacktoberfest label.

Please leave a comment on this post if you have a WordPress-related plugin, theme, or project that has a few designated Hacktoberfest issues for new contributors.

WPTavern: A Very Brief Introduction to Version Control and Git

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 22:31:59 +0000

This post was contributed by guest author Peter Suhm. Peter is a web developer from the Land of the Danes. He is the creator of WP Pusher and a huge travel addict, bringing his work along with him as he goes.   Have you ever done this? Most of us have. Do you know what the technical term for it is? Version control. Your own, homemade, delicious implementation of version control! Okay, how about this? Version control right there! What I’m trying to show with these two examples is that all developers use some sort of version control. Some use Ctrl-z to roll back to a previous version, some use a zipped backup in a Dropbox folder and some use a dedicated version control system (VCS), such as Git. All the things we are trying to accomplish by backing up our files, commenting out old code and stashing it away in another “final-FINAL” zipball has been taken care of already. All we need to do is to embrace these VCS tools that we have available in our tool belt. Git is not complicated to use. It might seem difficult and overwhelming but in your day to day life you will probably use a maximum of 3-4 different commands. Learning how to use 3-4 commands to properly have version control of every single change ever made to your code base is a great deal compared to the “final-FINAL” approach. Here’s what version control looks like: This is a screenshot of the WordPress Git mirror on GitHub. Every time a change is made to the code base, it is recorded with Git and there is no need to copy the whole code base, throwing it into another folder, zipping it and naming it “final-FINAL-F-I-N-A-L”. If you dive into the WordPress code base on GitHub, you can find commits dating back to 2003, made by “someone” named saxmatt! Let’s dive into one of these commits, as they are called in Git: This is the diff (Git jargon for difference between 2 commits) for the “class-wp-widget-text.php” file. The red line is being replaced with the green line below it. No need to comment it out to save it for eternity, like in that other example. Git will do that for us and we can forever and always refer back to this commit to see what was replaced and with what. Of course, the full WordPress code base is a large project with many collaborators. However, no project is too small to benefit from Git. Once you master those 3-4 commands, using Git in your day-to-day developer life becomes second nature, just like hitting Ctrl-s. It might not be obvious right now, but when you pull out an old project months or years later, having version control helps you catch up and gives you the confidence to change things without fearing disaster. So I challenge you to learn Git! Not necessarily deeply, just a little bit.[...]

WPTavern: WordCamp Incubator Program Gears Up for Round 2

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:26:20 +0000

Last year the WordPress Community Team launched an experimental WordCamp Incubator program to bring WordCamps to new cities where meetups had not been very well established. After receiving 182 applications, organizers narrowed the selections to three cities with the most potential to foster an emerging WordPress community. Successful WordCamps were held in Denpasar, Harare, and Medellín. Six additional communities that applied to the program ended up organizing WordCamps as well with the help of community mentors.

This week Andrea Middleton announced that the Community Team will be pursuing round two of the WordCamp Incubator program. Given the rapid growth of the global WordPress community, Middleton said the greatest challenge to getting the program running again is finding people who can oversee the new WordCamps. The full-time sponsored volunteer staff from the previous year is already fully committed for 2018.

“This is a time-intensive volunteer role,” Middleton said. “We estimate that lead organizers spend about 170 hours on a WordCamp, and I figure that the folks working to support the growth of an Incubator event need to dedicate about 200-250 hours over the planning cycle. The job is that of co-organizer, mentor, and ambassador — since it’s probable that no one you’re working with has ever actually attended a WordCamp.”

Experience having organized WordCamps is a prerequisite for taking on the community advisor role. Middleton also emphasized the importance of sensitivity and experience collaborating with people from other cultures. She estimates the volunteer role is likely to require 25 hours per month. As this is almost a part-time job, the Community Team is looking at the possibility of having interested volunteers pitch their companies to sponsor some of their hours to work on the incubator program. They are also considering creating a team of incubator advisors to work together assisting multiple communities.

The team is aiming to decide on a name for the advisor role and come up with a plan for recruiting volunteers by October 6. This will be followed by a call for communities that would like to be considered for the program and host their first WordCamp in 2018. Anyone interested in volunteering can jump in on the discussion on the blog.

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 289 – Where Did WordPress’ Ease of Use Go?

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 22:37:17 +0000

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Scott Bolinger. Bolinger recently attended a Content and Commerce Summit where WordPress and WooCommerce were not mentioned. Bolinger shared the perspective he gained from an attending the event and speaking with a friend who uses Shopify. We discuss what happened to WordPress’ ease of use, which user segment the project is developed for, and how can it provide an end-to-end user experience that’s on par with SaaS offerings like SquareSpace or Wix. We also talk about the challenges associated with setting up a WordPress site after the installation process. Last but not least, we discuss why some people are not recommending WordPress to friends or family anymore. Stories Discussed: DonateWC Reaches Fundraising Goal WordCamp for Publishers Videos Now Available on YouTube Apply Filters Podcast to be Retired after 83 Episodes Facebook to Re-license React after Backlash from Open Source Community WordPress Explores a JavaScript Framework-Agnostic Approach to Building Gutenberg Blocks SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam Plugin Permanently Removed from Due to Spam Code Picks of the Week: Otto shares tips and advice on selling plugins. Metroid: Samus Returns and Nintendo 3DS. Mindful Communication in Code Reviews by Amy Ciavolino. WPWeekly Meta: Next Episode: Wednesday, October 4th 3:00 P.M. Eastern Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe Listen To Episode #289: [...]

WPTavern: Adds Google Photos Integration, Available Now for Jetpack-Enabled Sites

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 22:17:02 +0000 now supports seamless integration between Google Photos and the WordPress media library. Users can connect their Google accounts to have access to their photos when inserting an image. Google Photos has gained popularity due to its automatic tagless organization and free, unlimited backup for photos and videos up to 16MP and 1080p HD. In May 2017, the service reported 500 million monthly users backing up more than 1.2 billion photos and videos per day. When inserting pictures on, users can also take advantage of Google’s smart image searching capabilities. The service is fairly good at recognizing what is in your images and where they were taken, even if you haven’t specifically categorized them or added descriptions. The new Google Photos integration is also available for Jetpack-enabled sites when posting via the interface. (It is not available in wp-admin of self-hosted sites.) Unfortunately, this experience is still rather buggy. After adding photos, didn’t seem to be able to save drafts and it was also unable to display the most recent photos from the past week. Users should also note that when you authenticate with Google Photos, it will open access to the photos from every single site that you have connected to that particular account. This access is, however, is limited to the specific user who connected. Multiple users on a site will each need to authenticate separately and can connect their own Google accounts. The users do not have access to each other’s photos. It’s also easy to revoke access at The new Google Photos feature has been very well received by users, as it saves them the trouble of downloading images from the service and then uploading to their media libraries. It’s not quite as convenient for Jetpack-enabled sites, because it adds additional steps to the publishing process. “Excellent feature, but will it be available directly from self-hosted sites without using” one user asked. “This cuts out so many steps in our publishing workflow, but then adds several more if we then need to login to to do this. Our admin setup is complex, so switching to editing here isn’t an option. I have multiple contributors who write directly and this would be a game changer if they could directly upload their images from their account.” A representative confirmed that there are currently no plans to support a standalone version in Jetpack. They are, however, looking at supporting other services, such as Flickr, in the future.[...]

WPTavern: Camp Press – A Detox from Digital Life

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 22:12:36 +0000

The following is a guest post by Brad Williams who shares his experience at Camp Press this past weekend. Brad is the Co-Founder and CEO of the website design and development agency WebDevStudios. He is also a co-author of the Professional WordPress book series. Brad is a US Marine Corps veteran and has been developing websites for over 20 years, including the last 10 where he has focused on open-source technologies like WordPress. Brad Williams at Camp Press I’ve been to a number of WordCamps and tech-related events over the years. They all follow a similar pattern of speakers, panels, sponsors, after-parties, etc. We’ve all been to these types of events and generally know what to expect; so when Mendel Kurland pitched the idea of Camp Press to me as ‘geeks camping,’ I was intrigued. I went to Camp Press with no idea of what to expect. I honestly have never felt less prepared for an event as I did for this one. I like to plan. So, going to an event where I wasn’t 100% sure how it would work had me feeling nervous. What I soon realized is that I liked being pushed out of my ‘safety bubble.’ The Camp Press location was absolutely amazing and truly helped make the event special. We stayed at a large summer camp style setup, about an hour outside of Oklahoma City called Fry Lake. If you aren’t familiar with Oklahoma, just imagine driving an hour from a large city to the middle of nowhere. Perfect. Fry Lake had cabins, shower and bathroom facilities, an amazing swimming lake with diving boards, and a full cafeteria kitchen. We were literally back at the type of summer camp we experienced as kids, and we immediately knew it. Camp Press Fire As we learned more about each other, we quickly became more comfortable as a group. We shared stories, laughed, cooked, and debated topics from tech to TV shows. We discussed very personal struggles and experiences, some of which I would guess haven’t been shared outside of close family. We sang songs around the campfire, performed late-night improv, made s’mores, and enjoyed each other’s company. Even more amazing is that nothing was scripted. There was no agenda, set activities, presentations. It was just natural interaction. Over the course of a few days, we all grew closer to each other. There was an unspoken bond forming between everyone at Camp Press. I didn’t know what to expect going to Camp Press. What I promptly learned is that was the entire point of the event—doing the unexpected, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, making new friends, having fun and serious conversations, and doing all of this without the normal technology that is always around us. When is the last time you had a detox from digital life? My detox was last weekend, and I can’t wait to do it again! Camp Press Attendees For more insight into Camp Press and to get Mendel’s perspective, check out the event’s official blog p[...]

Dev Blog: Global WordPress Translation Day 3

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:56:59 +0000

On September 30 2017, the WordPress Polyglots Team – whose mission is to translate WordPress into as many languages as possible – will hold its third Global WordPress Translation Day, a 24-hour, round-the-clock, digital and physical global marathon dedicated to the localisation and internationalisation of the WordPress platform and ecosystem, a structure that powers, today, over 28% of all existing websites. The localisation process allows for WordPress and for all WordPress-related products (themes and plugins) to be available in local languages, so to improve their accessibility and usage and to allow as many people as possible to take advantage of the free platform and services available. In a (not completely) serendipitous coincidence, September 30 has also been declared by the United Nations “International Translation Day”, to pay homage to the great services of translators everywhere, one that allows communication and exchange. The event will feature a series of multi-language live speeches (training sessions, tutorials, case histories, etc.) that will be screen-casted in streaming, starting from Australia and the Far East and ending in the Western parts of the United States. In that same 24-hour time frame, Polyglots worldwide will gather physically in local events, for dedicated training and translations sprints (and for some fun and socializing as well), while those unable to physically join their teams will do so remotely. A big, fun, useful and enlightening party and a lovely mix of growing, giving, learning and teaching, to empower, and cultivate, and shine. Here are some stats about the first two events: Global WordPress Translation Day 1   448 translators worldwide   50 local events worldwide   54 locales involved   40350 strings translated, in   597 projects Global WordPress Translation Day 2   780 translators worldwide   67 local events worldwide   133 locales involved   60426 strings translated, in   590 projects We would like your help in spreading this news and in reaching out to all four corners of the world to make the third #WPTranslationDay a truly amazing one and to help celebrate the unique and fundamental role that translators have in the Community but also in all aspects of life. A full press release is available, along with more information and visual assets at For any additional information please don’t hesitate to contact the event team on[...]

HeroPress: Challenge Gladly Accepted

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 00:00:54 +0000

I grew up in a suburb to Stockholm, where me and my brothers would wrestle over who was allowed to use our first PC. I think it was a pre-owned old beaten Compaq Deskpro 386. We only stopped arguing once we could sit down together and play Civ; one of us at the controls, the others giving advice on what moves to make. Dipping Into The Web I learnt HTML and built my first pages on Geocities and out of necessity: I needed a place to publish my angsty teenage poetry. But people didn’t come to my website for the bad poetry, instead they filled my guestbook with webdesign and HTML questions. I have built websites for myself and others since the mid 90’s and kept a few clients on the side while studying. At this time, there was not a lot of computer or programming classes available for high school students. It had been easy enough to learn HTML online by reading guides, message boards and similar. During one of my final semesters, my school announced a new class called “Computers for girls”. I signed up hoping to learn enough to assemble or upgrade my own PC. The class was a joke. Instead of teaching us about motherboards, memory or networks, our teacher showed us where to put the cords… He didn’t realise that most of us already spent every recess in the computer halls, chatting over IRC. In order to learn the basics of actual programming (not just HTML), I had to take adult education evening- and summer classes since my school didn’t offer any. Derailed After high school I did like many others of my generation: I fell in love with someone I had only met online, who lived on the other side of the world. All to the soundtrack of Savage Garden’s “I Knew I Loved You”. It took all my savings and courage to travel back and forward between Sweden and the US, while studying from a distance. When my boyfriend suddenly passed away in 2001 I had to make drastic changes in my life. I was in the middle of moving, I couldn’t keep up with deadlines or deal with clients, and I was barely able to finish my project managing and programming classes. I had to forget all our plans, start over, and take a desk job instead. Coming Back To The Web Many years later one of my former clients asked if I had tried WordPress. It took me a few months to decide if I liked it or not, partially because I didn’t know PHP, and because I didn’t have great experiences from trying Joomla and Drupal. I did some customization work and eventually I submitted my first theme to Of course my theme was a mess and did not even work as expected. But I appreciated that someone took the time to look at my code and explain what I needed to do to fix it and where I could read more. It was very rare to receive such feedback. I joined the Theme Review Team’s mailing list, listening in and learning. I started reviewing themes to learn more and to imp[...]

WPTavern: WordPress Core JavaScript Framework Selection Discussion Continues with Input from Open Source Community Leaders

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 22:16:57 +0000

WordPress’ #core-js Slack channel hosted a lively and productive meeting this morning led by Andrew Duthie. The discussion focused less on specific framework comparisons and more on the role a framework will play in building JavaScript-powered interfaces for WordPress. Contributors were joined by core developers and leaders from the React and Vue communities, Chrome engineers, and other interested parties from outside the WordPress community. “This chat will focus largely on identifying requirements in building core features, overlap with plugin and theme authors, and patterns to reducing framework lock-in,” Duthie said. “Ideally this is higher-level than simply debating the merits of specific frameworks in a vacuum, and should be seen as an opportunity to collaborate between projects to set a path forward for WordPress which will provide flexibility and resiliency to future churn.” Duthie began by asking what role a framework should play in a WordPress developer’s workflow and also asked framework contributors to offer their perspectives on recommendations for extendable interfaces. This question provided attendees with the opportunity to weigh in on topics such as support for web components, framework-agnostic block interoperability for Gutenberg, and how this might affect WordPress’ plugin ecosystem. “I disagree a bit with the idea that whatever core (in this case Gutenberg) uses to power some of the intricacies of building a stateful app is going to be the de facto standard for plugin development,” Gutenberg engineer Matías Ventura said. “The actual framework here, in general terms, is going to be what WordPress exposes and the APIs.” With a framework-agnostic approach to building Gutenblocks, the library that core decides to build on doesn’t have to become the de facto standard for plugin developers but many outside the Gutenberg team believe that it will inevitably end up that way in practice. There are entire teams of engineers waiting on this decision that are committed to adopt whichever framework WordPress bets on. “To provide some perspective on how WP’s decision on a framework impacts developers downstream, I’m a developer at Boston University and our plan is to focus on whichever framework WP decides upon, even if Gutenberg has a completely agnostic API,” Adam Pieniazek said. “We’re primarily a WP shop (~ 1,000 site WP install powers most/a lot of our public web presence) and end up creating huge customizations on top of WP that often require diving into core to see what is actually happening in the background. I like Vue more than React personally, but if WP decides upon React, BU will focus on building expertise in React for when we need to peek/debug beyond the API. It doesn’t mean we won’t also use [...]

WPTavern: SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam Plugin Permanently Removed from Due to Spam Code

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:50:43 +0000

The SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam plugin has been removed from the WordPress Directory due to its author including spam code. The plugin added a CAPTCHA image test to WordPress forms to prevent spam and was compatible with forms generated by bbPress, BuddyPress, Jetpack, and WooCommerce. It had more than 300,000 active installs at the time of removal. Mike Challis, the original author of the plugin, said that a user named “fastsecure” became the new owner of SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam in June 2017. Challis was not aware of the new owner’s plans for the plugin but posted a notice on the support forums to inform users about why it was removed. “The new owner attempted to put code in several of his newly acquired WordPress plugins that would connect to a 3rd party server he also owned and place spam ads for payday loans and such in the WP posts,” Challis said. He also linked the incident to a ring of WordPress plugins that researchers at Wordfence say were part of a coordinated spam campaign. Display Widgets, one of the most notable plugins in this group, was recently permanently removed from for a series of violations wherein the author had injected malicious code. Challis said the new owner failed to display any spam on sites due to how the code was implemented, but the code could have been activated at a later time: The new owner put spam code in versions 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 but it failed to display any spam because he put the code in the secureimage.php file. The malicious code required WordPress libraries to also be loaded to execute. The reason the spam code did not do anything at all is because the secureimage.php file is not included in the WordPress run time environment. The secureimage.php file is included from another file securimage_show.php that loads the captcha image directly from html img src outside of the WordPress run time. The spam code in this plugin was never activated, it would not have corrupted your posts or changed anything in the WordPress database. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam users who still have the plugin installed may see an update available in the WordPress admin. Plugin team member Samuel (Otto) Wood removed the malicious code and released 3.0.3 as a clean version that is a safe update for users who still rely on the plugin. Wood recommends users find an alternative, because SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam will not be re-listed in the directory or receive any future updates. The incident is another reminder for users to be on alert when plugins change hands, as the buyers do not always disclose their actual intentions for the plugin. Users in search of an alternative to SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam will find many alternative options on AntiSpam by CleanTalk, Simple Google reCAPTCHA, and CAPTCHA Code are [...]

WPTavern: Facebook to Re-license React after Backlash from Open Source Community

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:53:12 +0000

Facebook has announced its intentions to re-license React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable under the MIT license. React community members began rallying around a petition to re-license React after the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) added Facebook’s BSD+Patents license to its Category X list of disallowed licenses for Apache PMC members. Facebook’s engineering directors officially denied the request in mid-August, citing the burden of meritless patent litigation as the reason for keeping the patents clause. Facebook moved forward on this decision in full recognition that it might lose some React community members as a consequence. Many open source project maintainers began to look for alternatives. In a surprising move, Matt Mullenweg announced that WordPress would also be parting ways with React and planned to remove it from the upcoming Gutenberg editor. Mullenweg’s decision to drop React from consideration for WordPress was likely an influential factor in Facebook’s eventual about-face on the topic of re-licensing the project. Facebook’s announcement on Friday acknowledges that the company failed to convince the open source community of the benefits of its BSD + Patents license: We’re relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the web, and we don’t want to hold back forward progress for nontechnical reasons. This decision comes after several weeks of disappointment and uncertainty for our community. Although we still believe our BSD + Patents license provides some benefits to users of our projects, we acknowledge that we failed to decisively convince this community. The React 16 release, slated for this week, will ship with the updated MIT license. Facebook declined to respond to our request for further comment and said their post is the only public statement they will be providing. It’s not yet clear whether WordPress will continue on with React, picking up where the team left off on Gutenberg, or shift to another library. Core contributors had originally decided on React while attending WordPress’ community summit in Paris last June, although this decision had not yet been made public when the greater open source community started petitioning Facebook to re-license React. “I’m just so tired of this drama,” Gutenberg engineer Riad Benguella said. “We spent days and days thinking about the best framework for WP, and this change will just add more thinking, complexity, and uncertainty to our decision. I’m just tired of all this…we all have to rethink everything.” Mullenweg, who had previously penned a several-thousand word unpublished announcement about how WordPress would be adopting React, did not confirm whether Word[...]

Matt: Facebook Dropping Patent Clause

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:20:20 +0000

I am surprised and excited to see the news that Facebook is going to drop the patent clause that I wrote about last week. They’ve announced that with React 16 the license will just be regular MIT with no patent addition. I applaud Facebook for making this move, and I hope that patent clause use is re-examined across all their open source projects.

Our decision to move away from React, based on their previous stance, has sparked a lot of interesting discussions in the WordPress world. Particularly with Gutenberg there may be an approach that allows developers to write Gutenberg blocks (Gutenblocks) in the library of their choice including Preact, Polymer, or Vue, and now React could be an officially-supported option as well.

I want to say thank you to everyone who participated in the discussion thus far, I really appreciate it. The vigorous debate and discussion in the comments here and on Hacker News and Reddit was great for the passion people brought and the opportunity to learn about so many different points of view; it was even better that Facebook was listening.

WPTavern: Scott Bolinger Shares Unique Perspective of WordPress From Outside the Bubble

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 00:43:40 +0000

Scott Bolinger, a product developer focused on the WordPress space who has created several products, including AppPresser and Holler Box, recently attended Content and Commerce Summit 2017. This conference focuses on what’s working in eCommerce, digital media, information publishing, and subscription commerce. According to Bolinger, WordPress and WooCommerce were not topics of discussion. “It really opened my eyes going to an event where no one even said the word WordPress once,” Bolinger said. “The audience at this conference was non-technical, mostly marketers selling stuff online. I watched a presentation where the presenter had slides with 20+ different recommended tools on them, and not a single mention of WordPress. “This is an eCommerce conference, WooCommerce is 41% of all eCommerce stores, and not a single person said the word WooCommerce. All I heard about was Shopify and Amazon.” According to SimilarTech, WooCommerce is leading in the top 100K sites, top 1M sites, and the entire web while Shopify is leading in the top 10K sites. While Shopify has a lot less market share, it’s used on substantially higher trafficked sites. Bolinger shared the perspective of a friend who uses Shopify to sell clothing and will gross more than $1M in revenue this year. According to his friend, Shopify is easy to use, from setting up a theme, to the plugin/app ecosystem to add functionality. “When my friend said Shopify is easy to use, this is a whole different category of great user experience,” Bolinger said. “This is building a site from scratch for a completely non-technical user, and them loving the end result and the experience.” Bolinger raised an interesting point in that, Wix, Shopify, and SquareSpace are closed, SaaS offerings where they can control the user experience from end-to-end. This is impossible to do with WordPress because there are too many moving parts and core can not control how plugins and themes take part in that experience. While WordPress core can’t necessarily solve the problem, it hasn’t stopped webhosts from trying. GoDaddy,  Bluehost, and others have created onboarding solutions that try to control the end-to-end user experience. Bolinger shared a sentiment that many in the WordPress community have advocated in recent years. “If we’re honest, the strength of WordPress is not that it’s easy to use for non-technical people. It’s an open-source platform that is easy for developers to extend and customize for clients.” WordPress is Not Easy WordPress is not easy – and that’s OK Is WordPress As Easy As We Think? There was a time, somewhere between WordPress 2.3 and WordPress 3.5, where one of t[...]