WordPress Planet

March 31, 2015

WPTavern: What’s a Better Name for the Happiness Bar?

WP Happiness Bar Featured Imagephoto credit: WPMTL2013happinessbar_13_LR(license)

If you’ve attended a WordCamp, you might be familiar with the term Happiness Bar. It’s an area within a WordCamp venue devoted to providing technical support for WordPress. Morten Rand-Hendriksen thinks it’s time to change the name to something more obvious.

The most important task of giving a service a name is to ensure the name communicates what the service does to the uninitiated. The problem, which is pretty obvious, is that the name “Happiness Bar” says nothing about what is being provided. The name “Happiness Bar” is more befitting a bar where they hand out cotton candy, hugs, or free jokes.

Like Hendriksen, I have observed WordCamp attendees not take full advantage of the happiness bar, mostly due to not knowing what it is. It also doesn’t help when WordCamp organizers fail to mention it during opening remarks. Happiness is a subjective term and is delivered differently depending on the person. This is evident in the responses Hendriksen received when he asked attendees what the happiness bar is.

  • “Is it where they hand out swag?”
  • “It’s a place where they give you life advice?”
  • “It’s a desk where they have life/business/happiness coaches?”
  • “You go there to get a massage?”
  • “Do they give away candy?”

As someone who has attended several WordCamps, I find their responses comical yet, realistic. Within the comments of Hendriksen’s post, Jen Mylo gives insight into how the happiness bar originated.

Here’s the historical reason it was called that: It used to be Genius Bar and at SxSW an Apple person came over, smiled, and took a picture, and we were afraid we’d get sued. WCSF was coming up soon and all of the natural names like WP Help Desk etc had independent businesses attached to them, and we didn’t want to have a conflict with any small businesses.

Back when Automattic ran WCSF (vs a .org community team like now), happiness bar made sense for that one event, because they were mostly Happiness Engineers and it didn’t infringe on anyone’s business. After that, other WCs wanted to copy it. I begged them not to, to just call it a help desk or something, but organizers persisted in wanting to adopt that nomenclature to be more like SF. (I didn’t use it at the WCs I organized in NYC or Savannah.)

I work for Automattic so I obviously think it’s a good company, but the devotion to that name in other contexts has always bummed me out, because it doesn’t mean a damn thing to anyone unless they have already been indoctrinated with the whole ‘focus on happiness, not support, because the happy outcome is what we want to provide’ thing, which almost no one has.

Mylo finished her comment by offering feedback on Hendriksen’s suggestions for a new name and encouraged him to post his idea to the Make WordPress Community site to start a more official conversation.

Call The Happiness Bar The WordPress Help Center

I think the happiness bar should be renamed to something that’s generic and easy to figure out based on its title alone. My suggestion is to call it the WordPress Help Center. It tells people it’s a location within the venue and is a place to get WordPress help. It’s also generalized so that it covers both WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

The only issue I see is that, WP HelpCenter used to be a service that offered WordPress tech support. However, the site and service has been defunct for a long time. Perhaps the WordPress Foundation can find a way to obtain the domain so the title can be used at WordCamps.

Do you think it’s time to rename the happiness bar to something else? If so, let us know what you would call it and why.

by Jeff Chandler at March 31, 2015 07:56 PM under wordpress help center

WPTavern: Behind the Curtain with DerpPress, WordPress’ Anonymous Satirical Twitter Account


For the past two years, the DerpPress Twitter account has been cranking out tweets to amuse followers with clever puns and subtle commentary on WordPress news and development. Of all the anonymous accounts devoted to tweeting WordPress-related humor, DerpPress is the most consistent and dependable source of timely wise cracks.

You’ll find the account tweeting on a variety of topics, including current events, security, WordCamps, automatic updates, and WordPress personalities.

DerpPress is also frequently the originator of playful hashtags that encourage the community to join in creating WordPress-related puns.

Who could forget Valentine’s Day 2015 when the illustrious Derp spontaneously broke out into verse?

The person behind the account has yet to be unmasked. At the risk of putting his/her seemingly never-ending fountain of puns in jeopardy, do we really want to know DerpPress’ real identity?

As part of our continual quest to find out who is behind the account, the Tavern reached out to DerpPress for an interview. Below are unedited answers to some of our burning questions and perhaps even a few clues pointing towards the mysterious voice behind the account.

1. When you created the DerpPress account, what was on your mind? Did you simply hope to have a few laughs? Or were you thinking, “WordPress needs its own satirical twitter account.”

Much more of the former than the latter. As I recall, the WP Honey Badger was rather active back when I started the DerpPress account, so it wasn’t as though the WP community lacked for snarky subtweets. It wasn’t any sort of stated mission or anything — I primarily started it out as a way to gently rib bad WordPress coding practices and missteps (usermeat and such) and honestly it just evolved from there.

2. On Aug 2nd last year, you tweeted from what I can only assume was WordCamp NYC. To whom did you reveal yourself? How many people are aware of your true identity?

Yup, WCNYC. One person guessed it there. As for other folks who have acknowledged knowing it’s me: I know of one definite, two that I’m pretty sure have me nailed and another two who claim to know but I’m betting are guessing wrong.

3. What other WordCamps have you attended?

Quite a few.

4. What do you think of WordPress competitors like Ghost?

Ghost minus the hype is intriguing, but I think its reliance upon Node.js is the real short-term killer for competing against WP. It’s just not possible at this stage to find a decent shared host that will let you run Node, so it’s either self-hosting or expensive “professional” tier hosting (leaving aside their own hosted solution). It’s really hard to compete against WP’s simplicity and low, low, LOW system requirements.

I’ve looked into Bolt a bit, I’ve always kept at least an eye on Drupal and Joomla!, and a few of the static site generators (Leeflets, Jekyll, etc.). While I like Markdown as much as the next web copywriter, those options are still a bit too fiddly for the mass market. My noodling-about shared hosting accounts are littered with the likes of Xoops, concrete5, MODx, Melody, Habari, heck, even a Textpattern install or two.

WordPress is innovating, though, and in a way that many folks seem blind to — the WP-API. The intriguing part of the WP-API is that it will (theoretically) allow multiple other projects to either integrate existing WP installs into their flow or to dramatically “re-skin” WordPress. You could potentially have a Ghost-like dashboard, completely free of WP’s legacy, all driven off the API. It’s pretty exciting.

Also, I miss having MovableType around to kick about.

5. Do you think that John O’Nolan characterized you unfairly in his post on open source culture? Can you respond to his claims? Would you identify yourself as an open source cultural influencer?

“Conversely, it’s sad to see a sometimes disparate culture in the WordPress core community. Anonymous twitter accounts like WordPreh and DerpPress spend all day, every day, mostly cutting down other people and projects. It’s like a niche version of Secret app. Regular ad hominem snark directed at people both inside and outside the WordPress community.” – O’Nolan

An influencer? I certainly hope not.

I think O’Nolan really misses my point. I know that there are lots of WP ecosystem ex-pats tooling about, some with axes to grind, but I do appreciate the ones who take the time to say “This is what I see is wrong with WP and here’s some constructive feedback”.

That being said, the WordPress community can occasionally exhibit behavior best described as “hero worship”. It’s honestly a great thing for “rockstars” to make themselves available, but too often we find ourselves venerating folks for their position. I definitely subtweet a good deal and I really try not to take myself too seriously. I hope others do the same. This is all good-natured ribbing. (Except for when we take shots at Joomla!. Those are deadly serious.)

There’s occasionally bouts of That’s Not Funnyism that runs rampant. I suggest a mild dose of Everyone Calm Down And Laugh A Bit.

6. Were you disappointed by not making Torque’s list of 100 WordPress influencers?

Absolutely no one should ever listen to me about anything. Ever.

7. Can you recommend some strategies for becoming a better WordPress professional?

See point #6. But in general: you should be attending Meetups and WordCamps, making connections, following interesting WP people on Twitter (and clicking the links they share), and working with WP in your spare time, if ever you have any. The best way to get better at anything WP is to practice, and to pay attention.

Also: build a time machine and go back and study WordPress’ history from the beginning.

8. Who would make a good replacement for Matt Mullenweg to lead WordPress and why?

Interesting question. I hear Steve Ballmer may have some free time on his hands as of late and…


Oh. Well, it might be interesting if the respective heads of WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! each took a year and a half and headed one of the other projects — Matt could head Joomla!, Dries could do WordPress, and, hmmm, I’m not sure who leads J!, but they could take Drupal. Bring some crazy outsider perspective to each, and maybe this way we’ll finally get proper request routing in WordPress.

9. What are 5 crazy facts we’d never guess about you? (Please give us more clues, even if you need to obscure them in riddles)

  1. I aspire to performing stand-up comedy at some point, but my appeal is so niche, Spinal Tap’s puppet show would attract a larger audience.
  2. I was chased by a snapping turtle once.
  3. My best friend is a Tiger.
  4. Since they changed the Zodiac signs, I have no idea what my sign is anymore.
  5. As a kid, I wanted to be an aerospace engineer designing the successor to the SR-71.
  6. I’ll not be bound by your rules or conventions!
  7. I am a sweater. Take that as you will.
  8. Oxford comma forever.
  9. Emoticons and emoji actually hurt to use, so sometimes Tweeting as this persona is painful. :)

10. What’s your favorite plugin?

Markdown on Save

11. What’s your opinion on post formats? Are they dead?

They never really caught on in the first place. Since Tumblr seems to be fading, I would imagine their eventual replacement will be whatever Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, or Medium make into the new hotness.

Aesop’s take on front-end editing (Lasso) is intriguing and I’d LOVE to see story-building replace post formats as a core feature.

Plus, live streaming is hot, so I guess we can expect Meerkat/Periscope/Twitch-alike functionality built into WP 4.4.

12. If you were to speak at a WordCamp, what would your topic be?

“If”? You’re assuming I’ve never done so. :)

“Humo[u]r And Open Source: Why So Serious?”

Maybe someday I’ll present a la why the lucky stiff. Who knows?

PS: #WPMovies was possibly the highlight of my Twitter experience thus far. I love you all deeply for it.

by Sarah Gooding at March 31, 2015 03:40 PM under fun

Matt: Calvin and Hobbes And Mindfulness

Fun read by J.D. Andre: What Calvin and Hobbes taught me about mindfulness. I’ve been practicing daily with the Calm app.

by Matt at March 31, 2015 04:23 AM under Asides

March 30, 2015

Matt: Coworking Vacation

Cool distributed work article: Why I decided to go on a cowork vacation in Bali for a month .

by Matt at March 30, 2015 04:55 AM under Asides

WPTavern: Mark Jaquith Releases Cache Buddy: A Plugin to Enhance Popular WordPress Caching Solutions

photo credit: SergioMonsalve - ccphoto credit: SergioMonsalvecc

Mark Jaquith, one of the lead developers of WordPress, released Cache Buddy on WordPress.org over the weekend. His new plugin works alongside caching solutions, such as WP Super Cache, Batcache, and W3 Total Cache, to enable WordPress to better serve cached pages to logged-in users.

Jaquith knows just about everything there is to know about site optimization and caching techniques in WordPress. He recently gave a presentation at WordCamp London 2015, entitled “Cache Money Business” where he debuted the new plugin.

He introduced Cache Buddy as “a companion for your WordPress page caching solution.” Ordinarily, when WordPress is serving pages to logged-in users or those with comment cookies, it cannot cache pages, even with popular caching plugins in place. Cache Buddy steps in to fill in the gap, allowing WordPress to serve a cached page to logged-in users by performing the following:

  1. Changes what paths logged-in cookies are set for (so they work in the WordPress backend, but don’t exist on the front of the site).
  2. Sets custom cookies with relevant information about the logged-in user, on the front of the site, making these cookies JavaScript-readable.
  3. Sets custom cookies for commenters (again, JavaScript-readable), and doesn’t set the normal WordPress comment cookies.
  4. Uses the information from these JavaScript cookies, plus some comment form magic, to recreate the comment form experience users would get from a dynamic page.

By cutting down on the number of dynamic views (cache misses), the load on your sever is dramatically decreased. The toolbar will be hidden from Subscriber and Contributor users, but Authors, Editors, and Administrators will still see the toolbar and get dynamic views.

Cache Buddy is ideal for sites that already have a caching solution in place and get lots of traffic but have no strict requirements on providing dynamic views. Jaquith summarized the kinds of sites for which Cache Buddy will not be useful:

If you have a BuddyPress site or an e-commerce site, you may honestly need WordPress logged-in cookies available on the front of your site. But if you’re just running a blog/CMS site with a significant number of commenters and logged-in Subscribers, this plugin could massively speed up your site, because requests that had to always be dynamic before, can now be served from a page cache.

Cache Buddy is available to download for free from WordPress.org. To learn more about how it works, check out Jaquith’s post introducing the plugin, as well as his slides from WordCamp London 2015.

by Sarah Gooding at March 30, 2015 04:07 AM under performance

March 29, 2015

Post Status: Andrew Nacin has joined the White House’s U.S. Digital Service

Andrew Nacin hasn’t worked at Audrey Capital since January. At Audrey, he has worked for more than four years for WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, exclusively on the WordPress project. He has joined the White House’s new U.S. Digital Service.

The U.S. Digital Service is a new organization that operates from the White House, with an aim to modernize and transform the way the federal government operates digitally.

When I was approached, I have to admit that I was nervous to step back from the day-to-day buzz of WordPress because I’ve invested so much. But the community stepped up, in most cases not even knowing about my life change. That’s the beauty of open source, and the fantastic WordPress community in particular. WordPress continues to play an important role in my life. With Matt Mullenweg’s support and encouragement, I’m taking time away from Audrey, where I’ve worked since 2010. I’m still actively involved in the project, just not full time.

Those that are aware of WordPress core development and Nacin’s role in it, know that he’s enormously influential on the project. He’s lead developer for WordPress and has worked full-time or more than full-time exclusively on WordPress for years. He lead WordPress 3.5, 3.7, and 3.9 in a span of two years. In 2014, Nacin spent a lot of time on security related projects, and he’s always been heavily involved in a variety of WordPress.org website projects.

The year of delegation

Nacin spent much of 2014 attempting to make himself replaceable. No software project is healthy if there is one person that is so indispensable that if they were no longer involved the project would be severely burdened.

From security, to internationalization efforts, to leading releases, to managing the WordPress.org website, Nacin has altered his role throughout the year to empower other contributors to do the type of work he was doing.

His transfer to the U.S. Digital Service just happened to be good timing with this effort. The perfect testament is that he’s been working full time with the U.S. Digital Service since January and the large majority of the WordPress core development community has had no idea.

Some may be concerned about what happens without Nacin full time on core. The answer is that “business as usual” will happen, and is already happening.

About the U.S. Digital Service

Members of the U.S. Digital Service come from all over the country and some of the top tech companies in the world. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are among them. They work on small teams and embed into troubled federal projects to help test, triage, and transform them to success. Wired has a great in-depth article on how the organization works. The team was established in the wake of the Healthcare.gov disaster, and they’re taking the success they had fixing Healthcare.gov across the government.

Nacin is on one of these teams, and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect fit. Those that follow him on Twitter or know him in person can see his passion for government. He also lives in DC and has friends in various parts of government.

It’s my nature to look for the hardest problems to solve. I like to take on big challenges and spend every ounce of energy working to solve them. I believe in what we’re doing here. The stakes are high. No matter the challenge, I know what we’re doing will change millions of lives.

A changing role

He’ll be away from Audrey for his stint in government. At some point, he may come back to Audrey and resume his work. It’s actually a preferred method of employment for many members of the U.S. Digital Service. Many of the team members are leaving lucrative jobs to work for the government, which has many restrictions that had to be overcome.

They even make exceptions on how they dress. The program is designed for members of the U.S. Digital Service to have flexible employment, where they work for six months, or maybe a year, and then they return to the private sector. They may even rotate into the U.S. Digital Service multiple times.

In his announcement post, Nacin advocates for others to consider joining the U.S. Digital Service. I think it would be incredible if more WordPress developers were involved at that level of government, and it would be a further testament to open source’s standing in the government community — a sector that was slow to adopt open technology but now is doing so regularly.

WordPress lead developers are not always full time on WordPress. Mark Jaquith has never been full time on the project. It is more important that they can guide the project, but being a lead developer doesn’t mean writing code for WordPress every day. It means steering the ship, and that’s what Nacin and the other lead developers do day to day.

I’m really excited for Nacin, and I think it’s great for the project. The amount he will learn and engage with the U.S. Digital Service will make him an even better WordPress lead developer. The U.S. Digital Service is also one of the most exciting government initiatives I’ve ever seen.

You can learn more about his decision to join on his blog, and learn more about the U.S. Digital Service on their website.

Photo credit: Vladimir Petkov

by Brian Krogsgard at March 29, 2015 05:56 PM under Everyone

Andrew Nacin: I’ve joined the White House’s U.S. Digital Service

The need for effective government services is rising, while confidence in our ability to deliver them is dropping. More than ever, day-to-day interactions with government are powered by digital systems, and yet far too many Federal IT projects arrive late or over budget. Others are simply abandoned. These failures are often felt by those who count on it most — working class Americans and people who turn to government in a moment of need.
The U.S. Digital Service on whitehouse.gov

When you’re presented with an opportunity to help transform how the federal government works for the American people, it’s really hard to say no.

For five years and counting, I’ve had the honor and privilege as a lead developer of WordPress to play a role in a large, incredible movement to democratize publishing. From my home in D.C., I’ve closely watched open data and open government efforts. I feel very strongly about an open, transparent, and efficient government — boosted in no small part by WordPress and open source.

I’ve long admired a number of my new teammates, especially Erie Meyer, Gray Brooks, and Haley van Dyck, for years of tenacity and hard work trying to change government from the inside out. I’ve always felt I could be more effective helping government from the outside, by continuing to work on WordPress. After all, we’ve all heard horror stories of all sorts of red tape, from hiring to procurement and everything in between. And we’ve all heard how difficult government itself makes it to launch good government digital services. While many of us may have have wanted to help, few thought they could. Fewer knew how.

But then the U.S. Digital Service was formed, from the team that helped rescue healthcare.gov. It’s dedicated to tackling some of government’s most pressing problems, ones that directly affect millions of people’s lives. The formula is simple: take what helped turn around healthcare.gov and apply it to other high priority projects across government.

In this day and age, public policy must be backed by effective technology to succeed. The American people need our help and our government has asked us to serve, as doers and makers, creative thinkers, and specialized technologists dedicated to untangling, rewiring, and redesigning our government.

In January, I joined the U.S. Digital Service.

When I was approached, I have to admit that I was nervous to step back from the day-to-day buzz of WordPress because I’ve invested so much. But the community stepped up, in most cases not even knowing about my life change. That’s the beauty of open source, and the fantastic WordPress community in particular. WordPress continues to play an important role in my life. With Matt Mullenweg’s support and encouragement, I’m taking time away from Audrey, where I’ve worked since 2010. I’m still actively involved in the project, just not full time.

The U.S. Digital Service is the real deal. I’ve been astounded by the impact we’ve already made. We’ve recruited some of the best and brightest. Don’t just take my word for it — do what you can to learn more about this movement and come help us make government better. If you haven’t seen this video yet, take a look. (A few of you have noticed me in the background.)

It’s my nature to look for the hardest problems to solve. I like to take on big challenges and spend every ounce of energy working to solve them. I believe in what we’re doing here. The stakes are high. No matter the challenge, I know what we’re doing will change millions of lives.

I thought I had made the most of my decade in D.C. I’ve witnessed a lot of history. I knew I’d have some great stories to tell my future kids and grandkids. I was there. I saw it. That was only the beginning.

by Andrew Nacin at March 29, 2015 05:25 PM under WordPress

Matt: US memory championship.

To attain the rank of grand master of memory, you must be able to perform three seemingly superhuman feats. You have to memorize 1,000 digits in under an hour, the precise order of 10 shuffled decks of playing cards in the same amount of time, and one shuffled deck in less than two minutes.

Ever wondered how to win the U.S. memory championship?

by Matt at March 29, 2015 04:00 AM under Asides

March 28, 2015

Matt: GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty

The New Yorker has a great overview as Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty.

by Matt at March 28, 2015 04:32 AM under Asides

March 27, 2015

WPTavern: Slack Adds Two-Factor Authentication Support After Recent Security Breach

slack-logoSlack, which is used by thousands of people world-wide to communicate, recently suffered a security breach. According to Slack, the breach occurred during a four-day period in February.

Hackers gained access to a central database used to store user names, email addresses, and one-way encrypted (“hashed”) passwords. In addition, the database contains information that users may have optionally added to their profiles such as phone number and Skype ID.

Slack uses bcrypt with a randomly generated salt per-password that according to Slack, “makes it computationally infeasible that your password could be recreated from the hashed form.” No financial data was compromised and so far, the company hasn’t found any evidence that the hackers were able to decrypt the stored passwords.

Two New Security Options

Slack has launched two new features for individuals and team owners to help increase security. The first is Two-Factor authentication. Slack has a detailed guide that explains how to configure 2FA for your account. When you enable 2FA, you’ll be prompted to enter a verification code in addition to your normal password whenever you sign in.

The second is a “Password Kill Switch” for team owners. The kill switch allows for instantaneous team-wide resetting of passwords and forced termination of all user sessions for all team members. This means that everyone is signed out of your Slack team, in all apps and on all devices.

Enable 2FA Where Possible

Users are highly encouraged to enable 2FA on Slack and on any other service that supports it. To learn more about Slack’s security principles, including how to report security vulnerabilities, check out their security page.

by Jeff Chandler at March 27, 2015 06:51 PM under two-factor authentication

Post Status: The Excerpt Episode 2 — WordPress news with Julie Kuehl

Welcome to The Excerpt, part of the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can also find on iTunes. Draft consists of two formats: long form interviews like I’ve done for a long time, and The Excerpt for a summary of news around the WordPress ecosystem.

With The Excerpt, we cover a few of our favorite stories from the Post Status Club over the last week or two. The primary goal is to keep it short and informational: we keep the podcast to 15 minutes.

Content covered in The Excerpt will largely be samples from the members only content, but may also cover free articles and resources. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy The Excerpt, but it is a nice way to preview what members get every day.

Here’s Episode 2, which Julie Kuehl hosted with me:


Direct Download

by Brian Krogsgard at March 27, 2015 03:27 PM under Everyone

March 26, 2015

WPTavern: Enhanced Plugin Installs Axed From WordPress 4.2

A few days ago, we highlighted how WordPress 4.2 radically improves the installation and update process for plugins. Several readers commented on the article expressing that automatically activating plugins after installation is a bad idea. A decision was made during the March 25th, WordPress core developer chat to remove enhanced plugin installs from WordPress 4.2 and punt it to a future release. However, enhanced plugin updates will remain in WordPress 4.2.

New Plugin Update RoutineNew Plugin Update Routine

It’s uncommon for functionality to be removed from WordPress this late in the development cycle. Drew Jaynes, who is leading the 4.2 release cycle, explains that the feature just isn’t ready.

Prudence demands that we decide whether to do things now vs do things right. In this case, we want to make sure we handle the user experience of activating plugins after installation the right way for most use cases. So we still have ‘Shiny Updates’, but we’re going to have to fall back and regroup on ‘Shiny Installs’.

On the Make WordPress core blog, Aaron Jorbin outlined three issues caused by auto activating plugins.

  1. Plugins that require after activation steps (such as connecting to Jetpack or Google Analytics, updating permalinks for BuddyPress, etc) aren’t obvious. We need a way for plugins to provide a notice upon activation that shows what to do next.
  2. Since the menu isn’t updated, users still need to do a page refresh in order for the changes to actually go in effect and for them to use the features of many plugins.
  3. There are plugins such as maintenance mode ones that users will not want to be activated right away.

The idea of installing plugins inline is sound, but until the user experience issues are addressed, the plugin install process will remain the same.

by Jeff Chandler at March 26, 2015 08:50 PM under wordpress 4.2

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 185 – Turning The Page With Joshua Strebel

In this episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I are joined by Joshua Strebel, CEO of Pagely. We learn how Pagely was founded and the advantages of being an independently owned company. Strebel explains how he’s managed Pagely’s rapid growth while maintaining exceptional service. Last but not least, we discuss the competitive nature and lack of integrity throughout the webhosting industry.

Stories Discussed:

Pods Lead Developer Scott Kingsley Clark Launches “Friends of Pods” Funding Campaign
HeroPress Publishes its First Essay “Finding Your Place” by Andrey Savchenko

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

Plugins Speed Test shows the impact installed plugins have on your site’s speed.

Disable Emojis disables the new emoji functionality in WordPress 4.2.

Auto Post FB Comment embeds a Facebook comment form on your blog and automatically inserts a user’s comment to the WordPress database.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, April 1st 9:30 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #185:

by Jeff Chandler at March 26, 2015 07:46 PM under pods

Matt: Tokyo Meetup

Are you in or near Tokyo? I’m going to be in town and doing a meetup this Sunday, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with the local community. I’m told you can read about it on this link: WordBench東京 3月スペシャル『春のマット祭り』 – WordBench東京.

by Matt at March 26, 2015 04:51 PM under Asides

Matt: DNS Performance

DNSPerf is a cool service that measures the speed of different DNS providers, Cloudflare and WordPress.com rank very well.

by Matt at March 26, 2015 03:23 AM under Asides

WPTavern: How to Get Your WordPress Site Ready for Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm


The WordPress Theme Review team is encouraging all theme authors to take notice of Google’s upcoming change to its ranking algorithm, which will be put in place at the end of April:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

You can find out if your site is ready by testing it with the mobile-friendly testing tool created by Google. It will give you a rough idea of how the Googlebot views your pages.


Google Webmaster Tools has a new Mobile Usability Report that will also give you a more detailed breakdown of any mobile usability issues with your site.

Although Google hasn’t published an exact guide to how the new ranking algorithm will work, it provides a guide for mobile SEO. The documentation for the Principles of Site Design on Web Fundamentals is also a great resource with practical suggestions for making your site better for mobile users.

Google also created a mobile-friendliness guide specifically for WordPress users. It encourages site admins to update to the latest version of WordPress and to use a theme that that is mobile-friendly.

If you want to test your site on various mobile devices, the Google Chrome browser has a “mobile device emulation” feature that can be found under the “Developer Tools” menu.

Find a Responsive WordPress Theme

Out of the 3,000+ themes listed on in the official directory, filtering by “Responsive Layout” under “Features” currently returns only 947 themes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that 2/3 of themes hosted on WordPress.org are not responsive. These are simply the ones that have been tagged with “Responsive Layout.”

The Theme Review Team posted a notice about the update to encourage developers to examine their themes for mobile-readiness ahead of time. If your theme is not responsive, Emil Uzelac suggests adding responsive media queries:

Mobile-Friendly can be a Responsive design, but also an App that turns your theme into a “mobile version”.

Since we don’t accept themes with mobile Apps because that would fall into a plugin territory, our choice is Responsive and media queries instead of browser sniffing tools.

Now, for the mobile-friendliness, responsive media queries will be enough and that is the very basic to be qualified as “mobile-friendly”.

Not all WordPress.org theme developers will be willing to update their themes with a responsive layout, as some of them are abandoned and no longer maintained. If your theme is failing Google’s mobile friendly test, the most important change you can make is to update to a theme with a responsive layout. Even if site ranking and SEO are not important to your objectives, improving the experience for mobile users should be enough motivation to make the change.

by Sarah Gooding at March 26, 2015 01:16 AM under seo

March 25, 2015

WPTavern: HeroPress Publishes its First Essay “Finding Your Place” by Andrey Savchenko

heropressDespite not hitting his funding goal of $60k, Topher DeRosia took the feedback and support he received and moved forward with the HeroPress project. HeroPress now focuses on delivering information through text and images instead of video which significantly decreases costs. It also provides more translation opportunities as it’s easier to translate text versus video.

Although the project has new life, its mission remains the same: To develop the WordPress heroes of the world by sharing the accumulated wisdom of the community.

HeroPress has taken its first step in accomplishing this mission by publishing an essay by Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko entitled, “Finding Your Place”. The essay describes Savchenko’s journey in finding his place within the WordPress community.

It’s an inspiring read filled with peaks, valleys, and sound advice. If the first essay is any indication of what to expect out of HeroPress, I think the WordPress community is in for a treat. I for one can’t wait to read the next one.

by Jeff Chandler at March 25, 2015 09:31 PM under rarst

WPTavern: ThemeReview.co Earns Recommendations by StudioPress and Envato

ThemeReview.co, the theme review service started by Emil Uzelac and Justin Tadlock earlier this year, announced StudioPress and Envato both recommend using its service. Those who create themes for Genesis or ThemeForest can now have them reviewed by both before selling them in the marketplace.

Themes developed for ThemeForest that are reviewed by Uzelac and Tadlock will receive a secondary review by the ThemeForest theme review team. Since both Uzelac and Tadlock are senior reviewers for the WordPress.org theme directory, reviewed themes are more likely to do things the WordPress way instead of locking users in.

ThemeReview.co is only three months old, but partnering with the largest WordPress theme marketplace ought to provide an unlimited amount of business. The question is, will ThemeForest authors spend the money to have their themes reviewed by a third-party?

by Jeff Chandler at March 25, 2015 08:48 PM under themereview.co

WPTavern: Take The “How Do You Learn WordPress” Survey

WordPress trainer and coach, Bob Dunn, wants to know how you learn WordPress. Once the survey concludes, Dunn will publish the results in an infographic.

Survey QuestionsSurvey Questions

With so many options available to learn WordPress, I’m interested to see which method comes out on top. I learned WordPress by trial and error and using tutorials I found through Google. I also used the WordPress Codex as my go-to resource since there weren’t many educational resources in 2006-2007. These days, users have plenty of options to learn WordPress through trainers like Dunn, WordPress.tv, WordCamps, and hundreds of free tutorials.

If you learn best by reading, I highly encourage you to check out the following handbooks, which are condensed guides focused on a specific subject. Keep in mind that they’re works in progress.

Share your guides, techniques, and resources for learning WordPress in the comments.

by Jeff Chandler at March 25, 2015 06:25 PM under survey

WPTavern: Shortcake Is Now a WordPress Feature Plugin

photo credit: kendiala - ccphoto credit: kendialacc

Shortcake, a plugin that adds a UI to make shortcodes more user friendly, is now an official WordPress feature plugin. The project is led by Daniel Bachhuber, currently the interim director of engineering at Fusion, the company where Shortcake originated. Contributors include Matthew Haines-Young and the folks at Human Made.

The plugin is being developed on GitHub but is also now available for download on WordPress.org. Developers who want to utilize Shortcake can register a UI for their shortcodes alongside add_shortcode, which will expose Shortcake’s user-friendly interface.

Shortcake transforms your ordinary shortcode to render a preview in a TinyMCE view:


It also supplies a user-friendly UI to add shortcodes via the “Add Media” button. After selecting your shortcode, you’ll have the ability to edit its content and attributes.


Version 0.2.0 enhances the post element interface in the following ways:

  • Shortcodes are sorted alphabetically, making it easier to skim and find shortcodes.
  • Shortcodes can be filtered by name using the “Search” field, reducing complexity when a site has many dozens of shortcodes.
  • The “Insert Element” button is disabled until a post element is selected, providing a visual cue to the user.

This release also makes a number of significant changes to the structure of the plugin. It has been retooled using an MVC architecture that relies on Browserify. Shortcake contributor Jitendra Harpalani explains the reasons behind the changes:

Specifically, we decided to use Browserify. It’s much easier to compartmentalize models, views, and controllers into different directories and then simply “require” them into your main JavaScript file, rather than having to create a self-contained and fully-fledged Backbone app.

Fortunately, WordPress core already uses Browserify to split apart the media library JavaScript, so it doesn’t introduce a new dependency.

Does Shortcake have a chance to make it into WordPress core?

Although shortcodes make it easy to insert and structure complex content, they’re an eyesore in the post editor. Including multiple shortcodes the old fashioned way can quickly become messy.

Shortcake is a well-conceived solution that brings new life to shortcodes and makes them significantly less confusing to implement. Contributors on the project believe in it enough to start working on the steps necessary to make the feature plugin ready to be proposed for core.

If it does land in core someday, it will be interesting to see how well the feature is adopted. If some developers register a UI for their shortcodes and others don’t, it could be confusing to know which shortcodes are available if they don’t show up on the “Insert Element” screen. Then again, that problem already exists without Shortcake. Without the help of an additional plugin, there’s no easy way to know which shortcodes are available.

If you think Shortcake has potential and want to get involved, follow the updates on make.wordpress.org/core and join the development team for a meeting on WordPress.org Slack.

by Sarah Gooding at March 25, 2015 10:59 AM under shortcake

March 24, 2015

Matt: Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others – HBR

Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others, by Sean Graber in the Harvard Business Review.

Why are some organizations reaping benefits but others not? Conditions are seemingly ideal: More and more people are choosing to work remotely. By one estimate, the number of remote workers in the U.S. grew by nearly 80% between 2005 and 2012. Advances in technology are keeping pace. About 94% of U.S. households have access to broadband Internet — one of the most important enablers of remote work. Workers also have access to an array of tools that allow them to videoconference, collaborate on shared documents, and manage complex workflows with colleagues around the world. So what’s the problem?

by Matt at March 24, 2015 08:50 PM under Asides

WPTavern: Pods Lead Developer Scott Kingsley Clark Launches “Friends of Pods” Funding Campaign

Friends of Pods LogoBetween support costs, website maintenance, and development time, managing a WordPress plugin can be expensive. Despite the costs associated with maintaining Pods, it’s remained free of charge since the day it was created. In September 2011, Pods lead developer, Scott Kingsley Clark, created a Kickstarter campaign asking for $1,500 to help fund Pods 2.0 development. By the time it ended, he received $4,177 with 91 backers.

According to Clark, sponsorship money from Automattic and donations from users are just enough to keep the support team going with little left over to put towards website and plugin development. In what may be a first for a WordPress plugin, Clark has launched a “Friends of Pods” funding campaign that works similar to public television.

Friends of Pods Mission StatementFriends of Pods Mission Statement

There are four tiers to choose ranging from $5-$300 per month. Each tier has perks and benefits including, shirts, stickers, tweets, and placement on the Pods website. You can also donate a one time amount or become a pillar sponsor. Those who donate $25 a month or more are eligible to choose rewards every six months, which are provided by reward partners.

The funding will be used to decrease private development of Pods and focus more on Pods core, related plugins, and integrations. It will also free up time to work on Pods 3.0 and improve its documentation. “Through Friends of Pods, we will grow both in terms of improving the code and strengthening our community. We also plan on adding “Pods Development Partners” to the Friends of Pods site soon as well as other cool tools to help our friends grow with Pods,” Clark said.

It’s unclear whether this model will work, but it gives Clark and his team an opportunity to receive recurring income without charging for Pods. If the experiment is successful, it would give plugin developers another option to earn recurring income while keeping their plugins free.

by Jeff Chandler at March 24, 2015 07:07 PM under pods

WPTavern: WP REST API Plugin Version 1.2 Released


The WordPress REST API plugin version 1.2 was released today after roughly nine months of development. Version 1.1 was released in June 2014 with the addition of taxonomies and terms routes and a focus on increasing test coverage for all endpoints.

Version 1.2 has test coverage for taxonomies and terms at 98%. Meta is 87% and all others are above 50% (Comments: 67%, Users: 60%, Posts: 54%). According to Rachel Baker, one of the lead developers on the project, said the team is shooting for >80% on the ‘develop’ branch.

Version 1.2 adds handling for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) OPTIONS requests, request hijacking, better errors, and a slew of bug fixes. This release received contributions from 29 people, and the full changelog for 1.2 is available on GitHub.

If you’re a developer who is currently using the WP REST API in one of your projects, you may be wondering about compatibility for updating to 1.2.

“Some internal functions were deprecated, but compatibility impact is really minor,” Baker said. All of these changes are noted in the changelog under “Deprecation warning” or “Compatibility warning.”

What’s Next for Version 2.0 of the WP REST API?

Version 1.2 is the last stop on the 1.x branch of the plugin. “We’ve been working hard over the past four months, with the aim of releasing a beta for version 2.0 next month,” Baker said in her release post.

“For existing code written for version 1.x we will issue a final 1.x release as a compatibility shim to seamlessly connect existing code to version 2.0.”

Developers are eager to find out when the WP REST API will land in WordPress core. There’s no set timeline, but the next release cycle of the plugin is geared toward polishing it up for prime time.

“The #1 goal of v2.0 is to merge into WP core,” Baker told the Tavern. In reply to a commenter inquiring about the time table, she said, “The timeline for that is ‘sometime in 2015.’ Our goal is to make the WP REST API too impressive to refuse.”

Version 2.0 development will focus on the following highlights:

  • Route versioning and namespacing (for future core updates and plugins)
  • Reducing the code to create custom endpoints
  • Overall implementing feedback we received on version 1.0

The WP REST API team has outlined a Core Merging Plan for the API. Follow the checklist on GitHub to stay informed on the progress.

by Sarah Gooding at March 24, 2015 06:45 PM under wp rest api

WPTavern: WordPress 4.2 Radically Improves The Plugin Install and Update Process

One of the features I’m looking forward to in WordPress 4.2 is the improved plugin install and update process. Gary Pendergast and a team of volunteers have spent the last six months collaborating on shiny updates.

When you update or install a plugin in WordPress 4.1, you’re taken to a screen that shows its progress. When it’s done, you can either activate it or navigate back to the plugins screen.

Old Plugin Update RoutineOld Plugin Update Routine

Here’s what it looks like when you update a plugin in WordPress 4.2.

New Plugin Update RoutineNew Plugin Update Routine

Last but not least, here’s what it looks like when you install plugins in WordPress 4.2. It’s important to note that when a plugin is installed, it’s automatically activated.

New Plugin Install RoutineNew Plugin Install Routine

At the March 11th developer chat, the team decided to scale back shiny updates to focus on plugins for 4.2. Fancy updates for themes will be added in a future release and will continue to use the classic update/install routine. You can follow the progress by watching tickets 31529 and 31530.

During testing, I was able to install 10 plugins in under a minute. Removing friction from the update and install process not only saves mouse clicks, but it’s a great user experience. In fact, the process is so quick, it might make sense to add a visual indicator that tells the user a plugin is installed. For instance, when a plugin is installed, a notification model window would pop up and fade away.

If you’d like to try shiny updates for yourself, install WordPress 4.2 beta 2 on a test site. If you encounter any bugs with shiny updates or a different part of WordPress, post them to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.

by Jeff Chandler at March 24, 2015 05:31 PM under wordpress 4.2

Post Status: Happytables 3 is taking on Squarespace and Wix for restaurant websites with a brand new platform

The Human Made team has been hard at work preparing Happytables 3, an all new platform for the restaurant website builder.

Happytables was one of the first major hosted initiatives after WordPress.com, and launched in early 2012. You can see the post I wrote about them then. They’ve matured a lot since that time, investing more into products, finding their footing from a sales perspective, and expanding their team.

Human Made has a products team of six people, including some WordPress back-end development heavyweights. The new Happytables 3 is built using a custom REST API to make it unrecognizable from WordPress, though it’s built completely on WordPress. Ryan McCue, who is leading the official WordPress REST API project, is lead on the Happytables API as well.

The new Happytables dashboard is catered directly to restaurant owners. It simplifies much of the decision making for theming, utilizing a single standard template and offering customization options through a front-end editor and available content blocks.


The end result of the customizer is a mobile-centric website that’s catered quite well to common restaurant tasks. They cite that over 50% of their current traffic is mobile, and they have made every effort to make the mobile experience on Happytables websites good.


Editing restaurant-centric content like menus is straightforward.


I spent about half an hour on the Happytables site yesterday, exploring the platform and starting a restaurant website for a friend of mine. I was impressed with how far the product has come from a usability standpoint, answering the questions I had, as I encountered them.

Noel Tock, who is a partner at Human Made and runs products, has spent a lot of time talking to and pitching restaurant owners. They’ve invested years into research and the first iterations of the platform, and they were able to build Happytables 3 with more real customer insights than ever before. The research shows, both in the UX and the impressive integration options; they offer integrations with menu, reservation, and reviews services that cater to Europe and the United States.

They also make it as simple as possible to sign up. The first question is to type your restaurant name or address, and they auto-import as many details as they can.


Goals and milestones for Happytables

Happytables has been successful so far, but in ways different than you may first assume.

Human Made has two deals for white-labeled versions of Happytables currently. They are an exclusive partner with IENS, a directory platform in the Netherlands that was acquired by TripAdvisor. Also, they provide US-based online ordering service ChowNow with a white-labeled version of Happytables.

Current and past deals like these have been both profitable and educational for Human Made.

Restaurant growth is a different beast than partnerships. Individual restaurants also often require 1:1 sales, a service the Happytables team offers up. The hard part isn’t convincing them Happytables is a good option, it’s assuring them that there is, “someone on the other end of the line,” as Noel Tock once put it to me. These restaurant owners can’t get very good (human) support with more mainstream providers like Wix or Squarespace.

Human Made would like to see 5,000 new paying customers on the Happytables platform between now and the end of the year. They are pouring most of their product resources into the project, making a big bet on Happytables and its potential in the restaurant website market.

As for current websites they host, I don’t know the exact numbers and they aren’t sharing them publicly. But they do state that they are serving close to 1 million pageviews per month from the restaurants they already host.

Targeting Squarespace and Wix

Happytables isn’t targeting other WordPress centric solutions, or even other restaurant website builders. When they talk to restaurant owners on sales calls, they discover that their competition is most often the likes of Squarespace and Wix — other hosted options, but not restaurant specific.

Restaurants, while not the only market for such hosted options, is a big niche for them. Happytables wants to take it away, and they know they can only do that by offering a far superior product. With Happytables, they hope to wow restaurant owners with something they’ve never seen before.

I know when I used it yesterday — despite some minor quirks (that they were already working on) — I came away incredibly impressed. At $39 a month, I went ahead and sent the demo URL to my friend who is opening a restaurant. We’re having lunch on Thursday, when he’ll sign up for his account. It’s exactly the kind of thing he was hoping for, so he can get back to working on his restaurant and not worry about his website.


by Brian Krogsgard at March 24, 2015 05:09 PM under Business owners

Joseph: WordPress Upgrades > MySQL Upgrades > PHP Upgrades

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the updated WordPress.org stats page shows more than 50% of active sites are on version 4.0 or newer:


That is really good for a piece of software released less than seven months ago. The years long effort into making upgrades easier and more reliable are paying off nicely.

When I looked at PHP and MySQL version usage that is where things got strange. I know that PHP upgrades at some hosting providers happen at a very slow pace, but I didn’t fully appreciate how slow.


The most reported MySQL version for active WordPress sites is 5.5, at nearly 60%. The first MySQL 5.5 General Availability release was two years ago ( February 2013 ). Considering how sensitive data storage is I’d consider that a good upgrade rate.

Turns out to be significantly faster than PHP.


Less than 47% of active WordPress sites report using PHP version 5.4 or newer.

The first release of PHP 5.4 was three years ago ( March 2012 ). I could see not wanting to upgrade on the initial release, so I’ll discount that to two years with PHP 5.4.13 in March 2013. That still leaves PHP 5.4+ at 47% compared to MySQL 5.5+ at 66%.

I didn’t expect to see hosting providers upgrading MySQL faster than PHP.

by Joseph Scott at March 24, 2015 03:41 PM under WordPress

WPTavern: Introducing Lasso, a New Frontend Editor For WordPress

Lasso is a new commercial plugin developed by Nick Haskins, founder of AESOP Story Engine, that adds a front-end editor to WordPress.

After activating Lasso, users are greeted with an introduction that explains an article CSS class is needed. This class is typically used to house the content within a WordPress theme. This is a technical step that may prevent some users from properly configuring Lasso, but since the article class varies between themes, it’s a mandatory step in the setup process.

Introduction ScreenIntroduction Screen

Lasso has built-in support for several WordPress themes. If you’re using a supported theme, it will automatically display the correct CSS class to use.

If you’re a theme developer and your theme’s post container is dedicated to content without using any other markup, you should send an email to Haskins with your theme’s text domain and CSS class. He’ll include support for it within Lasso’s opening status wizard.

While trying to locate the article class, I discovered that I couldn’t close the animated walk through making it impossible to find.

Stuck in LassoStuck in Lasso

While troubleshooting the problem, I deactivated all plugins and determined that one of Jetpack’s modules was causing the issue. I reactivated each module individually, but was unable to determine which one caused the problem.

Once I was able to close the walk through, I used Firebug’s element inspection tool to locate my theme’s article class. The theme I used to test Lasso is a child theme of Stargazer and its CSS class for content is .entry-content. After configuring the article class, I was able to use Lasso on the frontend of WordPress.

Article ClassArticle Class


Missing Two ButtonsMissing Two Buttons

Although Lasso is compatible with many of the most popular themes, I encountered a CSS conflict in my child theme. As you can see from the screenshot, two of the buttons in the editor are displayed at the bottom. I notified Haskins of the issue and after some troubleshooting, we discovered a CSS conflict between my child theme and Lasso.

The solution is to add !important to a specific CSS class, but as Haskins explains, it’s not an ideal solution:

Ensuring that markup styles in Lasso are consistent across all themes is a challenge, especially when it comes to unordered lists. The editor uses semantic markup, with its own margins and paddings. Theme styles will sometimes override this causing un-desired visual issues.

We can combat this by declaring !important, but this is a bad practice and will just upset developers who want to theme Lasso. In the end, we’re left with dealing with these issues as they come up through our support channels.

Lasso only shows up when viewing the single page view of a post or page. You can edit content already published or use it as the primary editor to create content when previewing a draft post. Lasso’s main menu has three buttons, edit post, post settings, and add post.

  • Post settings gives you the option to switch the status of a post from draft to publish. You can also change the URL slug.
  • Add new post allows you to create a new post.
  • Edit post activates the editor.

When Lasso creates a new post, it automatically displays it on the frontend of WordPress. However, you can’t change the category or tags of a post using Lasso. This is something I’d like to see added to the post settings as it would come in handy, especially when creating new posts.

A New Post Created by LassoA New Post Created by Lasso

To edit content, you can either highlight words and click a formatting button or use keyboard shortcuts. One major drawback is that you can’t add images or media to posts. However, you can edit and manipulate media from the frontend if it’s already in a post. When I tried to edit an image, the buttons turned into unrecognizable codes.

Weird ButtonsWeird Buttons

When editing a post, there are two buttons on the bottom right portion of the screen. Depending on whether it’s a draft or published post, you’ll see a save and publish icon. I think these icons are too far away and should be integrated into the editor.

Can You Find The Save Button?Can You Find The Save Button?

Wait For Lasso 1.0

Lasso is a beta product with plenty of things that need to be addressed before hitting 1.0. Haskins is aware of the issues I encountered and assures me they’ll be fixed in future versions. Now that it’s available for purchase, he plans to iterate quickly and release updates as they’re fixed.

Lasso is $129 for one site and includes 12 months of updates and support. I expect plugins at this price point to be polished and nearly bug free. Although none of the bugs I encountered prevented me from using the editor, I recommend waiting on 1.0 or later.

by Jeff Chandler at March 24, 2015 02:40 PM under wordpress front-end editor

WPTavern: Scott Evans on Designing the Punk Wapuu for WordCamp London 2015


On the first day of WordCamp London 2015, I was meandering around the Happiness Bar when I first noticed the punk wapuu stickers covering the swag table.

“These are so damn cute!” I muttered out loud. Admittedly, I can’t get enough of wapuu, and every new variation inspires shrieks of delight. Scott Evans, an organizer for the event, happened to be within earshot. I asked him if he knew more about how the punk wapuu was created. It turns out that he helped to design the creature’s punk persona for the event.

scott-evansEvans is a WordPress designer and engineer working at Automattic with the WordPress.com VIP team. Prior to that he was part of Code for the People, a company that was acquired by Automattic last November in order to expand its reach into European markets.

As part of the WordCamp London organization team, Evans was tasked with managing the event’s print and design projects.

“It’s quite nice to volunteer at WordCamp, because you get to do print, which I hardly ever get to do,” he said. “You get to see lanyards and your t-shirts come to life when you send them off to print.”

Evans’ colleague Simon Dickson suggested doing something with the wapuu. The core organizing team gave Evans feedback on different iterations of the punk wapuu, making it a collaborative effort.

The Process of Theming WordCamp London

Coming up with a new theme for a WordCamp every year is no easy task, which is why events often maintain the same logo and design concepts. Evans and the other organizers were committed to keeping the design fresh.

Last time we did WordCamp London, we had kind of a tube theme going on, the sights of London, using symbolism from the tube maps. This time we wanted something different, a bit of a change. We could have kept with the same logo we had before, but it was time for something new. We latched onto the punk 1970’s kind of feel – bright colors, mohicans, and grungy textures.

Although the punk scene in the UK has long since died out, WordCamp London was prepared to revive it. Once organizers nailed down the theme, the creative process started to gain momentum. Evans cranked the punk tunes and got to work

“I spent a few weeks cutting out WordPress logos, scenes of London, photocopying them and making collages, which we then used to create the t-shirts and banners,” Evans said.

photo credit:  Shayda Torabiphoto credit: Shayda Torabi

In addition to the commemorative stickers, each attendee went home with a scarf embroidered with the punk wapuu.

Customizing Wapuu

original-wapuuThe wapuu mascot was created by the Japanese WordPress community and released under the GPL v2 or later. The original wapuu lives on GitHub and is available as an SVG file.

“Anyone can take it, download it, and then modify it, which is kind of in the WordPress spirit,” Evans said.

While working with the file, he discovered that some of the paths needed fixing, which was the trickiest part. Evans plans to fix those and submit them back to the wapuu repository.

“Working with wapuu is actually really easy – it will open in most graphics programs,” he said. “I just dropped it into illustrator, added a mohican, pierced his ears, and put some Dr. Marten’s boots on him.”

Japanese WordCamps generally have a custom wapuu designed for the event, and other WordCamp organizers are starting to get inspired to do the same. WordCamp Philly is actually preparing an entire collection of custom wapuu, including one that bears a strong resemblance to Rocky.


“Designing WordCamps is actually a hell of a lot of work,” Evans said. “There’s so many things to consider – t-shirts, printing lanyards with everyone’s names on them, scarves, volunteer t-shirts, posters, stickers. Producing those assets and sending them to print is an undertaking.”

In the end, the efforts put into the design pay off when a unified theme emerges to tie the event together. “My top tip would be to find a theme, something you can have fun with, and then just push that out to all of the things you need to design,” Evans said.

Organizers can never overestimate the power of design when it comes to event branding and WordCamp swag. It’s one of the most important efforts that, when done well, brings delight to attendees and helps to make the event unforgettable.

by Sarah Gooding at March 24, 2015 08:50 AM under wordcamp london

Matt: Lil Wayne and 1.0

One of my favorite essays of all time is by David Ramsey in Oxford American on Lil Wayne, called I Will Forever Remain Faithful. I’m used to movies, books, even songs making me tear up occasionally, but not essays, but this one does every time. It’s worth Googling the songs mentioned and quoted in the headings, it gives an interesting soundtrack to the writing and after listening the essay is worth re-reading. I miss that old Lil Wayne, too.

I don’t think I’ve said it publicly before, but Ramsey’s essay was actually the inspiration for my 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number which is one of the most popular pieces of writing I’ve published.

by Matt at March 24, 2015 01:26 AM under Asides

March 23, 2015

Jen Mylo: Defending Drupal

The last 7 years of my life have been all WordPress, all the time. In that time we went from powering around 2 million sites to many tens of millions. Today, W3Techs says:

WordPress is used by 23.6% of all the websites, that is a content management system market share of 60.8%.

I wish that sentence had a semicolon instead of a comma, but wow. Drupal, by comparison:

Drupal is used by 2.0% of all websites, that is 5.1% of all the websites whose content management system we know.

Sometimes, people like to pit WordPress and Drupal against each other, as if we are fighting each other, rather than fighting proprietary software. At WordCamps, meetups, or any professional gathering where someone asks a question (or makes a snarky comment) about Drupal, I point out that we are far more similar than we are different. “Open source CMS built with PHP” describes us both, as does any description of the contributor model, or even the economic models — how many times have I heard Acquia is to Drupal as Automattic is to WordPress? (A lot.) We’ve even shared booth space at the OSCON expo.

To drive the point home I often say that if you were stuck in an elevator/sitting next to someone on a plane, how psyched would you be to be sitting next to a Drupal person, who would totally get all your references and be able to have a conversation you’d enjoy? That usually gets a nod or two. Because, yeah, we’re a bunch of open source geeks who care way too much about things like software licenses and commit status and number of props. We are, in short, both ridiculous in the grand scheme of things — we’re not curing cancer or ending world hunger. At best we are powering the websites of those who are, and if we ceased to exist tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of the world (just of us). But free software is awesome, so yay! Let’s all be friends!

At conferences, people sometimes have been confused if I’m hanging around with Amye or other Drupal women I know and like. They ask, “Aren’t you rivals?” And then we laugh at them. Cue the more-alike-than-different stuff.

So I was kind of bummed today after all those years of defending Drupal and claiming kinship to see it pissing* all over WordPress today. But I should backtrack.

For years, people in the WP community have wished there was a way to pay the more advanced contributors to work on core full-time. Sure, Automattic, 10Up, Human Made, and other companies have been contributing some people, but there are only so many donated employees a company can float. We all get that. For a while people talked about the WordPress Foundation as a way to pay people to work on stuff, but that didn’t wind up being possible. So when people started doing things like Jtrip’s Indiegogo, it was a natural evolution, though it seemed not very scalable.

So when I saw Ruby Together a few weeks ago, I thought it was amazing.

screenshot of rubytogether.org

Then came the Drupal 8 fundraiser, and I thought that was pretty cool too. Matching donations and whatnot!

And then I saw this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.49.35 AM

I smiled, recognizing several people I quite like. But that one in the lower left, what?? I clicked through and saw this:

fundraising website for drupal 8 featuring a graphic of the Drupal logo peeing on the Joomla and WordPress logos

I was like, “What?”

Then I was like, “No, really, what?!”

I get it, this person thought this shirt from a previous Drupal event was funny and would fire people up to donate. But really?

That shirt is so completely tasteless I am horrified that the Drupal community endorses it.

And now we’re back to Drupal is pissing on WordPress.

I’ve given so many talks at WordCamps with a component about how it’s important to be nice, respectful, and welcoming — including the use of appropriate language and imagery — to the point that some people would really like to tell me to shut the fuck** up (or have!). I have extended that “let’s be nice” spiel to talking about Drupal multiple times. I would never design a tshirt that showed the W pissing on the Drupal (and I’ve designed a controversial WordCamp shirt or two in my time) because it’s not funny, it’s just tasteless and disrespectful. So that Drupal shirt makes me sad. I know that probably none of the people I know and like had a hand in making it. But it bums me out that as a community they seem to think it is okay, good even, if they’re willing to put it on the front page of the fundraiser.

“You can feel good about our project without putting down other projects, so let’s keep it clean.” I said something similar (s/our project/yourself) to my nieces and their friends when they were in 9th grade and had a habit of putting down other girls to feel better about themselves (as so many adolescents do). I hope more people will remember this in the future, and just because you can think of a snarky/sarcastic/mean/tasteless joke that elevates your side and pushes down the other doesn’t mean you should.

In any case, one person’s misstep shouldn’t be cause to demonize a whole project community. Assume good intentions. Reach out when something is awry instead of devolving into one-upmanship. Competition is healthy but there’s no reason to be jerks to each other. And also? Thinking there are sides is really silly. We’re all ridiculous open source CMS geeks. We’re all one side. Let’s stand together, y’all.

I’ve always hated the Calvin peeing stickers, and so has Bill Watterson.

** Profanity used intentionally to illustrate that it’s not appropriate language in a welcoming community.

by Jen Mylo at March 23, 2015 05:30 PM under WordPress

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Last updated:

March 31, 2015 08:30 PM
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