WordPress Planet

July 19, 2019

Matt: Animated WordPress Wallpaper

I didn’t realize this, but apparently MacOS has a built-in ability to show really stunning animated wallpapers, like this one created by Folletto that subtly changes colors throughout the day in an incredibly engaging well:

Check out Folletto’s blog for another dynamic wallpaper and some of process behind creating it. This would be awesome to have for iPhones as well.

by Matt at July 19, 2019 03:09 PM under Asides

July 18, 2019

WPTavern: All-in-One WP Migration 7.0 Patches XSS Vulnerability

Those who use the All-in-One WP Migration plugin are encouraged to update to version 7.0 as soon as possible as 6.97 contains an admin backend cross-site-scripting vulnerability.

An attacker would already have to be able to either compromise the database or gain access to a user account with high enough privileges to view the backup history, so some damage has already been done, but such an attacker could then also insert some XSS in order to compromise other admin users.

When double-clicking the backup description on the backup history overview page, in order to edit the description text, the text is not sanitized/escaped via html entities when generating the input field.

Vulnerability Report

Version 7.0 was released on the plugin directory about a day ago and patches the vulnerability. According to the stats on the WordPress plugin directory, All-in-One WP Migration is actively installed on more than two million sites.

A proof of concept will be published on July 24th which gives site owners about a week to update. Unfortunately, users who view the changelog prior to updating will not be able to determine it patches a security issue due to the patch being labeled as a general fix.

Updated July 19th

All-in-One WP Migration has released a new update that addresses a different security issue that was introduced in 7.0. Users are strongly encouraged to update to 7.1 as soon as possible.

by Jeff Chandler at July 18, 2019 09:19 PM under vulnerability

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 360 – CBD and E-Commerce With Javier Cano

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Javier Cano, Director of Marketing for Liquid Web. We discuss the challenges people are facing selling CBD products on e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce and what Liquid Web is doing to be an ally to the industry. We also talk about high-risk payment processors and the brick and mortar approach versus selling high-risk products online. Cano also shares his experiences from attending and speaking at recent CBD expos.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, July 24th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

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Listen To Episode #360:

by Jeff Chandler at July 18, 2019 01:46 AM under woocommerce

July 17, 2019

HeroPress: History and Future of Kids Heroes in WordPress

Kids events are not a new thing in the WordCamp and WordPress event space, however, the number of these events happening around the world are on the rise. Kids events focus on teaching children how to become content creators, creative thinkers, and even business owners. Numerous repeat attendees have morphed their personal blogs into businesses and these kids are only 8-13 years old. Kids events provide an opportunity for local communities to foster long term community growth. These events also offer opportunities for a more diverse event in that kids bring a new perspective to any event. WordPress and its surrounding communities have the opportunity to change the lives of kids all over the world.

History of Kids Events

The history of Kids Events is full of many Heroes who have worked tirelessly to ensure that children in our community are included in events. Most of these events happen in tandem with WordCamps, but that is not always the case. Here is the history of most of the Kids Events and the Heroes behind them.

More Kids Event Information

Kids programming with WordPress is here to provide a solid opportunity for minors to be included in the community. The programs offer events, workshops, and inclusion in the ever-growing WordPress community.

The community as a whole has always provided educational and networking events to further personal development. Kids Programming is no different.

Events focus on key skill sets such as public speaking, writing, networking, and communication. Children get to work with peers in exciting and fulfilling ways and leave the events with new friends. These friends often live in various places around the globe and create the opportunity for long-distance friendships fostered through technological resources.

For example, my son lives in Orlando and has friends in Tampa, Jacksonville and even out of state. He keeps in touch through Facebook Messenger or Slack.

The fact is our kids need a fun way to use real-world skills in a non-threatening environment. A place where they won’t be tested and where they can’t fail.

These programs offer just that. With over 40 different volunteers helping to foster this program across the globe it is becoming a WordPress community staple.

There is still much to do. Safety has to be our #1 priority when working with minors and that means keeping things pretty consistent. There is a group of amazing volunteers documenting the process of planning a kids event and class curriculum.

The team is working on checklists and curriculum to make it super easy for a meetup chapter or WordCamp to add a kids event or kids program to their offering.

The future for these programs is looking very bright. There is ever-growing interested in events, and more people wanting to be part of the kids’ event revolution.

You too can be a hero. We need more people to write, edit, translate and test these programs. No experience is necessary and you don’t have to love kids either. This initiative allows so many children from different backgrounds and walks of life to be included in a super caring community. We see kids whose parents are already in the community and also kids who otherwise would never know the community exists. Your time is going to help create the next generation of WordPress! To get involved or update this list of Heroes just email Kids@WordCamp.org.

The post History and Future of Kids Heroes in WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Sandy Edwards at July 17, 2019 12:00 PM

July 16, 2019

WPTavern: Newspack Opens Up Application Process for Phase Two

Earlier this year, Newspack chose twelve publications to take part in the initial rollout phase of the platform. Newspack is a collection of themes, plugins, and features geared towards newsrooms such as revenue generation wizards, mobile delivery, and search engine optimization.

Steve Beatty, head of Newspack Communication says they’re seeking up to 50 newsrooms to be part of phase two which lasts from September 1st – February 29th, 2020.

“What you’ll get: a new Newspack website, including the migration of your existing site; free hosting, security, updates, backups and support on WordPress.com through February 2020; membership in the Newspack community of users; access to Newspack developers; exclusive performance benchmarking against your peers; and more,” Beatty said.

Organizations that are selected are expected to provide feedback, test new features, and help shape the overall direction of the platform.

Free hosting for charter members will expire on February 29th, 2020. News organizations with revenue under $500K can expect to pay $1,000 per month and organizations that generate revenue of over $500K will pay $2,000 per month. Newspack is currently in negotiations to provide subsidies for organizations that encounter difficulties with the pricing structure.

Those interested in participating in the charter program have until August 15th to fill out the application.

by Jeff Chandler at July 16, 2019 08:36 PM under Newspack

July 12, 2019

WPTavern: In Case You Missed It – Issue 28

photo credit: Night Moves(license)

There’s a lot of great WordPress content published in the community but not all of it is featured on the Tavern. This post is an assortment of items related to WordPress that caught my eye but didn’t make it into a full post.

Changes to WordPress PHP Coding Standards

Based on changes that were proposed back in March, the PHP Coding Standards for WordPress have been altered. Note that these changes apply to WordPress core only and Gary Pendergast recommends that developers can and should choose practices that best suit your needs for plugins and themes.

Excluding Remote Employee Job Applicants Based on the State They Live In

Like Brad, the topic of not hiring job applicants for a remote company based on the state they live in because of tax laws is not something I’ve seen discussed.

In certain situations, companies that go the extra mile to hire a remote worker can also turn that person into an advocate.

If you’re involved in the hiring process for a remote company, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

Would You Like to See A Product Hunt for WordPress Products?

Once you create something awesome in the WordPress ecosystem, it’s tough to get the word out. Ben from LyrWP wants to know if anyone is interested in a Product Hunt website for Themes, Plugins, and Services.

I think it’s a great idea and something I’d like to see become a reality. There are probably a ton of great products in the WordPress space that go unseen because there’s no easy way to reach a large mass of people outside of sites like the Tavern.

However, Mario Peshev is concerned that such a site may end up posting infrequently or promote mediocre products.

If Peshev’s concern became a reality, there wouldn’t be much of a point to continue with the site and developers would be back to square one.

Speaking of learning about new products, who remembers the Plugin Release posts on WeblogToolsCollection.com?

Early Look at What A Block Directory in WP-Admin Could Look Like

Mel Choyce has shared a collection of concept images that depict what a Block Directory could look like inside of WP-Admin. She describes the inspiration for each image and how each screen would work.

What I find interesting is that users will be able to try out new blocks before installing them. “Inside the modal, you’d also be able to demo a block before installing. @ck3lee has figured out how to make this possible,” Choyce said.

It’s also great to see that the tech behind Shiny Updates will be used for quickly installing and activating new blocks. If you have feedback regarding the conceptual designs, please leave a comment on her post.

Notes From Lead Developer Conference

More than 20 Automatticians are attending the Lead Developer Conference in London, England, and are publishing notes from each day. You can check out Day 1 here.

WPCampus 2019 Will Be LiveStreamed

Thanks to Pantheon, all sessions excluding workshops at WPCampus will be livestreamed with captioning and available to watch for free. Simply visit the livestream page on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27.

Apply for a DonateWC WordCamp Sponsorship

DonateWC is looking for applicants for its sponsorship program. DonateWC provides underrepresented and minority groups within the WordPress community with the means to attend a WordCamp.

That’s it for issue twenty-eight. If you recently discovered a cool resource or post related to WordPress, please share it with us in the comments.

by Jeff Chandler at July 12, 2019 10:00 PM under remote workers

HeroPress: Syndication!

WordPress.org banner

As of today, HeroPress essays will be syndicated on WordPress.org/news once a month, on the first friday of the month.

A few weeks ago Josepha The Great approached me and said she’d been tasked with getting Better News at that location, and HeroPress was one of her first thoughts. We discussed how it would work and here’s what we came up with.

Once a month I’ll suggest an essay and someone at Automattic will paraphrase and condense the essay and publish it at WordPress.org/news along with links to the original. This gives us both the opportunity for a traffic boost.

I’m super excited about this opportunity, and I’d like to thank Josepha Haden, Matt Mullenweg, Yvette Sonneveld, Alison Rothwell, and Aditya Kane for their work in making this happen.

The first one is about Ugyen Dorji from Bhutan, I hope you’ll check it out. Please leave a comment for Ugyen on HeroPress.com.

The post Syndication! appeared first on HeroPress.

July 12, 2019 08:03 PM under Strategy

WPTavern: Experimental Block Areas Plugin Allows for Editing Content Sitewide with Gutenberg

WordPress core committer Felix Arntz is working on an experimental Block Areas plugin that would enable users to create and edit content sitewide using the Gutenberg editor. Inspired by a conversation with Morten Rand-Hendriksen at WordCamp Europe, Arntz created the plugin to “explore what the theming of tomorrow could look like already today.”

Block Areas allows users to define specific areas where they want to use the block editor (outside of regular posts). The block areas function similar to widget areas, but are created using a custom post type with a familiar admin UI.

“They are implemented as a post type – with the key aspect that they can’t be accessed in the frontend via a certain URL, but your theme has to render them via a block_areas()->render( $slug ) method that the plugin exposes,” Arntz said. “The slug you pass to the method should match the block area slug (i.e. post slug) of one of the areas you have created in the admin.”

The plugin comes with block areas for site header and footer to provide a starting point. However, adding the block areas to a theme is one technical hurdle that currently limits this experimental plugin to developers.

The concept is reminiscent of the now seemingly abandoned Buckets plugin that aimed to provide an alternative to WordPress widgets. It allows admins to create reusable pieces of content and place them anywhere on their sites. Reusable buckets can be created with the same UI as the legacy post editor and then placed anywhere using a shortcode or via a button in the TinyMCE editor.

In the case of Buckets, the idea was to preserve the users’ ability to create content using the visual editor and media manager. Block Areas seems to have a similar aim – to preserve users’ ability to use the block editor anywhere they want throughout the site. That is part of the general goal of Gutenberg Phase 2, which includes migrating widgets and menus to use the block editor.

Block Areas is just one idea for providing a unified approach to reusable content inside WordPress. It is not an official project and may not be the approach that the Gutenberg team settles on for core. However, it offers a good opportunity for discussion and collaboration about the possibilities of taking the editor sitewide. This will open up a whole new genre of blocks for plugin developers.

“Think about a block that renders the site title, the custom header, a menu, the copyright information – taking Gutenberg to the site level opens up a whole new set of typical blocks that would be required,” Arntz said. “Start thinking about which blocks you would need outside of your post content bubble today.”

The Block Areas plugin is available on GitHub if you want to experiment with it. Check out Arntz’s introduction post for more implementation details.

by Sarah Gooding at July 12, 2019 05:41 PM under gutenberg

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Ugyen Dorji

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

Meet Ugyen Dorji from Bhutan

Ugyen lives in Bhutan, a landlocked country situated between two giant neighbors, India to the south and China to the north. He works for ServMask Inc and is responsible for the Quality Assurance process for All-in-One WP Migration plugin.

He believes in the Buddhist teaching that “the most valuable service is one rendered to our fellow humans,” and his contributions demonstrates this through his WordPress translation work and multi-lingual support projects for WordPress.

Bhutanese contributors to the Dzongkha locale on WordPress Translation Day

How Ugyen started his career with WordPress

Back in 2016, Ugyen was looking for a new job after his former cloud company ran into financial difficulties.

During one interview he was asked many questions about WordPress and, although he had a basic understanding of WordPress, he struggled to give detailed answers. After that interview he resolved to develop his skills and learn as much about WordPress as he could. 

A few months passed and he received a call from ServMask Inc, who had developed a plugin called All-in-One WP Migration. They offered him a position, fulfilling his wish to work with WordPress full-time. And because of that, Ugyen is now an active contributor to the WordPress community.

WordCamp Bangkok 2018

WordCamp Bangkok 2018 was a turning point event for Ugyen. WordCamps are a great opportunity to meet WordPress community members you don’t otherwise get to know, and he was able to attend his first WordCamp through the sponsorship of his company.

The first day of WordCamp Bangkok was a Contributor Day, where people volunteer to work together to contribute to the development of WordPress. Ugyen joined the Community team to have conversations with WordPress users from all over the world. He was able to share his ideas for supporting new speakers, events and organizers to help build the WordPress community in places where it is not yet booming.

During the main day of the event, Ugyen managed a photo booth for speakers, organizers, and attendees to capture their memories of WordCamp. He also got to take some time out to attend several presentations during the conference. What particularly stuck in Ugyen’s mind was learning that having a website content plan has been shown to lead to 100% growth in business development.

Co-Organizing Thimphu‘s WordPress Meetup

After attending WordCamp Bangkok 2018 as well as a local Meetup event, Ugyen decided to introduce WordPress to his home country and cities. 

As one of the WordPress Translation Day organizers, he realized that his local language, Dzongkha, was not as fully translated as other languages in the WordPress Core Translation. That is when Ugyen knew that he wanted to help build his local community. He organized Thimphu’s first WordPress Meetup to coincide with WordPress Translation Day 4, and it was a huge success!

Like all WordPress Meetups, the Thimpu WordPress Meetup is an easygoing, volunteer-organized, non-profit meetup which covers everything related to WordPress. But it also keeps in mind the Bhutanese Gross National Happiness four pillars by aiming to preserve and promote their unique culture and national language. 

Big dreams get accomplished one step at a time

Ugyen has taken an active role in preserving his national language by encouraging his community to use WordPress, including Dzongkha bloggers, online Dzongkha news outlets, and government websites.

And while Ugyen has only been actively involved in the community for a short period, he has contributed much to the WordPress community, including:

  • becoming a Translation Contributor for WordPress Core Translation for Dzongkha;
  • participating in the Global WordPress Translation Day 4 Livestream and organizing team;
  • inviting WordPress Meetup Thimphu members and WordPress experts from other countries to join the local Slack instance;
  • encouraging ServMask Inc. to become an event sponsor;
  • providing the Dzongkha Development Commission the opportunity to involve their language experts.

When it comes to WordPress, Ugyen particularly focuses on encouraging local and international language WordPress bloggers; helping startups succeed with WordPress; and sharing what he has learned from WordPress with his Bhutanese WordPress community.

As a contributor, Ugyen hopes to accomplish even more for the Bhutan and Asian WordPress Communities. His dreams for his local community are big, including teaching more people about open source, hosting a local WordCamp, and helping to organize WordCamp Asia in 2020 — all while raising awareness of his community.

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

by Aditya Kane at July 12, 2019 05:20 PM under Interviews

Post Status: Preserving the Wilderness

Midway in our life's journey, I went astray  
     from the straight road and woke to find myself
     alone in a dark wood.

—Dante's Inferno, John Ciardi's translation

If you’ve been trying to follow the ongoing debate over the future of the internet but got lost, gave up, or just tuned out, you’re probably in good company. Serious problems seem to generate unhelpfully broad and exaggerated headlines, like Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic describing “the coalition out to kill tech as we know it.” He provides a good breakdown of the many interest groups and the perspectives in play, however, from Antitrust Theorists to Shoshana Zuboff, who coined the term “surveillance capitalism.”

Writer and Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler says the internet is becoming a “dark forest” as people retreat to “wild” spaces.

Madrigal is probably right that people are tired of hearing that publishing platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have no role in policing “provably false information” posted by their users. Brian predicted this several years ago before WordPress.com came under pressure to shut down sites denying the Sandy Hook school shooting ever happened. Now the boundaries of acceptable content are more actively guarded but not consistently or well, and in some cases like Facebook or YouTube, if the cure is human moderation, it’s as bad as the disease.

Former Google product manager and Center for Humane Technology founder Tristan Harris is near the top of Madrigal’s list of tech-killers. Harris recently testified before the US Senate with such stark examples of manipulative interfaces that one senator said he was thankful he would “be dead and gone … when all this shit comes to fruition.”

While Harris is good at generating outrage by publicizing truly outrageous things Google, Facebook, and others are doing, it’s not always clear what he thinks should be done. Does protecting our attention, or children’s developing brains, or democracy itself require platforms to police themselves or be policed by someone else?

Compared to Harris, Pinboard owner and widely read blogger Maciej Ceglowski made a less dramatic but similarly urgent statement about privacy and data collection to the Senate back in May. (Web version and video link.) A more recent post on Ceglowski’s blog called “The New Wilderness” argues we need laws protecting the digital environment from surveillance, so it retains a “wilderness” of “ambient privacy.” Like Harris, Ceglowski focuses on Facebook and Google as “the world’s most sophisticated dragnet surveillance operation, a duopoly that rakes in nearly two-thirds of the money spent on online ads.”

In line with Ceglowski’s imagery, writer and Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler says the internet is becoming a “dark forest” as people retreat to “wild” spaces.

Strickler isn’t talking about “wild” spaces on the web that offer unmoderated, possibly objectionable content; he means areas without algorithms that keep “unpopular” material out of our monetized attention:

These are all spaces where depressurized conversation is possible because of their non-indexed, non-optimized, and non-gamified environments.

The problem Strickler sees with our retreat from the “mainstream” parts of the internet is the possibility of their discredit and loss. We may already be past that point, as Matt Taibbi has argued about the press.

Cory Doctorow has been working this beat for a long time and has some excellent, recent contributions to the debate:

Doctorow’s Op-Ed from the future comes from a time “in which we have decided to solve the problems of Big Tech by making them liable for what their users say and do.”

In this possible future:

[A]ll our speech is vetted by algorithms that delete anything that looks like misinformation, harassment, copyright infringement, incitement to terrorism, etc — with the result that the only place where you can discuss anything of import is newspapers themselves. [1]

Doctorow describes the alternative to picking media winners and tech losers on his blog:

We can either try to fix Big Tech (by making it use its monopoly profits to clean up its act) or we can fix the internet (by breaking them up and denying them access to monopoly profits) — but we can’t do both.

I’m not sure what Option A (self-regulation) would look like or how it could help, which is partly Doctorow’s point. If Option B (trust-busting) happens, it would probably leave a lot more space for wild things to grow. But even in the shadow of Big Tech monopolies, WordPress and other mature open source ecosystems still represent their antithesis, like a vast network of old-growth forests connected to small stands of young saplings. That analogy reminds me of Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s reflections on WordPress’s 15th anniversary and his hope that his “son will be building his own web experiences using software that traces its roots back to [WordPress].”

The wild, biodiverse forest image is a good one for us because it is an image of social, interdependent, and very different individuals. Peter Wohlleben’s book on The Hidden Life of Trees could just as easily describe the cooperative, distributive, and passionately interconnected, democratic nature of open source communities at their best:

When trees grow together, nutrients and water can be optimally divided among them all so that each tree can grow into the best tree it can be. If you “help” individual trees by getting rid of their supposed competition, the remaining trees are bereft. They send messages out to their neighbors in vain, because nothing remains but stumps. Every tree now muddles along on its own, giving rise to great differences in productivity. Some individuals photosynthesize like mad until sugar positively bubbles along their trunk. As a result, they are fit and grow better, but they aren’t particularly long-lived. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. And there are now a lot of losers in the forest. Weaker members, who would once have been supported by the stronger ones, suddenly fall behind. Whether the reason for their decline is their location and lack of nutrients, a passing malaise, or genetic makeup, they now fall prey to insects and fungi.

Even the giants are in trouble if they are the last trees standing. Wohlleben explains they will end up presiding over a barren desert where little more than weeds can survive:

“But isn’t that how evolution works?” you ask. The survival of the fittest? Their well-being depends on their community, and when the supposedly feeble trees disappear, the others lose as well. When that happens, the forest is no longer a single closed unit. Hot sun and swirling winds can now penetrate to the forest floor and disrupt the moist, cool climate. Even strong trees get sick a lot over the course of their lives. When this happens, they depend on their weaker neighbors for support. If they are no longer there, then all it takes is what would once have been a harmless insect attack to seal the fate even of giants.

If we maintain open source communities that are accessible and inclusive
— for big and small, young and old, established businesses and new ones — then we are doing our part to keep the web wild and healthy. 🏞


  1. Jeff Jarvis thinks that’s what newspapers want — a “war with the internet,” i.e. the major platform providers — out of the hope this might restore their previous command of advertising and attention. Jarvis is far less critical of big tech and defended it in the past as a check against “Big Brother,” i.e., powerful state actors. Today, Zuboff’s view of big tech as “Big Other” seems more accurate: a threat to democratic norms that, unlike the state, operates with almost no regulatory oversight.

by Dan Knauss at July 12, 2019 01:49 PM under Planet

WPTavern: JAMstack’s Growing Popularity Brings Increase in WordPress Plugins for Deploying to Netlify

One of the more interesting trends this year is that WordPress developers are beginning to explore JAMstack setups for their sites. JAMstack is a term coined by Netlify CEO Mathias Biilmann to describe development architecture that includes client-side JavaScript, reusable APIs, and prebuilt Markup, the three pillars of a modern static website.

Static websites are making a major comeback right now, perhaps as a reaction to the slow, bloated PHP frameworks that run large portions of the web today. The speed, security, and scalability of these sites, often available at a lower cost, are some of the most compelling reasons developers find themselves joining the rapidly growing JAMstack community. It also provides a git and CLI-friendly development workflow and allows developers to easily experiment with the latest frontend technologies, without prescribing any specific frameworks or tools.

Most JAMstack sites are built using Jekyll, Hugo, Nuxt, Next, Gatsby, or another static site generator. The generated markup and assets are often served via a CDN for near instant page loads.

Netlify pioneered JAMstack hosting and has inspired the creation of a myriad of tools that enable fast and convenient deployments. Plugins that allow developers source content from WordPress and host it with Netlify are starting to pop up more frequently. Netlify’s free tier is one of the main reasons it has grown so quickly in popularity, as it provides a fast way to host a personal site or small project with custom domain support, HTTPS, Git integration, and continuous deployment included.

Tiny Pixel Collective created a plugin called Netlify Deploy that automates Netlify builds on WordPress publish and update events. The company built it to make it easier for developers to rebuild Netlify-hosted Gatsby frontends using WordPress as the publishing tool. It works in the background to keep a static frontend in sync with the post database, rebuilding the site when users make updates to posts and pages. The plugin triggers the Netlify webhook whenever the standard WordPress posttypes post and page undergo a change in publish status, but it can also be modified to work with custom post types and custom publish hooks.

JAMstack Deployments, created by Christopher Geary, a developer and JAMstack aficionado, is a similar WordPress plugin that facilitates deployments to Netlify, as well as other platforms. The plugin’s settings page lets users configure the webhook URL in the admin, and includes options to limit it to trigger on specific post types and taxonomies. JAMstack Deployments is also conveniently available for free on WordPress.org.

Deploy Netlify Webhook is a similar plugin from Luke Secomb that appears to work manually through a “Build” button in the WordPress admin. It has the added benefit of allowing developers to check the status of the latest build to see if it was successful, without having to leave WordPress.

Justin Hall, a plugin author and senior web developer at SendGrid, published his Gatsby + Headless WordPress + Netlify starter skeleton to GitHub. This particular setup requires his LittleBot Netlify plugin to trigger Netlify build hooks on post save or update, with an additional option that allows WordPress users to publish to Staging or Production sites.

WP2Static is a popular plugin that generates static HTML files rom a WordPress site. Users have the option of auto-deploying to a folder on the server, a ZIP file, FTP server, S3, GitHub, Netlify, BunnyCDN, BitBucket, or GitLab. Theh plugin currently has more than 10,000 active installations.

These are just a small sampling of tools that developers are creating to allow WordPress users to retain the capabilities a dynamic publishing platform while building it statically to take advantage of the speed, security, and performance gains.

The trend towards using a headless CMS combined with static site generators is a setup that is heavily geared towards developers at the moment. Translating all the jargon for non-technical site and business owners is a new challenge for those looking to sell services for setting up JAMstack architecture.

That’s where more user-friendly hosting platforms like Strattic, Shifter, and HardyPress are making inroads on marketing JAMstack technology to a less-technical crowd. They provide all-in-one “serverless” architecture solutions that generate static files from WordPress sites and serve them via CDN.

One of the chief drawbacks to pursuing a static WordPress setup is that many dynamic capabilities do not work in this environment. Adding contact forms can be a challenge. Sites that require native WordPress comments or anything that is more complex and interactive will not work. This includes functionality offered by WooCommerce, bbPress, BuddyPress, and membership plugins, to name a few examples. For now, the JAMstack fervor is mostly limited to the DIY developer crowd looking to host more simple sites.

by Sarah Gooding at July 12, 2019 03:02 AM under Netlify

July 10, 2019

WPTavern: WordPress Theme Review Team Seeks to Curb Obtrusive Admin Notices with New Requirement to Follow Core Design Patterns

For years, the WordPress admin has become increasingly overloaded with admin notices. Some of them are giant, branded notices with their own particular designs that obstruct users’ activities in the admin.

The Theme Review Team is taking action to curb obtrusive notices that fall within its purview – those generated by themes hosted in the official directory. In the excitement of yesterday’s announcement about the long-term plan to make make all WordPress.org themes accessible, this small bit of good news regarding admin notices slipped through the cracks. The team ratified a proposal from TRT member Danny Cooper to require all themes to use WordPress’ admin_notices API.

All the notifications generated by a theme should use the admin_notices API and follow the core design pattern.

During this week’s the meeting, Cooper cited Storefront, WooCommerce’s flagship theme, as one example of a theme-generated notice that does not follow the core design pattern and is shown on every page.

Another example is this style of activation notice on the Noto theme from Pixelgrade:

The Futurio theme has also employed a similar style notice for getting started after activation:

In the past these notices have not been expressly forbidden, although they are generally frowned upon by those who want to keep the WordPress admin from being overtaken by large, branded notices and calls to action.

Another example of an obtrusive notice is Hestia’s popup that appears if you activate the theme but then navigate to “Add New” on the Themes screen to hunt for a different theme. Cooper said this particular popup is likely outside the remit of this guideline, but it demonstrates what lengths theme shops will go to in order to better market their themes.

There don’t seem to be any specific requirements that would restrict the use of branding within the admin notices as long as they follow the core design pattern. A visual example of this pattern is shown below.

The Sydney theme has an example of a branding-free notice that works within these guidelines:

This new requirement will affect many popular themes on WordPress.org and will likely be applied the next time existing themes go through the update review process. Cooper said that themes already known to be in violation of this guideline will be prompted by the TRT to change their notices as soon as possible or risk suspension.

“It’s especially important that themes on the ‘Popular’ tab adapt quickly as other theme developers use them as inspiration when implementing similar functions,” Cooper said.

by Sarah Gooding at July 10, 2019 10:57 PM under admin notices

WPTavern: 10up Releases New Plugin That Shows How to Extend Gutenberg’s Document Panel Using SlotFill and Filters

If you’ve been looking for a way to add slots and controls to the Document panel in WordPress’ content editor, check out a new plugin released by 10up called Gutenberg SlotFill and Filter Demos.

SlotFill and Filters is a new take on the classic filters, actions, and hooks system in WordPress. Slot and Fill are React components that enable developers to inject items into predefined spaces in the new editor.

“SlotFill is a pattern for component extensibility, where a single Slot may be occupied by an indeterminate number of Fills elsewhere in the application,” Ryan Welcher said.

An Example of SlotFill in Action

In the demo screenshot above, 10up was able to stick to the Classic UI conventions in the mobile app while displaying the same information in the Document panel of the new editor.

SlotFill initially started as a GitHub repo where Welcher collected his findings. The repo eventually turned into a library of examples and explanations for SlotFill and JavaScript based filters.

In January, Welcher submitted a pull request to the Gutenberg repo asking for SlotFill to be added to the document sidebar. His request received positive feedback and not only has SlotFill’s documentation been added to the WordPress Core Gutenberg Handbook, but the functionality is available in Gutenberg 6.1 and will be available in WordPress 5.3.

To learn more about SlotFill, check out Welcher’s release post or the Gutenberg SlotFill and Filter Demos plugin. Welcher is also doing a session at the JavaScript For WordPress Conference, on July 11-13, 2019, where he’ll showcase basic and real-world examples of SlotFill in use.

by Jeff Chandler at July 10, 2019 09:26 PM under slotfill

WPTavern: Gutenberg 6.1 Introduces Animation to Block Moving Actions, Adds Block-Based Widgets Screen Experiments

Gutenberg plugin users who update to version 6.1 should notice a considerable difference in how the UI reacts to block moving actions. This release brings in the animation experiments that Matías Ventura introduced in a post titled “Using Motion to Express Change.” The subtle animations add realistic motion to block changes, creation, removal, and reordering, creating a smoother transition between actions. It lends a bit of sophistication to what was previously an instant but more abrupt interaction.

Riad Benguella’s demo video shows the new animation for block reordering. When blocks are added or deleted, content moves around the screen more fluidly, with the surrounding blocks sliding into place. You can test it live and see it in action on the Gutenberg Playground, which is now hosted on GitHub Pages.

Version 6.1 also incorporates more experiments on the block-based widgets screen that is still in progress. A new widget blocks editor has been added to the Customizer under a panel labeled “Widget Blocks (Experimental).” At the moment, editing widgets in the Customizer in such a constricted space doesn’t seem to make much sense. It’s easy to get the controls jumbled up on top of each other. Live previews work but are much slower than the experience of using the post editor, and users may wonder why they can’t simply edit the content on the page where it appears. It’s important to remember that this is still an experiment.

The experimental widgets screen has also been updated to include the block inspector and a global inserter. This screen can be tested under the Gutenberg » Beta menu in the admin.

Gutenberg had taken a dip in performance in the previous two releases, but 6.1 recovers that with significant gains in typing performance. The latest version is 30% faster on long posts.

This update includes more than two dozen enhancements, fixes, and documentation improvements. Check out the 6.1 release post for a detailed list of all the changes. Better yet, take the latest Gutenberg features and experiments for a test drive and you’ll get a good sense of where the project is headed and what will be coming to WordPress core in the near future.

by Sarah Gooding at July 10, 2019 05:58 PM under gutenberg

HeroPress: News, Updates, etc.

You may have noticed there’s no Essay this week. This is for a variety of small reasons, some of which involve going fishing. We’ll resume our regular schedule next week. I think this is only the second time in over 4 years that we’ve missed an essay.

Later this week I should have a fun announcement, watch this space for it. I’m pretty excited.

While I have your attention I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to promote HeroPress on social media. I’d love to see a groundswell of tweets and other postings to spread the word.

Thanks, I appreciate you all.

The post News, Updates, etc. appeared first on HeroPress.

July 10, 2019 01:08 PM under Community

July 09, 2019

WPTavern: WordPress Theme Review Team Initiates New Long Term Plan to Make All WordPress.org Themes Accessible

The WordPress Theme Review Team (TRT) met today and agreed to put new accessibility requirements in place for themes hosted in the official directory. These include some of the items that are required for theme authors who want to add the accessibility-ready tag. A handful of these requirements will soon be added to the standard requirements for all themes. The initial focus will be on items that do not have a major visible impact on a theme’s design, as the team anticipates some pushback from designers.

“We’ve long made the argument that WCAG can’t easily be applied to a theme which has no content; I don’t think we want to break that,” Accessibility team member Joe Dolson said. “For the purpose of theme testing, I think it’s still better to target a customized set of criteria that are content-independent. But if we can incorporate the first four items in the guidelines, I’d be super happy. The rest of the criteria, while important, are harder to assess and implement, and have greater impact on design.”

The Theme Review Team has agreed to start gradually rolling out new accessibility guidelines every other month while educating developers to help them get on board. The first requirement will be Skip Links, followed by the other three that are outlined in the Theme Review Handbook:

  • Skip Links
    Themes must include a mechanism that enables users to navigate directly to content or navigation on entering any given page. These links may be positioned off screen initially but must be available to screen reader users and must be visible on focus for sighted keyboard navigators.
  • Keyboard Navigation
    Theme authors must provide visual keyboard focus highlighting in navigation menus and for form fields, submit buttons and text links. All controls and links must be reachable using the keyboard.
  • Controls
    All theme features that behave as buttons or links must use button, input, or a elements, to ensure native keyboard accessibility and interaction with screen reader accessibility APIs.
    All controls must also have machine-readable text to indicate the nature of the control.
  • Form Labeling
    Comment forms must have appropriate field labels and all content within form tags need to be explicitly associated to a form control. Post-submission responses (errors or confirmations) must be perceivable. If you are using the default WordPress comment or search forms, these pass the accessibility-ready criteria.

“The changed requirement wouldn’t encompass all the accessibility-ready requirements to be present on the standard themes, nor would it automatically make them accessibility-ready, but by incorporating one by one requirements, through longer time period, the idea is to encourage theme authors to write accessible themes out of the box,” TRT member Denis Žoljom said.

The team is also re-examining the efficacy of the Trusted Authors program and whether there is evidence for discontinuing it. They are considering removing the child theme queue, which was incentivizing authors to submit more child themes since the queue moves faster than the regular one.

Imposing stricter accessibility requirements for WordPress.org themes is one suggestion that theme authors discussed over the weekend as a potential response to WordPress.org’s growing problem with crippleware. The expectation is that stricter requirements would shorten the queue of themes ready for review and perhaps even motivate companies to invest in accessibility testing to improve that process. While it may not have a direct affect on theme companies’ ability to produce crippleware, it makes the barrier for entry higher so that reviewers have more time to focus on improvements to the directory and the review process.

The new accessibility requirements will apply to all themes hosted on WordPress.org, not just new ones entering the directory. Existing themes will be expected to meet the requirements as they pass through the review process for updates. However, the team will not be actively hunting down old themes to suspend them. Today’s decision marks an important turning point that has the potential to have a ripple effect across the entire theme industry, as WordPress.org sets the standard for theme development. These new requirements give legs to WordPress’ commitment to accessibility in what TRT member Justin Tadlock called “a small but major step toward accessibility for all in the directory.”

by Sarah Gooding at July 09, 2019 11:24 PM under theme review team

WPTavern: The News Project Launches Its First Customer Site CALmatters

The News Project founded by Merril Brown has launched its first customer site, CALmatters. CALmatters is a nonprofit journalism venture that covers politics, environmental regulation, education, and more.

The site sports a new design, a fresh logo, and was built using WordPress. The News Project describes itself as a “solution that integrates best-of-breed content, audience and revenue tools that a typical news venture would assemble separately at far greater cost in time, effort and dollars.”

Interestingly, Newspack, a vertical on WordPress.com and open-source plugin tailored to newsrooms and journalists is described in a similar fashion, “It’s a ready-to-go, intuitive, revenue-focused publishing platform that will let small and medium-sized newsrooms dedicate more resources to their journalism. Newspack will be simple to set up, easy to use, durable, flexible and fast.”

The descriptions and the services being offered are interesting because of what happened earlier this year. Back in January, WordPress.com secured $2.4M in funding from Google and other partners to build a publishing platform for news organizations. Around the same time, The News Project announced it received a six-figure investment from WordPress.com VIP which is essentially accomplishing the same thing.

I don’t understand why Automattic would invest in The News Project and then create a vertical on WordPress.com that solves the same problem. Since The News Project is already using WordPress to power the CMS and WordPress.com VIP to host their customers, perhaps the capital was more of an in-kind gift.

Regardless of the relationship between the two company’s, newsrooms and small-to-medium-sized publications are getting more options to consider when it comes to hosting and a CMS that’s highly tailored to the industry.

by Jeff Chandler at July 09, 2019 08:21 PM under the news project

Matt: The Houston Doberge Project

Every year for my Mom’s birthday lunch she has a Doberge cake from Gambino’s in New Orleans, but this year there was a Fedex snafu and it arrived spoiled. We found a last-minute replacement, but it piqued my curiosity as to better alternatives and I commissioned this survey of eight bakeries to answer the question: What’s the best Doberge cake in Houston or New Orleans? The article and pictures that follow are from food critic, travel journalist, and medical science writer Alice Levitt. I hope you enjoy the history, reviews, and surprise winner.

1885, Budapest. Franz Josef I and his wife, Elizabeth, rulers of Austro-Hungary, are attending the National General Exhibition of Budapest. There is much to see, but the emperor’s sweet tooth is pulling him toward one particular display. He simply must taste this new cake he’s been hearing about. He must find the Dobos torte.

It isn’t just any cake. With increased ease in shipping products across the continent thanks to better rail links, Jozsef Dobos had set a goal of getting his cakes into homes across Europe. But while trains were fast they weren’t refrigerated, and fluffy whipped cream-layered fancies would quickly become rancid mush in a hot railway carriage. Innovative delicatessen owner Dobos created the solution: a five-layer cake that took a cue from France with a filling of stable chocolate buttercream, a trend that hadn’t yet hit central Europe. Each layer of vanilla sponge worked with its spackling of buttercream like a well-designed piece of modern architecture, keeping itself cool and dry (but not too dry).  For a final flourish — and still more shelf-stability — the whole cake got a crisp caramel jacket. 

Dobos, a proponent of open source before it had a name, gave his recipe to the Budapest Confectioner’s and Gingerbread Maker’s Chamber of Industry in 1906 with the stipulation that it must be shared with anyone who wanted it. The cake traveled widely. Now with seven layers, it made its way to America through Jewish delis that sold it as Seven-Layer Cake. Upscale shops like the St. Moritz Bakery in Greenwich, Connecticut, enrobed it in dark chocolate instead of caramel. For its final bit of Americanization, it turned from a round cake into a rectangle. 

1933, New Orleans. It was never this hot in Hungary. Beulah Ledner, with her Eastern European blood, was not made for it. Neither were certain cakes, it turned out. During the Great Depression, she earned extra money for her family crafting the German confections her mother had taught her to make. 

One favorite was Dobos torte. But despite its Hungarian hardiness, it was not created with sticky Louisiana summers in mind. The wintry pastry needed to lighten up.

Some bakers had ballooned their cakes to 11 layers. Ledner stuck with a more modest eight. But her stroke of genius was replacing the rich buttercream between the layers with airier custard. Buttercream still made an appearance surrounding the cake, which was then covered in a layer of fondant. 

“She knew no one in New Orleans would take to an Eastern European cake,” her son Albert Ledner told Country Roads magazine. “So she Frenchified the name and called it ‘Doberge.’” With that, the pastry’s fate as a New Orleans classic, alongside King Cake and beignets, was sealed. Her Lowerline Street bakery flooded with customers who called her “the Doberge Queen of New Orleans,” perhaps not realizing that she had invented both the cake and the name. Her business grew into a new spot on South Claiborne Avenue and a new name — the Mrs. Charles Ledner Bakery. The torte options grew, too. Chocolate was the standard flavor, but there were lemon, caramel, and strawberry versions. The half-and-half cake, which allowed customers the option to taste chocolate and lemon in a single go, became the most beloved version.

Despite her success, Ledner sold the business and all its recipes in 1946, blaming health issues and World War II sugar rations. The purchaser, Joe Gambino, adhered strictly to her recipes. He opened his shop, Joe Gambino’s Bakery, in 1949 and has served the cakes to New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, ever since. 

As for Ledner, part of her deal with Gambino included a five-year embargo on opening a new bakery in New Orleans. But she could only sit still for two, and debuted the Beulah Ledner Bakery in nearby Jefferson Parish in 1948. Demand forced her to change locations yet again and she expanded to Metairie, this time with a bakery designed and built by her architect son. Ledner ran that last bakery until 1981, when she retired at the age of 87. She ate a slice of Doberge for her birthday every year, including at her 94th and final celebration.

Unsurprisingly, the Doberge’s sugary tendrils also made their way into nearby Houston. There are six businesses in Space City that sell either Doberge or the more classic Jewish-deli-style Seven-Layer Cake. But how to know which to buy for your next birthday? I sampled all six, as well as the best of New Orleans, to figure out which should be avoided and which are worthy centerpieces for a special occasion. They are listed here from worst to best.

The Disappointment
The Dobasche, Rao’s Bakery

  • Cake: White and double fudge
  • Layers: Menu says six, but I only got four
  • Filling: Vanilla and chocolate pudding, purportedly
  • Exterior: Fudge icing, ganache top, and walnuts on the sides
  • Decorations: Just the walnuts
  • Pickup experience: Quick and easy, even on Easter
  • Flavors: Chocolate or lemon
  • Sizes: 6”, 8”, quarter, half, or full sheets

Johnny Rao opened the original location of his bakery in Beaumont on 1941, almost matching the vintage of Ledner’s cakes. The Champions-area bakery, at the top of North Houston’s internationally varied Veterans Memorial Drive, opened in 2006. Things seemed promising despite the strange spelling, “Dobasche.”

It’s a cheerful place, full of families on a Sunday morning, but the cake didn’t live up to the pleasant experience of the bakery. What made this a Doberge? Nothing, really. The four fat layers of cake alternated between too-light chocolate and white. Though the description on the menu said there were both vanilla and chocolate pudding fillings, I could only find a meager swipe of vanilla buttercream holding the layers together. The exterior fudge icing tasted suspiciously like it had been made by Duncan Hines.

Runners Up
Chocolate Daubache, French Gourmet Bakery

  • Cake: Vanilla
  • Layers: Six — four thin, two thick
  • Filling: Fudge icing
  • Exterior: More of the same fudge icing
  • Decorations: A few swirls on top
  • Pickup experience: Exceptional. The counter staffer even offered to carry the cake to the car.
  • Flavors: Chocolate or strawberry
  • Sizes: 8”

The Ramain family has been running this ladies-who-lunch destination since 1973. Yes, the raison d’être is French-inspired mousse cakes, macarons, and eclairs, but there’s a menu of “American Cakes,” too. The Daubache is served with strawberry filling by default, but is available in a chocolate version as well. 

The six layers here were the most uneven, with two thick ones in the middle resembling buck teeth in a sea of average-sized chompers. There was nothing truly wrong with this cake, but it was really just an acceptable, if slightly oversweet, layer cake with nothing to distinguish it.

Seven-Layer Chocolate Cake, Three Brothers Bakery

Cake: Fluffy, vanilla-scented
Layers: Seven
Filling: Chocolate buttercream
Exterior: Fudge icing
Decorations: Icing swirls and chocolate sprinkles with a cherry on top.
Pick up experience: Placed the order online, and pick-up was friendly and easy.
Flavors: Chocolate or mocha
Sizes: One size, which feeds about 10-12

This is a cake with history. Why not go to a comparably storied bakery? The Three Brothers saga began in 1825 with the opening of Morris Jucker’s bakery in Chrzanow, Poland. The family continued to run the business there until they were rounded up and sent to a concentration camp in 1941. Brothers Sigmund, Sol, and Max Jucker all survived to open their first Houston bakery in 1949.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the brothers adapted to American tastes by raising the amount of sugar in their recipes. The buttercream in their Seven Layer Cake made my teeth hurt. But the fudge icing on the outside was less sweet and deeply chocolaty, enhanced with a layer of chocolate sprinkles. I ended up focusing on the perimeter of the large slice. 

The Classic
Doberge Cake, Gambino’s

  • Cake: Fluffy but sturdy and moist vanilla buttermilk cake
  • Layers: Six
  • Filling: Coffee-infused chocolate custard
  • Exterior: Chocolate buttercream and fondant
  • Decorations: Pretty buttercream flowers
  • Pick up experience: Was able to pick up from case without pre-ordering.
  • Flavors: Chocolate, lemon, caramel, or a mix
  • Sizes: 8”

So this is history. Gambino’s takes great care in crafting every cake, including baking each of its layers separately, rather than cutting one big cake into pieces. Custard is made from scratch for each specimen. And the half-and-half cakes are still one of the Metairie bakery’s best-sellers. I snapped up a chocolate cake straight from the case.

Ledner’s attempt at Americanizing her cake by adding more sugar is clear. The buttercream crunched with crystals of it. Combined with the fondant, it was unpleasantly sweet, though I liked the earthiness of the coffee in the chocolate custard.

The Original
Seven-Layer Dobash Torte, Village Bakery

  • Cake: White
  • Layers: Seven
  • Filling: Chocolate buttercream
  • Exterior: Chocolate buttercream, topped with a layer of lady fingers and caramel
  • Decorations: Nope
  • Pick up experience: Very pleasant.
  • Flavors: Almost endless.
  • Sizes: Up to you. Cakes are entirely custom.

The name Dobash is misleading; this is no New Orleans delicacy. Of all the cakes I tried, this is closest to Dobos’ original, down to the crunchy coating of caramel, now a rarity. The rectangular shape, however, may owe to Jewish owner Richard Jucker. (I also picked up a day-old bag of his varied, not-too-sweet Hamantaschen while I was there.)

Any resemblance to the Three Brothers cake is no coincidence. Jucker’s father was one of the founders of that bakery and the younger baker worked there from 1981 to 1999. But just as he broke away, this cake is very much its own torte. Fluffy, vanilla-scented layers are surrounded by buttercream that verges on too sweet, especially with the addition of the caramel, but never overwhelms as some of the others do. This is a Dobos torte for the traditionalist — and the client interested in enhancing their cake with flavors like pistachio or almond buttercream. 

The Upgrade
Seven-Layer Cake, Kenny & Ziggy’s

  • Cake: Yellow
  • Layers: Seven
  • Filling: Chocolate mousse
  • Exterior: Chocolate ganache
  • Decorations: Toasted almonds on the sides
  • Pick up experience: N/A
  • Flavors: Just chocolate
  • Sizes: Only one, a whopping two feet, eight inches. Catering director Jeanne Magenheim estimates that each one feeds up to 28 people.

It’s hard to believe that Houston is home to one of the world’s best remaining Jewish delis, but thanks to living piece of culinary history Ziggy Gruber — whose family came to the U.S. from Hungary in the early 20th century and opened New York’s famous Rialto Deli — it has been since 1999. The Deli Man himself designed his Seven-Layer cake to be a cut above the classic. 

Instead of buttercream, he ups the ante with intense chocolate mousse. A thick layer of ganache surrounds the outsized square slices of almond-bedecked layer cake. This would be my favorite if not for the too-light cake itself. Just a hint more substance, and this would be close to perfection.

The Specialist
Chocolate Doberge, Debbie Does Doberge

  • Cake: White, sturdy but moist
  • Layers: Seven
  • Filling: Custard
  • Exterior: Poured fondant
  • Decorations: You can request buttercream roses or fleurs de lis.
  • Pick up experience: N/A
  • Flavors: Endless, including pistachio, fig/white chocolate/goat cheese, and rum-spiked Bananas Foster.
  • Sizes: 6” through 16”

A designer friend described the cakes here, crafted by Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV, as having the concise beauty of a sports car. Each slice is simply perfect. The balance of each precisely even layer of cake to complementary custard filling feels like eating cake in Plato’s cave.  The care taken in each detail is evident, down to the soft, uncommonly edible fondant coating on each slice, whether it covers a well-spiced carrot cake or indulgently minty chocolate one. 

Is it the best Doberge being produced in the world today? Almost certainly. But right now, the New Orleans company doesn’t ship. (They hope to start again soon.) When it does, this should be the option (smeared) on everyone’s lips. But until then, I’ll fly to New Orleans just to grab a slice of rainbow-striped cake with almond custard and sigh.

The Standout
New Orleans Daubache, The Acadian Bakers

  • Cake: Fluffy vanilla
  • Layers: Six 
  • Filling: Chocolate custard
  • Exterior: Ganache
  • Decorations: Chocolate swirls and hearts, as well as two chocolate-covered strawberries.
  • Pick up experience: Cake was more than an hour late, with little apology.
  • Flavors: Just chocolate
  • Sizes: 9”

The Acadian Bakers has the best Doberge option for a Houston resident; pastry chef Sandra Bubbert has been turning out craveable cakes for more than 36 years. Luminaries from presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to Reba McIntyre and Arnold Schwarzenegger have tasted her treats, earning her a reputation as “baker to the stars.”

I wasn’t treated like a star with the more than hour-long wait for my cake, despite having set a time for pick-up a week before, but once I tasted it, the frustration fell away. This cake is exactly what a Doberge should be. Sweet, but not overwhelming, decadently chocolaty, and sturdy enough to withstand a hot day on the Gulf Coast. 

by Matt at July 09, 2019 05:15 AM under Personal

July 08, 2019

WPTavern: Anders Norén Release Free Chaplin Theme Designed for Block Editor, Theme Authors Discuss Better Ways to Promote Truly Free Themes

Anders Norén has released Chaplin, his 20th free WordPress theme, designed specifically for use with the block editor. Chaplin could be loosely described as an agency or business stye theme but the capabilities of the block editor enable users to create advanced page layouts that would suit many different types of websites.

The layout for the front page shown in the screenshots can be easily recreated by adding a new page, selecting “Cover Template” for the page template, and adding a featured image. Users can then add columns, images, and paragraph text using the block editor to recreate the structure of the demo. Norén has included detailed instructions in the theme’s readme.txt file for setting it up to look like the demo.

Font and color settings can both be found in the Customizer and these styles will be reflected in the block editor for a more realistic preview of the content. Chaplin comes with infinite scroll built in and additional settings for displaying and hiding specific post meta on archives and single posts. The theme has logo support, widget areas, a social menu with icons, sticky header support, and a search overlay. Check out the live demo to see all the features in action.

Shortly before the release of WordPress 5.0, Norén worked to get all of his themes compatible with the new block editor. Most of his previous themes were created to be niche-specific and easy to have looking just like the demo upon activation. One drawback was that the only way to really customize his themes was to create a child theme and add/or custom CSS, something that is out of reach for most WordPress users.

In a post introducing the theme, Norén described how the new block editor inspired him to start building themes differently than he had in the past.

“For a while, though, I’ve been thinking about how I could build a theme more customizable than the ones I’ve been making so far,” he said. “With the introduction of the Block Editor in WordPress 5.0, any page on a WordPress site can accommodate pretty much any layout, making WordPress itself a lot more flexible than it was just a year ago. If the Block Editor would enable users to create any layout on their site, and the theme would allow them to style the layouts however they want, then that could end up being pretty useful.”

Chaplin is a successful departure from Norén’s previously static themes that gives users more freedom simply by making the block editor the main vehicle for creating and rearranging the home page layout. No two customizations will look exactly alike because users can arrange blocks in any combination.

This theme is a good example of the possibilities that the block editor opens up for users who want more control of their sites’ layouts and content without having to wade through pages of documentation and dozens of panels of Customizer options. In many ways, themes that fully embrace the block editor are beginning to make older themes seem two-dimensional. This shift in focus is an important milestone in the evolution of theme development.

WordPress Theme Authors Discuss Better Ways to Promote Quality Themes on WordPress.org

Based on the community response to Chaplin’s release, it’s clear that there is a real demand for themes made specifically for the block editor. However, WordPress.org is not currently set up to promote themes like this.

If you filter for “block editor styles” and “wide blocks” when searching for themes, WordPress.org search currently returns just 26 themes.

Unless you already know about a specific theme and search for it, the best themes are difficult to find. The Featured and Popular Tabs inside WordPress’ theme browser do little to surface block-ready themes.

In a related discussion that popped up over the weekend, long time Theme Review Team member Justin Tadlock contends that the WordPress.org theme directory is “becoming little more than a crippleware distributor.” He is referring to those themes that do not enable users to further customize them but rather lock away certain features behind upsells.

“Essentially, many themes submitted are a ‘lite’ or ‘free’ version of a commercial theme with extremely reduced functionality,” Tadlock said. “For example, we had a theme author trying to upsell access to post formats (a core feature) the other day.”

Fellow Theme Review Team member Danny Cooper cited Elementor’s Hello Theme as one example of “the new breed of themes that only exist to ‘sell’ something else.”

Participants in the discussion suggested WordPress.org employ stricter enforcement of upsells or implement a more nuanced tag system that would identify themes that have some features locked for users who don’t purchase an upgrade. Others suggested theme authors meet the minimum accessibility requirements as a new threshold for entry into the directory, which would likely slash the number of themes waiting to be reviewed and incentivize companies to invest in accessibility testing to improve that process.

“Honestly, I would prefer all themes with upsell to be filtered out into their own section of the directory, so it’s clear to visitors what themes are free and what themes are ‘free,’ Norén said in response to the discussion. “It would also reduce the incentive for theme shops to flood the directory with crippled themes.”

Norén is one of a handful of theme authors who are submitting high quality themes to the directory that are truly free from upsells. In a time when it’s still not common to find new themes built specifically for the block editor, WordPress.org might benefit from featuring these themes in the same way it does for block-enabled plugins.

by Sarah Gooding at July 08, 2019 10:10 PM under free wordpress themes

July 04, 2019

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 359 – Diversity Speaker Training With Jill Binder

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Jill Binder, Founder, and Chief Consultant and Trainer at Diverse Speakers In Tech. We discussed how and why the Diverse Speaker Training group was created, how the training encourages underrepresented people to speak at WordCamps, and how the recent 50% sponsorship funds from Automattic will be used.

We also learned that local communities that have participated in the training at the meetup level have seen a sharp increase in the number of diverse speaker applications submitted to WordCamps. Binder is hoping to be sponsored 100% so she can work on the project full-time. If you’re interested in sponsoring her work, please visit her contact page and get in touch.

Stories Discussed:

Announcing Pantheon Localdev Early Access

WooCommerce 3.6.5 security release

Jetpack 7.5

Discuss This Tweet by John O’ Nolan


EPISODE 359 Transcript

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, July 10 3:00 P.M. Eastern

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Listen To Episode #359:

by Jeff Chandler at July 04, 2019 01:10 AM under woocommerce

July 03, 2019

WPTavern: Google Launches Effort to Make Robots Exclusion Protocol an Internet Standard, Open Sources Robots.txt Parser

Website owners have been excluding web crawlers using the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) on robots.txt files for 25 years. More than 500 million websites use robots.txt files to talk to bots, according to Google’s data. Up until now, there has never been an official Internet standard, no documented specification for writing the rules correctly according to the protocol. Over the years, developers shared their various interpretations of the protocol, but this created many different ambiguous methods for controlling crawlers.

Google is working together with Martijn Koster, the original author of the protocol, webmasters, and other search engines to create a proposal to submit to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for standardizing the REP:

The proposed REP draft reflects over 20 years of real world experience of relying on robots.txt rules, used both by Googlebot and other major crawlers, as well as about half a billion websites that rely on REP. These fine grained controls give the publisher the power to decide what they’d like to be crawled on their site and potentially shown to interested users. It doesn’t change the rules created in 1994, but rather defines essentially all undefined scenarios for robots.txt parsing and matching, and extends it for the modern web.

The proposed specification includes several major items that webmasters and developers will want to review. It extends the use of robots.txt to any URI-based transfer protocol (FTP, CoAP, et al), instead of limiting it to HTTP. It also implements a new maximum caching time of 24 hours and lets website owners update robots.txt whenever they choose, without having crawlers overload their sites with requests. If a previously accessible robots.txt file becomes inaccessible for whatever reason, crawlers will respect the known disallowed pages that were previously identified for “a reasonably long period of time.”

Google has also open sourced the C++ library it uses for parsing and matching rules in robots.txt files, along with a testing tool for testing the rules. Developers can use this parser to create parsers that use the proposed REP requirements. It has been updated to ensure that Googlebot only crawls what it’s allowed to and is now available on GitHub.

“This library has been around for 20 years and it contains pieces of code that were written in the 90’s,” Google’s Search Open Sourcing team said in the announcement. “Since then, the library evolved; we learned a lot about how webmasters write robots.txt files and corner cases that we had to cover for, and added what we learned over the years also to the internet draft when it made sense.”

Lizzi Harvey, who maintains Google’s Search developer docs, updated the robots.txt spec to match the REP draft. Check out the full list of changes if you want to compare your robots.txt file to the proposed spec. If the proposal for standardizing the REP is successfully adopted by the IETF, the days of googling and wading through undocumented robots.txt rules will soon be over.

by Sarah Gooding at July 03, 2019 07:11 PM under google

WPTavern: Font Awesome is Branching out with Duotone Colors and Icon Smashups

Font Awesome 5.9 was released last month with 421 new and updated icons. The popular icon font library has grown to include more than 5,000 vector icons and is used on 34% of the top million websites. It’s also one of the top open source projects on GitHub and a popular choice for WordPress theme and plugin developers using icons in their work.

Just a month after 5.8 brought in another batch of top requested brand icons, including Airbnb, Salesforce, and Evernote, the latest release adds more Editor icons to help those who are building text and WYSIWYG editor UIs.

Another notable update in 5.9 is the introduction of icon duos, where Font Awesome has taken some icons and put them together with other icons. For example, the update includes combinations like car-bus and burger-soda.

Font Awesome also recently announced that it will soon be introducing duotone colors to the library, which users will be able to customize.

Documentation on the using the duotones is not yet available, but Font Awesome confirmed that users will be able to change the tones of each icon within their own CSS to any combination. The feature will work out-of-the-box by inheriting the current color but users will be able to change the master color or each layer individually. The icons can then be further customized by targeting each layer in CSS. Follow Font Awesome on Twitter for all the latest news on icon updates and the upcoming duotone color feature release.

by Sarah Gooding at July 03, 2019 03:16 PM under icons

HeroPress: I Am Cookie Dough

Pull Quote: I can finally acknowledge that I am worth being a part of a team.

I was always told I had to go to college. I was “gifted” so learning came easy and I enjoyed it.  From ages 6 to 18, I went to competitive accelerated schools designed to churn out college students. It was a narrow path I’d been set on, without encouragement to explore beyond.

Majoring in theater was a no-brainer. It was the only thing I’d done my whole life, so I figured I wouldn’t get bored. My mom was a stage manager so it has always been easy to bring me to rehearsals with her when working a show. I ended up in close to 20 different productions between 5 and 13. Plus, Florida State University had a great theatre program and in-state tuition was cheap. So I went.

But I wasn’t there because I wanted to be. I’d gone simply because I felt I had to go to college, regardless of what I did when I got there. I liked theater a lot, but I didn’t love it the way my classmates did. Self-doubt crept in. Depression overcame me. Anxiety and self-hatred took root. I stopped going to class. I isolated myself from my friends who – going through their own stuff –  were too busy to notice.

At 19, I dropped out.

Straying from the path

With me, I took thousands in debt, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and a bruised ego. I wandered, directionless for the first time in my life.

I felt like a failure. I did not know who or what I was anymore, I had no community and I belonged nowhere. I was crippled by my concurrent depression and lack of a diploma. What was my path now?

My mother spent her whole life working in the arts and that made her happy. I wanted the same thing. But we were always pinching pennies. I didn’t want that for myself, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up with that burden. So I thought to myself, “What can I do that’s creative, won’t be boring, and can earn me an income?”

I don’t remember if there was a lightbulb moment where I realized web design checked all my boxes. But that was there I landed.

I started getting my toes wet with HTML and CSS, but coding didn’t come easily to me. I didn’t have a computer, so I would write out lines of code by hand in order to memorize syntax. It didn’t click and just swam in front of my eyes. It was difficult, so I gave up.

For a year and a half, I lived in a few different cities, from Ft Lauderdale all the way to Los Angeles, working some retail and food service jobs. I learned about customer service, the balance between maintenance and growth, and found myself more than a little bit fascinated by marketing.  I began to learn how to juggle the depression and anxiety that lived in my head.

No matter where I went, web design was sitting in the back of my brain. I was shut down when I tried to suggest changes to the booking system of a salon I worked at. I found myself sketching redesigns of the website of the bar where I picked up shifts. I started learning again after moving back to Florida. This time, I found online resources like Udemy and CodeSchool and it all began to click.

Finding a new path

While I still didn’t love code itself, I loved the idea of building something from nothing. It all hearkened back to theater: rallying the knowledge and experience of multiple people, laying out a plan, inventing some creative solutions along the way, iteration after iteration until it functions and yields a result, then presenting it as a living and breathing product. I had learned about story-telling via script analysis classes in college as well as spacing and color psychology. I had always been academic, so I found ease and comfort in things like databases and content writing. My intellectual and creative side were merging, dancing together in one elegant performance.

In 2015, I applied for a web design internship at a small agency. It was here where WordPress and I first met. I was amazed that I could easily build websites with limited coding knowledge. I attended my first WordCamp in Miami, where I watched people like Morten Hendricksen and Michelle Schlup live what I wished I could be doing.

I was promoted to a full employee in a poisonous environment. I had to work long hours and was accused of not being a team player if I didn’t. I was guilt-tripped with gifts and compliments. I was asked to do tasks I hadn’t been trained in and was berated when I struggled. I left one day after about a year, in tears. The despair, loneliness and frustration were unassailable.  I had failed, yet again, to move forward on the path I felt I belonged on.

Setting my own path

I had no savings and no car, so I was left with a choice: apply to work at the Wendy’s that was walking distance up the street, or find a way to make money out of thin air. Taking inventory of my skills:

  1. I knew WordPress
  2. I knew how not to run a business

So I started building small sites for friends and family. I scrambled to learn how to invoice properly, how to handle contracts, how to get taxes paid. I googled a lot and failed often. But it was rewarding and creative, so I stuck to it.

In 2017, I felt confident enough to apply to speak at WordCamp Miami. It had been 2 years since I had attended the first and I was floored when I was accepted.

In the three years that I ran my business, I worked with clients from all over the world. I used WordPress daily to build and break, support and scale websites for other business owners like me. I wore every hat I could balance: CEO, CFO, designer, developer, marketer, and support staff in one.

While I appeared “successful” (whatever that means) I was paddling like crazy beneath the surface and was constantly stretched to my limit. I achieved decent work-life boundaries and found satisfaction in the work, but being depressed while running a business is easier said than done.

In early 2019, as my bank account began to dry up, I began to seriously consider throwing in the towel.

A fork in the path

I spoke at WordCamp Miami that year. The entire camp buoyed my spirits; this time, there were faces and topics I recognized. I went with my friend, Louise Treadwell, who made the entire experience less frightening.

And the universe was looking out for me. The very first person I met that day was Adam Warner.

He saw my talk and I suppose he saw something in me that he liked. By the end of the conference, my head was swimming with the opportunity he had presented to me: to travel as a GoDaddy Pro Speaker Ambassador.

I felt that electric sensation again of my two halves – academic and creative – merging. It was the first time the community had reached out and taken a firm, confident grasp of my hand. And I was in exactly the right spot to accept it.

The idea of attending more WordCamps was thrilling. I vowed to myself that I would up my Twitter game. After all, all my WordCamp heroes were active on Twitter and I was desperate to be where the action was.

I grabbed as many opportunities as I could to remain visible. I wrote blog posts and made YouTube videos to prove what I knew, to myself as much as others. I wanted to earn my place at the table by giving back into the community that had plucked me out of my despair.

Time to merge

I’d done a podcast episode with Michelle Ames and I noticed she worked for the plugin, GiveWP. Out of curiosity, I wandered over to their careers page and saw an opening for a support tech. I had the job within 3 days.

I’ve done a lot of things out of fear that many people find brave. I was told I was brave for majoring in theater, but I’d done it because I didn’t want to fail at something unfamiliar. I was told I was brave for moving to Los Angeles after I dropped out, but I was afraid to be stagnant. I was told I was brave to start my own business, but I was afraid to work for someone else.

I do feel fear. Fear that I don’t know enough, that I’m too young or inexperienced, that I’ll let down the people who have cheered me on, that I’ll end up vulnerable the way I was in my last job. That I’ll get hurt. That being a black, queer, woman in the tech space will be too challenging.

I’m comforted by the knowledge that most WordPress people don’t care what gender/color/sexuality you are… as long as you keep your plugins updated. Open-source means you’re not here to out-do the next person, but to contribute toward a common goal. I can dive into support at Give with WordPress as my base, my constant. I can finally acknowledge that I am worth being part of a team. It means all the difference in the world.

Who invented this path nonsense anyway?

I don’t have to be on a path anymore. I can let myself remain open to possibilities and say “yes” more. I don’t have to decide what I’m going to be, I can just become it, because I can trust myself and the foundation that WordPress has given me. WordPress, with it’s limitless contributors, versions, and possibilities, reminds us that we should be excited by change, not afraid.

I believe that giving up what I worked for 3 years to build is the bravest thing I’ve done so far. At first, I was furious at myself that I couldn’t make my own business as sustainable as I’d wanted. Moving to Give felt like failing. But Louise called it “failing up” which I think is pretty apt. It was a step forward into something I could grow into and really succeed at, rather than sticking with the familiar like I had always done.

I often remind myself of a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, ironically, I watched for the first time while in some the deepest throes of my depression: I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming who ever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be.” 

The post I Am Cookie Dough appeared first on HeroPress.

by Allie Nimmons at July 03, 2019 12:00 PM

July 02, 2019

WPTavern: Walking 718km to WCEU, an Interview With Marcel Bootsman

I have a hard time walking a mile or two let alone 718km, but that’s what Marcel Bootsman did on his journey to WordCamp EU to generate funds for DonateWC.

In this interview, Bootsman explains how he prepared for the journey, what he experienced during his trip, and why he chose DonateWC as the charity to raise funds for.

One of the things that I was curious about was what Bootsman thought about during those long stretches where he had plenty of time to think to himself.

The thing that I noticed is that my thinking had changed during the month. In the beginning, I was thinking about my work, my company, and my family a lot. After about a week my family met me and it was very emotional.

After that week I found a how do you call it, peace or something like a Zen mode. Nothing was on my mind for large parts of the route. While I was walking, I was just looking around at the scenery and checking out the animals that I saw.

Sometimes I got an idea about my work and what I wanted to do differently. I’d write it down on my phone and the trip was mostly calm and relaxing.

Marcel Bootsman

The interview is 31 minutes long and is available in video and mp3 formats. There’s also a transcript available below. In the end, Bootsman was able to raise €8590 for DonateWC and inspire a lot of people. To learn more about his journey, check out his Walk to WordCamp EU summary.

Watch and Listen:


Interview with Marcel Bootsman


by Jeff Chandler at July 02, 2019 11:57 PM under wceu

WPTavern: msgWP to Launch Plugin Enabling WordPress Microblogging with Telegram

msgWP piqued public interest this week with a demo of its new microblogging product that allows users to publish text messages and photos to WordPress sites using Telegram. Although the plugin hasn’t officially launched yet, a live demo on the website allows people to anonymously publish a post to msgWP’s demo blog from their own Telegram accounts by launching a Telegram bot.

The plugin’s creator, Róbert Mészáros, said he plans to launch it in late summer or early fall, after collecting more feedback from beta testers and polishing the website. Mészáros is a developer who mainly works on a contract or freelance basis. Although msgWP isn’t is first WordPress plugin, it is the first one he has created as a product to promote.

“It’s highly unlikely that I’ll make msgWP available on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, but it’s going to be GPL licensed,” Mészáros said.

“Support, automatic updates, and restricted content will be available only for those who buy a plan. Since I’m using msgWP myself and I plan to donate a part of profit back to the community, to the WordPress Foundation.”

Most of the plugins available that integrate Telegram with WordPress either broadcast to a channel or display the feed of a public channel in a widget. This is the first plugin that sends Telegram user-generated content into WordPress.

I tested the demo last night and successfully posted a text to the demo blog. Images do not yet appear to be working on the demo or may be disabled for now. Mészáros said the demo implementation unhooks some of the checks that are enabled by default on the plugin.

When the msgWP plugin is used on a site, administrators need to allow a Telegram account to create posts explicitly. This setting is available in the admin screen where you can enter the username of a Telegram account. Adding multiple usernames to the whitelist opens up some interesting possibilities for group blogging.

“Since every Telegram message contains information about the Telegram account, we can filter out those who are not whitelisted,” Mészáros said.

“Also, the fact that users are explicitly whitelisted opens up the way to have user level settings. For example, you can set a specific category for a Telegram account or only give them the option to create draft posts.

“If you whitelist yourself you have a microblog; if you whitelist 20 users with various settings, you can cover a live event with Telegram and msgWP.”

The msgWP plugin also checks the IP of the request. If it falls outside a particular IP range, msgWP can recognize that it’s not from Telegram and block it.

Mészáros’ inspiration for the plugin came from his principles regarding centralized social media. While he maintains a private blog where his friends follow him, Mészáros’ doesn’t use platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

“I feel strongly about blogging and microblogging,” he said. “It’s not all rainbows – if you have one, you know that it takes a certain kind of commitment and effort.”

Mészáros said he was also inspired “by an almost forgotten history of WordPress,” wherein many took advantage of its support for XML-RPC to blog from desktop blog editors, like MarsEdit, BlogJet, and BlogDesk, without ever logging into the admin. He contends that third-party tools like this demonstrate that WordPress is more than the editor.

Since msgWP is already integrated into the messaging workflow for Telegram users, it may inspire some to blog more often. Posting is faster than using Twitter, Facebook, or even the WordPress mobile apps, albeit with far fewer features.

“Paradoxically we want to encourage people to use WordPress by not reminding them that they run their sites/microblogs on WordPress,” Mészáros said. “A messaging app has some informality to it, and that will help a lot. All you need is to write and press send. After all, you are sending texts, and not publishing structured articles on your blog after too many glasses of wine. For this reason, we don’t see msgWP with Telegram as a replacement for the WP Mobile Apps.”

Despite the convenience promised through various apps, the concept of microblogging on one’s own website does not seem to have taken off yet. Services like micro.blog, which integrate with existing WordPress blogs, are still used by a fervent few and have not yet gained mainstream adoption. Even the “Press This” feature that was included in WordPress core prior to 2017, was retired in favor of a canonical plugin, with discontinued support for the bookmarklet feature. It hasn’t been updated for two years and is only installed on approximately 10,000 sites.

Postcard, a social sharing and microblogging app that integrated with WordPress, is another tool that was aimed at fundamentally changing how people use social networks. It was discontinued due to the development burden of supporting multiple apps.

There are many different solutions that have popped up over the years for enabling quick posts or microblogging, all with vastly different approaches. msgWP has an advantage in that Mészáros can leverage the power and speed of Telegram, along with all of its mobile and desktop clients, without having to maintain that aspect of the publishing interface. Even if it doesn’t spark a wildfire of microblogging across the web, it may offer users a convenient alternative to posting content inside social media silos, especially for niche use cases like group microblogging for live events.

by Sarah Gooding at July 02, 2019 10:36 PM under telegram

Matt: Just Write with David Perell

I had an interesting conversation with David Perell on his North Star Podcast that I recommend checking out. He’s also leading a really interesting program called Write of Passage which is an online course which helps people grow their career by writing and sharing online, which I think is brilliant and a big source of my career growth over the years. I’ve heard he has another coming soon around information organization. David is someone to watch and follow.

by Matt at July 02, 2019 12:56 PM under Asides

July 01, 2019

WPTavern: CMS Backend Opener: A Firefox Extension to Quickly Locate the Login Page to Popular CMS Backends

If you use Firefox and manage multiple websites that use different Content Management Systems and have a hard time keeping track of the various URLs to their backends, consider using the CMS Backend Opener Firefox extension created by Andy R.

Once installed, you can use either a keyboard shortcut (Alt + Y) or press a button within the browser and it will automatically open the login page for the detected CMS in a new window.

The extension uses the CMS meta-tag: Generator to detect which CMS is being used. The following CMS’ are supported:

  • Typo3
  • Typo3 Neos
  • Joomla
  • WordPress
  • Django
  • Shopware (beta)
  • Magento (beta)
  • Drupal
  • Contao
  • Weblication
  • WebsiteBaker
  • CMSQLite
  • Oxid

Although the extension has not been updated in two years, I tested it on Firefox 67.0.4 on my MacBook Pro and it worked without any issues. I typically use a bookmark to browse to WP-Admin but this is more convenient, especially on WordPress.com.

I’ve also learned that if you have Pretty Permalinks enabled in WordPress, you can type /login or /admin after your domain and it will typically load the login page.

by Jeff Chandler at July 01, 2019 10:53 PM under tips

WPTavern: Lessons from the GraphQL Documentary: Never Underestimate the Power of Open Source Communities

Honeypot, a tech-focused job platform based in Europe, has produced a documentary that offers a fascinating look at the origins of GraphQL. The 28-minute video explores how quickly the project began to have an impact on the wider tech industry after Facebook publicly released it as an open source project.

GraphQL co-founder Nick Schrock, who was interviewed along with fellow co-creators Lee Byron and Dan Schafer, said the documentary “captured both the urgency and joy of the early months of the GraphQL.” It was filmed over two months in San Francisco and Berlin, where Honeypot runs the GraphQL Conf in cooperation with Prisma.

GraphQL began as an internal project at Facebook that was born out of necessity as the tech industry began to shift towards providing better mobile experiences for users. At that time, Facebook’s native apps were just a thin wrapper around the mobile website.

“The inability of a large technology company to adjust to a technology shift as big as the mobile shift is the type of thing that will consign a seemingly unstoppable empire to the grave in a matter of a few years,” Schrock said.

Facebook decided to re-write the Facebook iOS app but the APIs they had at that time were inadequate for creating the Newsfeed. A new Newsfeed API was written simultaneously to be used with the new mobile app. Facebook for iOS 5.0, released in 2012, was a native re-write of the app and also the first time GraphQL was deployed in the wild. Following that release, its use was expanded beyond just the Newsfeed to encompass most of the functionality offered in Facebook’s iOS app.

Facebook shared GraphQL with the world at React Europe 2015 and published the GraphQL spec later in 2015. They explained that their goal was to design what they thought was the ideal API for frontend developers and work backwards with the technology.

GraphQL’s creators were surprised at how fast the uptake was after making the project public. Engineers at Airbnb, Twitter, and Github were early adopters and their experiences are shared in the documentary with interviews from the community. The problems GraphQL’s creators encountered in scaling their mobile experience were not specific to Facebook. Other companies had similar problems and the demand for GraphQL in the industry was already there. Within six months, the team saw implementations of GraphQL in many of the major programming languages. They realized how important the project was to the industry after GitHub announced in 2016 that its public API would be a GraphQL API:

Using GraphQL on the frontend and backend eliminates the gap between what we release and what you can consume. We really look forward to making more of these simultaneous releases. GraphQL represents a massive leap forward for API development. Type safety, introspection, generated documentation, and predictable responses benefit both the maintainers and consumers of our platform.

The documentary tells the story of how GraphQL began the first three years as a solution to internal problems at Facebook but expanded to become a community tool that was initially adopted by hobbyists and then incorporated into the products of large tech companies. GraphQL co-founder Lee Byron predicts that the project is entering the next phase of its life and “heading towards becoming an industry standard and one that’s collaborative.”

There’s no way to measure the number of APIs that are being built around GraphQL, but the query language is now used in both internal and external APIs at major companies like Pinterest, Intuit, Coursera, Walmart, Shopify, PayPal, KLM, NBC News Digital, Credit Karma, Wayfair, and Yelp. Since it can be used in combination with REST APIs, GraphQL’s rapid adoption is not necessarily a good predictor for the end of REST architecture, but it’s a trend that is worth following. This widespread adoption began with just a handful of engineers who saw GraphQL’s promise at React Europe 2015, built tools to optimize development, and advocated for using GraphQL at their companies.

“I totally underestimated the power of these open source communities,” Schrock said. “We had to rely on this community of poeple to form spontaneously and then build implementations of this in different languages and then actually productionize it and build an entire tool ecosystem around it. I didn’t think that was ever going to work, and I was totally wrong. If an idea makes sense to people and it clicks with their mind and they can see the vision, they are actually willing to do a lot of work in order to see it executed and share their work, and it’s a pretty remarkable thing to see.”

The energy in the GraphQL documentary is inspiring and the story shares many parallels with other open source projects that have gained widespread adoption through passionate communities. Check out the full documentary below:

by Sarah Gooding at July 01, 2019 09:02 PM under graphql

Post Status: WCEU 2019 in Review

All the talks and panels at WCEU were planned and executed well, but there were a few standouts we’ll highlight, in case you weren’t able to watch the entire livestream.

Friday Highlights

  • Jenny Beaumont’s “Doing It Wrong” was an encouraging talk that set a good mood for the whole conference. Jenny’s interview with Torque at WCEU is worth a listen too. 🌞
  • John Jacoby’s talk on “Advanced Database Management For Plugins” explored the pain of dealing with databases when you’re writing plugins. He also announced a stand-alone open source library for better WordPress database management that will be released in July.
  • Josepha Haden‘s talk entitled “Change your socks, change your mind: A no-fuss primer on change management” focused on the things group and community leaders should attend to most during periods of significant change. That’s a timely subject, given the events of the past year, and Josepha’s points apply to many parts of the WordPress community. 🧦

Matt’s talk after lunch on Friday was more of an update on Gutenberg. Matt presented some Gutenberg stats and then put the spotlight on some new block editor plugins and experiments. Matt reminded everyone that Gutenberg is in phase two, “where we are working with widgets (old school blocks), customization, and menus.”

Matt’s Session

  • Matt showed off the Grid block plugin from Evolve that generates any layout style with a slick UI. You have to see it in action.
  • Gutenberg is now available for Drupal.
  • There are about 150k posts published each day with Gutenberg. That’s about two every second, and ta rate is increasing.
  • Gutenberg will soon have:
    • A block directory that’s accessible from the “top-level navigation” on the .org site.
    • Footnotes and improved “micro” animations.
    • Special attention placed on the mobile experience. Matt noted that “Gutenberg for mobile is live, and the ability [to use its features] is increased now in the mobile apps.” He also mentioned they “had to write the codebase separately for this experience.”

The initial questions Matt got from the audience were somewhat aggressive and prolonged, so the moderators found it a challenge to keep things moving. At one point, a moderator broke in to say, “This isn’t a question; it’s a blog post.” I’m wondering if in the future at WCEU (or the upcoming WordCamp US) if a different moderation process might be considered.

If I had to choose one question of note, it would be the one asked about Matt’s (and WordPress’s) commitment to accessibility. Matt replied, “Accessibility is hard. We will get there. I believe we can make every release of WordPress better, but it’s challenging with Gutenberg because there might not be previous examples to work from.” He acknowledged the excellent work that WPCampus recently did with its accessibility audit.

Saturday Highlights:

Saturday’s talks, like Friday’s, were well done, although the panel on Gutenberg might have had more diversity in its composition, as a few people noted on Twitter.

Two especially notable talks:

  • Brian Teeman, one of the Joomla co-founders, defined what counts as truly free software. (Slides) If you have begun to wonder how cloud services and Jetpack challenge the concept of “free,” check out Brian’s talk. Brian also has a recent post on his blog with some good advice for conference goers: attend sessions randomly or pick ones with unfamiliar topics if you want to learn the most.
  • Marcel Bootsman gave an inspiring account of his 700km walk to Berlin to attend the conference. It tied in well with Ines Van Essen’s talk later that afternoon about bringing peophttps://2019.europe.wordcamp.org/session/bringing-people-to-wordcamps/le to WordCamps and how much it typically costs for someone to attend.

The conclusion of WCEU came with the usual display of conference statistics:

  • 3,260 tickets were sold. (800 more than last year!) 🎟
  • 2,734 attendees. (610 for contributor day!)
  • 1,722 or 56% were attending WCEU for the first time.
  • 11,700 meals were served. 🍽
  • 60 speakers gave talks.
  • 60 interviews took place.
  • 60 sponsors — and 150 micro-sponsors helped make it all possible.
  • 2k photos / 1m Tweets — YOU ARE WELCOME! 😊
  • 97 countries were represented by attendees. 🌍
  • 166 square meters of printed banners and materials were produced this year, which will be repurposed by being made into bags. ♻

Since I was not physically attending WCEU, I asked people who were there in Berlin what they most appreciated — especially if it wasn’t observable through the livestream.

I got some good answers on Twitter from Topher, JJJ, mor10, Matt Cromwell, Pierre Mobian, and Yvette Sonneveld, among others.

The WP Cafe was a new feature for WCEU that provided “space for our attendees to meet, connect, and chat about a range of topics.” It’s an evolution of the previous year’s “Tribe Meetups.”

After the event, the WordCamp Europe team addressed some issues that came up at the afterparty — around the entertainment that was provided, and in regard to water availability.

WCEU 2020

WordCamp Europe is always held in a different city in Europe every year, and it was announced at the end of the event that the 2020 conference would be held in Porto, Portugal. (There’s a trailer.)

Porto seems to be a popular destination, and WCEU reported that just 24 hours after opening the #WCEU 2020 Call for Organisers, over 30 applications were already received.

Photo credit @WCEurope

by David Bisset at July 01, 2019 08:45 PM under Planet

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress: June 2019

June has certainly been a busy month in the WordPress community — aside from holding the largest WordPress event ever, the project has hit a number of significant milestones and published some big announcements this past month.

A Wrap for WordCamp Europe 2019

WordCamp Europe 2019 took place on June 20-22. It was the largest WordPress event ever, with 3,260 tickets sold and 2,734 attendees. The attendees came from 97 different countries and 1,722 of them had never attended WordCamp Europe before.

The event featured 60 speakers who delivered talks and workshops on a variety of topics over two conference days, most notably Matt Mullenweg’s keynote that included an update on the current status of WordPress Core development, along with a lively Q&A session. The full session from the live stream is available to watch online.

For its eighth year, WordCamp Europe will take place in Porto, Portugal. The 2020 edition of the event will be held on June 4-6. If you would like to get involved with WordCamp Europe next year, fill out the organizer application form

Proposal for XML Sitemaps in WordPress Core

A proposal this month suggested bringing XML sitemap generation into WordPress Core. This is a feature that has traditionally been handled by plugins, which has resulted in many different implementations across different sites. It also means that many sites do not have XML sitemaps, which can be a problem because they are hugely important to having your site correctly indexed by search engines.

The proposal details how core sitemaps would be structured and how the team would build them, as well as what aspects of WordPress would not be considered appropriate information to be included.

Want to get involved in building this feature? Comment on the proposal, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Translation Milestone for the Spanish Community

The WordPress community of Spain has worked hard to make the es_ES locale the first in the world to fully localize all of WordPress Core along with all Meta projects, apps, and the top 200 plugins. This is made possible by having the largest translation team out of any locale, consisting of 2,951 individual contributors.

Want to get involved in translating WordPress into our locale? Find your locale on the translation platform, follow the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress 5.2.2 Maintenance Release

On June 18, v5.2.2 of WordPress was released as a maintenance release, fixing 13 bugs and improving the Site Health feature that was first published in v5.2. If your site has not already been automatically updated to this version, you can download the update or manually check for updates in your WordPress dashboard. Thanks to JB Audras, Justin Ahinon, and Mary Baum for co-leading this release, as well as the 30 other individuals who contributed to it.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Full End to End Tests for WordPress Core

On June 27, e2e (end to end) testing was introduced to WordPress and included in the continuous integration pipeline. E2e testing, which has been successfully used by Gutenberg, is used to simulate real user scenarios and validate process flows. Currently, the setup requires Docker to run, and a number of e2e test utilities are already available in the  @wordpress/e2e-test-utils package, in the Gutenberg repository. 

Want to use this feature? The more tests that are added, the more stable future releases will be! Follow the the Core team blog, and join the #core-js channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Feature Packages from the Theme Review Team

Following a proposal for theme feature repositories, an update to the features package was announced. Two new packages have been created that require code review and testing. The first is an Autoload Package, a foundational package for theme developers who are not currently using Composer (although Composer is recommended instead of this package). The second is a Customizer Section Button Package that allows theme authors to create a link/button to any URL.

There are other proposed ideas for packages that require feedback and additional discussion. Want to add your suggestions and thoughts? Join the conversation on the Theme Review team blog and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

by Hugh Lashbrooke at July 01, 2019 10:07 AM under Month in WordPress

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Last updated:

July 21, 2019 03:30 PM
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