WordPress Planet

July 24, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Releases Galore in WordPress open-source projects, Business Case of Gutenberg and more — Weekend Edition #179

Howdy, friend!

Today’s weekend edition is a double-feature, so to speak. I’ll skip next week because of traveling overseas. First trip in 20 months. I am so excited and also busy to get ready. I will be back into your inbox on August 7th, 2021.

This week was an exciting week for the WordPress open-source project and its many hundreds of contributors. One release after another! Just wow! Let’s dive right in.

Stay well and keep safe!

Yours, 💕

WordPress open-source project Releases in July 2021

WordPress 5.8

Five hundred thirty awesome contributors worked on WordPress 5.8 and the release team let it loose on Tuesday as Tatum, after Art Tatum, a renown American jazz pianist.

Need to catch up on all the features in this new version?

BuddyPress 9.0

In time for the block-based widget editor, the BuddyPress team released their block widgets in their 9.0 version this week. The new BP Widget Blocks are Legacy Widgets, rebuilt as BP Blocks. You can also access them in the Block Editor for use in your posts or pages!

WordPress Pattern Directory

The Meta Team has been collaborating with the Design team and designers in the community on the first version of the WordPress Pattern Directory. They released it officially on Tuesday night. Justin Tadlock has the skinny.

I found a few to add to my favorites. What are your favorite block patterns? These initial 80+ patterns are also a great inspiration for theme builders who look to include themes styled patterns in their themes.

If you are interested in creating block patterns from scratch, browse through this list of resources around block patterns.

Gutenberg Plugin Version 11.1

The Gutenberg Team released another version of the Gutenberg plugin, version 11.1.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I discussed its many of the changes on 48th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog

Justin Tadlock wrote: Gutenberg 11.1 Adds Drag-and-Drop Support for List View and Upgrades Block Borders

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Theme building for Full-Site Editing

Tammie Lister shares here theme design journey on the site Ephemeral Themes. This week, she posted “Tips for creating a theme in the site editor” and explained the importance of testing early and often. Well worth your time!

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Kjell Reigstad has the weekly round-up of issues, updates and discussions around Gutenberg and Themes for you. In this post Reigstad covered the most recent PR on FSE Blocks, General theme building and Global Styles. The list of overview issues is a great start if you need to catch up on the overall concepts and ideas.

Carolina Nymark, team rep on the Theme Review Team, ask for your comments on the newly proposed Theme requirements for inclusion into the Theme directory on WordPress.org. You can also read them in more details on GitHub issue #12 on the Theme Requirements repository of the Theme Review team.

Deadline for the first round of comments is July 26th, 2021.

On July 28th, 2pm CET. The team will conduct a Zoom interview with theme authors about the requirements. Spots are already full. Hopefully, the interviews will be recorded to educate more than a few theme developers about the requirements.

Justin Tadlock provides background and more context as to the initiative via his post Next Phase of the WordPress Theme Review Overhaul.

Rich Tabor published The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Block Templates in Gutenberg and provides a comprehensive tutorial on how block-based theme template fit into WordPress template hierarchy and how they help WordPress users controls their site. Tabor also provided details instructions on how to build block-based templates and leverage them in your theme.

In his post Universal Themes: Customization on ThemeShaper, Ben Dwyer explored about how to make Global Styles and the Customizer work together. Dwyer looks at how to use classic WordPress tools (in this case the Customizer) to customize a block theme, while saving these changes in Global Styles – making a universal theme!

Developing Blocks and Plugins for the block editor

Last month, Dmitry Mayorov, Senior Front-End Engineer at 10up, published a crash-course in WordPress Block Filters. Mayorov shows you how to extend core blocks with filters. He also helps you with the decision between extending a core or build a custom block instead.

Michael LaRoy wrote a tutorial on creating blocks with Advanced Custom Fields. He wrote: “By providing a PHP solution to block creation, a developer already familiar with ACF can efficiently create new custom blocks without writing any JavaScript.”

Bill Erickson has a tutorial on how to use Inner Blocks with ACF Blocks, to expand on the usefulness of the plugin for more complex layouts.

Alex Standiford explained in his post “How Gutenberg Blocks Work the basic concepts of how the block-editor stores content, why HTML comments and how is it rendered.

Business Case for Gutenberg

Artur Grabowski, co-founder of Extendify, a Gutenberg first product start-up, was Joe Howard‘s guest on episode 153 of WPMRR Podcast: Going Big by Solving WordPress’ Biggest Roadblock. Grabowski, like many other business development people in the WordPress space, regards the missing new user onboarding experience as the biggest roadblock for even bigger growth of the WordPress ecosystem. Howard and Grabowski had an honest and nuanced conversation about the business case for Gutenberg First approach to WordPress products.

Grabowski took a historic view to the ongoing debate about Gutenberg being the right path for WordPress. Back in 2016, while working with Adobe and its product Spark, Grabowski became aware of many innovative web building tools. They were all block-based. It is only a fairly new concept for WordPress. “There is a lot less unknown here about the end state than some people realize.” If you are interested in the WordPress product space, I recommend you follow the link and dive into the details of things.

The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

Artur Grabowski

Incidentally, Cory Miller, Post Status partner and Jeff Meziere talked to Chris Lubkert, also co-founder of Extendify, on their Webinar for the Business Value Academy. Webinar: Mergers & Acquisitions with Chris Lubkert

Before co-founding Extendify, Chris Lubkert and Artur Grabowski worked in the Merger & Aquisitions department of Automattic. Tammie Lister also joined Extendify as their head of design. Extendify is the new home for a series of block-editor plugins and tools: Editor Plus, Redux Framework, Editors Kit, Gutenberg Hub, Gutenberg Forms, ACF Blocks, and Block Slider to name a few.

Episode #48 is now available with transcript.
Next recording August 6th, 2021

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at July 24, 2021 06:42 PM under Weekend Edition

WPTavern: Next Phase of the WordPress Theme Review Overhaul: Open Meeting and Call for Feedback

The WordPress.org Themes Team announced an open discussion and date for a Zoom meeting with theme authors. The team is proposing a new set of guidelines that reduces and simplifies what is currently in place. Comments on the proposal are open through July 26, and the meeting is set for July 28, 2 pm CET.

This is the next step in an ongoing plan to revamp the review system and make it easier for the WordPress community to submit themes. It comes after months of waiting to see the results of earlier discussions unfold.

In January, the state of the theme review system seemed to have reached a crossroads. The Themes Team, a group of gatekeepers that oversees submissions to the official WordPress.org theme directory, had been making strides in the previous couple of years. Its members had cleaned up most of the submissions backlog, but they still had a lot of work ahead to smooth out the review process. On the whole, a series of incremental improvements seemed to be working at the time, albeit slowly.

Then, WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg dropped a bombshell via the Post Status Slack:

The .org theme directory is particularly bad when you compare it to any half-decent commercial theme marketing page, or the designs available on other site building services or Themeforest directories. The .org theme directory rules and update mechanism have driven out creative contributions, it’s largely crowded out by upsell motived contributions.

It was an age-old discussion of whether the theme review guidelines were too high of a barrier for entry into the directory.

Were WordPress users missing out on the best themes because the most innovative theme authors were not playing in the .ORG sandbox? If so, were the rules driving them away?

No one can know if a more lenient, free-for-all atmosphere would have unleashed a mountain of creativity paralleling or besting commercial theme producers. But, perhaps if the team opened things up, it would test the theory.

That initial post led to a series of discussions and a decision to overhaul the system. However, the Themes Team would need some help from the Meta Team to implement more automation of its grunt work, such as security and other code checks. Behind the scenes, pieces of that system have been put into place in the months since.

Guidelines Proposal and Questions

Themes Team representative Carolina Nymark listed a set of 13 overarching guidelines, each with sub-guidelines of their own. The proposal significantly simplifies the current rules for submission into the directory.

She asks that theme authors review the proposal and answer the following questions in the comments ahead of the meeting:

  • Will the updated requirements make it easier for you to submit themes?
    – If no, what is making it difficult for you to submit themes?
  • Will the updated requirements make it easier for you to review submitted themes?
    – If no, what is making it difficult for you to review themes?
  • Are there requirements that need to be removed, and why?
  • Is there anything in the list of requirements that is unclear? Describe the issue.
  • Can the formatting of the page be improved to make it easier to read?

The current proposal is more expansive than the shortlist of guardrails WordPress executive director Josepha Haden Chomphosy mentioned in a post that laid out the next steps. Most of these were not meant as blockers for submission.

“Rather we should use the list to flag themes that have/don’t have each thing and show them in results accordingly,” she wrote. “Likely exceptions to this would be proper licensing, adherence to fair use of the trademark, and a ban on child pornography or other images of anyone unable to provide consent.”

The goal was to put more responsibility into the hands of users, granting them privileges to say whether a theme was working or not. This would take a lot of the work off the shoulders of the review team.

Another part of the original proposal was to mark themes with “quality tags” that went above and beyond the baseline for approval. For example, internationalization (i18n) and accessibility (A11Y) are items that do not stop a theme from technically working. Instead of making these requirements, themes would merely be tagged if they met those standards.

Presumably, there would be incentives for taking those extra steps for theme authors, such as higher search rankings, the ability to be featured, and more. It is not that i18n and A11Y standards are unimportant, but they are sometimes hindrances to first-time authors. And, they definitely fall within the range of things that end-users can dock themes for in the ratings.

Many will take a hard stance on i18n and A11Y, but they are merely examples. A less controversial guideline might be the one that proposes that themes can only recommend plugins directly hosted on WordPress.org. Why should that be a blocker for inclusion in the directory? Some will say there is no good reason for it since themes are disallowed from installing plugins anyway. There are no technical issues with allowing such recommendations.

It is these sorts of rules that have plagued the theme review process over the years. Often, it moves discussions into ideological territory that most users do not care about. They just want themes that work.

Under the new proposal, moving to 100% blocks would further reduce requirements for developers. Currently, classic themes have a more extensive list of rules they must adhere to. Many of these are unnecessary for block themes, essentially cutting everything back to including a few required files. Most of this can and should be automated in the long term since they are necessary for a functioning theme.

Right now, the 13 guidelines (and their sub-guidelines) are only a proposal. Theme authors have a voice, but they must use it. As is so often the case, decisions are made by those who show up. Far too often, the team is shouting into the void, awaiting a response that rarely comes.

For theme authors who are invested in the future of the WordPress theme directory, that July 28 meeting is a can’t miss opportunity. Early responses via the comments on that post will also help shape the conversation.

by Justin Tadlock at July 24, 2021 02:20 AM under theme review team

WPTavern: WooCommerce 5.5.2 Fixes Performance Issues Found After Forced Security Update

WooCommerce has shipped version 5.5.2 as a follow-up to the forced security update that patched a SQL Injection vulnerability last week. The vulnerability impacted versions 3.3 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce plugin, as well as versions 2.5 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin. The team created a patch for more than 90 releases, which was sent as a forced security update from WordPress.org, due to the potential severity of impact for millions of WooCommerce installations.

Shortly after the automatic update rolled out, many store owners started reporting serious performance issues on both WordPress.org and GitHub. Some users reported database crashes after receiving the automatic security patch in 5.5.1. One user reported a painfully slow, endless query that was “crippling to our operations,” with similar reports on GitHub of this same query “causing the entire server to go down.”

Those with a large number of products in their databases were impacted more frequently. “We run a fairly big DB – 17k products,” one user said. “This has been a nightmare.”

Store owners affected by this issue had resorted to downgrading to the previous releases at WooCommerce’s recommendation. They shared temporary workarounds to disable the query while WooCommerce investigated the issue. The problem was reported so frequently that it became a high priority for the team to fix.

A week ago, WooCommerce developer Adrian Duffell reported back that they had determined the cause was twofold:

  1. A slow SQL query used to retrieve the products that are low in stock. This SQL has been in WooCommerce for a number of releases.
  2. A REST API request, which executes this SQL query, is called more frequently in WooCommerce 5.5 than in previous versions.

A combination of these factors was causing the degraded server performance when users updated to WooCommerce 5.5. A fix was released in WooCommerce Admin 2.4.4 three days ago, and the fix was also added to core today in 5.5.2. Users who had put workarounds in place are advised to remove them after updating to the latest release.

by Sarah Gooding at July 24, 2021 01:13 AM under woocommerce

July 23, 2021

WPTavern: Revisions Extended Plugin Lets Users Schedule Updates to Published Posts

WordPress has long had the ability to schedule content to be published in the future, but it can only make immediate changes to posts that are already published. If you want to schedule changes to published content, a plugin is necessary. Corey McKrill, a full-time sponsored contributor to the WordPress.org Meta team, has developed a plugin, with the help of contributor Steven Dufresnethat, which is now in use on WordPress.org.

Revisions Extended allows users to schedule revisions, or updates, for posts that have already been published. It extends WordPress’ revision system to include a “future” post status as a revision post type. McKrill recorded a gif to demonstrate the UI:


Although there are existing plugins which already perform this functionality, McKrill said they were either inadequate for WordPress.org’s needs or add extra functionality that they don’t need. Revisions Extended supports the following for any post type that supports revisions:

  • From the block editor, make changes to an already-published post and schedule those changes to go live at a later date.
  • In the block editor UI as well as other admin screens, indicate when a post has a scheduled update.
  • View a list of all scheduled updates
  • Delete a scheduled update or trash/unpublish a post with a scheduled update
  • Edit scheduled updates, including the content and the future publish date.
  • Compare scheduled update content to the current published content.

The ability to schedule updates is especially useful for ensuring that software documentation is updated when a new release is available or when API changes go into effect.

The plugin entered the testing phase in March and is now used on multiple sites across the WordPress.org network. It makes it easier to schedule updates to lesson plans on the Learn WordPress site after a new version of WordPress is released. It also makes updates to HelpHub and DevHub more efficient.

“If you need to schedule updates for published WordPress post/page/CPT without changing what’s already published (nor switching to draft), this is something we recently started using at the WordPress Docs Team and it’s a game changer,” contributor Milana Cap said.

Revisions Extended is currently being developed on GitHub. McKrill said it may be be submitted to the official plugin directory someday when it is more ready for that level of exposure.

“It’s a possibility,” McKrill said. “There’s a bit more functionality I think should be added first, namely the ability to create updates in a ‘draft or ‘pending’ status to go alongside the current ‘future’ status. Adding it to the plugin directory would allow a lot more people to try it out and give feedback, but it might also greatly increase the support and maintenance burden. So that has to be part of the calculation when deciding if/when to add it.”

McKrill believes Revisions Extended could be a useful addition to core but there is not currently an active plan to bring it into WordPress.

“Something like this might get traction during Gutenberg Phase 3, which will focus on collaboration tools,” McKrill said.

For now, those who are interested to use Revisions Extended can download it and/or contribute to its development on GitHub.

by Sarah Gooding at July 23, 2021 03:02 AM under revisions

WPTavern: Gutenberg 11.1 Adds Drag-and-Drop Support for List View and Upgrades Block Borders

The Gutenberg plugin continues to march forward. Yesterday’s release, coming merely a day after the launch of WordPress 5.8, brings several new features and nearly three dozen bug fixes. The big-ticket items are drag-and-drop blocks in the list view and a much-needed upgrade for border support.

Theme authors should enjoy the ability to control the Columns block’s stacking on mobile and some updated design controls for nav menus. While labeled an “enhancement,” themers should also check their designs against a breaking change to the RSS block’s updated styles.

Drag and Drop Blocks in List View

Dragging a block around in list view.

Drumroll, please. The moment we — or at least many of us — have been waiting for has finally arrived. The editor’s list view has become a powerhouse for managing long documents with many blocks. Over the past dozen or so releases, the development team has continued to tack on necessary feature after necessary feature.

In version 11.1, users can drag and drop blocks from within the list view to order and organize content. However, users are not merely limited to moving things around within the list view itself. They can drag blocks from the list over into the content canvas and vice versa.

I do not often use emoji, but sometimes I like to dole out a slow clap for a job well done. 👏 👏

Border Support

Adding a dashed border to a Group block.

I have already been having a bit of fun with the new border options. Lately, I have been in the holiday spirit because I was getting ahead and buying my Christmas tree in July (when you find the good deals). This inspired me to create a coupon code block pattern, and the Group block’s border support was perfect for this.

Gutenberg 11.1 refines the user experience for border options. The development team tightened the UI and placed the settings into logical groupings.

Only the following core blocks have partial or complete border support:

  • Button
  • Group
  • Image
  • Search
  • Table

Users can also define individual corners with the border-radius option in this update. I would love to see the same treatment for the top, right, bottom, and left borders in the future. I also would not mind seeing a double-border style.

Columns Block: Stack on Mobile

Adding post metadata to an unstacked set of columns.

By default, individual Column blocks will stack on top of each other in mobile views. However, users can now disable this via the parent Columns block on a case-by-case basis. This has also been one of the missing pieces for more layout control in block themes.

One of the primary use cases for a Columns block that does not break on mobile devices is post metadata sections that should be inline. For example, theme authors often want to align the post author, date, and comments link in a single row below the post title.

This toggle switch sort of moves us in that direction. However, it is a stopgap solution that does not afford theme designers the flexibility they are accustomed to with CSS (this is not generally a complicated affair).

Before block themes and the site editor are rolled into core WordPress, theme developers will need fine-tuned responsive control over the Columns block and, perhaps, some type of row/inline/flex block to go along with it.

Theme authors who need to target the Columns block based on whether mobile stacking is disabled can use the .is-not-stacked-on-mobile class.

Post Terms and Tag Clouds

Controlling the number of tags output.

The development team has crossed one of my months-long pet peeves off the list. In past releases of the plugin, the Post Terms block (variations of Post Tags and Post Categories) has displayed a pipe (|) separator between individual items by default. It now shows a comma, followed by a space.

Theme authors can change this in their block templates, and users can customize it from the editor. The setting is located under the “Advanced” tab in the block options sidebar.

The Tag Cloud block got a small but much-needed upgrade. Users can now set a limit on the number of tags to display. By default, it is set to show 45 tags.

Navigation Submenu Colors

The Gutenberg development team added two new color options for the Navigation block. Aside from its existing text and background colors, users can now change the text and background colors for submenu items.

The Navigation block, while improved, still seems to be one of the trickiest pieces of the site-editing puzzle. It is trying to be the Jack of all trades, mastering few — if any — solutions. And, there is already a ticket gaining traction that would allow users to stuff a wider range of inner blocks into it.

But, we have submenu text and background colors, which is a win. Only, they are named “Overlay Text” and “Overlay Background.” I am unsure whether it works as part of the mobile responsive menu. Gutenberg seems to have once again failed to bundle its front-end navigation JavaScript.

by Justin Tadlock at July 23, 2021 02:03 AM under gutenberg

July 22, 2021

WPTavern: Stockfish Contributors Sue ChessBase for GPL Violations

image credit: Sebastian Voortman

A legal reckoning is brewing in the world of open source chess engines. Stockfish, a GPL-licensed chess engine widely recognized as one of the strongest in the world, has filed a lawsuit against ChessBase. The German-based company makes and sells chess software that relies heavily on the Stockfish engine, maintains a prominent chess news site, and runs a chess server for online games.

Stockfish’s announcement, published this week on International Chess Day, claims that ChessBase has violated the GPL by not releasing the corresponding modifications of its products that are derivative works:

We have come to realize that ChessBase concealed from their customers Stockfish as the true origin of key parts of their products. Indeed, few customers know they obtained a modified version of Stockfish when they paid for Fat Fritz 2 or Houdini 6 – both Stockfish derivatives – and they thus have good reason to be upset. ChessBase repeatedly violated central obligations of the GPL, which ensures that the user of the software is informed of their rights. These rights are explicit in the license and include access to the corresponding sources, and the right to reproduce, modify, and distribute GPLed programs royalty-free.

In 2020, Stockfish added support for NNUE (Efficiently Updatable Neural Networks). ChessBase’s Fat Fritz 2 product includes a neural network that the company has not released. Stockfish’s previous statement on Fat Fritz 2 identifies these net weights as a derivative:

“This chess engine is a Stockfish derivative, with a few lines of code modification (engine name, authors list and a few parameters), and a new set of NNUE net weights considered proprietary,” current Stockfish maintainer Joost VandeVondele said. “ChessBase’s communication on Fat Fritz 2, claiming originality where there is none, has shocked our community. Furthermore, the engine Fat Fritz 2 fails to convince on independent rating lists, casting doubt on the usefulness of those modifications. Indeed, we feel that customers buying Fat Fritz 2 get very little added value for money. Claims to the contrary appear misleading.”

The GPLv3 permits ChessBase to sell its chess engine but requires the company to make its modifications available, along with all information needed to build the program. Stockfish informed Albert Silver, author of the neural net in Fat Fritz 2, of the license violation, resulting in ChessBase releasing its C++ sources but not the net weights. “Obviously, we condemn the approach taken,” VandeVondele said.

Stockfish contributors have been working with a certified copyright and media law attorney in Germany to enforce their license and were able to force a recall of the Fat Fritz 2 DVD and the termination of the sales of Houdini 6. They are now pursuing the Termination clause of the GPL that would shut down ChessBase’s ability to distribute Stockfish in its products.

“Due to Chessbase’s repeated license violations, leading developers of Stockfish have terminated their GPL license with ChessBase permanently,” the Stockfish team said in the most recent statement. “However, ChessBase is ignoring the fact that they no longer have the right to distribute Stockfish, modified or unmodified, as part of their products.”

In a post titled, “Fat Fritz 2 is a rip-off,” published earlier this year, the Stockfish, Leela Chess Zero, and Lichess teams called out the product as a Stockfish clone, repackaged with a different neural network and “minimal changes that are neither innovative nor appear to make the engine stronger.”

“It is sad to see claims of innovation where there has been none, and claims of improvement in an engine that is weaker than its open-source origins,” the teams wrote. “It is also sad to see people appropriating the open-source work and effort of others and claiming it as their own.” 

Lichess, a free and open-source Internet chess server run by a non-profit organization that also uses Stockfish as a critical part of its infrastructure, has published multiple posts in support of Stockfish revoking ChessBase’s license to sell derivatives of the popular engine. Lichess also publishes the source code of everything they create using Stockfish so its users can see, modify, and redistribute it.

Even if you’re not a connoisseur of chess drama, Lichess’ most recent statement of support for Stockfish identifies why this case is important to the greater open source community:

Free open-source software offers essential freedoms that benefit developers and users alike, and those freedoms should have been extended to users of Fat Fritz 1, 2, and Houdini. Failing that, free-software licenses are only meaningful if they are enforced, making this an important case not only for Stockfish, but also for the open source community as a whole. We are happy that the Stockfish developers have the will and means to take action.

Stockfish’s lawsuit may become an important landmark case for proving that the GPL can be enforced. It will also be interesting to see whether the courts regard the neural network weights that ChessBase trained as a derivative work that must be released as source code in order to be in compliance with the GPL.

Stockfish has gained broad support from the project’s maintainers and developers who have stated they “have the evidence, the financial means, and the determination to bring this lawsuit to a successful end.” The team has promised to update their statement once the case makes progress.

by Sarah Gooding at July 22, 2021 04:30 AM under gpl

July 21, 2021

WPTavern: The WordPress.org Block Pattern Directory Is Now Live

Yesterday, the WordPress pattern directory went live to the world as the development team behind it put the finishing touches on the project. It will work similarly to the theme and plugin directories in time. Along with WordPress 5.8, users can browse and use block patterns directly from the post editor.

Officially, the pattern directory shipped as part of the WordPress 5.8 release. The Tavern did not include this in its coverage yesterday because it was still listed as an “in-progress” project until several hours later. The team was still wrapping up several issues yesterday for the initial launch.

Pattern directory homepage.

The current patterns in the directory are a curated list of designs from over 20 volunteers. The team called upon the community in early June, and it answered. To date, there are over 70 patterns across six categories to choose from:

  • Buttons
  • Columns
  • Gallery
  • Header
  • Images
  • Text

Thus far, translations are complete for 12 languages. Others are at varying completion percentages, but there are dozens more that are incomplete. This would be an easy entry point for anyone who wants to give something back to the WordPress project.

I had a hand in building the About Me Cards and Team Social Cards patterns, but I cannot take all the credit. Kjell Reigstad and Mel Choyce-Dwan took my initial ideas and ran with them. It was a rewarding experience just peaking a bit into how other designers work. I only wish I could have put in more time during the initial submission window.

About Me Columns (left) and Team Social Cards (right) patterns

I look forward to submitting more patterns when submissions are open to everyone, the project’s next phase.

“Work is now beginning on the next milestone, which will enable patterns to be submitted by anyone, similar to the Theme and Plugin Directories,” wrote Kelly Choyce-Dwan in the announcement.

I am excited to see where the overall community can take the directory. Submissions have been limited and held to a specific aesthetic that will not be universally appealing. It may be hard for some users to look beyond centuries-old artwork, flowers, and the current fling with offset columns to see how a specific layout would work for their site. For others, it is perfect.

Even I struggle with this. I can see the structure beneath the default images and text, but I am not inspired to use most of the patterns because they simply do not fit my personal style. When selecting one, I want to feel like the designer was building something just for me. I suspect that will play a part in winning over more users and bringing some holdouts over to the block system.

Gallery-categorized patterns.

One limitation of the pattern directory is the imagery. Now that services like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay have put limitations on their licensing, it can be tough to find photos and artwork that meet the guidelines for submissions to WordPress.org. However, that could open up a bit with the potential integration of Openverse, formerly the Creative Commons search engine. Making it easier for pattern designers to find the perfect images to build out their visions would improve the overall quality.

What will eventually make the pattern directory a worthwhile venture is when the best designers from the WordPress ecosystem step up and begin competing. I eagerly await a breadth of authors putting their own stylistic spin on submissions.

by Justin Tadlock at July 21, 2021 10:37 PM under block patterns

HeroPress: More Than Just Joost’s Wife

Pull Quote: WordPress is the most inviting, equal community I know.

Dit essay is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands.

My WordPress story is closely entangled with my Love story. Joost de Valk – my husband- led me to WordPress and the WordPress Community. And, while I love being Joost’s wife, I am much more than just Joost’s wife. My story on how I found my way in WordPress is also a story on how I stepped out of the shadows of Joost, without stepping away from (or on top of the toes of) my husband. It’s a story about my journey and my struggles in growing towards a leadership role. And, it’s a story about the wonderful inviting and inclusive world that WordPress is. But, there’s always room for some improvement!

The early days – Marieke before Yoast

I am extremely competitive and ambitious. Always have been. I was a highly competitive teenager, wanting to be the best at everything. I was president of the student council, editor of the school newspaper, and participated in debate clubs (that’s where I met Joost). After graduating high school (cum laude), I began studying Sociology and Communication Science. I obtained two bachelors and did a Masters in Sociology (all of it cum laude). And then, I decided to do my PhD in Criminology. I wrote my own research proposal and got funding to do my PhD. I was pretty keen on a scientific career. One year after I started my PhD I got pregnant…

Joost and I were shocked by my pregnancy, but almost immediately decided that we wanted to have this baby. Joost quit his job and found a job closer to our home. This was his first job as an SEO consultant, a rather significant career move :-). He was working 4 days a week, as was I, which allowed us both to spend time and take care of our son Tycho. Joost and I got married.

The pregnancy changed me. And it changed how people looked at me.

All of a sudden, I wasn’t the high potential anymore. I was the girl that got pregnant during her PhD. I tried my best to prove that I could still do the same amount of work. But with a baby that was hardly sleeping and work piling up, I collapsed. I was diagnosed with burnout and depression. But I got better. I finished my PhD at a slightly slower pace. We decided that I wanted another baby and gave birth to our daughter Wende. I started to work as a teacher and a researcher. We had another son, Ravi. Yes, we really like children ;-). And Joost started his own business- Yoast.

Joost was heavily involved in WordPress. His plugins had over one million users. He was speaking at all these conferences in the WordPress world and the SEO world. He was also doing consultancy. I helped him with his planning. I brainstormed with him about new business ideas. As of 2012, Joost started hiring people to work for him. He started working from an office. I helped with hiring. I did some research at Yoast. I liked being at the office. Thinking of ways to get a fun company culture.

Finding my place at Yoast

In 2013, I decided to join Yoast. I was having more fun at the Yoast offices than in my job as a teacher. It was a good decision, although it meant leaving my scientific career behind. That was hard. I started writing at Yoast. Writing about writing, about content SEO. I wrote an eBook, I launched Yoast Academy and I came up with the idea for a readability analysis within Yoast SEO. We had our fourth child, another son -Borre-, in 2015. At the same time I was doing a lot of work in setting up an inclusive and fun company culture for Yoast, inspired heavily by the WordPress community.

At Yoast, I really was Joost’s wife for the first time. I felt that not everyone would take me seriously. People outside of Yoast often assumed that I was Joost’s assistant or his secretary. That never happened to me before. I struggled with those prejudices. My resume clearly showed that I had some brains, but some people did not seem to look beyond my marital status. People working within Yoast sometimes questioned my expertise too. Within Yoast, over time, that really changed. As I worked at Yoast for a longer period of time, people started to judge me on my track record within the company.

Taking a leadership role

In 2015, I started talking at conferences. At Yoast, I got my own team. I became a manager. A leader. That was new for me, uncomfortable even. Giving feedback, explaining to people what needed improvement or what I wanted different, that is challenging for me. Even today. I have a strong desire for people to like me. And, I was really insecure about my own skills. Who was I to tell people how to do their work? In my first years as a manager, I was super nervous whenever I needed to correct people. And, I often did not do that well. I was afraid of the confrontation, would postpone it and eventually addressed the issue when it had become this whole big thing. For everyone who worked with me and recognizes this: I am so sorry.

Over time, I got more comfortable and less insecure. I was more confident that I knew what I was doing.

Working hard and studying a lot pays off. I became an SEO expert. I felt comfortable talking about it on stage. As I became an expert in SEO and in marketing, it became more natural to give feedback or to ask coworkers to do something for me.

I did a lot of the architecture of our company culture, our benefits and our HR plans.The WordPress community is well known for its diversity, for the openness and the acceptance. These are things that are really important within Yoast as well. Yoast breathes WordPress. Our core values are inspired by the WordPress community.

Becoming CEO in a big WordPress organisation

Marieke bhind a podium at WCEUIn 2019, I became CEO of Yoast. Once again, I was faced with the prejudice of only getting the job because I am Joost’s wife. That threw me off my game a little bit. I felt like I had proved myself having enough capabilities to fill the role of CEO. I had founded Yoast Academy, written so many blog posts, talked at so many big conferences. I had designed the entire company culture and came up with a few really important product ideas. I didn’t feel like an imposter myself. I was shocked to find out that other people did see me as a puppet on a string.

When I began as CEO, I was the only woman in our board and in our management team. I wanted to change that. I promised myself that I would change that. I began an inhouse coaching program for women that wanted to grow. And, we did our best to recruit more senior women. I succeeded.

Nowadays, half of our management team consists of women. The board of directors (5 people) now consists of 3 men and 2 women. We are getting there.

Also, we were trying our best to hire more people from traditionally underrepresented groups. We have a lot to learn and improve there. We launched a diversity fund to sponsor diversity at WordCamps.

For me, having half of our management-team consisting of women seemed like something all companies are heading towards. However, being a CEO of a rather large WordPress company taught me otherwise. The number of women I encounter on my many partnership calls is really, really low. It often makes me uncomfortable being the only woman on a call yet again.

WordPress is the most inviting, equal community I know. It’s the best! I know a lot of companies care about diversity. But that level of diversity is not yet reached at the level of management teams in WordPress companies. And that matters! Female leadership within WordPress means more than having women talk at WordCamps. We need to have more female leaders in WordPress companies as well. So, that’s my new mission ;-)!

What a place to work!

I love working in the WordPress world. I love working at Yoast. Most of the time, I enjoy being a leader, although I also struggle with the role. There’s a lot to gain in terms of diversity (and that’s more than gender of course) in the boardrooms of WordPress companies. And, although I struggle with being judged by my marital status, I wouldn’t dream of ever changing that. Joost has been a terrific ally in helping me with my struggles. We run Yoast together and we run our family together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Meer dan de vrouw van Joost.

Mijn WordPress verhaal en mijn liefdesleven lopen flink in elkaar over. Joost de Valk- mijn man- is degene die mij kennis heeft laten maken met WordPress en de WordPress community. Ik hou ontzettend veel van mijn man en ik vind het fantastisch om met hem getrouwd te zijn. Tegelijkertijd ben ik meer dan alleen maar de vrouw van Joost. Mijn WordPress verhaal is een verhaal van hoe ik uit de schaduw van Joost ben gestapt, zonder op zijn tenen te gaan staan of hem te moeten verlaten. Het is ook een verhaal over de moeite die het me heeft gekost om een leiderschapsrol te pakken. En het is een verhaal over hoe mooi open en inclusief de WordPress community is. Maar dat er tegelijkertijd nog werk aan de winkel is.

Het begin: Marieke voor Yoast

Ik wil altijd de beste zijn. Ik ben super ambitieus. Dat is altijd al zo geweest. Als middelbare scholier was ik voorzitter van de leerlingenraad, eindredacteur van de schoolkrant en deed ik mee aan het Europees Jongeren Parlement (daar heb ik Joost ook ontmoet). Na het behalen van mijn VWO diploma (cum laude) heb ik Sociologie en Communicatiewetenschappen gestudeerd. Ik heb beide bachelors gedaan en de master in Sociologie (alles cum laude). Daarna wilde ik gaan promoveren in de Criminologie. Mijn onderzoeksvoorstel kreeg NWO-subsidie, mijn wetenschappelijke carrière stond in de startblokken. En toen raakte ik zwanger…

Dat was flink schrikken voor Joost en voor mij. Toch besloten we eigenlijk direct dat we heel graag een kindje wilden. Joost zocht een nieuwe baan dichterbij huis. Een baan als SEO consultant, wat achteraf een belangrijke carrière-switch is gebleken. Joost en ik gingen beiden 4 dagen in de week werken en zorgden gezamenlijk voor onze zoon Tycho. Een paar jaar later trouwden we.

De zwangerschap en het moederschap was heftig voor mij. Ik veranderde erdoor.

Maar het veranderde ook heel erg hoe andere mensen mij zagen, hoe andere mensen mij benaderden. Ik was ineens dat meisje dat ongepland zwanger was geworden. Ik was niet meer dat meisje met die hoge cijfers die altijd alles ‘volgens het boekje’ deed. Ik werkte keihard om niet onder te doen voor mijn collega’s en probeerde hetzelfde werktempo aan te houden als voordat ik moeder werd. Dat lukte niet. Tycho sliep heel slecht en alle veranderingen braken me op. Ik kreeg een depressie en een flinke burnout. Maar ik herstelde daarvan. Ik besloot het wat rustiger aan te doen. Maar ik maakte mijn proefschrift wel af en Joost en ik kregen nog een kindje, een dochter, Wende. Ik ben op het HBO gaan werken als onderzoeker en docent. Daarna kregen we nog een kindje, onze zoon Ravi (ja, wij houden dus erg van kinderen). Joost begon voor zichzelf en startte Yoast.

Joost was enorm betrokken bij WordPress. Al vanaf 2006. Zijn plugins hadden ondertussen miljoenen gebruikers. Hij sprak op allerlei conferenties, zowel in de WordPress wereld, maar ook in de SEO wereld, waar hij inmiddels een grote naam was geworden. Hij deed een heleboel consultancy werk. Ik hielp hem. Ik hielp hem met zijn planning, ik brainstormde met hem over nieuwe business ideeën. Vanaf 2012 begon Joost ook mensen aan te nemen en vanuit een kantoor te werken. Ik hielp met de sollicitaties, ik deed ook wat onderzoek bij Yoast en schreef wat posts. Ik vond het heel erg leuk om op kantoor te zijn en om de bedrijfscultuur vorm te geven.

Mijn plek bij Yoast vinden

Het werken bij Yoast was eigenlijk leuker dan mijn werk op het HBO. In 2013 besloot ik om echt fulltime bij Yoast te gaan werken. Dat betekende dus dat ik mijn wetenschappelijke carrière afbrak. Dat was best heftig. Maar bij Yoast ging ik iets doen wat ik altijd heel erg leuk heb gevonden. Ik begon met schrijven. Ik ging schrijven over ‘hoe moet je nou eigenlijk schrijven’ en deed veel onderzoek naar content SEO. Ik schreef een eBook, ik lanceerde Yoast Academy en ik bedacht de readability analyse voor Yoast SEO. Joost en ik kregen nog een zoon, Borre, in 2015. Bij Yoast was ik ook druk met het opzetten van een leuke en inclusieve bedrijfscultuur. Daarvoor is de WordPress community een enorme inspiratiebron geweest.

Toen ik bij Yoast kwam werken, werd ik voor het eerst ook echt ‘Joost zijn vrouw’. Voor mijn gevoel werd ik niet door iedereen serieus genomen. Mensen buiten Yoast gingen er ontzettend vaak vanuit dat ik Joost zijn assistent was, of zijn secretaresse. Dat was me nooit eerder overkomen. Ik vond dat mega ingewikkeld. Uit mijn CV blijkt toch dat ik capaciteiten heb? Sommige mensen lijken niet verder te kijken dan mijn burgerlijke staat. Ook binnen Yoast overkwam het me dat mensen twijfelden aan mijn expertise. Dat is echt wel veranderd in de afgelopen tijd. Nu ik langer bij Yoast werk, beoordelen mensen me gewoon op het werk dat ik bij Yoast heb gedaan.

Een leiderschapsrol

Gaandeweg kreeg ik een grotere rol. Ik ging spreken op conferenties en ik werd manager van een eigen marketing team. Ik werd een leider. Dat vond ik spannend. Feedback geven of vertellen tegen mensen wat anders moet is iets wat ik ingewikkeld vind. Nog steeds. Ik wil gewoon graag dat mensen me aardig vinden. En, ik was lange tijd heel erg onzeker over mijn eigen capaciteiten. Wie was ik om mensen te vertellen hoe ze hun werk moesten doen? In die eerste jaren als een manager was ik echt heel onzeker als ik mensen feedback moet geven. Ik vond confrontaties vaak te moeilijk en ging die dan uit de weg. Dan liet ik dingen uit de hand lopen en was het heel groot geworden voordat ik de feedback besprak. Voor iedereen die met me heeft gewerkt en zich daarin herkent: super sorry!

Ik wende aan mijn leiderschapsrol en werd gaandeweg veel minder onzeker. Ik kreeg vertrouwen in mezelf, in mijn eigen capaciteiten.

Door mijn deep dive in content SEO ben ik ook echt een SEO expert geworden. Ik werd gevraagd voor allerlei talks. Daarmee werd het ook veel natuurlijker voor mij om feedback aan collega’s te geven.

Een groot deel van de bedrijfscultuur, onze arbeidsvoorwaarden en onze HR plannen komen uit mijn koker. De dingen die belangrijk zijn voor WordPress: diversiteit, openheid en inclusiviteit zijn ook de dingen die belangrijk zijn voor ons bedrijf. Yoast ademt WordPress. Onze core values zijn heel erg geinspireerd op de waarden in de WordPress community.

CEO worden in een groot WordPress bedrijf

En toen in 2019 werd ik CEO van Yoast. Wederom waren er mensen die zich afvroegen of ik die baan alleen had gekregen omdat ik Joost zijn vrouw ben. Dat kwetste me destijds. Ik had het idee dat ik me nu echt wel bewezen had. Ik had Yoast Academy gelanceerd, zoveel blog posts geschreven en op ontelbare conferenties gesproken. Ik ben verantwoordelijk voor de gehele bedrijfscultuur en ik heb ook een heel aantal belangrijke productideeën geïnitieerd. Ik had zelf geeneens meer last van een imposter syndroom en toch hadden mensen het idee dat ik een soort marionet van Joost zou zijn. Dat was even een tegenvaller.

Maargoed, ik begon aan de taak als CEO en had al snel een extra missie te pakken. Toen ik CEO werd in 2019 was ik de enige vrouw in de directie van Yoast en ook de enige vrouw is ons MT. Ik wilde dat veranderen. Ik begon een inhouse coachingsprogramma voor vrouwen bij Yoast – het empowerwoment-project. Maar we gingen ook beter ons best doen in ons sollicitatieproces. En dat heeft echt gewerkt! We hebben nu 2 vrouwen in onze directie en de helft van ons MT bestaat uit vrouwen. Er is meer werk aan de winkel wat betreft het aannemen van mensen uit traditioneel onder gepresenteerde groepen. Daar moeten we bij Yoast nog meer mee aan de slag! In de WordPress wereld hebben we het diversity fund geïnitieerd wat voor nog meer diversiteit op WordCamps en in de WordPress community moet zorgen.

Ik was altijd onder de indruk dat het belang dat wij bij Yoast aan diversiteit hangen iets is dat alle WordPress bedrijven onderschrijven. En misschien is dat wel zo, maar dat zie ik niet terug in de meeste boardrooms. Nu ik CEO van een groot WordPress bedrijf ben, merk ik dat ik heel vaak de enige vrouw in de vergadering ben. Dat vind ik nog steeds lastig. Ik voel me erg ‘anders’.

WordPress is zo’n ontzettende open, uitnodigende cultuur om in te werken voor vrouwen. En ik weet dat heel veel bedrijven het belang van diversiteit zien en belangrijk vinden. Leiderschap door vrouwen betekent echter wel meer dan alleen veel vrouwelijke sprekers op WordCamps. We hebben die directeuren ook nodig! Dus dat wordt nu mijn nieuwe missie :-).

Zo’n gave plek om te werken!

Het is zo gaaf om met WordPress te werken! Het is geweldig om met de WordPress mensen te werken! En het is echt fantastisch om bij Yoast te werken! En ik vind het meestal ook heel leuk om een leider in de WordPress wereld te zijn, hoewel ik het ook vaak moeilijk vindt. Er is nog veel te verbeteren in die boardrooms van al die grote WordPress bedrijven en daar wordt ik enthousiast van!

En, hoewel het getrouwd zijn met Joost soms iets is waar ik soms wat mee worstel, zou ik het echt niet anders willen. Joost is mijn bondgenoot en heeft mij zo geholpen met alle stappen in mijn carrière. Samen met hem run ik Yoast, samen met hem run ik ons fantastische gezin. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

The post More Than Just Joost’s Wife appeared first on HeroPress.

by Marieke van de Rakt at July 21, 2021 06:00 AM

WPTavern: BuddyPress 9.0.0 Transforms Legacy Widgets Into Blocks

BuddyPress 9.0 was released one day before WordPress 5.8. As all major BuddyPress releases are named for pizza joints, this one has been dubbed “Mico” in honor of Pizzéria Chez Mico, a small restaurant on the French riviera, where you just may find capers and anchovies on your pie.

This short release cycle was laser focused on getting all of the BP component widgets ready to be used as blocks to ensure that they work with WordPress 5.8’s new block widgets experience. BuddyPress 9.0 introduces 10 new BuddyPress blocks to be used in place of the legacy widgets.

New BuddyPress Blocks in 9.0.0

This release also enables users to transform legacy widgets into a block with two clicks, while preserving all of their settings and automatically importing them. The availability of these new blocks is an important milestone that BP contributing developer David Cavins said is “the first step toward the progressive retirement” of BuddyPress widgets.

All this functionality that used to only be available in widgetized areas can now easily be used as blocks inside content areas. The blocks vastly expand BuddyPress’ flexibility, enabling site owners to do many things that used to require custom development. Designing unique landing pages for communities is now easier than it has ever been.

“My coworkers are pretty excited to have these new BP blocks,” Cavins said during a chat in the BuddyPress development channel on Slack. “For instance, with the login form block, you can pretty well replace login form customization plugins and put the form in your landing page with ease.”

The release also includes a new Sitewide Notices endpoint for the BP REST API that will enable site admins to create, edit, or delete notices and let users fetch the active notice. For a full list of the improvements and bug fixes included in 9.0.0, check out the release notes in the codex.

by Sarah Gooding at July 21, 2021 02:56 AM under News

July 20, 2021

WPTavern: WordPress 5.8 “Tatum” Introduces Block Widgets, Duotone Media Filters, New Emoji Support, and More

WordPress 5.8 “Tatum,” named in honor of jazz pianist Art Tatum, landed earlier today. It is the second major release in 2021. It includes duotone media filters, block-based widgets, theme-related blocks, template editing, and theme JSON file support.

The release also ships tons of other notable features, such as support for new Emoji and an Update URI field for plugin authors to offer custom updates. The latest update also drops support for IE11, saying goodbye to the era of Internet Explorer.

Matt Mullenweg led the WordPress 5.8 release, which saw contributions from 530 volunteers. The entire release team closed 320 Trac tickets and over 1,500 GitHub pull requests.

The official release squad members were:

  • Release Co-Coordinator: Jeffrey Paul
  • Release Co-Coordinator: Jonathan Desrosiers
  • Editor Tech Lead: Riad Benguella
  • Marketing and Communications Lead: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
  • Documentation Lead: Milana Cap
  • Test Lead: Piotrek Boniu
  • Support Lead: Mary Job

Duotone and Media Improvements

Duotone filter + gradient overlay on a Cover block.

The Image and Cover blocks received a new duotone feature. It is a filter that allows users to lay two colors over their media, creating unique effects. The colors overwrite the shadows and highlights of the image or video. Users can use WordPress’s defaults, theme-defined colors, or create their own mixes.

WordPress 5.8 also introduces several upgrades to the media library. The development team replaced infinite scrolling with a “load more” button, improving the experience for screen-reader and keyboard users. End-users can now copy media file URLs from the Add New media screen.

The latest release offers WebP image format support for the first time, and developers have a new image_editor_output_format filter hook to fine-tune the experience.

Block Widgets

Widgets screen with a Gallery block in the Footer sidebar.

For the first time since the block system launched with WordPress 5.0 nearly three years ago, blocks are no longer confined to the post content editor. Users can now use them in any available sidebar. This is a stepping stone in the Full Site Editing experience that will eventually lead to block themes and the site editor. In the meantime, it is a way for users to begin trying out blocks in new ways.

However, those experiences may vary, depending on the active theme. Some older projects may not hold up well with this system. Authors may need to opt-out of the feature. Users who do not want to use block widgets or run into trouble can install the Classic Widgets plugin.

Query Loop and Theme Blocks

Query Loop pattern inserter: carousel view.

The power to create lists, grids, and other designs around a group of posts has long been solely in the wheelhouse of developers. Users had to rely on their themes or specialized plugins to make such changes. This is no longer the case. Users will have the power to create almost any type of post list they want from now and far into the future with the Query Loop block.

And, this is just the beginning. WordPress 5.8’s new block is merely an introduction to what will eventually be one of the foundational elements to Full Site Editing in the coming years. As more and more blocks continue to mature, users and theme authors will continue building all sorts of layouts from this simple starting point.

The Query Loop block will also be the first introduction of the pattern inserter to many users. This is a new tool that allows users to scroll through block patterns, choose one, and customize. In the future, it will become a more prominent feature.

Inserting lists of posts is just scratching the surface. WordPress 5.8 ships a new “Theme” category of blocks for users to play around with. Many of these are primarily for use within the Query Loop, such as the Post* blocks. However, others like Site Title and Site Tagline will be handy in the template editor.

Template Editor

Creating a custom landing page template.

The new template editor provides users with a method of creating reusable templates. And, they do not need a 100% block theme to do it. The feature opens an overlay from the content-editing screen for users to customize their page header, footer, and everything in between.

This is essentially a scaled-back version of the upcoming site editor. With 5.8, its primary use case will be for creating custom landing pages. It is a lot of power in the hands of the average user. And, it helps WordPress inch closer to its goal of not only democratizing publishing but also design.

The downside to this feature? It is currently opt-in. The active theme must declare support for users to access it. Many will not see it until developers submit updates.

Developers: theme.json Support

Real-world theme.json file.

WordPress 5.8 lets theme authors begin tapping into global styles and settings configuration via the new theme.json system. In the coming years, this will be the foundation of how themers build their projects.

Essentially, the new file is a bridge between themes, WordPress, and users, a standardized method of communication that puts them all on the same page. Theme authors define which settings it supports and its default styles. WordPress reflects these via the editing interfaces and on the front end. And, users can overwrite them on a per-block basis or, eventually, through the Global Styles feature.

Right now, it is an opt-in feature that both traditional and block themes can utilize. Themers will want to start moving their projects over to using it now that WordPress 5.8 is on the doorstep.

by Justin Tadlock at July 20, 2021 07:56 PM under WordPress

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.8 Tatum

Introducing 5.8 “Tatum”, our latest and greatest release now available for download or update in your dashboard. Named in honor of Art Tatum, the legendary Jazz pianist. His formidable technique and willingness to push boundaries inspired musicians and changed what people thought could be done. 

So fire up your music service of choice and enjoy Tatum’s famous recordings of ‘Tea for Two’, ‘Tiger Rag’, ‘Begin the Beguine’, and ‘Night and Day’ as you read about what the latest WordPress version brings to you.

Three Essential Powerhouses

Manage Widgets with Blocks

After months of hard work, the power of blocks has come to both the Block Widgets Editor and the Customizer. Now you can add blocks both in widget areas across your site and with live preview through the Customizer. This opens up new possibilities to create content: from no-code mini layouts to the vast library of core and third-party blocks. For our developers, you can find more details in the Widgets dev note.

Display Posts with New Blocks and Patterns

The Query Loop Block makes it possible to display posts based on specified parameters; like a PHP loop without the code. Easily display posts from a specific category, to do things like create a portfolio or a page full of your favorite recipes. Think of it as a more complex and powerful Latest Posts Block! Plus, pattern suggestions make it easier than ever to create a list of posts with the design you want.

Edit the Templates Around Posts

You can use the familiar block editor to edit templates that hold your content—simply activate a block theme or a theme that has opted in for this feature. Switch from editing your posts to editing your pages and back again, all while using a familiar block editor. There are more than 20 new blocks available within compatible themes. Read more about this feature and how to experiment with it in the release notes.

Three Workflow Helpers

Overview of the Page Structure

Sometimes you need a simple landing page, but sometimes you need something a little more robust. As blocks increase, patterns emerge, and content creation gets easier, new solutions are needed to make complex content easy to navigate. List View is the best way to jump between layers of content and nested blocks. Since the List View gives you an overview of all the blocks in your content, you can now navigate quickly to the precise block you need. Ready to focus completely on your content? Toggle it on or off to suit your workflow.

Suggested Patterns for Blocks

Starting in this release the Pattern Transformations tool will suggest block patterns based on the block you are using. Right now, you can give it a try in the Query Block and Social Icon Block. As more patterns are added, you will be able to get inspiration for how to style your site without ever leaving the editor!

Style and Colorize Images

Colorize your image and cover blocks with duotone filters! Duotone can add a pop of color to your designs and style your images (or videos in the cover block) to integrate well with your themes. You can think of the duotone effect as a black and white filter, but instead of the shadows being black and the highlights being white, you pick your own colors for the shadows and highlights. There’s more to learn about how it works in the documentation.

For Developers to Explore


Introducing the Global Styles and Global Settings APIs: control the editor settings, available customization tools, and style blocks using a theme.json file in the active theme. This configuration file enables or disables features and sets default styles for both a website and blocks. If you build themes, you can experiment with this early iteration of a useful new feature. For more about what is currently available and how it works, check out this dev note.

Dropping support for IE11

Support for Internet Explorer 11 has been dropped as of this release. This means you may have issues managing your site that will not be fixed in the future. If you are currently using IE11, it is strongly recommended that you switch to a more modern browser.

Adding support for WebP

WebP is a modern image format that provides improved lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP images are around 30% smaller on average than their JPEG or PNG equivalents, resulting in sites that are faster and use less bandwidth.

Adding Additional Block Supports

Expanding on previously implemented block supports in WordPress 5.6 and 5.7, WordPress 5.8 introduces several new block support flags and new options to customize your registered blocks. More information is available in the block supports dev note.

Check the Field Guide for more!

Check out the latest version of the WordPress Field Guide. It highlights developer notes for each change you may want to be aware of: WordPress 5.8 Field Guide.

The Squad

The WordPress 5.8 release was led by Matt Mullenweg, and supported by this highly enthusiastic release squad:

This release is the reflection of the hard work of 530 generous volunteer contributors. Collaboration occurred on over 320 tickets on Trac and over 1,500 pull requests on GitHub.

5ubliminal, 99w, 9primus, Aaron Jorbin, aaronrobertshaw, abderrahman, Abha Thakor, Abhijit Rakas, achbed, Adam Silverstein, Adam Zielinski, Addie, aduth, Ahmed Chaion, Ahmed Saeed, Ajit Bohra, Alain Schlesser, Alan Jacob Mathew, Albert Juhé Lluveras, Alejandro Perez, Alex Concha, Alex Kirk, Alex Lende, alexstine, allilevine, Amanda Riu, amarinediary, Amogh Harish, Andrea Fercia, Andrei Draganescu, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Serong, Andrey "Rarst" Savchenko, André Maneiro, Andy Fragen, Andy Peatling, Andy Skelton, Ankit Gade, annalamprou, Anne McCarthy, anotherdave, anotia, Anthony Burchell, Anton Lukin, Anton Vanyukov, Antonis Lilis, apedog, apokalyptik, arena, Argyris Margaritis, Ari Stathopoulos, ariskataoka, arkrs, Armand, ArnaudBan, Arthur Chu, Arun a11n, Aspexi, atjn, Aurooba Ahmed, Austin Matzko, Ayesh Karunaratne, Barry, bartkalisz, Beatriz Fialho, Bego Mario Garde, Benachi, Benoit Chantre, Bernhard Reiter, Bernhard Reiter, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), Birgit Pauli-Haack, Blobfolio, bmcculley, Bob Linthorst, bobbingwide, Bogdan Preda, bonger, Boone Gorges, Brad Touesnard, Brandon Kraft, Brecht, Brent Swisher, Brett Shumaker, Bruno Ribaric, Burhan Nasir, Cameron Jones, Cameron Voell, Carike, Carl Alexander, carlomanf, carlosgprim, Carolina Nymark, Casey Milne, Cenay Nailor, Ceyhun Ozugur, Chandra M, Chetan Prajapati, Chintan hingrajiya, Chip Snyder, Chloé Bringmann, Chouby, Chris Van Patten, chriscct7, Christopher Churchill, Chuck Reynolds, Clayton Collie, Code Amp, CodePoet, Colin Stewart, Collins Agbonghama, Copons, Corey McKrill, Cory Hughart, Courtney Engle Robertson, crazycoders, critterverse, czapla, Dávid Szabó, Daisy Olsen, damonganto, Dan Farrow, Daniel Llewellyn, Daniel Richards, danieldudzic, Daniele Scasciafratte, Danny, David Aguilera, David Anderson, David Artiss, David Baumwald, David Biňovec, David Calhoun, David Herrera, David Kryzaniak, David Smith, dekervit, devfle, devrekli, dhruvkb, Diane Co, dingdang, Dion Hulse, djbu, Dominik Schilling, donmhico, Donna Peplinskie, Doug Wollison, dpik, dragongate, Dreb Bits, Drew Jaynes, eatsleepcode, Ebonie Butler, Edi Amin, Eileen Violini, Ella van Durpe, Emil E, Emilio Martinez, Emmanuel Hesry, empatogen, Enej Bajgorić, Enrique Sánchez, epiqueras, Erik, etoledom, Fabian Kägy, Fabian Pimminger, Fabian Todt, Felipe Elia, Felix Arntz, felixbaumgaertner, Femy Praseeth, fijisunshine, Florian Brinkmann, Florian TIAR, Francesca Marano, Frank Bueltge, frosso1 (a11n), fullofcaffeine, gab81, Gal Baras, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, GeekPress, Gennady Kovshenin, Geoffrey, George Hotelling, George Mamadashvili, George Stephanis, geriux, glendaviesnz, Grant M. Kinney, Greg Ziółkowski, gRegor Morrill, Héctor Prieto, Hannah Malcolm, happiryu, Hareesh, Haz, hedgefield, Helen Hou-Sandí, Herm Martini, Herre Groen, herrvigg, htmgarcia, Ian Dunn, ianmjones, icopydoc, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Isabel Brison, Ivaylo Draganov, Ivete Tecedor, J.D. Grimes, Jack Lenox, Jake Spurlock, James Bonham, James Koster, James Nylen, James Richards, James Rosado, jamil95, janak Kaneriya, janw.oostendorp, Jason Johnston, Javier Arce, Jayman Pandya, Jean-Baptiste Audras, Jeff Ong, Jeff Paul, Jeffrey Pearce, Jenny Dupuy, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Herve, Jeremy Yip, jeremy80, JeroenReumkens, jeryj, jillebehm, Jip Moors, Joe Bailey-Roberts, Joe Dolson, Joe McGill, Joen Asmussen, Johan Jonk Stenström, Johannes Kinast, John Blackbourn, John Godley, John James Jacoby, John Sundberg, Jon Brown, Jon Surrell, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, Jono Alderson, Joost de Valk, Jorge Bernal, Jorge Costa, Josee Wouters, Josepha Haden, JoshuaDoshua, Joy, jsnajdr, Juan Aldasoro, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Julio Potier, Justin Ahinon, k3nsai, kaavyaiyer, kafleg, Kai Hao, Kalpesh Akabari, Kapil Paul, Karolina Vyskocilova, Kelly Choyce-Dwan, Kelly Hoffman, Kerry Liu, Kishan Jasani, Kite, KittMedia, Kjell Reigstad, klevyke, Knut Sparhell, Koen Van den Wijngaert, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Xenos, Kyle Nel, lakrisgubben, Lara Schenck, Larissa Murillo, Laxman Prajapati, LewisCowles, lifeforceinst, linux4me2, Lovro Hrust, Luis Sacristán, Luiz Araújo, Luke Carbis, m0ze, Maedah Batool, Maggie Cabrera, Maja Benke, Marco Ciampini, Marcus Kazmierczak, Marek Hrabe, Marin Atanasov, Marius L. J., Mark Jaquith, Mark Parnell, Marko Heijnen, Marty Helmick, Mary Baum, Mary Job, marylauc, Mathieu Viet, Matias Ventura, Matt Chowning, Matt Mullenweg, Maxime Pertici, mblach, Meet Makadia, Meher Bala, Mel Choyce-Dwan, meloniq, mensmaximus, Michael Babker, Michael Beckwith, Miguel Fonseca, Mikael Korpela, Mike Hansen, Mike Jolley, Mike Martel, Mike Schroder, Mikhail Kobzarev, Milan Dinić, Milana Cap, mkdgs, mmuyskens, mmxxi, Mohamed El Amine DADDOU, Mohammed Faragallah, Monika Rao, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, mrjoeldean, Mukesh Panchal, munyagu, Mustafa Uysal, mweichert, Nadir Seghir, Nalini Thakor, Naoki Ohashi, Naoko Takano, Nazrul Islam Nayan, nderambure, net, nicegamer7, Nicholas Garofalo, Nick Halsey, Nik Tsekouras, ninanmnm, Noah Allen, nvartolomei, oguzkocer, olafklejnstrupjensen, Olga Bulat, Olga Gleckler, Otshelnik-Fm, oxyrealm, Ozh, Paal Joachim Romdahl, palmiak, Panagiotis Angelidis, Paragon Initiative Enterprises, Pascal Birchler, Pascal Knecht, Pat, patricklindsay, Paul Biron, Paul Bunkham, Paul Schreiber, Paul Stonier, Paul Von Schrottky, Paulo Pinto, Pavel I, Paweł, Peter Wilson, Petter Walbø Johnsgård, phena109, Philip Jackson, Pierre SYLVESTRE, Pinar, Piotrek Boniu, Pippin Williamson, Pirate Dunbar, Pramod Jodhani, Presskopp, presstoke, pwallner, pyronaur, Q, Rachel Baker, rafhun, Rajesh Radadiya, Rami Yushuvaev, Ramon Ahnert, ramonopoly, Ravi Vaghela, ravipatel, Refael Iliaguyev, Rene Hermenau, retrofox, reynhartono, Riad Benguella, Rian Rietveld, Rima Prajapati, Rinat, Rnaby, robdxw, Robert Anderson, Robert Chapin, Roger Theriault, rogerlos, roo2, Roy, Russell Aaron, Ryan McCue, Ryan Welcher, Sören Wrede, Saša, Sabrina Zeidan, Sahil Mepani, Samir Shah, Samuel Wood (Otto), Sandip Mondal, Sanne van der Meulen, sarahricker, sarayourfriend, SASAPIYO, satrancali, savicmarko1985, Scott Lesovic, Scott Reilly, scottconnerly, scruffian, Sean Fisher, Sean Hayes, sebbb, Sergey Biryukov, Sergey Yakimov, SergioEstevao, sergiomdgomes, shaunandrews, Shital Marakana, silb3r, Siobhan, SirStuey, snapfractalpop, spikeuk1, spytzo, stacimc, Stanislav Khromov, Stefan Hüsges, stefanjoebstl, Stefano Minoia, Stefanos Togoulidis, Stephen Bernhardt, Stephen Edgar, Steve Dufresne, Steve Grunwell, Steve Henty, Steven Word, Subrata Sarkar, Sumaiya Siddika, Suman, Sumit Singh, Sumit Singh, sushmak, Sybre Waaijer, Synchro, szaqal21, tamlyn, Tammie Lister, Tellyworth, Terri Ann, Tetsuaki Hamano, them.es, Thomas Kräftner, Thomas Patrick Levy, Thomas Vitale, tigertech, Timothy Jacobs, TimoTijhof, Tkama, tmatsuur, tmdk, Tobias Zimpel, TobiasBg, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), Tom J Nowell, Toni Viemerö, Tonya Mork, Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe), torres126, Torsten Landsiedel, Toru Miki, Travis Northcutt, trejder, Udit Desai, Ulrich, Utsav tilava, Vicente Canales, Vipul Chandel, Vlad T, wangql, WebDragon, Wendy Chen, Weston Ruter, William Earnhardt, williampatton, Xavi Ivars, Xristopher Anderton, Y_Kolev, Yan Sern, Yui, yuliyan, Yvette Sonneveld, Zack Krida, Zebulan Stanphill, zkancs, and 孙锡源.

In addition to these contributors, many thanks to all of the community volunteers who contribute in the support forums. They answer questions from people across the world, whether they are using WordPress for the first time, or they’ve been around since the first release all the way back in 2003. These releases are as successful as they are because of their efforts!

Finally, thanks to all the community translators who help make WordPress available in over 200 languages for every release. 80 languages have translated 80% or more WordPress 5.8 and our community translators are hard at work ensuring more languages are on their way. If contributing to WordPress appeals to you, it’s easy to learn more. Check out Make WordPress or the core development blog.

by Matt Mullenweg at July 20, 2021 05:43 PM under 5.8

WPTavern: Makers of TinyMCE Acquire Setka

Tiny, the makers of TinyMCE, have acquired Setka, a content design and editing platform, for an undisclosed amount. Founders Katya Bazilevskaya, Alexey Ametov, Vasily Esmanov, Roman Khudonogov, and the rest of the Setka team will join Tiny as part of the agreement.

Tiny has been tracking an increasing developer demand for rich text editing components, citing 8.1 million TinyMCE downloads (up 77%) and 106 million downloads of rich text editing components in general from NPM in the last 12 months (up 53% YoY).

“TinyMCE has typically focused on the average business user or knowledge worker; someone familiar with Microsoft Word or Google Docs,” Tiny founder and CEO Andrew Roberts said. 

“With Setka, we can now serve professional content creators and designers who want more advanced options.”

TinyMCE is used by millions of WordPress users, most visibly in the Classic Editor plugin as well as the Advanced Editor Tools plugin, previously known as TinyMCE Advanced. Advanced Editor Tools adds a “Classic Paragraph” block to the block editor that gives access to the TinyMCE editor with configurable rows and buttons. It provides a stepping stone for those who are not quite ready to switch to the block editor.

While Tiny is a widely recognized leader in rich text editing, Setka allows for more interactive content creation with design capabilities for arranging text, images, and other visual elements. It allows users to create and save post templates and easily reuse design elements throughout the WYSIWYG design process. Tiny plans to merge TinyMCE and Setka for a combined platform that will offer more than either product alone.

“Modern day content creators are much more ambitious, and Setka allows us to meet more demanding use cases,” Roberts said. 

“Over time, we envisage a combined editor platform that is both easy to use and powerful.”

Setka currently offers integrations for several CMS’s, document management tools, and CRMs, including WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Ghost, Microsoft Sharepoint, and Hubspot. The Setka WordPress plugin integrates with the block editor and provides its own content block that can work together with other blocks on the page.

Former CEO Kate Bazilevskaya, who will be assuming the role of director of business development and partnerships at Tiny, said the team intends to focus on the CMS space.

“Through an array of integrations, we hope to make this visual building technology more accessible to businesses who already have a CMS in place, yet want more power in their editing tools,” Bazilevskaya said.

by Sarah Gooding at July 20, 2021 04:39 AM under tinymce

July 19, 2021

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 9.0.0 “Mico”

9.0.0 is named after Mico’s Pizza in Sanary, a little town on the french riviera. The story of Mico starts in 1968 when Liliane and Jean-Louis bought a restaurant looking like a swiss chalet. “Mico” is the nickname customers gave to Liliane (Jean-Louis’s wife) because of the remarkable outfits and big colorful hats she used to wear. Their son Romuald, twelve years after following in his parents’ footsteps, continues the tradition and offers us a moment of happiness around a table that is always excellent, friendly and so uncommon, just like BuddyPress 9.0.0 🍕

Mico's Pizza Front@imath took this picture 3 years ago 📸

You can get it clicking on the above button, downloading it from the WordPress.org plugin directory, installing or updating it directly from your WordPress dashboard or checking it out from our Subversion repository.

👉 If you’re upgrading from a previous version of BuddyPress, it’s always a good idea to back-up your WordPress database and files ahead of time.

You can review all of the changes in this 9.0.0 release in the release notes. Below are the key features we believe you are going to enjoy most!

It’s all about Widget Blocks!

Illustration showing the Latest Activities Widget Block.

WordPress 5.8 is right around the corner and debuts a brand new way to manage widgets: the Widget Block Editor. With BuddyPress 9.0.0, we have introduced 10 new BuddyPress Blocks, so you can continue to use your favorite BP Widgets with the new WP Block approach.

The new BP Widget Blocks are simply Legacy Widgets we’ve rebuilt as BP Blocks, which means you can also access them in the Block Editor for use in your posts or pages!

Illustration showing BP Blocks collection.

PS: Have you noticed that the icons for BuddyPress Blocks are now bright red?

Convert a Legacy Widget into a Block Widget in two clicks 😎

Illustration showing the Legacy Widget to Widget Block transformation.

As shown in the image above, it’s very easy to transform a Widget into a Block. Your existing Widget settings will automagically be imported into your shiny, new BP Block.

NB: Creating a BP Block for each existing BP Legacy Widget marks the first step toward the progressive retirement of these tiny pieces of BuddyPress content.

The BP REST API: Improved endpoints and a new one!

This BuddyPress release was built in a short time frame to be ready for the release of WordPress 5.8.

While doing the work on BP Widget Blocks, we’ve also manipulated many of our REST API endpoints and took this opportunity to improve several of them. We’re also introducing a new Sitewide Notices endpoint to allow site admins to create, edit, or delete notices and let all of your users fetch the active notice.

Under the hood

9.0.0 comes with fewer changes than most of our releases but includes fixes for issues which appeared in 8.0.0 and BP Nouveau Template Pack improvements.

Many thanks to the 24 contributors who helped us build & translate BuddyPress 9.0.0

Boone B Gorges (boonebgorges), Brajesh Singh (sbrajesh), David Cavins (dcavins), Dan Caragea (dancaragea), Ian Barnes (ianbarnes), Javier Esteban (nobnob), John James Jacoby (johnjamesjacoby), leahkoerper, marbaque, Mark Robson (markscottrobson), Mathieu Viet (imath), modemlooper, Nifty (niftythree), Paul Gibbs (DJPaul), Pieterjan Deneys (nekojonez), r-a-y, Renato Alves (espellcaste), shanebp, shawfactor, Slava Abakumov (slaffik), Stephen Edgar (netweb), tamarazambrana, TKServer, Varun Dubey (vapvarun).

Your feedback

How are you using BuddyPress? Receiving your feedback and suggestions for future versions of BuddyPress genuinely motivates and encourages our contributors. Please share your feedback about this version of BuddyPress on our website.

Thank you for using BuddyPress!

by David Cavins at July 19, 2021 10:45 PM under releases

WPTavern: WPBeginner Releases a Comment Moderator Solution Often Needed for Large Teams

Last week, WPBeginner released Comment Moderation Role to the WordPress plugin directory. The plugin does a simple job of creating a single user role that can only moderate comments.

The most common use case for such a role — named “WPB Comment Moderator” in the admin — is for larger teams that need a separate user account to tackle moderation. WordPress has no built-in way of handling this. For one of the most extendable CMSs on the planet, this is one area where it has always fallen short.

It almost feels like yesterday. In reality, it was 10 years ago when I stumbled upon a (then) year-old ticket for a bug that was a breaking point in a project I was working on. I needed to grant specific users on a WordPress site permission to moderate comments but not allow them to edit other things in the admin.

Some of you may be thinking that the moderate_comments capability should allow that. And, you would be correct in thinking that it should. However, that is not how it works at all. For users to edit comments, they must also be able to edit posts. It is a bit of a convoluted mess if you do a deep dive into the core code only to find hard-coded permissions checks that are impossible to override without rewriting large chunks of code.

I would run into the same issue multiple times in the years since. I have built a few hacky, one-off workarounds for specific projects, but they were never ideal. And, I was never interested in maintaining a plugin that solved this problem because I knew it had the potential to be a bit of a pain.

While I have seen a few other solutions, each fundamentally flawed, I am happy to see someone tackling this without exposing permissions issues.

WPBeginner’s Comment Moderation Role plugin works in the same way that I think such a plugin should work, at least with the roadblocks that WordPress currently puts in the way.

Site administrators can add WPB Comment Moderator to any account via the user management admin screen. The process is the same as adding or removing any other role in WordPress.

Granting the WPB Comment Moderator role to a user.

After adding the role to a user, that user can access the Comments admin screen. They can also see both the Dashboard and their own Profile in the admin. Except in the cases where they have another role added via a different plugin, they will not have permission to access other screens.

Comments admin screen for user with the WPB Comment Moderator role

Because of core WordPress’s hard-coded permissions check, the plugin must create its own comments management screen. Most users will not notice this because it is all under the hood. The plugin only adds it when necessary, and it does not look or function any differently than the default screen. It is just a lot of code work and duplication to fix an 11-year-old reported bug in WordPress.

Until the foundational issue is addressed in core WordPress, Comment Moderation Role is the best plugin for this job. After extensive testing, I can now say that it is now nestled firmly in my toolbox, ready to pull out when needed for a project.

by Justin Tadlock at July 19, 2021 10:13 PM under Plugins

Gutenberg Times: List of WordPress Themes for Full-Site Editing and Resources

A few people ask about WordPress Themes that are already working with the Full-Site Editing system and the new Site Editor. Here is a List as of July 2021.

The Themes are all built while Full-Site Editing is under active development and many features are experimental. Do not use in production or live site. Expect the themes to be wonky at times, until developers have a chance to update the themes for new Gutenberg plugin version. In short: There will be Dragons! 🐉

Oh, yes. You also need to install the Gutenberg plugin.

For the lastest updates pre-release, use the Gutenberg Nightly

Themes for Full-Site Editing in the WordPress repository

I only used TT1 Blocks Theme for FSE-Testing. I rely mostly on Justin Tadlock or others to provide more insights on the various themes. The articles are linked with the theme header.

Armando by Carolyn Newmark

Armando WordPress Theme Provides Insight Into the Current State of Full Site Editing

Block Base by Automattic

Using Blockbase for a theme experiment (ThemeShaper) by Kjell Reigstad

The Automattic Theme Team Announces Blockbase, Its New Block Parent Theme (WordPress Tavern) by Justin Tadlock

Blockbase: A parent theme for block themes (ThemeShaper) by Ben Dwyer

Child themes of Block Base

Mayland Blocks by Automattic

Seedlet Blocks by Automattic

Automattic Launches Mayland Blocks, Its Second FSE Theme on WordPress.org

Block-Based Bosco by Fränk Klein

What I Learned Building a Full-Site Editing Theme

Implementing Global Styles in Block-Based Bosco

Block-Based Bosco, Second Full-Site Editing Theme Lands in the WordPress Directory

Clove by Anariel Design

Clove: A Showcase of Block Patterns by Anariel Design (WPTavern)

Hansen by Uxl Themes

Build a Full WordPress Site via Block Patterns With the Hansen Theme

Naledi by Anariel Design

Anariel Design Launches Naledi, a Block-Based WordPress Theme (WordPress Tavern)

by Ari Stathopoulos

Exploring Full-Site Editing With the Q WordPress Theme

Rick by WPEntire

TT1 Blocks by WordPress contributors

This is the FSE sibling of the Twenty-Twenty-One Theme

If you find any theme missing in this list, let me know.

WordPress Themes team resources

The themes team share their experiments on GitHub. Some listed themes made it as stand-alone theme into the repository listed above.

Contributors also included a script to generate a theme with the minimum necessary to build your own block theme: php new-empty-theme.php.

Every other week, the themes team meets discussion Block-based themes: 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 15:00 UTC (11am EDT) wp-slack channel #themereview

Every week, the Themes team published a roundup post about newly merged changes, and what is discussed on the GitHub repo for Gutenberg. The post also has a few overview issues so you can always catch up on what is in the works. Follow the #gutenberg-themes-roundup tag on the make-blog/themes

Anne McCarthy, developer relations and program manage for the FSE outreach published a post on ThemeShaper with more Resources for block theme development

DevNotes for WordPress 5.8

Developer Documentation

Courses and Tutorials

Updated 7/21 to add Rich Tabor’s article on Block Templates

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at July 19, 2021 12:31 PM under Themes

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 13: Cherishing WordPress Diversity

In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy discusses the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the fabric of the WordPress project and how we can move from a place of welcoming it to cherishing it.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.


Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod


Diverse Speaker Training Workshop

A WordPress Dinner Party

The Burden of Proof

Leadership At Any Level

Building a Culture of Safety

Leadership Basics: Ethics in Communication

WordPress 5.6

Bonus resource: How to Be a WordPress Ally


Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. And before we get started, I have to be honest with you all, this episode and the next one have made me feel really anxious. This one is about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in open source, and especially in WordPress. And the next one is about accessibility in WordPress. And I feel like there’s just so much to do, and we don’t do enough, but we do what we can. And still, we will never be done with that work. And if you don’t know what I mean by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, you can kind of think of it this way. Diversity is bringing in people with different viewpoints and lived experiences. Equity is making sure everyone has what they need to get a fair chance of success, which is different from equality. And Inclusion is making sure that the environment is built to not only tolerate diverse groups but to celebrate them as well. So remember this as you listen to what I have to say here. We are never where we want to be in either of those spaces. But that shouldn’t stop us from looking at the things we have done to get us in the right direction. All right. Here we go.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:54

I say a lot that we are a project that serves a majority collection of minority voices. WordPress is global in reach and open source in nature. And you would assume that what allows the software to be used by anyone would also enable it to be built by anyone. After all, your location doesn’t matter, and who employs you also doesn’t matter. And your relative social standing certainly shouldn’t matter. As long as you can communicate with the others contributing to the project, there should be no obstacle to your participation. The mission of the WordPress project is to democratize publishing, right? It’s to get the ability to have a website tap into passive income on your web presence. I mean, the job is to level the playing field for everyone. However, it’s my experience that bringing in new voices takes a lot of proactive work on behalf of leaders and contributors. It’s not enough to say, “Hey, I’m having a party,” you also have to say, “I’m having a party, and I’d like you to be there.” It’s not enough to think people will make their own space at this table. You have to make sure that you have table settings for everyone. And even beyond the basics of directing people to you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:12

And on toward the next steps, you have to be honest about the fact that open source contribution requires a fair amount of privilege. By privilege, I mean the luxury of extra time or extra funding or just an understanding employer. WordPress supports 41% of the web. I think it’s 42% of the web right now. But less than 1% of people who use WordPress show up to help maintain it. And that 1% that does show up skews toward people who already have a pretty high level of representation and technology. And so, when you look at who is building it versus who is using it, it doesn’t always match. And since what we build so frequently reflects who we are, sometimes what we build doesn’t match the needs of the people who are using what we have.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:10

So what has WordPress done to be proactive on the question of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? There are quite a few unseen things that have gone into this over the years and a few pretty visible things. This is a very long list. And it has a whole lot of just reference material. And so the show notes today will come in handy for people, and there will be just a laundry list of linked resources for everyone. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:39

But the first thing that WordPress has done is that we have accepted the burden of proof. I’m going to share a post about this in the show notes. That means we accept that it’s not the job of underrepresented folks to figure out if they are welcome. It’s up to us to make it clear that they are. So, there are three big little things that the community has done over the years. One is that many teams open their text-based meetings with an explanation of what is done in the meeting, who comes to the meetings, where to find help if you’re lost in the meeting, and for teams that have a specific type of requests that comes into those channels that aren’t handled in those channels. They also will share where people can go to get those requests taken care of. Many teams have also updated their team handbooks to have good beginner docs, limited use of inside jokes or jargon, and good first bugs. And also, there is a code of conduct in the community declaring that everyone is welcome and clarifies what to do if you see folks being unwelcoming. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:51

A second big thing that folks in the WordPress community have done is written down what was unwritten. Having things clearly documented unlocks institutional knowledge that you’d otherwise have to know someone to get. Clarity and process and the structure help anyone engage with your organization, not just the people who have extra time to figure things out. What that looks like in the WordPress project is that many teams have documented their workflows and their working spaces and just their general team norms. Many teams have also started defining what it means to be a team rep and holding open processes to choose those team reps. Many other community leaders and I have written down countless unspoken rules, guidelines, and philosophical underpinnings so that people don’t have to guess what we’re doing or why we’re doing things, or where we want to do them.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:46

And the more visible thing that the WordPress project has been doing is that we found ways to invite people in, and they’re not failsafe; they’re not foolproof, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The first one is an ongoing, diverse speaker training initiative. And I’ll include a link to that in the show notes as well. It is run by Jill Binder and a fantastic group of contributors that collaborate with her. And I really have loved watching that particular program grow and flourish and help WordPress make a difference where we absolutely can. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:27

The second thing that was pretty visible about how we invited people in was at the end of 2020, and we had an all-women and nonbinary release squad for our biggest release of the year; WordPress 5.6. I had a group of probably 70 women and nonbinary identifying folx who joined in the process and joined in learning more about the process. Some of them have continued in the project. Others have stepped away for various reasons. But all of them are welcome to return. And I encourage everyone to return to contribution when time and resources make that possible for you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:09

And then the third thing that we’ve done, which I have talked about a lot, is the revival of the testing and triage practices. That has been work that’s been ongoing for a number of years. And it happens across multiple teams. It is not always immediately clear to people why the testing work. And the triage work is identifiable for me as a way to invite people into this process. And so I’ll be briefly clear about it right now. So testing as a practice brings in the users that otherwise don’t have a lot of spare time and that extra privilege to like, figure out what’s going on with WordPress, and contribute their own fixes to problems. They can give back to this project by being co-developers with us, co-creators with our entire process of making WordPress real and usable for the largest number of people that we can because we now support 42% of the web. And then, the triage practice invites in a diverse voice of people. Because you don’t necessarily always need to know everything about a project to help with triage. And when you’re helping with triage, you get active learning through participating in the process. But you also get passive learning from the people who already know huge amounts about the project and the process and everything that goes into it. And so it’s a low key low stress way to get your feet wet and start building that knowledge that sometimes is hard to come by unless you are actively working in it. So the testing practices, the triage practices, I really to the core of my being believe that those are active and ongoing ways for us to invite people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to get their voices heard in an open source project. And y’all, as I said at the start, y’all, there’s nothing about this list that I just shared, which makes me feel like our work on this is done. Just like any muscle, you don’t fight to peak fitness, and then hit the big stop button on time and say, “Now, I never have to work out again.” If we did, the world would be a very different place probably. But it does then lead us to the next steps for fostering a community culture that’s as broad as the people who use this software. If you believe in leadership at any level, as I do, there are a ton of things that you can do right now. But I’ll boil them down into three big chunks of things.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:54

First, check your community area, or whatever community you want to apply this to, for things that need a little more proactive work. I will share a post called Building A Culture of Safety that will take you through a list of good first steps. And it is not as hard as it looks. When you say build a culture of safety, there are many really clear-cut minor changes that you can ask people to make and, in like, four or five different areas that can help your community be more welcoming and more open. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  11:30

The second thing that you can do is know that small changes add up over time and commit to making those changes where you can. If you are elite at any level, you know that supporting people and processes is the responsibility of everyone in the group. And if you can make your own autonomous decisions and commit to making small changes that make a big difference over time, you will be part of that solution. And that is not specific to any one group that we have in our communities. You can be an ally for anyone, whether they look like you, whether they have your same experiences, or not. And sometimes, it’s as easy as just holding space for the people who haven’t had a chance to talk yet. And on the subject of holding space and the way that we communicate. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  12:22

The third thing that I think is incredibly important is that you can take on as a foundational personal practice the concept of ethical communication. I’ll share a post about that as well in the show notes, but the core of it is that you have to know that what you say and don’t say what you do and don’t do has an impact on others and embrace that responsibility. All right, so you made it all the way through, and I am so proud of you. I’m sure you have questions about this. And I encourage you to share those. You can email them to me at wp briefing@wordpress.org.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  13:10

This brings us to our small list of big things. I’ve got two things for you today. First and foremost, WordPress 5.8 gets released tomorrow. It’s a big release, and lots of people have been working on it. So get your update processes ready and keep an eye on wordpress.org/news for the announcement post. Second, and still pretty important, team reps have been working on their quarterly check-ins so that all other teams can get an idea of what’s happening around the WordPress office. Keep an eye out for that post on make.wordpress.org/updates. And that is your smallest of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host Joseph Hayden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

by Chloe Bringmann at July 19, 2021 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

July 17, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Theme creation, Block plugin development and the Future of WordPress – Weekend Edition #178

Howdy, my friends!

WordPress 5.8 will be release next week. Are you ready? Well, if you didn’t get any chance to test things, you should still be alright. If you know your customers will be fiddling with their site’s widget section, do yourself a favor and install the Classic Widget plugin, so there are no surprises.

For last-minute testing, use the Release Candidate number 4. The final release is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The Field Guide covers all changes.

Wishing you all the best for the upgrade! Holler if you need any help!

Yours, 💕

Gutenberg and the Future of WordPress

In this week’s Jukebox episode, host Nathan Wrigley discussed with Robert Jacobi the Future of WordPress in the era of Gutenberg. Jacobi explained why he is persuing a Gutenberg first approach. You can listen on WordPress Tavern or your favorite podcast app.

From the section “Neither Gutenberg nor WordPress News”: I am excited about the acquisition of Pocket Casts by Automattic. I tested many other podcast apps, but Pocket Casts has been my favorite for many, many years.

Nathan da Silva, founder of Silva Web Designs, wrote about the Future of Page Builders and concludes, there are still pieces missing before Gutenberg makes 3rd Party page builders obsolete. Da Silva mentions, Full-Site Editing is not there yet and there are not as many add-on available as Elementor or Beaver Builder provide for their site builders workflow.

Episode #47 is now available with transcript.
Next recording July 23, 2021

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast
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Block-editor for Content Creators

On July 29th, 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. UTC. WordPress VIP will hold a webinar with the title Gutenberg Full-Site Editing: Unlocking Agility for Enterprise WordPress. James Proctor will share lessons from the cutting edge of implementation. “By taking Gutenberg blocks beyond the post editor, these new features allow content creators unprecedented agility and control over the entire site experience. “ Any site owner and agency will be able to take advantage of the knowledge shared at scale.

Deborah Edwards-Onoro posted a great tutorial on how to Manage your Block Editor preferences and increase productivity and comfort.

WordPress 5.8 brings Duotone Filters to images of the block editor. Justin Tadlock takes you on a tour of this fabulous new feature: Duotone Filters: WordPress 5.8 Puts a Powerful Image-Editing Tool Into Users’ Hands‘.

Developing Plugins for the Block Editor

After the Primer last week, Rich Tabor posted How to Build & Publish Gutenberg Block Plugins to the WordPress Block Directory. Tabor guides you through the process from create block scaffolding and running the block plugin checker to uploading your block to WordPress repository and get it approved for the Block Directory.

Marcus Kazmierczak wrote a series of posts on how to Conditionally Load Block Assets when building block plugins. There are quite a few different ways to skin that proverbial cat. Start at the latest post, explaining the new WordPress 5.8 way to handle this. Kazmierczak also provides a video walk through.

This helped me to understand the feature Ari Stathopoulos worked on and described in his Dev Note: Block-styles loading enhancements in WordPress 5.8

Riad Benguella has a few more Miscellaneous block editor API additions in WordPress 5.8 – it covers:

  • Contextual patterns for easier creation and block transformations
  • Pattern Registration API
  • BlockControls group prop

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Gutenberg and Themes

Jason Crist published this week’s Gutenberg + Themes roundup. Two issues caught my eye:

There is of course, much more going on. Another great round-up post from the Theme Team!

Anne McCarthy shared Resources for block theme development on ThemeShaper. She wrote: “Whether you’re just starting out or already deep in the block theme world, the following resources should help you be aware of what’s to come and how to get involved in shaping the future.”

Tammie Lister published here process on how to create a theme and what she encountered. She wrote: “I am still like many discovering how I create themes using site editing, but I wanted to share my current process and some observations I’ve made along the way. “

Nick Diego collected three small fixes to his theme to change the breakpoint for the column block to become responsive, how to change the order of the mobile columns and how to disable responsive columns completely. For the latter, Diego uses a solution by Andy Serong, that is already merged to Gutenberg and will be released with the plugin version 11.2 on July 21st, 2021. Details in Disable Responsive Columns in Gutenberg and Other Tips

Rob Stinson posted about WordPress 5.8 Widgets Changes and How they Impact the Genesis Framework. He wrote: “To help navigate this for the 100,000’s of sites that run on the Genesis Framework we have implemented an opt-in experience in version 3.3.4 for whenever anyone updates to WordPress 5.8.”

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at July 17, 2021 11:19 PM under Weekend Edition

WPTavern: Identify and Select Blocks via the Wayfinder WordPress Plugin

Christopher John, a Seattle-based designer and UX engineer, released his first project to the plugin directory yesterday. Announced via Twitter to high praise, Wayfinder is a block outline solution for the WordPress editor.

Like similar plugins, the goal is to make it easier for end-users to select nested blocks, which can sometimes be tough to pin down. Wayfinder outlines each block in the editor on hover. It then displays the block name at the upper left of the box.

My favorite feature that you will not find elsewhere is the addition of each block’s classes at the bottom right of the box. This makes it easy for designers or users who want to quickly find a class for styling.

Outline of a Heading block.

Users can also enable or disable the pieces of the UI they want to appear via the plugin’s setting screen. However, any changes affect all of the site’s user experiences. Currently, there are no per-user settings.

At first glance, the plugin seemed to work great. The hover outline experience felt smooth, and I did not need to change the default options. Wayfinder almost seemed to be everything one might look for in a block-outline solution. It was besting existing plugins in nearly every way.

However, things soon began rolling downhill when writing a typical blog post with nothing other than Heading, Paragraph, and Image blocks. I first noticed that I could not type the same number of words as usual on one line. My perfectly-tuned typography was breaking sooner than it should have. Spacing between paragraphs seemed a bit too large. My wide-aligned images were just a little smaller than usual.

The user experience still felt good until this point, but the little oddities were stacking up. Something was not right. The plugin had been showered with praise on Twitter and already received three five-star reviews in its first 24 hours. Maybe my custom theme was the issue. However, similar problems arose when testing several others, such as Twenty Twenty-One, Nutmeg, and Eksell — each a well-rounded theme catered to the block editor.

As clean as the plugin’s UI is, it more often than not wrecks the theme’s default block spacing. This becomes more noticeable as users begin adding nested layers of blocks.

The problem is the plugin adds 18 pixels of padding around every block via its stylesheet.

.wp-block:not(.block-list-appender) {
    position: relative;
    outline: 1px dashed transparent;
    padding: 18px;
    overflow: visible !important;

To the untrained eye, this may not be a visible issue in many cases. It will affect each site differently, but 18 pixels of extra padding on every block will undoubtedly mess things up to some degree unless the theme itself uses that exact same spacing in its design.

The more noticeable issues are seen with blocks like Social Icons:

Holy moly! Those are some gigantic social icons!

But, even something as basic as a List block can be misaligned:

List block shifted out of alignment.

Theme authors can write custom CSS to overrule the plugin’s padding. However, the last thing the WordPress community needs is a specificity war between themes and plugins. Themers already have to do this enough to wrangle blocks now.

Removing that one padding rule from the plugin’s editor-style.css killed 99% of its issues. Afterward, things were running like a well-oiled machine.

As a developer, I would explore outline-offset for spacing between the block and its outline, maybe cutting that 18px down a bit. Because outlines are not a part of the CSS box model, it would not affect spacing. Adjustments may be necessary on a per-block basis, especially when those blocks are nested or small (e.g., Social Icons, Navigation). It would carry its own challenges but should be a less destructive course.

To a lesser extent, the plugin’s overflow rule breaks the theme design from time to time. Its position and outline rules could overrule some edge-case block styles too, but they are necessary for the plugin to actually do its job. In particular, I could see positioning being problematic with sticky headers as we get into site editing.

The only other issue might be themes that use ::before and ::after pseudo-elements on blocks, but the plugin also needs to overwrite those to display the block name and classes list. This is likely another edge case.

Despite the issues, the plugin is ahead of the pack at this point.

Gutenberg Editor Full Width Blocks Border (a bit of a mouthful), another recent plugin to offer similar functionality, breaks custom theme design across the board. It does accomplish the job of making blocks easier to select, but the sacrifice of a WYSIWYG is not worth it.

The Editor Block Outline plugin has been my go-to recommendation for a while. It has a few design issues of its own, but some of those are adjustable on a per-user basis. However, as of late, it has made the editor feel sluggish. Plus, its misuse of the WordPress admin notice system for Twitter followers makes it something I’d prefer to steer clear of.

EditorsKit has a similar “block guidelines” feature that uses a box-shadow instead of padding and an outline. It does not muck up most theme layouts with that technique. However, I have hit other style conflicts with the plugin. Plus, EditorsKit is overkill for users who simply want just one feature.

That leaves us with Wayfinder. Warts and all, it is the best standalone option right now. Maybe that’s not saying much, but it is saying something. This is a feature that is hard to nail down. I do not envy the developers who are trying to make miracles happen.

It is sure to please many who have been on the lookout for a block outline solution. It is in a position to pull farther ahead of the competition with its relatively solid first outing. With more thorough theme testing and a bit of adjustment to its approach, it could be even better. I am eager to test future iterations.

by Justin Tadlock at July 17, 2021 01:56 AM under Plugins

July 16, 2021

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Tijana Andrejic

WordPress is open source software, maintained by a global network of contributors. There are many examples of how WordPress has changed people’s lives for the better. In this monthly series, we share some of the amazing stories.

This month to coincide with WordCamp Europe, we feature Tijana Andrejic from Belgrade, Serbia, about her journey from fitness trainer to the WordPress world, with the freelance and corporate opportunities it introduced.

Tijana - portrait picture

As a professional manager with a college degree in Organizational Science and a certified fitness instructor, Tijana is nothing if not driven and goal-oriented. 

Following her time as a fitness trainer, Tijana moved to work in IT around 2016. She first explored content creation and design before focusing on SEO and becoming an independent specialist.  

Tijana was hired as a Customer Happiness Engineer for a hosting company, where she discovered the benefits of having a team. She realized that having close working relationships with colleagues is helpful for business success and accelerates personal growth.

Tijana hopes that by sharing her story, she can help others who are either starting their career or are moving roles. She describes the opportunities she discovered in the WordPress community as ‘a huge epiphany’, especially in the world of freelancing.

She highlights 5 things that helped her to start a new freelancing career. Let’s dive into them.

What motivates me?

“Why am I doing this?” is the first question that Tijana asks herself before starting anything new. This self-review and honesty, she feels, allows her to determine her priorities. She also benchmarks options around her motivations of wanting a flexible schedule and to grow professionally. 

She lists the reasons to make a particular choice, like being a freelancer, to help her choose the right job, pathway, or identify alternatives. 

She recommends that others can take a similar approach. If freelancing is still the best solution after examining all their goals and motivations, Tijana believes a good next step would be to learn WordPress-related skills.

WordCamp Europe 2019 group picture

Develop WordPress related skills

The next question you may ask: “Why WordPress?”

WordPress is used by more than 40% of websites in some form and offers various roles, many of which are not developer-specific. Tijana highlights a few: 

  • web developer (coding websites, themes, and plugins)
  • web implementor (creating websites from existing themes without coding)
  • web designer (designing website mock-ups, editing images, or creating online infographics)
  • client support professional (helping people with their websites)
  • website maintenance (WordPress, themes, and plugins are maintained and backed up regularly)
  • WordPress trainer (helping clients with how to use the platform or teaching other web professionals)
  • content writer
  • accessibility specialist (making sure standards are met and suggesting solutions for accessibility barriers)
  • SEO consultant (improving search outcomes and understanding)
  • statistics consultant, especially for web shops
  • WordPress assistant (adding new content and editing existing posts)
  • website migration specialist (moving websites from one server to another)
  • web security specialist
WCBGD group picture

Tijana emphasized: “Another reason why WordPress is great for freelancers is the strong community that exists around this content management system (CMS).” WordCamps and Meetups are a way to get useful information and meet people from a large and very diverse community and get answers to many questions straight away. 

In the past year, these events have been primarily online. However, the contributors who run them continue to make an effort to provide an experience as close to in-person events as possible. The biggest advantage to online events is that we can attend events from across the world, even if sometimes during these difficult times, it is difficult to get enough time to deeply into this new experience. Since Tijana’s first Meetup, she has attended many WordPress community events and volunteered as a speaker.

Plan in advance

Becoming a freelancer takes time. For Tijana, success came with proper planning and following her plan to ‘acquire or improve relevant skills that will make you stand out in the freelance market.’ She strongly believes that learning and growing as a professional opens more business opportunities. 

If you are considering a freelance career, she advises improving relevant skills or developing new skills related to your hobbies as ‘there is nothing better than doing what you love.’ In cases where no previous experience and knowledge can be used, she suggests choosing ‘a job that has a shorter learning curve and builds your knowledge around that.’

Tijana started as a content creator and learned to become an SEO expert. However, she highlights many alternative paths, including starting as a web implementer and moving to train as a developer. 

She suggests to others: “It would be a good idea to analyze the market before you jump into the learning process.” She also recommends people check the latest trends and consider the future of the skills they are developing.

Visit the new Learn WordPress.org to see what topics are of interest to you. In this newly established resource, the WordPress community aggregates workshops to support those who want to start and improve their skills, provides lesson plans for professional WordPress trainers and helps you create personal learning to develop key skills. There is also material on helping you be part of and organize events for your local community.

Tijana highlights that there are many places for freelancers to find clients. For example, the WordPress Community has a place where companies and individual site owners publish their job advertisements  – Jobs.WordPress.net.

Hurray, it’s time to get a first freelancing job

As a pragmatic person, Tijana recommends: “Save money before quitting your job to become a full-time freelancer. Alternatively, try freelancing for a few hours per week to see if you like it. Although some people do benefit when taking a risk, think twice before you take any irreversible actions.” 

She shared some possible next steps: 

  • use a freelancing platform
  • triple-check your resume
  • professionally present yourself
  • fill up your portfolio with examples
  • use video material

“By using video material, your clients will not see you like a list of skills and previous experiences, but as a real person that has these skills and experiences and that provides a certain service for them.”

She adds: “Have a detailed strategy when choosing your first employer. Choose your first employer wisely, very wisely. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is”.

When Tijana took her first freelancing job, she considered the following:

  • how was the employer rated by other freelancers who worked for him previously
  • how does the employer rate other freelancers
  • how much money had they already spent on the platform
  • the number of open positions for a specific job and the number of freelancers that have already applied 

“The first job is not all about the money. Don’t get greedy on your first job. If you get good recommendations, your second job can pay two to three times more. And your third job can go up to five times more. That was my experience.”

Take responsibility as a freelancer

Tijana reminds us: “Freedom often comes with responsibility; individual responsibility is key when it comes to freelancing.”

She advises others not to take a job if you can not make a deadline and have someone reliable who can help you. 

Missing deadlines will cost your client money and affect the review the client will be willing to leave about your job, and this can have a big impact on your future opportunities or freelance jobs.

She adds: “This can start a downward spiral for your career. However, we are all humans, and unpredictable things can happen. If for some reason you are not able to complete your work in a timely manner, let your client know immediately so they can have enough time to hire someone else”.

Tijana emphasizes the importance of making expectations clear before accepting a job, both what the client is expecting and what you can expect from the client. 

Lastly, she points out that if you are working from home, your friends and family should treat you the way they would if you were in an office. She advises: “Let them know about your working schedule.”

She hopes that these basic guidelines will be useful in launching freelance careers, as they did her, even though there is no universal recipe for all.

Tijana highlights: “It’s just important to stay focused on your goals and to be open to new opportunities.” Freelancing wasn’t the only way she could have fulfilled her goals, but it was an important part of her path, and it helped her be confident in her abilities to make the next big step in her life.

As a freelancer, she was missing close relationships with colleagues and teamwork, which she has now found in her current firm. Her colleagues describe her as a: “walking-talking bundle of superpowers: sports medicine and fitness professional, SEO expert, blogger, designer and a kitty foster mum”.

Conference reception

If you are considering starting your career as a freelancer, take the courses offered at learn.wordpress.org, reach out to companies that you would be interested in working with, and remember that there are a whole host of opportunities in the WordPress project.

The WordPress.org Teams – what they do, when and where they meet

Learn WordPress resource – free to use to expand your knowledge and skills of using the platform and learning about the community around it.

The 3-day WordCamp Europe 2021 online event begins on 7 June 2021. You can discover more about being a contributor in its live sessions and section on ways to contribute to WordPress.


Thanks to Olga Gleckler (@oglekler), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann), Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), and Meher Bala (@meher) for working on this story. Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) and also to Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) who created HeroPress. Thank you to Tijana Andrejic (@andtijana) for sharing her #ContributorStory

HeroPress logo

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members in our People of WordPress series.

#ContributorStory #HeroPress

by webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK at July 16, 2021 10:45 PM under HeroPress

WPTavern: Automattic Acquires Pocket Casts

Automattic has acquired Pocket Casts, a popular podcast listening, search, and discovery app for Android and iOS. Australian co-founders Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson are staying on to continue leading Pocket Casts as a part of the acquisition.

The app allows users to keep all of their podcast subscriptions together in one place and sync between platforms. Previously a commercial-only app, Pocket Casts has been free since it switched to the freemium model in September 2019. Its creators have been monetizing the app through its Pocket Cast Plus tier, which gives users access to desktop apps, cloud storage, watch playback, and themes and icons for $9.99/year.

In May 2018, Pocket Casts was acquired by public media organizations NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. BBC Studios also held a small ownership stake in the platform prior to Automattic’s acquisition.

Despite being widely regarded as one of the best podcasting apps available, NPR’s financial statements and auditor’s report from 2020 shows a net loss of more than $800K. The board governing the company met in December 2020 and agreed to sell Pocket Casts.

No financial details of the acquisition were disclosed but Automattic may have gotten a bargain on Pocket Casts if its other owners were also losing money. After acquiring Tumblr and Day One, Automattic is starting to gain a reputation for buying up apps that people love to use and giving them a fighting chance at financial stability and longevity. The company has also demonstrated a growing interest in podcasting-related technologies with its recent investment in Castos and partnership with Spotify’s Anchor podcast creation platform.

Acquisition announcements often include assurances of no changes for current customers but Automattic’s post made no promises and did not share many details regarding its plans for Pocket Casts. Integration with WordPress.com may be on the horizon but it’s currently in the exploration stage.

“As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new),” Automattic’s Head of Apps Eli Budelli said. “We will explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts. We’re thrilled that we can continue to give our users a multitude of ways to tell and engage with stories that matter.”

by Sarah Gooding at July 16, 2021 10:39 PM under podcasting

WPTavern: Google Concludes FLoC Origin Trial, Does Not Intend to Share Feedback from Participants

Google quietly concluded its FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) origin trial this week. The trial was part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, a suite of new technologies designed to replace third-party cookies, fingerprinting, and other commonly-used tracking mechanisms. This particular experiment groups people together based on browsing habits and labels them using machine learning.

FLoC’s trial was scheduled to end Jul 13, 2021, and Google has decided to remove the project from the testing phase while analyzing feedback.

“We’ve decided not to extend this initial Origin Trial,” Google senior software engineer Josh Karlin said in thread on Chromium’s Blink Developers group forum. “Instead, we’re hard at work on improving FLoC to incorporate the feedback we’ve heard from the community before advancing to further ecosystem testing.”

The controversial experiment has been met with opposition from privacy advocates like makers of the Brave browser and EFF who do not perceive FLoC to be a compelling alternative to the surveillance business model currently used by the advertising industry. Amazon, GitHub, Firefox, Vivaldi, Drupal, Joomla, DuckDuckGo, and other major tech companies and open source projects have already opted to block FLoC by default.

So far, Twitter has been the first major online platform that appears to be on board with FLoC after references to it were recently discovered in the app’s source code.

Google’s initial efforts in presenting FLoC failed to gain broad support, which may have contributed to the company putting the brakes on its plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. As the advertising industry yields to pressure from the last few years of privacy legislation, third-party cookies will be on their way out in what is colloquially known as the “Cookie Apocalypse.” Google has postponed this milestone for Chrome to begin in mid-2023 and end in late 2023. 

“We need to move at a responsible pace,” Chrome Privacy Engineering Director Vinay Goel said. “This will allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services. This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.”

Discussion on a proposal for WordPress to block FLoC has stalled in Trac but may have been premature in the first place if FLoC doesn’t end making it to further testing. Proponents of blocking FLoC saw WordPress’ support or opposition as critical to the success or failure of FLoC adoption on the web.

A recent article on the WordPress.com VIP blog titled “Goodbye, Third-Party Cookies, Hello Google’s FloC,” indicates that Automattic may be straddling the fence on the controversial new technology:

FLoC has its plus points. But it isn’t as privacy-focused as we would like, and can lead to discriminatory practices, as described above. Then there’s the concern of letting Google dominate yet another aspect of tech. Google also plans to charge any third-party tracking company for use of any of the data it has collected.

For the time being, it looks like major tech platforms are off the hook for taking an active position on FLoC since it has been sent back for major modifications. In the most recently updated timeline for Privacy Sandbox milestones, Vinay Goel said Google received “substantial feedback from the web community during the origin trial for the first version of FLoC.”

At the conclusion of its origin trial, FLoC seems far from ready for adoption, having failed to gain a foothold in the industry. The concern is that Google may ram FLoC through anyway using the weight of Chrome’s market share, despite the web community’s chilly reception. Although these proposed changes to ad tech will impact the entire industry, as well as regular internet users, Google does not intend to disclose any of the private feedback the company received during FLoC’s origin trial.

“The main summary of that feedback will be the next version, and you can surmise based on what features (and the reasoning for these changes) are available in the next version,” Google mathematician Michael Kleber said during a recent Web Commerce Interest Group (WCIG) meeting

Privacy advocates want to see more transparency incorporated into this process so that major concerns are not left unaddressed, instead of leaving it to stakeholders across the web to try to deduce what Google has solved in the next version of FLoC. Overhauling the advertising industry with new technologies should be done in the open if these changes are truly intended to protect people’s privacy.

by Sarah Gooding at July 16, 2021 03:26 AM under google

WPTavern: Edupack Is Tackling Higher Ed With WordPress, Looking for Development Partners

“We’re basically building the Jetpack for Higher Ed,” said Blake Bertuccelli as he pitched me on the idea of Edupack, a project still in its early stages.

He and his team are looking for more advisors to join the eighth round of their once-monthly braintrust events. It is a project they began in November 2020, now coming to fruition. Feedback is crucial to pushing such undertakings out of the gate, and the team needs more of it.

Bertuccelli listed several focal points for the Edupack project:

  • Onboarding: New campus users can set up a beautiful campus WordPress site with a few clicks.
  • Archiving: Stale sites are automatically archived to save campus resources.
  • Reporting: Accessibility, plagiarism, and resource usage can be accessed from the Edupack dashboard.
  • Brand and Content Management: Approved Higher Ed content patterns and universal brand controls keep sites beautiful and consistent.
  • Configuration Management: Cloud-controlled configuration settings means admins can control millions of sites from one place.
Onboarding form with Tulane-branded elements.

“Our onboarding form offers pre-built sites for users to start from,” said Bertuccelli. “So, if a scientist needs a new site for their lab, the scientist can select a pre-built lab site from our onboarding form then add in their unique content.”

Bertuccelli is Edupack’s CEO. He called himself a “forever learner” and is currently reading A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

“I paid for my Tulane education by coding WordPress themes,” said Bertuccelli. “After college, I founded one of New Orleans’ first WordPress dev shops (Decubing). A year ago, I presented on building a self-publishing platform with Multisite at WP Campus. The feedback was phenomenal, and two blokes from Birmingham offered to work on a plugin with me. A few months later, we launched Edupack’s MVP. Since then, folks from Harvard, Dartmouth, and about 17 other universities have been working with us to make WordPress an even better CMS for Higher Ed pros.”

The “two blokes” he is referring to are his co-founders, Nathan Monk and Matt Lees. They run a WordPress shop called SMILE. Monk is serving as Edupack’s CTO. Lees is the Chief Creative Officer — Bertuccelli called him “Lord of the UX.” Altogether, the three co-founders have over 30 years of experience working with Higher Ed and WordPress.

The Edupack team is making accessible content a priority, which is a primary issue for Higher Ed. The goal is to offer A11Y reports inside of the WordPress dashboard and tie them into publishing workflows. This would notify users of errors as they publish content.

“Our accessibility reports tie into another feature we are launching this month: site archiving,” said Bertuccelli. “Campus users graduate and often forget about their sites. Edupack sends a notification to a user if the site hasn’t been accessed, then adds an “archived” meta value to the site that super administrators can take action from.

Setting up automated archiving.

“Devs often recode thousands of sites to add new Campus branding,” said Bertuccelli on the reasons behind Edupack. “Department budgets are drained on resources for stale sites. Institutions are sued over inaccessible content or misused branding.

“Edupack intends to automate website management so that Higher Ed pros can focus on supporting education.”

The following video is an introduction to Edupack:

Join the Braintrust Session

Every third Wednesday of each month, Edupack holds a “Braintrust” event. Bertuccelli says it is the best way to get involved. The session lasts for an hour over a Zoom video chat. The next event is scheduled for July 21, 10 am – 11 am (CDT).

Each session focuses on a single question. Next week’s question: “How can we enhance WordPress blocks for Higher Ed?”

“We’ll demo Edupack updates, brainstorm solutions for block enhancements, then wrap up with action steps for us to do by next month,” said Bertuccelli. “Folks who manage WordPress sites for global institutions and companies have attended our last seven braintrusts. Any Higher Ed pro is welcome!”

Those interested can also keep track of progress via the Edupack blog.

Pricing and the Future

There is currently no publicly available pricing list. The project’s FAQs page says the team is still tuning the costs, and Bertuccelli remained quiet on any hard numbers.

“Community colleges can’t afford tech used by bigger schools,” he said. “That’s not fair. Edupack will be priced so that every institution can afford the service. We haven’t thought about pricing beyond that.”

Universities that wish to get check out the project should schedule a demo from the site’s homepage.

Edupack has around 20 institutions serving as development partners and guiding the roadmap. The team invites new schools to join every few months. Currently, Tulane and the University of Gloucestershire are using Edupack. Harvard and Dartmouth should be next.

The service is limited to universities and colleges at the moment. However, the team would eventually like to expand across the education sector. After that, we will have to see.

“Edupack’s features can be applied to any industry where users run lots of sites,” said Bertuccelli. “I could see ad agencies using Edupack, hosting companies integrating our tools, and School Districts running their site network via Edupack and WordPress.”

by Justin Tadlock at July 16, 2021 02:07 AM under higher education

July 15, 2021

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 9.0.0 Release Candidate

Important note: this BuddyPress release was built in a short time frame (we even skipped the beta release) to be ready for the release of WordPress 5.8. Our team’s primary goal for 9.0.0 was to migrate the BP Legacy Widgets to new BP Widget Blocks. You don’t necessarily need the latest WordPress 5.8 pre-release to test the BuddyPress 9.0.0 Release Candidate, but we’d be happy if you could use both pre-release versions to have your feedback about your experience with managing the BP Widget Blocks within the Widget Block Editor.

“Release Candidate” means that we believe the new version is ready for release, but with more than 200,000 active installs, hundreds of BuddyPress plugins and Thousands of WordPress themes, it’s possible something was missed. BuddyPress 9.0.0 is slated for release on July 19, 2021, but your help is needed to get there 🙏.

You can test the 9.0.0-RC1 pre-release in 4 ways :

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release note. In the meantime, you can check the 9.0.0 milestone changes list from our Trac environment.

In one picture, here’s what to expect in 9.0.0

The 10 BuddyPress legacy widgets will have their corresponding BP Blocks so that you can fully enjoy them within the next Widget Block editor and of course inside your Post/Page Block Editor.

The BP Block collection is going to be tripled from 5 to 15 Blocks 🙌

How you can help

This is really important: this release also marks the string freeze point of the 9.0.0 release schedule. And we have less than 4 days to update BuddyPress translation.

So if you speak a language other than English, please help us translate BuddyPress into as many languages as possible!

PS: If you think you’ve found a bug, you can share it with us replying to this support topic or if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on BuddyPress Trac.

by Mathieu Viet at July 15, 2021 08:45 PM under releases

WPTavern: WordPress 5.8 Media Library Changes You Should Know About

It is hard not to look through a list of upcoming WordPress 5.8 changes and not find at least a little something to whet your appetite. With so many enhancements headed our way, even we have not been able to keep up with them all here at WP Tavern. The next release will bring a few much-needed media-related upgrades.

Users should enjoy WebP image format support and a copy-to-clipboard button on the media upload screen. Developers have a new hook for filtering the image output format, and the platform is dropping infinite scrolling.

WordPress 5.8 is scheduled to ship on July 20, so these changes will be landing in less than a week. If you have not already done so, give WordPress 5.8 Release Candidate 3 a test run and report any issues.

Infinite Scroll Replaced With Ajax Button

Media Library screen (first) and overlay (second) with “load more” buttons.

The upcoming core release will drop infinite scrolling for media in favor of an Ajax-powered “Load more” button. The admin screen and editor’s media overlay will cap the initial and subsequent “pages” to 40 media items each.

This change is a part of an effort from the WordPress accessibility team to improve the experience for end-users. Team member and core contributor Andrea Fercia noted two a11y problems with infinite scrolling. The first is that it is impossible or nearly for keyboard users to reach content appended to the screen. Second, there is no audible feedback or instructions about how infinite scrolling works for screen readers.

He also noted usability and performance issues. Infinite scroll can break the browser’s history, and there is no JavaScript fallback. And loading hundreds or more large-sized images increases the memory footprint.

While the media library is getting the Ajax treatment in WordPress 5.8, we should expect similar updates for other areas in the future, including:

  • Add Themes Screen
  • Customizer > Add Menu Items
  • Editor > Link > Search

Copy URL From Add New Media Screen

Copy URL to clipboard button on the Add New Media screen.

This change is an enhancement that rids the platform of a small but noticeable nuisance that has plagued it for years. When uploading an image from the Media > Add New screen in the WordPress admin, there was no way to grab its URL without clicking over to the edit screen.

WordPress 5.8 introduces a “Copy URL to clipboard” button that appears after the image has been uploaded. No need to leave the page and track down the URL. The change also makes the user experience consistent with the Media Library screen and overlay in the post editor.

More often than not, browsing Trac means seeing many of the same names. This time around, it seems that a regular user wanted a feature. They created an account — perhaps for this purpose alone –, wrote a support forum post, was directed to Trac, and created their first ticket. It took eight months to work its way into WordPress, but it is one of those success stories of an average user making things happen by just providing feedback. Thanks for the contribution, @anotia.

WebP Image Format Support

WordPress is allowing a new image format. And, no, it is not SVG (technically not an image). There are still security hurdles to jump for that to ever happen. However, it now supports WebP, which carries with it the promise of better performance for those who use it.

As Sarah Gooding reported for WP Tavern last month:

This modern image file format was created by Google in September 2010, and is now supported by 95% of the web browsers in use worldwide. It has distinct advantages over more commonly used formats, providing both lossless and lossy compression that is 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images.

In the report, she noted that only 1.6% (currently at 1.8%) of the top 10 million websites used the WebP format. With WordPress now adding support, that percentage is likely to rise in the coming years.

Developers: Image Editor Output Format Hook

For developers who want to transform images with one mime type to another, 5.8 introduces the image_editor_output_format filter hook. Plugin authors can convert all newly uploaded images or only overwrite specific formats.

The following example converts JPG images to the new WebP format:

add_filter( 'image_editor_output_format', function( $formats ) {
        $formats['image/jpeg'] = 'image/webp';

        return $formats;
} );

The output format will be applied to all image sub-sizes as they are created. However, this will only work for WebP images if the webserver supports it.

by Justin Tadlock at July 15, 2021 03:09 AM under WordPress

WPTavern: WooCommerce Patches Critical Vulnerability, Sending Forced Security Update from WordPress.org

WooCommerce has patched an unspecified, critical vulnerability identified on July 13, 2021, by a security researcher through Automattic’s HackerOne security program. The vulnerability impacts versions 3.3 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce plugin, as well as version 2.5 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin.

“Upon learning about the issue, our team immediately conducted a thorough investigation, audited all related codebases, and created a patch fix for every impacted version (90+ releases) which was deployed automatically to vulnerable stores,” WooCommerce Head of Engineering Beau Lebens said in the security announcement.

WordPress.org is currently pushing out forced automatic updates to vulnerable stores, a practice that is rarely employed to mitigate potentially severe security issues impacting a large number of sites. Even with the automatic update, WooCommerce merchants are encouraged to check that their stores are running the latest version (5.5.1).

Since WooCommerce backported this security fix to every release branch back to 3.3, store owners using older versions of WooCommerce can safely update to the highest number in their current release branch even if not running the very latest 5.5.1 version.

At the time of publishing, only 7.2% of WooCommerce installations are using version 5.5+. More than half of stores (51.7%) are running on a version older than 5.1. WordPress.org doesn’t offer a more specific breakdown of the older versions, but it’s safe to say without these backported security fixes, the majority of WooCommerce installs might be left vulnerable.

The security announcement indicates that WooCommerce cannot yet confirm that this vulnerability has not been exploited:

Our investigation into this vulnerability and whether data has been compromised is ongoing. We will be sharing more information with site owners on how to investigate this security vulnerability on their site, which we will publish on our blog when it is ready. If a store was affected, the exposed information will be specific to what that site is storing but could include order, customer, and administrative information.

For those who are concerned about possible exploitation, the WooCommerce team is recommending merchants update their passwords after installing the patched version as a cautionary measure.

The good news for WooCommerce store owners is that this particular critical vulnerability was responsibly disclosed and patched within one day after it was identified. The plugin’s team has committed to being transparent about the security issue. In addition to publishing an announcement on the plugin’s blog, WooCommerce also emailed everyone who has opted into their mailing list. Concerned store owners should keep an eye on the WooCommerce blog for a follow-up post on how to investigate if their stores have been compromised.

by Sarah Gooding at July 15, 2021 01:51 AM under security

July 14, 2021

WPTavern: #5 – Robert Jacobi on Why He’s Putting Gutenberg First

About this episode.

On the podcast today we have Robert Jacobi.

Robert is Director of WordPress at Cloudways. He’s been working with open source software for almost twenty years, and has been the president of Joomla, a member of Make WordPress Hosting and contributor to ICANN At-Large. He is well known for his public speaking about open source and so the discussion today is broad and thought provoking.

We talk about Robert’s ‘Gutenberg First’ approach in which he places the WordPress Block Editor at the heart of all that he does. He sees Gutenberg as a critical component for WordPress’ future; a future in which as yet unimagined technologies will be built on top of Gutenberg and leverage the ‘atomic’ way data is stored.

This leads to a discussion on how 3rd party developers will be able to use Gutenberg as an application platform, with unique pathways to create, store and display content.

The heritage of Gutenberg’s development is also discussed. Right from the start we knew that the intention of the project was ambitious; it’s aim to become a full site editor was explained at the outset. This has led to comparisons with other editing tools and Robert takes on why he thinks that the incremental steps that the Gutenberg project has taken are making it a vital part of WordPress.

We also look forward and get into the subject of how technology never stands still. The underpinnings of WordPress are shifting. New skills and tools will need to be learned, but that does not mean that existing ones are obsolete.
Shifting gears, we move into community events and how we’ve managed events during the last year. Robert is a huge proponent of in-person events, and is hoping for their return. He loves the accidental situations which arise when you’re in the same space as so many other like-minded people. Perhaps though, there’s a place for hybrid events; events in which there’s in-person and online happening at the same time?

Towards the end we chat about the plethora of mergers and acquisitions which are happening right now, as well as a discussion of Openverse, a search engine for openly licensed media, which was launched with little fanfare recently.

Useful links.


Robert’s website

Nathan Wrigley [00:00:00]

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast all about WordPress and the community surrounding it. Every month, we’re bringing you someone from that community to discuss a topic of current importance. If you like the podcast, why not subscribe on your podcast player?

You can do that by going to WP Tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. If you have any thoughts about the podcast, perhaps a suggestion of a potential guest or subject, then head over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. There’s a contact form there, and we’d certainly welcome your input.

Okay, so on the podcast today, we have Robert Jacobi. Robert is director of WordPress at Cloudways. He’s been working with open source software for almost 20 years and has been president of Joomla, a member of Make WordPress Hosting and contributor to ICANN At-Large. He’s well known for his public speaking about open source, and so the discussion today is broad and thought provoking. We talk about Robert’s Gutenberg first approach in which he places the WordPress block editor at the heart of all that he does. He sees Gutenberg as a critical component for WordPress’ future, a future in which as yet unimagined technologies will be built on top of Gutenberg and leverage the atomic way that data is stored.

This leads to a discussion of how third party developers will be able to use Gutenberg as an application platform with unique pathways to create, store and display content. The heritage of Gutenberg’s development is also discussed. Right from the start we knew that the intention of the project was ambitious. It’s aim to become a full site editor was explained at the outset. This has led to comparisons with other editing tools and Robert takes on why he thinks that the incremental steps that the Gutenberg project has taken are making it a vital part of WordPress.

We also look forward and get into the subject of how technology never stands still. The underpinnings of WordPress are shifting. New skills and tools will need to be learned, but that does not mean that existing ones are obsolete.

Shifting gears, we move into the community events and how we’ve managed events during the last year. Robert is a huge proponent of in-person events and is hoping for their return. He loves the accidental situations which arrive when you’re in the same space as so many other like-minded people. Perhaps though there’s a place for hybrid event. Events in which there’s in-person and online happening at the same time. Towards the end, we chat about the plethora of mergers and acquisitions, which are happening right now, as well as a discussion of Openverse, a search engine for openly licensed media, which launched with little fanfare recently.

If any of the points raised in this podcast resonate with you, be sure to head over and find the post at WP Tavern dot com forward slash podcast, and leave a comment there.

And so without further delay, I bring you Robert Jacobi.

I am joined by Robert Jacobi on the podcast today. How are you Robert?

Robert Jacobi [00:04:06]

Doing well. Fantastic to be here. Thank you Nathan.

Nathan Wrigley [00:04:09]

Would you mind introducing yourself? Tell us who you are and what’s your relationship with technology and work?

Robert Jacobi [00:04:15]

I’m Robert Jacobi director of WordPress at Cloudways. I’ve been in the open source space, wow, for almost 20 years, I’m feeling old and actually got my raising on open source with the Joomla project, which is a hundred percent volunteer, open source content management system as well, and picked up WordPress slowly got into there. And boy, that’s a lot of ands.

I love the community. I love the greater goal. That open source, espouses and tries to reach. And we’re never, always successful. But having code and information more freely accessible is something I really believe in. And I think empowers people globally and provides opportunities that wouldn’t happen if these ones and zeros were siloed away in golden towers. I’m always just so tickled to talk about open source and all the interesting things we can do with it. It powers communities, it powers, politics, powers, freedoms, it powers companies. It’s really amazing. And we talk about WordPress all the time as one of the defining tools in this space. You look at something like Linux, which pretty much literally everything uses these days. It’s crazy how, to use Matt Mullenweg’s, favorite phrase, these things democratize all of us in so many different ways.

Nathan Wrigley [00:05:39]

We’ve got a really broad pallet of things that we’re going to discuss today, ranging from Gutenberg, right through to WordCamps and all sorts. So we’ll crack on with the smorgasbord of what we’ve got to discuss. The first of our little laundry list is Gutenberg. You wanted to talk to us a bit today about Gutenberg, what you think of it, and so on. There was an event that I attended recently, which you were also in attendance at, and you were on a panel there, and you mentioned that in the face of proprietary page builders, you always had the approach that Gutenberg should be the first relation. It should come first. And I’m curious to know, what did you mean by that? What is Gutenberg first? What is this approach?

Robert Jacobi [00:06:17]

So Gutenberg first to me is that we recognize the benefits of Gutenberg, and don’t try to subvert them or sneak around them. I think Gutenberg is one of the most critical backend, frontend changes that has happened to WordPress in its last umpteen years and the potential for all the interesting future forward things that Gutenberg can do should be taken into account. So page builders are wonderful. They offer all this functionality, ease of use, but I think that, they should also take and utilize Gutenberg concurrently.

The advantages are, one, that Gutenberg’s not going anywhere. So God bless all the classic editor folk who loved that experience. More than just being deprecated, it’s just, that is not going to be the way of the future.

And secondly, the potential, what can happen when you start making all that content a bit more atomic. I come from a lot of database work. So you think of atomic data points and Gutenberg does that sort of automagically for you? So there are opportunities in the future with Gutenberg to start parcing that data more finely.

That’s why I think it’s very exciting and why everything should be Gutenberg first. Again, that doesn’t mean get rid of page builders or different types of themes and theming systems. It’s just that at the base, Gutenberg should be a core building block of what you’re working with going forward.

Nathan Wrigley [00:07:51]

The way that I think many people are using Gutenberg at the moment, I should probably say the block editor, but if you’re using the Gutenberg plugin, you’ll obviously have an enhanced experience. But if you’re using the block editor at the moment, it feels as if it’s prime time for editing text, inserting images and some pretty basic stuff like that. But I can see on the horizon a whole plethora of interesting, curious, let’s call them plug-ins for now, because that’s what they are. Different block components, different plugins, which adapt and amend the capability of Gutenberg. And it feels to me as if that’s where its strength might lie. I know we’ve got the full site editing and all of that coming down the road, but it feels to me that, there’s going to be a whole plethora of third-party tools, bringing all sorts of added benefits into the ecosystem, a block for this thing, and a block for that thing. And whilst that might create some kind of bloat, that to me is an exciting area, and I just wondered if that’s something you’re interested in, if there’s any plugins or blocks that you’ve been looking at and thinking, oh, that’s curious. That seems to be stretching things a little bit.

Robert Jacobi [00:08:55]

So, you make a, first of all, great point that there’s block editor and then Gutenberg platform as a whole, and what end users typically experience is the block editor, but the Gutenberg API, Gutenberg platform as a whole is going to allow for all sorts of crazy third party integrations. That’s great. And it might even be a little, you said the perfect word, there might be a bit of bloat and craziness. I’ll say that’ll probably exist for the next 12 to 24 months. Sure, that’s fine. As people figure out what works and doesn’t. This is a dawn of a new age around taking WordPress to the next step. We’ve talked about for many years, WordPress is just a blog, blah, blah, blah. Okay. We’ve gotten past WordPress as a blog. Now WordPress as a CMS. That’s great. I think what happens with Gutenberg is we look at it and say, WordPress is an application platform, and this is just another API that we can take advantage of in very different ways. So we can have forums that are much more catered to content creators, that get rid of all the WordPress backend and admin stuff. Okay, you’re authenticated. You’re logged in. Here’s your daily news forum that you’re going to add content to. And because we’re using Gutenberg, that makes it a lot easier to publish that content and gets rid of the technical cruft, and allows developers and third-party plugin providers to have wholly unique and valuable experiences around that. And that’s where the magic I think of Gutenberg really comes into play is where will all these third parties start finding those unique value propositions for specific content, whether it’s an, a vertical, like travel or e-commerce, in a generic sense or news or publications or whatnot. It’s really expanded the opportunities to create workflows and interfaces and make content production speedier and safer.

Nathan Wrigley [00:10:55]

I think one of the curious things that I’ve observed over the last couple of years about it is that perhaps if we had the magic rewind button, we could go back a couple of years and potentially not really get into a conversation where it was… okay, we’ve got stage 1, 2, 3, and 4, and stages two, three, and four, start to add in functionality that things like page builders, can currently do, full site editing and all that. If it had just been touted as, we’ve got a new editor for you, here it is, I think it would have taken people along for the ride much more easily, but we’ve got this problem now, this impasse where, it got sold as it’s going to become a page builder, but the pace of development and the fact that they’ve got the legacy of 40 percent of the web, 40 plus percent of the web, to protect and so on it hasn’t been able to move in that direction potentially at the speed that people thought… well, it’s going to be a page builder. It hasn’t been able to mature at the rate that they would have liked to have done. And so I’m just curious in the next year, two years, whether it will do those things, but also I wish we could rewind and say look, slow down. Let’s get the editor experience sussed out first, then we’ll do the full site editing and don’t expect it to be all these things. Beause at the minute I hear a lot of people saying it’s not as good as the tool I’ve got over here, and it’s not as good as the tool I’ve got over there. Speaking of which do you think there’s a case where it isn’t the best tool where you would say actually, do you know what, I’m just going to relegate that and not use it first. Or is it literally, always the first thing in your toolkit for WordPress?

Robert Jacobi [00:12:28]

It is literally the first thing in my toolkit, because it will provide the greatest longevity in whatever’s built. Gutenberg’s not going anywhere. There was a massive commitment to it from the project side of the universe. And to answer one of your earlier questions about, has it done enough? I think it’s exceeded all expectations and this is where I’ll get to it. They’re always going to be a voices like, okay, it doesn’t make bacon and eggs for me in the morning. Okay, That’s fine, it doesn’t. I think, and I truly believe what the magic of Gutenberg is, is the paradigm shift in forcing people to look at other things. So it’s hard to make a giant feature change in anything, whether it’s proprietary project, open source project. There are going to be plenty of people who are like, no, this works for me. This is great. Please don’t change. I get that. But technology moves forward. People’s expectations increase. Ten years ago, we barely had iPhones. All of a sudden we do, and now we expect everything to be infinitely easier and simpler and more responsive. I guess it doesn’t do everything that page builders do. That’s great. That’s fine. We’re not trying to cut out the middle man here, and I say we, I’m not actually involved directly in Gutenberg at any point, but it moves the technological user experience goal posts forward. All things being equal, the page builders of the world, Beaver Builder, Elementor, they’re all going to go their own way. Having Gutenberg as a critical component, soon enough, it will be just a mandatory component, that’s the end of the conversation. Says, listen, everyone, this is what we need as part of the ecosystem. This is how you’re going to connect with tools. You can absolutely go around those, but why would you want to, because this will be supported by a worldwide community.

It’s not just going to be supported by the Beaver Builder community or the Elementor community, yada yada, this is now the new core and that’s very difficult to do, and it’s not, jumping back to what I said earlier about it, I think just making that change in and of itself and committing to that change is more important than full site editor or anything else. There’ll be incremental steps, but that was the big milestone step. Wow. Okay. This is the new tech, and we’re going to have to take advantage of it.

Nathan Wrigley [00:14:45]

You said two words in that last little bit, well you certainly said paradigm shift and you said atomic. And I think for me, the atomic bit is really interesting because what I think many people haven’t had a chance to get to grips with is literally the atomic nature of it. This little section of your blog post or whatever it may be. You can just have this little interactive thing. It might be that you’ve got a block which does, I don’t know, lead generation, or you’ve got a block, like the cover block, which will just take care of the top of your posts. And each one of those things will have a different array of settings and it doesn’t have to be built inside a proprietary thing. It’s being built inside of the default editor for WordPress. So it’s going to bring a ton of functionality and a ton of interesting things. Some of it will be bloated. I’m sure there’ll be many people who fall into the trap of installing fifty times more than they need to, or five times more than they need to. But for those of us who were curious and check things out and look and see what the end result is, you’re going to be able to create really unique experiences on this one surface, and that to me is really exciting, but have the feeling that the community got left behind in the conversation about this a little bit. So the confusion that it was going to be a page builder leads me to the whole community conversation. I know you’re all about community. This is something that you thrive on. You love the WordPress community, as you have had loved many other communities in the past. Do you have any feelings around whether there’s been enough involvement. Asking the questions, what should it look like? How should it behave? What do we want to leave on the floor and edit out that we just, it was a blind alley, we shouldn’t have had that because there are some things that I think a really excellent, there are some things that I think I’m not sure anybody’s actually going to make use of that, but there it is. And just wondering what your thoughts were around, whether the community had been involved, whether it could have been involved more.

Robert Jacobi [00:16:38]

I’m getting chuckles about a lot of these things. Could there have been more all the editing and whatnot. Since community is, especially in WordPress, a huge word, it’s always difficult to get every stakeholder, give them the space, give them the time given the vote.

What I like about what happened with Gutenberg is that it did move, in my mind, relatively quickly, and expeditiously and said, this is what we’re doing. And I think it’s too easy to be bogged down in the politics of community to actually get stuff done. So if things fall to the wayside, if things were not edit out properly, that’s where I think, the greater ecosystem can come into play and say, we’re going to tweak this, with a plugin that makes this just a bit better. It takes this out and we have such a robust economy in WordPress. That yeah, go for it. I like to see a bit more activism from people as a whole on these projects, but it’s hard. We all have day jobs. We all have stuff to do, and I’m not going to blame the leaders of the project for trying to get stuff done. In fact, I’m going to give them kudos to just doing it because it’s very easy to get pulled back and say you didn’t listen to so and so, at some point we have to fish or cut bait, we need to do something and we need to move the technology forward because everyone else is doing it. And open source projects have a tendency, especially at their, let’s say late teens, early adult stages, getting sucked into managing the community more than managing the project and pushing it forward.

You have to do both. It’s such a tricky balance. All kudos to everyone at Make dot WordPress, that they were able to do this. And it’s a large scale change and get it done. Fine, if you want to complain, that’s great. Guess what? No software lives, at that moment in time, it’s always updated and tweaked and there are still opportunities to make changes, advocate or different functionality. Expand the API, shrink the API, all those kinds of things. I do love that WordPress was able to cut bait and just go with it.

Nathan Wrigley [00:18:43]

One of the underpinnings of WordPress since the inception really was PHP. And obviously now we’re moving into an era where these technologies are being inspected, and improvements have been created along the way. And so now we’re moving into an era where other technologies, for example, React is coming along and that requires quite a bit of relearning, you’ve really got to down tools, get the manuals out, start to read again. Do you have any concern that that kind of thing could be a bit of a roadblock? It will be a bit of have a roadblock for certain people, but the technology has to move forward. Just curious as to what your thoughts are about how that’s being implemented and whether or not we’re taking it at a slow enough pace or whether we should have just stuck with good old PHP?

Robert Jacobi [00:19:29]

I like to use the right tool for the right projects, And I’ve been a coder, developer, engineer in multiple languages. I’ve actually never done anything with React, that’s one of the first ones. And that’s okay. We evolve. If we hadn’t evolved all these still using C from 1969 or whenever it came out. So this stuff has to move forward. And if React is the best solution to do that on the front end, that’s great.

Some people will be excited by that. Okay. I can expand my personal knowledge and horizons by adding to React. Honestly, a lot of the headless stuff that we see these days is also React. So it’s not a bad thing to learn if you want to learn that. If you don’t want to learn it. Okay, that’s fine. There are plenty of opportunities to still expand your WordPress activities solely with PHP. Okay. Those are more personal choices. Do I want to learn another language? Do I want to improve on what I already have? Yes. Those are choices you have to make, but none of this lives in isolation. So we have to understand that a WordPress, plain old PHP site, might still need to connect up to a bunch of different things and not all those things are going to be on PHP. You still might be connecting up to something with Perl or Python. No, one’s forcing you to learn it. Granted Gutenberg injects this react universe into your face, but you can focus on the core things that you need to do without necessarily running into React. It’s a tool that more people are… here’s the trick, there are plenty of new people who are entering coding, development, open source communities, and they like React. So it makes sense to take advantage of all this new found wealth, and then also draw them back into the community. Great, you love running with all this JS stuff. Fantastic. Hey, by the way, did you know you could actually implement that as part and parcel with an old-school PHP content management system? Yeah, we can do that. That’s great. And look how you can expand your horizon. Yeah, it stinks if you don’t want to learn any kind of Node, React stuff. Okay. But, it’s sort of the nature of code. If we really want to take the analogy to the extreme, why aren’t we still coding on punch cards with ones and zeros. We’re going to abstract it and find the best tool to implement the functionality we want to see.

And I get it me personally, I’m not going to go out and learn React today. Me twenty years ago, though, I would have added it into my tool belt in a heartbeat, just because it was just one of those things that you needed at that time, that was the case. People are going to go through their own personal and professional sort of life cycles of what they think they need to have on their knee or in their tool belt to be successful. We can’t stop for people who don’t want to do anything outside of PHP.

Nathan Wrigley [00:22:04]

We’re going to shift gears now and talk about in-person events. Under the auspices of things like WordCamp Europe, which is depending on when you’re listening to this podcast that may just have happened, or it may be it’s coming around in a year’s time or something like that.

Clearly we’ve been through a period that has really shaken the community. I feel that as a community, we were probably as well-prepared as any community could be because we were already working via the internet. We all had our computers out and so on. And yet still there is a concern. And I know that for example, people like Josepha Haden Chomposy has mentioned things like this, that the community in the absence of in-person events, there’s been a modest disengagement. And what I mean by that, this is the project, the WordPress project was propelled forward in a large part by those in-person events. So you’ve got contrib day, you’ve just got the handshaking, you can actually meet people for the first time. You can build relationships and so on. And none of that’s happened. We’ve had a year out. We don’t know quite when that is coming back, hopefully at some point in the near future, but we don’t know. And so just curious about your thoughts on that. What do you have to say about events coming back and how a project as big as WordPress, where there’s no central office where there’s no boss telling everybody what to do. So if you’re on the payroll, you’ve got to do this today and fix this thing, but that’s not how it works. And so the open source model, there may be a chink in its armor here where in-person events don’t happen, that camaraderie and those solutions don’t present themselves. And so the project, I’m going to use the word stalls, that’s a complete over-exaggeration, but bits of the project stalled because nobody’s meeting up.

Robert Jacobi [00:23:49]

I am a huge, huge advocate of in-person anything. Whether you’re extrovert or introvert, there’s always going to be someone that you really want to talk to sit down in a corner, or have a cup of coffee with and build that relationship. I’m no anthropologist or anything, but feel that those kinds of human connections help us grow stronger in light of all the mundane things we do day to day. I don’t think the project has suffered because of a lack of in-person events over the last year. I think it’s suffered because everyone else has had a lot on their mind and there’ll be a, certainly a renaissance of activity as soon as we get into in person but this is one of those things where I don’t think correlation and causation match up. If you are worried about friends and family getting ill, did the economy, my personal economies take a downturn. That’s going to weigh a lot more on someone than, oh, did I catch up on the latest WordPress dot org, Slack notification about Full Site Editing. So I don’t think they’re completely tied together, but I will certainly tell you that as those in-person meetups start ramping up, I think that’ll be a flurry of excitement and activity. Part of that will be just because we’re not still trapped in our tiny little Covid bubbles.

Nathan Wrigley [00:25:12]

What personally do you miss from the in-person events? You mentioned about having a coffee and sitting in a corner with somebody and so on, but anything that you find you’re missing, it could be something quite banal or it could be something a lot deeper.

Robert Jacobi [00:25:24]

It’s really the accidents that happen at in person events. With a completely regimented online experience, I know I’m going to be talking with Nathan at such and such time. I know I’m going to be talking to whoever everything’s organized, calendars. Okay, there’s digital here, digital there. We may edit ourselves more on these platforms. When you’re in-person accidents happen. We may be walking through the sponsor hall and accidentally bump shoulders. And it’s oh my goodness, Nathan, great to see you. I haven’t seen you in 14 months. This is amazing. And you just start a conversation and those kinds of conversations are organic and random and not necessarily so overly planned and well thought out. And at those moments, I think unique ideas, exciting things can happen that just don’t happen in a much more shrunken space. I love the distributed world. And to your point, I think WordPress is not only just gone through well, it’s actually succeeded because we’ve already been in that position. We’re already ready to be online and take care of the day to day.

We need those accidental bumpings of atoms to create new kinds of alloys. Oh my goodness. carbon and oxygen linked together. Oh, no, look what happened here. I don’t know what they do, I’m not a chemist! But my point being is when you’re in person and I’m going to keep calling them accidents, but not like in a pejorative kind of way, accidents happen, and it allows for very random, unique ideas, conversations, thoughts, whatever to happen, or just even a personal pick me up. Like you do remember me from being on slack for the last year. That’s fantastic. There’s an affirmation I think that happens for all of us when we’re in that kind of proximity with other like-minded people.

Nathan Wrigley [00:27:21]

I think one of the, there’s two points about the online events that I seem to keep coming back to. And the first one is that I feel it’s taught us that we ought to have hybrid going forward. What I mean by that is that WordCamp EU, I feel it’s going to be difficult to put the genie back in the box of you have to go to the place where the event is. I feel that the future is going to be, sure enough, if you want to turn up and you want to benefit from the hallway and all of those things, go for it. But also if you’re living halfway around the world, that now needs to be a door which is not closed to you, you need to have it open. There needs to be streaming of those talks that are happening each day so that everybody can take part. That’s one of the things that I feel is going to happen.

Robert Jacobi [00:28:03]

I completely agree. There are events that I would have never been able to attend on a very regular basis without there being an online component. Someone will solve this puzzle, but I think it’s going to be difficult to do a online and in-person event concurrently. I feel that you’ll get the worst of both worlds in that case. What I’d like to see, let’s take WordCamp Europe 2022. There’s going to be a three, four day in person spectacle. That’s fantastic. What I would like to see is maybe two days before the in-person starts. There’s a whole online portion of that. I’d be concerned about trying to do them concurrently. Are we really going to have, we can do all the live video for example, but how interactive can we make those live portions? Oh, look from online, we have a question to the speakers. Okay. That works. But outside of those sessions, how are we going to integrate the sponsor hall, the hallway track as we talk about it? Those are those accidents that I like to refer back to just walking up and down and bumping into each other. I don’t think that’s an easy problem to solve, but I’d love to see some kind of greater online kickoff onboarding experience, where you can meet the speakers, do some quick Q and A’s, and conversely, have the speakers say, make sure you don’t miss my session on such and such date and time, then that will, of course be also livestreamed.

It’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be complicated. And I think there’s going to be multiple variations of attempts at making that succeed. I like to go with baby steps to see results. And I think just starting out with maybe a one or two day virtual camp tied to the in-person camp would be a good starter.

Nathan Wrigley [00:29:46]

That’s what I was meaning really is just basically a camera at the back of the room where there’s a presentation going on with the possibility of questions coming, not just from the audience, sat in the auditorium, but from people in a different part of the world. And in fact, I feel it in a way, these kind of like skeuomorphic pieces of software, which tries to replicate the real world, you’ve got these AI representations of the hall. It’s nice. It’s a bit of fun. I feel it’s a dead end. Nobody ought to be under the illusion that’s what they’re going to do. But I do like the idea of just, here’s the talk, you can watch it at the same time as everybody else. And then maybe you and your pals can hang out. You can do your bit online and we can do our bit in the real world, and so it goes. It’s really just an opening up so that you don’t have to attend because the problem there would be that nobody actually makes the attempt to attend, but I don’t feel that’s the case. And my second point is that I feel that we need this stuff back just because the online stuff, there’s a fatigue associated with that, and I don’t for a minute think that everybody’s fatigued and I don’t for a minute, think the online events don’t have merit because they have enormous merit and they’ve been an amazing bridge, but I feel that there’s a proportion of the people who would love to be at live events who just can’t make the transition to the virtual events. There’s something about it. Something stifles them, perhaps they have the best will in the world, and then it’s on the screen. But then something in the real world occurs to them. The cat decides to chew up the sofas, so off you go, you’ve got to deal with the cat. You get distracted, you want to go and make a cup of tea, so you get distracted. Whereas if you’re at the WordCamp, you’re fully there. You’ve engaged, you’ve committed. You’ve potentially got on a plane. You’ve booked a hotel, all of that. And there’s no substitute for that. So that really was my second point is that I want to get the people who’ve been disengaged back in and ready to take on all of the challenges that we’ve got.

Robert Jacobi [00:31:42]

Yeah. I think we’re on the same page. I can do virtual events. I certainly prefer in person. And the best example of how we know that in-person is very valuable is when you go to a lot of these virtual events, the networking spaces are generally very empty. People aren’t having those conversations, those random accidental conversations that they would add an in-person event because at an in-person event, you are physically, quote unquote, stuck in that space. If you don’t want to talk to someone, you’re just going to go your own way. That’s great. But if you do, who knows who’s next to you and you’re going to overhear things and interrupt the conversation and be interrupted and that’s that magic that occurs.

Nathan Wrigley [00:32:29]

Okay. Let’s talk about the third point that we wanted to discuss today. I’m straying into an area where I don’t have a great deal of experience because I watch these things happen from afar. There’s nothing that really concerned me. That concerned me in the sense that I might be a consumer of some of the things that are being bought up. But you wanted to talk about, as you described it, the WordPress economy acquisition madness. Now, what did you mean by that? Just kick us off. Explain what you mean by that phrase.

Robert Jacobi [00:32:56]

Here’s the beauty of being a successful project, people with money will find ways to make money from it. And that’s okay, and that’s a good thing. We’re seeing the likes of Automattic, WP Engine, GoDaddy, Liquid Web, Cloudways, yada, yada, yada. All these companies, wink wink, they’re all hosting companies because they’ve been in the space for awhile under different platforms and have recurring streams of revenue and cash on hand, they’re going to look to grow their businesses, and one of the easiest ways is to find valuable niche projects, that not only will bring cool bit of code into what they’re trying to do, but also allow them to reach out to all the people who have installed that plugin.

Nathan Wrigley [00:33:45]

Do you have concern then that certain parts of the WordPress, let’s say plugin or theme space, are going to be consumed by these bigger entities as you described? In many cases, there will be hosting companies for reasons you’ve just explained. Do you have a feeling that silos in the future are going to occur? Where if you really want a decent, let’s go for, I dunno, membership experience, you really are better off going in the direction of that company, with the brands that it’s acquired over time. Or if you want to go for a WooCommerce experience, your best bet is going to be over here, and everything else is a poor relation of that. So we get silos, which we haven’t had until now.

Robert Jacobi [00:34:28]

I think that’ll happen in the short term, but when that happens, a vacuum is created in the overall ecosystem. So if hosting company X has a, quote unquote, monopoly on that membership plugin, you know what, first of all, it’s all open source. All it takes is company Y to be like, we want to be in that space as well, and we’re going to re-imagine the underlying open source code base in XYZ format. Yes, a lot of letters there, but it’ll happen. These kinds of acquisitions and changes in economy I feel are okay. We’re all working from an open source code base. If this was all proprietary stuff that you can never take advantage of, I think that would be bad for the community as a whole, but that’s not the case. It’s just one company saying we’re going to be owners of this project. You can still fork that project any day of the week, don’t forget. Cause it’s all GPL. So I don’t think we’re losing anything in the long run. There’ll be short term hiccups. People won’t be happy. If that plugin doesn’t do exactly what they want, but they probably wouldn’t necessarily be happy even if it wasn’t taken over by someone else. I think there’s a percentage of people that will always want to see all this independent software, but all these companies are technically, okay maybe they’re not all independent because some of them are actually listed on public exchanges, but the opportunity hasn’t been taken away, and if such and such plugin gets acquired by such and such hosting company, I certainly see another hosting company looking for that competitor also happening.

Nathan Wrigley [00:36:01]

Do you feel that, okay, again, rewinding the clock for the second time in this podcast, if we could go back maybe 6, 7, 8 years, something like that, before these companies were buying up suites of plugins and what have you, to bulk out their offering. We basically had independent plugin developers. There may have been a team that grew up over time and they were inventing a solution for a particular problem, and they were really invested in that, and that was great. We want to solve the calendar thing or we want to solve the, I don’t know, the menu thing, whatever it may be. I’m just wondering if we’re maybe getting into the territory of designing things to be acquired. We designed something so that this can happen, so that we can become bought up, taken along for the ride by a big hosting company, and just really whether or not there’s any dynamic that changes the way that instead of serving the customer and always trying to offer the best support for the product, really your whole intention for that business isn’t to create the product for the customer, it’s to create the product for the sell in the future.

Robert Jacobi [00:37:01]

I agree. I think there’s a potential for that. On the correlator, are you getting value in what you want out of that product? So if I use, there’s something I’m going to jump into because it’s happened recently, but on the face of it, it’s a product that is so useful to me that I’m not going to have to do custom code. It’s above and beyond every other plugin competitor in that space. Am I going to use it? I’m going to use it, yes. And to some degree it doesn’t really matter what the incentives for the developer are at that point. If it’s doing what I wanted to do, that I’m going to use it because that’s what I needed to do, and it’s going to save me 10 50, 200 hours of development time to use this plugin as opposed to trying to create something on my own. And that’s question one, or the answer one. Answer two is there certainly is an issue with, what’s a nice word for miscreant. I guess it’s gonna be miscreant, where we’ve seen recently some plugin developers literally switch out what that plugin does and what its value proposition is with, quote unquote, upgrades. And they’ve done it behind your back. Oh, well you signed up for this cute little plugin that makes banners, guess what, now it’s going to do all these things and you have to pay for it just to get banners again, and it’s like really, really is that really what you want to do? And I think those developers are getting called out on it.

The agencies and content creators, certainly in the nearby community are aware of that. I think those kinds of, yeah, they’re not necessarily illegal in any way, shape or form because you can do that, but it doesn’t really stick by the unofficial developer third party ecosystem code of conduct. And I think we’re always going to see exceptions to the rule, but as long as those are just exceptions, I think we’re in a good spot.

Nathan Wrigley [00:38:43]

Let’s pivot again. Openverse. I’ve got to say, this is something that kind of passed me by. The radar wasn’t working properly over the last few weeks since Openverse came along. I’m going to ask you to tell us what Openverse is. I have a very vague understanding of what it is, but I’d like you to tell us why you think it’s important.

Robert Jacobi [00:39:03]

This is a new project in the WordPress ecosystem. I should say WordPress dot org ecosystem. It comes from creative commons search project that was languishing at creative commons. They didn’t have community and developers interested in pushing the search component along and, with support from Automattic, it came into the welcoming arms of wordpress dot org. And it has it’s own thing called Openverse. I’m excited by it. One, because it expands the open source vision of WordPress, WordPress becoming even a greater open source proponent. It’s not just the CMS, but now we also have additional things that we’re caring about, which I think is fantastic. It simultaneously is going to be working on technical aspects as well as open libra software model, or content model, I should say, where the tool will be helping WordPress as well as anyone else, obviously on finding creative commons, open licensed media. So in this case, images. I think it’s a great expansion that’s completely in line with what the project is looking to do. And I think it’s going to be surprisingly helpful and people won’t even realize what’s going on, but they’ll all of a sudden be able to access a bunch of new content natively in whatever application, obviously WordPress will be at that top of the list, but, you’ll be able to access it with Drupal or proprietary systems.

Nathan Wrigley [00:40:40]

What was the problem with the old licensing model? What was broken with it?

Robert Jacobi [00:40:43]

What was broken was there was no one who was going to commit to keeping up the code base to make CC search working and functioning, tweaking it, bug fixes, whatnot. So, as part of the WordPress project, there will actually be active development and maintenance of the creative common search.

Nathan Wrigley [00:41:02]

Okay, so was there any concern that things which you may have downloaded from third-party sites, we all know the ones that we customarily go to, that they were often perhaps changing the license after you downloaded things, and then suddenly you didn’t realize that you were in contravention of a license, which you thought you had full access to download, redistribute, do whatever you wanted and suddenly you realize, oh, okay, that’s no longer the case. This image that I’ve got, I need to take down.

Robert Jacobi [00:41:28]

So, licensing is so fun and entertaining. So a lot of these download an image sites, those licenses still stand. So if you have downloaded it and are using an image that was licensed under creative comments, that’s not going away. Will they relicense new images? Possibly. The point is how easy will it be to find more creative commons based media? And I think that is the purpose of Openverse, to make that as easy and intuitive as possible. So again, it’s taking what used to exist as part of creative, common search, almost like a fork, rebranding it under Openverse and, making it part of an ecosystem that’s open source.

Nathan Wrigley [00:42:15]

And this is going to be completely available inside the WP admin. So you’ll have search integrated there, and if you want to search for, I don’t know, a cat on cushions, for example, you’ll be able to do that and everything that’s returned, you’ll be able to use, hopefully because the search will have returned something valuable to you in this case cat’s on cushions.

Robert Jacobi [00:42:35]

So that is my expectation. Obviously it’s not built into any of that yet, but yeah, that is that’s where I see the project going.

Nathan Wrigley [00:42:40]

But it was a nice philanthropic gesture of Automattic to take this on board and just basically put it into WordPress so that the likes of me, and you can find our cats on cushions whenever we please.

Robert Jacobi [00:43:35]


by Nathan Wrigley at July 14, 2021 02:00 PM under wordcamp

HeroPress: How WordPress Has Changed My Life – Gtarafdar

Pull Quote: I’m really thankful to WordPress. Because of this community I have overseas friends.

I’m Gobinda Tarafdar from Dhaka, Bangladesh. In short, Gtarafdar. This short form is available everywhere on social media. Actually, while I was a kid, a medicine specialist suggested this short form of my name. From that time, I had a plan to use it. Moving on, now I have become a WordPress Enthusiast Marketer. In this essay, I will share my journey to WordPress with you.

Early Stage Of My Career:

I started my career as a teacher in an academic coaching center back in 2010. I was then a 1st-year student of my 4-year Graduation Program. But the number of my earnings was not sufficient to cover all my livelihood. My parents were giving me support to continue my study at that time. So I was looking for more ways to earn my living. But in our country, it’s tough to get a job without graduation. I tried to find more tutoring jobs but failed to get one. Then I gave stand-up comedy a try. At that time, it became popular. I participated in a TV reality show based on stand-up comedy. But failed to reach the top five. So, didn’t get much success in the comedy sector as well.

In this way, two years passed. After a while, I got the idea of a call center job in the telco industry of our country. I gave an interview to our number one telco company Grameenphone – a sister concern of Telenor. And luckily got the chance to join there. And it’s a game-changing part of my career. I learned a lot about team play, pressure handling, the ability to put myself in a customer’s shoes, and more. But it was a part-time job, and my graduation was about to end. Immediately after finishing my graduation, I got the opportunity to join Grameenphone’s Finance team. However, I had to pass the challenging interview as many other promising candidates were competing with me. Everything seemed so great at that time. Got the opportunity to work in the country’s best corporate office, but bad luck struck again. Didn’t get the chance to be a full-time employee from contractual employee status.

I took a break to join the country’s public service commission. Unfortunately, I failed to get the desired position again. In the meantime, my father retired from his job. All of a sudden, so many responsibilities came upon me. By the way, I forgot to mention, in this time frame, I had completed my Graduation, Masters, and MBA. The year where I’m now in the beginning of 2018. After my father’s retirement, I had no time for an experiment. But the main challenge came then.

No one wanted to give me a chance as I worked at one of Bangladesh’s most prominent companies; they thought I couldn’t fit into their office culture.

Also, I wanted to start my career as a Digital Marketer, and I had no practical experience at that time. I had some certification of Udemy and Hubspot free courses. But I was confident that I had a degree of MBA in Marketing. But all of my confidence was doomed within three months. I stopped applying everywhere, started to do some research on the job sector. Finally, I decided to join the IT industry, and in our country, WordPress Based companies are in the leading position. So, I had my target fixed towards the WordPress industry.

A Huge Risk-Taking State in My Career:

I took a huge risk to start my career in the WordPress industry. After not seeing much job opportunities in the Digital Marketing area in my country, I was planning to join the telco industry again as I was finding no option to cherish my dream. I badly needed a job at that time. But meanwhile, I found a job circular in weDevs. They were looking for a Digital Marketer Intern. So I made my decision to take part in this program. Surprisingly, I got another job offer from a renowned MNC of our country in the sales team. But I took a huge risk and started trying for the weDevs internship program, and refused the salesperson job. My friends Mayeen & Arif helped me a lot to learn more about WordPress. And they guided me on how I could set up localhost on my computer, and from then, I started to explore themes and plugins from the WordPress repository. I must say I got an interesting tool to play with. After passing three stages, I finally got the chance to join weDevs. weDevs is a popular WordPress Plugin making company. It’s famous for Dokan Multivendor Marketplace Solution for WooCommerce.

My Life at weDevs

Ohh, maybe you have a question about how it can be risky to go for the weDevs internship program! Well, the payout of the other company was three times higher than the weDevs internship payout. And I refused to join the other sales team while I still didn’t have any guarantee to join the weDevs team. So now you can judge, isn’t that risky? (Sorry, I can’t share the name of the sales company publicly here due to some policy issue.)

The Journey to WordPress:

From the day when I had installed WordPress in my local host, my journey in this ecosystem started. I found it so easy to use and user-friendly that I felt anyone could create a website. I started to read articles and explore the World of WordPress. Also, weDevs’s internship program helped me a lot to get involved in the WordPress industry. My mentor Afshana Diya and Mainul Kabir Aion guided me a lot to dive deep into the sea of WordPress. Learned the area of content marketing, explored paid mediums, gathered knowledge on social media marketing, and more within three months. The internship program was exact and compact, along with interactive.

Here came another twist. I wanted to be a part of the Digital Marketing Team. But because of my communication skills and interpersonal relationship skills, Mr. Nizam Uddin (Founder & CEO at weDevs) offered me the Business Development executive position. It was an entirely new thing at weDevs. I was the one-man army in the Business Development Team. And it opened up a new world to me. At that time, I got my first chance to attend a WordCamp (WCAhmedabad, India 2018). From that time, I got the motive to be involved in the WordPress Community. I’ll share how WordCamps can help you to join the community closely. Later on, I got the chance to participate in WordCamp Kolkata 2019, WordCamp Nagpur 2019. It was a fantastic journey to join WordCamps in person. In 2019 I took part in WordCamp Dhaka as a volunteer.

My Journey to WordCamps

I’d love to share with you; now, I have become part of the Digital Marketing Team of weDevs. After almost two years of my journey as a business development executive, I got this new opportunity to prove myself again. So I took this opportunity and became a Digital Strategist.

Now I’m dedicatedly taking care of a sole product. It’s an Addon of Elementor Page Builder. It’s HappyAddons for Elementor. I’m the product coordinator of this excellent tool. From zero to now, 100k+ users are actively using this tool. It’s an incredible learning period in my career path. I learned how to grow a product from the ground level. It’s a great achievement for me as a Product Marketer.

How WordCamp Helps Me to Become a Member in the WordPress Community:

WordCamps are the place of like-minded people. When you are in touch with the right people under the same roof, you will get that homely feeling. Also, in WordCamps, you get to meet industry experts. Interestingly, you can collect lucrative swag items. To some extent, you will get an opportunity to make partnerships to expand the business. Moreover, some companies share job boxes where anyone can share their resume. So it could be a place of opportunities. Who knows what you will get. But in my case, I made so many friends. We are now close buddies.

The exciting part, some WordCamps run contributors day. On that day, you will get the chance to know closely about how you can take part in the core programs of WordPress. From WordCamp Ahmedabad, I started participating in WordPress programs, also started joining WordPress teams meetings. I’ve become active on social media as well to spread news and updates related to WordPress.

How I’m Enriching My Knowledge of WordPress:

One line changes my way of thinking. Once I was talking with our Founder & CTO, Mr. Tareq Hasan, regarding this topic. He just said, “Gobinda, you don’t have to learn coding to solve the problems of WordPress; you have to gain the ability to solve the problem by anyhow. You can solve any kind of problem by referring to other WordPress Plugins and tools.”

I got a new meaning of using WordPress. From that time, I have started to check WordPress plugins and themes to learn more about their purpose. WordPress repository now becomes a place of amusement for me. Sometimes, my colleagues refer to me as a ‘plugin man’ as I try to give a quick solution to WordPress-related problems with the help of WordPress plugins.

Still, I’m participating in several Facebook Group discussions. Trying to solve several solutions and learning what problems are usually people facing while creating websites with WordPress. And believe me, there is definitely a solution to each particular problem.

You have to keep patience and search for the solution in the right type of keywords.

For example, yesterday on the Facebook group – WordPressian (Dedicated Facebook Group for those who speak Bangali), a person was looking to create a courier service platform where people can track their package. Most people suggested building a custom-made solution. But I know there is a solution; I randomly found it on the WP repository.

So I just googled this term “WordPress plugin: courier service”. Google didn’t disappoint me.

I got my answer, read the description, reviewed, checked screenshots, and shared the solution with that person.

To increase my knowledge of WordPress, I use another method. I use some Google Chrome Extensions for checking the Builtwith Materials of WordPress sites. When I jump on a WordPress site, I just click on the Chrome Ext. and check the plugins they’ve used to create their site. And it helps me a lot to learn the tools and their purposes. You can do that if you want to increase your knowledge of WordPress.

Lastly, you have to create a site by yourself. Otherwise, you would not be able to know the issue on your own. At least create your own portfolio site. I have learned so many things while creating my portfolio site: gtarafdar.com. You will know some untold facts, and finally, you will get a boost. Mr. Asif Rahman, the founder of WP Developers, gave me this idea. He always inspires me to create a personal website. Also, he forced me to write about WordPress daily. Guided me on how I can create a site with Elementor in 2018. I became familiar with a handy tool that helps me create a site without having coding experiences from that time. Later on, it helped me to take over the Happy Elementor Addons Project.

How you can connect with WordPress Socially:

Twitter is the best medium. I opened my Twitter account in 2010. But I had no motivation to use it as I didn’t have people close to me there. My friends were all on Facebook. I was also trying to involve myself on Facebook. But after joining weDevs, I found my Mentor, Afshana Diya, was so active on Twitter, and she has so many like-minded people on Twitter, and most of them belong to the WordPress community. I got new motivation to use Twitter. I started to connect with WordPress Professionals. Also interacted with them regularly. And I must say it feels really amazing.

I’ve prepared a Twitter list of WordPress Influencers. You can easily follow them from here.

How you can start your career at WordPress:

If you have a passion for coding, you could be a WordPress developer. In our region, here is a myth. To become a developer, you have to be a CSE grad. But it’s not true. Let’s check a fact. In our weDevs, most of the Developers are directly not from Computer Science Engineering backgrounds. In the same way, you may have joined the CSE program at an early stage, but now you may not have that much passion for coding. You can be a Product Manager. In the WordPress industry, there is scope for a Product manager as well. Another exciting sector is the Quality Assurance team. So many companies are hiring in this sector. Moreover, if you like to communicate with people, you can join the Support Engineering team. You can’t imagine how many job openings there are in the support engineering field.

Those who don’t have any coding knowledge but are proficient in English and have a passion for writing can join as Content Marketers. There are plenty of job vacancies in the content marketing area.

Another interesting option is joining the Designing team. If you find interest in the designing sector and love to play with the designing tools like Figma, Adobe Tools, Sketch, you can definitely join the design team of a WordPress company.

Later on, other job sectors like HR management, Accounts, Business Development, and other necessary areas are also available on WordPress companies. More interestingly, you can work remotely in so many companies. WordPress founding company Automattic is running its whole operation remotely. You just have to find your perfect niche. Otherwise, you can be frustrated.

I’ve prepared a list of WordPress companies where you can apply for jobs.

Finally, don’t be frustrated, my mate. I often hear from my fellow friends and juniors always blame God, parents, and the government because of their unemployment problem. But when I reach them and personally request to gain some technical skills, they just run away most of the time. Not even reply to my messages anymore. Even some of them block me. Lol. Also, some other groups are available; they knock me for jobs and share their family issues, but when I ask them to learn more about web development, they just fly like a bat. I don’t know what their problem is. If you are in the same category, then my mate, you are in huge trouble. Change your mindset. Gain some skills. It could be anything. Try one by one. Then choose the best one for you. But again, don’t be frustrated. Keep focusing on your goal. And dive into it.

What’s The Challenge on Working in WordPress Industry:

I’ve shared all the positive things about joining the WordPress industry. But there is a significant challenge you have to face while you will join the community. In my region, very few people know WordPress. Only tech-savvy people are familiar with that. Even most of the people don’t have any prior knowledge about remote job life. I have personally experienced so many funny incidents. Last year when my family members found me in front of my Mac and sometimes talking with some people, sometimes in English, they found me as an alien in my house. Even most of the time, I failed to give proof of how the whole work was done. You will face the same situation if you belong to the rural area of Bangladesh. But don’t worry, I prepared a comic book on Describe WordPress To Non-Techies. You can read the conversation with my Grandpa. I have tried to give an idea about WordPress. I hope this will help you to introduce WordPress to the non-tech guys.

How I’m Contributing to the WordPress Community and how you can start:

Usually, I try to attend the weekly meeting of WordPress teams. I have attended several coffee-talk sessions of WordPress Teams. It helps me join with the members. Also, I’m trying to contribute to the Polyglot team. I have started to give suggestions of translating WordPress in Bangla. But mostly, I contribute in different ways. I have conducted local WordPress meet-ups, volunteered on WordCamps. I spread the news and updates through my social media accounts. Help WordPress people to find jobs. Recently, I’ve started my YouTube Channel(Gtarafdarr). I have begun to create how-to tutorials on WordPress.

If you want to join WordPress core teams, you will need a WordPress Slack Account. From here, you can join WordPress Slack.

From here, you will find the meeting schedules of different teams. Don’t get puzzled. You can sort out your desired teams and add the meeting reminders to your calendar.

Everyone in the WordPress community is so helpful. If you find any difficulties, raise your hand and people will guide you in the right way.

Also, there are so many WordPress Facebook communities. Some are locals, and few are international, like WordPress, Advanced WordPress, WordPress For Non-Techies by WPCrafter, The WP Admin Bar, WPLeague, WPBeginner Engage – WordPress Help for Non-Techies, etc. Local Communities are, WordPressians, Kolkata WordPress Community (WPKolkata), etc. You can join these groups to get help from experts. Also, you can help others if you know the answers of the queries.

This How WordPress Changed My Life

Finally, I’m really thankful to WordPress. Because of this community I have overseas friends. We talk and meet virtually. All of them are so helpful. I get new motivations to do something extraordinary in my daily routine. I’m thankful to my parents and my younger sister as they rely upon me. They help me to take the risk to chess my dream. I’m grateful to weDevs and Tareq Hasan, Nizam Uddin, Asif Rahman, Afshana Diya, Mainul Kabir Aion, and my friends Arif, Mayeen, Shahriar, Mazhar, and so on. They all have played a significant role in helping me become Gtarafdar, a WordPress enthusiast. Also, thanks to the HeroPress team for reaching me and encouraging me to share my story here.

I’m still learning about WordPress and have to go further. If you want to connect with me, you can follow me on Twitter: @Gtarafdarr. Let’s contribute to WordPress and hold the glory of the supreme power of an open-source platform.

The post How WordPress Has Changed My Life – Gtarafdar appeared first on HeroPress.

by Gobinda Tarafdar at July 14, 2021 06:42 AM

WPTavern: InstaWP Launches New Service for Disposable WordPress Testing Sites

Competition in the sandboxing products space is heating with the entrance of InstaWP, a new service for setting up disposable WordPress testing sites. Founder Vikas Singhal created the tool to provide a quick way to set up live testing sites online or to show something to a client or team.

InstaWP joins the ranks of services like TasteWP and WPSandbox but with a few unique options. At setup, users can select from WordPress versions back to 4.7 and may even choose to spin up a site using the latest beta or release candidate. Like other services, InstaWP allows you to choose your PHP version. The ability to disable WP cache and browser cache is coming soon. Users can create a custom name for their sites or leave it blank for a randomly generated name.

Free WordPress instances stay live for 8 hours, and users can link their accounts via email to extend it to 48 hours.

InstaWP, not to be confused with InstantWP, a local WordPress installation tool, was built on an nginx + Apache server without any containers. Singhal said he found containers to be too heavy for this particular use case. He runs a WordPress plugin/theme shop along with an agency on the side, both of which could benefit from InstaWP’s quick testing sites.

“I wanted to build a solution for ourselves where we can quickly launch WP instances for a variety of reasons – testing a feature of WP, testing a plugin/theme, testing in different versions of WP/PHP and last but not the least – creating an ‘instant’ test environment for the clients for them to test our plugins/themes,” he said.

Singhal started InstaWP a month ago and received so much positive feedback on Reddit and from the Post Status community that he hired two dedicated developers to work on the project. Testers have commented on how fast the service spins up sites. Version 1.1.0 introduced Slack integration, which allows users to instantly set up a site by typing /wp in Slack. The release also added WordPress admin auto login for quick access without username and password.

InstaWP has a public road map. Features on deck for future releases include the following:

  1. Slack and cli commands
  2. Download Files and DB Backup from the UI
  3. Direct push to FTP or cPanel
  4. nginx and nginx + Apache configurations
  5. Finer controls on PHP settings
  6. Save configurations for instant launch of pre-configured WP
  7. Integrations with hosting providers
  8. Map custom domains
  9. Multiple servers around the world (USA, Singapore, London, etc.)

Singhal said he was aware of TasteWP as a competitor but plans to differentiate InstaWP based on simplicity and feature set.

“My vision with InstaWP is make it a default tool for WP learners, enthusiasts, freelancers, and agencies – basically everyone,” he said.

Singhal plans to monetize the tool for both end-users and plugin and theme authors. Users will have to upgrade to gain access to increased limits, custom domains, FTP access, and the ability to reserve a site. WordPress product authors can upgrade to provide 1-click demos to their clients and prospective customers.

Singhal said so far more than 500 instances have been created and teams from Yoast and some agencies are already using the tool. Several prominent WordPress businesses have requested agency pricing that would allow their users to test their plugins via a 1-click preconfigured install. The service is still under active development and Singhal plans to iron out pricing in the near future. Testers who have suggestions for InstaWP can log them on the tool’s idea board for future consideration.

by Sarah Gooding at July 14, 2021 04:25 AM under News

WPTavern: Duotone Filters: WordPress 5.8 Puts a Powerful Image-Editing Tool Into Users’ Hands

Features such as the upcoming block-based widgets system, the template editor, theme-related blocks, and others have taken up much of the spotlight as of late. However, one of the best user-focused tools shipping with WordPress 5.8 is a duotone filter for Image and Cover blocks.

The term “duotone” in this sense means combining two colors as a filter. Then, layering it over an image or video. More specifically, one color is used for the shadows (dark elements), and the second color is used for the highlights (light colors).

When the feature first landed in Gutenberg 10.6 back in May, I spent a couple of hours just tinkering around with it on that first day. Since then, I have racked up a few more. It is a powerful media-editing tool that does not require users to dive into image-editing programs, allowing them to change the mood of a story at the click of a button.

Duotones can be anything from a simple grayscale to a mixture of any two colors. Shadows and highlights can even be inverted, depending on the shades chosen.

The following shows the difference between an original image of kittens (because who doesn’t love kittens?) and one with a grayscale filter:

Original image vs. grayscale duotone version.

WordPress offers a set of eight duotone color sets by default. This includes a grayscale, dark grayscale, and various combinations, making for some fun filters. Some will work better than others, often depending on the media file uploaded.

Applying the WordPress purple and yellow duotone filter.

Like many other features awaiting users with WordPress 5.8, theme authors are those who need to dig in to offer a range of ready-baked options for users. The new theme JSON file configuration allows developers to define a set of duotone colors that match their theme.

Defining custom duotone filters is as easy as plugging a name, a slug, and two colors into a theme.json file. The theme developer handbook includes examples of creating such presets.

Custom “emerald scale” duotone filter from a theme.

Users are not limited to the filters that WordPress or their themes offer. The duotone popover allows them to choose from any range of colors for custom shadows and highlights.

Duotone typically works best when an image has a high contrast, which means a wide-ranging spread between the light and dark colors. Darker shadows and lighter highlights make for more visually stunning filters.

When used with the Cover block, users can add filters to both image and video backgrounds. However, they also have access to the typical overlay color or gradient option. This provides a ton of flexibility for customizing media.

Duotone filter + gradient overlay on a Cover block.

Because the duotone feature works with an inline SVG file under the hood, it also means that using it does not permanently change image or video files. Users can still use their original media elsewhere on the site without uploading a second copy.

Duotone is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other possibilities outside of just laying a couple of colors on top of an image. Bence Szabó wrote an extensive tutorial on using SVG filters for patterns on CSS-Tricks. This could be a route for background options in the future — wood grain, anyone? Maybe not every possibility is suitable for core WordPress, but I would love to see plugin authors taking a stab at some alternatives.

by Justin Tadlock at July 14, 2021 02:04 AM under WordPress

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.8 Release Candidate 3

The third release candidate for WordPress 5.8 is now available!

WordPress 5.8 is slated for release on July 20, 2021, and we need your help to get there—if you have not tried 5.8 yet, now is the time!

You can test the WordPress 5.8 release candidate 3 in any of these three ways:

  • Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the Bleeding edge channel and then Beta/RC Only stream)
  • Directly download the release candidate version (zip)
  • Use WP-CLI to test: wp core update --version=5.8-RC3

Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta/RC releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.8 and update the Tested up to version in the readme file to 5.8. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can work to solve them in time for the final release.

For a more detailed breakdown of the changes included in WordPress 5.8, check out the WordPress 5.8 beta 1 post. The WordPress 5.8 Field Guide, which is particularly useful for developers, has all the info and further links to help you get comfortable with the major changes.

How to Help

Can you speak and write in a language other than English?  Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you have found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We would love to hear from you! If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Props to @cbringmann, @chanthaboune, and @marybaum for peer-reviewing!

Code is poetry
Jazz is improvisation
Both are forms of art

by Jeffrey Paul at July 14, 2021 01:09 AM under 5.8

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July 25, 2021 07:30 PM
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