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April 24, 2019

WPTavern: Clean Blocks: A Free Multipurpose WordPress Theme Compatible with Gutenberg

Clean Blocks is a new free theme from Catch Themes that was released last week on WordPress.org. The design is suitable for businesses, agencies, freelancers, and other service professionals who require featured content, a portfolio, testimonials, a blog, and a services section.

Clean Blocks includes basic Gutenberg compatibility in that it supports all core blocks and is has a few enhanced block styles.

It may seem unnecessary to specify that it is Gutenberg-compatible, since the editor has been part of WordPress core since early December 2018. However, more than half of all WordPress users (~55%) are not running version 5.0+. Nearly 30% are hanging back at 4.9 and 25% are on even older versions.

Theme authors who create products that have Gutenberg-only features are not yet building for the majority of WordPress users. These authors are carving a path for the future of theme development. The Clean Blocks theme doesn’t really fall into this category, as its essentially enables users on WordPress 5.0+ to continue using the new editor without any styling issues. It is also compatible with earlier versions of WordPress (4.8+).

Clean Blocks recommends a collection of Catch Themes’ functionality plugins upon theme activation. These plugins handle things like galleries, infinite scroll, Instagram feeds, widgets, and additional content types. The theme includes dozens of options in the Customizer for controlling nearly every aspect of how content is displayed – from excerpt length to categories displayed on the home page to header text color. This sort of overloaded Customizer options panel is common for multipurpose style themes, and many users have come to expect it.

Check out a demo of the free version to see all the features in action.

The name “Clean Blocks” implies that the theme goes beyond the basics to customize the Gutenberg experience, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The vast majority of the features seen in the demo are controlled by the Customizer. For example, features like Testimonials and Services are not available as blocks. While some theme authors opt to integrate features like this by pairing their themes with block collection plugins, Catch Themes has put everything into the Customizer.

Even with Gutenberg compatibility, many themes still have a disconnect between the back and frontend where certain features can only be configured in the Customizer. This fractured customization experience is one of the necessary evils for this transition time before the block editor is fully capable of handling more complex aspects of site customization.

Clean Blocks is an example of a multipurpose theme that is essentially keeping it old school in terms of content customization, while providing basic Gutenberg compatibility for users who are running WordPress 5.0+. The theme is available on WordPress.org and has already been downloaded several hundred times during its first week in the directory.

by Sarah Gooding at April 24, 2019 10:46 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: Laraberg, a Gutenberg Implementation for Laravel, is Now in Beta

The family of Gutenberg derivatives is expanding with the beta release of Laraberg, an implementation for Laravel. Maurice Wijnia, a developer at Van Ons, an agency based in Amsterdam, created Laraberg as an easy way for developers building applications with Laravel to integrate the Gutenberg editor. It includes a simple API and support for the Laravel File Manager for uploading files.

“The goal for Laraberg is to give developers the ability to add the Gutenberg editor to any page they like in a way that is as easy as possible, but at the same time it has to prove enough options to tailor the editor so it can fit into any Laravel project out there,” Wijnia said.

Van Ons has a preference for using Laravel in their projects, due to its increasing popularity and active community. Laraberg makes it possible for the agency to tap into the convenience of the Gutenberg editor without giving up the performance and features they enjoy in the Laravel framework. The beta release is now available on GitHub and Pacagist. Van Ons plans to actively implement Laraberg in their own projects and will also be collecting feedback from beta testers.

Wijnia said he was inspired by the Drupal Gutenberg project, whose creators also authored Gutenberg.js, a package that makes it easier to bring Gutenberg into other applications. Providing a foundation for using Gutenberg on any CMS or framework is part of Frontkom’s long term vision for improving the open web and enabling communities to collaborate on mutually beneficial extensions.

As the editor continues to expand to more platforms and frameworks, a CMS-agnostic block library would offer a central place for Gutenberg’s increasingly diverse user base to discover new blocks. WordPress.org has the opportunity to provide that in its own block library, with the support of the Gutenberg Cloud team that pioneered the idea in 2018.

“If Gutenberg Cloud can serve as a proof of concept that WP.org can later adopt as their own, we are happy,” Frontkom CTO Per Andre Rønsen said. He also further commented on the WordPress.org Block Library proposal, advocating for the team to grow their vision beyond the WordPress community only. No official decision has been announced yet. If WordPress decides to forgo the opportunity of providing a block library inclusive of other frameworks and platforms, then the Gutenberg Cloud will continue to be the place for discovering blocks that can be used across multiple platforms.

by Sarah Gooding at April 24, 2019 05:24 PM under laravel

HeroPress: How the WordPress community helped me find my way

Pull Quote: Be the person you needed when you were younger.

Este ensaio também está disponível em português.

As I make a checklist of all the things I’ll have to pack to travel from São Paulo to Berlin, to attend WordCamp Europe 2019, I can’t stop thinking how hard the path to this point has been.

For some of people, a travel like this may seem ordinary, but for me, this will be the farthest I’ve ever been until now, in many ways. Especially because the last time I was planning to attend an international WordCamp, things didn’t work out at all.

So let me tell you about the path.

The first steps

I was born and raised in São Paulo. Allow me to give you some context about my city. São Paulo is the richest and biggest city of Brazil. With more than 14 million people, it’s also the biggest city of the south hemisphere. It’s even bigger than New York.

Like every big city, São Paulo is a place of opportunities, but also a place of contrasts.

Growing up, although we were poor, my family cared a lot about the education of me and my little brother. My father who always liked technology, managed to get a computer for us in 1996. At that time, I was 6 years old, and we were the only family in my neighborhood to have a computer for a long time, and that was sad. That early exposure to technology made a big difference in my life.

At age 13, I was very interested in graphic design and coding.

We had a very limited and expensive dial-up internet, that was only free after midnight and at weekends.

So to learn these skills, my best options were the CD-ROM magazines that my father would bring home. I also learned about HTML with a book about Microsoft Front Page. At age 14 I sold my first website, entirely created on Front Page, with lots of GIFs and <marquee> tags, for a neighbour who needed it for a college project. She loved it!

I decided I wanted to work with design. So I started a Graphic Design course during the high school. With my love for web design, all I wanted was to have a site that was actually online. I couldn’t afford a host, but fortunately at this time, blogs became very popular here in Brazil.

I looked for a platform to create a portfolio. I played a little with one called WordPress (you may have heard of it) and ended up using Blogger instead, because there was the possibility to customize the theme’s CSS online. I made a very dark grungy theme for my blog that’s still online.

A bumpy road

I got a scholarship for Graphic Design at a good College in São Paulo, but I still would have to pay for half of the monthly tuition. The problem was that my family definitely had no means to afford it. My parents said they would cut some expenses and help me, but I knew that there wasn’t anything they could cut. So I told them to not worry, I would find a job.

At this point I had made a freelance gig creating a HTML website (in Dreamweaver this time). With exactly 1 month left for the College application, this client proposed that I started working there to maintain the website I just made. So I was able to (barely) pay for the college. After six months, I applied for a full scholarship and it was granted. Things got a little better financially, but the path was still rocky.

It took me 3 hours by bus from my house to the college every single day, just inside the city of São Paulo (remember when I said this city is huge?).

I had the cheapest hot dog for lunch every day, because I couldn’t afford a real meal.

Then I would go to work (another 1h30 of bus from the college), and at night I would head back home (another bus, another 1h30). That was my routine for one and a half year throughout the college. As you can imagine, I was exhausted, and eventually getting ill.

A fork in the path

That’s when I decided that I would quit my job and start a business with my boyfriend Allyson Souza, that I met during my Graphic Design course in High School. We started the company officially in july, 2009. We named it Haste (the portuguese word for “stem”).

We were 19 years old, not much experience, zero network and money, a lot of energy, and some extra self-confidence (I could have summarized simply as “millennials”, right?). Allyson’s father gave us a computer and a part of his office, for which I am very grateful, and we created all the graphic materiais for his courses company in exchange.

We started working with graphic design only, and it took us some time to realize that web development was our future.

I remembered WordPress and tried it again. I liked how the platform had evolved. We made a second version of our website in WordPress, using a simple free theme, which I edited the CSS directly (oh god). We tried to create websites for clients modifying existing themes (at least we learned about child themes later), but we definitely didn’t feel in control of what we were doing.

When you hit your lowest point

In January 2011, my mother had a stroke. She had a brain surgery, and after a month, she was back home with a 6 inches scar in the head. That was the lowest point on my path.

The next years I had to take care of her, because of some consequences of the stroke, both physical and psychological. As the only family member who hadn’t a “formal” job, with a boss and a defined schedule, I was the one who had to take her to appointments, or the ER, or stay home when she wasn’t ok. It was very hard to reconcile the final year of college, the work and my mom’s health care.

The only way is up

At Haste, we felt that things were not evolving. In 2013, after some partnerships that took us to some confusing paths, we decided to have a complete makeover. We defined a new focus: web design and development with WordPress. We created a new website, with a theme fully developed by us. We wanted to overcome the fear of coding, and wanted to know exactly what we were doing. So we started studying a lot by ourselves.

Allyson was responsible for the PHP and JavaScript and I was supposed to make the design, the HTML and CSS. He started to ask a lot of questions in the group of WordPress Brasil community at Facebook. We finished the website, and people loved it, specially the illustration with parallax effect that made the girl move her eyes.

We were proud WordPress developers now.

We started attending the meetups, and then the WordCamp. I was amazed how the open-source culture was all about sharing knowledge with strangers, with no fear of competition, just the spirit of collaboration. We felt no longer isolated. We made real friends (shout out to all my WordPress friends).

Soon we were both involved in the community, and became WordCamp São Paulo organizers in 2014.

The new website and our participation in the WordPress community were really what we needed to give us some perspective and stability. So we didn’t stop there.

Bring others to walk with you

In the 2014 edition of WordCamp São Paulo, I was the only female speaker. That made me realize a few things.

First that the proportion of men in the community events was not only the majority but, we almost didn’t had any women at all, which was very weird.

Second, we know that lots of girls feel intimidated in an environment with too much men. I always had a majority of male friends since I was a kid, and even so, I probably wouldn’t get involved with the community if it wasn’t by the fact that my boyfriend / partner was with me.

A few sexists incidents had happened with me too. I reacted, and the men involved seemed to understand that I wasn’t ok, and changed their behavior as far as I know.

We don’t have as many meetups and WordCamps here in Brazil as in US. Although Brazil is becoming a technology hub, the WordPress community has still a lot of room to grow, compared to other communities. So, I think we have the opportunity to make things different while everything is not settled yet.

So I decided to act now.

I started a poll asking the women involved with WordPress the reasons why they wouldn’t attend the events. The results proved it wasn’t just me complaining about small things.

Some jokes kept women away. Some condescending actions made them feel diminished. And even the lack of information from our part, that the WordCamps are inclusive events, made the women not to come. The lack of time, was an important factor too.

Based on this data, the next year we managed to increase the proportion of female speakers from 5% to 32% at WordCamp São Paulo 2015. More women became organizers too. In 2019 we have 4 women out of 10 active organizers. The last WordCamp we had blind people attending, and their feedback was great. We still need to improve racial diversity though.

Barriers and frontiers

In 2015, Allyson had told me about this new scholarship program from the WordPress Foundation for women who work for equality in the community around the world. So I applied for the very first Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship. Kim Parsell left a beautiful legacy of inclusion and love, having worked to bring more women, older people, and other minorities to the WordPress community. She was known as the #WPMom.

The result came few months later. I received an email, and had no reaction for a few minutes. I had won the scholarship, and it granted me a travel to WordCamp US 2015, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, with flights and hotel covered.

You see: I had never left my country. I had just took flight for the first time that same year. I was not even close to dream to go to US, because it was impossible for me at the moment. Sometimes your mindset in the only thing putting limitations in your dreams.

I was so happy, you have no idea. Alx Block and Cami Kaos reached to me to give me instructions and they were very kind.

But then… my visa application was denied. They considered my sudden passport and visa solicitation, with no money to travel (that’s exactly the point of a scholarship!), and lack “ties” in Brazil very suspicious. I told them that the WordPress Foundation would pay for everything. The flights and the hotel were already booked. The officer even told me that the WordPress Foundation letter could be easily forged. I tried again, with no success.

I couldn’t go to WordCamp US 2015.

I couldn’t go to WordCamp US 2016 too, when they asked if I wanted to try again, and my visa was denied… again. This time I think at least the officer searched online for me, saw it was true, but couldn’t do anything, since my situation hadn’t change.

I was so disappointed. This still hurts me, I must confess. Sometimes, there are real barriers and gates that a simple mindset change cannot open.

Crossed paths

The next years, I focused on my company and the work at the community. My mom’s health improved, she’s in great shape now. My family supports my work.

We became specialists in WordPress at Haste. We developed themes, plugins and sites for companies in Brazil and America. I now have a stable income and I live exclusively from my work with WordPress. We are celebrating 10 years in 2019.

I traveled through Brazil because of WordPress, to speak at WordCamps and Meetups. I see more and more women working with WordPress, attending meetups and WordCamps, and talking to each other, finding something familiar in every other woman’s face.

Last year we decided we would go to WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin, since we don’t need a visa to most countries there, including Germany.

This time I can afford it (with a lot of planning and expenses cut, but I’ll be ok). I have to confess that I’m a little anxious about the immigration process.

My goal at WordCamp Europe is to know the most people I can. It’s not a matter of quantity, but if the WordPress community taught me something was that every person has something to teach and to learn. So If you are attending WordCamp Europe, let’s meet!

Opening trails

So now I hope you can see what this travel really means to me, and why every small conquest means a lot. It’s not just because it was hard. But because I’m not the only one who deserve it, but unfortunately I’m a exception between other people who have the same background as I.

There are so many young girls and boys that don’t dare to dream about visiting other countries, or even getting in the college. Lots of kids that don’t have a computer, or even access to internet. The only difference is that I was given opportunities, people believed in me. Doors were opened. And just then I could prove my value.

Now my next dream is to be able to make the journey a little easier than it was for me, specially for women and young Brazilians. Because I think that’s our responsibility in the community. Teach others, share information, donate some of your time, create new tools, plugins and resources, mentor people. As my brother’s tattoo says, be the person you needed when you were younger.

Como a comunidade WordPress me ajudou a encontrar o meu caminho

Enquanto faço uma lista de todas as coisas que preciso para viajar de São Paulo para Berlim, para participar do WordCamp Europe 2019, não posso deixar de pensar no quão difícil foi o caminho até esse ponto.

Para algumas pessoas, uma viagem como essa pode parecer comum, mas, para mim, esse será o mais longe que já fui até agora, de muitas maneiras. Especialmente porque, da última vez que eu planejava participar de um WordCamp internacional, as coisas não deram certo.

Então deixe-me contar sobre esse caminho.

Os primeiros passos

Eu nasci e cresci em São Paulo. Permita-me dar um pouco de contexto sobre minha cidade. São Paulo é a mais rica e maior cidade do Brasil. Com mais de 14 milhões de pessoas, é também a maior cidade do hemisfério sul. É maior que Nova York.

Como toda grande cidade, São Paulo é um lugar de oportunidades, mas também de contrastes.

Crescendo, apesar de sermos pobres, minha família se importava muito com a minha educação e do meu irmão mais novo. Meu pai, que sempre gostou de tecnologia, conseguiu um computador para nós em 1996. Naquela época, eu tinha 6 anos, e éramos a única família das redondezas a ter um computador por um longo tempo, e isso era triste. Essa exposição precoce à tecnologia fez uma grande diferença na minha vida.

Aos 13 anos, eu já estava interessada em design gráfico e programação. Nós tínhamos aquela internet discada muito limitada e cara, que só era gratuita depois da meia-noite e nos fins de semana. Então, para aprender essas habilidades, minhas melhores opções eram as revistas em CD-ROM que meu pai trazia para casa. Eu também aprendi sobre HTML com um livro sobre o Microsoft Front Page. Aos 14 anos, vendi meu primeiro site, inteiramente criado no Front Page, com muitos GIFs e tags <marquee>, para uma vizinha que precisava para um projeto da faculdade. Ela adorou!

Eu decidi que queria trabalhar com design. Então fiz o curso técnico em design gráfico durante o ensino médio. Com o meu interesse pelo web design, tudo o que eu queria era ter um site que estivesse online. Eu não podia pagar um servidor, mas felizmente, neste momento, os blogs se tornaram muito populares aqui no Brasil.

Procurei uma plataforma para criar um portfólio. Eu brinquei um pouco com uma plataforma chamada WordPress (você pode ter ouvido falar dela) mas acabei usando o Blogger, porque havia a possibilidade de personalizar o CSS do tema online. Eu fiz um tema escuro e grunge para o meu blog que ainda está online.

Uma estrada esburacada

Consegui uma bolsa de Design Gráfico em uma boa faculdade em São Paulo, mas ainda teria que pagar metade da mensalidade. O problema era que minha família definitivamente não tinha como arcar com isso. Meus pais disseram que cortariam algumas despesas e me ajudariam, mas eu sabia que não havia nada que pudessem cortar. Então eu disse a eles para não se preocuparem, eu encontraria um emprego.

Neste momento, eu havia feito um trabalho freelancer criando um site HTML (no Dreamweaver desta vez). Com exatamente 1 mês para o aplicativo da faculdade, esta cliente propôs que eu começasse a trabalhar lá para manter o site que tinha acabado de criar. Então eu pude pagar pela faculdade (bem mal). Depois de seis meses, solicitei uma bolsa de estudos integral e ela foi concedida. As coisas melhoraram um pouco financeiramente, mas o caminho ainda era rochoso.

Levava 3 horas de ônibus da minha casa para a faculdade todos os dias, apenas dentro da cidade de São Paulo (lembra quando eu disse que essa cidade é enorme?). Eu comia um cachorro-quente mais barato para o almoço todos os dias, porque eu não podia pagar uma refeição de verdade. Então eu ia trabalhar (outra 1h30 de ônibus da faculdade), e à noite eu voltava para casa (outro ônibus, outro 1h30). Essa foi a minha rotina por um ano e meio durante a faculdade. Como você pode imaginar, eu estava exausta e ficando doente.

Uma bifurcação no caminho

Foi então que decidi largar meu trabalho e começar um negócio com meu namorado Allyson Souza, que conheci durante o curso de Design Gráfico no Ensino Médio. Nós começamos a empresa oficialmente em julho de 2009. Nós a nomeamos Haste.

Nós tínhamos 19 anos de idade, não muita experiência, zero networking e dinheiro, muita energia e alguma autoconfiança extra (eu poderia ter resumido simplesmente como “millennials”, certo?). O pai do Allyson nos deu um computador e uma parte de seu escritório, pelo que sou muito grata, e criamos todos os materiais gráficos para sua empresa de cursos em troca.

Começamos a trabalhar apenas com design gráfico e levamos algum tempo para perceber que o desenvolvimento web era o nosso futuro.

Lembrei-me do WordPress e tentei novamente. Eu gostei de como a plataforma evoluiu. Fizemos uma segunda versão do nosso site no WordPress, usando um simples tema gratuito, que eu editei diretamente o CSS (não façam isso!). Tentamos criar websites para clientes que modificando temas existentes (pelo menos aprendemos sobre temas filhos mais tarde), mas definitivamente não nos sentíamos no controle do que estávamos fazendo.

Quando você atinge seu ponto mais baixo

Em janeiro de 2011, minha mãe teve um AVC. Ela fez uma cirurgia no cérebro, e depois de um mês, ela estava em casa com uma cicatriz na cabeça. Esse foi o ponto mais baixo do meu caminho.

Nos anos seguintes eu tive que cuidar dela, por causa de algumas consequências do AVC, tanto físicas quanto psicológicas. Como a única pessoa da família que não tinha um emprego “formal”, com um chefe e um horário de trabalho definido, fui eu quem teve que levá-la às consultas, ao pronto-socorro ou ficar em casa quando ela não estava bem. Foi bem difícil conciliar o último ano da faculdade, o trabalho e cuidar da saúde da minha mãe.

O único caminho é para cima

Na Haste, sentimos que as coisas não estavam evoluindo. Em 2013, após algumas parcerias que nos levaram a caminhos confusos, decidimos fazer uma reformulação completa. Definimos um novo foco: web design e desenvolvimento com WordPress. Criamos um novo site, com um tema totalmente desenvolvido por nós. Queríamos superar o medo de programar e queríamos saber exatamente o que estávamos fazendo. Então começamos a estudar muito por conta própria.

Allyson ficou responsável pelo PHP e JavaScript e eu deveria fazer o design, o HTML e CSS. Ele começou a postar muitas perguntas no grupo da comunidade WordPress Brasil no Facebook. Nós terminamos o site, e as pessoas adoraram, especialmente a ilustração com efeito de paralaxe que fez a garota mover seus olhos. Nós éramos orgulhosos desenvolvedores do WordPress agora.

Nós começamos a frequentar os meetups, e depois o WordCamp da comunidade WordPress. Fiquei espantada com a forma como a cultura de código aberto era toda sobre compartilhar conhecimento com estranhos, sem medo de competir, apenas o espírito de colaboração. Não nos sentíamos mais isolados. Nós fizemos amigos de verdade (alô amigos do WordPress).

Logo nos envolvemos na comunidade e nos tornamos organizadores do WordCamp São Paulo em 2014.

O novo site e nossa participação na comunidade WordPress foram realmente o que precisávamos para nos dar alguma perspectiva e estabilidade. Então nós não paramos por aí.

Traga os outros para caminhar com você

Na edição de 2014 do WordCamp São Paulo, eu era a única palestrante mulher. Isso me fez perceber algumas coisas.

Primeiro, a proporção de homens nos eventos da comunidade não era apenas a maioria, mas quase não tínhamos nenhuma mulher. O que era muito estranho.

Em segundo lugar, sabemos que muitas mulheres se sentem intimidadas em um ambiente com muitos homens. Eu sempre tive a maioria de amigos homens desde criança, e mesmo assim, eu provavelmente não me envolveria com a comunidade se não fosse pelo fato de meu namorado / sócio estar comigo.

Alguns incidentes sexistas também aconteceram comigo. Eu reagi, e os homens envolvidos parecem ter entendido o problema, e mudaram seus comportamentos até onde eu sei.

Não temos tantos meetups e WordCamps aqui no Brasil como nos EUA. Embora o Brasil esteja lentamente se tornando um polo de tecnologia, a comunidade WordPress ainda tem muito espaço para crescer, em comparação com outras comunidades. Então, acho que temos a oportunidade de fazer as coisas diferentes enquanto tudo ainda não está definido.

Então eu decidi mudar isso.

Eu comecei uma pesquisa perguntando às mulheres envolvidas com WordPress quais eram as razões pelas quais elas não compareciam aos eventos. Os resultados provaram que não era só eu reclamando de pequenas coisas.

Algumas piadas mantinham as mulheres afastadas. Algumas ações condescendentes fizeram com que se sentissem diminuídas. E mesmo a falta de informação de nossa parte, de que os WordCamps são eventos inclusivos, fez com que as mulheres não viessem. A falta de tempo também foi um fator importante.

Com base nesses dados, no ano seguinte conseguimos aumentar a proporção de mulheres palestrantes de 5% para 32% no WordCamp São Paulo 2015. Mais mulheres se tornaram organizadoras também. Em 2019, temos 4 mulheres de 10 organizadores ativos. No último WordCamp, tivemos deficientes visuais comparecendo e o feedback deles foi ótimo. Ainda precisamos melhorar a diversidade racial.

Barreiras e fronteiras

Em 2015, Allyson me contou sobre o novo programa de bolsas de estudos da Fundação WordPress para mulheres que trabalham pela igualdade na comunidade em todo o mundo. Então me inscrevi para a primeira bolsa Kim Parsell Memorial. Kim Parsell deixou um lindo legado de inclusão e amor, tendo trabalhado para trazer mais mulheres, pessoas mais velhas e outras minorias para a comunidade WordPress. Ela era conhecida como a #WPMom.

O resultado veio alguns meses depois. Recebi um email e não tive reação por alguns minutos. Eu tinha ganhado a bolsa que me garantia uma viagem para o WordCamp US 2015, na Filadélfia, na Pensilvânia, com voos e hotel cobertos.

Veja bem: eu nunca tinha saído do meu país. Eu tinha acabado de voar de avião pela primeira vez naquele mesmo ano. Eu não estava nem perto de sonhar em ir para os EUA, porque era impossível para mim no momento. Às vezes sua mentalidade na única coisa colocando limitações em seus sonhos.

Eu estava tão feliz, você não faz ideia. Alx Block e Cami Kaos entraram em contato para me dar instruções e foram muito gentis.

Mas então… meu pedido de visto foi negado. Eles consideraram minha solicitação repentina de passaporte e visto, sem dinheiro para viajar (esse é exatamente o ponto de uma bolsa de estudos!),  e a falta de “laços” no Brasil muito suspeitos. Eu disse a eles que a Fundação WordPress pagaria por tudo. Os voos e o hotel já estavam reservados. O oficial até me disse que a carta da Fundação WordPress poderia ser facilmente falsificada. Eu tentei de novo, sem sucesso.

Eu não pude ir para o WordCamp US 2015.

Eu também não pude ir ao WordCamp US 2016, quando eles perguntaram se eu queria tentar novamente, e meu visto foi negado… de novo. Desta vez, acho que pelo menos o oficial pesquisou on-line por mim, viu que era verdade, mas não conseguiu fazer nada, pois minha situação não mudara.

Eu estava tão desapontada. Ainda fico triste de lembrar, devo confessar. Às vezes, existem barreiras e portões reais que uma simples mudança de mentalidade não pode abrir.

Caminhos cruzados

Nos anos seguintes, concentrei-me em minha empresa e no trabalho na comunidade. A saúde da minha mãe melhorou, ela está em ótima agora. Minha família apóia meu trabalho.

Nós nos tornamos especialistas em WordPress na Haste. Desenvolvemos temas, plugins e sites para empresas no Brasil e na América. Agora tenho uma renda estável e vivo exclusivamente do meu trabalho com o WordPress. Estamos comemorando 10 anos em 2019.

Eu viajei pelo Brasil por causa do WordPress, para falar em WordCamps e Meetups. Fui para Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre. Eu vejo mais e mais mulheres trabalhando com o WordPress, participando de meetups e WordCamps, e conversando, encontrando algo familiar no rosto das outras mulheres.

No ano passado, decidimos que iríamos para o WordCamp Europa 2019 em Berlim, já que não precisamos de visto para a maioria dos países, incluindo a Alemanha.

Desta vez, posso pagar (com muito planejamento e redução de despesas). Tenho que confessar que estou um pouco ansiosa com o processo de imigração.

Meu objetivo no WordCamp Europa é conhecer o máximo de pessoas que posso. Não é uma questão de quantidade, mas se a comunidade do WordPress me ensinou algo foi que cada pessoa tem algo para ensinar e aprender. Então, se você estiver participando do WordCamp Europa, vamos nos conhecer!

Abrindo trilhas

Então agora eu espero que você possa ver o que essa viagem realmente significa para mim, e porque cada pequena conquista significa muito. Não é só porque foi difícil. Mas porque eu não sou a única que merece isso, mas infelizmente sou uma exceção entre outras pessoas que têm o mesmo histórico que eu.

Há tantas meninas e meninos que não se atrevem a sonhar em visitar outros países ou até mesmo entrar na faculdade. E quando se atrevem, tem seus sonhos podados. Muitas crianças que não têm computador nem acesso à internet. A única diferença é que me foram dadas oportunidades, as pessoas acreditaram em mim. Portas foram abertas. E só então eu pude provar o meu valor.

Agora meu próximo sonho é poder tornar a jornada um pouco mais fácil do que foi para mim, especialmente para mulheres e jovens brasileiros. Porque acho que é nossa responsabilidade na comunidade. Ensine outras pessoas, compartilhe informações, doe um pouco do seu tempo, crie novas ferramentas, plugins e recursos, oriente as pessoas. Como diz a tatuagem do meu irmão, seja a pessoa de que você precisava quando era mais jovem.

The post How the WordPress community helped me find my way appeared first on HeroPress.

by Anyssa Ferreira at April 24, 2019 12:00 PM

April 23, 2019

WPTavern: Henry Zhu Launches New Maintainers Anonymous Podcast

Maintainers Anonymous is a new podcast created by Henry Zhu, who has been the primary maintainer of Babel for the past two years. Babel is a JavaScript compiler used by Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and millions of others. It is downloaded over 18 million times per month and used by more than 1.8 million repositories on GitHub. Zhu recently left his job at Adobe to work on Babel and open source full-time.

In his new podcast, Zhu is talking with other maintainers to unearth their valuable perspectives and share similar struggles. By presenting them as regular people, rather than faceless code projects, Zhu is aiming to encourage empathy for maintainers.

Maintainers Anonymous is centered around the “how” of maintenance and Zhu is open to having guests from a variety of fields and disciplines, such as a librarian, gardener, or moderator. In an episode titled “Speedrunning with Omnigamer,” Zhu and his first guest, Eric Koziel, discuss the intricacies of “speedrunning,” playing a video game with the goal of beating it as fast as possible. Koziel describes it as a medium for doing an optimization challenge. Since the games are just software, he and Zhu explored how speedrunning intersects with coding and talked about some of the parallels with maintaining open source software.

The next two episodes are a series with guest Stephanie Hurlburt, a graphics engineer and owner of the company that makes Basis, an image/texture compression product. They delve deeper into how business development is relevant to open source, setting healthy boundaries, inherent vs. perceived value, marketing, and more.

If you’re looking for a new podcast to add to your subscriptions, Zhu’s Maintainers Anonymous offers a wide variety of topics and perspectives that touch on open source, maintainership, and other aspects of life and business in the world of technology. New episodes are available on the podcast’s website, and listeners can also subscribe via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Follow @MaintainersAnono on Twitter for all the latest.

by Sarah Gooding at April 23, 2019 05:53 PM under podcast

April 22, 2019

WPTavern: Celebrate Earth Day by Learning about Environmentally Friendly Web Development on WordPress.tv

Today is Earth Day, a worldwide annual event first celebrated in 1970 that focuses on addressing environmental concerns. Earth Day Network coordinates 192 countries with more than a billion people participating in today’s event. The organization uses WordPress to build the world’s largest environmental movement through education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.

Over the past few years, environmentally-friendly web development has become an increasingly popular topic at WordCamps. Several presentations are available on WordPress.tv that highlight how web developers have the ability to make a positive impact on reducing the internet’s carbon footprint.

Jenn Schlick, a project manager at the MIT Energy Initiative, was one of the first WordCamp speakers to bring greater awareness to this topic with her presentation on Low-Carbon Web Design at WordCamp Finland in 2016. She explained a few ways that developers can minimize a website’s carbon footprint by choosing online services that are powered by renewable energy and optimizing for performance.

In 2017, Tom Greenwood gave a presentation titled Zero Carbon WordPress that challenged the community to help tackle climate change. With WordPress powering such a large percentage of the web, the community has the opportunity to lead the way in developing sites that use less energy, powered by hosts that run on renewable energy sources.

More recently, Jack Lenox spoke at WordCamp Bordeaux 2019 on “How better performing websites can help save the planet.” His presentation had a stronger emphasis on performance with practical steps for simplifying the interface, reducing code, using the right image file types, caching, accessibility, and more.

Lenox has also created a tiny WordPress theme called Susty that he said is “an experiment in minimalism.” It loads WordPress with just 6KB of data transfer.

At WordCamp Nordic 2019, Jaakko Alajoki gave a presentation titled Environmentally friendly WordPress development, with experiments that used a Raspberry Pi web server and power meter to demonstrate power consumption. The session should be available on WordPress.tv soon.

by Sarah Gooding at April 22, 2019 10:11 PM under Video

April 20, 2019

WPTavern: AMP Plugin for WordPress 1.1 Adds Experimental PWA Plugin Integration, Pre-release of AMP Stories Editor Available in 1.2-alpha

Version 1.1 of the AMP Plugin for WordPress was released this week after four months in development and 125 merged pull requests from contributors. It includes CSS tree shaking improvements that restore AMP compatibility for WordPress’ default Twenty Nineteen theme, reducing the size of its stylesheet by 53%.

In an effort to get more users opting for the Native mode option, the plugin’s development team has rebranded the template modes:

In this release the Paired mode has been rebranded as Transitional mode. One reason for this is that the classic mode was also a paired mode (where there are separate parallel URLs for the AMP version). But more importantly, the goal for this mode is to help facilitate a transition a site to being AMP-first, where there is no separate AMP-specific URLs. So the goal of the Transitional mode is to be a path to Native mode.

The team has also decided to rebrand Classic mode to “Reader” mode, instead of deprecating it. It provides a basic AMP template for getting started that doesn’t necessarily match the site’s theme. Users can can add an “Exit Reader Mode” to the header of their sites with a setting in the Customizer.

Version 1.1 introduces compatibility with the PWA feature plugin, bringing support for the service worker to AMP pages. It extends the service worker to cache AMP CDN assets, images, and Google Fonts. Since the PWA feature plugin is still under active development, the service worker integration is still considered experimental.

Support for creating AMP Stories in WordPress is the next major feature coming to the plugin. A pre-release of the AMP Stories editor is available in 1.2 alpha 1, which also requires the latest version of the Gutenberg plugin. It uses the Gutenberg editor to allow users to build AMP stories with rich media capabilities.

Amp stories

A preview of the AMP Stories editor was unveiled at AMP Conf 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Check out the video below to see Alberto Medina give a quick demonstration of how it will work in the upcoming version 1.2 of the AMP for WordPress plugin.

by Sarah Gooding at April 20, 2019 02:16 AM under amp

April 19, 2019

Post Status: “Become the best version of yourself.” An Interview with Rich Tabor

Rich Tabor is transitioning to a new role now as Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience with GoDaddy. In the past three years, Rich founded a digital agency, launched a popular PhotoShop resource site, and started ThemeBeans, a successful WordPress theme shop.

ThemeBeans and CoBlocks, Rich’s suite of page builder blocks in a plugin, have gone with him to Godaddy. (CoBlocks remains free, and now all the ThemeBeans products are too.) Rich took some time to reflect with us on his path so far and where he sees the WordPress ecosystem going in the future.

Q: What led you to dive into the new post-Gutenberg reality of WordPress and create CoBlocks and Block Gallery?

I’ve been fascinated by the block editor ever since Matias’s Gutenberg demo during WordCamp US 2017. I was instantly convinced that Gutenberg would lead us into the next era of creation in WordPress. I saw an opportunity, was in a position to execute and had enough expertise to take it on.

Q: Did sales for these products meet your expectations?

I actually did not release paid versions for either CoBlocks or Block Gallery. There were plans to monetize both plugins, but at the time we were focused on delivering innovative solutions to Gutenberg and pushing the editor to its extremes. Adoption-wise, both plugins grew particularly fast, and are continuing to do so. In that sense, they most certainly exceeded my expectations.

Q: What do you see as the near and long term future of the WordPress ecosystem? As solo developers and small firms are increasingly hired by bigger fish, especially hosting companies, will there still be a place for small entrepreneurs?

I believe that the WordPress ecosystem will continue to be an innovative field for both entrepreneurs and larger companies. It’s all about innovation and being able to execute — regardless of the size of the team behind the product or idea.

And over the last few years, the WordPress economy and its entrepreneurial leaders, have evolved into quite a mature ecosystem. I’d say the fact that companies such as GoDaddy are investing in the future of WordPress is a huge sign of that maturity and growth in our industry. Hosts, in particular, are uniquely equipped to make a huge difference in how so many folks use WordPress. Investing in products and talent that level-up the overall WordPress experience is good for us all.

Q: What about GoDaddy made it seem like a good fit or you? Did you consider any other types of companies outside the hosting space?

I flew out to Phoenix to meet the WordPress leadership team at GoDaddy and it became quite clear that they were all-in on this new future of WordPress + Gutenberg.

GoDaddy has assembled a passionate and highly qualified team of folks who are hyper-focused on improving the WordPress experience and leading the next wave of innovation in this space. Joining this team and leading the efforts as the Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience is a good and logical fit to fulfilling my personal mission to help make WordPress beautifully simpler. I knew that what we’d build would touch millions of sites and empower people all over the world to succeed online.

Q: Before GoDaddy came along, what was your plan in terms of growth and long-term sustainability?

Having run a successful theme shop for a number of years, I understood the importance of having a solid plan for growth and sustainability.

My plan for both CoBlocks and Block Gallery was to release top-tiered paid versions of each, with innovative tools, blocks and design systems. Those would have likely arrived in Q3 of 2019, as our focus for the first half of the year was to innovate and grow our user base. Now I hope to continue on that same development trajectory, adding many of those same features to the current plugins.

Q: What is your best advice for someone who is currently independent and wants to build a small business in the WordPress space today? What are the best lessons or advice you can provide?

First off, don’t let an opportunity get away from you. Learn to identify opportunities that you are perfectly suited to execute on, then dive right in. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and don’t be afraid to try something new. Learning how to learn and then taking that a step further by continuing to learn every single day, is a catalyst for enormous personal and professional growth. It’s not all about making cool stuff, it’s about challenging yourself to become the best version of yourself; the rest will fall into place.  

by Dan Knauss at April 19, 2019 09:15 PM under Business owners

WPTavern: WordPress 5.2 Will Add 13 New Icons to the Dashicon Library

Dashicons, the WordPress admin icon font, will be getting its first update in three years when WordPress 5.2 ships. The library will be updated to use WOFF2 (Web Open Font Format 2), replacing the previous WOFF 1.0 format for improved compression. WOFF 1.0 will still be included in core to maintain backwards compatibility.

In addition to the new font file format, Dashicons is adding 13 new icons to the library and CSS declarations for 18 icons that were previously unavailable. The additions span a range of categories, including Buddicons, Core Teams, sites, menus, social, and miscellaneous.

Nate Allen, a Senior Web Engineer at 10up, is a new contributor to the Dashicons library, even though he is not a designer.

“WordPress has had a ‘businessman’ dashicon for as long as I can remember, but didn’t have a female or gender neutral version – until now!” Allen said.

“Previously I worked for Firefly Partners, an agency that builds WordPress sites for nonprofits. I was working on a project for a woman’s rights organization that needed a ‘staff’ post type. It was a little awkward explaining to them that there was a ‘businessman’ icon we could use for free, or they could pay extra to have a custom ‘businesswoman’ icon designed. Not a great look for WordPress.”

Allen submitted a GitHub issue, to see if someone would be willing to create a “businesswoman” and “businessperson” icon, but nobody had the time. Dashicons is maintained by a volunteer team and it can take a long time to get new icons designed.

“About 5-6 months later I learned how to use Illustrator to create vector icons and submitted the icons myself,” Allen said. He submitted the PR and the new icons he created will be included in the next release of WordPress.

These business people icons are useful for projects that include creating things like custom post types for bios, testimonials, team members, and job postings. WordPress 5.2’s updates to Dashicons make the library more inclusive and useful for more diverse projects.

by Sarah Gooding at April 19, 2019 02:05 AM under dashicons

April 18, 2019

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.6 Released with New Product Blocks and Major Performance Improvements

WooCommerce 3.6 was released this week after six months in development. Store owners with sites running on WordPress 5.0+ will now have access to eight new product blocks, including hand picked products, featured products, products by category/attribute, sale products, new products, top rated, products, and best selling products.

These blocks were previously available as a feature plugin but have now been rolled into WooCommerce core. The plugin now requires WooCommerce 3.6 and will continue to be used for iterating and exploring future WooCommerce block editor features.

Performance improvements were one of the major focuses for this version, which introduces product data lookup tables. WooCommerce core developers’ long term plan is to move post meta to custom tables and a feature plugin is currently in development towards this goal. In the meantime, lookup tables provide a structured index for product data that speeds up querying. This version also brings improvements to transient invalidation, changes to REST API initialization, caching improvements, and more.

WooCommerce developer Timmy Crawford highlighted a few frontend performance improvements in the 3.6 release post:

  • A 62% improvement in the load time when ordering and filtering products
  • Reduced overall load time by bypassing inactive webhooks
  • Reduced the load time for pages with category or product attribute lists
  • Reduced load time of product pages with attributes

This release also includes the controversial new marketplace suggestions that advertise official extensions inside the WooCommerce admin. The setting for turning them off can be found under the “Accounts & Privacy” section of the admin.

For the full list of additional enhancements in 3.6, check out the release post or view the plugin’s changelog. The release should be backwards compatible with sites running WooCommerce 3.0+, but testing how the update affects themes and extensions is highly recommended before updating. Version 3.6.1 was released today to fix some issues 3.6.0 had with certain hosting environments.

by Sarah Gooding at April 18, 2019 07:31 PM under woocommerce

WPTavern: Gutenberg 5.5 Adds New Group Block for Nesting Child Blocks

Gutenberg 5.5 was released with the long-awaited Group block, previously known as the Section block. It was renamed to avoid confusion with the HTML5 section element and prevent potential overlap with future site/theme type sections, such as headers, sidebars, and footers. The first iteration of the Group block supports the ability to nest other blocks inside it and the ability to align the block and any of its child blocks that include alignment settings.

“It’s a minimal version at the moment and improvements about the flows to add inner blocks, group/ungroup blocks are expected in follow-up releases,” Gutenberg phase 2 technical lead Riad Benguella said. In testing the feature I found that it is indeed a rocky start and far from intuitive to use but a more refined grouping experience will be developed after further testing and feedback.

The Group block lays the foundation for a future where WordPress themes may evolve to become block templates. In response to a comment about how the Group block could essentially replace the widget management interface, Benguella offered a glimpse of how Gutenberg will eventually transform the theme industry:

In a world where themes are made of block templates instead of php templates, there’s no need for widget areas.

That said, Gutenberg is a huge change for WordPress and its community. With the new blocks concept, Phase 2 is about helping the WordPress community adopt this new concept without completely changing what a theme means in WordPress. We shouldn’t just abandon existing themes and switch into full-site editing without an iterative plan.

We’ll eventually get there where everything is made of block templates and blocks but we need to make smaller steps first and the first one is the ability to use blocks instead of widgets in existing themes.

Gutenberg 5.5 also adds the image fill option and vertical alignment support to the Media and Text blocks.

This release also includes a few minor but useful improvements, such as automatically populating the link field when the selected text is an email.

The Gutenberg team is also making progress on the new widgets screen with a barebones testing version in place that will allow them to start investigating and tackling technical issues related to this screen. It’s not functional yet but provides a place to further explore the block editor in this context.

The bug fixes included in Gutenberg 5.5 will be in the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release, which was previously targeted for April 30. There is currently a proposal open for pushing it back to May 7, due to the number of open tickets.

by Sarah Gooding at April 18, 2019 03:00 AM under gutenberg

April 17, 2019

HeroPress: Building Stability With WordPress – WordPress এবং স্থিতিশীলতা, বাংলা তে পড়ুন

Pull Quote: Think what new you have done, and what new can be.

এই নিবন্ধটি বাংলায় পাওয়া যায়

This is the first time my real life story is going to be live for the people of the World. Till now I was living my life with my own surroundings, now it will be no more that much of hidden.

I am a very simple person from Kolkata, India. I started my career with IBM ACE i.e an IBM education wing, as a Technical Teacher. I used to teach my students several subjects like C,C++, Perl and PHP. Although I was teaching many subjects my focus was in PHP starting from 2003. In the early days of 2009 I came to know about WordPress. From the first few days I was struggling with the Administrative panel and other services.

In 2009 end I decided to step down from my job and started differently. I started development work and also continue teaching the students.

I was decided to develop the websites and web applications with the WordPress only, and I got the version called `Carmen` 2.9 which was a relief for me to handle the CMS. I got some help from my students and friends who were engaged in WordPress development at that time. They teach me how I can handle the WordPress more proficient way. I learnt how to develop WordPress themes, started developing the plugins.

Working with WordPress

I started developing the website using WordPress from 2010 onwards. Later on 2014 I started developing WordPress theme for the Themeforest Market place. I also started developing the plugins which helps my development process to run smoothly.

How it changed My life

My life started changing from 2010 when I started developing with WordPress. The instability of my life was changed into a stable life, which was beyond my expectation. I was living a good life with my family. What else I can expect from WordPress.

What’s Different

Apart from developing the Websites and other application, I started my research on how the development process can be more smoother and flexible. I started working on WP CLI to developing the automated process for WordPress. I developed a script that helps developers to install the WordPress flawlessly using WP CLI. My linux knowledge also helped me to write shell scripts. The script can be found in my account at github. I am also trying to get into the easy deployment process with CI/CD for the developers using Bitbucket Pipeline and AWS.

I slowly become an expert on the theme approval guidelines of Themeforest Market place. Apart from that I started writing blogs on the various topics related to WordPress. Achieved almost 3K reputation in StackOverflow. Developed Plugins in wordpress.org.

WordPress.org

Even though I was developed many plugins and theme I never thought of uploading that in wordpress.org. I start realizing that to help many more people in WordPress, wordpress.org will be a better place than StackOverflow.

WordCamp Kolkata

I joined Kolkata WordPress Community who was planning the WordCamp Kolkata, and thankfully they have selected me as a volunteer. Mr Subrata Sarkar( WordPress Core Contributor ) and the team who recognized me and give a huge responsibilities in WordCamp Kolkata 2019. It was again a tremendous experiences with WordPress. Since that was my first WordCamp I tried to fulfill my responsibilities. Become a Volunteer I learnt to be more polite and more decent to the people, make many more friends from different regions and countries.

My Inspirations

There are many people who inspired and helped me during my journey, its small tribute to them by mentioning a few : Abhik Goswami, Sneh Sagar Prajapati, Prabhas Chowdhury, Debobrata Debnath, Prosenjit Manna, Sk. Shamim Ullah, Soumit Pal, Subrata Sarkar.

My Words

Be polite to others. Be friendly to your Juniors and fellow developers. Try to teach them rather pointing to the mistakes. Attend Meetups. Contribute to the Community. Think what new you have done, and what new can be.

Stay healthy, stay fit with WordPress 🙂

WordPress এবং স্থিতিশীলতা, বাংলা তে পড়ুন

WordPress র সাথে পরিচয় ২০০৯ এর December এ, শুরু থেকেই ভালো লাগা. Website বা Plugin বানান দিযে কাজ শুরু করি ২০১০ এ. তারপর থেকে শুধু WordPress এই কাজ করে চলেছি . ২০০৯ এ যখ্ন চাকরি ছেড়ে শুধু development র কাজ শুরু করি সাথে পড়ানো ও চলতে থাকে. কিছু Friend আর Student দের help নিয়ে WordPress self learning চলতে থাকে .

২০১৪ সাল থেকে themefores এ theme বানান শুরু করি. ধীরে ধীরে আমি আমার সামনে চলার পথ খুজে পাই. আমি themeforest theme approve guideline expert হয়ে উঠি. আমি github এ আমার wpcli experiment করতে থাকি. Automation আমার main target হয়ে ওঠে.

Stackoverflow ছাড়াও wordpress.org তে plugin তৈরী করি.
WordCamp Kolkata 2019 : এখানে volunteering অনেক নতুন মানুষের সাথে আলাপ হয়. বূঝতে পারি Community কে enjoy করতে, জানতে পারি কি করে community কে কি করে return করতে হয়.

আগামী দিনে আমি WordPress র popularity বারিয়ে যেতে চেষ্টা চালিয়ে যাব.

The post Building Stability With WordPress – WordPress এবং স্থিতিশীলতা, বাংলা তে পড়ুন appeared first on HeroPress.

by Tristup Ghosh at April 17, 2019 12:00 PM

WPTavern: PluginVulnerabilities.com is Protesting WordPress.org Support Forum Moderators by Publishing Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

image credit: Jason Blackeye

A security service called Plugin Vulnerabilities, founded by John Grillot, is taking a vigilante approach to addressing grievances against WordPress.org support forum moderators. The company is protesting the moderators’ actions by publishing zero-day vulnerabilities (those for which no patch has been issued) and then attempting to contact the plugin author via the WordPress.org support forums:

Due to the moderators of the WordPress Support Forum’s continued inappropriate behavior we are full disclosing vulnerabilities in protest until WordPress gets that situation cleaned up, so we are releasing this post and then only trying to notify the developer through the WordPress Support Forum. You can notify the developer of this issue on the forum as well. Hopefully the moderators will finally see the light and clean up their act soon, so these full disclosures will no longer be needed (we hope they end soon).

In the linked incidents cited above, Grillot claims that moderators have deleted his comments, covered up security issues instead of trying to fix them, and promoted certain security companies for fixing hacked sites, among other complaints.

In response, Plugin Vulnerabilities has published a string of vulnerabilities with full disclosure since initiating the protest in September 2018. These posts detail the exact location of the vulnerabilities in the code, along with a proof of concept. The posts are followed up with an attempt to notify the developer through the WordPress.org support forum.

Grillot said he hopes to return to Plugin Vulnerabilities’ previous policy of responsible disclosure but will not end the protest until WordPress.org support forum moderators comply with the list of what he outlined as “appropriate behavior.”

WordPress’ security leadership is currently going through a transitional period after Aaron Campbell, head of WordPress Ecosystem at GoDaddy, stepped down from his position as head of security in December 2018. Automattic Technical Account Engineer Jake Spurlock is coordinating releases while the next person to wrangle the team is selected. This announcement was made in the #security channel, but Josepha Haden said there are plans for a more public post soon. Campbell did wish to publish the details of why he stepped down but said that he thinks it is important to rotate that role and that “the added influx of fresh energy in that position is really healthy.”

When asked about the Plugin Vulnerabilities’ protest against WordPress.org, Spurlock referenced the Responsible Disclosure guidelines on WordPress’ Hackerone profile. It includes the following recommendation regarding publishing vulnerabilities:

Give us a reasonable time to correct the issue before making any information public. We care deeply about security, but as an open-source project, our team is mostly comprised of volunteers.

Spurlock said that since those guidelines are more pertinent to core, dealing with third-party plugins is a trickier scenario. Ideally, the plugin author would be notified first, so they can work with the plugins team to push updates and remove old versions that may contain those vulnerabilities.

“The WordPress open-source project is always looking for responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities,” Spurlock said. “We have a process for disclosing for plugins and for core. Neither of theses processes include posting 0-day exploits.”

Grillot did not respond to our request for comment, but the company’s recent blog posts contend that following responsible disclosure in the past would sometimes lead to vulnerabilities being “covered up,” and even at times cause them to go unfixed.

WordPress.org support forum moderators do not permit people to report vulnerabilities on the support forums or to engage in discussion regarding vulnerabilities that remain unfixed. The preferred avenue for reporting is to email plugins@wordpress.org so the plugins team can work with authors to patch plugins in a timely way.

However, in the wild west world of plugins, which includes more than 55,000 hosted on WordPress.org, there are times when responsible disclosure falls apart and occasionally fails users. Responsible disclosure is not a perfect policy, but overall it tends to work better than the alternative. The Plugin Vulnerabilities service even states that they intend to return to responsible disclosure after the protest, essentially recognizing that this policy is the best way to coexist with others in the plugin ecosystem.

In the meantime, publishing zero-day vulnerabilities exposes sites to potential attacks if the plugin author is not immediately available to write a patch. The only thing WordPress.org can do is remove the plugin temporarily until a fix can be released. This measure protects new users from downloading vulnerable software but does nothing for users who already have the plugin active. If site owners are going to protect themselves by disabling it until there is a fix, they need to know that the plugin is vulnerable.

Plugin Vulnerabilities’ controversial protest, which some might even call unethical, may not be the most inspired catalyst for improving WordPress.org’s approach to security. It is a symptom of a larger issue. WordPress needs strong, visible security leadership and a team with dedicated resources for improving the plugin ecosystem. Plugin authors need a better notification system for advising users of important security updates inside the WordPress admin. Most users are not subscribed to industry blogs and security services – they depend on WordPress to let them know when an update is important. Refining the infrastructure available to plugin developers and creating a more streamlined security flow is critical for repairing the plugin ecosystem’s reputation.

by Sarah Gooding at April 17, 2019 03:37 AM under security

April 15, 2019

WPTavern: WordCamp for Publishers is Coming to Columbus, OH, August 7-9, Call for Speakers Now Open

The third edition of WordCamp for Publishers will be held in Columbus, OH, August 7-9, 2019, at the Vue Columbus. This unique event is a niche-specific WordCamp for professionals working in the publishing industry. Previous locations include Denver and Chicago. In looking for a host city for 2019, organizers had a preference for cities that are “underrepresented media markets” where attendees may not see as many of these types of events. Columbus certainly fits the bill.

The call for speakers and workshop facilitators is now open. Organizers are looking for presentations from all types of professionals across the publishing industry, including writers, journalists, editors, designers, developers, data journalists, project managers, product managers, and program managers. The event will feature three types of sessions:

  • 45 minute presentations (inclusive of Q&A)
  • 90 minute workshops
  • 5 minute lightning talks

Applicants may submit up to three proposals until the deadline on Monday, May 6th at 11:59 EDT.

Last year’s event brought controversial and thought-provoking presentations, such as “Why we ditched AMP, and other UX choices we made for launching membership” and “Reader revenue and the less open web,” an interesting exploration of the implications of paywalls on the open web. All 2018 presentations are available on WordPress.tv, if speaker applicants need any ideas about the types of presentations that are relevant to the event. Last year’s theme was “Taking Back the Open Web,” but organizers have not yet announced a theme for 2019.

The first batch of tickets is already on sale. Previous years have sold out fairly fast, so make sure to follow @wcpublishers on Twitter for all the latest information.

by Sarah Gooding at April 15, 2019 10:50 PM under WordCamp for Publishers

Matt: Happy Tools, for the Future of Work

Distributed work is becoming a reality for more companies. Automattic has been operating in a distributed-first fashion for more than 13 years now — we’re now up to more than 850 employees in 68 countries. But even in companies with physical offices, more employees are distributed around the globe and working together. Google just shared some fascinating stats about its work culture, with 100,000 employees working across 150 cities. Two out of five work groups have employees working from more than one location:

We’re a more connected world, so it makes sense that global business wouldn’t be confined to just one physical space. I often use Google as an example because I’ve been in meetings there where people were one building away from each other but still using video chat because of the time required to walk between meetings on their campus.

With that in mind, the team at Automattic has decided to start sharing our expertise and the technology that makes it all work. Introducing Happy Tools:

Our first product is Happy Schedule, which helps teams manage flexible schedules across time zones. Right now we’re rolling it out in a consultative way with just a few early customers to make sure the team can be totally responsive to their needs. We’re excited about this and other upcoming tools, because we believe that this is the future of work. We’re excited to have other companies give it a try.

Keep an eye on this space: There’s an entire suite of tools that make up the operating system of what has helped Automattic scale so effectively over the years. I’ve always believed it’s important to invest in your internal tools, and I’m excited to release more of them. If there’s something better in the market, we won’t release a tool for it—I’d rather use something external than have to build things ourselves—but where the industry still has a gap after such a long time, we’ll throw our hat into the ring.

by Matt at April 15, 2019 07:54 PM under happy tools

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe Publishes 2019 Speaker Lineup, Contributor Day Registration is Now Open

WordCamp Europe 2019 is 66 days away. The event will be held in Berlin on June 20-22, occupying 13,000m² of the Estrel Congress Center. More than 2,266 tickets have been sold so far, roughly 100 tickets short of what the event sold last year.

All 59 speakers have now been announced and the schedule is published on the website. Organizers added a third track this year to accommodate the various lightning and traditional talks, workshops, and panels.

WordCamp Europe received a record-breaking number of submissions and applicants this year after making a stronger effort to improve representation of the diversity of the WordPress’ community. Organizers received 453 submissions from 267 applicants, a 20 percent increase over 2018 submissions. Approximately 1% (4 applicants) identified outside of the gender binary, 34% were female, and 65% male. The breakdown for 2019 selected speakers is 43.4% female and 56.6% male.

Contributor Day registration opened today and will close May 31, 2019. The event will take place on June 20, one the day before the main conference in the same venue. Organizers have build a new Contributor Orientation Tool to help new contributors identify one or more of the Make WordPress teams where they can apply their skills. Tickets are free for WCEU attendees but spots are limited. There were only 157 Contributor Day tickets remaining this morning and those places are going quickly.

by Sarah Gooding at April 15, 2019 04:33 PM under WordCamp Europe

April 12, 2019

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.2 Beta 3

WordPress 5.2 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 to play with the new version.

There are two ways to test the latest WordPress 5.2 beta: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the beta here (zip).

WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 2, nearly 40 tickets have been closed since then. Here are the major changes and bug fixes:

  • The new Site Health feature has continued to be refined.
  • Plugins no longer update if a site is running an unsupported version of PHP (see #46613).
  • It’s now more apparent when a site is running in Recovery Mode (see #46608).
  • The distraction free button no longer breaks keyboard navigation in the Classic Editor (see #46640).
  • Assistive technologies do a better job of announcing admin bar sub menus (see #37513).
  • Subject lines in WordPress emails are now more consistent (see #37940).
  • Personal data exports now only show as completed when a user downloads their data (see #44644).
  • Plus more improvements to accessibility (see #35497 and #42853).

Minimum PHP Version Update

Important reminder: as of WordPress 5.2 beta 2, the minimum PHP version that WordPress will require is 5.6.20. If you’re running an older version of PHP, we highly recommend updating it now, before WordPress 5.2 is officially released.

Developer Notes

WordPress 5.2 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! The beta 3 release also marks the soft string freeze point of the 5.2 release schedule.

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.


Would you look at that
each day brings release closer
test to be ready
.

by Jonathan Desrosiers at April 12, 2019 09:33 PM under Releases

WPTavern: New GPL-licensed Quirk App Open Sources Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Quirk is a new GPL-licensed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) app for iOS and Android built in React Native/Expo. The app helps users challenge their “automatic thoughts,” a term that refers to thoughts that come to a person spontaneously in response to a trigger, which can often be negative.

Quirk lets users record a quick thought and will automatically narrow down a list of potential ways these thoughts are distorted. The distortions were inspired by the ones popularized in Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. The user is then invited to challenge those distortions and write an alternative thought.

Quirk demo

Evan Conrad, a software engineer at Segment, created Quirk as a non-commercial, personal project to make it easy for people to take control of their irrational thoughts using a common CBT technique. Quirk is not a substitute for a trained therapist but rather a tool for people to use on their own. Left unchecked, negative automatic thoughts can become emotional weights and lead to distorted thinking. Quirk is a simple app that helps people experience the world in a less negative way and develop more rational thinking patterns.

“It’s super useful for day-to-day stuff,” Conrad said in response to comments on Hacker News. “Take a thought like ‘I took too many hints in that interview question.’

“That thought might lead to ‘I must have failed that interview,’ which leads to ‘I’ll fail all the rest of my interviews,’ which leads to ‘I’ll never get another job,’ which leads to ‘I must be really bad at this, I should just give up.’

“Each step seemed kind of logical at the time, but one thought led to the next and now you feel awful.

“CBT is a counter measure to this; it stops you at that first point and gives you a bunch of common logical fallacies that help you recognize why your thought is overreaching. You don’t know if you really flunked that interview, besides flunking one is good practice to pass the next one.”

Conrad said these types of thought processes aren’t exactly a mental health issue but are common struggles for many people. Quirk can be a useful tool for anyone looking to recognize and remove their own cognitive biases.

The iOS version of the app currently works better than the Android one, as the author said he doesn’t have an Android phone and finds it difficult to support the app on that platform. However, fixes are being pushed out regularly and many of the issues with crashing are getting resolved.

How the GPL Protects Users in Mental Health Tech

The code for Quirk can be found on GitHub and is open source under the GPL-3.0, which is not a popular choice for licensing mobile apps. I asked Conrad why he opted for the GPL license, as opposed to other popular open source licenses.

“Mental Health tech is a really weird world,” Conrad said. “There’s a lot of folks who want to do the right thing, but end up doing really sketchy stuff.

“For example, a lot of apps collect the thoughts you’re recording for ML (Machine Learning) or NLP (Natural Language Processing). The stated purpose of this is to help better identify suicide, depression, etc. Partially because of the subject matter, many apps aren’t clearly telling their users that this is happening.

“So what ends up happening is a bunch of well intended researchers get access to your most sensitive thoughts. Which is fine, but they frequently aren’t aware of how valuable of a target they’re holding to a nefarious actor. Because it’s not like a database of passwords or credit card numbers, they tend to not think about security.

“But thoughts are super valuable and dangerous for abusers and blackmailers; plus most people would rather give you their password in plaintext than show you their mental health thoughts.

“So if I made Quirk MIT, I would worry that someone would take Quirk and launch their own version for research that tracks and stores user thoughts. Because the license doesn’t follow them, they could do it without telling a user and there would be little way for an average person to /know/ that this is happening.”

Conrad has taken an inspiring, user-centric approach to licensing and privacy that ensures users of his app (and any derivatives) will have access to the code and a better understanding of where their data is being stored. In a recent Twitter thread, he outlined the privacy principles that underpin Quirk’s architecture:

In Quirk, FOSS and privacy isn’t a focus, it’s a given. Outside the tech world, Quirk is not trying to be a FOSS CBT app, it’s trying to be a really good CBT app that happens to be FOSS. It’s not coming out and saying “hey we don’t store your deepest darkest secrets on some server somewhere.” User’s don’t care. It’s a given. It doesn’t store things on the device because it’s trying to sell you on privacy, it does it because it’s the correct engineering decision.

Regular people don’t look at the Golden Gate bridge and think about the structural quality of the bolts. They pull out their phones and take a picture. The responsibility of software is to make things frictionless and reduce the stuff someone has to think about before buying in.

Conrad said he would like to see other developers build things using the app and conduct research, as long as they do so ethically. The project’s GitHub repo has a detailed writeup of its design and engineering logic. It includes specific goals the code was built around in order to respect users’ privacy and mental health, such as:

  • Thoughts are more valuable than passwords, treat them that way.
  • Be extremely cautious about making engagement your core metric.
  • But be clear and obvious within the app about what’s going on with the user’s data.

“I really do want to see people use Quirk for research,” he said. “I just want it to follow more ethical practices of consent and data security. Someone should willingly give a researcher their thoughts and as little information should be given about the person as possible. When it’s stored, it should be stored safely and not on a publicly exposed DB for example. But for that to happen, it has to be open.”

Beyond GPL-specific licensing, making the app open source has many other benefits. Quirk has already been translated into six different languages. One of the byproducts of making a useful app open source is that it energizes contributors and speeds up the process of bringing the app to new audiences.

Feedback on the app so far has been mostly positive. One commenter on Hacker News thanked Conrad for open sourcing the app because he wasn’t able to continue in-person CBT due to the cost:

I’ve been through CBT and stopped because of the cost. I feel that an app like this can complement those of us that have had face to face time but stopped for whatever reason.

Quirk is an inspiring example of how open source software can help people with every day problems. Its carefully-considered implementation respects users’ sensitive information and doesn’t encourage an unhealthy attachment to the app.

If you like Quirk and want to contribute, you can find the app on GitHub, including directions for translating it into different languages. Mental health professionals who want to contribute are encouraged to audit the descriptions of the cognitive distortions. Users can report bugs as GitHub issues or directly to the app’s creator via email to Humans @ usequirk.com.

by Sarah Gooding at April 12, 2019 08:06 PM under open source

April 11, 2019

WPTavern: WPGraphQL Project Gains Momentum with Growing Library of Extensions for Popular WordPress Projects

The WPGraphQL project, a plugin that provides an extendable GraphQL schema and API for WordPress sites, has been gaining momentum over the past several months. Creator and maintainer Jason Bahl put the project up on Open Collective last week after people frequently asked how the community can support the project. WPGraphQL already has five backers, an $800 balance, and an estimated annual budget of $2,687.

“Large well-known sites such as qz.com and theplayerstribune.com are in production with JavaScript front-ends that consume data from WordPress via WPGraphQL,” Bahl said. “PostLight Studio maintains a popular “Headless WP Starter” project that initially started as a React + REST API boilerplate, but recently added WPGraphQL support as well.”

One of the most important signs of the project’s growth are the extensions that developers are building on top of it, such as WPGraphQL for Yoast SEO, WPGraphQL for Gutenberg, and WPGraphQL Content Blocks. WPGraphQL for Advanced Custom Fields is getting very close to an initial release and Caldera Forms is also exploring integrations with WPGraphQL.

“The two most-searched things on WPGraphQL.com are “Advanced Custom Fields” and “WooCommerce,” Bahl said. “People are interested in using WPGraphQL with other popular WordPress projects, and WPGraphQL for WooCommerce is a reaction to the folks that are already looking for alternatives to the WooCommerce REST API.”

WPGraphQL for WooCommerce Seeks $15K in Funding

WPGraphQL for WooCommerce is an extension created by Geoffry Taylor that has started to gain some traction. Taylor is a core contributor to the main WPGraphQL plugin. He has just published a Kickstarter to help fund development of the extension and Bahl is consulting with him on implementation details and code reviews.

Taylor began contributing to the WPGraphQL project last year after discovering the repository and finding that it lacked the features he needed.

“I was looking for a solution that would allow me to create React-Apollo JS apps that could be used as WordPress themes,” he said. “And the solution couldn’t rely on a node server, because a large portion of my clients use shared hosting. WPGraphQL was a perfect fit for what I needed, but it lacked the features I needed at the time. This led to me contributing.”

Since then Taylor has also created other libraries and tools that work directly or indirectly with WPGraphQL, such as WPGraphQL Composer, a React-Apollo component library, and Oil-Based Boilerplate, a boilerplate for developing React-powered WordPress themes, plugins, and guten-blocks that use shared components.

Taylor is seeking $15K in funding for development of the WPGraphQL WooCommerce extension, which would enable him to apply 100% of his time to the project.

“The question I think a lot of people have, is what does this extension provide that WPGraphQL and WooCommerce doesn’t already?” Taylor said. “It adds WooCommerce support to the WPGraphQL server. It is being designed to match and increase the functionality of WooCommerce REST to make it as easy as possible to convert your app from the WooCommerce REST API.”

Taylor said the extension is past the initial explorations and is well into development. If a developer follows the instructions in the README they will be able to query products and their variations, coupons, orders, refunds, customer information, and (after the next update), order items from the WPGraphQL endpoint. He said that with the exception of products, none of the data is queryable for any user without shop-manager level capabilities.

“Customer-level functionality is the target goal right now, meaning customers can register/login, update the cart, and checkout,” Taylor said.

Anyone interested can follow the project’s progress on GitHub or get involved on Slack at wp-graphql.slack.com in the #woocommerce channel.

by Sarah Gooding at April 11, 2019 10:49 PM under WPGraphQL

WPTavern: WordSesh Returns May 22, 2019, Speaker Application Deadline is April 19

The next edition of WordSesh is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 10am-8pm EDT (UTC-4) – just a little over one month away. For the past six years, the virtual conference for WordPress professionals has consistently delivered high quality sessions from industry experts. Last year’s event inspired viewing parties across the globe in Belgium, Nigeria, India, and the USA. The event has been so successful that its organizers also created a WooCommerce-focused edition called WooSesh, which was held last year as an alternative to WooConf.

Speaker applications are still open but will close soon on Friday, April 19. Organizers expect applicants to submit original talks that do not already exist online. The process is somewhat competitive, as only 10 speakers will be selected for the event. Those with approved applications will receive two coaching and review sessions for their talks and a $250 stipend. WordSesh organizers plan to notify applicants of their status by Monday, April 29, and will announce the accepted speakers May 1. Applicants may submit two different presentation topics and are also encouraged to record a two-minute video pitch to sell their ideas.

All WordSesh presentations will be recorded and available online after the live event. Previous years’ sessions and interviews can be viewed on the WordSesh Youtube channel. For more information on applying to speak, check out the event’s website.

by Sarah Gooding at April 11, 2019 04:02 AM under wordsesh

April 10, 2019

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.6 RC2 Removes Marketplace Suggestions from Product Listing, Adds Setting to Turn them Off

WooCommerce 3.6 RC2 was released today with changes to the planned Marketplace Suggestions feature after core developers received overwhelmingly negative feedback on its implementation. This RC removes the ads from the product listings, which was one of the most controversial placements for them. It also adds a new setting to turn Marketplace Suggestions off entirely.

  • Fix: Remove Product Listing suggestions. #23211
  • Fix: Add setting to turn off Marketplace Suggestions #23218
  • Fix: Add icon to Product Metabox Suggestions #23230
  • Fix: Add link to manage Suggestions #23229
  • Fix: Update text explaining opt-out and details of usage tracking. #23216

For many WooCommerce developers, 3.6 RC1 was the first time they discovered the marketplace suggestions. Some even felt blindsided by the original implementation.

“Last week, the release candidate was running on my staging server, and out of nowhere, I noticed these ads being inserted inline with the rest of the WC admin list tables,” Tobin Fekkes said. “What a shock that was! I thought I’d developed a bad case of malware or something. What nasty plugin was corrupting my core, default products table, order table, etc?! Oh, just core WooCommerce.

“I have never once gone looking to add a plugin to my site by starting at the ‘Products’ tab. Because it doesn’t belong there. If I want to install an extension or plugin, I will go to the (aptly named) ‘Extensions’ tab or “Plugins” tab.

“It is rather telling that we as longtime developers who attend every Dev chat, bookmark and check this Dev blog daily, and test all your betas and release candidates STILL had no idea about this blatant abuse of trust.”

Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce, addressed the issue of marketplace suggestions seeming to come out of nowhere in a comment on our recent post:

We are committed to working with our community, including the plugin review team, and responding to feedback. Just as a reminder, the Marketplace Suggestions feature was developed in the open in a long-running feature branch/PR which was merged to master a month ago. It was mentioned in the Beta 1 Release notes, and was testable during Beta1 and prior on master.

It is often only when the release candidate comes out that we get certain kinds of feedback. It’s an important stage in the development cycle when we want and expect input. With the 3.6 RC1 live, we received specific feedback that we could take into consideration and act on. Thanks to the developers, end users, and the plugin review team for all their help.

WooCommerce 3.6 RC2 doesn’t make any changes to the frequency with which users will need to dismiss the ads. Some have commented that it is more like “snoozing” the ads, since they require dismissal every day for five days, only to return every month thereafter.

“We continue to be in contact with the plugin review team to ensure the suggestions are in accordance with the guidelines,” Wilkens said. “There is a live conversation on the definition of suggestion/advert dismissibility. We will participate in that conversation and honor the outcomes.”

As this implementation of marketplace suggestions still is not satisfactory to many WooCommerce users and developers, a plugin for turning off has already been submitted and approved in the WordPress plugin directory. WooCommerce Without Marketplace Suggestions removes the suggestions permanently without users having to continually dismiss them.

by Sarah Gooding at April 10, 2019 08:18 PM under woocommerce

HeroPress: Firefighter to Web Developer

Pull Quote: I wouldn't be anything without the help of those around me.

I’m jolted awake to the sound of the tones going off in my room. I knew that I hadn’t been asleep long because we’d already run a late call and it was still dark outside. Running to the truck, I hear the address come out over the radio for a medical call. It’s the third time this week we’ve been called to the same house.

My driving is on autopilot because I know the city streets like the back of my hand. Not only had I worked in the same fire department for the last 6 years, but I’d also grown up in this city. On this and many other times I’d been woken up in the middle of the night, I’m starting to realize that I’m losing my passion for the job I once loved.

How I Got Into Firefighting

At 19 years old I was working in fast food, and I knew I needed to do something more with my life. I wasn’t really keen on going to college just yet, so I started looking for jobs that only needed vocational school. Knowing that I wouldn’t be a very good police officer, I signed up for fire school.

During fire school I found the only way to get a job as a firefighter in Florida was to also be an EMT in order to run medical calls, so I enrolled in there as well. While I was in school, one of the instructors I met told me their department was taking on volunteers.

Six years in the field, a year of paramedic school, and many sleepless nights later, I’m driving to a call feeling trapped in a career that I don’t care for anymore.

One of the perks of being a firefighter is that in between calls the free time is ours to do what we like, we just need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Some of the time we watch movies and play video games, but I wanted that time to do something productive that I could turn into an opportunity for a side gig.

Why I Chose Web Developer

I stumbled across a YouTube video that demonstrated how to create a webpage with HTML. I loaded a page that stereotypically read “Hello World” and I was hooked. I didn’t even own a computer at this time in my life, but my wife had a MacBook Air. She was nice enough to let me borrow it so I could keep learning. Downloading a text editor, I started creating web pages and loading them up in a browser. Though, as I was creating these pages, it was pretty obvious there weren’t any live websites out there that looked as bad as what I was creating.

While going through YouTube looking for more tutorials, I kept seeing videos for this thing called WordPress in the sidebar. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on one of the videos. I saw how pages were being created from an admin background and how themes changed the look of sites, while plugins added functionality. I was completely blown away.

By this time, I had purchased a $250 Chromebook I was running Linux from, and I decided that I was going to run a local development environment on this little computer with a 16GB hard drive. I managed to succeed, and with each accomplishment I had, I found that I was becoming extremely passionate about building these little websites.

Meeting Other Humans

I knew that I wasn’t going to make it very far past the beginning stages without help from someone other than a search engine. Though without any knowledge of the community and how they would act towards me, going to a local meetup was something that made me very uncomfortable. I thought the second they caught a glimpse of my Chromebook and my silly beginner questions they’d have me out the door before I could sit down.

Even in the parking lot before my first meetup, I was sitting in my car telling myself that I should just drive home.

When I walked into the meetup I was surprised to find people in all stages of their growth with WordPress. There were even people that knew less than me, and they were accepted just as much as I was. It was there I learned about this event called a WordCamp. I knew that whatever it was, I needed to be there and it was only two months away.

First WordCamp

Sitting in my car in front of my first WordCamp Orlando, I felt the same feelings that I did before my first meetup. I reminded myself how welcoming the meetup was, and that this wasn’t going to be any different. When I grabbed my seat in the main auditorium, I started feeling pretty strongly that I was alone in a room of 300 people. There were business owners that could actually make money off WordPress, and it felt that there weren’t many people at my experience level. As I went from talk to talk, the topics flew over my head and I became very overwhelmed. I told myself that I was going to stick it out till lunch and that I could go home after if I wanted.

Lunch came and as I was walking around looking for a good place to sit, I noticed a familiar face sitting at a table with no one next to him. Up until now, I had been learning exclusively at Lynda.com and Treehouse. I was learning to use the Genesis Framework and took a couple courses by an instructor named Jesse Petersen, and this guy looked just like him. Walking up next to him I said: “I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you look just like an instructor I learned from on Treehouse.” He laughed and said that he was indeed that instructor from Treehouse.

The pitch of my voice shot up an octave, and I started fanning out over how I had learned so much from him and asked if I could eat with him. While we ate, I told him that I was a firefighter and how I also wanted to become a web developer and build websites. By the end of the lunch, he told me that he saw something in me and that he wanted to mentor me if I was ok with that. Was I ok with that?!? Of course, I was ok with that! I was doing my best to sound cool all the while I’m absolutely ecstatic on the inside.

The rest of the day I followed him around to talks, and while I was listening, he was setting up my computer with tools to help get me set up for further development. He added me to his Slack channel and told me that we were going to be working together remotely. When the day finished he asked me where we were having dinner in between the last session and the after-party.

I’ve never gone from feeling so out of place somewhere to then feeling so welcomed.

I was talking to a person that had absolutely no gain from helping me out, yet spent the entirety of his day getting me set up to work with him in the future.

Jesse wasn’t feeling well the next day due to an illness he had called Cystic Fibrosis. He said that he would keep up with me through the day on Slack though. Whenever I felt like I didn’t belong I would look at the tools Jesse had installed on my computer and the Slack channel and would remember that I was welcome. I was going to be learning some awesome stuff, and now I had a mentor.

Gettin’ Paid

I spent the next few months going to two other WordCamps learning as much as I could and meeting as many people as possible. After going down to WordCamp Miami, I got approached by a local agency owner at a meetup that had some extra work I could help out with. Little did I know, they were also friends with Jesse and he had told them about me and what I’d been learning. This gave me a chance to get my feet wet and build some very strong friendships with some amazing people. I was now making money doing what I loved.

Four months later I got a Slack message from one of my friends telling me that Jesse had passed away.

I was on shift at the fire department that day, and I felt like someone had hit me with a bat. He was due to get new lungs any time, and just the day before was telling me how he was going to start a new life once he had the strength of new lungs to do so. We were all crushed to hear of his passing. I knew it was going to be hard moving forward without him, but I knew that’s what he would have wanted.

Keynote Presentation

I continued working on my skills until I was asked to do a keynote presentation at WordCamp Orlando. The very WordCamp I’d thought about leaving halfway through just a year before. The owner of the agency I was working for, Chris Edwards, told me they’d had a speaker back out and they needed someone to fill in, so they asked me. They wanted me to tell my story of how I had gotten into the WordPress community. I agreed, believing it was only going to a small room full of people, but when I said yes, I was then told I would be giving the opening keynote address in front of the entire WordCamp. I had already said yes, so now there was no way that I could back down and tell him no.

As I was standing on stage waiting to be introduced, I was relieved to find there was a podium. Now no one could see my legs shaking as I stood there for an hour. I could now put all my focus on making sure the hand holding the microphone stayed steady. My talk was on the past year that had led me to this point and all of the fears and vulnerabilities I’d faced. If there was someone that was feeling the way I had a year ago, I wanted them to know that they were welcome and I was excited to have them there.

Leaving the Fire Service

The rest of the weekend passed, and I got a message from my friend Chris Edwards telling me that a company that makes a donation plugin called Give was looking for a support technician. Matt Cromwell, who was about to be my new boss, was sitting in the audience while I gave my keynote presentation. I filled out the application and got a response back that he wanted to set up an interview.

A year has passed since that time, and I’ve grown so much in my knowledge of web development, website management, and WordPress. I’ve just started my first business as a freelance WordPress developer, and again I’m feeling the same fears, excitement, and vulnerabilities I felt every time I started to push myself. It’s now to the point where I almost keep a lookout for the fear because I know that something amazing is going to happen on the other side.

I’m always going to remember the compassion that Jesse Petersen had for me, and remember to pay that kindness forward in helping others.

There’s no way I could have planned this path for myself even if I’d tried. I know that I’m in the right place now, because every day I wake up I’m happy that I get to work with WordPress and interact with this awesome community. I wouldn’t be anything without the help of those around me, and I will always be grateful for everything they’ve done.

The post Firefighter to Web Developer appeared first on HeroPress.

by Sam Smith at April 10, 2019 12:00 PM

WPTavern: GoDaddy Acquires ThemeBeans, CoBlocks, Block Gallery, and Block Unit Tests

GoDaddy has acquired CoBlocks, ThemeBeans, Block Gallery and Block Unit Tests, one of the leading Gutenberg product lines in the WordPress ecosystem. Founder Rich Tabor is joining GoDaddy as Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience and will lead a team dedicated to understanding users’ needs and expanding the company’s Gutenberg-related products. Tabor’s fellow CoBlocks founders Jeffrey Carandang and Alex Denning will not be joining GoDaddy.

All the commercial themes in the ThemeBeans catalog are now available for free on GitHub. Current customers will continue to receive theme support and remote updates until April 8, 2020.

According to Aaron Campbell, GoDaddy’s head of WordPress Ecosystem & Community, CoBlocks will continue to be freely available on WordPress.org. It currently has more than 3,000 active installations and averages a 4.7-star rating.

“Nothing will change with the plugin except that it will be added to the GoDaddy account on .org,” Campbell said. “It’s possible it might be renamed or rebranded in the future, but that’s unknown either way at this point. And yes, it will still be on the WordPress.org directory for everyone not just GoDaddy customers (and we plan to add more to it as we develop new blocks).”

Campbell could not yet share a roadmap for the plugin as Tabor just started and will be heavily involved in determining the plugin’s future at GoDaddy. Tabor will also be leading a development team that is bringing on more React talent to assist with Gutenberg tasks.

“Hiring React devs that are capable with Gutenberg is a newer thing that we’re really not totally sure whether it’ll be difficult or not or even how it’ll look,” Campbell said. “Do you hire WordPress people? React people? Only those that do both? Do you hire both and pair them up to learn from each other? It’s a thing we’re learning in this new post-Gutenberg world.”

Tabor said he was surprised that his products had attracted GoDaddy’s interest but also found it to be validating of his own efforts and the potential of the block editor.

“Throughout my time building themes, and then blocks, I’ve learned the real value of getting eyes on a project: Not only do you get the community rallying behind your ideas, such as the Block Manager recently added in Gutenberg 5.3, but you receive a TON of feedback and inspiration,” Tabor said. “Building on that feedback, consistently delivering clever ideas, and executing on the marketing front with inspiring videos, has landed us in a very opportune position.”

GoDaddy has acquired a handful of WordPress companies and services during the past few years (ManageWP, Sucuri, WP Curve), but Tabor’s products are the first Gutenberg-related acquisition for the company.

“I think it means that the WordPress ecosystem is important, that it’s maturing, and probably most of all – that it’s moving and changing,” Tabor said. “And I think all of those are good.

“Gutenberg has changed a lot in WordPress. It’s not just a new editor or new interface, it’s a whole new system that brings with it a whole new group of challenges. Companies like GoDaddy recognizing this and supporting innovation is a healthy sign of growth and maturity.”

GoDaddy’s resources will enable CoBlocks, ThemeBeans, and Block Gallery to move faster and add features that were previously out of reach for Tabor’s small team.

“We’ll go from just two developers, to a team of incredibly bright engineers,” Tabor said. “And I won’t be spending time figuring out all the intricacies of monetizing a premium plugin in today’s ever-changing WordPress ecosystem. Instead, I can focus on leading the team’s efforts on bringing a better page building experience to WordPress.”

He will also have access to insights and data that will enable his team to make more informed decisions about the tools and blocks they build.

“This view into how entrepreneurs and business owners are using WordPress is something I could never have achieved at a meaningful scale, and I know it will help me move more confidently in the future landscape of Gutenberg,” Tabor said.

by Sarah Gooding at April 10, 2019 04:15 AM under ThemeBeans

April 09, 2019

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.2 Beta 2

WordPress 5.2 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 to play with the new version.

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.2 beta: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the beta here (zip).

WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 1, nearly 100 tickets have been closed since then. Here are the major changes and bug fixes:

  • We’ve added support for Emoji 12! 🪂
  • A brand-new wp_body_open() template tag (and corresponding wp_body_open action) will let themes (and plugins!) add content right after the <body> is opened (#12563).
  • Superfluous paragraph tags will no longer incorrectly appear in dynamic block content (#45495).
  • The Site Health screens have received several bug fixes, tweaks, and performance improvements.
  • Crash Protection no longer interrupts plugin editing (#46045).
  • Custom error handlers now load correctly (#46069).

Minimum PHP Version Update

As of WordPress 5.2 beta 2, the minimum PHP version that WordPress will require is 5.6.20. If you’re running an older version of PHP, we highly recommend updating it now, before WordPress 5.2 is officially released.

Developer Notes

WordPress 5.2 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

How to Help

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.


The wonderful thing
about betas, is betas
are wonderful things.
🐯

by Gary Pendergast at April 09, 2019 01:27 AM under 5.2

April 08, 2019

WPTavern: Pipdig Under Investigation, Company is Refusing Customers’ Refund Requests

In the wake of last week’s Pipdidg scandal, the WordPress blogger and developer communities have been working together to help the company’s customers get on new themes and ensure the safety of their websites. Pipdig has been reported to various UK and internet authorities and is currently under investigation.

Pipdig’s hosting provider has proactively disabled malicious code in certain files while the company conducts its own investigation.

Meanwhile, Pipdig has been denying customers’ refund requests, in accordance with its “no refund” policy. Customers have received responses from the company claiming that the recent accusations were either “false, twisted, or sensationalized.”

Customers who have purchased Pipdig products within the last 180 days may still be able to receive a refund through other channels. The Twitter thread below suggests lodging a payment dispute with PayPal or your bank or credit card provider, by referencing consumer protection laws and providing evidence of Pipdig’s false and misleading conduct.

Help for Affected Pipdig Customers Switching to New Themes

If you work in WordPress every day, you may not realize how much of a challenge it is for some users to switch themes. WordPress developers and bloggers are stepping up to provide resources to help those who want to transition to a new theme.

“I understand that bloggers using Pipdig themes for WordPress might want to switch away, but don’t have the time, money, or skills to do so right away,” Mark Jaquith said. “So here’s P3 Neutraliser — a plugin that will prevent the P3 plugin from updating or ‘phoning home.'” The plugin is available on GitHub with step-by-step instructions for downloading and installing it. It is intended as a stopgap measure for users to activate while they are in the process of transitioning to a new theme.

Former Pipdig customers are struggling to find new themes, as a large number of them fall into the fashion blogger demographic. This is a niche with specific requirements for design and functionality. Many are also confused about the findings in the reports and don’t know how to act on this information.

Searching WordPress.org for fashion-inspired themes does not turn up many relevant results. Former Pipdig customers hunting for new themes will need a more curated list of recommendations. WordPress developer Tia Wood published a post with a list of both free and commercial alternative themes that may be helpful to those still looking. Freelance designer Rachel Sulek has a Twitter thread with options that are comparable to Pipdig’s theme designs.

by Sarah Gooding at April 08, 2019 05:49 PM under pipdig

WPTavern: Gutenberg Team Publishes RFC Document on Widget-Block Interfaces

The Gutenberg team has published a Blocks in Widget Areas RFC (request for comments) document, detailing a technical approach that brings blocks to the wp-admin/widgets.php screen and the Customizer. This is one of the goals on the roadmap Matt Mullenweg outlined in his 9 Projects for 2019 post.

Based on the requirements outlined in the beginning of the document, it looks like the Gutenberg team is working to make the transition from widgets to blocks as seamless as possible:

  • Editing blocks in wp-admin/widgets.php and the wp-admin/customize.php should use the same block editor that wp-admin/post-new.php uses.
  • The block editor should read and update blocks in widget-editing areas via the REST API.
  • Upgrading WordPress must not affect the appearance of the user’s site, or any of their existing widgets.
  • Existing Core and third-party widgets must remain functional in the new block-based interface.
  • Backwards compatibility must be maintained. That is, themes and plugins that use public widget APIs must remain functional.
  • During a transition period, it should be possible to disable the block-based interface and return to the classic widget-editing interface.

The requirements for backwards compatibility are a tall order but will make it much easier for users to trust WordPress during this transition. Content will not be forced into the new interface and users will retain the option to use the classic widget-editing screen if they prefer. The team has not yet announced a date for when widgets will be officially deprecated.

Gutenberg version 5.4 was released last week with vertical alignment support for the columns block, a playsInline option in the video block, and a number of other minor enhancements. It also contains nearly two dozen bug fixes that will be rolled into the next beta of WordPress 5.2.

Gutenberg phase 2 technical lead Riad Bengella also confirmed in comments on the release post that the long-awaited section/container block is coming in the next release of the plugin. This will be an important milestone on the journey to full site editing with the block interface.

by Sarah Gooding at April 08, 2019 04:28 AM under widgets

April 05, 2019

WPTavern: Jetpack 7.2.1 Removes Promotions for Paid Upgrades from the Plugin Search Screen

Earlier this month, Jetpack 7.1 added suggestions to the plugin search screen, a controversial change that has sparked debate this week. When users search for a plugin that matches a term for an existing Jetpack feature, the plugin now inserts an artificial, dismissible search result into the first plugin card slot, identifying the corresponding Jetpack feature.

The Jetpack team said users have a hard time knowing what features are available, with 45 modules packaged into the plugin. The idea behind the proof of concept for the suggestions was to improve the discoverability of Jetpack’s existing features. Many in the developer community became outraged after it was discovered that Jetpack was also advertising paid upgrades in this space as well.

The fact that it was rolled out with promotions for paid upgrades made it seem to many onlookers that the discoverability problem was just a pretext for injecting advertising. The WordPress Plugin Team also said it may or may not be a violation of the plugin directory guidelines but that the team was still “arguing about the semantics internally.”

Version 7.2.1 was released today, removing all feature suggestions that previously advertised upgrades.

“We made a mistake, and we’re moving to correct it immediately,” Jetpack team representative Jesse Friedman said. “Our intention with these feature hints is to help you discover helpful features of Jetpack that you already have, right when you need them most. Today we’re correcting an error in judgement that resulted in the hints suggesting Jetpack features that actually required an upgrade.”

Characterizing the mistake as “an error in judgment” is an admission that rolling out feature suggestions with paid upgrades was a conscious decision. One month later, the Jetpack team decided it was a poor choice. This appears to have be driven by the community’s reaction, but Jetpack did not elaborate on how or why they reached the decision to revert the promotions for paid upgrades.

Jetpack 7.2.1 Updates Design for “Hints,” Plans to Adopt WordPress Core Solution in the Future

The 7.2.1 maintenance release also changes the design for the feature suggestions, which they are now referring to as “Feature Hints.”

“We’re reducing confusion around feature hints by simplifying the design and changing some text; this way it’s clear that feature hints are from Jetpack and are easily dismissible,” Friedman said.

After updating to the latest release, you can see the revised design on the plugin search screen with new text: “This suggestion was made by Jetpack, the security and performance plugin already installed on your site.” Jetpack will disable the hints once administrators have dismissed three hints.

“Going forward we want to help create a feature hints solution that works for all WordPress users and plugin developers,” Friedman said. “We are excited to work with suggestions like this one, by Joost de Valk, and see how we might be able to find a solution in WordPress core to help users discover plugin features, and prevent this very common issue. Once a core solution is available, we plan to adopt it for Jetpack.”

Developers who still do not want to see any sort of feature hint when searching for plugins can use the jetpackcom_remove_search_hints filter to turn it off. Users can also install the Hide Jetpack Promotions plugin as an alternative.

by Sarah Gooding at April 05, 2019 07:28 PM under jetpack

April 04, 2019

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.6 to Add Marketplace Suggestions, Despite Overwhelmingly Negative Feedback from Developer Community

In one of the most unpopular changes in the history of the WooCommerce open source project, version 3.6 will introduce “Marketplace Suggestions.” The update adds suggestions to the products admin screen, which vary based on whether it’s an empty state or within the list of products.

“They are contextual mentions of official extensions that may be relevant to a customer,” Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce, said. “This currently includes all extensions on the official WooCommerce marketplace, which is open for submissions and lists extensions written by Automattic as well as by trusted partners and third-party developers.”

The suggestions are on by default for users who can install and activate plugins. They are dismissible, but the frequency with which they will be shown is one of the most contentious aspects of WooCommerce’s proposed implementation:

  • We’ll only show 1 on the Products screen, and 5 on the Product – empty state, Orders – empty state or Edit Product metabox.
  • Each suggestion is dismissible, we are not providing an option to dismiss all suggestions (other than if you choose to hide them).
  • We’re only showing 1 suggestion at a time, if a customer dismisses this, they won’t see another one for 24-hours.
  • If suggestions are dismissed more than five times. No further suggestions are shown in that location ( i.e. Products Listing ) for a month.

WooCommerce is providing a filter to turn off the suggestions, and this will likely soon be available as a plugin from the community. It is not something that is easy for non-technical store owners to implement.

add_filter( ‘woocommerce_allow_marketplace_suggestions’, ‘__return_false’ );

“If the above removal-by-script option proves to be difficult to implement – for example, for those who are not comfortable adding custom code – we will explore introducing a simpler way to turn them off and include this in a point release (e.g. a toggle in core settings),” Wilkens said.

WooCommerce Developer Community Sees Marketplace Suggestions as a Major Disruption to Store Owners’ Workflow

The feedback coming in on the announcement post and WooCommerce’s GitHub repository is overwhelmingly negative. In a comment on an issue titled “Rethinking 3.6’s Dashboard Ads,” Josh Kohlbach contends that WooCommerce should limit its marketing to the plugin’s dedicated Extensions screen in the dashboard:

In addition, didn’t anyone think it might be a conflict of interest for WooCommerce the commercial entity to use WooCommerce the open source plugin to show ads in this manner? Bit anti-competitive to all the 3rd party devs out there (of which there are a lot).

WooCommerce already has an amazing page under WooCommerce->Extensions with full searching capabilities etc. Why would you want to show irrelevant ads during a user’s everyday workflow?! Store owners use these screen daily, it’s terrible UX.

I suggest that it gets ripped out in its entirety and filed under “cool implementation/fun to code but horrible idea for actual users.

For those who do not stand to benefit from profits from the 400+ extensions on the WooCommerce.com marketplace, the intrusions in the product admins screen seem all the more offensive. Marketplace suggestions have not been well-received by third-party extension developers.

“This is in direct competition to every third-party developer that is not selling on WooCommerce’s marketplace,” Jamie Madden, founder of the WC Vendors Marketplace, said. “I am one of these. This is advertising for your commercial products, no matter how you try and wrap this. You have an extensions page already which is more than enough, but advertising your products every 24 hours is going too far. This is completely unacceptable.”

The general consensus of those participating in the ticket is that injecting ads into product management screens will create a disruption to store managers’ workflow.

“I too am very concerned about this,” digital agency owner Erik Bernskiold said. “I get that WooCommerce want to benefit from their commercial side, too, and there are many ways to do this. But in this case, it feels like this is at a great disregard for the users. Hijacking a product list, order list or a user interface element in this way is a major interruption of the user experience. It’s not the place for an ad.”

Several participants in the discussion have suggested that WooCommerce make it an opt-in toggle in the settings.

“There is only one scenario where I think this feature should stay in place and could be beneficial: If this feature is controlled by an opt-in toggle in WC settings,” Jeremy Pry said. “Otherwise, this whole feature should be removed entirely. Store owners don’t need advertisements in their admin dashboard. In my opinion, leaving this feature in place would be very harmful to the WooCommerce community.”

Marketplace Suggestions Require Dismissal Every Day for 5 Days, Only to Return 1 Month Later

The fact that the suggestions cannot actually be dismissed for good is one issue that developers predict will end up aggravating WooCommerce users.

“Dismissing just to keep hounding the user, that’s not dismissing… that is snoozing,” WordPress developer Patrick Garman said. “Because I told you 5 times that I don’t want to see your ads, that doesn’t mean come back in a month. The average user shouldn’t have to use a filter to make ads go away.”

I would not be surprised if WooCommerce ends up dialing back the frequency of the ads after they are closed, given that nearly all those participating in the conversation consider it unacceptable to require dismissal five days in a row, with the same process repeated every month thereafter. The frequency with which they are displayed is unusually aggressive.

“I don’t think it technically violates the guidelines it’s just obnoxious and makes WooCommerce look like a low rent solution,” Astoundify founder Adam Pickering said. “It seems we are in a midst of a monetization push and they are looking for any where they can add up sells. Apparently doing so gracefully has gone out the window.”

Despite the overwhelmingly negative feedback, WooCommerce appears to be ploughing forward on its plan to ramp up its marketing in the admin. Automattic is a business and it needs to make money with WooCommerce. Most participants in the discussion do not seem opposed to WooCommerce making money with marketplace suggestions but are strongly requesting that they do not inject ads in places where users are working on their own products in the admin.

“There’s nothing necessarily wrong with ya’ll trying to squeeze out some more money from users – so long as it’s done tastefully, and in a way that actually provides value to the user, instead of spamming and hindering them,” @justlevine commented on the GitHub issue.

Based on the WooCommerce developer community’s feedback, many are in agreement that they will only support changes will be respectful to store owners working in the admin. They would prefer WooCommerce focused its efforts on improving the existing Extensions tab, instead of injecting items from the marketplace on other screens. The current implementation of marketplace suggestions needs work, because it is too heavy-handed in displaying ads after users indicate through the UI that they want to dismiss them.

Most participants in the discussion are in favor of letting store owners decide if they want to see ads for extensions on their product admin screens. They would prefer that users opt in through a more transparent way than simply agreeing to terms of service. At the very least, most prefer WooCommerce add a setting that would allow store owners to easily turn marketplace suggestions off. If Automattic wants this new feature to be successful, the company needs to revise the implementation to be something that doesn’t instantly make the majority of the WooCommerce developer community want to turn it off.

by Sarah Gooding at April 04, 2019 10:55 PM under woocommerce

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 350 – Don’t Touch My Plugin Search Results

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss a controversial feature in Jetpack 7.1 that adds feature suggestions to plugin search results. We also talk about extension suggestions that are coming to WooCommerce.

We talk about the security implications from the recent investigations into the Pipdig plugin and what users can do about it. Near the end of the show, we send a shout-out to Carole Olinger for her contributions to the WordPress community.

Stories Discussed:

Pipdig Updates P3 Plugin after Reports Expose Vendor Backdoors, Built-in Kill Switch, and Malicious DDoS Code

Jetpack 7.1 Adds Feature Suggestions to Plugin Search Results

Extension Suggestions in 3.6

On Health, WordPress and a Tough Decision

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, April 10th 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 #350:

by Jeff Chandler at April 04, 2019 10:46 PM under Plugins

Gary: React Isn’t The Problem

As React (via Gutenberg) becomes more present in the WordPress world, I’m seeing some common themes pop up in conversations about it. I spoke a bit about this kind of thing at WordCamp US last year, but if you don’t feel like sitting through a half hour video, let me summarise my thoughts. 🙂

I agree that React is hard. I strongly disagree with the commonly contrasted view that HTML, CSS, PHP, or vanilla JavaScript are easy. They’re all just as hard to work with as React, sometimes more-so, particularly when having to deal with the exciting world of cross-browser compatibility.

The advantage that PHP has over modern JavaScript development isn’t that it’s easy, or that the tooling is better, or more reliable, or anything like that. The advantage is that it’s familiar. If you’re new to web development, React is just as easy anything else to start with.

I’m honestly shocked when someone manages to wade through the mess of tooling (even pre-Gutenberg) to contribute to WordPress. It’s such an incomprehensible, thankless, unreliable process, the tenacity of anyone who makes it out the other side should be applauded. That said, this high barrier is unacceptable.

I’ve been working in this industry for long enough to have forgotten the number of iterations of my personal development environment I’ve gone through, to get to where I can set up something for myself which isn’t awful. React wasn’t around for all of that time, so that can’t be the reason web development has been hard for as long as I remember. What is, then?

Doing Better

Over the past year or so, I’ve been tinkering with a tool to help deal with the difficulties of contributing to WordPress. That tool is called TestPress, it’s getting pretty close to being usable, at least on MacOS. Windows support is a little less reliable, but getting better. 🙂 If you enjoy tinkering with tools, too, you’re welcome to try out the development version, but it does still has some bugs in it. Feedback and PRs are always welcome! There are some screenshots in this issue that give an idea of what the experience is like, if you’d like to check it out that way.

TestPress is not a panacea: at best, it’s an attempt at levelling the playing field a little bit. You shouldn’t need years of experience to build a reliable development environment, that should be the bare minimum we provide.

React is part of the solution

There’s still a lot of work to do to make web development something that anyone can easily get into. I think React is part of the solution to this, however.

React isn’t without its problems, of course. Modern JavaScript can encourage iteration for the sake of iteration. Certainly, there’s a drive to React-ify All The Things (a trap I’m guilty of falling into, as well). React’s development model is fundamentally different to that of vanilla JavaScript or jQuery, which is why it can seem incomprehensible if you’re already well versed in the old way of doing things: it requires a shift in your mental model of how JavaScript works. This is a hard problem to solve, but it’s not insurmountable.

Perhaps a little controversially, I don’t think that React is guilty of causing the web to become less accessible. At worst, it’s continuing the long standing practice of web standards making accessibility an optional extra. Building anything beyond a basic, non-interactive web page with just HTML and CSS will inevitably cause accessibility issues, unless you happen to be familiar with the mystical combinations of accessible tags, or applying aria attributes, or styling your content in just the right way (and none of the wrong ways).

React (or any component-based development system, really) can improve accessibility for everyone, and we’re seeing this with Gutenberg already. By providing a set of base components for plugin and theme authors to use, we can ensure the correct HTML is produced for screen readers to work with. Much like desktop and mobile app developers don’t need to do anything to make their apps accessible (because it’s baked into the APIs they use to build their apps), web developers should have the same experience, regardless of the complexity of the app they’re building.

Arguing that accessibility needs to be part of the design process is the wrong argument. Accessibility shouldn’t be a consideration, it should be unavoidable.

Do Better

Now, can we do better? Absolutely. There’s always room for improvement. People shouldn’t need to learn React if they don’t want to. They shouldn’t have to deal with the complexities of the WCAG. They should have the freedom to tinker, and the reassurance that they can tinker without breaking everything.

The pre-React web didn’t arrive in its final form, all clean, shiny, and perfect. It took decades of evolution to get there. The post-React web needs some time to evolve, too, but it has the benefit of hindsight: we can compress the decades of evolving into a much shorter time period, provide a fresh start for those who want it, while also providing backwards compatibility with the existing ways of doing things.

by Gary at April 04, 2019 06:31 AM under TestPress

April 03, 2019

WPTavern: Jetpack Is Promoting Paid Upgrades on Plugin Search Screen, WordPress Plugin Team Says it “May be a Violation” of Directory Guidelines

Yesterday the discussion surrounding Jetpack’s implementation of feature suggestions in the plugin search screen became heated after developers pointed out that Automattic is also using these suggestions to promote paid upgrades. You can test this by searching for “backups” where you find that Jetpack’s commercial offering takes the place of the first result, pushing all other results further down one slot.

The feature suggestions were added in versions 7.1 to inform users of an existing feature in Jetpack when they search for something similar. The Jetpack team said they developed it to solve a discovery problem, where users are quite often not familiar with all of Jetpack’s 45 modules and end up installing plugins to perform functionality that Jetpack already includes. A PR in the Jetpack repository has been merged to only show feature suggestions when the user’s plan supports it, so it looks like these promotions for commercial features will be removed in a future release of the plugin.

It’s not clear whether Automattic intentionally rolled out the feature suggestions in its current form (with paid upgrades included) to test the waters and gauge the community’s reaction, or if it is simply a mistake. The PR was marked as an enhancement, not a bug.

According to Plugin Team member Samuel “Otto” Wood, feature suggestions with paid upgrades included is “likely a violation” of the plugin directory’s guidelines.

“Promoting other plugins or premium upgrades in the same space would likely not be allowed, because it would be misleading or an incorrect place to put ‘advertising,’ Wood said. “Guidelines already say not to do that.”

I contacted the Plugin Team today and it seems the topic of feature suggestions on the plugin screen are still a matter of ongoing debate. The team would not officially confirm whether or not Jetpack is currently in violation.

“I can’t confirm that at this time,” Mika Epstein said. “It might be a violation, but it also may not be. Much of that comes down to intent.

“A case can be made that they’re promoting paid services for existing features, and is that different from an image-optimizer plugin promoting it’s own service which you’re already using? It’s not like they’re promoting separate plugins, so it’s in a very odd grey area for services.”

Epstein said the team is “still arguing the semantics internally about that one.”

Many people have asked why Jetpack has not been removed from the plugin directory for advertising its commercial offerings on the plugin screen. The Plugin Team’s official response is that if Jetpack is in violation, they reserve the right to make an exception and opt not to close it. Epstein, on behalf of the team, offered the following statement:

It falls under our 18th guideline:

We reserve the right to NOT close a plugin and grant exceptions.

Closing plugins is ALWAYS a tricky thing. We regularly warn, and do not close, larger plugins as closing them would have an adverse impact on the entire WordPress community. Closing plugins with 500,000 users can be more harmful than helpful, even when there are security problems. The more users a plugin gets, the more difficult it is to weigh the risks of closing versus not closing.

Maintaining the trust in larger plugins is as important as doing so with the directory as a whole. With so many outlets wanting to spin up FUD and blast outrage at everyone involved as their first reaction, we try to stem the tide a little and not act like the sky is falling all the time.

Jetpack has more than 5 million active installs. If it is found to be in violation of the guidelines, it is not likely to be removed due to the impact it would have on millions of WordPress users, not to mention the hosts who have it pre-installed on WordPress hosting plans.

The discussion regarding how WordPress can improve the implementation of feature suggestions on the plugin screen for all plugins is happening in a ticket on trac opened by Joost de Valk. This ticket does not debate whether or not feature suggestions are a good idea in general but rather focuses on how results can better communicate that a feature is already active or available. de Valk shared a screenshot of what the screen currently looks like when a user searches for a plugin for which they already have a match installed:

“The disabled ‘Active’ button there is not very useful, as it doesn’t provide any context as to why that button is disabled,” de Valk said. “I’d like to propose a change: let’s turn this into two separate groups of results, one that says ‘these plugins you already have installed might be able to help’ and then a second group below that with other plugins.”

Tim Hengeveld posted a mockup of what an implementation of that might look like:

The topic of feature suggestions on this screen is still highly controversial, despite the Plugin Team confirming that it is not breaking the guidelines (as long as plugins don’t promote paid upgrades). Plugin authors have worked for years towards better rankings on this screen by providing quality support and updates that translate into better ratings and more installs. Any mega plugin that offers multiple modules packed into one can easily usurp these rankings by suggesting its own features and having them automatically appear in that top slot. These features could even be broken down into multiple micro-modules so that there is always something to suggest.

Many in the WordPress development community are worried that plugin authors will move towards distributing their work as large suites of modules in order to take advantage of promoting their own features in the plugin search screen. This seems even more likely with block developers releasing massive collections of Gutenberg blocks.

WordPress.org is at a crossroads here that may open the floodgates to plugin authors looking to leverage this screen to their own advantage. Jetpack’s move to suggest its own features on this screen, instead of opting for an admin notice or using its own dashboard, is going to have a major ripple effect throughout the plugin ecosystem that has the potential to change how plugins are packaged, distributed, and marketed.

by Sarah Gooding at April 03, 2019 07:56 PM under jetpack

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