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October 31, 2014

WPTavern: Security Vulnerability Discovered and Patched in WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce Featured Image

If you use WP eCommerce, you’ll want to update as soon as possible to fix a security vulnerability discovered by Sucuri. According to the announcement, the vulnerability could be used by a malicious user to easily get access and modify private information on a site. Any website using WP eCommerce 3.8.14.3 or lower is at risk.

A malicious attacker could use the exploit to export user names, addresses, and other private information. It also allows an attacker to modify orders e.g. non-paid to paid. The vulnerability is similar to the one suffered by MailPoet earlier this year.

The plugin developers assumed that the WordPress’s admin_init hook was only called when the administrator was logged in and visited a page inside /wp-admin/. However, any call to /wp-admin/admin-post.php (or admin-ajax) also executes this hook without requiring the user to be authenticated.

Sucuri discovered the exploit during a routine audit of its firewall service. After being disclosed to WP eCommerce earlier this week, the development team quickly patched the exploit and released an update. Sucuri states details of the vulnerability will not be published until users have had time to update their sites.

by Jeff Chandler at October 31, 2014 03:07 AM under wp ecommerce

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 168 – Recap of WordCamp San Francisco 2014

In this episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I dissect Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word presentation from WordCamp San Francisco. We discuss the global focus of WordPress 4.1, renaming the annual conference to WordCamp US, and the enhancements planned for the plugin and theme directories. The plugin picks of the week round out the show.

Stories Discussed:

Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word Highlights Internationalization, Mobile, and New Tools for WordPress Contributors
Matt Mullenweg’s 2014 State of the Word

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

Plugin Mover enables you to move plugins out of sight without having to delete them.

Widget Importer and Exporter is useful for moving widgets from one WordPress site to another, backing up widgets, and for theme developers to provide users with sample widgets.

Massive Visual Page Builder enables users to visually build Pages using a wide selection of shortcodes.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, November 5th 9:30 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #168:

by Jeff Chandler at October 31, 2014 03:03 AM under wordcamp

October 30, 2014

WPTavern: AppPresser Debuts Reactor: A WordPress-Powered Mobile App Creator Built with the WP JSON REST API

reactor

The folks behind AppPresser, the first mobile app development framework for WordPress, generated some buzz at WordCamp San Francisco with live demos of their upcoming Reactor product.

When AppPresser was launched in January, it was groundbreaking in terms of demonstrating the power of WordPress as an application platform. However, it was not as user-friendly as the team hoped, with the necessity of installing multiple plugins and sending your app away to get built before you can test it on mobile. Customizing the app through AppPresser often left customers, especially non-developers, confused and in need of support.

After seeing a live demo of Reactor, it seems likely that this new product will someday be the official successor of AppPresser. Reactor provides a hosted app-building experience that is far easier to use.

Reactor Will Provide a Hosted App Creation Service Using the WP JSON REST API

Ryan Fugate, an AppPresser developer involved with building Reactor, said that the forthcoming WP JSON REST API was instrumental in the decision to build Reactor. “The API allows you to create much better performance in your apps, as well as offline capabilities.” Content created in Reactor is cached, stored in your app, and available offline.

Any plugin that creates its own endpoints for the WP API can easily have its data pulled in and integrated with Reactor. In other words, instead of AppPresser having to create complicated add-ons for every plugin out there, the plugins can make themselves available to talk to Reactor via support for the new WP API.

“We are currently building in support for WooCommerce and will be adding lots more plugins as they add support for the API,” Fugate told the Tavern.

Since app creation with Reactor is provided as a hosted service, the team can offer a more consistent experience for its customers. “Building our own customized experience is a much better experience for the user,” Fugate said. “It allows us to integrate things like the build process and push notifications, which would not have been possible otherwise.”

After testing Reactor, the single most useful feature that stands out is the live preview of your app as you are building it, as you can see in the demo video below. Instead of shipping your app off to be built with Phonegap, you can actually have it built automatically and scan a QR code to download it to your phone for testing.

Will AppPresser “Classic” Be Phased Out in the Future?

Based on the live demo of Reactor that I saw, its features leave the original AppPresser product in the dust. There are so many distinct advantages to using Reactor that it is likely to render the original obsolete. Reactor includes:

  • Pre-made page templates and features
  • Design customization
  • Build and preview your app without touching app files
  • WordPress and non-WP content
  • Integrated push notifications
  • Automatic app building
  • App stats
  • Faster performance
  • Offline capabilities

Those who purchased the original AppPresser product will be eager to know if Reactor will soon be replacing it. The AppPresser team is committed to continuing support for the original product and won’t be retiring it anytime soon, according to Fugate:

AppPresser ‘classic’ is still a very useful product for certain projects. For example, the BuddyPress integration is very solid, and some people may need to load custom content that isn’t available through the WP API. Projects like the Dallas Museum of Art app by Webdev studios is a great example of a project for AppPresser classic.

Reactor has a lot of advantages though, so we’d recommend most people give it a try first. We will still continue to sell and support AppPresser classic for the foreseeable future.

AppPresser may opt to grandfather in customers who purchased the original product, but the team hasn’t yet announced their plans. Access to Reactor will be offered for a monthly fee.

The new service may be more cost-effective for customers who integrate push notifications with their apps, since many currently pay $50/month to a 3rd party service. Reactor integrates its own push notifications, which lowers the overall cost for apps that require them.

The new WordPress-powered app creation service is an excellent example of what is possible for developers to build using the upcoming WP JSON REST API. AppPresser continues to innovate in the app space with virtually no competition from other companies, but that may change as others discover the power of the new API. The team hopes to have Reactor launched by the end of the year.

by Sarah Gooding at October 30, 2014 11:23 PM under reactor

WPTavern: Where Will WordCamp US be Held?

WordCamp USA Featured Imagephoto credit: vgrigoriucc

During the State of the Word at WordCamp San Francisco, Matt Mullenweg announced that the event will be renamed to WordCamp US and will no longer be held in the Mission Bay conference center. The announcement doesn’t eliminate San Francisco, California from being the host city but it doesn’t seem likely as venues to hold more than 1,000 people are hard to come by or too expensive. The idea of WordCamp US is similar to WordCamp Europe in that it would change host cities every year.

I asked several WCSF attendees where they think the first WordCamp US will be held. The most common answers include the following cities:

  • Houston, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Miami, FL

Houston is a likely candidate as it’s the birth place of Mullenweg, co-creator of the open source WordPress project. With the annual WordPress conference not tied to San Francisco anymore, it gives him an opportunity to host it in his hometown.

Las Vegas has numerous venue locations that can hold upwards of a few thousand people. Food choices are plentiful and the weather is usually pretty nice. Miami is an international destination with easy access from Europe.

Which US city do you think will host the first WordCamp US and which city would you like to see host it? Let us know in the comments.

by Jeff Chandler at October 30, 2014 09:24 PM under wordcamp

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 167 – Preview of WordCamp San Francisco 2014

In this episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I dive into the news of the week. We have a lengthy discussion on the subject of niche admin themes for WordPress and what it might be like once the REST API is added to core. After discussing the news, we talked about WordCamp San Francisco and the sessions we’re most looking forward to attending. We wrapped up the show with the plugin picks of the week.

Stories Discussed:

The First “Rate and Review a Plugin Day” is a Success
Jason Schuller to Re-Enter WordPress Theme Market with Niche Admin Designs
Easily Edit a Post or Page Using The Slash Edit Plugin
Comparing The Photo Publishing Experience of WordPress For iOS to Facebook and Twitter
Tickets Still Available to Watch The WordCamp San Francisco Live Stream

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

Circles Gallery is a dynamic new gallery plugin that presents things in a circular view. It has three different ways to present a gallery.

CP Polls is a plugin that enables you to publish a poll into a page/post and optionally display statistics of the results. You can receive email notifications every time a vote is added or opt to receive Excel reports periodically.

Gravity Forms Entry Expiration allows you to automatically delete Gravity Forms entries older than a defined time frame.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, October 29th 9:30 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #167:

by Jeff Chandler at October 30, 2014 09:15 PM under wordcamp

WPTavern: Jetpack 3.2 Released, Introduces New Site Logo Feature for Theme Developers

Jetpack 3.2 was quietly released yesterday with a host of new enhancements for self-hosted WordPress sites. Following up on 3.1’s total re-branding of the plugin, 3.2 comes with speed improvements and better caching for related posts.

This release introduces the new ‘Site Logo’ feature that was added to WordPress.com themes in late July. The goal is to increase data portability across themes and standardize the way themes present logo upload.

The Site Logo feature has been added to Jetpack’s theme tools for any theme that opts to support it. It allows themes to optionally display the site’s title and tagline along with the logo and brings a new way for self-hosted WordPress sites to enjoy logo portability.

site-iconYou’ll also find a new Site Icon feature in this release, which lets you create an icon for your site that will be displayed as a favicon. If you don’t already have a favicon in place, this is an easy way to add one.

The previous release introduced the Portfolio Custom Post Type as the first of many planned custom content types. According to the changelog, Jetpack 3.2 adds a new Testimonials content type. In order to turn it on, one might expect to navigate to ‘Settings’ → ‘Writing’ → ‘Your Custom Content Types’, which is where the portfolio one is located. However, this feature is based on theme support and must be declared during after_setup_theme:

add_theme_support( 'jetpack-testimonial' );

The Testimonials feature was actually added in a previous release, though not highly publicized.

Additional enhancements in Jetpack 3.2 include:

  • Improvements to API endpoints
  • oEmbed sources (Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, DailyMotion, Vine)
  • Indicators to make it easier to see which modules are active
  • Improved debug tool
  • Added “Remember Me” functionality to Single Sign On
  • Improved accessibility
  • Additional filters added for Widget Visibility

The release notes also include a few bug fixes, most notably the removal of the Google+ module. Since Google Authorship is now officially dead, Jetpack 3.2 sheds the dead weight of the authorship feature originally introduced in its 2.5 release.

The plugin description page on WordPress.org is sporting a new tagline. Previously, it read: “Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.”

jetpack-tagline

The new tagline, “Your WordPress, Streamlined,” seems to reflect an interesting language change within WordPress.com that identifies sites as simply WordPress.

As of today, the Jetpack team has not yet officially announced the release on their blog, but the 3.2 update is available to users within the WordPress admin.

by Sarah Gooding at October 30, 2014 06:10 PM under site logos

Matt: Tim Cook Comes Out

“I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.”
— Tim Cook

That’s from Tim Cook’s “I’m Proud to be Gay” essay in BusinessWeek today. It’s beautiful, brave, and amazing, and I love that idea of fighting for something until your last breath, it’s a very Southern expression. Here’s to Tim’s toes not pointing up for many, many years to come.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 30, 2014 04:26 PM under Asides

October 29, 2014

WordPress.tv Blog: WordCamp San Francisco 2014: State of the Word Keynote

The first WordCamp ever was held in San Francisco nine years ago (2006) as a way for WordPress users and developers to meet, share knowledge, and learn from one another. Since that time these informal community-run events have grown and spread across the globe, but to this day WordCamp San Francisco is considered the event of the year for WordPress lovers everywhere.

One of the highlights of WordCamp San Francisco is the “State of the Word” keynote speech delivered by Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress. Presented in two videos, here is the keynote, and the following town hall Q&A, from WordCamp San Francisco 2014.

Matt Mullenweg: The State of the Word 2014

View on WordPress.tv

Matt Mullenweg: Town Hall at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

View on WordPress.tv


Matt Mullenweg: The State of the Word 2014
Matt Mullenweg: Town Hall at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

by Jerry Bates at October 29, 2014 06:32 PM under Announcement

Matt: No More Platinum

Not One Artist’s Album Has Gone Platinum In 2014.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 29, 2014 01:50 AM under Asides

October 28, 2014

Matt: State of the Word 2014

Yesterday I delivered the State of the Word address to the WordPress community, and the video is already up on WordPress.tv.

Here are the slides if you’d like to view them on their own:

If you just want the bullet points, here are the big things I discussed and announced:

  • There will be 81 WordCamps in 2014.
  • This was the 9th and final WordCamp San Francisco in its current form. We’ve maxed out the venue for years, so next year we’ll do a WordCamp US at a location and date to be determined.
  • Milestone: 2014 was the first year non-English downloads surpassed English downloads of WordPress.
  • 33k took our survey: 7,539 (25%) of survey participants make their living from WordPress. Over 90% of people build more than one site, and spend less than 200 hours building one.
  • We’ve done five major and seven minor releases since the last WCSF, and have had 785 contributors across them.
  • WordPress market share has risen from 19% in 2013 to 23% now.
  • We now have 34k plugins and 2.7k themes, and have enjoyed record activity on both — including plugins passing 1,000,000 commits.
  • 16 releases of our mobile apps, Android and iOS.
  • Code Reference launched.
  • 105 active meetup groups in 21 countries, with over 100 meetup and WordCamp organizers present at the event.
  • Internationalization will be a big focus of the coming year, including fully-localized plugin and theme directories on language sites and embedded on dashboard in version 4.1, which is coming out December 10th.
  • Better stats coming for plugin and theme authors.
  • Version fragmentation is a big challenge for WordPress, only a quarter of users are currently on the latest release.
  •  This is also a problem for PHP — we’ll be working with hosts to help with version fragmentation, as well as to get as many WordPress sites as possible running PHP 5.5 or better.
  • Showed off 2015 theme.
  • We will be testing a workflow for accepting pull requests on our official WordPress Github repository before the end of the year.
  • For the first time in 11 years we’re switching away from IRC as our primary communication method. We’ll be moving to Slack, which has helped us set up so that every member of WordPress.org can use it. (During the keynote address the number of people on Slack surpassed our IRC channels, and is currently over 800 people.) Sign up at chat.wordpress.org.
  • Five for the Future, with Gravity Forms and WPMU Dev committing to donate, and Automattic now at 14 full-time contributors to core and community.
  • We need to work hard to harmonize the REST API plugin and the WordPress.com REST API.
  • The mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing, which means access for everyone regardless of language, geography, gender, wealth, ability, religion, creed, or anything else people might be born with. To do that we need our community to be inclusive and welcoming. There is a sublime beauty in our differences, and they’re as important as the principles that bring us together, like the GPL.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 28, 2014 01:28 AM under WordCamp

October 26, 2014

WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word Highlights Internationalization, Mobile, and New Tools for WordPress Contributors

Today Matt Mullenweg delivered his annual State of the Word address at WordCamp San Francisco, with roughly 1,000 WordPress enthusiasts and contributors in attendance and hundreds more watching via livestream.

Before jumping into the results of the survey, Mullenweg announced that this would be the last event held at Mission Bay conference center.

WordCamp USA

WordCamp San Francisco will become WordCamp USA next year. The name of the conference, location, date, and details are yet to be determined. The event has outgrown the Mission Bay venue and the organization team wants to be make room for more people and presentations.

With the undeniable success of WordCamp Europe two years in a row, pan-continental WordCamps may become more common in connecting people in various regions of the world. In fact, Mullenweg envisions that a number of “anchor WordCamps” will surface in the near future.

Internationalization Improvements to Connect the Global WordPress Community

internationalization

This year 33,000 people responded to the WordPress user and developer survey. Mullenweg stated that 2014 is likely to be remembered as a turning point for the project, noting that this was the first year that non-English downloads surpassed English downloads.

Mullenweg encouraged attendees to see locale as a wider concept that includes language, timezone, and date formats. WordPress may soon be able to provide per-user internationalization features. For example, if someone leaves a comment in Japanese, an English-speaking post author would receive the notification in English.

Language packs are coming to more plugins and themes by early 2015. Mullenweg announced that fully localized plugin and theme directories will be available in the dashboard starting with WordPress 4.1. He believes that internationalization improvements will be one of the most impactful things for WordPress’ growth over the next decade.

“If WordPress is going to be truly global, truly inclusive, it has to be fully available for other languages,” he said. The upcoming improvements give WordPress the potential to be a truly global experience.

The Importance of Responsive Mobile

As he has in many recent interviews, Mullenweg highlighted the continuing importance of responsive mobile. “There are now more phones on the planet than human beings. We need to cater to them or they’re just going to replace us,” he joked.

The future of the platform depends on having a strong mobile presence, but Mullenweg has a larger vision for how WordPress can lead the way for the next generation of the mobile web.

“Online communication is one of the great equalizers of our time,” he said. This goes hand-in-hand with the WordPress mission to democratize publishing. As mobile devices now have the capacity to do more things, Mullenweg is inspired by the idea that people can always be connected. He believes that WordPress as an application platform is poised to the lead the way.

The 2014 survey results revealed that WordPress usage as a blog and as a CMS is declining every year. However, its usage as an app framework is steadily growing.

Mullenweg highlighted the WP REST API as critical to WordPress’ ability to rapidly iterate in the future. The new API will pave the way for “completely bespoke posting interfaces,” he said. WordPress developers have often asked him when the platform will allow for theming the admin. Mullenweg hopes that the new API will make it possible for “1,000 different WordPress admins to bloom.”

Exciting New Tools for WordPress Contributors: GitHub and Slack

contributors

WordPress runs on contributions and communication. There were 785 people who contributed on five major releases since the last WordCamp San Francisco. The software recently crossed the one million commits mark. During the State of the Word, Mullenweg highlighted recent release leads and new committers, making a point to personally thank those who create the software that now runs 23% of the web.

GitHub

He also delivered several announcements to the delight of contributors in attendance. After asking the audience who has used Git and GitHub, he exclaimed, “Whoah, that’s all the hands!” He followed that up with the announcement that core contributors will soon be able to submit pull requests on GitHub.

Slack

For the first time in 11 years, the project will experiment with not using IRC as its primary communication tool. Mullenweg announced that the community will be trying out Slack for real-time communication for contributor teams. The tool is mobile friendly and has a number of strong advantages over IRC for asynchronous communication. If a ticket is mentioned in Slack, it will be linked with trac. The #wordpress support IRC channel will still be used. Participation on Slack is now available to every single WordPress.org contributor, replacing IRC and ad hoc Skype chats. You can visit chat.wordpress.org to initiate your invite.

The #wordpress support IRC channel will continue on. Slack will be used for contributing to the WordPress project, be it code, design, documentation, etc.

Results of the 2014 survey showed that a full quarter of those surveyed make their living using WordPress, representing more than a billion dollars of economic activity per year. Mullenweg referenced his Five for the Future post encouraging companies to support the project with 5% of their time. Very few open source software projects thrive as long as the 11 years that WordPress already has, Mullenweg said. He featured three companies that have publicly committed 5% to WordPress, including Gravity Forms, WPMUDEV, and Automattic.

“This is what is going to take us from 23% to 30% or 40%,” he said. With hundreds and thousands of freelancers and companies all over the world giving back to WordPress, the project will have the momentum to continue its unprecedented growth. WordPress has now outgrown the venue of its flagship WordCamp. It has also outgrown its old communication tools. WordPress is about to explode on a global scale. Years from now we’ll look back on 2014 as a year where many key improvements positioned WordPress to further dominate the web.

by Sarah Gooding at October 26, 2014 11:41 PM under state of the word

Post Status: Matt Mullenweg’s 2014 State of the Word

mullenweg

“Oh, my name is Matt Mullenweg by the way. Nice to meet you.”

After the WordPress co-founder welcomed the largest WordCamp San Francisco audience ever, he introduced himself and began this year’s State of the Word — the annual talk where he provides insight of the last year of WordPress and inspiration for the future.

edit: The video is now available:

Or watch on WordPress.tv

The last WCSF as we know it

WordCamp San Francisco has been here in Mission Bay for 7 years, and it’s the last year here. Next year, things are going to change. There will be a WordCamp US (Matt notes it’s a working title) that will be modeled similarly to WordCamp Europe. The name, location and date are yet to be determined.

The annual WordPress survey

This year there were over 33,000 responses to the annual WordPress survey.

Only 23% of the survey respondents were from the United States — a 6% increase of international respondents. And for the first time ever, non-English downloads surpassed English downloads. This change is much due to the new internationalization tools in WordPress core itself.

A quarter of the respondents now make their living fully off of WordPress — 7,539 people from the survey pool. Matt estimates those people alone make up for more than a billion dollars of economic impact.

Of those people surveyed, they have between half a million and a million currently active websites they own or have developed. And 91% of those sites took less than 200 hours to make.

5 releases since the last WCSF

contributors

Since last summer and the last WCSF, we’ve had five major releases of WordPress. Matt spent some time going over some of the features we’ve gained.

From WordPress 3.6 to WordPress 4.0, WordPress has evolved an enormous amount in a short amount of time. It’s better on mobile; has a better user experience; is more performant; is easier to use for both developers and end users; and is the best publishing tool in the world.

There have been seven release leads in that time:

  • Jon Cave
  • Andrew Nacin
  • Helen Hou-Sandi
  • Mark Jaquith
  • Dion Hulse
  • Mike Schroder
  • Aaron Campbell

Additionally, Matt highlighted another 8 significant contributors and five new committers to the WordPress project.

In these five releases, there have been 785 contributors to the project. And Matt also highlights John Blackbourn — the WordPress 4.1 release lead, which will soon enter beta.

Two Drupal growth

Since last summer, WordPress has grown “two Drupal marketshares.”

There have been 684 theme additions to the repository this year — a 36% increase year over year. There are now 2,781 themes in the repo.

iOS and Android

There have been two updates for Android, five for iOS, and we abandoned older platforms to focus on a better user experience. “Sorry, both of the Windows phone users,” he joked.

Matt notes that there are now more mobile phones than humans on earth, and that this will continue to be a huge priority.

Developer.WordPress.org

Noted in the last WCSF State of the Word, developer.wordpress.org is now live. A little later that hoped, he noted, but it’s a huge achievement and improvement for WordPress documentation.

Community

There are over 100 meetup and WordCamp organizers here at WordCamp San Francisco. Matt asked them all to stand, with a personal thanks to their commitment to a difficult, but rewarding task.

Internationalization

We have a long way to go with Internationalization, but Matt highlights some of the progress and promise for the future, including the advancement of language packs that plugin and theme developers will be able to take advantage of.

Soon — with the release of WordPress 4.1 — Matt announced that the WordPress plugin and theme directories will be fully localized, making it more accessible and fully translated for non-English speakers.

“The discovery process [of themes and plugins] is prohibitive” unless we make it a priority to offer the same discovery features that are in English to other languages.

“We have the potential — thanks to the web — for WordPress to be a truly global experience.”

Better WordPress.org stats

Matt is promising a better offering of statistics for WordPress theme and plugin providers — a task that’s being worked on right now by the .org team.

These are numbers people have long wanted and are very difficult to get. This is a very welcome change.

Adoption of new releases

Matt says only 25% of users are on the latest install, WordPress 4.0. While he notes that it’s far better than it was in the past, we still have a lot of improvement we can make.

And he goes into the importance of removing versions from the conversation in software. Users should not know or care the version of their software. They should only know that it works.

“Our vision is that we’re like Chrome. … And the hosts have helped pioneer this.” But WordPress itself will eventually move to such a model; this is a thing that is controversial, but I believe it is an essential and inevitable evolution.

Matt asked how many people had been hacked — and even in a room full of professionals — it was a lot of people. This is why updates are important, as updated WordPress installs are much safer.

Relationship with PHP

Matt spent some time talking about WordPress support for more modern versions of PHP.

WordPress is notorious for being a poor supporter of modern PHP. But that’s ready to change.

“We’re going to start working with hosts to get everyone on PHP 5.5 or above.”

The Twenty Fifteen theme

Matt is excited about Twenty Fifteen, this coming year’s default theme. He notes this is our fifth year with a new default theme, and it’s the same number of years that Kubrick was the only default theme. A massive success.

WordPress and Github

Matt Mullenweg says that starting this year, you can submit a pull request to WordPress on Github, “and that will not go into a black hole.”

He asked how many people are using Github, and nearly everyone raised their hand. This removes a barrier to contributing to WordPress, and is a huge improvement.

He also says that all development of the WordPress mobile apps is now on Github. It’s also worth noting that much of Automattic’s internal projects, like Jetpack, are run on Github.

Community communication with Slack

For the first time in 11 years, WordPress is leaving IRC for primary organization communication. We’re going to try a tool called Slack, built by a company in San Francisco started by the former founder of Flickr. Slack has taken over communication in remote teams, from my experience, and will be excellent.

Slack will also help us make use of integrations and notifications. Right after the talk, chat.wordpress.org will lead any WordPress.org user to a method for using Slack for communication.

This is a huge partnership, and as someone that uses Slack daily, I’m incredibly excited. I’m sure there could be pushback for using a paid tool for this, but it’s certainly and interesting experiment and I’m excited to see what happens.

It appears clear to me that contributing to WordPress will now be easier than ever.

Five for the future

Matt talked about his controversial blog post about the concept of Five for the future, something I also opined about.

Matt highlighted three companies: Gravity Forms, WPMUDev, and Automattic are all now contributing 5%. Of course he notes others are doing it as well, but wanted to highlight those that have committed to doing it publicly.

Matt discussed a number of ways people can contribute, and that folks can attend sessions to learn how to contribute both here at WCSF and at most other WordCamp events.

“A contributor, by the way, is a title that no one can give you except yourself.”

He called it an altruistic mentality of contribution.

The JSON REST API

“Who’s excited about the REST API?”

Nearly everyone responded with enthusiasm. Matt talks about how WordPress.com has had a similar API for years now, and what they’ve learned, and how much potential there will be for the core version, and the importance for marrying the .com API and the .org API as they each approach 2.0.

Matt wants us to re-think “the WordPress engine” as a kernel that can a hub for building all sorts of things that are more capable to be fit into a proper architecture for the case at hand versus “shoehorning” existing WordPress features to areas that aren’t really meant for it.

“Maybe what we need isn’t a way for theming the WP admin; maybe what we need is a way for 1,000 WP admins to be built.”

And for those admins to be able to fork each other, learn from one another, and create better and catered publishing experiences catered to specific use cases.

We can expect the core WordPress JSON API in 2015.

The continuing importance of WordPress and mobile.

Matt discussed how important mobile is to the future of the web, and therefore WordPress. “They are winning,” he says about the phones, and says how phones are more available and evolving every year. “They’re getting bigger and bigger,” and the interfaces and methods for interacting with our phones are evolving as well.

Matt believes that WordPress can play a central role in the further evolution of mobile applications and the mobile web. As the power of mobile devices gets better, Matt believes that the web will become a bigger part of the mobile experience than it is now — when the conversation seems to be completely centered around apps.

“This is one of the ways that we can be truly global.”

Wrapping up

To democratize publishing, is the mission of WordPress.

WordPress is a community, Matt states, and accessibility from a language, device, and any other point of view is critical to the mission of WordPress.

by Brian Krogsgard at October 26, 2014 06:49 PM under Everyone

October 25, 2014

Matt: Anti-spam and E2E crypto

A brief history of spam and email crypto by someone who used to work on Gmail. Hat tip: Donncha O Caoimh.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 25, 2014 05:24 PM under Asides

October 24, 2014

Matt: WordCamp SF Live Stream

WordCamp San Francisco, the original, starts tomorrow and the tweets are already starting to stream in. On Sunday at 11AM I will deliver my State of the Word address, our annual look at where we’ve been and the road ahead, and even if you can’t make it you can livestream the SoTW and the entire weekend for just $10 from the comfort of your own home. 16+ hours of WP entertainment for the price of one movie ticket! (Or might be a sleep aid, depends on your perspective.)

by Matt Mullenweg at October 24, 2014 06:02 PM under Asides

Alex King: No WordCamp SF 2014 For Me

Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to attend WordCamp SF 2014. My apologies to those who I was planning to meet up with. I’ll miss seeing you folks there – but have fun and do great work!

by Alex at October 24, 2014 04:21 PM under WordPress

WPTavern: MediaPress Now in Beta: A New Media Gallery Plugin for BuddyPress

mediapress-feature

For a long time, BuddyPress has been sorely in need of better support for media, as images, video, and audio play a major part in connecting people on social networks. BuddyPress core has adopted the features-as-plugin development model to help facilitate the development of a new media component called BP Attachments. This new Attachments API, once finished, would allow BuddyPress to store media as attachments, offering developers a standard way of extending the plugin to build media-related functionality.

With no way of knowing when or if BuddyPress will add a core media component, developers have struggled over the years to tackle media support with independent solutions. Brajesh Singh, a prolific BuddyPress plugin developer, created the popular BP Gallery four years ago to address this need, but the plugin is now outdated.

Last week Singh introduced MediaPress, his latest attempt at creating gallery/album capabilities for BuddyPress. The plugin is now in beta and boasts an impressive list of features, including:

  • User media/gallery/album support
  • Group media/gallery/album support
  • Built-in photo, audio, and video support
  • Supports privacy
  • Drag-and-drop uploader
  • Upload from Activity
  • Automatic wall galleries creation
  • Wall gallery support for Groups/Users
  • Grid layout for media
  • Playlist view support for audio/Video Galleries
  • Widgets and shortcodes to list galleries, media, playlist, audio, etc.

MediaPress adds upload buttons for images, audio, and video to the activity update box. Users can also upload from the gallery menu item in their profiles.

media-upload

MediaPress’ gallery support works very similar to Facebook. Images uploaded via the activity stream will be placed in a wall photo gallery where users can view, edit, or delete them.

user-galleries

MediaPress comes with an extensive array of admin options for controlling its features. It’s also tightly integrated with WordPress and BuddyPress, which is why audio playlists in the activity stream look similar to audio uploaded to posts.

audio-play-list-activity

Singh built MediaPress to be easy to customize and easy for other components to extend. Here are a few examples of what developers can do with the plugin:

  • Use a different storage manager (supports local uploads by default but you can write one for the cloud- check core/storage/storage-manager.php for details).
  • Add support for a new Media Type. (Check core/common/api.php, core/common/init.php for details.)
  • Write a custom media loop. (Check MPP_Media_Query in core/common/query-media.php.)
  • Write your own custom Gallery loop/list. (Check MPP_Gallery_Query for details.)

The Future of MediaPress

MediaPress does not utilize the BP Attachments API. I spoke with Singh to see what his plans are, when/if BP core adds better media support. “Yes, I will continue developing it even if BP adds its own media component,” he said. “MediaPress has a more versatile API than what will come in any media component in the next 2-3 years at least.”

Singh spent the last year and a half planning the plugin, but it was only within the last four months that he got serious about building it. “I spent most of the time planning the architecture and API. My basic goal was to make it easy for site admins as well as developers to use and extend the plugin,” he said.

MediaPress is open source and will remain free to use, as Singh’s primary goal is better community adoption. After the first release, he is planning on putting the plugin on GitHub and will also submit it to WordPress.org. He hopes to build a community around it.

Singh will be retiring BP Gallery in favor of MediaPress. “Things have changed in last 4 years – custom post types, taxonomy APIs made it into WordPress core, as well as multisite,” he said. “We needed a plugin to reflect these changes and work better with the current APIs. I did not feel updating BP Gallery will do it justice.”

There are very few media plugins for BuddyPress at the moment, and Singh said that it seemed all of them were either bloated or very limited in options. MediaPress is currently the most advanced gallery/album solution for BuddyPress, even though it’s still in beta. I tested the plugin and found its UI to be fairly intuitive. It fits in like a natural part of BuddyPress. Check out the live demo to see it in action.

In the future, Singh plans to add support for WordPress (non-BuddyPress) sites and bbPress. If you’d like to help test the MediaPress beta, you can download it from BuddyDev.com.

by Sarah Gooding at October 24, 2014 05:13 AM under mediapress

October 23, 2014

Matt: FB Rooms

We’re not trying to build the next Snapchat — we’re trying to build the next WordPress.
— Josh Miller from Facebook

Uh, okay! From the Verge’s article Facebook's new Rooms app brings bite-sized forums to your iPhone.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 23, 2014 08:15 PM under Asides

WPTavern: JSTOR Launches Online Daily Magazine Using WordPress

In a strategic effort to make academic journals more relevant to your average reader, JSTOR has launched an online daily magazine. The digital academic library offers full-text searches of 2,000+ journals, e-books, and primary sources. JSTOR Daily will serve to bring more context to current events by connecting readers to relevant scholarly publications found within the JSTOR library.

The site’s authors tackle various complex issues, such as stem cell research, marijuana and public health, world hunger, and more, by providing backstory using research from JSTOR’s wealth of scholarly publications.

“JSTOR is primarily a digital library, and we haven’t produced our own content before, so this is a real shift for the organization,” editor Catherine Halley told NiemanLab in a recent interview. Publishers of the new daily magazine selected WordPress to power the site, which currently publishes two to three short posts per day, interspersed with longer feature stories twice per week.

jstor-dailyJSTOR Daily’s design uses a slightly modified version of SimpleMag, a magazine theme sold on Themeforest. Based on a quick view of the source, you can see that the site also utilizes common plugins, such as Jetpack to power subscriptions and stats, Gravity Forms, Add to Any, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP, and W3 Total Cache.

The site is currently still in beta, as JSTOR experiments with its content strategy. Ordinarily, JSTOR serves its library content via paid subscriptions, though access is licensed mainly to academic institutions and their students. However, content linked within JSTOR daily has to be freely available to readers, since the purpose of the publication is to maximize JSTOR’s academic archive. Therefore, the publishers opted to make any timely or otherwise compelling content available for free, when linked within one of the stories. If you’re interested in getting your news mixed with a healthy dose of in-depth academic research, subscribe to the JSTOR Daily bi-weekly newsletter or add the site to your favorite feed reader.

by Sarah Gooding at October 23, 2014 06:40 PM under News

October 22, 2014

WPTavern: Unsplash Plugin Brings One-Click Stock Photo Uploads to the WordPress Media Library

Unsplash, the free stock photo site, quickly became popular with designers, due to its tasteful curating of images. All of the high resolution images on the site are carefully selected, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad photo among them. Unsplash gradually grows its collection by adding 10 new photos every 10 days, all of which are available under the very permissive Creative Commons Zero license.

Unsplash WP is the first plugin created to bring these images into WordPress. With one click you can upload stock photos directly into the media library without having to leave the admin. Since Unsplash photo licensing allows you the freedom to copy, modify, distribute and use the photos without permission, you can use the images in your commercial endeavors, designs, blog posts, or anywhere on your site.

Once installed, you can add Unsplash photos from the plugin’s settings page or within the page/post editor. You have a few options for setting the upload image width and height, as well as the number of images per page. When editing content, you’ll find a new Unsplash Uploader button:

unsplash-button

When you click on the uploader, the most recent Unsplash images will be displayed in lightbox. You can toggle between recent, oldest, and random to select images to upload.

unsplash-media-library

The images you select will then be added to your media library for use. You’ll have to switch back to the media upload button to insert them into your content. The plugin will need to be able to write temporary images into the wp-content/plugins/unsplash-stock-photo-library directory for image processing, prior to uploading them to the media library. If you see the little red warning on an image, it means that you will need to check your server permissions before it will work.

check-permissions-yo

Unsplash WP was created by Darren Cooney, author of the Ajax Load More plugin. After testing it, I was impressed by how smoothly it performs as well as the convenience of not having to leave the admin.

My only concern is that, with the growing popularity of Unsplash, some of the photos begin to look cliché and commonplace after you’ve seen them used on dozens of sites across the web. Ultimately, the best and most unique photographs are the ones you take, because they are tied to your own experience and perspective.

However, if you simply need to quickly prototype a design and want to have a bunch of nice images at your fingertips, Unsplash WP is an excellent plugin that will save you quite a bit of time. Download it for free from WordPress.org.

by Sarah Gooding at October 22, 2014 10:27 PM under unsplash

WPTavern: Tickets Still Available to Watch The WordCamp San Francisco Live Stream

wcsf

This weekend, the annual WordPress conference known as WordCamp San Francisco will take place. It’s the only conference to feature “The State of the Word” presented by Matt Mullenweg. If you can’t make it to the event, there are still plenty of live stream tickets available.

Live stream tickets cost $10 and allow you to enjoy the conference from the comfort of your home. However, if you buy a Live Stream Plus T-Shirt ticket for $18, you’ll receive a T-Shirt immediately following the event. When purchasing tickets, make sure you log into your WordPress.org account.

An alternative to purchasing a live stream ticket is to check your local WordPress meetup as several of them are having live stream watch parties. If you’re a meetup organizer having a viewing party, please add the event in the comments. You can also follow the event by monitoring the #wcsf and #wcsf14 hashtags on Twitter.

Sarah Gooding and I will be in attendance during the weekend of festivities so if you see us, stop and say hi.

by Jeff Chandler at October 22, 2014 09:22 PM under wordcamp

WPTavern: BuddyPress 2.2 Will Add Support for Composer

composer-support-buddypress

BuddyPress lead developer Paul Gibbs committed support for Composer to BuddyPress core this week. Developers who want to check it out can find the json file at: trunk/src/composer.json.

If you’re not yet familiar with Composer, it’s essentially a tool for dependency management in PHP. It is designed to manage packages on a per-project basis by bringing in any dependent libraries that you declare in the composer.json file. The dependencies are then automatically installed in a vendor directory or other specified location inside your project.

BuddyPress is not yet listed on Packagist.org but should be added soon. Once it’s listed there, it can easily be declared as a dependency after the next version (2.2) is released.

{
    "require": {
        "buddypress/buddypress": "~2.2"
    }
}

BuddyPress 2.2 is expected in mid-January 2015, according to Gibbs’ reply in the ticket to add Composer. He plans to configure Packagist to pull from http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/buddypress/.

Because BuddyPress is identified as a WordPress plugin in its json file (“type”: “wordpress-plugin”), composer/installers will by default send it to the wp-content/plugins directory.

If you can’t wait two months, and you’re dying to use BuddyPress with Composer right now, there’s an alternative method. I spoke with WordPress Composer evangelist Andrey Savchenko (@rarst) regarding the news. He suggests that in the meantime developers could use wpackagist, which provides a mirror of the WordPress plugin and theme directories as a Composer repository.

{
 "require"     : {
  "wpackagist-plugin/buddypress": "~2.1"
 },
 "repositories": [
  {
   "type": "composer",
   "url" : "http://wpackagist.org"
  }
 ]
}

If you search for “WordPress” on Packagist, you’ll find many other projects, which can also be easily added into your next BuddyPress project. Composer support makes it easy to create a master composer.json file for your projects, that will save you time by allowing you to load all of your dependencies in a matter of seconds.

by Sarah Gooding at October 22, 2014 10:32 AM under composer

WPTavern: How to Increase or Decrease The Font Size in The Visual Editor

Visual Editor Font Size Featured Imagephoto credit: Mr Ushcc

If you use the visual editor to write posts or pages, you’ll know that the font can sometimes be hard to read due to its size. Some themes use a tiny font in the visual editor and unless you know how to apply CSS changes, you’re stuck with it. Luckily, there’s a plugin available specifically for the purpose of adjusting the font size in the visual editor called Visual Editor Font Size.

Developed by Nikolay Bachiyski, Visual Editor Font Size adds a meta box to the post editor. After installing and activating the plugin, check the screen options on the post editor and make sure the box next to Visual Editor Font Size is checked. The meta box has a plus and minus button to increase or decrease the font size. There’s also a sample of text to indicate how large or small the font is and the revert link resets the text to the default size.

Visual Editor Font Size Meta BoxVisual Editor Font Size Meta Box

Although it works fine in WordPress 4.0, I’d rather see the size adjusting buttons added to the TinyMCE editor. The editor is the first place I look to manipulate content in the visual editor and when I didn’t see any additional buttons, I thought the plugin was broken. This plugin is great if you don’t have the CSS knowledge or access to make the appropriate changes, but it’s not the best way to solve the problem.

If the theme you’re using doesn’t have a visual editor style applied to it, contact the author and send them this link. It’s a Codex article that explains how to add a style to a theme specifically for the visual editor. When executed well, the content in the editor will look identical to what visitors see. Stargazer, by Justin Tadlock, is an excellent example of a theme where the content in the visual editor is the same style that’s seen by visitors.

by Jeff Chandler at October 22, 2014 09:36 AM under visual editor

WPTavern: Comparing The Photo Publishing Experience of WordPress For iOS to Facebook and Twitter

Welcome Home Featured Imagephoto credit: angusfcc

In late September, WordPress.com published the first in a series of short videos that shows how easy it is to publish content from a mobile device. In the 15 second video entitled “Welcome Home,” a user is seen taking photos with an iPhone in various locations. Near the end of the video, the user taps the WordPress mobile app icon and sees a post with one of the images captured by the phone. What’s not shown is the process of publishing the photo.

The take away from the video is that it’s easy to publish photos to WordPress.com from a mobile device. With that in mind, I was curious what it’s like to perform the same task with other social networks on a mobile device. The following is my experience using WordPress For iOS for this specific task and how it compares to using Facebook and Twitter.

The WordPress For iOS Process

The first thing I do is take a photo with my phone. Next, I load the WordPress For iOS app. I tap the Pencil icon in the lower right corner and make sure to select my WordPress.com account. I give the post a title which is normally related to the image, then write some content. Writing a lot of content on the iPhone is not an ideal experience so I usually keep it short.

Next, I add an image to the post. Selecting a photo from the phone and uploading it to WordPress is an easy task. After the photo is inserted, I head into the Options area. From here, I assign a Category and relevant Tags. I preview the post and if I like what I see, I tap the Publish button.

WordPress For iOS Post PreviewWordPress For iOS Post Preview

While I’m not forced to assign a Category or Tags to posts, it’s a good practice and one I’ve already established with the site.

The Facebook on iOS Process

I open the Facebook app and select Photo. I’m given the choice to either select a photo from the phone’s media library or to take a picture. The ability to use the camera to take a photo for a post is a distinct difference between the Facebook app and WordPress. I usually have an image ready to publish but when I don’t, taking a photo within the app is a nice convenience. After selecting a photo, it’s uploaded to Facebook where I then add context for the image.

With the Facebook app, I can add other data to the post such as location, the people I was with or who are in the photo, and my mood. Most of the time, the additional information doesn’t apply to my photo. After adding some context, I tap the Post button. Boiled down to the simplest procedure, I can publish a photo post on Facebook in five steps.

  1. Open App
  2. Select Photo
  3. Choose or Take Photo
  4. Apply Context
  5. Post

I don’t have to worry about assigning a category or tags to Facebook posts.

The Twitter on iOS Process

I open the Twitter app and tap the button to write a new Tweet. I tap the button to add media and similar to Facebook, I can either choose from the phone’s media library or take a photo. After selecting an image, I add context, then tap the send button. I don’t have to worry about tags or categories.

Not The Simplest, But The Most Future Proof

WordPress For iOS isn’t the simplest way to share photos with the world but it’s the most future proof. It may be more work, but an added benefit to using WordPress.com is its Publicize feature. When a post is published, WordPress.com can send it to both Twitter and Facebook. This is an ideal way to share photos to the widest possible audience while maintaining full control of your content.

Facebook and Twitter are islands where you have no control and the carpet can be pulled out from under you. But at WordPress.com, you have a place to call your own and if you desire, you can pack up your content and leave. This is what the message “Welcome Home” means to me. What does it mean to you?

by Jeff Chandler at October 22, 2014 08:30 AM under wordpress.com

WPTavern: Initiatives Being Developed Alongside WordPress

Opportunity Featured Imagephoto credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}cc

While it’s easy to focus on WordPress core development, there are a handful of satellite projects to keep an eye on. There is so much happening around the WordPress project, it’s tough to keep up. This post highlights some of the satellite projects and initiatives that are being developed concurrently with WordPress.

Feature Plugin: Improve Image Editing

Led by Siobhan McKeown, the Image Flow project is aimed at improving the image editing experience in WordPress. It’s a feature that will likely not be removed, so the team is doing what it can to improve it. In the most recent meeting, the group discussed various wireframes and will be making changes based on community feedback. The group meets every Friday and uses Google Hangout to conduct meetings.

Scalable Dropdowns

Created by Helen Hou-Sandi, the scalable dropdowns project is focused on addressing some long-standing issues with dropdowns in WordPress, specifically for users and pages. An initial meeting has taken place on IRC and as a result, several issues have been opened on Github for work and discussion. If you’re interested, review the issues on Github and contribute where you’re able to. Questions related to the project can be asked here.

Meta, Date, and Taxonomy Query Improvements

Boone Gorges is leading the way towards improving WP_Meta_Query, WP_Tax_Query, and WP_Date_Query. The improvements are slated for WordPress 4.1. According to a recent project update, most of the proposed changes Gorges listed in the initial post have been made.

Inline Documentation

Shortly after WordCamp San Francisco 2013, the inline docs team began working on providing inline documentation to every hook in WordPress. The team successfully completed documented every action and filter hook as part of the release of WordPress 3.9. In a recent meeting, the group discussed options for adopting a documentation standard for core JavaScript.

WordPress Training

The training initiative is a proposed curriculum that covers everything from explaining what a theme is, to creating and altering child themes. The group is working on various training modules that make up each class. In their most recent meeting, the group discussed the status of modules in progress, infrastructure for testing modules, and a team training sign up form. If you’re interested in contributing to this project, the team has meetings every Tuesday 18:00 UTC in the #wordpress-getinvolved IRC channel.

Opportunities to Contribute

I’ve only scratched the surface with the number of initiatives available to contribute to. Whether you have a special interest in accessibility, UI, mobile, support, themes, or translations, there’s a project that could use your help. The best way to stay informed of new and existing initiatives is visit Make.WordPress.org.

by Jeff Chandler at October 22, 2014 04:06 AM under initiatives

Matt: Retina 5k Mac

imac-retina-step1-hero-2014 To me one of the most meaningful shifts in computing the past few years has been how the resolution of displays is getting higher and higher, and interfaces are starting to become resolution independent. I feel like when pixels disappear there’s less of a wall between people and the technology, it starts to blend and meld a bit more. It’s something I’ve been personally passionate about since the first retina iPhone, tirelessly beating the drum at Automattic to make everything we do shine on hi-DPI screens, or leading the WordPress 3.8 release that brought in MP6 project to make WordPress’ aesthetics cleaner and vector-based.

I’m sitting in front of a Retina 5k iMac right now typing this to you. (It was supposed to arrive on Friday but came a few days early.)

It’s the most gorgeous desktop display I’ve ever seen, breathtaking at first and then like all great work becomes invisible and you forget that there was ever a time when displays weren’t this beautiful. (Until you look at some lesser monitor again.)

I’ve been using 4k displays, the Sharp and the ASUS, with Mac Pros for a few months now, and to be honest they come close, but this takes the cake in every possible way, including the design and aesthetics of the computer/display itself which is laptop-thin at the edges. If you’ve been on the fence, and you’re okay with the tradeoffs an iMac has in general, get one. I can’t wait for them to do a 5k Thunderbolt display (but it sounds like it might be at least a year away).

P. S. If you’re looking for a gift for the iMac that has everything, consider a slipper to keep its feet warm.

by Matt Mullenweg at October 22, 2014 12:42 AM under Apple

WPTavern: Monster Widgets for bbPress and BuddyPress Make It Easy to Test Core Widgets

photo credit: massdistraction - ccphoto credit: massdistractioncc

The original Monster Widget plugin is a handy tool created by Automattic to assist theme developers with testing. Essentially, it allows you to quickly drop all core widgets into your sidebar at once, saving you the trouble of having to add them individually.

Now you can get the same for bbPress and BuddyPress, thanks to a two new plugins from @mercime, a contributor on both WordPress sister projects.

The BuddyPress Monster Widget makes it easy to populate your sidebar with all of the BP core widgets, including the following:

  • Log In
  • Members
  • Who’s Online
  • Recently Active Members
  • Friends
  • Groups
  • Sitewide Messages
  • Recent Networkwide Posts

The widgets are pre-configured to show a set number of blog posts, members, friends, etc. The list of widgets displayed can be altered by using the ‘buddypress-monster-widget-config’ filter included in the plugin.

buddypress-monster-widget

The bbPress Monster Widget plugin allows you to add all of the bbPress core widgets to your sidebar in one instance, including:

  • Log In
  • Forum Views
  • Forum Search Form
  • Forums
  • Forum Topics
  • Forum Statistics
  • Forum Replies

The bbPress Monster Widget also comes pre-configured with a set number of topics and replies displayed. The default list of widgets can be altered by using the ‘bbpress-monster-widget-config’ filter.

When creating a theme for public distribution, it’s important to make sure you know how the core widgets are going to look with your theme applied. This is especially true for community-oriented sites that utilize bbPress and BuddyPress, because the widgets often play a big part in connecting members to recent activity on the site. Download the bbPress and BuddyPress monster widgets from WordPress.org to make it quick and easy to test the core widgets.

by Sarah Gooding at October 22, 2014 12:00 AM under widgets

October 21, 2014

WPTavern: Compass: A Free Starter Theme for WordPress Built with Hybrid Core, Bourbon, and Neat

photo credit: Theresa Thompson - ccphoto credit: Theresa Thompsoncc

The life of a frontend developer has changed a great deal over the past few years, with the introduction of new technologies for authoring CSS and automating tasks. We’re starting to see that trickle down into every new WordPress starter theme.

These days you’ve got to npm install allthiscrazystuff just to get started on a project. Once you’ve gone through the setup, you’re ready to work more efficiently with many of the more boring tasks automated for you.

Compass is a new WordPress starter theme that incorporates a host of modern web development technologies to help you create themes faster while staying in line with WordPress coding standards. The folks at Flagship, a soon-to-launch theme shop, released Compass for free earlier this month, claiming that it is “the most advanced WordPress starter theme in existence.”

Note: The Compass theme name keeps with the company’s nautical vibe, but it’s not to be confused with the open source Compass CSS framework built with Sass.

Out of the box, the theme is fairly plain but, thankfully, not hideous. Obviously, it’s a starter theme, so the point is to provide the basics for getting started on your own beautiful creation.

compass-starter-theme

Sass, Bourbon, and Neat with Composer Support

Similar to the Some Like It Neat starter theme, Compass features support for Sass, Bourbon, and Neat. The theme uses Composer to manage dependencies for PHP, allowing you to declare the dependent libraries for your specific project to have them installed for you.

Grunt

The Flagship team has worked hard to create what they believe to be the most advanced and robust Grunt workflow available for WordPress theme development. You’ll need to install Node.js to run the Grunt task runner with the Compass theme, although many theme developers will likely already have it installed. Some of the tasks will also require external command-line applications, which you’ll need to install as global Node.js packages.

Once you’re ready to roll, you’ll be able to automate an amazing number of tasks associated with theme development, including things like auto-prefixing CSS properties, tidying up style.css to match the WordPress Coding Standards, generating the RTL style sheet, optimizing images, and much more. Here’s a short sampling:

  • grunt build:dependencies
  • grunt build:css
  • grunt build:font
  • grunt build:images
  • grunt build:js
  • grunt build:i18n
  • grunt check
  • grunt package

Check out the documentation on GitHub for the comprehensive list of available tasks included in the Compass theme.

Hybrid Core

Compass is built on top of Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid Core, one of the oldest and most developer-friendly frameworks for building WordPress themes. The Compass release post explains why Flagship went with Hybrid Core:

There are so many things that are going to be necessary on nearly every project, and they’re regularly done poorly in many of the themes that we’ve used and tested. Justin has done an amazing job of doing things “the WordPress way” and has been building and iterating Hybrid Core for many years.

The framework handles functionality that most themes commonly require, such breadcrumbs, grabbing media, integrating microdata like schema.org, pagination, theme layouts, and translation.

Like many other new starter themes, Compass also offers support for the Theme Hook Alliance project in an effort to provide a common set of entry points for plugin and theme developers looking to extend the theme.

Although Flagship hasn’t yet officially launched, the site shows a preview of a few planned themes that were built using Compass as a starter theme.

flagship-themes

The theme shop will soon launch with a unique pricing model that doesn’t involve bundle or theme club pricing. Each theme is priced at $199, with a $99 annual fee for support. The Compass starter theme that they use to build all of their products is open source and available to developers for free on GitHub. Check out the Getting Started guide for documentation, including video tutorials on installing the tools and working with Compass.

by Sarah Gooding at October 21, 2014 07:40 PM under wordpress starter theme

WPTavern: Easily Edit a Post or Page Using The Slash Edit Plugin

Slash Edit Featured Image

If you’re not a fan of the admin bar or it’s disabled and you want a shortcut to edit posts in WordPress, you might be interested in a new plugin called Slash Edit. Developed by Ronald Huereca, Slash Edit adds the ability to edit the following items by adding /edit to the end of a url.

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Custom Post Types
  • Author and Taxonomy Archives

To load the appropriate editing interface, visit a post or page while logged into WordPress and add /edit to the end of the url. It can also be used as a shortcut to login to the backend of WordPress.

Huereca works in an environment where the admin bar is consistently disabled. He created the plugin to provide a convenient way to edit pages or posts without having to search for them in the backend. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to just add “/edit” to the end of a post or page and be redirected to the right place in the admin panel?”

Huereca doesn’t know what else could be added to the plugin to fulfill its basic purpose. “I’m not sure how much farther this plugin can go, but the WordPress community is ingenious as far as feature requests, so I’m eager to get feedback on the base feature set.” I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.0 and it works as advertised. To keep tabs on development, you can follow the project on Github.

by Jeff Chandler at October 21, 2014 03:06 AM under slash edit

October 20, 2014

WPTavern: Jason Schuller to Re-Enter WordPress Theme Market with Niche Admin Designs

pickle-preview

Jason Schuller, the original founder of the Press75 theme company, has been off the radar for a few years as he pursued experiments with alternative publishing platforms. He officially exited the commercial WordPress theme business earlier this year when Press75 was acquired by Westwerk, following a sharp decline in the shop’s monthly revenue.

Prior to selling his company, Schuller had begun to focus more on his experimental projects, Dropplets, Leeflets, and Cinematico. Over the years, he had become disillusioned with the software, as he watched WordPress become increasingly more complex. This frustration, coupled with the weight of complex frameworks that started devouring the WordPress theme market, essentially vaporized his passion for the software and pushed him out to make something new.

Earlier this year, in an interview with Jeff Chandler, Schuller expressed his dissatisfaction with trying to make WordPress do what he wanted and said that he wouldn’t be concentrating his efforts on WordPress in the immediate future.

Video Preview of Custom WordPress Admin for the “Pickle” Project

In his never-ending quest to simplify publishing online, Schuller has once again picked up WordPress to experiment with creating a radically simplified admin design for Pickle, his restaurant-themed HTML template.

Traditionally, making a template like that editable in WordPress ends up being a complex thing for your average user to navigate in the admin. The preview video shows how Schuller has re-imagined the admin for his niche one page template.

pickle-admin

He has essentially removed the admin, de-registered all the styles and many of the components, in an effort to create a custom CMS for this particular template. The result is a better correlation between the content editing experience and the actual website, with simplified action buttons.

If you watch the preview, you’ll hear Schuller summarize why he created the simplified admin:

This is my biggest issue with WordPress right now. It doesn’t scale backward for minimalist websites like this. The CMS should reflect, in my opinion, what you’re trying to accomplish with your website, and all of these unnecessary components of WordPress just really don’t need to be here unless you need them for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Schuller said that it took him approximately two days to customize the WordPress admin to suit his template. “I’m nearly finished with it. It’s going to launch as a downloadable theme first and then I’ll be launching a hosted version as well,” he said.

The theme will not be launching on Leeflets but rather on a new domain, yet to be determined, bringing Schuller back into the WordPress theme market. Why is he returning?

“With this particular project, I really just wanted to get my vision out of my head as quick as possible,” he said. “With that in mind, I couldn’t see creating a custom CMS just for Pickle, so I figured WordPress would be the best way to do that quickly. Plus, you still can’t ignore WordPress’s reach.”

I asked Schuller if the Pickle admin theme is a one time project or if he plans to create more niche admin themes to accompany his designs. “If Pickle goes well, I have a few other niche admins in mind for specific templates,” he replied.

“My goal is really simple – to help my customers/users create and manage websites. If WordPress helps me do that in an efficient way, I’m all for it. But I’ll be doing it my way this time around,” he emphasized.

Schuller’s minimalist approach to the WordPress admin is something that he hopes will be easier for his target market to wrap their brains around. The popularity of the Pickle template is what spurred him on to create an editable version using WordPress. “I wasn’t expecting much when I released the Pickle HTML template,” he said. “But it was an instant hit. There are quite a few people helping restaurants create websites with it. That’s what triggered the idea to make a WordPress version.”

At the moment Schuller is in touch with his market on a very small scale, but he hopes that it will expand with a successful launch of the Pickle theme. “My hope is that the WordPress version makes it even more enticing for businesses looking for a minimalist website/solution.”

Schuller has identified a problem that many developers are hoping to solve. WordPress core is moving towards bridging the separation between the editing experience and the display of the content, with improvements to the customizer and experimental projects like the frontend editor. Others hope that the new JSON REST API will make it easier for developers to create custom admins.

These changes cannot come soon enough, but will they be fully able to provide a more natural editing experience for users? Those, like Schuller, who have wrestled with dissatisfaction, have a decent shot at creating a revolutionary editing experience for the 10 year old platform. His inspiring work on the Pickle admin breaks WordPress out of the box and forces developers to look at the content editing experience in a new way.

A more modular admin that can easily be scaled back for minimalist websites is something that would allow developers to truly customize the CMS for any niche template or project. The WordPress admin then becomes a chameleon of sorts, able to disappear into its surroundings with the content in focus. Schuller’s Pickle experiment is a good example of this, and likely part of a trend that we’ll see more in the future.

by Sarah Gooding at October 20, 2014 10:14 PM under wordpress admin

WPTavern: The First “Rate and Review a Plugin Day” is a Success

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first “Rate and Review a plugin day”. After reviewing the #wppluginreviewday hashtag on Twitter, it’s clear that a lot of people submitted reviews to their favorite plugins. Based on an estimate by Richard Tape, 455 reviews were published on October 17th. When compared to 254 reviews on October 16th, that’s an increase of 180%. Here are a few noteworthy mentions of the hashtag in action.

Observations I Made While Submitting Reviews

It took 90 minutes to rate and review the plugins I’ve depended on for years. I noticed some of the plugins haven’t been updated since 2010. In some cases, the last review a plugin received was from 2012 or earlier.

When I announced the holiday, I asked users to browse to the bottom of the plugin’s description page and click on the broken or works box. As I submitted my reviews, I forgot about the compatibility box. When submitting a review, there is a drop down menu to select which version of WordPress I’m using. I used this in combination with my review to tell people if the plugin works or not.

WordPress Plugin Review Submission FormWordPress Plugin Review Submission Form

Clicking the works or doesn’t work button is an easy task but it’s a separate action from submitting a review. It’s also the last widget on the description page and depending on the length of the description, may be hidden from view. I suggest merging the compatibility box into the process of submitting a review so it’s one action. Even though submitting compatibility information can be as simple as pressing a mouse button, not many do it.

The Disconnect Between WordPress.org and The Backend of WordPress

Your ratings, reviews, and compatibility checks are contributions to WordPress. It’s actionable data that millions of people use to determine whether or not to use a plugin. The backend of WordPress is an area millions of users interact with yet, the option to rate and review plugins as well as submit compatibility information doesn’t exist. The plugin details modal doesn’t show the compatibility box on the plugin’s description page and although you can read reviews, you can’t rate or review plugins.

Current Plugin Details ModalPlugin Details Modal

The plugin management page in WordPress hasn’t seen a visual upgrade in a long time. Here’s what it looks like in WordPress 4.0.

WordPress 4.0 Plugin Management PageWordPress 4.0 Plugin Management Page

WordPress 3.9 revamped the theme browsing experience while 4.0 introduced a refreshed plugin install and search experience. Perhaps it’s time to refresh the plugin management page. One suggestion is to create two different list views. The management page in 4.0 could be the slim, detailed view. The enhanced view could use the card concept as seen on the Add Plugins page. Instead of displaying the crowd sourced information, you’d be able to rate and review the plugin and submit compatibility info from within the card.

WordPress 4.0 Plugin CardsWordPress 4.0 Plugin Cards

The problem with two different views is that a sub-set of users wouldn’t see the card view and stick with the default. In order to maximize the potential of obtaining crowd sourced data, the submission points have to be accessible by as many people as possible.

Tighter Integration Between The Backend and WordPress.org

In order to submit ratings and reviews, you need to be logged into a WordPress.org user account. I’m unsure on how to properly address this issue. One idea is for WordPress to provide a connection similar to Jetpack where I connect a WordPress powered site to my WordPress.org account. This could also act as an opt-in mechanism. Ultimately, I’d like to see better integration between the WordPress backend and the WordPress.org website.

I’m not advocating that I be able to browse the WordPress.org website from the backend of WordPress, that’s what browsers are for. I see plenty of opportunities to connect certain actions on WordPress.org to the backend of WordPress, such as the ability to create a forum post to receive support.

A New Annual Tradition

While you don’t need a special day to review plugins, it’s a unique feeling to do something so many others across the world are doing at the same time. I’m encouraged to see so many people who have rated and reviewed their favorite plugins. Based on the feedback we’ve received, this will likely become an annual tradition.

by Jeff Chandler at October 20, 2014 06:54 PM under Reviews

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November 01, 2014 12:00 AM
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