WordPress Planet

February 23, 2018

WPTavern: WordCamp Orange County Plugin-A-Palooza First Place Prize is $3,000

WordCamp Orange County, CA, 2018 will take place June 9-10. In addition to the regular WordCamp format of speakers sharing their knowledge, there is also a mini-event called Plugin-A-Palooza. This year marks the fourth contest where plugin authors will compete for one of three prizes.

  • First Place – $3,000 cash and 1 Sucuri Business (VIP) license
  • Second Place – $1,500 cash and 1 Sucuri Business (VIP) license
  • Third Place – $500 cash

Teams will be judged live based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • User Experience/User Interface
  • Code Quality
  • Presentation of the plugin on WordPress.org.

Teams can have up to three participants, are required to build their own plugin, and upload it to the WordPress plugin directory by May 18th. Teams will present their plugins to the judges and audience on June 10th.

Previous winners and plugins include:

Bridget Willard, WordCamp Orange County organizer, says the event encourages innovation and personal development which are important parts of WordCamps. “The first plugin that won was WPRollback by WordImpress,” she said. “It’s widely used in the community now. We’d love to see other camps doing this.”

If you’re interested in participating in Plugin-A-Palooza at WordCamp Orange County this year, you’ll need to fill out this entry form. The deadline for submissions is March 5th.

by Jeff Chandler at February 23, 2018 10:46 PM under wordcamp orange county

February 21, 2018

Dev Blog: WordCamp Incubator 2.0

WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by a team of local WordPress users who have a passion for growing their communities. They are born out of active WordPress meetup groups that meet regularly and are able to host an annual WordCamp event. This has worked very well in many communities, with over 120 WordCamps being hosted around the world in 2017.

Sometimes though, passionate and enthusiastic community members can’t pull together enough people in their community to make a WordCamp happen. To address this, we introduced the WordCamp Incubator program in 2016.

The goal of the incubator program is to help spread WordPress to underserved areas by providing more significant organizing support for their first WordCamp event. In 2016, members of the global community team worked with volunteers in three cities — Denpasar, Harare and Medellín — giving direct, hands-on assistance in making local WordCamps possible. All three of these WordCamp incubators were a great success, so we're bringing the incubator program back for 2018.

Where should the next WordCamp incubators be? If you have always wanted a WordCamp in your city but haven’t been able to get a community started, this is a great opportunity. We will be taking applications for the next few weeks, then will get in touch with everyone who applied to discuss the possibilities. We will announce the chosen cities by the end of March.

To apply, fill in the application by March 15, 2018. You don’t need to have any specific information handy, it’s just a form to let us know you’re interested. You can apply to nominate your city even if you don’t want to be the main organizer, but for this to work well we will need local liaisons and volunteers, so please only nominate cities where you live or work so that we have at least one local connection to begin.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

by Hugh Lashbrooke at February 21, 2018 10:53 PM under WordCamp

HeroPress: How To Build A Company With WordPress

Pull Quote: If you keep showing up, you'd be surprised what happens..embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }


Full text of the above video

Hey, y’all! Thanks for inviting me to come share my story on HeroPress. I’m so excited to be able to talk a little bit to the HeroPress community.

So, and I’m doing a video blog or vlog because this is what I do; I’m a YouTube person. I create YouTube videos every single Wednesday for what I call WordPress Wednesday to help you improve your online marketing inside of the WordPress world. So I’m used to doing videos, and I asked if I could do my HeroPress story in this format; and they said go for it, so I’m excited to talk to you at least in a face-to-face scenario.

I’m going to  share a little bit of my story and tell you how WordPress basically became my avenue for becoming a millionaire in just five short years.

The Beginning

So in 1998, I created my very first ever HTML website. My dad was actually doing websites at the time, and I needed a website for my band because that’s what I wanted to be is a rockstar; so I learned how to build a website, kind of, under his training and a little bit of self-taught stuff and had a lot of fun doing it that way in 1998.

And then in 2005, I started hearing about WordPress; but in 2008, as I was freelancing around, a client asked me to build him a website. And they said, “hey, Kori, can you, can you build me a website, but we absolutely have to have it on WordPress?” I was like, sure, no problem; straight to Google, “how do you build a WordPress website”, you know. And over the weekend I pretty much taught myself how to build out a WordPress website, and I loved it.

My mind was absolutely blown when I saw the drag and drop options inside of menus to create dropdowns, and a form builder; I was just blown away. So those of you who have struggled in the HTML CSS world, you know the magic or the majesty, if you will even, of WordPress and those environments and how easy it makes it. So when I saw that, I really just thought, oh my goodness, this is a full-circle moment for me.

I really want to use WordPress now from here on forward.

So I reached back out to my dad and said, “hey, dad, you know, this is a tool that our customers, all of our clients, have been asking us for”. They’ve been wanting access to their websites, and we’ve not been able to give it to them because, in the past, they had to download Dreamweaver, you know, Photoshop and an FTP program; and that was just too much nerd code for them. So we wanted to be able to give them something like this, and WordPress definitely was that solution.

So he and I worked back and forth for a few years learning, really truly learning, WordPress; and then in 2012, we decided to launch together, my mom, my dad and I, decided to launch WebTegrity in San Antonio, Texas. And it was a very small concept initially; you know, we just me, literally, the three of us, and me and my folks. And then we hired on a subcontractor who is a great graphic designer here in town to try to help us with the creative side of things, and we started to grow our team.

Going Big Time

So how did we, in five years, build it up in such a way that we were able to sell it for a deal of a million dollars’ worth of shares, which ultimately is a $20 million value deal? How did we do that? I’m going to give you a little bit of insight on how we were able to accomplish that in such a short time.

So the very first thing I want you to realize is we did this in a saturated industry in San Antonio, Texas. When I did a search for web developer or web design firms back in 2012, I had over 700 results of different either freelancers or agencies or ad agencies or some solution out there that was either in the general area, or in the nearby area, that provided that service. So how did we, in six years, end up becoming number six in the entire city? We ranked in the top 10; how did we do that?

One of the very first things we did, was we niched ourselves; and, thankfully, WordPress was that solution.

In 2012, there was not an agency directly in San Antonio that was trying to be the go-to place for WordPress; and we purposely started stepping up and saying we are WordPress only, WordPress only, WordPress only. So if you were looking for a different type of CMS solution, we were not the right fit for you. And very, very quickly, we also started teaching it in the city; so we would teach other agencies. We provided on-site training; we provided weekend workshops. All for a price tag, of course; but that was one of our revenue streams. And, again, it set us as the authority in the city for WordPress; so really important that you understand how to niche yourselves and not try to be all things to all people.

The second thing we tried to do was really build a culture.

And you can see, I don’t work around boring walls. Everything that I do has to have creative juices flowing around me, right. We just want to create a great culture, a great environment. So we had to hire the right people. So that’s my next tip to you is be very, very careful on who you allow into your culture of your business, who you hire on, and certainly who you bring on as a leader in your culture in your community. So one of the things that we did right away was realize that we can’t teach passion, so you gotta find people that have a passion to nerd out on stuff like this.

And you have to find people who have great integrity to just do their best at all times, and you have to find people who love to be creative and love to solve problems for clients, right, who aren’t just salespeople, right? So if you can find those things, you can teach nerd code all day long; so be sure to just find people with the right hearts to join your community and then train them up the right way, be sure that you just grow and grow and grow your culture in a healthy way, right.

And another thing that we did, so this is another tip, was understand how to really build a revenue stream that was going to be sustainable.

All right, so wrap your heads around this one because this one’s key. Very early on in our model as we were selling WordPress websites, part of my pitch was, oh, it’s just five grand and no more after that. It’s a one-time fee and you’re done. That’s a horrible business strategy. We learned very early on, inside of WordPress world, that you have rain or shine, right; so there’s a lot of clients coming or there are no clients.

You’re either slammed working from home even in the evening trying to catch up, or you’re out on the golf course wondering if you’re going to get a paycheck next week. It’s really rain or shine. So how do you create a sustainable model in your business, in your small agency, in your startup; how do you do that, so that when those slow seasons come, you can still pay your team members, you can still keep your lights on?

Well, we were sitting at a WordCamp; and Jason Cohen from WP Engine was keynoting; and one of the things he said right away is, if you don’t understand how to create a reoccurring revenue stream in your small agency, you will turn your sign to closed in the next year or two. And he was so right; and it was such a light bulb moment for me that I went back straightaway from that weekend WordCamp up in Austin and I started writing out, okay, how can we create a reoccurring revenue stream? What would that look like inside of our industry?

And, of course, it was support packages. We didn’t call them maintenance plans. We certainly didn’t use retainer, which can have a sense of a negative connotation, right, because of lawyers; sorry! But, still, we didn’t want to use those words because we’re already almost creating a, uh, I don’t think I want to sign up for that type of attitude.

What we did is we called it support, and very easily, clients were signing up saying, oh, goodness, yes, I need that ongoing support. So use that phrasing, create a model structure where it’s required, at least for the first 12 months out of the gate as they launch that you are charging them something even as small as $99 a month. And don’t shortchange yourself on that; put together a great package that you give them that type of value.

If you were to check out WebTegrity.com, you would see our support plans and what they consist of and the pricing. We’re very transparent with that. That’s the way our revenue stream almost doubled our sales in one year and allowed us to keep our lights on when June and July roll around and nobody cares about their websites because they’re on the beach.

All right, reputation was another huge part of it.

That’s one of the reasons why we named ourselves WebTegrity, but reputation, understanding that that every client that signs up, whether they’re a $5,000 website or a $50,000 website gets the same type of boutique-style, white glove, handholding relationship, right? Every single project that you launch, you want to produce the absolute, absolute best. You’re not shortchanging them; you’re not, you’re not wiring something that you hand off to the client and hope to God it doesn’t break. You really are trying to find the absolute best solution.

One of the things that also kept us in high standing with our reputation, of course, was offering that training because what we don’t want to do is keep the veil covered where nobody can see what we’re doing, right. We really want to be transparent and train our clients the nerd lingo, train the clients what SEO is and what expectations should be. Having that type of open communication really just started to build together a relationship with our clients that they trusted us; and we met their expectation, right. So be sure to hold strongly to your core values for your reputation. Be sure that you’re asking people to give you great reviews because that’ll make a difference.

And the last thing I want to talk about is give back.

So at one of the WordCamp US’s that I went to, Matt himself said, listen, if you’re making a living with WordPress, you really need to try to figure out how to give back 5% of your time, just 5% of your time a week. How can you do that to give back to the community? Can you start a meet-up group, teach a meetup group; can you facilitate a meetup group where maybe you’re just the organizer and you never have to speak because you’re not a fan of speaking?

Can you organize a WordCamp, volunteer at a WordCamp? Can you write a tutorial and tell people how to do things? Can you teach a workshop; can you make a video?

And, again, I had a light bulb moment. Of course, I can make videos. So my giveback to the WordPress community is my YouTube channel; every single Wednesday, I’m creating a video and putting it out there for free to the WordPress world of how to improve your online marketing. That’s made a huge impact not only, thankfully, inside the WordPress community, but also in my own business model.

I actually go into WordCamps around the US and people are like, hey, aren’t you that WordPress girl; don’t you do videos? It’s a really cool feeling to be able to give back to the community because I’ve made my living using WordPress.


So ultimately how did I turn five years into a multi-million dollar buyout? Because we have just recently sold; how did we do that? Ultimately, it was understanding that you have to be able to grow something of value. So as soon as you start your business, you should also be thinking about your exit strategy, right, even in how you name your company.

If I were to name this Ashton Agency, do you think that I could’ve just walked away and handed the keys to somebody else named Johnson; it wouldn’t have worked. Think even about your name; will it stand alone? Can that become a brand that you can hand off and sell as a holistic entity?

You also want to think about that revenue stream, right, and watch those sales margins. Be sure that your margins are healthy. Don’t hire until it hurts, until it absolutely hurts. Be sure that you’re structuring your offerings in such a way that you’re actually recouping your value. What does that mean? Just understand business better; watch Shark Tank, read more tutorials like this, watch more videos.

Get a hold of the WordPress community, the core leaders, the speakers that travel around to all the WordCamps. Start following them on Twitter and trying to understand what it is that they’re training and teaching. There’s a lot of resources out there for you to gain some ideas from, but ultimately it was me stepping out in the San Antonio community because it was a larger firm here in San Antonio who purchased us.

So we just kept hammering on the fact that we were the go-to place here in San Antonio for WordPress. We kept training; we kept doing free opportunities, going out and speaking at different events; and people kept seeing us. We kept showing up, so you’d be surprised what happens. If you keep giving back and you keep showing up to places, you keep establishing yourself as the authority, you keep learning and training and growing your own skill set and growing your team, before you know it, it can happen for you.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have questions about some of this though, if you’re trying to grow up your startup, or if you’re trying to learn how to improve your revenue margins, I’m always open to a quick twitter conversation or send me an email. I’d love to connect with you.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share this on HeroPress.

Bye, y’all; catch me over on YouTube. Bye!

The post How To Build A Company With WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Kori Ashton at February 21, 2018 02:00 PM

February 19, 2018

Matt: Commuting Time Saved

On Automattic's internal BuddyPress-powered company directory, we allow people to fill out a field saying how far their previous daily commute was. 509 people have filled that out so far, and they are saving 12,324 kilometers of travel every work day. Wow!

by Matt at February 19, 2018 06:14 PM under Asides

Akismet: Version 4.0.3 of the Akismet WordPress Plugin Is Now Available

Version 4.0.3 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

4.0.3 contains a few helpful changes:

  • Adds a new scheduled task to clear out old Akismet entries in the wp_commentmeta table that no longer have corresponding comments in wp_comments.  This should help reduce Akismet’s database usage for some users.
  • Adds a new akismet_batch_delete_count action so developers can optionally take action when Akismet comment data is cleaned up.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

by Josh Smith at February 19, 2018 03:58 PM under WordPress

Mark Jaquith: Handling old WordPress and PHP versions in your plugin

New versions of WordPress are released about three times a year, and WordPress itself supports PHP versions all the way back to 5.2.4.

What does this mean for you as a plugin developer?

Honestly, many plugin developers spend too much time supporting old versions of WordPress and really old versions of PHP.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need to support every version of WordPress, and you don’t have to support every version of PHP. Feel free to do this for seemingly selfish reasons. Supporting old versions is hard. You have to “unlearn” new WordPress and PHP features and use their older equivalents, or even have code branches that do version/feature checks. It increases your development and testing time. It increases your support burden.

Economics might force your hand here… a bit. You can’t very well, even in 2018, require that everyone be running PHP 7.1 and the latest version of WordPress. But consider the following:

97% of WordPress installs are running PHP 5.3 or higher. This gives you namespaces, late static binding, closures, Nowdoc, __DIR__, and more.

88% of WordPress installs are running PHP 5.4 or higher. This gives you short array syntax, traits, function-array dereferencing, guaranteed <?= echo syntax availability, $this access in closures, and more.

You get even more things with PHP 5.5 and 5.6 (64% of installs are running 5.6 or higher), but a lot of the syntactic goodness came in 5.3 and 5.4, with very few people running versions less than 5.4. So stop typing array(), stop writing named function handlers for simple array_map() uses, and start using namespaces to organize and simplify your code.

Okay, so… how?

I recommend that your main plugin file just be a simple bootstrapper, where you define your autoloader, do a few checks, and then call a method that initializes your plugin code. I also recommend that this main plugin file be PHP 5.2 compatible. This should be easy to do (just be careful not to use __DIR__).

In this file, you should check the minimum PHP and WordPress versions that you are going to support. And if the minimums are not reached, have the plugin:

  1. Not initialize (you don’t want syntax errors).
  2. Display an admin notice saying which minimum version was not met.
  3. Deactivate itself (optional).

Do not die() or wp_die(). That’s “rude”, and a bad user experience. Your goal here is for them to update WordPress or ask their host to move them off an ancient version of PHP, so be kind.

Here is what I use:

View code on GitHub

Reach out on Twitter and let me know what methods you use to manage PHP and WordPress versions in your plugin!

Do you need WordPress services?

Mark runs Covered Web Services which specializes in custom WordPress solutions with focuses on security, speed optimization, plugin development and customization, and complex migrations.

Please reach out to start a conversation!


by Mark Jaquith at February 19, 2018 03:14 PM under WordPress

February 16, 2018

Post Status: How WebDevStudios is serving different market segments — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

In this episode, Lisa Sabin-Wilson shares about the entangled history of WebDevStudios and eWebscapes and how she and team are targeting every level of the market. WebDevStudios focuses heavily on the upper and enterprise market segments, providing a high degree of attention and support to those clients.

Sometime in 2017 Lisa did the math on all the lower-end projects that they were referring away and realized that WDS had a prime opportunity to re-introduce her former web studio, eWebscapes, as a way to serve these smaller-scope projects. This rebirth, so to speak, has positioned them to better target local communities, provide staff with more variety of work, and bring simplified processes alongside those they use for larger projects.

Key take-aways

  • Lisa observed a market opportunity and did the math first
  • Relaunching started with a solid content strategy
  • Simplified processes for managing a project
  • Utilized talent already on staff
  • Lots of opportunity to target local communities
  • Evaluating the success of this strategy after 6 months


Photo Credit

Sponsor: Prospress

Prospress makes the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin, that enables you to turn your online business into a recurring revenue business. Whether you want to ship a box or setup digital subscriptions like I have on Post Status, Prospress has you covered. Check out Prospress.com for more, and thanks to Prospress for being a Post Status partner.

by Katie Richards at February 16, 2018 10:38 PM under Everyone

Matt: No Office Workstyle

Reed Albergotti has a great article titled Latest Amenity for Startups: No Office. You can put in your email to read I believe but it's behind a paywall otherwise. The Information is a pretty excellent site that alongside (former Automattician) Ben Thompson's Stratechery I recommend subscribing to. Here are some quotes from the parts of the article that quote me or talk about Automattic:

So it’s no coincidence that one of the first companies to operate with a distributed workforce has roots in the open source movement. Automattic, the company behind open source software tools like WordPress, was founded in 2005 and has always allowed its employees to work from anywhere. The company’s 680 employees are based in 63 countries and speak 79 languages. Last year, it closed its San Francisco office, a converted warehouse — because so few employees were using it. It still has a few coworking spaces scattered around the globe.

Matt Mullenweg, Automattic’s founder and CEO, said that when the company first started, its employees communicated via IRC, an early form of instant messaging. Now it uses a whole host of software that’s tailor-made for remote work, and as the technology evolves, Automattic adopts what they need.

Mr. Mullenweg said Automattic only started having regular meetings, for instance, after it started using Zoom, a video conferencing tool that works even on slow internet connections.

He’s become a proponent of office-less companies and shares what he’s learned with other founders who are attempting it. Mr. Mullenweg said he believes the distributed approach has led to employees who are even more loyal to the company and that his employees especially appreciate that they don’t need to spend a chunk of their day on a commute.

“Our retention is off the charts,” he said.


“Where it goes wrong is if they don’t have a strong network outside of work—they can become isolated and fall into bad habits,” Mr. Mullenweg said. He said he encourages employees to join groups, play sports and have friends outside of work. That kind of thing wouldn’t be a risk at big tech companies, where employees are encouraged to socialize and spend a lot of time with colleagues.

But for those who ask him about the negatives, Mr. Mullenweg offers anecdotal proof of a workaround.

For example, he said he has 14 employees in Seattle who wanted to beat the isolation by meeting up for work once a week. So they found a local bar that didn’t open until 5 p.m., pooled together the $250 per month co-working stipends that Automattic provides and convinced the bar’s owner to let them rent out the place every Friday.

They didn't need to pool all their co-working allowance to get the bar, I recall it was pretty cheap! Finally:

For Automattic, flying 700 employees to places like Whistler, British Columbia or Orlando, Florida, has turned into a seven-figure expense.

“I used to joke that we save it on office space and blow it on travel. But the reality is that in-person is really important. That’s a worthwhile investment,” Mr. Mullenweg said.It might take a while, but some people are convinced that a distributed workforce is the way of the future.

“Facebook is never going to work like this. Google is never going to work like this. But whatever replaces them will look more like a distributed company than a centralized one,” Mr. Mullenweg said.

by Matt at February 16, 2018 06:44 PM under Asides

February 15, 2018

Matt: Kinsey Joins Automattic

Kinsey Wilson is joining Automattic to run WordPress.com. Poynter covers the news and has a great interview with Kinsey.

by Matt at February 15, 2018 06:56 PM under Asides

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 305 – 10up, JavaScript for WordPress Conference, and Jetpack 5.8

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week. We also chat about the Winter Olympics, crypto mining in order to access content on the web, and the joys of taking care of a puppy. Last but not least, we talk about Elasticsearch in Jetpack 5.8 and whether or not improving WordPress’ native search functionality through a service is the way to go.

Stories Discussed:

Jetpack 5.8 Adds Lazy Loading for Images Module
Free Virtual WordPress for JavaScript Conference June 29th
10up Turns Seven
“Not Updated In …” Warning

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, February 21st 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #305:

by Jeff Chandler at February 15, 2018 02:14 AM under jetpack

February 14, 2018

WPTavern: 10up Turns Seven

10up, a web development agency founded by Jake Goldman in 2011, has turned seven years old. In a blog post celebrating the occasion, Goldman reviews the previous year and highlights some notable events for the company.

“We welcomed more than 30 new clients to our portfolio in another record sales year,” Goldman said. “We launched new websites along with web and mobile apps for major brands across verticals as diverse as finance, healthcare, academia, high-tech, big media, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and fitness… to name a few.”

He also highlighted the company’s commitment to open source and giving back to WordPress. Throughout the past year, the company has released a number of WordPress plugins and developer tools including, Distributor, WP Snapshots, WP Local Docker, Async Transients, and more.

Goldman describes three trends he’s noticed in the past few years.

  1. Integrations with innovation happening in other projects and platforms has become increasingly important as the web matures. You see it in React.js and Vue.js emerging as popular front end standards, in the rise of Elasticsearch and NoSQL platforms, with two factor authentication and Google single sign on, with the rise of modern Asset Management Systems.
  2. For publishers, it’s increasingly becoming about distribution to multiple platforms, more so than just building a website. Google AMP, Facebook Articles, Apple News, Alexa, YouTube channels to name a few.
  3. If you need any more evidence of WordPress dominance, look no further than how highly in demand top-tier engineering talent is. It’s probably – literally – around a factor of 1.5x – 2x what great engineers were earning 3-4 years ago.

With seven years of experience under his belt, Goldman offers the following advice for those who are in their first or second year of running an agency or in a leadership position.

  1.  Don’t be quite so hard on yourself – when you run a business – when you’re a lease – there will always be highs and lows – don’t dwell on the lows.
  2. Put more emphasis on building systems, routines, and check-ins that offer a better pulse on the collective and individual fulfillment, engagement, and health of the team, rather than relying on transparent upwards communication.

Congrats to 10up on seven years in business. To learn more about the company and employment opportunities, visit their official site.

by Jeff Chandler at February 14, 2018 07:16 PM under seven

HeroPress: My WordPress Anniversaries

Pull Quote: I feel that I am responsible to be on stage for all the women who haven’t found the courage yet to share their stories.

I never remember dates. I know the birthday of more or less five people. I insist on saying that my son was born on May 11. Incorrect, I was born on May 11, he on May 17. But for some reason, my WordPress dates are permanently etched into my brain. I think it’s because meeting the global WordPress community and helping restart the Italian community are very meaningful moments in my adult life. Please join me in a walk down memory lane 🙂

May 15, 2015

I started building websites with WordPress in 2010: my first website was my own blog, whose only purpose was to publish photos of my son so all the grandparents could enjoy seeing him grow. I enjoyed tinkering around with it, and to my surprise someone wrote asking me to build something similar for them. And they wanted to pay me for it!

For a few years I worked as an administrative manager during the day and as a web designer at night until I decided to make the jump and become a freelancer.

I never thought about contributing to WordPress because I wasn’t a back end developer and I didn’t think the project needed people that were not code wizards. Heck, I didn’t even know how WordPress was made or how open source worked exactly!

And then I went to a Freelancers conference in Italy and on May 15 I gave my first talk ever.

Up until that moment I taught small classes, but I never talked in front of more than ten people. I was terrified: in the audience there were more than a hundred people. Some of my friends, but also a lot of seasoned professionals that I respected and admired, and here I was talking about how they should and shouldn’t build a website. I was so nervous, when I grabbed the mic I did such a wide gesture with my arms that the bracelet I was wearing flew through the air to the other side of the room.

After my talk a guy came to compliment my talk, and I realised that he was one of those people that I respected and admired from afar: Luca Sartoni, an Automattician whose blog I have been following for a while.

For the three days of the event we kept chatting about websites, WordPress, entrepreneurship, open source until he convinced me to start a WordPress meetup in my hometown of Torino, Italy. He put me in contact with other people that he knew wanted to do something similar and in less than a month from that conversation we started a meetup. The group now has more than one thousand members, and in March we will celebrate thirty events.

November 7, 2015

Luca didn’t stop his proselytism in Torino 🙂 That same year, WordCamp Europe was held in Seville and at the Polyglots table a revolution was started. A small group of Italians, used to travelling abroad to attend WordCamps, met there and decided that it was time to organise the Italian community.

The first step was to revive the blog on the Italian WordPress website: it was dormant for seven years and the first thing we did was publish the dates of meetups that were slowly but surely appearing in the whole country. At the beginning of 2015 there were two meetups in Italy, by August there were eight and their number kept growing.

Now, if you have met Italians, you know we talk a lot. The two Francescos from Apulia, Franz Vitulli and Francesco Di Candia, took the second initiative that was crucial to bringing us together: they opened a Slack workspace for the Italians, modeled after the UK workspace. For the whole summer we chatted every single day: about WordPress, about how to grow and manage the community that was forming in front of our eyes, how to communicate, how to contribute.

And then chatting wasn’t enough, we wanted to meet in person. We wanted to put a face and a voice to the avatars. With the help of Sara Rosso and Jenny Wong we carried out a bizarre plan, almost unheard of: a stand alone WordPress Contributor Day. We would meet in Milano for a day to get to know each other and to learn how to Contribute to WordPress.

I like to think that November 7 2015 is the day we became a community: we were not an abstract idea anymore, we were people, meeting in person to make WordPress in Italy.


April 10, 2016

The next few months went by in a blur of activities: the meetup organisers in Torino applied to host the first WordCamp in Italy in three years and I lead the organising team, I applied to attend the Community Summit in Philadelphia and I got accepted, I attended the first WordCamp US, my first WordCamp, and volunteered at it. I met a lot of people that helped me become more active and more focused: as a new contributor it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the abundance of amazing projects and tasks you can be part of, but it’s important to keep your focus to be more effective.

After meeting people from all over the world and sharing our experiences I realised the story of the Italian community could be inspiring for other communities and it was worth telling it to a wider audience, so I got completely out of my comfort zone and submitted a talk to WordCamp London.

On April 10th 2016 I gave my first talk at a WordCamp and my first talk in English. I think I didn’t sleep for days before and after the event. It was nerve wracking, but I did it without throwing any bracelet in the air this time.

I gave the same talk at WordCamp Europe in 2016 and realised the story was relatable to many communities. Photographer unknown, sorry 🙁

September 17, 2017

Over the following year I kept contributing to WordPress, mostly in the Community team. I participated in the Polyglots activities for a while but then I had to pick and focus my attention. The more I interacted with people from all over the world as a hobby, the more I wanted that to become my job. Although my business as a web designer in Italy was doing good, I felt I wanted to be able to reach more people and find a way to be more involved with the community.
So I started looking for a job. I was hesitant at first: all the insecurities I had about myself came back to haunt me. The voice in my head was telling me: you are too old, you don’t have enough technical expertise, you have been contributing for a very short time, English is not your native language, you are a single mom from Italy for crying out loud, who would want to employ you?

Well, it turns out that if you actually look for a job instead of just telling yourself that you really would like a job, chances are you might get one.

Last September I started a new chapter in my career as the WordPress Community Manager at SiteGround and I couldn’t be happier.

The past 33 months have completely changed my life, personally and professionally: along the way I learned a number of lessons that I know will stay with me forever.

Step Up

If you want to achieve something, start today. Just start. Start a meetup, leave a comment to encourage someone else, volunteer to take notes of a meeting, participate in the discussion, bring your own ideas to the table. Be a fire starter, for yourself and for the people around you.

Step Back

None of the above is about you: the community is bigger than you, you are here to build a path for the future. Once you started something, don’t become too attached, let it go and let other people step up and shine. Mentor them, if they ask and if you can.

If you want to go faster go alone, if you want to go further go together

I am not a huge fan of motivational quotes, but this one is very dear to my heart and it’s one I have to remind myself quite often. I am a perfectionist and a quick learner: this is ok when you start your own business (and it’s ok only at the beginning, but this is a topic for another article!), but when you are part of a team, you are part of something bigger. It might move slower, but its impact is immensely more powerful than anything you’ll be able to achieve on your own.

Representation matters

I dislike speaking in public. When I say this people tend to laugh it off because I am good on stage. It doesn’t mean that I like it. I am much more at ease when I am behind the scenes, making things happen.

Four women seated on a low wall at a WordPress meetup.

But representation matters: I feel that I am responsible to be on stage for all the women who haven’t found the courage yet to share their stories.

I am responsible for the young ones, so they can see that it’s possible to create a life when you can be both a good, albeit a bit absent mom, and a kick ass professional. I am responsible for the older ones, so they can see that we are represented, that this industry accepts us and recognizes our contributions. I am responsible to show my eleven year old son that women can do whatever they set out to do.

Make it better, give it back

I wish I came up with this, because it’s an incredibly powerful sentence. John did and I am grateful every day that I get to share my life with him and his wisdom.

Contributing to open source can be very frustrating: things go slow, sometimes things don’t go at all (there are numerous tickets in the WordPress bug tracker that are five or more years old), sometimes you might disagree with that will be decided, sometimes you might work alongside people that you dislike.

When this happens, remind yourself that you are working on a brilliant piece of software that is helping the lives and the businesses of millions of people.

The post My WordPress Anniversaries appeared first on HeroPress.

by Francesca Marano at February 14, 2018 07:00 AM

February 13, 2018

WPTavern: Free Virtual WordPress for JavaScript Conference June 29th

Zac Gordon, who launched his Gutenberg development course earlier this year, is organizing a virtual conference called JavaScript for WordPress. The conference will take place June 29th and is free to watch.

“Making the event free and online was really important for me so we could have as few barriers to entry for folks wanting to learn,” Gordon said. “I have a feeling a lot of folks who can’t tune live will still appreciate having all the talks available on YouTube for free.”

So far, 15 speakers have been confirmed with more to be announced soon. The speakers include WordPress core developers, theme and plugin developers, agency owners, and educators. Some of the talks will be from designers allowing user experience and usability to be part of the conversation.

Gordon says he’s been wanting to an in-person event for a while but considering the challenges involved, a virtual conference was the next best thing.

“I used to run in-person workshops in the Washington DC area, which I miss, and have wanted to do an event for a while,” he said. “But doing in-person events is so difficult, so the online format seemed like the best option to go with. I got some good advice from Human Made and WP Campus, who both have experience doing online events, so hopefully everything will go smooth.”

To reserve a seat and receive updates, visit the JavaScript for WordPress conference site.

by Jeff Chandler at February 13, 2018 01:30 AM under zac gordon

February 12, 2018

Mark Jaquith: Updating plugins using Git and WP-CLI

Now that you know how I deploy WordPress sites and how I configure WordPress environments, what about the maintenance of keeping a WordPress site’s plugins up-to-date?

Since I’m using Git, I cannot use WordPress built-in plugin updater on the live site (and I wouldn’t want to — if a plugin update goes wrong, my live site could be in trouble!)

The simple way to update all your plugins from a staging or local development site is to use WP-CLI:

wp plugin update-all
git commit -am 'update all plugins' wp-content/plugins

That works. I used to do that.

I don’t do that anymore.

Why? Granularity.

One of the benefits of using version control like Git is that when things go wrong, you can pinpoint when they went wrong, and identify what code caused the issue.

Git has a great tool called bisect that takes a known good state in the past and a current broken state, and then jumps around between revisions, efficiently, asking you to report whether that revision is good or bad. Then it tells you what revision broke your site.

If you lump all your plugin updates into one commit, you won’t get that granularity. You’ll likely get the git bisect result of “great… one of EIGHTEEN PLUGINS I updated was the issue”. That doesn’t help.

Here’s how you do it with granularity:

for plugin in $(wp plugin list --update=available --field=name);
    echo "wp plugin update $plugin" &&
    echo "git add -A wp-content/plugins/$plugin" &&
    echo "git commit -m 'update $plugin plugin'";

This code loops through plugins with updates available, updates each one, and commits it with a message that references the plugin being updated. Great! Now git bisect will be able to tell you which plugin update broke your site.

And what if you can only run WP-CLI commands from within a VM, and Git commands from your local machine? For instance, if you’re using my favorite tool, Local by Flywheel, you have to SSH into the site’s container to issue WP-CLI commands, but from within that container, you might not have Git configured like it is on your host machine.

So what you can do is break the process into two steps.

On the VM, run this:

wp plugin list --update=available --field=name > plugins.txt
wp plugin update-all

That grabs a list of plugins with updates and writes them to a file plugins.txt, and then updates all the plugins.

And then on your local machine, run this:

while read plugin;
    echo "git add -A wp-content/plugins/$plugin" &&
    echo "git commit -m 'update $plugin plugin'";
done; < plugins.txt

That slurps in that list of updated plugins and does a distinct git add and git commit for each.

When that’s done, remove plugins.txt.

All your plugins are quickly updated with WP-CLI, but you get nice granular Git commits and messages.

Do you need WordPress services?

Mark runs Covered Web Services which specializes in custom WordPress solutions with focuses on security, speed optimization, plugin development and customization, and complex migrations.

Please reach out to start a conversation!


by Mark Jaquith at February 12, 2018 02:42 PM under WordPress

February 09, 2018

Post Status: WordPress market opportunities: Upmarket edition — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

In this episode, Brian and Brian continue their discussion on WordPress market opportunities with a focus on the upper-market and enterprise clients. They take a look at discovery projects, pitching WordPress against competing platforms, and considerations to make before pitching on these high-budget projects. There are plenty of positives and negatives when working on long-term projects that may have a dramatic impact on your company in many ways.

In addition to these market opportunities, the boys also discuss recent news including iThemes acquisition by Liquid Web, a welcome change to the WordPress.org plugin directory, and an unfortunate and far-reaching bug that shipped with the 4.9.3 release last week.


Sponsor: WooCommerce

WooCommerce makes the most customizable eCommerce software on the planet, and it’s the most popular too. You can build just about anything with WooCommerce. Try it today, and thanks to the team at WooCommerce being a Post Status partner

by Katie Richards at February 09, 2018 08:43 PM under Everyone

WPTavern: Jetpack 5.8 Adds Lazy Loading for Images Module

Jetpack 5.8 is available for download and includes a handful of new features for Professional, Premium, and Personal plan users. In October of last year, Jetpack 5.4 began beta testing a new search module based on Elasticsearch. Jetpack 5.8 concludes the beta and the new search service is available to Professional plan customers.

The new search module replaces the native search functionality in WordPress and Jetpack developers claim sites with a large amount of content, images, or products will see significant speed improvements and more relevant results. Developers can fine-tune the user experience by using custom queries and template tags. Users can sort results by categories, tags, month/year, post type, or any taxonomy.

In addition to the Content Delivery Network, users have another method to optimize their sites with a new module named Lazy Load Images. When activated, Jetpack will display a page’s textual content first. When a user scrolls down the page, Jetpack will request and download images so they appear when that section of the page comes into view. Sites with a large amount of images will benefit most from having this module activated.

Premium plan customers can now perform security scans on their sites at any time, upload an unlimited amount of videos, and access SEO tools that were once restricted to Business plan customers.

Other notable improvements include:

  • Support for timezone and site language settings
  • Improved display of notices
  • The GettyImages shortcode now uses the new format required by GettyImages

To view all of the additions in this release, check out the Jetpack 5.8 changelog.

by Jeff Chandler at February 09, 2018 07:54 AM under lazy load

February 08, 2018

Matt: The Laity

In the last analysis, every profession is a conspiracy against the laity.

The Sir Patrick Cullen character in George Bernard Shaw’s play The Doctor’s Dilemma

by Matt at February 08, 2018 09:48 PM under Asides

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 304 – DesktopServer, Life, and Health with Marc Benzakein

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Marc Benzakein, Operations Manager for ServerPress, LLC. We discussed recent updates to DesktopServer and received a progress report on 4.0. Marc also shared some of the struggles the team encountered throughout 2017.

We learned what’s new with WP SiteSync and what customers can look forward too later this year. We also talked about Marc’s journey of becoming a healthier person both physically and mentally. He recalls the issues he had to overcome and shares advice on how others can improve their health.

Stories Discussed:

WooCommerce 3.3.1 Released, Addresses Template Conflicts
WordPress 4.9.4 Fixes Critical Auto Update Bug in 4.9.3
Unpatched DoS Flaw Could Help Anyone Take Down WordPress Websites

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, February 14th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #304:

by Jeff Chandler at February 08, 2018 01:48 AM under wordpress 4.9.4

February 07, 2018

HeroPress: Becoming a Better Designer Through WordPress

Pull Quote: The connections I've made, the skills I've honed, and the mentorship I've received have all contributed to making me the designer I am today.

The early years

I’ve always been an art kid. One of my first school memories is of drawing a clown and my art teacher being so enamored with it, she hung it up on her door for the whole year.

The first time in my educational life I didn’t take an art class was my first year of college. By the end of the year, my fingers were itching and I was ready to scream — I had to take art. It didn’t take long for me to declare a Studio Art minor, which eventually became an Arts and Technology minor my senior year.

I’ve also always been an internet kid. We received our first internet-connected Windows desktop in 1997. I’ll never forget the sound of dial-up as I signed into AOL, day after day for years to come. When my older brother started working for an ISP, we were able to go beyond just using AOL to connect, and I started spending more time exploring websites (rather than just AOL’s apps and chat rooms). I wanted to be like my older brother and learn how to make sites. I taught myself basic HTML by using View Source on existing sites — even back then, I was benefiting from the open web!

Angelfire was my earliest web canvas. A couple of my friends eventually got into making websites, but I was always a little disdainful of them for using Homestead’s GUI builder, while I was making my sites from scratch. I had a blast making image-rich personal and fan sites with tables and HTML styles. Landing a copy of Photoshop Elements in high school only intensified my enjoyment of web design. I kept that passion up through college, when I found my first design gig.

Old Website, best viewed on AOL

Could this be a career?

My first year of college got off to a bit of a rough financial start. By the time my financial aid was finalized and I was finally able to pick a work study job, my options were pretty limited. A dance professor needed an assistant to help her with some photocopying and organization tasks, along with helping her build out a print and web portfolio.

I was honestly a terrible assistant, but I did a pretty good job with the design work. I continued to refine my skills working in the computers labs in subsequent years, and in my Junior year of college (ten years ago!) I landed an internship at a local web design agency. That internship turned into a part-time job, which opened up doors to more local web design opportunities, and soon I was graduating college and pretty well situated into the start of my career.

Skeumorphic website design that looks like a notepad with pen ink all over it.

It was at these agencies that I started learning how to build WordPress websites. I’d used WordPress a couple times in college and felt comfortable with it, but now I was focusing a lot more on building my skills as a designer and front-end developer. My girlfriend (who was working at the same web agency) and I managed to convince our boss to start letting us create totally custom websites, rather than customizing existing themes, and that opened up a whole new world of design opportunities.

My first WordCamp

It was around then that my girlfriend, who attended WordCamp NYC the previous year, noticed the conference organizers were looking for some volunteer designers to help create some graphics. She passed along the information, and I got in touch.

I collaborated with a few other designers to create the WordCamp branding, which was used across the website, t-shirt, signage, and stickers:

WCNYC Banner

It was amazing to see it everywhere at the WordCamp. It felt really special. Though I didn’t get “props” for this, I still consider it my first contribution to WordPress.

WordCamp NYC was a ton of fun. I met interesting people, learned a lot about WordPress, and started to get a feel for the community. I left with a desire to get more involved. I browsed through WordPress.org, stumbling upon the “Make” section. I was stoked to see that there was a design group. I couldn’t write much code beyond CSS, but I could contribute my design skills. I joined a couple of the core channels on IRC, including the design channel (#wordpress-ui), and observed for while. I watched how the other designers in the project communicated, what they worked on, where they presented their work, etc. By observing before participating, I could learn the social queues and mores of the community. I didn’t want to embarass myself — I wanted to do things the established way based on community standards.

What I found to be one of the most difficult parts of contributing was adapting to the technology used to build WordPress. I had to learn how to use command line and SVN. Getting set up in SVN and terminal was probably the biggest thing that stopped me from contributing code during my early years.

But most of all, it came down to conquering fear. Fear that my design skills would be unwanted and unwelcome; fear that other contributors would look down on me or ignore me, or that they’d find me irritating; fear that I just wasn’t good enough to contribute. Some of this fear persists today, albeit greatly reduced.

There’s a point at which I managed to conquer a little bit of that fear, stop observing, and really start to pitch in. Slowly, I started chiming in and volunteering for design tasks in IRC and the Make Design p2. I ended up doing a lot of small projects on the community side (rather than the core side) at first — some new landing pages and redesigns of sections on WordPress.org, graphics, and design for my own local meetups. I started feeling more and more confident with my contributions.

Core Props

By this point, I had done some wireframes and mockups for the core WordPress software — I’d even spoken at a WordCamp! — but I hadn’t actually gotten any code committed. Which meant, at this point in time, I didn’t have any “core props.” I was still really intimidated by Trac and SVN. I was a designer, and most design conversations happened in explicitly design space. But I really wanted to get some code committed into core, so I needed to find a CSS bug I felt qualified to fix.

At WordCamp Philly in 2012, I finally got a chance. Sunday was devoted to contributing to WordPress. There were experienced core contributors present who could teach people how to make a patch, how to submit a ticket, and suggest tickets for people to work on.

Aaron Jorbin, a core contributor and fellow speaker (and, now a friend), found a CSS issue I could work on: bringing the alternate “blue” color scheme into sync with the default “grey” scheme. He helped me get set up, helped me through saving my changes as a patch, and then helped me submit that patch to Trac. Andy Nacin, another core contributor (and future friend!) subsequently committed that patch, and I received my first core props.

Screenshot of ticket giving Mel props

After creating my first patch, contributing became easier and easier. My confidence grew, and I spent more time participating in IRC, p2s, and Trac discussions. Then, in January of 2013, major design changes started coming to WordPress.

My WordPress apprenticeship

It started with icons.

Ben Dunkle, WordPress’s official icon designer, proposed some shiny new icons for the WordPress dashboard. They were “flat” — one color, not a ton of details. The icons were awesome, but they didn’t really fit stylistically with the rest of the admin. The flat styles clashed with WordPress’ heavy use of gradients.

So, I helped imagine what the admin could look like totally flat. We tried out a couple ideas, got them committed, and refined in code. The stark styles looked really fresh after years of gradients!

Unfortunately, flattening the admin unearthed a whole lot of other issues. There wasn’t enough time to flesh out the new design before the next version of WordPress launched, so the flat styles got reverted and tabled for another time.

Pretty soon after, I received an email via my site’s contact form:

Name: Matt
Comment: Add me on Skype when you get a chance.

I think my heart stopped when I realized I had been emailed by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Matt invited me to come join a group that would take a broader look at redesigning the admin (codenamed “MP6”). It meant a lot for someone as important as Matt to recognize my skills. I spent a lot of my early years as a designer plagued with self-doubt, and suddenly I had someone pointing at me, going “I believe in you!”

I leapt at the chance.

Our group worked together on Skype. We quickly scoped the goal of MP6 to only update CSS and a little bit of JS. I helped Ben make some new vector icons, gave feedback and critiqued design proposals, and made some design proposals of my own. It was an intimate group where we all felt free to safely share and critique each other’s work. The mentorship I received from more experienced WordPress designers was invaluable to my growth. Working with these veterans of WordPress really helped me to grow into my fledgling wings.

WordPress 3.8 shipped with the updated admin interface, and I knew it was time to take my design career to a new level.

WordPress 4.8 Credits

Leaving the nest

I’d had my eye on Automattic, the makers of WordPress.com, the Jetpack plugin, and many other products, for most of my time contributing to WordPress. A couple of the designers I worked with on MP6 were Automattic designers, and it was an absolute joy to collaborate with them. At this point I’d spent so much of my career as either a lone designer, or in a competitive environment, that having a supportive, collaborative group of people helping me improve my work was a revelation.

I desperately wanted to work at Automattic.

While MP6 was in the works, I participated in a three month long design apprenticeship at a local agency. I worked alongside experienced mentors and fellow apprentices to hone my interface and user experience design skills. It was challenging and thrilling and totally complemented the mentorship I was receiving from WordPress folks. Plus, working in a positive environment reinforced my desire to work somewhere similar.

After the apprenticeship, I finally felt like I had the skills and confidence to apply. I spent a lot of time writing my cover letter, and redesigning my portfolio to use in-depth case studies on a small number of recent projects. I finally sent off my application and crossed my fingers.

A couple weeks later, I received a reply back asking to schedule an interview. I was terrified, but luckily, Automattic conducts interviews via text, so I was able to hide my fear behind my keyboard and hopefully try to project confidence. (Aside: I also show all my emotions on my face, so online communication is the best.)

It must have worked, because I was moved on to the next phase of the application, doing a self-contained trial project, which was a whole ton of fun. I was able to put my recently refined research, interviewing, and user testing skills to use. I loved being given a real challenge to tackle. My trial went well, so I was moved along to the final interview with Matt Mullenweg. We spent a couple hours chatting on Skype, and at the end of our conversation I was given an offer. Welcome to Automattic!

After working so hard on my apprenticeship, and on MP6, joining Automattic felt incredibly validating. The work I put in, the mentorship I received, all of the collaboration, led to this moment. I felt like I had graduated from apprentice and was now embarking on my adventure as a design journeyman. And boy, has it been an adventure!

Automattic Group Photo

Design leadership

The past four and a half years at Automattic have been fantastic. I have the best coworkers anyone can ask for. I’ve worked with some incredibly talented and empathetic designers, whose guidance and feedback constantly encourage me to improve my skills.

I’ve continued to contribute to WordPress, slowly gaining more responsibility in the project the longer I stuck around. That’s the secret to becoming an open source leader, I discovered — decisions are made by the people who show up.

In 2016, I was asked to by the Release Design Lead for WordPress 4.5 “Coleman.” I worked alongside the other release leads to make design-related decisions that impacted the release. This was the first release we experimented with having a Design Lead. I felt like design finally had a seat at the table.

This continued to be the case last year, when Matt Mullenweg announced core focuses for the year: Editing, Customization, and the API. Both Editing and Customization had designers co-leading their focus. I was named the Customization co-lead. I’d been working on customization and site building on WordPress.com for over a year, so I had relevant experience.

I worked with my developer co-lead, Weston Ruter, on low-hanging fruit, most of which we released in WordPress 4.8. The release was smaller, focused more on improvements than new features. We made a lot of updates to widgets, which had been long neglected.

After that, we turned our sights to some more ambitious projects: drafting and scheduling changes in the Customizer, improvements to code editing in the WordPress admin, even more widget updates, and upgrades around the flow of changing themes and building menus for your site. We took a design-first approach to building out these new features, and I think it really shows in the work that we produced during the 4.9 release cycle, which Weston and I co-led.

WordPress 4.9 “Tipton” launched in November. Since then, I’ve pivoted to work on Gutenberg, the new editing experience for WordPress which should be released in 5.0. Once the editing experience wraps up, we’re going to start looking at how we can extend Gutenberg to cover site building and customization. It’s a big, audacious goal that I hope to pursue with caution, humility, and a spirit of adventure.

I owe WordPress a great deal. The connections I’ve made, the skills I’ve honed, and the mentorship I’ve received have all contributed to making me the designer I am today. I hope to give back for years to come!

Community Summit Group Photo

The post Becoming a Better Designer Through WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Mel Choyce at February 07, 2018 12:00 PM

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.3.1 Released, Addresses Template Conflicts

WooCommerce 3.3.1 is available and fixes template conflicts discovered in a handful of WordPress themes that forced the team to revert WooCommerce 3.3. The team reviewed handful of the most common themes running WooCommerce and tested them for compatibility with 3.3.1.

WooCommerce developers recommend that theme authors use hooks instead of template overrides to ensure maximum compatibility.

According to Mike Jolley, WooCommerce lead developer, this release highlighted issues with the template system’s extensibility and a disconnect between theme authors on external marketplaces. “We hope to find solutions to these problems in the near future,” Jolley said.

WooCommerce 3.3.1 has at least 90 commits. Users are encouraged to create a full-backup of their sites and then browse to Dashboard > Updates to update WooCommerce from within WordPress.

by Jeff Chandler at February 07, 2018 09:46 AM under woocommerce

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9.4 Fixes Critical Auto Update Bug in 4.9.3

Hours after WordPress 4.9.3 was released, the WordPress development team followed it up with 4.9.4 to fix a critical bug with the auto update process. The bug generates a fatal PHP error when WordPress attempts to update itself.

This error requires WordPress site owners and administrators to manually update to WordPress 4.9.4 by visiting your Dashboard and clicking the Update Now button on the Updates page. Alternatively, you can update by uploading the files via SFTP or by using WP-CLI.

Dion Hulse, WordPress lead developer, says managed hosts that apply updates automatically for their customers will be able to update sites as they normally do. This may explain why some users have reported that sites running 4.9.3 have automatically updated to 4.9.4 without issue.

The bug stems from an attempt to reduce the number of API calls made when the auto update cron job is run. Unfortunately, the code committed had unintended consequences. “It triggers a fatal error as not all of the dependencies of find_core_auto_update() are met,” Hulse said.

A postmortem will be published once the team determines how to prevent this mistake from happening in the future. “We don’t like bugs in WordPress any more than you do, and we’ll be taking steps to both increase automated coverage of our updates and improve tools to aid in the detection of similar bugs before they become an issue in the future,” Hulse said.

While WordPress 4.9.3 and 4.9.4 do not include any security fixes, it’s important to note that in order to receive automatic security updates in the future, sites using the 4.9 branch must be running at least 4.9.4. Older branches are unaffected.

by Jeff Chandler at February 07, 2018 09:19 AM under critical

February 06, 2018

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9.4 Maintenance Release

WordPress 4.9.4 is now available.

This maintenance release fixes a severe bug in 4.9.3, which will cause sites that support automatic background updates to fail to update automatically, and will require action from you (or your host) for it to be updated to 4.9.4.

Four years ago with WordPress 3.7 “Basie”, we added the ability for WordPress to self-update, keeping your website secure and bug-free, even when you weren’t available to do it yourself. For four years it’s helped keep millions of installs updated with very few issues over that time. Unfortunately yesterdays 4.9.3 release contained a severe bug which was only discovered after release. The bug will cause WordPress to encounter an error when it attempts to update itself to WordPress 4.9.4, and will require an update to be performed through the WordPress dashboard or hosts update tools.

WordPress managed hosting companies who install updates automatically for their customers can install the update as normal, and we’ll be working with other hosts to ensure that as many customers of theirs who can be automatically updated to WordPress 4.9.4 can be.

For more technical details of the issue, we’ve posted on our Core Development blog. For a full list of changes, consult the list of tickets.

Download WordPress 4.9.4 or visit Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now.”

by Dion Hulse at February 06, 2018 04:17 PM under 4.9

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9.3 Released, Fixes 34 Bugs

WordPress 4.9.3 is available and fixes 34 bugs. Customizer changesets, the visual editor, widgets, and compatibility for PHP 7.2 highlight this release. You can view all of the changes via the changelog or trac tickets. Most sites will update automatically. However, if you want to trigger the update ahead of time or manually update, visit your Dashboard, click the Updates link, and click Update Now.

by Jeff Chandler at February 06, 2018 08:35 AM under maintenance

WPTavern: Liquid Web Acquires iThemes in Multi-Million Dollar Deal

Liquid Web, a managed hosting service founded in 1997, has acquired iThemes. iThemes recently celebrated its 10th year in business. PostStatus reports that it was an all cash deal and sources confirmed to the Tavern that it was a multi-million dollar acquisition.

iThemes will continue to operate as an independent unit within Liquid Web. Cory Miller will remain as General Manager of iThemes and the company will keep its office and employees in Oklahoma City, OK.

iThemes was founded in 2008 and is part of a group of WordPress focused companies that started around the same time. The group includes WooThemes, Revolution Themes now known as StudioPress, Press75, WPZoom, and others.

WooThemes was acquired by Automattic. StudioPress has branched off into content marketing with CopyBlogger and hosting via StudioPress sites. Press75 was acquired by Westwerk in 2014 and WPZoom continues to operate independently.

iThemes diversified its business a number of times over the years, adding plugins and services to its portfolio. Some of the most notable products include, FlexxTheme, BackupBuddy, Builder, iThemes Sync, and iThemes Security. In 2013, the company branched off into the e-commerce space with Exchange. In 2017, Exchange was acquired by AJ Morris allowing the company to focus on iThemes Sales Accelerator, a new product that works exclusively with WooCommerce.

Considering Liquid Web recently launched its managed WooCommerce hosting, iThemes Sales Accelerator should pair nicely with its services.

This isn’t the first time a large webhosting company has acquired a WordPress business. In the last two years, GoDaddy has acquired three companies with a presence in the WordPress ecosystem.

  • April 2013 EIG Acquires MOJO-Themes
  • September 2016 GoDaddy Acquires ManageWP
  • December 2016 GoDaddy Acquires WP Curve
  • March 2017 GoDaddy Acquires Sucuri

After 10 Years, Cory Miller Lets Go

Miller founded iThemes 10 years ago and helped navigate it through the ups and downs that come with running a business. Although Miller no longer owns the company he founded, he’s excited about the next chapter and the opportunities it presents to him and his team.

“One of the keys that has contributed greatly to our success over the last 10 years is being willing to adapt and to innovate and to try new things,” Miller said. “For instance, If we’d kept focusing solely on WordPress themes, which was our primary business for the early years, we wouldn’t be around today.

“As we surveyed the landscape in WordPress, one thing was very obvious to us: hosting is the future. As a bootstrapped company from the beginning, with our DNA as a software company, and seeing where Liquid Web is going, it just made sense for us to join forces.

“We view this is as another chapter in our story of our willingness to adapt and try new things so we can keep doing what we do best — Make People’s Lives Awesome. So we’re tremendously excited about our future with Liquid Web, and what we’re going to be able to do for the WordPress community together.”

Miller says they’re in the middle of the transition process and are working towards tighter integration between iThemes’ products and Liquid Web’s managed hosting services.

by Jeff Chandler at February 06, 2018 12:33 AM under liquid web

February 05, 2018

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9.3 Maintenance Release

WordPress 4.9.3 is now available.

This maintenance release fixes 34 bugs in 4.9, including fixes for Customizer changesets, widgets, visual editor, and PHP 7.2 compatibility. For a full list of changes, consult the list of tickets and the changelog.

Download WordPress 4.9.3 or visit Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update automatically.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.9.3:

Aaron Jorbin, abdullahramzan, Adam Silverstein, Andrea Fercia, andreiglingeanu, Andrew Ozz, Brandon Payton, Chetan Prajapati, coleh, Darko A7, David Cramer, David Herrera, Dion Hulse, Felix Arntz, Frank Klein, Gary Pendergast, Jb Audras, Jeffrey Paul, lizkarkoski, Marius L. J., mattyrob, Monika Rao, munyagu, ndavison, Nick Momrik, Peter Wilson, Rachel Baker, rishishah, Ryan Paul, Sami Ahmed Siddiqui, Sayed Taqui, Sean Hayes, Sergey Biryukov, Shawn Hooper, Stephen Edgar, Sultan Nasir Uddin, tigertech, and Weston Ruter.

by Sergey Biryukov at February 05, 2018 07:47 PM under Releases

Mark Jaquith: Tips for configuring WordPress environments

Many WordPress hosts will give your site a “staging” environment. You can also use tools like Local by Flywheel, or MAMP Pro to run a local “dev” version of your site. These are great ways of testing code changes, playing with new plugins, or making theme tweaks, without risking breaking your live “production” site.

Here is my advice for working with different WordPress environments.

Handling Credentials

The live (“production”) version of your site should be opt-in. That is, your site’s Git repo should not store production credentials in wp-config.php. You don’t want something to happen like when this developer accidentally connected to the production database and destroyed all the company data on his first day.

Instead of keeping database credentials in wp-config.php, have wp-config.php look for a local-config.php file. Replace the section that defines the database credentials with something like this:

if ( file_exists( __DIR__ . '/local-config.php' ) ) {
    include( __DIR__ . '/local-config.php' );
} else {
    die( 'local-config.php not found' );

Make sure you add local-config.php to your .gitignore so that no one commits their local version to the repo.

On production, you’ll create a local-config.php with production credentials. On staging or development environments, you’ll create a local-config.php with the credentials for those environments.

Production is a Choice

Right after the section that calls out local-config.php, put something like this:

if ( ! defined( 'WP_ENVIRONMENT' ) ) {
    define( 'WP_ENVIRONMENT', 'development' );

The idea here is that there will always be a WP_ENVIRONMENT constant available to you that tells you what kind of environment your site is being run in. In production, you will put this in local-config.php along with the database credentials:

define( 'WP_ENVIRONMENT', 'production' );

Now, in your theme, or your custom plugins, or other code, you can do things like this:

if ( 'production' === WP_ENVIRONMENT ) {
    add_filter( 'option_gravityformsaddon_gravityformsstripe_settings', function( $stripe_settings ) {
        $stripe_settings['api_mode'] = 'live';
        return $stripe_settings;
} else {
    add_filter( 'option_gravityformsaddon_gravityformsstripe_settings', function( $stripe_settings ) {
        $stripe_settings['api_mode'] = 'test';
        return $stripe_settings;

This bit of code is for the Easy Digital Downloads Stripe gateway plugin. It makes sure that on the production environment, the payment gateway is always in live mode, and the anywhere else, it is always in test mode. This protects against two very bad situations: connecting to live services from a test environment (which could result in customers being charged for test transactions) and connecting to test services from a live environment (which could prevent customers from purchasing products on your site).

You can also use this pattern to do things like hide Google Analytics on your test sites, or make sure debug plugins are only active on development sites (more on that, in a future post!)

Don’t rely on complicated procedures (“step 34: make sure you go into the Stripe settings and switch the site to test mode on your local test site”) — make these things explicit in code. Make it impossible to screw it up, and working on your sites will become faster and less stressful.

Do you need WordPress services?

Mark runs Covered Web Services which specializes in custom WordPress solutions with focuses on security, speed optimization, plugin development and customization, and complex migrations.

Please reach out to start a conversation!


by Mark Jaquith at February 05, 2018 02:59 PM under localdev

February 02, 2018

Matt: National Magazine Award Nomination

Longreads was nominated today for its first-ever National Magazine Award, in the category of columns and commentary, alongside ESPN The Magazine, BuzzFeed News, Pitchfork, and New York magazine. Laurie Penny's Longreads columns explore important questions of consent and female desire that have strongly resonated in our current moment. In addition to this nomination, Penny's columns have been translated and republished in Italian and German newspapers, and will be collected in a forthcoming book.

by Matt at February 02, 2018 09:37 PM under Asides

Dev Blog: The Month in WordPress: January 2018

Things got off to a gradual start in 2018 with momentum starting to pick up over the course of the month. There were some notable developments in January, including a new point release and work being done on other important areas of the WordPress project.

WordPress 4.9.2 Security and Maintenance Release

On January 16, WordPress 4.9.2 was released to fix an important security issue with the media player, as well as a number of other smaller bugs. This release goes a long way to smoothing out the 4.9 release cycle with the next point release, v4.9.3, due in early February.

To get involved in building WordPress Core, jump into the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, and follow the Core team blog.

Updated Plugin Directory Guidelines

At the end of 2017, the guidelines for the Plugin Directory received a significant update to make them clearer and expanded to address certain situations. This does not necessarily make these guidelines complete, but rather more user-friendly and practical; they govern how developers build plugins for the Plugin Directory, so they need to evolve with the global community that the Directory serves.

If you would like to contribute to these guidelines, you can make a pull request to the GitHub repository or email plugins@wordpress.org. You can also jump into the #pluginreview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.

by Hugh Lashbrooke at February 02, 2018 08:10 AM under Month in WordPress

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9.3 Rescheduled for February 5th

WordPress 4.9.3 is a maintenance release and was originally scheduled to be available on January 30th. However, due to ongoing tickets and a short time frame to test the release candidate, it has been pushed back to February 5th.

WordPress 4.9.3 RC 1 is available for testing. This release removes JSHint from the code editors due to conflicts with the GPL License. If your code relies on JSHint from Core, developers encourage you to update it to use a copy of JSHint.

Other changes in 4.9.3 include, avoiding page scrolling when navigating the media modal, a handful of improvements to the customizer, and more. Please test WordPress 4.9.3 on a staging site and if you encounter any bugs, you can report them on the Alpha/Beta section of the support forums.

by Jeff Chandler at February 02, 2018 08:09 AM under wordpress 4.9.3

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.3 Removed From Plugin Directory Due to Theme Conflicts

Earlier this week, WooCommerce 3.3 was released and among the features was increased theme compatibility. However, soon after release, users of third-party themes reported issues with categories displaying improperly.

Despite it being a minor release that should be fully backwards compatible with previous releases up to 3.0, WooCommerce has removed 3.3 from the plugin directory and replaced it with 3.2.6.

According to a post on the project’s official blog, WooCommerce 3.3.1 will take the place of 3.3 and will include a fix for the category display issue.

The issue affected themes with template overrides from 3.2.x which hadn’t been made compatible with 3.3. In general, we recommend that themes use hooks instead of template overrides. Themes such as Storefront (which does not use template overrides) were compatible at launch.

WooCommerce Blog

If you’ve already updated to WooCommerce 3.3 and your theme is compatible, you don’t need to make any changes. If your theme is not compatible, WooCommerce recommends checking with your theme’s author to see if a compatibility fix has been released.

Users can also wait for the release of 3.3.1, update to the pre-release version of 3.3.1, or use the WP-Rollback plugin and revert back to 3.2.6. WooCommerce developers suggest only going the WP-Rollback route if you’re not comfortable installing pre-release software.

Coen Jacobs, a former member of the WooCommerce development team, commented on Twitter that this was the first time he can remember that a release was reverted.

The development team has tested 3.3.1 with more than 40 different themes and believe it is stable. However, they are exercising caution and thoroughly testing the fixes with more themes. Users can expect to see 3.3.1 officially released the week of February 5th.

by Jeff Chandler at February 02, 2018 07:06 AM under woocommerce

Follow our RSS feed: 

WordPress Planet

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this site, send an email to Matt.

Official Blog

For official WordPress development news, check out the WordPress Core Blog.


Last updated:

February 24, 2018 07:45 AM
All times are UTC.