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September 28, 2016

HeroPress: Rebirth

Pull Quote: I started translating WordPress so that my seven-year-old daughter can share her personal stories.

I started working with the web 16 years ago (yes, I am that old) because I wanted to make a web page of my IRC channel. IRC was my new hobby and every respectable channel had a site with a list of its members, photos and some texts. I have always had hobbies which arise, light a spark in me, I devote myself to them for a couple of months and in a year I turn to something else. I have always felt changed after that. My hobbies arise out of some personal ambition that excites me so much that captures all my free time and thoughts.

My “Web” hobby came after my “IRC” hobby and devoting myself to it I started to maintain an ezine with more than 400 static html publications. I remember that I worked on it 3-4 hours every day, changing its design, adding articles, images, talking to people. I guess now you all expect me to tell you how I discovered WordPress and all my troubles disappeared. No, this is not my story for two reasons – 1) WordPress did not exist at the time and 2) when you do something you love, it is not a burden. And I really loved online communities, experimenting with digital journalism and that filled me with extraordinary energy.

My WordPress story starts when I wanted to make that ezine more democratic by adding a section that was much more informal and written by the users. The blog had to be something like a filter on various topics and contained 9 sub-blogs in which everyone could publish interesting links with a short commentary about movies, music, cyber culture etc. I needed a CMS and that’s how I found… b2 (cafelog.com) which allowed a number of users to publish without problems and its design was simple enough so that it could be changed to be in line with the one of our ezine. We installed it and set it up for one night.

Now we will speed up the story. The blog of my ezine was a success, blogs as a trend were a global success and little by little killed the electronic magazines (ezines) like mine. They killed them because they made publishing more democratic and everyone could have their own media.

B2 died and then Movable Type appeared, but it was not free and used Perl (awful) and then WordPress appeared, which was free (yay) and used PHP (yay times 2) and literally swept over Movable Type.

I saw with my own eyes how WordPress empowered all people who needed to publish and break the chains of the physical limitations of traditional journalism.

In 2006 the Web was an immensely interesting place and WordPress was one of the “culprits” for that. Then social media appeared, killed the blogs and took over their function (and the function of the web as a whole) as the main platform for democratic content sharing. Something new is born, develops, fulfills its role and then declines and dies. It is the natural order of things.

I watched with great interest what was happening with WordPress, which I was happy to see, did not die but changed its mission and now made more democratic not only a part of the Web (blogs) but the whole open Web. Rebirth.

While I was watching WordPress, I also passed through a number of lives. I was editor-in-chief of a site for art and culture, then I was Free and Open Source Advocate, a translator, a trainer, then I led the digital business of a media group and now I do automatic aggregation of data and make sense of it using artificial intelligence. Rebirth.

Throughout all this time, after the death of the ezine, WordPress has been present in my life in some especially charming form of background regime. It was the main engine of my personal blog allowing me to share stories about my current hobbies, travels and jobs. That continued until a year ago when my relationship with WordPress went into a deeper level because of a change.

My daughter, Kalina, seven and a half years old, wanted to have a blog (had watched “A dog with a blog” on Disney channel) because she wanted to share. The concept of sharing was not unfamiliar to her – she already shared in Youtube where she has a channel with video clips of her playing with toys and dancing to pop songs.

When she started going to school and learned to read and write, she wanted to express herself through text, too.

WordPress was the only platform that came to my mind.

I started translating WordPress so that my seven-year-old daughter can share her personal stories in her childish way, the same way I started having a blog and sharing my life twelve years ago. My story with Web, WordPress and technologies, going through so many years, Kalina experienced within a couple of days. Kalina is my mission and reason after a hard day at work to find strength to search for the best translation of complex words or improve already translated ones with only one thought in mind – “can an eight-year-old person understand that?” It is not easy, but it feels good.

Rebirth.

The post Rebirth appeared first on HeroPress.

by Vladimir Petkov at September 28, 2016 12:00 PM

September 24, 2016

Post Status: The art of being a self-employed web consultant — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and this week’s special guest host, Diane Kinney.

Diane is a web professional and solo practitioner based in Florida. She’s writing a book with Carrie Dils called Real World Freelancing, and I thought it’d be fun to chat with her about freelancing.

http://audio.simplecast.com/48334.mp3

Direct Download

Links and Topics

Sponsor: Yoast

Yoast SEO Premium gives you 24/7 support from a dedicated support team and extra features such as a redirect manager, tutorial videos and integration with Google Webmaster Tools! Go to yoast.com for more information, and thanks to Yoast for being a Post Status partner

by Katie Richards at September 24, 2016 03:05 PM under Everyone

September 21, 2016

HeroPress: Growing Up With WordPress

Pull Quote: I've loved seeing how the WordPress community has become more kid friendly.

Hey gang, I’m Sophia DeRosia, I’m 14 years old, I’m homeschooled, and I’m here to tell you my WordPress story.

I grew up with WordPress. My entire life my dad, Topher DeRosia, worked with WordPress. At one point a couple years ago he tried to convince me to create a blog, and I had originally said no, but maybe a year or two later Erin Go Blog was born and I started my long journey with WordPress.

My first WordCamp was in Grand Rapids and my family had decided to help out with it. It was awesome, we did that twice and attended once. I believe my first WordCamp that I attended was actually in Chicago which was also, yes, awesome. I met a lot of great people there, they all made me feel welcome even though I was only eleven or twelve at the time.

I have NEVER felt like people in WordPress talk down to me or think of me as a five year old just because I’m a kid.

Last night my mom was asking me some questions for this essay and one of them was “How has WordPress changed you?” And that one took me a minute to answer. I didn’t really know how WordPress itself had changed me, but then I thought about the people I had met, those who have taught me, and the support I’ve always felt. It was the WordPress community that really changed me.

Being a kid in WordPress has definitely benefited me. Being around adults so much I’ve learned how to talk to them, I’m not afraid to talk to adults or ask for help, and I’ve made some awesome friends that I know I can count on. I also have some really good job options, whether it’s designer, developer, or business. Having my own blog has helped me with writing as well. I may not have a deep passion for it but I certainly like it and may not have known that if I hadn’t had a blog.

I’ve loved seeing how the WordPress community has become more kid friendly. It’s a safe, fun environment for kids and it’s only becoming more so. I’ve loved seeing how WordPress has grown and changed over the years I’ve been using it. So to parents out there who have kids that may be a designer, developer, or business aficionado I recommend WordPress.

WordPress is a fun, easy way to open your kids up to many options for their future.

And to the kids out there who are interested in WordPress, WordCamps aren’t the only way to learn it. All over the world they have meetups where you can ask questions and meet some cool people, and there are countless other ways to learn it.

If you think WordPress may be the way you want to go then try it. You don’t have to stick with it but at least try it, I guarantee you will make some great friends like I have and learn lots.

Have fun on your adventure!

The post Growing Up With WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Sophia DeRosia at September 21, 2016 04:36 PM

September 19, 2016

Post Status: What is a WordPress theme anyway? — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Joe and Brian discuss WordPress themes, the functionality people put into them, and the challenges that face the WordPress ecosystem with the current state of theming. They also discuss various theme frameworks and how they are setup, common post types and how they can better be supported, and the popularity of page builders.

https://audio.simplecast.com/47827.mp3
Direct Download

Topics

  • What should a theme do?
  • Theme vs. Plugin functionality — and mobility potential between themes
    • Canonical post types
  • Difference between commercial themes and .org distributed free themes
    • Restrictions
    • All-in-one solution “promises”
  • Page builders and their role in theming
  • Other theme options via the REST API

Links

Sponsor: WP101

The WP101 Plugin frees your time, enabling you to focus on what you do best, while providing our popular WordPress 101 tutorial videos directly in your client’s dashboard. You can even add your own videos! Go to wp101plugin.com for more information, and thanks to WP101 for being a Post Status partner.

by Katie Richards at September 19, 2016 05:29 PM under Everyone

September 14, 2016

HeroPress: An Endless Supply of Happiness

Pull Quote: I have met and worked with people across the globe that I have never imagined I would.

Money buys happiness

As a child, I didn’t know or care much about adulthood and complexities of life. I wanted to end up with a job that pays well so I could buy an unlimited supply of cartridges for my arcade gaming console. Adulthood was simple!

However, I grew up and like a lot of people realised that things don’t work that way. People who get into things just for the money are not the happier ones.

The happier ones really enjoy what they do, the money is co-incidental.

By that logic, I should’ve learnt things that enabled me to build games on cartridges! However, by this time, my fascination had naturally moved from cartridges to computers. So, I went to college and earned a degree in Computer Engineering.

All the plans of mice and men

Till now my simple plan was working well. Computers were still a recent phenomenon in India. When I enrolled, it looked like a straight path between getting a degree and getting a career.
But, by the time I graduated, I had realised that I had to choose further from a mind-boggling array of technologies and options. I hadn’t anticipated the sheer size of the field I had entered. It was like a complex sign up form with too many fields and massive dropdowns!

I didn’t have access to professional counselling or guidance that would help me understand my best options.

Asking people around me for advice, just got me more confused. Everyone said the best things about the technologies they worked with. However, talking to seniors and friends helped me shortlist the ones that seemed to offer a lot of growth and excitement (and money, I still wanted my cartridges!). My options were down to Java, PHP, .net or Networking.

One of my other worries then was that if I chose one at the start of my career, I might not be able to switch to something else later. I was confused, in stress and I needed to make one of the most important decisions of my life; standard recipe for feeling lost.

Escapism is easy

There was however an easy way out. I could just postpone this confusion and clutter and study further. In my opinion poll, an MBA had come up too often as a great direction after engineering. All I had to do was pass a couple of qualifying tests for various institutions. For that I needed to study and that was something I had done for the majority of my life.

The plan was simple again and my nerves were calmed. I passed those tests and made it to the next round– the personal interview (PI). One of the colleges that I appeared for the PI was in Pune. There’s usually a long wait of at least a month between the interview and selection, since there are a lot of students to be interviewed before they shortlist the successful candidates. All I could do now, was wait.

How I met WordPress

I decided to stay in Pune for the waiting period and started looking for shared apartments. One day while checking a few of them out, I ran into one of my college friends. We became roommates!
I had a lot of time to kill and a roommate who was working as a WordPress Developer (with rtCamp), something that I had never heard about. I couldn’t help but look into it. With a little exploration of PHP alongside, I picked it up pretty fast. I had just learnt a new skill that I was confident about, I had even more time till my actual classes would start and this time, there was no pressure. I could get a job for a couple of months.

I sent in my resume to a couple of companies. Obviously, I also applied to rtCamp. Guess what? I got a call from rtCamp, everything went well and I got the job!

In the first few days at rtCamp, I was encouraged to dig into WordPress in detail with self-learning targets.

Picking up the basics of WordPress was easy, but to figure out everything else wasn’t.

There weren’t as many tutorials and learning materials as there are now. Most of my learning involved checking out the core and it seemed very messy and confusing. I got a lot of help from others, especially from Joshua who was my mentor. In no time, I was building themes, plugins and complete websites. I also realised that I was genuinely enjoying what I was doing.

The irony did not escape me. I came to Pune because I was running away from a decision that I found too difficult to handle. And just like that, I had arrived at my answer. I had a job that I loved and enjoyed. The temporary job that was supposed to fill in time till my MBA started went on for three more years. Goodbye MBA, I was a proud WordPress developer.

At the end of those three years, for various reasons rtCamp and I decided to part ways. I started looking for a job and I saw an opening at BuddyBoss. It seemed like a great opportunity and the folks seemed great. I sent in my application.

Real jobs involve pants

I’m not sure if I can explain this part but let me try. I come from a small town of a third world country where the idea of a respectable IT professional is limited to the clockwork stereotype that works for MNCs whose main function is outsourcing. It was very difficult to explain what remote working was to my family and friends. It was just too alien to them. I’m sure it happens everywhere but in India, it just didn’t seem like a “real” job to anyone. When everyone around you raises concerns about a decision, you obviously begin to doubt it.

On the other hand, BuddyBoss seemed like an awesome organisation, with great folks and the things they were building seemed interesting. I had worked a lot with BuddyPress at rtCamp and I had quite enjoyed it. I had never enjoyed 9 to 6 routines and commuting to office everyday. The idea that you could avoid all that and work out of home, at your own timings was just crazy. I couldn’t let this opportunity go.

I soon found out first hand what remote working felt like. I didn’t have to work from home. I could carry my workplace in my bag. It meant I could work out of a cafeteria, or a friend’s place if I wanted. It meant I could visit my hometown and my parents more often. It meant I could travel and see new places while I was working. It also meant I could buy way more games for my PS4 (I was still the boy who loved gaming!).

It wasn’t easy; you need more discipline and you need to put in extra efforts compared to just showing up at work everyday and finishing your tasks. But it was worth it. I felt like I had wanted to do this all along.

A place in the world

Let’s rewind. Just a few years ago, I was a fresh engineering graduate from a small town, from a middle class Indian family, who was terribly worried about finding a half decent job that could give him a slight chance of happiness.

Since then, I have met and worked with people across the globe that I had never imagined I would do and I haven’t even set foot outside India yet. I have been to meetups and WordCamps where I met my colleagues from BuddyBoss and a lot of other amazing people with their own amazing stories.

My daily vocabulary consists of open source, remote work, contribution and community. These weren’t concepts that existed for me then. I remember when I submitted my first patch, I really felt a part of something big and exciting. I felt a sense of belonging to this awesome group of helpful people that we call the WordPress community.

To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult journey filled with hurdles and my story isn’t one of overcoming my circumstances. What I would take away from my story is the extent of transformation that I could achieve thanks to the WordPress community and ecosystem.

The opportunities that WordPress provided me, I don’t think I would have found anywhere else.

Not just me, I’m happy to see that more people around me are able to find their own slice of happiness thanks to WordPress.

On one hand, I see people running in a rat race, living in a world that’s a cruel, cut-throat competitive arena. I was once planning to get there. However, a whole bunch of strangers across identities and geography, helped me have a meaningful and comfortable life experience instead. I do appreciate the contrast and I sure feel a lot of gratitude.

The post An Endless Supply of Happiness appeared first on HeroPress.

by Abhishek Kumar at September 14, 2016 11:30 AM

September 07, 2016

HeroPress: A Community of Acceptance

Pull Quote: Be a pillar of support for your community.

I’m going to open my essay with a bit of self-exposure. These things aren’t really secrets, but some context places me into a broader story.

I’m the child of two Army parents, and spent at most two years at any one school, and have several cities play home at various points in my life. I’m a small business owner, and have made my living with WordPress in some form or another for the past eight years. I’ve had some struggle with feelings of depression for as long as I can remember in my life. I am a gay latino living in Orlando, FL. Those last few points have defined more of my internal life than I’d really care for in the past few months. We’ll get to that later.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin.

I’d been doing web development since high school, where I was fortunate enough to go to a school that taught basic programming. The dot com bubble may have been on the verge of popping, with web companies still riding high, but courses in public schools hadn’t yet caught up to that industry.

Throughout high school and college I both worked on websites for myself, friends, and a few paying clients. WordPress had not yet entered my life, and would not until the Spring of 2008 when I wanted to move my personal blog from a manually managed list of links with some basic PHP thrown in to something more robust. It helped that I was tasked with creating a new website for the company that I was working for, despite that being no part of my regular job description, or compensation for that matter.

Fast forward a few years, and in 2011 I discover that the forums that I was going to for help were populated by real people, something I’d come to know as the WordPress community.

This community was tireless, knowledgeable, patient, and generally filled with the can-do attitude that attracts people to roll up their sleeves and get to work. My kind of tribe.

Over the course of five years, a variety of web tech conferences, close to 100 meetups, and around thirty WordCamps and counting, I’ve built up a group of friends and partners that have been my hangout buddies, sounding board, business associates, and support network all in one.

In those five years I’ve had a few ups and downs in my life. I’d moved jobs a few times, went from doing side freelance work in the evenings to working for myself full time, uprooting house about five times, and started and stopped a variety of partnerships. I’ve continued to make new friends, both offline and on, that I would count among my closest confidantes. The WordPress community has been a big driver of my personal, social, and professional life and I am forever grateful for that.

This group of people is as varied as any I could hope for. We’re not perfect (no one is), but we’re generally more willing to hear out opposing ideas, have frank discussions on topics that would be uncomfortable or unheard of with other groups, and represent a diversity that makes me proud to be a community member.

The things that I might be discriminated for in real life are not only accepted, but are normalized in a way that makes me feel comfortable being myself. This includes being able to share and have shared experiences outside of the expanse of my meatspace network, as well as the safety that comes with the knowledge that I am not alone. I can’t be alone when I can commiserate with a group of like-minded loners.

Big Events Stop Time

On 12 June, less than three months ago, life in Orlando was shaken. We became the latest of a list that threatens to grow to every community in America that has to contend with the fallout of a mass shooting. Pointing out that the attack occurred on Latin night at a gay club is apparently overtly political when describing the event as a multi-faceted hate crime and terrorist attack. So be it. Someone tore a portion of my community up and altered the fabric of my life.

My immediate response the day of was to worry about any other young latin gay men that I know that could have been at that club. I was also scrambling for information on volunteer efforts that may or may not have been available. Rumors circulated that the federal ban on blood donations among gay men had been lifted at some blood banks, which later turned out to be false. I was able to stew in outrage that the very people affected would be unable to offer lifesaving help to those who desperately need it, not just in Orlando but across the country.

My outrage turned to anxiety in short order. The story was dissected for weeks, and still frequently comes up in conversation. On more than one occasion I’ve had to excuse myself from those conversations, turn off the TV, or shut my laptop and walk away. I can’t claim any specific trauma, or even a feeling of “that could have been me” as I don’t frequent night clubs, but that could be any of us in some way.

Staring into an abyss for too long can make you think that the void is all that exists.

One redeeming moment throughout that ordeal was the outpouring of support from around the world, and our community pulling together to help the families of victims, and to unite in a strength that comes from our network but does not exist in any one person. Over the course of 24 hours I received dozens of calls, texts, tweets, and messages in various other forms asking if I specifically was ok. The majority of those touch points came from members of the WordPress community, who ostensibly owe me nothing and that I may interact with in person once a year at a conference, but who have a kinship that unites us.

Support Can Be Personal Or Shared

I’m reviewing this essay while sitting at my favorite coffeeshop. I’ve been coming here for twelve years now, almost as long as I’ve lived in Orlando. The coffee is great, but that’s not the only reason that I come in. As soon as I got here the owner greeted me with a hug, and the barista knew exactly how I like my coffee. The owner randomly thanked me for being dependable and a constant that she didn’t have to worry about being trouble, as something always comes up when running a small business. That’s definitely a sentiment that I can agree with.

While I don’t agree with her observation that, “David is always happy” (see prior revelation of lengthy stretches of discouragement and dispiritedness), I understand the need for constants in your life.

Those people that will be there for you, even if you don’t always know it.

Whether that’s a shoulder to lean on, a mentor when you’re stuck, or even a bright smile or online greeting for no reason than to share happiness, the amount of effort required to improve the lives of others can be as simple as the congeniality and cordiality that you would like others to afford to you.

One of my favorite things about WordCamps and WordPress meetups are the number of people that come out without financial compensation just to share their knowledge. I have the most fun helping with a workshop, teaching a group to do something that I myself had taught to me. We all needed some help to get where we are, and I don’t consider it an obligation, but an opportunity when I get to help others.

Go Forth and Be A Community

I have an ask with my essay. Be a pillar of support for your community. Not everyone is comfortable with putting themselves out for judgement, but everyone has moments of weakness.

Everyone is walking a path that you may never see when talking with them or following their lives online.

I ask that you make it clear to everyone that you are available if you are needed. You may not think that you can do anything to help, but even a sympathetic ear can be a lifeline that can come at the most important moment of need. I’ve been kept relatively sane by the community that started as a way to help me scrape together websites, and has become one of the driving factors of my life.

It’s only fair to continue paying that forward.

If you’re ever in Orlando, come get some coffee with me.

The post A Community of Acceptance appeared first on HeroPress.

by David Laietta at September 07, 2016 11:00 AM

September 06, 2016

Post Status: Rejuvenating old software products, with Pippin Williamson

In this episode of Post Status Draft, I talk to Pippin Williamson, and we discuss the renewed effort he and his team have made to rejuvenate Restrict Content Pro.

Restrict Content Pro was initially sold without even a dedicated landing page, was successful on Code Canyon for a time, then he let it sputter as he and his team concentrated on Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP.

But Pippin knew that Restrict Content Pro still had more life in it, and he wanted to see it become the kind of product he knew it had the potential to be. So when John Parris — at the time primarily working with Easy Digital Downloads — said he was interested in helping make RCP a proper membership plugin, Pippin jumped on the opportunity.

They have had a good bit of success early on in the attempt to rejuvenate this product:

Our goal was to double or triple the monthly revenue within six months. In March, 2016, RCP brought in $7,700. Last month, July 2016, it brought in $11,400. August, 2016, is estimated to bring in a little over $12,000.

We’re at the five month mark and have increased monthly revenue by about 1.5. That’s not double yet, but it’s getting close. Within another few months, I expect we’ve surpass $15,000 in monthly sales. Even with just an increase of 1.5, we’re still looking at more than $100,000 in annual revenue, and the monthly revenue is higher than it ever was in the past, so we’re succeeding.

Our conversation picked up where the blog post left off. We talked about the pain points they encountered during this effort, some of the additional rewards they’ve had, and how he structures the business more generally to have the same team work on multiple products.

If you are a business owner, or aspire to be one — or if you are curious about managing multiple lines of business at once — then I think you’ll really enjoy this episode.

https://audio.simplecast.com/46313.mp3
Direct Download

And, if you’re a Post Status Club member, Pippin and I recorded a bonus segment, where we discuss hosted WordPress eCommerce, and Pippin shares his opinions on the concept, and whether or not it’s something they are considering for Restrict Content Pro and/or Easy Digital Downloads.

SponsorDesign Palette Pro makes customizing Genesis websites simple. The Design Palette Pro team has integrated with every Genesis child theme, and it’s the perfect place to send folks who need custom design, without a custom budget. Go to GenesisDesignPro.com for more information, and thanks to Design Palette Pro for being a Post Status partner.

Original photo credit: Marc Benzakein at WCSD

by Brian Krogsgard at September 06, 2016 06:30 PM under Everyone

September 03, 2016

Post Status: GoDaddy has acquired ManageWP

GoDaddy has acquired ManageWP, the popular website management service. The terms have not been officially disclosed, but it’s my understanding that the deal is structured based on a post-earn-out valuation that could change depending on performance. The deal closed on September 1st. GoDaddy declined to comment on the specifics of the financials.

ManageWP was founded in 2011, officially launched in January 2012, and has more than a quarter million websites on their service. Their team of nearly 30 people is headquartered in Serbia, but is capable for remote operations, and the entire team will join GoDaddy. Up to this point, ManageWP was fully self-funded. The company was founded my Vladimir Prelovac, who is coincidentally moving to the US, and will now work from GoDaddy’s Sunnyvale office; the company CEO is Ivan Bjelajac.

Speaking to Vladimir, he says the discussions with GoDaddy began several months ago, when they were seeking a potential partnership. The relationship grew from there and transitioned to potential acquisition talks. “We met with their team, and it really blew my mind; the product team, engineering, and leadership really have a fantastic vision.” They loved the thought of being able to put ManageWP — a product they strongly believe in — into the hands of millions of people.

Vladimir says that Orion, their recent rebuild of the product, went very well, and they have been profitable since inception. Their 2015 revenue was more than $1 million, and they anticipated new revenue growth with the launch of Orion — prior to the acquisition closing.

ManageWP’s recent rebuild

A complete redesign and rebuild of the product — which they’ve named Orion — was completed and launched on July 12th. The new product included an all new pricing scheme, in addition to the new interface. The new pricing is geared toward power users managing dozens or hundreds of websites, costs $150 per month for between 25 and 100 websites, and additional bundles of 100 sites are $150 each.

People with fewer sites can pay $6 per site per month. The new pricing is confusing, as I covered in more depth in my post about the relaunch, but is cheaper than their previous plans unless a customer has between 5 and 50 websites, or more than 200 websites.

However, the pricing may not be a significant factor under the management of GoDaddy. They very well may choose to make most features of ManageWP free for GoDaddy customers.

The following breakdown of features is based on ManageWP’s current pricing:

Current free plan

  • Centralized site management for WordPress, plugin, and theme updates
  • Team and user management
  • Security and performance snapshots
  • Google analytics summaries
  • WordPress comment management
  • Maintenance mode
  • Basic client reports

Current paid plan

  • Cloud backups and site cloning: $2/month/site for daily and up to $6/month/site for hourly
  • White label ManageWP for client installs: $1/month/site
  • SEO keyword monitoring and ranking changes: $1/month/site
  • Uptime monitor: $1/month/site
  • Advanced client reports: $1/month/site

GoDaddy’s plans for ManageWP

GoDaddy will surely benefit from the technology ManageWP has spent so much time and energy crafting. What will be more interesting is to see specifically how they integrate it with their GoDaddy Pro program and WordPress hosting plans.

The ManageWP SaaS as it currently exists will be a standalone offering, but GoDaddy will also integrate it into their Pro platform — an all-in-one dashboard for web developers — which is possible because of the way ManageWP was created, with its extensive backend API.

Jeff King, GoDaddy’s Vice President of Hosting, told me, “ManageWP is incredibly well respected,” and that they do not want to mess with how strong of a brand it is, and will keep it as a standalone app that anyone can use.

They would like to integrate some of the “fantastic” features ManageWP has developed, into, “something that is incredibly useful for [GoDaddy] Pros.” They also know that their customers have clients that work on other hosts, and they want to integrate the new features they are working on with many hosting platforms.

They expect to start rolling out ManageWP features within the GoDaddy Pro dashboard in the next couple of months, and hope to have a more complete demo ready for WordCamp US in December.

Current GoDaddy WordPress hosting plans range from $3.99 to $13.99 per month — both are very low prices within the industry, considering what they offer.

GoDaddy hosting has had a bad reputation for a long time, but they have spent tens of millions of dollars on their managed infrastructure and tooling — not to mention efforts to revitalize their brand more generally. Reputable hosting analysis I’ve seen for the last couple of years consistently conclude that GoDaddy’s managed service is a good, “bang for your buck,” considering the very low prices.

Speaking with various members of GoDaddy’s team, I know that their aims for the future are to build out tools for improved customer experiences, and they feel like they are in the best place they’ve ever been from a hardware and hosting stack technology standpoint.

They are also putting the finishing touches on an entirely new onboarding experience for WordPress hosting customers who sign up with GoDaddy, to be able to cater websites configured for specific niches based on what the customer tells them they intend to do with the website. Depending on the answers from a new customer, they will pre-install plugins and themes to suit those needs, which could in the future co-align with their plugin partner program, but also includes other plugin and service partnerships, like the deal they have made with the page building plugin Beaver Builder.

This acquisition will offer tremendous exposure for ManageWP, to the more than 14 million GoDaddy customers. WordPress is a huge focus area for GoDaddy, considering its dominance in the CMS landscape, and 25% marketshare of the web generally; the most common thing a new GoDaddy hosting customer will do is to install WordPress, so they have a particularly vested interest in trying to make the experience of running and managing WordPress websites a positive one.

Update: ManageWP and GoDaddy have both made official announcements now. Of note in the ManageWP one, they do confirm that, “GoDaddy is looking to bolster their WordPress hosting with our features, like backups, staging, migration and more,” and some of those features will indeed make their way to the GoDaddy platform. Also, they say that 8% of ManageWP customers were on GoDaddy.

by Brian Krogsgard at September 03, 2016 05:40 PM under Everyone

August 31, 2016

HeroPress: On the other side

Pull Quote: The failure of a lot of outsource projects, companies, and freelancers is the lack of clear expectations in the beginning.

My first experience with WordPress came in 2005. I was taking an online theology program and became friends with the director of the course, C. Michael Patton. The course was provided by a popular Christian website, but over time it became necessary to move it to its own site because of limitations in the current sites platform. I don’t know what it was at the time, I believe it may have been custom built.

Michael, along with me and several other students of the course searched for the best platforms to build the new site on we played with all the popular ones at the time. We looked at Joomla (Mambo at the time), Drupal, and WordPress. We also chose Moodle for the classroom piece and WordPress for the main site. We built the site and it went over well, the theology program was getting popular and the live chats that we did on Pal Talk were getting a lot of attention. The chat rooms were constantly getting attacked by malicious users who pop in and disrupt the classes, but we also wanted the rooms to stay public as there was a pretty significant Christian presence on there and we were getting many new students.

Michael decided that the best thing to do was to build our own chat platform add all the features that would make teaching and conferencing more efficient. Michael found someone to finance the new system, and I quit my job to work on this full time.

Trying Outsourcing

That lead to my first experience with outsourcing work, this was a big project and would require a large team. We ended up hiring an outsourcing company from Noida, India. We got to work building the ultimate conferencing platform.

There were a lot of challenges with the application, many were technical as we had purchased a voice conferencing SDK that could do peer to peer audio and text chat, but it was buggy and would drop users on a regular basis. As many technical issues as we had, we had more with the outsourcing company.

They were very friendly and polite, but there were cultural differences that I didn’t understand at the time, and these became a huge obstacle to ever completing the project. My past experience working for a high end financial consulting company that dealt with super wealthy investors, taught me that quality and deadlines were all that mattered, and if I gave a deadline for something or was given one it had to be met no matter what.

Things didn’t quite work that way in outsourcing, deadlines were treated as guidelines, and things that seemed like common sense such as how a confirmation box would work became additional features.

Basically, things that I took for granted but didn’t provide documentation for were never thought about, no one ever asked about how things like that would work, and the level of frustration built.

After two trips to India to try to get things back on track we finally pulled the project and moved it to the US.

During this same period, it was blatantly obvious that the SDK we were building this on was never going to work as advertised and we would need to write one from scratch. I had an acquaintance from the theology program, a professor at a college in San Francisco who had a small development company there.

Their main developer was a self-proclaimed genius and had done a lot of work in audio compression and had written code for Gibson mixers as well as some networking protocol work so it seemed a perfect fit.

We signed the contract and off we went, or so we thought. After 6 weeks of discussions, emails, and arguing back and forth, the company wanted a percentage of our business to build the conferencing piece. They were claiming that their developer was going to use his custom algorithm to provide the service, but that was not part of the contract so they would need to own a portion of the company.

My guess is that they planned on that from the beginning, but nevertheless, after over $10,000 and a lot of lost time all we received was some documents with the theory behind this magic algorithm and copies of a bunch of downloaded open source communication frameworks.

I can go on about this project, but the main thing is that it ultimately ended in failure, and it still haunts me that we never got this to market.

As difficult and painful as this failure was, I did learn a lot from it, I know that’s cliché but it really is true, and what I learned is the point of this post.

WordPress in El Salvador

In 2010 I moved to El Salvador for reasons that are beyond this post and would require way too much of your time. I got married here, and my wife and I started a coffee export business. We did pretty well with that until 2012 when the rust leaf virus hit the country and really hurt the quality and quantity of coffee available for export.

I needed to find a way for us to make a living, and I started scouring the internet for jobs that I could do from here. I found a listing on Craig’s List, and landed a job as a project manager for an outsource company based in the US.

Most of the work was in WordPress which I had continued to dabble in by doing sites for friends, and our coffee business, so I was pretty comfortable with the platform. The part that was the challenge of the job was that I was again working with developers’ half way around the world, that didn’t understand the American culture or clients’ perspectives.

My experience with WordPress helped quite a bit because I could jump in and fix things, and finish projects that were incomplete. I built a good reputation with clients many of whom where marketing companies that needed sites built to promote their clients’ businesses.

The owner of the company is a bit of an entrepreneur and in 2013 he decided to build a new business setting appointments for real estate agents in the US. I got the job of building a custom portal for his new venture using a couple of the developers that I had been working with over the last year and a half.

This was a fairly large project as it was tied to several APIs and was on an unrealistic deadline, but we managed to get it done and the business was rolling. Ultimately this didn’t work because it required telemarketers that were working on commission so they were doing anything to get appointments including booking them when they shouldn’t. The real estate agents were mad, the owner of the company was refunding money constantly, and that was the end of it, and the outsourcing company.

I started doing work on my own using the two developers that I had worked with that were very good, and things were going well, but I still had to deal with the time and cultural differences. Waking up to see what progress was made on a project only to hear from the dev that he couldn’t do anything because he had some questions, even though we discussed projects and had the details in our online management system.

Building Locally

In 2014 I decided it was time to hire local developers, I was getting busy and I couldn’t afford to miss deadlines and I needed more control over my projects. Besides, my goal was always to earn a living here, while treating the local people fairly and not taking advantage of them. I wanted to provide opportunities not just make money.

My wife formed the legal company as I cannot own a company here yet, I’ve still got to finish the legalization process.

I hired our first two full time developers in the fall of 2014, one front end for themes and templates, and one back end for plugins and API work. While we had plenty of work we didn’t exactly hit the ground running.

There was still a cultural adjustment period, and neither were really that familiar with WordPress. This meant a lot of long hours for me as they were learning the ins and out of WordPress, and even more importantly, the importance of detail and meeting deadlines.

The work culture here is a lot like that in most of the world, much more laid back then that in the US, so I had to teach my team to understand what mattered and what didn’t to our clients. I had to use the lessons that I learned from my failures in working with outsourcing companies and individuals in the past and use that to build a working environment that is productive for the company but also a place that my workers are happy to come to every day.

There were a lot of challenges that we had to overcome aside from just the cultural differences and approaches. The employment laws here were a surprise that I learned on what appeared to be a little later than a need to know basis.

All employees get 15 days’ paid vacation from year one, and they get 15% of their monthly salary in addition to their regular pay for that time. They also get an annual bonus that is 50% of their monthly salary. And then there is indemnizacion which is basically unemployment, except here the company pays one month’s salary for every year an employee works, you have the option of paying this annually, or all at once if you fire an employee.

These were things I learned after agreeing to pay my developers their asking salaries.

If you’re going to start an outsourcing company in a foreign country, learn their laws first!

Other issues that I learned from my first outsourced project is that other countries have their own holiday schedules. I had Hindus on projects that had some holidays, Muslims that had other holidays, and clients that didn’t care about either. The same thing here, El Salvador’s’ Independence Day is not July 4th, their Labor Day is not the first Monday of Sept. and they have a lot of holidays based on the Catholicism.

These are all issues we work around by managing our time and projects, and a lot of extra work on my part during these holidays. My team works most US holidays, but that would be the best time for them to be off, and when I would like to be off.

We currently have four full-time developers and we keep everyone fairly busy, but I also care about my team and we try to manage our projects so that no one needs to work overtime, or even the half days on Saturdays that they are contracted for. So far I have only needed to have them work on Saturdays twice in the two years since we started here, but they all understand that if deadlines are in danger of not being met we will work Saturdays. That’s a little motivation that seems to be working.

Chicho Mayra, Flor, and Luis

I also realize that I am not going to get a lot of production out of a new developer for a couple months. Most people here don’t know WordPress very well, or the other platforms that we work on, so we train them, give them small things to do and time to learn. They need to learn not only how to do the actual programming, but how to embrace WordPress as an application development platform or framework. In the beginning they all want to work on their favorite MVC framework for everything, but when they really learn the power and clarity of the platform they get hooked and productions shoots up.

I never wait until I have too much work to hire someone new because I know the beginning will be slow.

If I need to scale in a hurry, I still have relationships with my oversees guys and I’ll give them a project to keep moving.

Outsourcing On The Other Side

There is a lot to running an outsourcing company from a foreign country, and I have a big advantage having spent most of my life working in the Northeastern US and understanding what clients expect. One of the main things I do is to manage those expectations to create realistic requirements, and realistic deadlines. We meet those deadlines or we work extra, though we have hardly ever needed to do that.

I believe the failure of a lot of outsource projects, companies, and freelancers is the lack of clear expectations in the beginning.

Much like most of the world, the people here put a lot of importance on being agreeable and polite when discussing projects or really anything. That sounds good on the surface but it leads to unmet goals and cranky clients. If you’re working with US clients it’s far better to be honest about deadlines, skillsets, etc. than to just say yes to everything and have it fall apart.

My team has learned that it’s better to tell me the reality than just what I want to hear, if they’re struggling with something they come to me and I guide them, sometimes to one of the other developers, sometimes I do it myself, but the key is that they are comfortable in knowing that none of us knows everything. Salvadorans are very proud people so this is a huge accomplishment.

I know this is a long post and maybe I ramble a bit, but if you’re living in a foreign country and running or considering running an outsource business I hope that some of my experiences will provide a little guidance to help you along. Having been on both sides of the outsourcing world has really helped me to understand what clients want, and how to help my team deliver it.

The post On the other side appeared first on HeroPress.

by Ed Kratz at August 31, 2016 12:00 PM

August 30, 2016

Post Status: Mobile apps that work with WordPress — Draft Podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Joe and Brian talk about various third party publishing apps available and how they work with WordPress. They dig into apps that currently exist, how the connect to WordPress, how the future of WordPress could improve the third party ecosystem, and many of the challenges that must be tackled when interacting with WordPress as a third party application.

https://audio.simplecast.com/45625.mp3
Direct Download

Apps we discussed

Editor interfaces

Other links

Sponsor: Delicious Brains

Today’s show is sponsored by Delicious Brains. WP Migrate DB Pro makes moving and copying databases simple. They are also working on an exciting new project right now for merging databases, called Mergebot. Go to Mergebot.com for updates on that, and deliciousbrains.com for more information on WPMigrate DB Pro, and thanks to the team at Delicious Brains for being a Post Status partner.

by Katie Richards at August 30, 2016 06:50 PM under Everyone

August 26, 2016

WP Mobile Apps: WordPress for iOS: Version 6.4

Hi there, WordPress users! Version 6.4 of the WordPress for iOS app is now available in the App Store.

What’s New:

iPad Keyboard Shortcuts. Press down the command key on your external keyboard to see a list of available shortcuts in the main screen and in the post editor.

Hold down the command key, and see the available shortcuts. There are many shortcuts you can use in the post editor, too.

Share Media. Our sharing extension now supports media, too!

Select any image and tap on the WordPress icon. Add a message and share it to your blog!

People Management. You can now manage your site’s users and roles using your mobile device.

A new people management section is available. See a list of your blog's users and their roles. Tap on any person to see their details.

Search in the Reader. The Reader now has search capability and autocompletes suggestions.

Tap the magnification icon on the top right corner. Searching is easier than ever.

Improved Gestures. Full screen image previews can be dismissed with a swanky flick/toss gesture.

Bugs Squashed. A new homemade bug spray formula has allowed us to squash many uninvited guests.

And much more! You can see the full list of changes here.

Thank You

Thanks to all of the contributors who worked on this release:
@aerych, @astralbodies, @claudiosmweb, @diegoreymendez, @frosty, @jleandroperez, @koke, @kurzee, @kwonye, @oguzkocer, @sendhil, @SergioEstevao.

You can track the development progress for the next update by visiting our 6.5 milestone on GitHub. Until next time!

by diegoreymendez at August 26, 2016 12:27 PM under Other

WP Mobile Apps: WordPress for Android: Version 5.7

Hello WordPress users! Version 5.7 of the WordPress for Android app is now available in the Google Play Store.

New “Plans” section in My Site

Starting with 5.7, you can see your current WordPress.com plan and learn more about the benefits we offer in other plans.

screenshot-2016-08-02_15.46.12.755

Manage your followers and viewers from the “People Management” screen

You’re now able to use the app to invite new Administrators, Editors, Authors or Contributors to your site, or remove unwanted followers.

screenshot-2016-08-02_15.51.08.242

Other Changes

Version 5.7 also comes with a few other changes and fixes:

  • Reader tweaks in the Post Detail screen for tablets.
  • Keeps the “View Site” link visible for newly created users.
  • Fixes a rare crash when creating a new account.

You can track our development progress for the next release by visiting our 5.8 milestone on GitHub.

Beta

Do you like keeping up with what’s new in the app? Do you enjoy testing new stuff before anyone else? Our testers have access to beta versions with updates shipped directly through Google Play. The beta versions may have new features, new fixes — and possibly new bugs! Testers make it possible for us to improve the overall app experience, and offer us invaluable development feedback.

Want to become a tester? Opt-in!

Thank you

Thanks to our GitHub contributors: @0nko, @aforcier, @hypest, @karambir252, @khaykov, @kwonye, @maxme, @mzorz, @nbradbury, @oguzkocer, and @theck13.

by Maxime at August 26, 2016 11:33 AM under Other

August 24, 2016

HeroPress: A Minority Amongst Minorities

Pull Quote: Time passed, and I fell more and more in love with WordPress.

I’m a minority amongst minorities, but it doesn’t matter.

Let’s get to know each other

Hi, I’m Uriahs Victor and I’m a Carib – bean from the island of St. Lucia. How many Black Developers do you know in the WordPress Community? 5? 20? How many of them are from the Caribbean? How many raised up in places like this:

Uriahs Victor's childhood home, a blue house with low jungle around it A vew from Uriahs Victor's childhood home, a shed and barn nestled in the jungle A view of Uriahs Victors childhood neighborhood,, small houses surrounded by jungle

I chose to write on this topic in hopes that there’s someone else like me reading this article someday who’s living in an area where it may seem like there aren’t many career paths.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are or your complexion; anyone could code.

How my passion for programming began

I was fortunately raised with both parents in a community on my island called Fond St. Jacques which is a part of a bigger town called Soufriere. I grew up doing everything a typical adolescent from my community would be doing: playing football, playing cricket and going to work on my parents farm and occasionally on other farms to earn some money to burn through by drinking with friends ( don’t think about it too hard ) and partying.

One day I came home to a used computer setup in my room and was extremely ecstatic with the idea that my family now owned one. I spent hours upon hours on this computer messing around with paint but mostly playing Pinball, there was no internet in my community at the time but I was very intrigued by video games, once I got my first taste of unrestricted internet access several months after; my love for video games grew, I spent time reading about them but more time playing them and at that time I had decided that I wanted to be a Game Designer.

If being a Programmer from a rural community out of the Caribbean sounds different (not impossible) looking back at it now then just imagine how it sounded saying I wanted to be a Game Designer when someone asked me. I spent years with this goal set, I spent days reading about game designing but I always felt lacking, I believed there was always 1 skill Game Designers needed that I did not have and that was being able to draw/design.

In 2010 life was pretty easy going, I was 15 and still had not done any piece of Web or Desktop Development coding. My Secondary schooling was going pretty good, I was always the top performing IT student so this brought me comfort as I knew I would soon be writing the “CXC” exams soon.

Everything changes

On October 28th 2010 I woke up during the night to the sound of heavy rains, I looked through one of the windows of my home at the time and saw the trees around my house swaying pretty normal, or so I thought. The morning of October 29 I woke up to the sound of friends saying “Uriahs your mom shop is gone” in our second language (French Creole), this language naturally sounds a bit harsh when used to say various things so I thought they were pulling some kind of prank on me. What I saw after heading to the balcony where my friends were changed my life.

A neighborhood with muddy water halfway up the sides of the houses Metal infrastructure and trees sweeping a house away

Some Damage done to my hometown (more images could be seen by googling “Hurricane Tomas Fond St. Jacques Damage

My friends were right, my mom’s shop where she sold snacks and food items which generated most of the income for my schooling had completely vanished, no trace of it was left, like it was never there.

This storm had done so much damage that there was no way for anyone from my community to get to school

Roads were completely sliced through by water and eventually I had to move out of my community to live in Soufriere for ease of travelling to school.

At age 16 I still wanted to be a Game Designer, I had spent the previous 5 years excelling in Information Technology at my Secondary school but had never done any piece of programming, the damages of Hurricane Tomas were still evident and I was still shaken up at how my life had changed, I was no longer living with my parents in my hometown, everything I would not wish for a teenager.

To this day the damage done to my home town is still visible:

Building with storm damage years later Building with storm damage years later

This is the exact same area from one of the previous images. These pictures were taken August 8th 2016 when I visited.

In the Caribbean, at the end of your 5 years of Secondary schooling you are required to write an exam called “CXC” if you wish to pursue higher education. For my academic year we never finished our Information Technology syllabus which touched a bit on Pascal programming, so when it came to writing the Information Technology exam every category was aced, but I failed the programming section, even then I still wanted to be a Game Designer and had not yet grown any affection for coding.

In 2011 I started schooling at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) pursuing an Associate Degree in Computer Systems Engineering which was the only option available which dealt with Technology at that college (there are only two colleges on my island). This was a 2 year degree where the first year students are introduced to both the Hardware and Software side of computing then in the second year choose the path they wish to pursue. This was also around the time I first came across WordPress while fiddling on the internet and making the mistake of not looking more into what it really was.

Technical Project

One year into my Computer Engineering program it finally came the time to choose my path in IT and of course I chose the Software path because I believed if I wanted to be a Game Designer then this was the best path. That remaining year was when I really started to build up my affection for code, there was only one course in the software path that actually dealt with any type of code to some extent called “Programming Methodology”. Programming Methodology was a course tailored to teach you the very basics of programming such as Loops, IF and ELSE statements, Variables and small exercises to help you put those into practice. This entire Programming Methodology course was done with VB6 examples in Visual Studio 2006 so I was not taught a single line of Web Development code.

At this college every student who does Computer Systems Engineering is required to present a “Technical Project” in a typed and physical presentation form, it’s purpose is to show what you’ve picked up from the program over the 2 years; without receiving a pass on this Technical Project students would not be awarded their Degree and would need to redo the project until they succeeded. It may sound a bit brutal but I believe this is a good final test and I hope they don’t change this procedure.

I had known about this requirement for a very long time so I decided to build a video game for my technical project, I knew I could not draw so I decided to use a RPG Maker and ponder ways I could get a pass by presenting to the graders a video game which I did not physically design any of the characters or coded them in. I eventually decided to create an Educational video game and touch on the topic of teaching through entertainment (Edutainment). There was this one course called Data Communications that students always seem to have trouble passing so I thought “Hey, maybe I should create a game showing some basics of Data Communications”.

During my time learning how to use this RPG Maker and creating this game I found myself using a lot of the logic operators I had learnt about in Programming Methodology, this was all good because in my presentation I could have shown that though I used a RPG Maker, there was actually a lot of programming logic going on under the hood and that I was actually coding.

While working on this project my love for code grew, I was having fun.

By the time I had finished creating this game my passion had already broken down from Game Designing to coding. Thankfully, I was successful with the game which I called “EduCom” and was able to finish college in a perfect 2 years (woohoo!), you can download EduCom here: Click here

Fast forward a few months and there I was as an intern from college at a web agency understudying some colleagues who didn’t build desktop apps. Keep in mind that at college I had learnt VB6 to the point where I could have switched over to self-learn VB.NET and I was now sitting in a web agency learning web development, well guess what? I still loved it. I went home each day and practiced it, I used http://codeacademy.com (which now redirects to codecademy.com) to learn HTML and CSS and I was even good with jQuery at some point! Life was great, at that time getting employed by the agency was not a big deal for me, I just loved coming to work and understudying the other Developers.

A shock came to me one day when I was told that I had went to the wrong company for my internship.

I remember to this day clearly being told that I was supposed to carry out my internship at this web agency but now I was being told that I went the wrong place. I really liked where I currently was but I actually needed to leave for the company which I was registered to in the school records, I still wonder what would have happened if I had never corrected that mistake.

With 2 months left out of the 3 month long internship program, I was at a new company with very little excitement in me. The silver lining came when I arrived and noticed that there was this 1 developer who was responsible for both building and maintaining desktop applications and websites, two things I really liked doing, so I quickly gravitated towards him and in no time we became friends. I was awed by him and I could safely say just like the previous guys at the web agency that he played a part in me not forgetting my true passion for coding. I say this because at this newly assigned company I became an IT Technician, doing everything Techs usually do such as fixing printers, troubleshooting WIFI networks, fixing computers and even building them too, but even after spending the day as an IT Technician I often spent the night as a Developer. I never stopped coding, I often came home fatigued from all the hands on tech work but I pushed myself through CodeCademy’s exercises, I spent time working in Visual Studio building simple apps that did nothing useful but I still liked the feeling of seeing my code come to life.

At the ending of my internship I had become such a great IT Technician that I got the job. I was excited because heck, who wouldn’t be excited to get a job straight out of college in a country with high unemployment rate?

Reality Is Cruel; Immerse Yourself – Uriahs Victor

On September 3rd 2013; two weeks before my birthday was my first day officially on the job. My day was going by normal, until I got a call from my sister, crying. My father had lost his life because of a mishap while working on our family farm. It took me a while to realize what had happened, I didn’t want to believe it. Might sound strange to you, but video games again came up and helped me through.

Tricked out PC case with lights inside.Life went on and after one year I had grown my IT Technician skills even more, I was often tasked with building custom PCs like this.

No matter where you are at right now, don’t stop doing what you truly love.

The day came when my Developer friend at the company decided it was time for him to leave the job for greater things, and guess who offered to be the new Developer? That’s right, me. With some help from my colleague I got familiar with the different apps and websites the company had under their management, again I came across WordPress but I still did not know much about it on a coding stand point, I spent time at home getting familiar with its backend but what was more unusual to me was its code. I knew how to build static websites with HTML and CSS but I did not know much PHP at the time so I had to quickly learn a fair level of PHP to find myself around and also learn different things about WordPress such as plugins and backing up… enough to fill in my colleague’s shoes as quickly as I could before he was gone.

I am not happy at my job!

Two years into the job and things had begun to turn sour for me, I was not happy at my job. One of the main reasons was that I felt underappreciated and overlooked. Though I was the new Developer for the company they never got over the fact that I was also pretty good with computers, so I was often asked to stop whatever software related tasks I was doing to head over to some client’s business to check out a faulty computer or things of that nature. I was unhappy, I felt like I this company did not value the software side of their business nearly as much as the hardware side, couple that with the fact that I was still being paid the same salary as when I was only an IT tech, to now being in charge of the company’s software and still finding myself doing IT Technician related tasks and then being asked by my employer “Why can’t you work on the client apps at home?”, there was no overtime pay offered in my contract, so I used my nights to better myself and also to rest my mind.

I was still 20 but soon to be 21 at the time and I felt overworked. Having to condition your brain to work on VB.NET apps some of which were not built by yourself requires time to be spent getting familiar with the source code, but often minutes after I would have to recondition my brain to think of reasons why a computer has a certain issue, this was like P90X on the brain, it was a daily thing and I began disliking as weeks and months went by. Time passed and things became sourer, I began contemplating my resignation; I did not like the way I was being treated and it had begun to show, I often only found joy when practicing my code at home, this late night practicing also often caused me to arrive late the next day for work which I compensated for by leaving at late hours.

If it doesn’t come bursting out of you, don’t do it.

The day came when I decided to resign from my job but something inside me said “Uriahs, give it another shot”, that voice was the bad voice, I was let go from the job the same day I planned to resign.

Is Karma real?

So there I was, a 21 year old who had no backup plan and no job applications out in the wild but I was happy. I had felt relief that I did not have to deal with working in an environment I didn’t like. I was told by my past colleagues that my replacement had come in the next day and I thought to myself that maybe this company was contemplating letting me go just as long as I was contemplating leaving (lol). Well, let’s just say this replacement only lasted 3 days on the Job then quit after messing up one of the company’s high end clients website, a news publishing website: http://stluciastar.com/ built on WordPress which I had been maintaining and making code modifications for when asked.

I don’t know why the company thought it was ok to call me 3 days after letting me go, asking for my “help” in fixing whatever problem a replacement Developer (who I believe shortly quit after the incident) had done, but after consulting with the WordPress community, it was made clear to me that I should either charge for my services or decline; heck, I was unemployed and still had rent and bills to pay but I instead eventually declined.

A new beginning

Weeks went by with me just getting used to being out of an office type job to being home, I had been living alone since I had gotten the past job so I also had to get used to having less people around me. I took that time to learn more about WordPress, Udemy pricing scheme didn’t change yet so I bought myself a few WordPress Development courses for $10USD each when they came on sale, such as: WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap by Brad Hussey, in that one course I learnt more about WordPress than I had learnt in all my time working in my last job(wut?). I began doing freelance work online and locally, there were not many other options on my island to work in software so I started questioning whether I should be sending out applications for new jobs or just do full time freelancing; I had my doubts about the few companies there were, and I actually enjoyed working from home. Time passed and I fell more and more in love with WordPress, I watched tutorials and googled away trying to pick up knowledge, the WordPress codex which I once found intimidating began to look sexy.

Once I felt I had gathered enough knowledge on WordPress, I thought of a plugin idea and began working on it. I had no immediate help except for the WordPress community populating the codex with all the useful information. I spent a few weeks working none stop on this plugin which I thought did a pretty good task which was to Inform buyers of a downloadable WooCommerce product that there is an update for that product after the shop owner has marked it as updated. After completing the plugin I was ready to submit to the WordPress repository, it brought me joy when I got the e-mail letting me know that the plugin was accepted to the WordPress repository! I love open source so just having a plugin for WordPress which could at least help some people made me feel warm inside.

Pirate of the Caribbean

Around that time something equally interesting happened. I had completed a short video chat with Ionut and Sabina from ThemeIsle and found out that I would be part of their WordPress support team for their themes and plugins! Obviously I was happy, I would be amongst like minded individuals, a team who appreciates WordPress as much as I do, a team I could learn from! All without needing to fly over to Romania!

Let’s have a drink

One day while performing a random Google search for my plugin I saw in the search results a link to WPTavern, I curiously clicked on the link and saw that my plugin (TLD WooCommerce Downloadable Product Update Emails) had been picked as one of the top 3 plugins of the week on WPTavern, my very first plugin and it was mentioned on WPTavern?!

WPWeekly Episode 233 – Recap of WordCamp Chicago 2016


In under 1 year I have achieved more than I did in the recent years. It wasn’t easy, many nights were spent awake googling away, many parties were missed so I could save and be able to pay bills. If you like something, do it!

Programming is for anyone and when I notice someone from my island or the Caribbean show interest in coding I never refrain from encouraging them.

I am currently 21 and will be 22 next month, I still have lots to learn, I still have lots to give back to the WordPress community and open-source community on a whole, I currently aid small businesses and non-profits on my Island grow their brand with WordPress. I have plugins and plugin ideas in the pipeline which I am currently not able to complete, but through learning and growing my skills I eventually will.

It doesn’t matter which part of the world you grew up in, what challenges you’ve faced, nor does it matter your race, all it takes is the internet, passion, patience, practice and of course prayer.

WordPress has been good to me, if it has been good to you, then helping the WordPress Community in any way possible is the best we could all do.

The post A Minority Amongst Minorities appeared first on HeroPress.

by Uriahs Victor at August 24, 2016 12:00 PM

August 23, 2016

Post Status: Static site generators versus WordPress

The current state of affairs

In 2016, WordPress is far from the only choice for a new website. In fact, website owners have enjoyed a plethora of options (hosted and self-hosted) for many years. WordPress has remained the juggernaut solution for self-hosted websites, with 25% marketshare of the total web, and as the mainstay CMS for small-to-medium businesses with small or low budgets.

Amongst two groups — large institutions that need high scalability, and the ever-tinkering developer crowd — another option is trending positively: the static site generator, also known as a flat-file CMS.

Don’t get me wrong — the WordPress install base is huge, and the threat posed by static site generators is small. But it’s growing. Post Status editor Brian Krogsgard polled developers prior to Pressnomics, to assess the threat level posed by various CMSs and publishing platforms; Medium and static site generators were considered more of a threat than any others:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.58.07 AM

He also wrote in a newsletter to members in November, 2015, “Didn’t I just mention about the appeal of static sites? I really think they’re a big top-end threat,” referring to the launch of vets.gov. Earlier that month, Smashing Magazine christened them the next big thing. A number of high profile websites use static site generators, from Vox Media to Barack Obama.

A spate of flat-file CMS options have become strong contenders: GitHub’s Jekyll is by far the most popular, but it’s joined by Grav, Couch, Pico, and more. You can even host your static site on GitHub Pages for free, and they’re happy to let you use a custom domain.

Historical WordPress advantages

The continuing appeal of WordPress has been fourfold:

  1. The ability to get started very cheaply, without a monthly fee on top of hosting costs.
  2. The liberty to use a custom domain name.
  3. A robust ecosystem that provides thousands of free or inexpensive themes and plugins.
  4. One-step installation facilitated by mainstream web hosts’ embrace of WordPress.

Since Jekyll and its ilk are mostly open-source, advantage #1 is wiped out. GitHub Pages knocks out advantage #2. WordPress retains the upper hand regarding #3 and #4. Younger projects have a long way to go before they can rival the WordPress community, and they’re still focused on serving fellow developers rather than everyday consumers. Until that changes, big web hosts won’t bother to enable ultra-easy installation.

Modern WordPress drawbacks

WordPress does have legitimate downsides, especially if you’re already a competent web developer or you’re focused on the highest levels of technical performance.

Site speed is ever more important in an age of social distribution and mobile browsing, and made more difficult considering site assets and page weights seem to be constantly getting larger. WordPress can be difficult to scale for high levels of traffic, and certain site architecture decisions can get developers in trouble.

High scalability and smart web performance management with WordPress requires significant development expertise or more expensive managed hosting partners, especially for complex WordPress installs; whereas the inherently static nature of static site generators makes scalability more trivial.

Finally, security is a concern for some people that choose static site generators. WordPress has opportunities for user input that static site generators do not. It is also a natural target of hackers, simply due to its popularity. And static site generators are almost completely locally stored — aside from the output itself — whereas WordPress (potentially outdated, along with underlying themes and plugins) is stored on the server, more vulnerable to attacks.

Why WordPress is still winning

As I noted amongst its historical advantages, WordPress has an unparalleled ecosystem of plugins, add-ons, and extensions. (For comparison, the Jekyll Plugins website only lists fifty-two options at the time of writing.) It’s also relatively easy for non-technical people to install and use WordPress, in part because mainstream hosting companies put in the effort to make it easy, but even prior to such conveniences WordPress boasted, “the famous 5-minute install.” And static site generators are just not as powerful as traditional content management systems, especially in regard to user input.

Among the static site generators, Jekyll in particular is working toward feature parity, but it will take a long time. Current ease-of-use tools like Prose, a content editor that integrates with GitHub, and CloudCannon’s Jekyll GUI, which aims to help developers collaborate with clients, are in their infancy in terms of adoption and are still finicky to use.

It can be tempting to look longingly at the growing ecosystem around static site generators. It’s also easy to forget just how much you get “for free” with built-in WordPress functionality. Static site generators definitely play a role in the modern web, and can be a great choice for certain types of websites. But no static site generator signals the end for WordPress and its continuously strong community.

The future — what should you do?

Since you’re reading Post Status, it seems fair to assume that you’re part of the WordPress ecosystem, and very likely earn a living from it. Should you be panicking? No, for all the reasons I laid out.

But any wise professional keeps an eye on the future of their industry. We are seeing a trend, and over time Jekyll and its siblings will gain more marketshare. It’s probably worth your time to try out a few flat-file CMS options, get familiar with how to use and customize them, and perhaps consider what WordPress itself can learn from them.

by Sonya Mann at August 23, 2016 08:23 PM under Developers

August 17, 2016

Post Status: WordPress 4.6, “Pepper”

WordPress 4.6, “Pepper”, has been released. It’s named, as always, after a famous jazz musician, and this release is named after Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III, a baritone saxophonist and jazz composer.

The Release Lead for WordPress 4.6 was Dominik Schilling, known often as Ocean90, and the Deputy Release Lead was Garth Mortensen. There were 272 total contributors to this release. According to Aaron Jorbin, 85 of these contributors were first timers, so congratulations to all new WordPress contributors!

For this release, we did a special episode of the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and me, Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Joe and I discuss WordPress 4.6 and deep dive on a few of its features.

https://audio.simplecast.com/44775.mp3
Direct Download

About WordPress 4.6

Here’s a video overview of WordPress 4.6:

 

Overall, this was a planned iterative release from the beginning, with a goal to fix as many longstanding bugs as possible, and to refine existing features, rather than to focus on a lot of brand new features.

Folks have been clamoring for a release like this for a long time, and in most respects 4.6 delivered. According to Trac, 489 tickets were closed, across 53 components, during the 4.6 milestone. Also, it shipped exactly on time.

User facing features

WordPress 4.6 has a few user facing features that aren’t huge functional changes, but nice interface enhancements.

Shiny updates

No more bleak screen of sadness, as the team working on this termed it. The plugin installation, updates, and delete process is much smoother than it used to be. There’s a nice video of this from the initial proposal:

 

This was the second release where “shiny updates” features were a focus. To see some under the hood considerations for developers, there’s more information on that from Pascal Birchler.

Native fonts

WordPress is leaving Open Sans, which was introduced with the “MP6” admin overhaul of WordPress 3.8. You may have seen GitHub’s recent change to native fonts. It’s definitely a trend lately. Matt Miklic explains the switch from Open Sans to native system fonts in the WordPress admin.

The declaration of fonts when using system fonts has a good bit of science behind it, and may be useful for those of you who wish to do something similar for your own projects. Marcin Wichary has a really interesting post describing Medium’s process when they made the switch.

And if you’re curious, the new declaration is this:

font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;

Inline link checker

WordPress will now automatically detect improperly formatted links, as you write. While this doesn’t check the validity of any properly written URL, it will ensure the URL you add in an href is properly formatted. So, it will catch if you accidentally type something like htp://w.org or http:/w.org and outline it in red for you to fix.

If you copy and past a URL into the link editor, but don’t include http:// at all (I do this a bunch), it auto detects and inserts it for you.

Browser content caching

Yet more efforts have been made to always ensure that you do not lose your content as you write. I followed the steps in the Trac ticket to see exactly what happens here.

So I typed the first sentence below, saved a draft, then typed the second paragraph:

What if I start typing and save a draft?

Then start typing some more, because that’s what bloggers do. And I chill here for a few seconds, then stupidly just reload this page?

Then I reloaded the page without saving again, and got this notice:

Click to view slideshow.

And just like that, the content is back, because it was saved in the browser’s local storage. Pretty cool.

Developer features

There are several important developer centric features that you should know about.

Enhanced meta data registration

This is a significant aid to the (pending) REST API meta handling, but also improves other meta data functionality. The register_meta() function allows developers to tell WordPress more about what specific meta data is designed to do. In WordPress 4.6, the arguments for this function have changed, enabling more information to be communicated in the third parameter, which is now an array.

The show_in_rest key, an experimental key (until the API endpoint goes in), finally solves the issue for the REST API for knowing when to include meta data in the API’s default responses. It’s one step of a few that need to be made to better support meta for the API, but it’s a good step forward.

For plugin developers not using register_meta(), be sure to learn more about it and the advantages, as there are quite a few. Jeremy Felt describes how to use register_meta() on Make Core.

Translation priorities and changes

WordPress will now default to the translations from Translate.WordPress.org community translations, then pull from theme or plugin translation files. A procedure called “just-in-time” translation loading will be utilized, and for plugins and themes distributed through the official repository, load_plugin_textdomain() and load_theme_textdomain() no longer need to be used.

Commercial plugin authors will still largely follow the same internationalization procedures they always have.

In a related note, and quite impressively, WordPress 4.6 shipped 100% translated in 50+ languages.

Resource hints

Joe helped teach me more about resource hints on the podcast, and Aaron did a much better job detailing resource hints than I could, in his excellent field guide:

Resource Hints is a rather new W3C specification that “defines the dns-prefetch, preconnect, prefetch, and prerender relationships of the HTML Link Element (<link>)”. These can be used to assist the browser in the decision process of which origins it should connect to, and which resources it should fetch and preprocess to improve page performance.

In 4.6, WordPress adds an API to register and use resource hints. The relevant ticket is #34292.

Developers can use the wp_resource_hints filter to add custom domains and URLs for dns-prefetchpreconnect, prefetch or prerender. One needs to be careful to not add too many resource hints as they could quite easily negatively impact performance, especially on mobile.

Resource hints can be very useful for certain situations, and it’s a technique that I personally need to explore further. Those of you doing advanced performance-driven development will surely be excited about support for this in WordPress.

Customizer APIs

The Customize API continues to evolve and improve, and Nick Halsey walks through new developer-focused features and changes to the API for WordPress 4.6. Also quite notably, Weston Ruter describes new APIs for both settings validation and notification management in the customizer.

Other developer-centric changes

Multisite changes: Jeremy Felt describes WP_Site_Query and WP_Network_Query, and goes over a few new functions and filters.

There is now a persistent comment cache, allowing more performant comment loading functionality. Rachel Baker, the comments component maintainer, explains further.

The WordPress HTTP API now uses the Requests library, as Ryan McCue describes.

Aaron Jorbin describes some of the lower level WordPress loading priorities and defaults that have changed. He also describes how WP CLI and core have reconciled their differences in wp-settings.php, which makes backward compatability for WP CLI possible now.

Boone Gorges describes the introduction of WP_Term_Query. He’s the term whisperer. As Joe and I discuss in the podcast, these sorts of changes make for better consistency in WordPress, and provide an improved developer experience.

Learn more

WordPress 4.6 is the result of hundreds of community members. You can find their names and links to their profiles on the official release post.

Also check out the official 4.6 Codex page that has a lot of handy information and links to source Trac tickets. You can see all closed tickets from 4.6 on the Trac milestone. View all new functions, classes, methods, and hooks on the official Developer Reference. And learn more about some of what I discuss above, and other items, on the ever-helpful field guide.

For the record, WordPress 4.5 was downloaded more than 45 million times. You can track 4.6 downloads on the page dedicated to the task.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.6! I hope you have a 🍺 or 🍻 to celebrate if that’s your kind of thing, or otherwise 🎉  your efforts.

Podcast Sponsor: Prospress

Prospress exists to make the world’s best eCommerce platform a little better, because they want to help entrepreneurs prosper with WordPress. They are the creators of WooCommerce Subscriptions, PayPal Digital Goods, and One Page Checkout. Check them out at Prospress.com.

by Brian Krogsgard at August 17, 2016 05:21 PM under Everyone

HeroPress: Taking A Chance With WordPress

Pull Quote: WordPress is actually for everyone, and that's what's fantastic about it.

My grandad always used to say “živi se usput”, which translates from Serbian into “life happens while you are making plans“. Everyone is in a rush,  planning their next weekend, holiday, career path, children…. Of course you have to exercise, stay fit, look good, relentless pressure is the way of life today. I happen to be one of those people who like making plans and setting goals. However, WordPress was never in any of my plans, I happen to stumble upon it. A friend of mine, Emma, a Cambridge philosophy graduate, who spends her time teaching circus arts, said “I stumble through life in general – I think the best people do it”. I think there is a lot of truth in this, sometimes the best things happen while you are busy making other plans. (This sounds a bit like an infomercial!)

When I spoke to Topher about this essay, he said to me “oh so your story is also about taking chances”. I never thought of my past actions as taking chances; I am one of those people who jump with their eyes closed, rather than take small calculated steps. But, I will tell you how and why I took a chance with WordPress.

Before WordPress (BWP)

BWP starts for me 6 months ago, because I have only been a WordPresser for the second part of 2016. I am a UCL graduate, I studied Italian and German language and literature. I have always been interested in reading, art, history of art and generally interested in understanding people. I used to go to the National Art Gallery in London with my dad and we would cover an era each time talking about how art changed, how the paintings happen to catch the change in culture and belief system of society. I continued to dedicate myself to art and language throughout my academic life, I wrote my dissertation in German, on an expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka and for my MA I translated a black comedy in Italian that looks at social strata. I went on to study and work as a conference interpreter working in all four of my languages and getting lots of opportunities to meet different and interesting people.

I never imagined myself as a 60-hour-workweek girl in an office typing away on my computer. I planned my career to go a different way. I went to Italy to help create and promote a new teaching method called “edutainment”, teaching through entertainment. That’s where I was first introduced to marketing, localization and writing for an online audience.

BWP And My Sports Career

Apart from being a quintessential bookworm, I am also a covert adrenaline junkie. This actually ties in well with all of my studies. Sports and studies have one common denominator – it takes a lot of discipline for both. When I was 3 years old I started rollerblading, my mother found the smallest rollerblades (ever made) and bought them for me. I also played ice hockey in a mixed team and in 2014 we won the national championship in the UK. I am a qualified volleyball coach and ski instructor. Currently my sport obsession is with aerial gymnastics, and acro yoga. I like challenging myself both physically and mentally.

Never Stop Learning

In a recent interview with Tony Cecala, which was actually my first official interview for ManageWP, Tony said “never stop learning”, and this stuck with me, because I realized that the most important thing for me in whatever I do is to keep learning something new. At school I enjoyed learning new things, I enjoy trying out new sports and testing myself, and the same applies to work. Any job you do will have some repetitive aspect, and that is understandable, but it’s important for me to be in a position that embraces personal growth. That’s what WordPress has offered me, a combination of learning and support.

My Road To WordPress

I was first introduced to WordPress, when I moved back home to Serbia. I applied to work at ManageWP, as “what the hell”, maybe there is a small chance they will call me back. My team lead happens to also play ice hockey and the first interview was us discussing hockey teams and player positions. Shortly after (they did test my skillset), I started working as a PR & Digital Marketer. As part of the Growth team my job was to get acquainted with the WordPress community, introduce people to our product through online and offline methods, write content and establish myself as a product evangelist. I worked in our Customer Happiness Team as well, helping communicate with our customers on a daily basis.

WordPress was taking a chance for me, because I never thought of myself as an IT type. My boyfriend on the other hand is a software engineer, and so instead of being enthused by his job, I was always put off. He spends hours a day in front of a computer looking at strange symbols (that’s PHP I hear). Now, ironically I can understand a large part of PHP, no thanks to my boyfriend, but to my ManageWP colleagues.

WordPress is actually for everyone, and that’s what’s fantastic about it.

After WordPress (AWP)

Since being at ManageWP and part of the WordPress world, a lot has changed. I now have an online voice. I set up a blog, I was published on Tech.co, FishingBooker, Meks Themes, Devana Tech, Freelancermap and ManageWP. I also spoke at WordCamp Belgrade and it turned out to be one of the most popular talks of the day, I am speaking at WordCamp Split come September. On top of that I have been given an incredible opportunity to be part of the 2017 WCEU Paris organization team. WordPress has taught me how to express myself, in a non academic setting, how to become a better public speaker, and now I will learn how to help organize an event for a whooping 3 000 people. Never planned that!

WordPress has also offered me security by giving me a chance to do what I am good at. I have been able to dedicate myself to research, to writing and languages. I have also been able to carry on meeting people and travelling. A country like Serbia hardly offers international work opportunities, and WordPress has opened my eyes to a new community; a community that forges friendships across the world, accepts everyone, encourages tolerance, and welcomes rookies with open arms.

AWP And More

I don’t know of many other communities out there like WordPress, it’s rare to find a place where everyone is accepted and valued. It doesn’t matter if you are a software engineer or a language nerd, there is a place for you in WordPress. (This is the second part of my infomercial!)

The biggest thing that WordPress has taught me is that sometimes in the most unlikely of places you will learn the most valuable lessons.

It means that taking a chance is always worth the risk. Perhaps I wasn’t bred for the IT world, and I am more suited to be in the same room at the National Gallery as the 17th century French paysage painter, Claude, and his English counterpart of the 19th century, Turner. It so happens that I can’t paint, but I can write, and WordPress has created a virtual room in which I fit it.

The post Taking A Chance With WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Nevena Tomovic at August 17, 2016 12:00 PM

August 11, 2016

WordPress.tv Blog: How to Get 100 Content Ideas in an Hour: Nicole Kohler

If there’s one thing worse than writer’s block, it’s running out of ideas for your blog or business — or not having any to begin with. Luckily, the internet has made getting inspired an easy task, not to mention an incredibly quick one. In this talk, Nicole shares tips, tools, and content “lifehacks” you can use to generate 100 (or more!) content ideas in less time than it takes to settle on a new theme. Filmed at WordCamp Boston 2016

Presentation slides

See more WordCamp videos at WordPress.tv!


by Jerry Bates at August 11, 2016 03:02 AM under Announcement

August 10, 2016

HeroPress: Finding WordPress in Fargo

Pull Quote: It may not all pan out, but I'm along for the ride with WordPress in my backpack & I cannot wait to see where I end up.

I am sure most of you are wondering “New phone, who dis?” when it comes to me. Okay maybe not those words exactly, but I know I am a no-name and haven’t been around very long. I haven’t created any kick ass plugins (yet), I haven’t contributed to WordPress core (yet), and I haven’t developed any themes (yet).

So why was I asked to write an essay? Maybe it’s because there are a lot of people out there who are also trying to break into this community, probably somewhat introverted like me who don’t know how, or why, or what to do. No, I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have a set plan, and I am not in the position to dish out advice because I am still trying to figure it out and navigate it the best I can. But maybe, just maybe, this essay will ring true with someone who thinks, “SAMESIES.” and they know they’re not the only one out there.

Or maybe it’s because I am awesome. You guys can be the judge.

Let’s get introduced

I am a shy, but not so shy girl, from the great city of Fargo, ND (No, it’s nothing like the awesome movie or TV show, don’tcha know) who started Freelancing in March 2016 after working for a local agency for two and half years.

My story is probably one many have seen. Girl gets job, girl learns a lot, girl’s eyes are opened to a whole new world, girl works hard but doesn’t move up, girl applies for remote jobs with no luck, girl decides she can do this by herself, and girl leaves full time job and joins the million other freelancers in the self-employment world.

Generic sounding, but there is a bit more to it.

Let’s go back in time for a quick second

It all started in my parent’s basement when I was 16. Anyone ever heard of Xanga? It was a social blogging platform that was huge in my school. I made graphics using some freeware Photoshop knock off and custom layouts using basic CSS and HTML for Xanga in my free time, because you know, that’s normal for a 16 year old girl.

My parents encouraged me to go to school for graphic design at our local technical college and (blah blah blah….let’s fast forward.) 4 years later after I graduated for Graphic Design, while I was working for a local school photography lab designing layouts for school ID cards and yearbooks, I graduated a second time after going back for Web Development and Design.

I landed a job doing web design in July 2013. In the interview, they asked me if I knew what WordPress was and I answered honestly like any person would in an interview with something along the lines of, “I have heard of it but I have never used it. BUT I am a go getter and love taking on any new challenges so I don’t doubt I will be able to figure it out.” I dove in and learned a lot of the WordPress basics in a short amount of time.

A whole new world

Fast Forward to May 2014, we decided as a team to go to WordCamp Minneapolis for the first time. I am an introverted extrovert, so networking is not my thing. After I get to know people, I am good, but the first step to introduce yourself to someone is scary.

After day one at WordCamp Minneapolis, my eyes were opened to a whole new world (queue Aladdin song). I didn’t know how my introverted self would do it, but I wanted to be best friends with everyone there. The WordPress community is so friendly, and so welcoming. I left feeling so inspired and wanted to go to every WordCamp that ever was. I went home with a goal of learning everything I can about WordPress.

Shortly thereafter, I started to dabble in front-end development. Custom post types, short codes, page templates, etc. I looked at how the themes were created, reversed engineered them, and started to mess around with it. If I hit a bump, I researched it, and of course there was a tutorial or someone in the WordPress community had a solution. (Reason #785 why the WordPress community is fantastic, #ThoseSupportForumsTho.)

In November 2015, I started to feel this shift within myself; that I wanted to do more than I could do in my current position.

The company was going in one way and I was going the other. I wanted to grow as a designer and a developer.

After a few months of indecision, wondering if I should move to Minneapolis and not hearing back from some remote positions I applied for, a former co-worker reached out to me and said she wanted to work with me. After discussing this with some friends, I had another former colleague that said they would hire me to develop their website, so the wheels started to turn in my head.

Let me just say, freelancing full time was not anything I considered before. My typical response “Me? Run my own business? Say what? HAHAHA, right.” I thought of every reason why I shouldn’t do it. Lack of steady income, mortgage, self-employment taxes, not having other clients interested in working with me. I could go on and on, really.

Yet there I was, considering quitting my full time job to work for myself. How else was I going to grow? How else was I going to get my name out there?

I only had about a full week to decide what I wanted to do and this wasn’t an easy decision at all. After some sleepless nights and having the same conversation with my husband at least 100 times, who did nothing but encourage me while I talked myself out of it, I came to a decision.

I followed my gut instinct to grab the opportunity that was presented and go for it.

I didn’t 100% know what I was doing, but I knew I loved WordPress, I knew I had the design chops, and I knew I was great with clients. I was raised with a can-do attitude, so I was going to freelance my little heart out, and on March 5th, 2016, I entered the self-employment world.

Fast forward to May 2016, I bought my ticket to WordCamp Minneapolis (because duh, it’s amazing). I then proceeded to buy my ticket to the Prestige Conference, which was taking place two days after WordCamp. I planned on going to both of these conferences by myself (and anyone who knows me on a personal level knows how much of an accomplishment this was for me). Because I was alone, WordCamp was a bit different this year. I didn’t have coworkers to talk to so I went in there with a mission to network, but my high anxiety and introverted side decided I should sit quietly and take it all in.

Prestige Conference, for those who aren’t familiar, is a smaller conference and focused on running your small business. As a noobie freelancer, I needed to know how other like-minded people were running their businesses, how they were succeeding. So, there I was, a full-time freelancer for a whole 3 months, sitting in this conference with some of these big industry names. Intimidating? Yep, just a bit. The speakers left me in awe and I felt so out of my league but I was just happy to be there, learning and absorbing what everyone was saying.

Topher and Cate DeRosia were also at this conference. Topher came up to me and started chatting and I quickly explained my background. He gave me some super helpful tips and resources for freelancing. I may have not emoted it, but I was elated. I made a connection. Not exactly because I was outgoing, BUT STILL, I NETWORKED!

A couple weeks later, Topher contacted me to see if I was interested in making blog images for this very blog. Taken aback, but ever so grateful, I accepted. And after communicating over Twitter, Slack, and email for a couple more weeks, he asked if I wanted to write my own essay. Once again, shocked, dumbfounded, and hesitant because who would want to read my story, but after some encouragement, I was writing my essay.

Started from a basement now I’m here

So from where I started 12 years ago messing around with graphics, CSS & HTML for Xanga in my parents basement in Fargo, ND, I am back in a basement, my own this time, doing pretty much the same thing. Doesn’t sound like a big upgrade, but believe me, it is.

I am sure I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I skipped out on any of the conferences I went to.

Where is my future going? Who knows. I am not a ‘go with a flow’ person, but for the first time, I am trying to go with the flow. I am going to be going to more events and plan on going to WordCamp USA so I can take another stab at networking.

To sum it up

TL/DR version: My story may be generic, but my love for WordPress is anything but generic. Before WordPress I enjoyed doing graphic design and web design, but discovering the WordPress community helped me find that missing spark I needed. It’s helped me realize my goals and it’s helped me find my drive and ambition I didn’t know I had.

The WordPress community is a huge support system in my life and they don’t even know who the heck I am.

I can honestly say I love my job, I love working with clients, and I am damn lucky to be able to do what I do every day.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I still stress about everything that almost stopped me from doing this and I have my moments where I still question why I quit my full-time job. It may not pan out, it may go in a different direction, but I am along for the ride with WordPress in my backpack and I cannot wait to see where I end up.

Special thanks to: My husband for dealing with my indecisiveness, my sister for being my cheerleader when I doubt myself, and my family for supporting my every decision, Topher for taking a couple minutes out of his day to talk to me and everything else that followed, Kelsey and the Enclave team for being my very first client, and everyone else who has supported this venture.

The post Finding WordPress in Fargo appeared first on HeroPress.

by Stacey Barton at August 10, 2016 12:00 PM

August 06, 2016

Post Status: Choosing plugins, libraries, and frameworks — Draft Podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and me, Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Joe and I discuss how we choose plugins, code libraries, and frameworks for our projects.

https://audio.simplecast.com/44063.mp3

Direct Download

Topics & Links

  • How we pick plugins
  • Analyzing a plugin on WordPress.org
  • Using GitHub
  • Picking libraries or drop-in frameworks
  • Dealing with updates
  • Differentiating between picking tools for our personal or internal projects, versus doing so for clients

Sponsor: WooCommerce

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

by Brian Krogsgard at August 06, 2016 02:57 PM under Everyone

August 03, 2016

HeroPress: The Joy of Giving Back

Thanks to my mother; she has always supported me, without her I would not be here.

I was born and brought up in a very small town called Patiyali. Patiyali is on the banks of the river Ganga. It is in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Patiyali was laid back and idyllic, with no real opportunities in IT or computers. My father never wanted me to go for IT Job because I wouldn’t get chance to work near my town. He preferred I live closer home.

My mother supported me and somehow she convinced my father to let me follow my dreams. Thanks to my mother; she has always supported me, without her I would not be here.

In my college there was choice between Dot Net and Java, I choose Java. I have always been fan of Open Source. I loved Java, I had also started my blog on Java in my college time. After completing my MCA I had joined my first Job as a Java Developer. I did it for 1.5 years.

I never wanted to quit my job as Java Developer, but I had to because of my sister health issues. Doctors said she would not survive, it was very critical time.

How I got into WordPress (Hello WordPress!)

Unemployed for 6 months, Java was still on my mind. I could not get any Job. Meantime I had started teaching. I was hopeless, I thought I would never get a chance to work in any IT company again. Then a friend, Ankit, who worked in rtCamp, a company based in Pune told me to look up WordPress and asked me to apply for a QA opening. That lucky day I got call from rtCamp and cleared my interview. Now the challenge was to convince my parents to allow me to go Pune. Pune is in Maharashtra, almost 1000 miles away from my hometown.

My parents are from a smaller town, they were worried about me living alone in a big city. It was a challenge to convince them to let go.

Some things they worried about:

  • Place to stay: It was too tough to find a place when I had no one in Pune.
  • Female Count: My mother was most worried about female count. rtCamp had only two female employees including me. (now they have 7)

Before my first day, my father and I went to rtCamp’s address and looked up the office. Convinced the neighborhood where it was located was semi-residential and safe, he felt much better about Pune.

But WordPress is just a blogging platform

Before joining rtCamp I had known WordPress as only a blogging platform. My friends who worked in MNCs usually dismissed it as a blogging platform that could create only static sites at best. I did not have a very different opinion than my friends.

Working in rtCamp was fun. I made friends but to be honest I did not find WordPress very interesting for the first six months in the beginning.

WordPress community called out to me

Then I saw my colleagues involved in the WordPress community as Core contributors and in many other ways. I saw how my company was encouraging people to get involved in community.

That encouraged me to get involved in with make.WordPress.org. I highly recommend you do that too.

First Contribution Core Patch

My first contribution was a small patch in the core. I was helped by colleagues and when it was accepted I was thrilled. Now something I did was on millions of websites. It might be a small line or two but still it was on millions of websites.

In September 2015, I took part in WordCamp Pune. It was my first WordCamp. I met so many wonderful people; Topher, Mahangu, Raghavendra Satish Peri, I got to learn so many new things from them.

I try to contribute (Giving back to community) in every possible way, by giving support, translating, Review themes, and documentation.

Theme Review

Theme review was the challenge for me as I had no idea about WordPress development so I thought to learn by seeing other people’s code. It was challenge for me because I am QA (non- WordPress Developer), other people assume that we can not get involved in any code related activity. I learned a lot by reviewing themes, every day I review a theme I learn so many new things. The theme review team is wonderful, there are so many wonderful people like Kevin Archibald, Carolina Nymark, Jon, Nilambar, who are ready to help you always. I am happy to be part of theme review team.

I love WordPress, it’s wonderful, it has wonderful community.

Why do I love being part of WordPress?

Recognition.

I have always been crazy for being known for something. In college time when I used to get likes for my blog post or any comment, I used to feel like……wow, I can not even express that feeling in words. So that feeling WordPress gives me every time I gets mention in any WP.org posts. It gives me recognition.

https://make.wordpress.org/themes/2016/06/28/thank-you-reviewers-2/
https://make.wordpress.org/docs/2016/07/12/summary-for-helphub-meeting-12-july/
http://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/09/21/week-in-core-sept-13-21-2015/
https://wordpress.org/news/2016/02/contributor-weekend-one-hour-video/

A Thank You Note

All this wonderful adventure would not have been possible without someone back in Patiyali, who stood up for me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. My mother.

The post The Joy of Giving Back appeared first on HeroPress.

by Juhi Saxena at August 03, 2016 12:00 PM

August 02, 2016

Post Status: Using Kickstarter to fund open source

Open source is how we create raw ingredients for the digital economy. It’s a rough, organic, and hugely important process. In fact, open source represented $143 million of Instagram’s $1 billion acquisition. Yet the role of open source as economic infrastructure is perilous at best — the next Heartbleed could be any day. Bridges don’t collapse often, but sustainably maintained open source projects are few and far between. Unless a project has the backing of a benevolent organization, it’s all too easy to fall into a state of disrepair.

I do my part by volunteering several hours each week to maintain an open source project called WP-CLI. Last November, I launched a Kickstarter project titled “A more RESTful WP-CLI” to provide a way for me, a self-employed freelancer, to spend a large amount of dedicated time on WP-CLI and the WordPress REST API. The funding wrapped up last month, so I thought it might be helpful to provide a retrospective on what worked, what I’d improve upon next time, and where I think this is all headed.

We all love #shipping

As a very brief summary of how I used the money:

  • Over seven months, I spent 226 total hours on WP-CLI (150 of which were funded by the Kickstarter project) and 111 total hours on the WordPress REST API (92 of which were funded by the Kickstarter project).
  • I shipped three major versions of WP-CLI, and helped with three releases of the WordPress REST API v2 plugin.
  • In each release, I personally introduced dozens of new features to each project, fixed ten times as many bugs, provided code review, answered support questions, and revised documentation.

There’s a very complete project landing page if you’d like to go through all of the details.

“I’d love to get paid to work on open source too”

On the surface, using Kickstarter seems like a great way to fund open source involvement: create a campaign, people give you money, and you get paid to work on your project. It’s actually fraught with challenges, though. The more appropriate way to think about using Kickstarter for open source is that you’re creating a one-time project for yourself, and have hundreds of customers to serve.

Kickstarter can help freelancers make significant open source contributions

It’s worth highlighting the single most important outcome of the crowdfunding campaign: I was able to spend dedicated time on WP-CLI and the WordPress REST API that I wouldn’t have been able to spend otherwise (or at least in such a concentrated period).

As a freelancer, I evaluate every hour of my working day as either billable or non-billable. While I’m fortunate I can already spend a large amount of non-billable time as I please, at the end of the day the time I don’t spend on billable hours is money out of my pocket. Kickstarter enabled me to consider open source contributions as billable, and rationalize dedicating a large number of hours each week to the projects.

In hindsight, the timing of the Kickstarter project turned out really well too. Because I didn’t have any clients when I quit my full-time job, the funds were a helpful cushion during the slow holiday period, and I had something to work on in January.

It’s important to have backers with deep pockets

Incorporating higher contribution levels, which I had primed by chatting with prospective backers in advance, meant the funding leapt forward in huge bounds. Every time one of those contributions came in, it moved the needle in a substantial way, and kept the excitement level up. This also helped keep lower level contributors engaged and willing to participate. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to try and fund a Kickstarter exclusively on sub-$100 contributions.

Ben Welch-Bolen, who I hadn’t met until he snagged the top contribution slot, explains:

What attracted us to the WP CLI Kickstarter project was the higher pledge options that had some meaningful exposure for us to his community, and to him as a resource. Plus it was great to give back to a tool we use ourselves and follow closely.

I consider myself fortunate to have an existing audience willing to financially back my open source contributions. Because of my track record, I was able to put my own social capital on the line as collateral, to “guarantee” the project. If you can’t name fifty people who would realistically fund your project, then you’ll need to have a substantial marketing budget (of time or money) to raise awareness.

Scope in open source is a double-edged sword

While I had an established objective for the Kickstarter, I didn’t have a clearly defined scope. This meant that some intermediate implementation details blocked later features. For instance, you can’t use RESTful WP-CLI to manage menus, because the menu endpoints don’t yet exist in the WordPress REST API.

At the same time, not having a super defined scope meant I could take the liberty to spend some of the time on what I thought was most useful. WP-CLI package management and the documentation portal essentially launched because I burned out working on the WordPress REST API.

Crowdfunding requires a certain type of personality

As far as honoring my commitments to my backers goes, I’d consider my Kickstarter a success. I did what I said I was going to do, on the schedule I communicated. I was able to do this, in part, because I’m a very meticulous person. I produce reasonably accurate estimates, keep track of how I spend my time, and over-communicate with stakeholders.

If this doesn’t sound like you, then crowdfunding might not be a great fit. As a freelancer, you need to know in advance how the work will fit alongside client commitments. As a full-time employee, you need to make sure you’re capable of completing the project on nights and weekends.

Josh Strebel, to whom I’m thankful for a great deal of early feedback, thinks:

The open source community is primarily reputation based, WordPress especially. Getting a campaign funded on Kickstarter is about trust. Trust and reputation are shades of the same color so to speak. If you build a reputation of trust, launching and promoting a Kickstarter project should be fairly easy as your peers trust you to execute against your stated goals (their money is used for it’s stated intent and appears to achieve the desired outcome). I do not think you can reverse the order, the reputation in the community must be cultivated prior to seeking funds.

One huge challenge with a Kickstarter project is that you have to do all of the work after you receive the money, which can be really difficult for procrastinators. You’re also faced with dozens of stakeholders to make happy, with your credibility and reputation on the line, so you need to make sure they’re regularly kept in the loop.

Most of what goes into open source isn’t very sexy

Contributing to open source isn’t just cranking out lines of code.

I spent a huge amount of the funded WordPress REST API time on discussion, code review, and support. These maintenance tasks aren’t very appealing for crowdfunding, and probably wouldn’t make it very far as a part of a Kickstarter project. People want to fund sexy new features, not bug fixes, maintenance, documentation, etc.

At the same time, this type of work is hugely expensive, and represents a substantial majority of the effort involved in maintaining an open source project.

Fortunately, Josh Koenig has a healthy understanding of where open source fits into his business:

We believe that open source software is a crucial part of the internet’s value proposition to humanity. However, at this stage in the development of our company, investments in open source have to be strategic. Any sustained contribution we make has to be justifiable in terms of hour it helps us improve our platform or grow our business.

As such our primary code and sponsorship contributions tend to be down the stack, to projects or libraries that we depend on to run our platform. When it comes to WordPress or Drupal, we typically contribute in ways that will have the most impact for our core audience: professional developers. So that means tools and utilities like WP-CLI, Redis or Solr integration, diagnostic tools, etc.

Simplicity means more time spent on the project

On the practical side, offering consulting-time rewards instead of physical swag helped me keep reward costs manageable. Only two-thirds of backers redeemed their rewards, so I spent a total of 41.25 hours on that part of the project.

As it turns out, Jason Resnick even appreciated the open-ended approach to rewards:

The best part of the project was the ability to choose my own path, so to speak. Kind of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid. WP-CLI can be used in so many different ways for different tasks, it was awesome to be able to just hop on a call with you and one or two other folks that also wanted to learn the same thing, and get the answers to the specific questions.

It also proved helpful to produce a landing page for the project with the overall goal, links to blog posts and milestones, and over-communication on how I was “spending” the money. In hindsight, I wish I had been more diligent about my progress updates and communication about what I was actually working on.

My favorite production trick: I used HTML and CSS to produce a graphic in my browser, and took a screenshot of it — quite possibly the easiest way to create a Kickstarter header image, for you other non-designers.

Kickstarter is only the beginning

Kickstarter is an amazing platform for funding creativity. The next time I launch a crowdfunding project, I’ll make sure to:

  • Get feedback on the idea from as many people as possible, as a way of generating interest and buy-in.
  • Establish a project scope with features people want, while making sure there’s ample budget for the unglamorous work.
  • Keep the rewards rewarding, and as simple to deliver as possible.
  • Over-communicate progress, knowing I have hundreds of customers to make happy.

In the case of WP-CLI, runcommand is my new company to pick up where Kickstarter leaves off.

An increasing number of businesses use WP-CLI as a key part of their infrastructure. Right now, each business has to internalize much of the cost associated with creating WP-CLI-based features. For instance, many web hosts would benefit from offering a web browser interface for running WP-CLI commands. However, there isn’t yet a great way for them to collaborate and produce a common solution.

runcommand provides a platform for these businesses to co-produce a shared open source roadmap, and offload much of the burden of developing and maintaining infrastructural components.

Thinking about using Kickstarter to fund your open source projects? Have questions about runcommand? I’d love to hear from you — daniel@runcommand.io or @danielbachhuber on Twitter.

by Daniel Bachhuber at August 02, 2016 09:03 PM under WP-CLI

July 29, 2016

Post Status: Scaling WordPress — Draft Podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Joe and Brian talk scaling WordPress, and what to do when you think you might’ve reached WordPress’s limits. From meta data, to users, to traffic management, they break down some of the most common scaling issues.

https://audio.simplecast.com/43493.mp3

Direct Download

Topics

  • Posts
  • Meta
  • Search
  • Database
  • Users
  • Traffic (types of caching)

Links

Sponsor: iThemes

iThemes has a full suite of excellent products to help you level up your WordPress website. From iThemes Security, to BackupBuddy’s new live backups, to Exchange for your next membership site, iThemes has you covered. Thanks to the team at iThemes being a Post Status partner!

by Katie Richards at July 29, 2016 05:55 PM under Everyone

July 28, 2016

WordPress.tv Blog: Matt Gibbs: Diving Into Commercial Plugin Development

Learn key takeaways from my running a plugin business. Matt Gibbs goes over how to determine whether your plugin idea can sell, how to set the price, deciding on the business model, whether to self-host, and handling support.

Slides

From WordCamp Asheville 2016

More WordCamp videos


Matt Gibbs: Diving Into Commercial Plugin Development

by Jerry Bates at July 28, 2016 05:15 AM under Announcement

July 27, 2016

WPTavern: Cory Miller and Matt Danner Launch New Business Podcast

photo credit: Maciej Korsanphoto credit: Maciej Korsan

WordPress professionals have demonstrated a decent appetite when it comes to listening to and supporting podcasts on a wide variety of topics, including industry news, development, e-commerce, marketing, and startups. Cory Miller, founder of iThemes, and Matt Danner, the company’s COO, are adding a new business podcast to the mix with the launch of Leader.team.

The first episode introduces the hosts and the goals of the show and is now available on iTunes. Miller and Danner, who often have casual chats about business strategy, decided to start recording their conversations to share with others who might benefit from their mistakes and successes in entrepreneurship.

“We’re going to talk about values, beliefs, philosophies, tools, all kinds of things that we have learned over the years, either accidentally or on purpose, about how to lead and manage teams and grow a business,” Miller said in the opening episode.

Leader.team will feature a short (15-25 minute) episode twice a month on Thursdays with practical advice for leaders and managers. The second episode will be available tomorrow, and Miller and Danner have already outlined the topics for the next four episodes with questions that will guide the discussion on the show:

  • The Beliefs, Values, Philosophies We Hold Dear
  • The Culture We Cherish And Protect
  • Finding, Recruiting and Hiring the Best People
  • Leading a Hybrid Team of In-Office and Remote Team Members

While Miller and Danner are not necessarily marketing the show as a WordPress-focused podcast, many of their shared experiences have come from growing one of the longest-running, successful product companies in the WordPress ecosystem. Upcoming episodes will feature big picture business topics that can be applied to many different types of industries. Leader.team episodes have been submitted to both iTunes and Google Play and will also be available on the show’s website.

by Sarah Gooding at July 27, 2016 10:19 PM under podcasts

WPTavern: WordPress for Android 5.6 Adds Screen to Invite New Users, Expands Reader to Include Related Posts

Version 5.6 of the WordPress for Android app was released today with expanded features for WordPress.com sites. The previous release added user management capabilities under a new ‘People’ menu and 5.6 introduces the ability to invite new users.

invite-new-users

This release also adds a related posts section to posts found in the Reader. It appears directly underneath likes on posts and pulls in three related articles from the WordPress.com community of sites.

Version 5.6 adds the ability to customize the notification sound for new activity from the WordPress app. A handful of other small changes are also included in 5.6, as detailed in the release post:

  • Post list: Posts in the middle of being uploaded will be disabled and shown a progress indicator. A publish button is added on drafts.
  • “View Site” and “View Admin” will now open the device browser.
  • A comment is automatically approved when you reply to it.

If you use the app to manage both WordPress.com and self-hosted sites, you will notice a growing discrepancy between the site management screens and options available for each. Self-hosted site owners still cannot use the app to manage themes or users, and the gap is widening for each release. Version 5.6 expands features for WordPress.com users, while the capabilities for self-hosted sites fall further behind. We have requested a comment from Automattic’s mobile engineers regarding the roadmap for managing self-hosted sites and will update when we receive a response.

by Sarah Gooding at July 27, 2016 08:19 PM under wordpress for android

WPTavern: IncludeWP: A Directory That Caters to WordPress Frameworks

Earlier this year, the WordPress plugin directory review team reminded developers that frameworks are not allowed in the directory. WordPress core doesn’t have a built-in way to support plugin dependencies which creates extra hassle for users.

Seeing an opportunity, Vova Feldman, founder of Freemius, created IncludeWP, a directory specifically catered to listing WordPress theme and plugin frameworks.

IncludeWPFrontpage.pngIncludeWP Front Page Displaying Theme and Plugin Frameworks

Frameworks are listed using their public GitHub repositories. Visitors can sort frameworks by stars, forks, issues, or name. Selecting a framework displays information including, how many sites it’s on and the number of plugins and themes hosted on the official directory that are using it.

IncludeWPSinglePageView.pngIncludeWP Framework Single Page View

To identify which plugins and themes are used by frameworks, Feldman collaborated with Luca Fracassi of Addendio. “We realized that we can leverage the WordPress.org APIs and SVN to automatically identify plugins and themes associated with frameworks on WordPress.org,” Feldman said. “So we decided to join forces.”

Fracassi developed a framework identification system and ran it against WordPress.org. The data was exposed via a custom API endpoint that allowed Feldman to display it on IncludeWP. “We leveraged Fracassi’s endpoint to fetch the plugins and themes data from WordPress.org and present it under the framework’s page,” Feldman said.

Like the frameworks listed on IncludeWP, the code powering the site is open source and available on GitHub. “I’m preaching about code reusability,” Feldman said.

“The least I can do is provide the option for other developers to reuse our code for their projects. By reusing this code base, everyone can easily create a similar category type listing mini-site for GitHub repos.”

Developers interested in having their frameworks listed need to fork the IncludeWP repository on GitHub, add the framework as a .php in the src/frameworks folder, and submit a Pull Request. However, in order to be listed, frameworks must meet the following guidelines.

  • The framework must be GPL Licensed.
  • The framework must have a public repository on GitHub
  • Complete each field in the src/frameworks area
  • Add a reference to the plugin or theme’s slug if it’s hosted on WordPress.org
  • Have a short description

Feldman says he doesn’t plan on generating revenue through the site and considers IncludeWP as one of many contributions back to the WordPress community.

IncludeWP is a great resource for developers whose frameworks are spread across GitHub who are looking for ways to generate more exposure. It’s also an excellent way to see what’s available in the WordPress ecosystem. Take a look around IncludeWP and let us know what you think in the comments.

by Jeff Chandler at July 27, 2016 03:07 PM under includewp

HeroPress: 16 Little Things That Grew Into Big Things (My Life in a Bunch of Words)

Pill quote:WordCamp was not a conference, it was a sharing of ideas. It was not a convention, it was a place to build actual relationships.

I suppose I’ve always had the “entrepreneurial spirit.” My first taste of being in business likely occurred prior to this, but the first time I *remember* really enjoying building my own business was in the fifth grade.

Little Thing #1

For Christmas, I had gotten a new handheld electronic game. I suspect that most readers here will not remember these, but the one I had gotten was the race car game. It was a game with a button that slid only left and right, the goal to be to dodge the oncoming LEDs with the LED you controlled with the slider. It was a simple game but fun. I brought it to school and started charging people .25 per game to play. I averaged $9.00 a day. That’s a lot to a fifth grader. I learned about profit and expenses (batteries do, after all, cost money). I learned about friendly competition when a friend of mine and classmate brought his electronic handheld football game to school and charged .50 per game. I learned about volume sales (my game would last about a minute or two whereas the football game lasted substantially longer). I also learned about charging what the market would bear (I couldn’t get .50 per game but I could do .25 all day long). And lastly, I learned about “The Man” and how something that is going so well can go away in the blink of an eye when the school, after about a month of my enterprise, decided that these games were too much of a distraction to “real learning” and shut both myself and my competitor down.

Little did the school know that I learned more with my business experience in that short time than I did my whole fifth grade year

(it was my worst experience in elementary school, yet one of my most formative). When all was said and done, though, I had made a couple hundred dollars from a game that cost about $40 (which I hadn’t even paid for). Not a bad return.

Little Thing #2

In High School economics class, we learned how the stock market worked. We split the class into several groups and formed “corporations.” The members of these corporations then bought stock with real money. This money went to buy product that we would sell to the student body over a period of a couple weeks. I had been asked to be a member of the one corporation due to a previous simulation in which I had almost successfully beaten another team by coordinating an uprising against them (the other team was far more powerful) by secretly putting several of the smaller, less powerful teams together to try to take out the big team. It almost worked. Almost.

This team asked me to be part of this new corporation because they were impressed. We decided that the thing we were going to sell to the student body was going to be candy. I invested $9.00 into the company. Of the members of this newly formed team, I invested the most. We talked about what types of candy to buy. It mostly involved peanut butter cups and skittles as I recall.

I don’t remember what the other corporations sold. It didn’t matter. It was not true competition because we each were exclusive with our products. During breaks, lunch, and after school, we all had our tables set up in the quad and sold our goods. Our corporation slaughtered all the others. It wasn’t even close.

At the end of it all, we determined the stock value based on costs of goods sold and profit left over. We sold our stocks for what they were worth. My $9.00 had turned into about $75.00 in the two weeks. I made, far and away, more money than anyone else in the class (and according to the teacher, more than anyone ever had in that simulation). Making money was easy, and it was what I was meant to do. Or so I thought.

Little Thing #3

Back to Fifth Grade. At the time, my best friend, Jack, had introduced me to Basic programming. My dad worked at a local University and as a result, the head of the Math & Computing Department granted me a student account on the mainframe (their department was right across from my dad’s “Modern Languages” Department). It was here that I learned that a simple Basic statement such as “10 goto 10” could actually take down a campus-wide system as these mainframes were really not built to do multi-tasking. The joy of an endless loop. I hate to admit that there were times that I would laugh maniacally as other students in the lab would start literally banging their keyboards because nothing was happening. To all of you, I most humbly and heartily apologize. I was a jerk. I blame Jack.

None the less, I had been bitten by the programming bug.

I expanded my knowledge beyond causing others brain damage for fun and actually started to program useful things. My dad hired me at .50 an hour (which I’m pretty sure came out of his own pocket) and I worked on programs that would quiz his students. It’s also probable that he did it to keep me out of trouble.

My brain wrapped itself around programming rather quickly and, as a general rule, every day after school, you’d find me back up in one of the University labs hacking away. It wasn’t a bad life. I liked it a lot. My favorite lab was the one right outside the server room. I got to know the students who kept the systems up. I remember when they got some new storage. I want to say it was a drive that could store 20 megabytes. It was literally as big (and heavy) as a washing machine. Oh. . . the good ol’ days.

Little Thing #4

I believe it was during the summer between Eighth Grade and Ninth Grade (circa 1980-81) that a representative from a company called Commodore came and demonstrated this great new personal computer. It was better than a TRS80 and far more affordable than the Apple ][. It had color and a whopping 5 KB of RAM. That is pretty impressive. All you needed to do was hook it up to your TV. I don’t remember what I paid for it, but I knew this was the machine for me, so I ponied up with my hard-earned money for the computer that looked like nothing more than a keyboard and a tape drive. Before I knew it (well . . . four to six weeks later), I was a programming fool from the comfort of my own home. I could get used to this. It was a few months later that I had saved up enough for a 300 baud modem (If you don’t know what 300 baud is, let me explain: It’s SLOW) and learned how I could hook up to my account at the college. It was my first taste of remote work and I knew that, one day, it was going to be the life I’d be living. The world would just have to catch up (ya, I was just a scosche cocky back then).

A year later, I upgraded to a Commodore 64 and purchased my first Commodore 1541 5.25” floppy drive. I learned about sprite graphics and created a game based on the Saturday Night Live character, “Mr. Bill.” The game totally sucked, but suffice it to say, Mr. Bill died a LOT at the hands of Sluggo. A LOT.

Little Thing #5

Between my Junior and Senior years of high school, I was going to take a trip to Europe. I knew that Europe was no place to take my computers, and what I really needed was to make memories. I had always envied my sister’s camera and decided that it was time for me to dive into 35mm photography, so I sold my whole computer setup and purchased my first 35mm camera; a Canon AE1-Program with a couple of lenses and some books and accessories. I quickly learned how to actually use the thing and gained a basic understanding of the math behind the exposure you want. During that trip, I shot as many rolls of film as I could afford and discovered that maybe a life in photography was what I really wanted.

I came back, my senior year, where I was the head photographer for the yearbook. I was rather proud of that yearbook and I put a lot of time and effort into it. So much so, that the yearbook staff felt obligated to give me an award. As mentioned earlier, in my younger years, I was sort of a jerk, so I cannot remember what the award was. At the time it meant a lot to me, though.

I loved photography and I loved technology. If only there was some way to combine photography with technology. . . Maybe one day.

Little Thing #6

After high school, I went to about one semester of College. I say, “about,” because I think the only class I regularly attended was the photography class I was taking. I really enjoyed the class and the teacher. But most of all, I enjoyed the full access to the dark room where I was the head know-it-all and all the other students came to me for assistance. My ego was riding pretty high around that time.

Little Thing #7

After deciding to drop out of college (much to the chagrin of my dad – did I mention he was a University Professor?), I knew I needed to make money. I applied for (and got) a job with a company called Lifetouch National School Studios. Many of you might be familiar with this company. They specialize in school photography. I worked there for two school years, the first being an assistant and general runner and then the next year I did a lot of darkroom work. I was in my zone. I got to be good friends with a guy named Gene who was the world’s biggest Raiders fan and even got me a press pass a couple years later to shoot from the sidelines.

During that game, I met people like Howie Long, Bo Jackson and Bob Golic.

I also met James Garner who got to stand by the bench because, well, he was James Garner. Incidentally, he was exactly what you’d have expected him to be. Gene also introduced me to the world of Santa Claus mall photography; possibly the worst job I ever had. No, I was not the Santa. I was the photographer. The problem was never the kids. It was always the parents. You try telling parents that their kid is hysterical, will never calm down, and will never smile for Santa because he or she is scared to death of the man with the beard. Or, maybe, try to find something to clean up the pee on the floor because some parent made their kid wait in line for two hours while he had to go to the bathroom (usually the two hours was because of a number of the aforementioned parents living in their dreamland of a smiling child). Or, having a parent make you tell their child that Santa has gone home for the day (because the parents waited until after the mall closed before they decided to get in line). All true stories. Ya – I only did it one Christmas. Ironically, I lasted longer than most.

Little Thing #8

I quickly realized that I needed to be making more money and that commissioned sales was where I needed to be. I applied for (and got) a job at a company called Circuit City. They sold electronics of all sorts. I originally wanted to work in their Camera Department, only to discover that they didn’t have one. So, it was Small Electronics for me, where I quickly became Assistant Manager of the department.

After cutting my teeth in electronics, I figured out that where I really wanted to be was in the Video Department. It’s where the money was. So I put in for a transfer and that’s where I got to be good friends with Gregg Franklin. Gregg and I forged a strong friendship and discovered that neither one of us ever really had a desire to work for “The Man,” so we decided to look for business opportunities. This was around 1987 or 1988.

Little Thing #9

In 1989, Gregg and I decided to venture off from Circuit City and we bought a little camera store for $10,000.00. It had been around for a while and, honestly, neither one of us did much due diligence. Had we done so, we would have discovered the reputation the owner of the store had. We spent the next two years working on re-branding, building up a local reputation of supporting schools and professional photographers in the area, and eventually became a reputable business in town. The local photographers would come and chat for hours on end with us and we became friends with many who remain our friends to this day. During this time, we built a darkroom and did a lot of custom work.

Additionally, a friend from school had started his own company in which he built custom PCs. It was time for me to return to the world of computing, where, after purchasing an XT PC running MS-DOS 2.0 (I believe), and a piece of database software called Q&A, I developed a fully operational Point of Sale system. It was my first foray into data mining. I had finally figured out a way to combine my love of photography with my love for computing. It wasn’t what I initially imagined, but it would do.

During the time of the camera store, I also started my own WWIV BBS called “The Dragon’s Tavern”, a precursor to the Internet. It had software and games (can you say, “Global Thermal Nuclear War?). At one point, I was the only one in the area with a BBS and ONE GIG of storage space. Modem tech had advanced and I got myself a USRobotics 14.4 Courier HST modem. I was the king of the local BBS world. WWIV was an open source BBS platform and I spent a lot of time writing mods for it in Turbo C++. I met people from all over the world and spent hours on the phone with some of them as we worked through programming issues and ideas. It was my first experience with remote collaboration.

The camera store lasted a couple of years, but we suffered a bit from trying to do too much too fast, along with a failing economy, and we realized that our model was not really sustainable. Rather than getting buried under a mountain of debt, we made the choice to shut the place down.

From there Gregg and I tried our hands at a few things, the most significant being a sign company (we had actually been running it as a side business from the camera story for some time, to help bolster our income). To be honest, I didn’t like that job that much. Gregg got to have all the fun doing the creative work, then he, our alcoholic partner who showed us the ropes, and myself would go and install them. Vinyl cutting was fun and the tech behind it still fascinates me, but it didn’t take long for us to learn that we were not the right fit with the third partner, so Gregg and I split from him.

Little Thing #10

Fast forward a couple years. Gregg and I had been doing our own things separately for a while, trying to find our place in life. Owning and shutting down a couple of businesses does make you realize that you’re not as perfect as you think you are and may even be a bit of cause for some soul searching. I cannot speak for Gregg, but I know that for myself, that was the case.

I was burnt out on photography.

Doing something for a couple of years for others and none for yourself sort of takes the passion out of it.

Running a free BBS was not exactly a business model that worked. I think it was around 1995 that I discovered Netcom. It was one of the first real internet providers. I bit. I was hooked. It was *like* a BBS but SO much more! The world had opened up to me and I saw my vision of one day becoming a remote worker come that much closer. Before long, a feeling had returned that I had not had in awhile: the desire to learn something new in technology. I wanted to gain an understanding of how the back end of this wondrous new tool worked. I knew it was the future, and it was within my grasp. It had been a while since I had been that excited about anything.

It was then that Gregg and I reconnected. Gregg had told me that some other mutual friends of ours were about to embark on starting a regional Internet Service Provider, servicing schools and running a digital technology called ISDN. They had invested in the equipment but needed someone to run it. They had asked Gregg, and when I expressed interest, we formed a partnership and got to work. During this time, I learned about routers, IP traffic, DNS, collaboration with people on a global level, scalability, building departments and efficiently servicing customers through no more than email and a telephone connection. I learned about the value of good documentation and I learned how to deal with big, huge companies and their lawyers. I learned all of these things and yet, I wouldn’t say that any of those shaped my future and my life and business operating philosophy more than the epiphany I had once I hired our first employee.

Until this point, I had always been about making money and a name for myself. It was ALWAYS about the money for me. Always. But I remember that moment like it was yesterday. That moment I looked at the empty desk of our first employee and realized that we were embarking on something great. We were building a company that would help sustain the lives of others and their families. If all went well, it wouldn’t be just a few. It would be many.

In the blink of an eye, it went from being about me and what I could take home, to being about them.

To being about us. All of us. That one moment changed everything for me.

Little (ok BIG) Thing #11

In 2003, my wife and I decided to move to Wisconsin from sunny Southern California. I was going to continue to work remotely with the ISP we had built up to over 40 employees and my wife Jessica was going to also work remotely with the Electronic Funds Transfer company she had worked to build up while in California (she was their first employee). Wisconsin was a nice break from the rat race of Southern California. We bought a house, set up our office and before I knew it, I discovered that the people back home at the ISP didn’t understand the concept of remote work. I was a shareholder of a company that had no use for me sitting a couple thousand miles away. Sure, from time to time they’d call me, but overall, out of sight meant out of mind where I was concerned.

We moved to a pretty small town where we were happy to have high speed internet, but there was not a lot of demand for a network engineer or software programmer. I had, once again, found myself somewhat without a professional purpose.

Soon after our first year there, we found out that Jessica was pregnant. Our main purpose in moving to Wisconsin was to start a family, but Jessica had always had issues carrying a pregnancy to full term. It was heartbreaking to deal with multiple miscarriages, but we had found a doctor in Green Bay (2.5 hours away) who thought he might be able to narrow down the issue. He was right, and nine months (and two weeks) later, we were introduced to our son, Eli. Hard to believe it’s been 11 years. And while I was struggling to find my place professionally, there was no doubt that I knew my place personally, as a father.

I was 38 and suddenly felt it was what I was meant to do.

I attempted to work for a local computer place during this time, but that simply didn’t take. I had, for a long time, said that employment may not be for me and certainly, in that situation, I was proven right. I am not, and never have been, a “Yes” man, I would tell people. I needed to reinvent myself and I needed to figure out my place.

This time put a lot of strain on my marriage to Jessica. She was the main bread winner and while she was appreciative of the fact that I was really good with taking care of Eli and doing things around the house, she felt the pressures of being responsible for the family’s financial well-being. “Just find something – anything,” she’d say. She wanted me to find something that made me happy. She knew that while I loved being a father, I also felt the pressure to contribute to our stability. I struggled. A lot.

Little Thing #12

During the short time that I worked for the computer company, we moved again. This time, we bought the home of one of the city’s founders. It was on the river and while the place needed work, it was on about 3 acres of land and was a pretty nice place. I had my eye on the house next to it which was a big Victorian (and at one point, part of the same property). It was owned by a couple of empty-nesters and I knew that owning the house we had just purchased would put us in a prime position to buy it when it became available. It was my five year plan.

Two years later, I was approached by our neighbor. We bought the house and moved in. We still had not been able to sell the first house that we bought and it was sitting empty. We were about to have two empty houses. I had been doing tech work as I could, but still was without a purpose. Fortunately, Jessica was still plugging away. Throughout it all, she was supportive of my desire to find something. I admit, there were those moments where I was just happy to be a dad (that’s my way of saying I might have gotten a little lazy looking for an income).

In the new house for a bit, I was talking to one of my friends back in California. He was going through some pretty major life changes and was looking for his own purpose. I remember asking him what he’d like to do and he said that he enjoyed going to motorcycle swap meets, buying parts and then selling them on Ebay. And just like that, a business was born. He needed a new start. I needed something to do – a way to make money. And I knew Ebay and tech really well. It seemed like a match made in heaven.We moved him into the empty first house that we had and ran the business out of that house for a while. We made contacts and started buying larger and larger lots, liquidating them almost as fast as we were getting them. We were starting to make a little bit of money, but we kept turning that money into bigger lots, which meant we needed more storage, which meant it was time to get office space. Our specialty was Harley Davidson parts and it only took a short time for me to go from only knowing that most Harleys had two wheels to being able to identify the part, year and bike it came from; to know its value; and to have an idea on its demand. I became a tougher negotiator and walked away from a deal or two that just didn’t feel right. The biker world was definitely a world I never imagined myself within, but I certainly, for the first time in my professional life, actually felt like I was part of a community.

Soon after we started that company, though, the company Jessica had been working for shut its doors, literally overnight. She was not making money, in an industry where there was no local demand, and I was trying to grow a company. For those wondering, that is not a sustainable personal financial model. The housing market crashed, and I was spending nights doing database patient record merging at the local hospital.

Before we knew it, we were flat broke. We literally lost almost everything.

The two empty houses were taken by the banks and we were just fighting to keep the house we were in. It was also about this time that Jessica announced that she was pregnant with Brenna. It was the only good news we had at the time. I was 42 and, for the first time in my adult life, had to actually go to my parents and ask for help. I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if I didn’t have them.

The company we had was starting to see dwindling sales. When the economy crashes, people suddenly learn to live with that little ding in their gas tank or that other non-critical noise their bike may be making. Ebay started raising their fees and our business model became unsustainable.

Little Thing #13

With money quickly dwindling away in our bank account, I suddenly had this wonderful idea to start making money off of our competitors on Ebay. They had an affiliate program and I needed to figure out a way to leverage that. But how?

It was then that I discovered WordPress.

Like many, I had always thought of it as a blogging platform and nothing more. But then I discovered a plugin that would read in a feed from Ebay and worked within WordPress. It took me about an hour to set up a WordPress site and another minute to figure out how to install the plugin. The next two days was spent populating categories, and a little over a month later, I got my first direct deposit from Ebay. This could work. But even more importantly, for the first time, I saw that WordPress could be so much more than a blogging platform.

It wasn’t much longer before I was starting to develop websites for others. My design skills have always lacked, so to start, it was mostly out of the box themes, but as I got more seasoned, I learned more and more about the power of WordPress.

Eventually, we closed down the motorcycle liquidation business.

We tried our hand at running a Renaissance Faire booth (along with touring the country), but that, too, was not really sustainable.

I even drove a truck with staging equipment for Fox Sports a couple of times. Anything to pay the bills.

Little Thing #14

During one of my driving trips, I had been talking to Gregg. Turns out he had been doing WordPress development for a while and he was looking for some help. I was not a good designer, and I had barely dipped my feet into being a developer, but Gregg was willing to teach me everything he knew. Every morning, I’d wake up, Gregg and I would get on a call and he’d explain really cool ways to customize WordPress. We’d strip a theme down to the bones and build it up. We’d find frameworks and build them out. We’d bang our heads over CSS (something, I think, neither of us ever really were able to wrap our minds around), and we had work. Lots of work.

Though financially ruined, Jessica and I were finally starting to see some light.

I had finally found something I really liked and she had finally found herself with a position working for another company. We had lost all our homes except the one in which we lived and had depleted all our bank accounts and college funds, yet we were hopeful. We had our two kids, a roof over our heads and work which generated income.

Most of the work Gregg and I did was working with agencies. We liked it that way. Neither of us really enjoyed pounding pavement, so it was nice to have people who specialized in sales do that part of the lifting. But despite the fact that we were getting busier, we knew that we needed to work on passive income possibilities.

Little Thing #15

In 2012, Gregg brought up the idea of me going to WordCamp San Diego. Now, I hate conferences and conventions. This sounded to me about as far from fun as I could get. He offered to pay for the badge if I paid for my plane ticket. Not knowing *really* what a WordCamp was, I figured it was a fair deal. It was only after I spoke with Jessica about going that I realized the cost of the ticket. I tell people that I still feel like I got the better end of the deal.

That trip to WordCamp San Diego changed everything for me.

I had always believed that businesses could succeed while also being part of a community that supported and built each other up. For the first time in my adult life, I got to witness it first hand. I had a blast! WordCamp was not a conference, it was a sharing of ideas. It was not a convention, it was a place to build actual relationships. It was a business event, educational event, and social event all in one package. I knew I was in the right place (finally).

44 years old and I finally found my place.

But how could I actively participate? Part of being in a community is that desire and need to give back. I was green and hardly knew anything.

Little Thing #15(a)

One of the people I met while in San Diego in 2012 was Stephen Carroll. He had developed this really cool tool called DesktopServer; a tool Gregg and I used almost every day during our development days. Gregg was having an issue with a site we were building and Stephen offered to help us figure it out. I was blown away that someone would give up their time so freely with no interest in remuneration. He just wanted to help. Stephen and I spoke a little bit, but he mostly focused on helping Gregg get through the issue he had. He was kind and generous, and I liked him immediately.

Little Thing #16

In 2013 Gregg and I were working together on a project and, as often happened, the conversation turned back to what we could do for some passive income. He and I came up with an idea for a theme we wanted to build. It would be unlike anything anyone had seen. Robust, clean code, efficient. In other words, it was a theme that was above our skill levels, over our heads, and somewhat out of reach. We needed a developer with a skill that far exceeded our own. Gregg said it: “We need someone like Stephen.”

I totally agreed with Gregg and so the call was placed. Gregg was to get in touch with Steve and see if he’d be interested in helping us out. It was a good plan.

An hour later, Gregg called me back to let me know the result of the conversation. Steve was, indeed, anxious to work with us (if pressed slightly, I think he would tell you that he was anxious to work with Gregg since he only really knew me through Facebook). But what he wanted was for US to help HIM at ServerPress. He wanted to simply code while we handled the rest. I contacted him directly to ask him some questions, set up a path for the company under the new structure and the rest, as they say, is history.


This past June marked three years since we re-formed the company and it’s been a thrill ride to say the least. Since then, we’ve grown the company by over 400%, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the country and speak at several WordCamps (2014 saw me at over 20) and I actually look forward to Mondays every bit as much as I look forward to weekends. ServerPress, LLC is a company that’s respected within the WordPress Community, and it has afforded me the ability to help financially sustain my family.

In 2013 Jessica, Eli, Brenna, and I moved to Milwaukee where we bought an older home (117 years) with the purpose of restoring it, building it out (and up), and fostering to adopt sibling groups (you can read about it on my blog, http://twotofive.us).

We currently have six foster kids which puts us at a family of 10.

None of this would have been possible without all the little things, a couple of big things, and WordPress (the most important of which, is its Community).

While we’re still digging ourselves out of the mess of a few years ago, that light is getting brighter every day.

The post 16 Little Things That Grew Into Big Things (My Life in a Bunch of Words) appeared first on HeroPress.

by Marc Benzakein at July 27, 2016 12:00 PM

WP Mobile Apps: WordPress for Android: Version 5.6

Hello WordPress users! Version 5.6 of the WordPress for Android app is now available in the Google Play Store.

Related Posts in the Reader

Discover relevant work from the WordPress community. A section of related posts will now appear just underneath Likes on a post:

Related Post Screenshot

Custom Notification Sound

You’ve got activity! With 5.6, you’ll be able to customize your notification sound:

Custom Notification Sound

Invite New Users

A cordial invitation. Invite users to your site from the People management screen, designate their roles, and customize a message to send to them:

Invite Users

Other Changes

Version 5.6 also comes with a few other changes and fixes:

  • Post list: Posts in the middle of being uploaded will be disabled and shown a progress indicator. A publish button is added on drafts.
  • “View Site” and “View Admin” will now open the device browser.
  • A comment is automatically approved when you reply to it

You can track our development progress for the next release by visiting our 5.7 milestone on GitHub.

Beta

Do you like keeping up with what’s new in the app? Do you enjoy testing new stuff before anyone else? Our testers have access to beta versions with updates shipped directly through Google Play. The beta versions may have new features, new fixes — and possibly new bugs! Testers make it possible for us to improve the overall app experience, and offer us invaluable development feedback.

Want to become a tester? Opt-in!

Thank you

Thanks to our GitHub contributors: @0nko, @aforcier, @bummytime, @daniloercoli, @hypest, @khaykov, @kwonye, @maxme, @mzorz, @nbradbury, @oguzkocer, @theck13, @thomasleplus and @tonyr59h.

by Maxime at July 27, 2016 06:51 AM under Other

WPTavern: Easily Hide WordPress’ Blogging Features With the Disable Blogging Plugin

WordPress strikes a good balance by offering users the ability to publish dynamic content via posts and static content via pages. However, if you’d like to use WordPress primarily as a static content management system without the features related to blogging, check out a new plugin developed by Fact Maven Corp. and Ethan Jinks O’Sullivan called Disable Blogging.

Disable Blogging hides a number of features including:

  • Posts, Comments, and items related to blogging from the admin menus.
  • Comments from pages.
  • Blog related widgets.
  • Pingbacks, Trackbacks, and XML-RPC header links.
  • Biographical info and Admin Color schemes on the user profile page.
  • Press This Bookmarklet.
  • Posts via email.
  • Howdy, help tabs, and query strings from static resources.

To really get a sense for what it’s like to use WordPress without its blogging capabilities, I activated the plugin on a fresh install.

DisableBloggingOnFreshInstallDisable Blogging Enabled on a Fresh Install

There are two things that immediately stand out during testing. The first is that logging in takes users to their profile page instead of the Dashboard. Second, the Dashboard and the link to it are gone.

I found the removal of the Dashboard creates a jarring experience that’s different from what users might expect. It’s usefulness to display widgets with site specific information, even for sites based on pages, is a huge benefit and therefore, its removal should be reconsidered.

The nice thing about Disable Blogging is that it doesn’t permanently remove features or data. Regaining access to WordPress’ blogging capabilities is as simple as deactivating the plugin.

Browsing, using, and navigating WordPress with the blogging features hidden is an interesting experience that I encourage you to try for yourself. I tested Disable Blogging on a fresh install of WordPress 4.5.3 and didn’t encounter any problems. The next time you or a client wants an easy way to disable WordPress’ blogging capabilities, give this plugin a shot.

by Jeff Chandler at July 27, 2016 02:27 AM under review

July 26, 2016

WPTavern: TechCrunch Hacked by OurMine, Attackers Target Weak Passwords

TechCrunch is the latest victim in OurMine’s summer hacking rampage. The site, which is powered by WordPress and hosted via WordPress.com VIP, was hacked this morning and defaced with a message from the attackers who identify themselves as an “elite hacker group.”

TechCrunch’s news ticker was updated to display: “Hello guys it’s OurMine Team, we are just testing TechCrunch Security, don’t worry we never change your passwords. Please contact us.” OurMine gained access to a contributor account and posted a similar message.

techcrunch-hacked-by-ourmine

According to a report from Engadget, TechCrunch’s sister site, the hackers gained access via a contributor’s weak password, not by exploiting a vulnerability in WordPress or the site’s plugins. TechCrunch was able to regain control of the site within minutes and delete the content created by the attackers in the admin.

OurMine is the same group that hacked Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn accounts after he used the same password for multiple sites. Bad password security can make even the most secure websites vulnerable to these types of attacks. Although OurMine is primarily targeting high profile individuals and publications, WordPress sites are constantly the target of brute force attacks.

Security plugins like Wordfence, iThemes Security, and Jetpack’s Brute Protect module can help deter brute force attacks, but it’s virtually impossible to eliminate the human factor in poor password selection or the practice of using the same password for multiple online services. WordPress site owners, especially those who run publications that have many users with permissions, are especially vulnerable to attacks that target bad password security.

Although WordPress warns users about weak passwords, it doesn’t force them to create a strong one. Site owners who want to make this a requirement can use a plugin like Force Strong Passwords for extra security.

by Sarah Gooding at July 26, 2016 07:35 PM under security

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September 30, 2016 09:45 PM
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