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August 12, 2022

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Should you build or capture an audience? JR Farr notes the pros and cons for each. On the Matt Report, Marc Benzakein shares a retrospective on ServerPress. Allie Nimmons and Teron Bullock discuss how to deal with negative criticism online in Press The Issue. Do we need a WordPress debate club? Bob Dunn has tips for first-time WordCampers, and Working Code looks at reducing the complexity of shipping code.

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by Dan Knauss at August 12, 2022 05:23 PM under Working Code

Post Status: Post Status Excerpt (No. 63) — Pay Transparency, Mutual Respect, and the Community We Need

People don't realize how long ago “long ago” wasn't. We're not talking about two, three, four hundred years ago. My family always stressed working somewhere your employer respects you, because it wasn't that long ago they didn't have a choice.

Nyasha Green

We're rebooting Post Status Excerpt as a weekly chat between Nyasha Green and Dan Knauss (and guests—please join us!) about a few of the active topics and discussions in the WordPress community that we feel are most important. Big thanks to David Bisset in his former role as host and curator here, and also to our intern and post-production engineer, Olivia Bisset.

This week we're talking about pay transparency. Ny relates some personal experiences where an employer did not disclose pay or how employees were selected for raises. This leads us into a discussion of pay transparency in the hiring process — how it matters to everyone but especially job seekers who are black, indigenous, or other people of color. (Ny has written about this before, and Piccia Neri has been investigating the topic lately.) We also talk about how a lack of transparency can seem to emphasize an employer's distrust and an employee's disadvantaged position — and the effect that can have on workplace culture.

Next, we talk about our own family histories which are touched — in living memory in Ny's case — by slavery and colonialism where work and dignity were extracted from some people by others with the power take their labor without compensation. Ny's great grandfather was born a slave in South Carolina in 1858 and lived until 1963. Dan's ancestors include German settlers in North Carolina who abandoned their earlier beliefs against slavery and began to practice it in the late 1700s. In the Americas and beyond, the past is much closer than we often assume, especially for BIPOC people. History only “bends toward justice” if people choose to bend it that way. It can also go the other way.

Finally, we close with how Allie Nimmons experienced a surprising level of hostility to a survey she presented to the WordPress community about the ways we contribute to the project and how we feel about it. There's the community we have now — and the community we need to become. How do we get there? What are the barriers? How can you help?

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Transcript

Dan Knauss: [00:00:00] Hey Ny

Nyasha Green: Hey Dan, how are you?

Dan Knauss: All right. Pretty good. Good to see you again. so what's on your mind in world of WordPress this week.

Nyasha Green: Pay transparency. Yeah.

Dan Knauss: Okay. Me too. Yeah. So peach and Mary, um, who's, uh, I think pretty well known and post status member, um, proposed this some time ago and I've been, you know, kind of encouraging and helping along towards an article.

Um, we know that we do job listings and there's always, there are things around. Time zones and where people specify they want people to be from or language that sometimes need a little nudging about [00:01:00] appropriateness, um, for being inclusive, but probably the single most vexing thing to people is, um, a reasonable pay for positions in a field that tends to be.

Somewhat underpaid where we want to bring that up. Um, but you know, as in most job listings, LinkedIn, anywhere, a lot of employers just won't pay post any salary at all. And there may be kind of vagueness about, is this a senior position entry level? And yeah, what's the compensation. Some companies are really awesome about it.

Um, but some are vague to just don't don't mention it. Mm-hmm so, um, So she was surveying. Yeah. What did you think of her, her poll and the discussion that happened on Twitter?

Nyasha Green: I thought it was really good. Um, I actually wrote, um, for master WP a little while ago about pay [00:02:00] transparency and how more companies need to just post their salaries.

And, um, of course it gets pushed back, not my article, but that idea gets pushed back from companies, especially in places like South Carolina where, you know, They really do want to discriminate and pay and not care about it. Um, but I thought it was excellent and I think more companies should do it. Also.

I wanna point out that Colorado already has a state law that does this. And, um, one interesting thing about that is so many companies have been major companies like Southwest airlines have been trying to, can I name. Oh, yeah. Okay. they, um, you know, they're one of the people to fight against it and the companies are like trying to like take the jobs out of Colorado.

Um, I think it was Southwest. Let me not slander Southwest. And it's not them. I'm gonna double check

Dan Knauss: because they're so embarrassed about their salary. They don't wanna have to post it. I mean, you'll leave the state cuz of that.

Nyasha Green: Like I feel like, but that, and also they want to pay people differently. [00:03:00] Like yeah.

Dan Knauss: So they don't wanna be seen doing it.

Nyasha Green: Yeah. Like they know it's wrong. So like they know it's wrong. They know it's not the right thing to do, but they're still going to do it. And it's just come on, man. It's 2022. But like we were talking about, we're not that removed from first of all. Well, a lot of discrimination still happens today.

That's undeniable, but we're not that removed from legalized discrimination. Mm-hmm . Yeah. And I think a lot of companies, you know, we don't have a federal law to make you post, um, your salaries, but we need to one, um, two, a lot of companies don't know how much. Better. It makes them look, if they go ahead and do that, just jump ahead of the curve and have those salaries up there.

So people know like we're getting paid, what we're worth one. We're not wasting our time with the interview. We don't want the pay and we're not being discriminated against by color, race, [00:04:00] gender, sexuality, things like that. Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Knauss: So I think, um, it's gonna be interesting to see how, how PT develops that, how we pull that article together.

Maybe I'll, I'll have to get, get you in on that too, for some feedback, or maybe some, some quotes too. Uh, have you had experiences directly with where you applied for, for something not quite knowing what the range was cause they didn't tell you or do you have personal rule about like, I'm not gonna look at that.

Nyasha Green: Oh, yeah. Um, so living in South Carolina, almost most of my life, um, it's a state that doesn't have a lot of, um, protection for employees, a very anti-union state. Um, I remember, um, working in college for a, I'm not gonna name, drop them. Um, I don't want them to get the attention, um, working for a company where I made food and delivered it.

And, um, they told us when we were first hired, they were like, you [00:05:00] know, We're open about this and I'm like, oh, it's gonna be something positive. And I'm like, what are you hoping about? Well, uh, raises are given at the discretion of managers. So, you know, mm we're just gonna let you know. I'm like, why were you so excited to tell me that, that, that sucks.

So if you don't like me, I don't get a raise. Yep. But they were like, well, at least we told you, we didn't just like do it like that. Doesn't make it better, but they thought it made it better. And, um, I worked at that job for a little while and. Uh, personal story. So I, I don't, I haven't told the story a lot.

I think publicly, um, our manager was very sweet, very sweet guy and, um, very personable. I had no issues with him and I remember one day he asked if I wanted to come to his house and like, just hang out and like, I didn't think anything of it, but I was busy. I wasn't gonna do it. like, I was like 20 at a time.

I didn't really care. I was like, um, oh no, I'm I'm busy. And he was like, oh, okay. Like, I thought it was like a simple conversation. He was like, okay. You know, no worries. And I guess a couple people had, they went and hung out with him one on one. [00:06:00] And I noticed in the next couple of weeks, it was just like a complete personality change.

He just like made little side comments about working with me. Um, like I said, oh, you're on the line with Naisha today. Ugh. Okay. I guess. Nice, you know, I'm joking. And I'm like, what? And I didn't think of it at the time. I was just like, whatever, I'm in college, like I'm taking like four, like 20 credits and I'm doing the shop.

Part-time, I'm not gonna think about it. But, um, I remember like in the next few weeks, like people who were getting hired on after me, cuz I help open the store. Um, they had raises. They got their 25 cents, which was a big deal at the time, I guess. And, um, a couple of them that I trained, they became like managers and supervisors.

And I was sitting there with my $7 and doing all this work for nothing. And when I quit that job, you know, some of the guys were telling me, cuz it was mostly a, a guy job that they hired and then they rarely hire people of color. Um, they were like, you know, you really should have, uh, been nicer to. So and so, and I was like, [00:07:00] they were like, yeah, we used to hang out and do all the stuff that cover in.

You never wanted to do it. Yeah. What. . I was like, that guy asked me one time when I first started to come to this house. I said, no, and that's why y'all wouldn't pay me or promote me. Yeah. So I was like, you know, I was done with that company. I, I don't even eat their food to this day. Um, and they're not doing well as a company either, which is great.

Uh, I shouldn't say that, but it's great to me now. but, um, I just, that was like the first time as an adult. Cause I was 20 or 21, um, that something was so blatantly. That blatantly happened. And it was like, I didn't even think until later on I'm like, what if he, like, would've tried to like touch me or something like, like, I, I didn't even think of that at the time.

It was just a simple, like, I'm busy, I'm in college, I'm doing all this stuff. Like, dude, we can hang out another time. And it was like, after that, there was this just whole narrative of she's mean she doesn't wanna do this, deny her money. So I think at a company where there would've been paid transparency, Where you didn't rely on [00:08:00] being favored by the boss?

Um, things like that, that I would've been paid what I was due, which probably still, it was 25 cents more. It wasn't, I still think I was worth more than that, but I would've been promoted. I wouldn't trained my, you know, replacements in, you know, superiors. Um, so that's, I always think about that story when I think about pay transparency because.

Like I was very young and naive and I was, I was naive for a long time and it's like, how do we protect other people from that? Not just women, cuz it happens to men, but mostly women. How, how do we protect people of color from that? Like how do we stop that from happening? And I think pay transparency is the first step.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. I'm, I'm really, um, impressed and pleased that Colorado took that step. And that's, that's interesting how. Impacts distributed companies with people working remotely employers there, like, like yours, like Rob mm-hmm consulting, um, based [00:09:00] in, in, in Colorado, but teams all over the place. Um, so you're kind of benefiting from Colorado is progressive in South Carolina, despite South Carolina.

Oh, nice. This is, this is something we can do in distributed companies to change cultures, to make. Where we see, you know, kinda gross inequities. Um, but yeah. What do you, what do you think, um, what do you think it does to for, I, I think, I think a lot of employers have the great intentions and I'd stick up for 'em.

Um, you know, there's reason. There's plenty of feedback and reasons for why, why we, we want to have this conversation later, or it's, it's a variable thing, or we don't wanna scare people off who we'd like to get in the role by, um, you know, that's kind of a feed, but who's time are you, you wasting here [00:10:00] potentially, but yeah, they want to cast the net maybe widely, but there's two sides to that.

Um, if they really value building. A positive, collegial, collaborative environment that makes their people better as they grow there and is inclusive. Um, what does it do potentially? To start off with this kind of shell game or, you know, what's the three card Monty kinda game of how much would you would require her to be paid for this?

How much do you think you're worth? Which is, um, some personalities and some people in certain experiences and some people on a depressing day. I mean, that's a hard, you're just not gonna represent yourself. Well, and you don't have like an advocate at your arm to do this and. What do you, you know, you can tell what I, I think about it, but what, [00:11:00] what are your, what are your thoughts for the long term impact on that company culture?

If you start off with oh, degree of non-transparency and, and suspicion, or trying to leverage the power, you have to employer side advantage, um, over the employee, um, .

Nyasha Green: A lot of people probably won't agree with me because this is the status quo, but the world is changing. If companies continue to do that, these mind games, they won't have a company you're losing good talent because you want to play these mind games.

You want to, I'm the guy in, not this, I'm the person in power. I don't want to, um, say it's only guys that do it, cuz it's not only guys, but I'm the person in power. Let's see what let's see if I can, uh, how many tricks I can get out of them. before I can get, you know, them in. And then to me, it sets the stage for how it's going to be working at [00:12:00] this company.

So I'm gonna apply into this job with all these mind games and tricks, and I'm jumping through hoops and I have to make sure it's not a joke when he says this or that. And they say this or that. Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Um, but um, I have to go through all these hoops and then. I'm stressed out. I'm like sweating.

I need the money. I need the job. I get the job. I'm like, whew. All right. It's Monday. What game do I have to play today? So you're going to have depressed workers. You're gonna have stressed out workers. You're gonna have burnt out workers and eventually. Hopefully when they learn their value, they're going to quit.

So I think employers can do this, but they're gonna have, they're gonna have a high turnover rate. They're not going to attract the best talent because they're, so they're just losing so many with that. And the company's culture is going to suck as well as the world. Yeah.

Dan Knauss: And I, I kind of appreciate more and more how, um, how, you know, there's an interpersonal [00:13:00] ethical level where.

You're maybe hurting someone in their, you know, immediate lives with, um, with a, a work environment that doesn't build them up. And mm-hmm, , um, puts them in a situation where they have to, um, you know, not really know if they're at parody with their peers and, and colleagues or what they're worth, or, um, and if you damage.

I mean, there's, there's a certain amount of human capital that employers just assume, you know, we just produce it, you know, our mm-hmm and it, you know, there's a whole, all the people that are holding us up, family, friends, and, and, and time off and rest and, and all of that. If, if you're just depleting people and you don't put that back, ultimately you're hurting the.

Culture like for us, um, WordPress tech industry, you know, it's, it's, [00:14:00] it's damaging how the larger culture works and, and, you know, your, your employees move on to someone else than they mm-hmm , you know, they're are we, we should want to pass people out better than they were when they came in. Yeah. Or at least as, as good.

And, um, so it's not, uh, you're not damaging people. You're not damaging our ecosystem. Um, I, I feel like a human, I don't like the term. I kind of reject the term human resource, but mm-hmm , if you're gonna look at things kind of ecologically, you shouldn't draw down on that human resource. That's a commons too.

Our labor commons in, in WordPress. So yeah, hopefully this conversation that, that will, will continue and. Yeah, your, your article, I think was the first I've seen someone kind of bring that out and yeah. I want to have to put you impeach it together. [00:15:00] Oh, okay. Have you met her?

Nyasha Green: I have not. No. Okay.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. It's, it's an important, important issue.

Um, so I think two, we were, we were talking earlier about, um, mm-hmm, the, the history that's kind of at our backs too. Mm-hmm and. what people have been through and what in living memory, in their, in their family touches them, you know, it's different and we're not always sensitive to that, that kind of thing.

And in the United States, you know, Canada's got another version of this here. There's if you're people don't exist in a vacuum and they don't come to you, um, in a vacuum and. When you, when you faced employers like that, where there's a clear, you know, we're gonna arbitrarily use, give managers power over you, does that.

What does that, [00:16:00] how does that register to you in the context of your family history? That someone like me probably doesn't have,

Nyasha Green: well, it's always a red flag, especially with power plays and. You know, I'm gonna tie it back to American slavery. Everyone's favorite topic . And so, uh, we talked a little bit about, um, living memory and how it's not that far back for that many people.

And I have a very large family, a very old family and the things they experienced that they it's still, first of all, it's not that long ago and it's still. Just basically shapes what I do and how I feel about things today and specifically, um, you know, people like to talk about slavery. Um, well, so long ago, none of you guys knew any slaves and things like that.

And that's not true, especially from my family. Um, so I sent you an article about my great, great grandfather Jefferson do. And, uh, he was born in the 1950s. So he was born into [00:17:00] slavery in South Carolina and he lived a hundred. In 1850s, he lived 105 years. That's how old he was when he died. Wow. Um, so he lived until the 19, um, sixties.

Mm-hmm um, as a matter of fact, the equal pay act, um, was, um, It passed in 1963, that was there. He died. So, um, my great-grandfather was alive for, uh, slavery. He lived through the civil war. He lived through the creation of the automobile. He lived through, you know, the early civil rights movements, um, Rosa parks.

He was alive to see Martin Luther king Jr. Walk, you know, and my mom was alive. My mom was, um, about eight. When he, he died, she still remembers running errands for him. My mom knew him. He was a slave. He was born into slavery. Um, his granddaughters, they were in their thirties. When he, when they died twenties or thirties, they're still alive.

Three of them, um, in their late eighties. And, um, he was the patriarch of our family and the things he taught [00:18:00] them, the things he taught his sons, the things he taught his grandsons, his great grandsons that shaped our family that shaped our worldview. He would tell them, you know, these are things we did in slavery, but now that you all don't have to do that, this is what you should.

He told people that are still alive that today . Yeah. Um, so people don't realize how long ago, long ago. Wasn't yeah, we had laws in the book with just when he, he was not a, a free person when he was born. And by the time he died, there was a equal rights amendment for pay between men and women that was in the sixties that wasn't that long ago.

So . Legalized discrimination and pay is still happening. You know, they, that amendment doesn't go far enough. It doesn't protect against race, sexuality, religion, things like that. Um, just the things that happened to him. What happened to his daughters? What happened to his granddaughters? Those things follow me today.

His grand, his great granddaughter. [00:19:00] My mother integrated her high school. She was always paid less than everybody else. She went to H B, C U cuz. She could not go to other colleges. This was the seventies. Yeah. I'm not talking about 2, 3, 400 years ago. Um, you know, so you know, my family always stressed education, getting the best education.

They always stressed working somewhere where your employer respects you because it wasn't too long ago where they didn't have a. Yep. So I think it would take these companies. They would be well reminded to remember the people that they deal with, especially people of color in the United States. We've been dealing with this stuff more recently than you think.

So do you want to be a company that's known as one that lived in the past that kept these bad things going? Or do you want to be known as a progressive company that was ahead of the curve? Yeah, they had the laws in Colorado, but your company in South Carolina, why don't you, why don't you jump ahead of the curve too?

Why don't you do this? Why don't you do that? Yeah. Why don't you be the best you can be? Why don't you take this lemon me memory cuz it's all of our history, even though it happened to a certain subject we're Americans, it [00:20:00] happened to all of us. Yeah. All of us were a part of this. When this happened, our, our ancestors.

Touched

Dan Knauss: all of the Americas touched everything and it Europeans doing it it's it was a global global system. And yeah, in a hundred years, you know, two, three generations in a family that's living memory and it's it's a hundred years. And that seems like a long time, but that's body memory. That's, you know, you're, was it.

This is kind of more tended to in, in trauma, uh, psychology and understanding of that. And, you know, the, what is it? The genetically you are part of, um, an egg formed in your mother's mother mm-hmm and. This goes, it's a long, it's a long way back his, and you don't have to scratch the surface of any community to, to find the history [00:21:00] of, um, traumas there.

Um, mm-hmm , you know, I think I told you about, like, when I researched family history, one, one branch of my, um, uh, German Moravian ancestors who started out pacifists and abolitionists. And, and so on one branch went down and founded Winston Salem, North Carolina. And, um, they decided it would be okay if they had slaves, but treated them as spiritual equals, just not labor equals mm-hmm oldest black church in, in America is still running there.

And they're still in a kind of reconciliation process cuz there's um, it was, um, yeah, not a. Not a good thing, not a good outcome. And it's um, so yeah, my part of my family is on the other side of that. And you, I think if you, you dig down, it's not that far in Canada, we're dealing with. What everyone knew, but is now very publicly aware that [00:22:00] as late as the sixties, indigenous kids were being stripped from their families, put in the religious schools and, um, for cultural assimilation by force, and a lot of them were abused and died in there.

These mass graves that are coming up. And, um, what do we have to say about that is people are. Very touched in their families by, by that, that experience. Um, so yeah, I don't, I don't see how you can talk about, we want an inclusive culture without, and being historically ignorant of these mm-hmm of these things.

Nyasha Green: Yeah. And people need to listen to people of color when they talk about this too. Like, I can trace my family back to here and we experience this stuff until now. Like, this is what you should do to make it more inclusive to help us. Oh, yeah, that's fine and dandy, but no, mm-hmm, no more butts. No, if ands or butts.

Yeah.[00:23:00]

Dan Knauss: So moving, moving from one, one survey to another. So, you know, peach is doing the survey unemployment, um, Practices and, you know, it's a, it is a bit of a hot button, potential thing there mm-hmm um, and as far as I know, um, she's had all kinds of responses that have been cordial and professional and, and fine.

She's a, a white European woman. Um, and I'm, I'm glad I hope I'm right about that. That that's, that's been. A question and a public kind of probing that we can handle maturely. But then yesterday we see Allie Nimmons, um, talking about a, what I would think is a much more benign survey, um, and getting a [00:24:00] lot, lot of shit mm-hmm and that's just not a not appropriate.

And she's an African American woman. Um, Makes you think what, tell, tell me what your thoughts are, what, what, um, and what Allie was, was trying to do there.

Nyasha Green: Um, so Allie was, you know, just trying to do a survey. Um, she's really, everybody knows. Allie is really big on WordPress contribution and, um, she's just trying to get a feel of how easy or hard it is for people to contribute.

So we can go about addressing ways to make it easier for. Simply it, you know, I think that's great. Um, you know, I see stuff every day about, we need more contributions to WordPress. Why anybody would be against people trying to help that I have no idea, but, um, the, a lot of comments she got were so passive aggressive, and that's not the first time I'm seeing that in the WordPress community.

Um, People are very, [00:25:00] very passive aggressive. When you ask questions. Um, no matter how benign they are, people, they have to flip it, especially if it's not like the questions they want to ask, which to me, I'm just going to say they need to work on, but you know, that's all I wanna say about that, but I just think.

A lot of people didn't consciously see, it's like, she's asking these questions. This is African American woman. The, all of the bad responses I saw were not from African Americans. And I don't think anywhere from women and they were just kind of jumping down her throat like, oh, you didn't ask this question the way I want you to ask it.

Oh, I can't do this because this is not the way I would do this.

what, first of all, what do you like? I, I wanna ask these people, like, do you talk to people like that at your job? Do you say, no, I can't help you with this project cuz you didn't do it the way I, [00:26:00] I wanted you to do it. Right. I, I, how many people like yourself do you talk to like that? But you know, I'm not saying they were consciously malicious.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt, but that was something I just really didn't like to.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. And did you say, since you were working on, on this with her, this was, this was for, um, master WP, um, surveying. Um, yes, yes. Yeah. Did you say that there was, um, like you have some guys. Giving the kind of response of like, is this open to white people?

Is this a closed survey? Like for, there's no reason to think that, right. Yeah. Other than that, she's

Nyasha Green: running it black. Yeah. Why would you ask, why would you ask someone that

Dan Knauss: they just assume, because she's running it, that

Nyasha Green: it's a diverse survey. Yeah. There's no, it's only people of color. What, in your mind, how does your mind work to do that?

That, that, that was the response that annoyed me the [00:27:00] worst.

Dan Knauss: I have a hard time believing. They actually think that they are just have a chip on their shoulder because of their perception of what all kind of stands for in their mind. As I think reasonably outspoken person who is really good at taking on a lot of issues, we need to talk.

Nyasha Green: The best, honestly,

Dan Knauss: really okay.

Nyasha Green: And, um, yeah, I just, I think it also comes from it's the community. That's another issue with us in diversity. We need a more diverse community.

Dan Knauss: Well, she's doing it. Oh, basically for a long time anyway. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're, there's other, there's a lot more, but

Nyasha Green: yeah, people had like interactions with people who don't look like them.

They would know when a person is asking a genuine question. That's why I'm yelling from the clouds. We need a more diverse WordPress, because it's not enough to tell people this is how you're diverse or what we're just talking about. Like, you know, the history of us, and this is how we [00:28:00] interact, and this is how you can make it easier for us.

It's not enough to tell people that they need to experience this. They need empathy. They need to, they need to talk to people. Yeah. So pushing from more diversity and WordPress will definitely help with that. It definitely will. I I'm sure we will see the difference. and I,

Dan Knauss: I think kindness and basic respect, um, the negative outcome here is, you know, at least in the moment and the emotion of it now, like ally says, she's not gonna do one of these surveys again, and that's not what we want.

And just having, doing something as simple as that, asking people on about a contribution to the project, um, That she gets kind of targeted in that way is just not a not okay. And to, to demo demoralize people, anyone out of doing productive, constructive work, like that is, is not something that is [00:29:00] healthy in any way.

It's still, you know, it's completely what we don't want. Mm-hmm um,

yeah, I hope I hope that comes out. In a better, better result than just we never ask these, these kind of things again. But, um, I, I re I, I recognize I was, you know, telling you about this before. I, I recognize where that comes from, and it, it's not just men, but there is, there is that white male fragility.

And, you know, I have, you know, I have that inside me too. There's like the, everyone's got a scared, frustrated child or, you know, there's that part of you, it's not your best self. And maybe in some people it gets the better of them a lot more. It it's in charge. Um, you got your own wounds, you got your own sense of grievances and why [00:30:00] wasn't, uh, why am I not, blah, blah, blah.

All you can see is someone else is getting preference ahead of me or something like that. I mm-hmm, totally admit to having a part that feels that has felt that. So I don't, I don't know. The big question for me is, and that came up in Michelle's misogyny article an issue. I don't know quite what to say to men who, um, I recognize where that comes from.

Mm-hmm. and it's really hard to know how to say this is something you gotta grow on in a con in a constructive way. Cause I think it's a genuine failure. It's mm-hmm , it's a, there's not a better, uh, better word for it. It's a, it is a genuine and common thing to have from being. Growing up in a, in a culture that doesn't have this kind of history at its back that we [00:31:00] were talking about that takes for granted things that are privilege, but we don't see it that way until we learn to see it that way.

Mm-hmm until you, you move into it a different environment or something changes for you for, for me, it was, you know, after I was 12 or so, that was probably the last time I lived in a highly. Homogenous kind of environment and was mm-hmm generally in a minority myself. So, um, if you don't get stuff like that, I don't know.

It's, it's not an easy thing to grow on. And then you got grown men who, you know, they're, they haven't grown on that. Do you have any, any thoughts on that? Like how is that a, how do we crack that in? And it it's, it's a tough one, cuz you can. It deserves to be aggressively treated, but that, but still with, in some kindness and [00:32:00] understanding because you don't get anywhere with people, um, when you're both feeling grievance and anger,

Nyasha Green: I think, and I don't know if this is like, I would have to think on it more, but my first thought.

I think this process, cause it's been a while it's called, I think they called it sugaring. I don't, if that's not it, please forgive me. But, um, it's a process of just going through an unlearning internal biases that you may have, because like I said, I don't think most of these people did it maliciously.

Um, and just for an example where I learned this term, um, I got to meet some of the feminists of South Carolina, some of the, uh, older ones who helped write like the sexual assault laws and things like that. The most badass women I've ever met in my life. Oh my gosh. And um, my old neighbor actually was one of them too.

Um, Hey, Dr. Sally Boyd. Um, but, uh, they were just incredible women and they talked about, you know, just fighting for different things for [00:33:00] women in the seventies and sixties and eighties in South Carolina. Um, they help integrate the Sears downtown because they didn't, uh, have black, uh, they didn't want black clerks out.

Funny story from that, what they did was one of the women had like five children and. They went to Sears and she was like, they told 'em just to let her children go. And they ran everywhere because they would go to talk to a manager and the manager would just never wanna talk to them. But when they let those children, wow.

The clerks were so busy. The manager had to come out and talk to them. So , you know, but before they got to actually actions like that, which was incredible by the way, cuz these were rich, upper class white. And, you know, they believe in the quality for all, they were fighting for African American women to have this right.

But before they got to that step, they had to unlearn biases that they had. Again, they were upper class, white, rich women from the south. They were in a whole nother, you know, ballpark, a whole nother ballgame. And, uh, one of them talked about how one of the women they met was a doctor, but before they met her, they just heard they were talking to [00:34:00] Dr.

So, and so let's say Dr. Brown, Dr. Brown was coming to meet with them and they thought it was going to be her husband. and the woman walked in and it's like, you know, these are, these are feminists. They, they have, you know, actions they've done, but they still had this notion that when I hear doctor as a man yeah.

Um, things like that. So they told us like, you know, even though you all may think you're feminist, you may think you're, uh, freedom fighters. You may think you're, uh, fighting for people underneath you or your own race or your own gender. We all have these biases that we have to unlearn. And we all have to go through this process.

And I don't think white men in particular. Told a lot to, you know, we need to go through this process and this is how so I think sugaring and I hope that's the word again, um, is what they do. If that's not the world, I'll correct myself. Next time we talk, I'm gonna look it up. But, um, we just have to get together.

Well, they have to get together and, um, just unlearn stuff and it starts with education. It starts with talking with other people, um, check your privilege, I guess, is what the kids say these days. [00:35:00] yeah. So yeah, I think that would be the most helpful.

Dan Knauss: Yeah, sugaring to me sounds, sounds, um, I'm thinking of sweet tea and yeah.

Trying to sweeten a otherwise bitter thing, but, um, mm-hmm yeah. I hear, hear what you're saying. I, yeah, and it, it probably never, it never really ends. My, my experience with it is, is you just kind of find, um,

we're probably all better off acknowledging that we've got, you know, you got, you got a shadow, you got a dark spot and you know, everyone's heart has got, uh, you know, that, that side that go, when things go, you know, you, you don't want the person you don't want to be, or hopefully you don't, you don't want, you know, the, the worst self is, is there in everyone.

And. um, doesn't wanna [00:36:00] listen to other, other people is more concerned with its own, own sense of, um, entitlement or injuries or, or, or even even needs. And, um, yeah, that's a tough, tough thing to, um, to get people to, to take seriously and, and handle well, unless it's in, in a kind of community relational context where you can.

Friendship and peer collegiality and respect as such a part of the culture and a priority that it's hard. You, you, it gives you a baseline. I, I, I think that's where all, all forms of contribution should feed that, that, um, that we're, we kind of hold each other up because. Open sources based on trust, like any, any good [00:37:00] community, any good relationships.

And when you got that, you can kind of hold each other up a bit and tolerate some of some degree of conflict that's necessary and, and disagreement and hurt feelings and, and all that. But I not, not really that good at it all the time, probably better than some other communities, but I don't know if that matters.

Nyasha Green: No worries. I, I agree with you. It's just communication and holding your community. A responsible charity begins at home. My grandmother always said that. So we look out for our community. Our community will look out for other communities. It's kind of like paying it forward.

Dan Knauss: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I, um, I think it's important.

I'm glad I, I kind of know, we know something of each other, like where we live our stories or mm-hmm, , you know, background and I feel like in. Context. That's important to kind of slowly tell those stories and know that stuff for each other grounds, grounds things makes it harder to do that [00:38:00] internet psychosis, where it's not real people that you're shooting at, you know, just venting on or something.

And, and it makes kindness more the common ground. Well, that's a lot covered a lot. Oh yeah. We . We always do. Yeah. Well, that's. Maybe maybe next time we'll do do some more, um, techy, newsy stuff, but, um, yeah. Got a really good, a good question from someone who is outside the community and kind of, you know, wants to, to get in senior developer, wasn't done a lot of WordPress.

What would you advise that I do to get in? We've had a bunch of answers come and, um, yeah, it'd be interested in your take on some stuff like that. I'll probably write about it soon.

Nyasha Green: Yeah, let's get into that next. all right.

Dan Knauss: Cool. Sweet. Thank you. You're

Nyasha Green: so welcome. Yeah.

Dan Knauss: I'm glad you look like a hundred percent back.

Rested, healthy post COVID.

Nyasha Green: I looked that bad last week. Dang Dan. No, I [00:39:00] haven't said that

Dan Knauss: smiling. Yeah. All take care. All you too. Best everyone on your, on your team.

Nyasha Green: Yeah, I'll let 'em know. . Bye.

Dan Knauss: Bye.

by Dan Knauss at August 12, 2022 04:30 PM under XAMP

Do The Woo Community: That First WordCamp for WooCommerce and WordPress Builders

Today I share a Twitter thread, a post and a few of my own thoughts on that first WordCamp experience as well as tips for the all attendees.

>> The post That First WordCamp for WooCommerce and WordPress Builders appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at August 12, 2022 09:04 AM under WordCamp

WPTavern: New Twenty Twenty-Three Default Theme Now in Development

Last month, WordPress design contributors proposed creating a new kind of default theme that would bundle a curated set of style variations, instead of creating a new theme from scratch. This idea resonated with participants in the discussion and plans are now underway to use a stripped-back version of Twenty Twenty-Two as the base for the new theme.

Automattic design director Channing Ritter published a preview of what the base theme might look like with sample variations applied, along with the Figma design mockups.

Twenty Twenty-Three’s predecessor has a highly opinionated design. The upcoming default theme is more like a blank canvas with the spotlight on the style variations. Headings are not as prominent, typography has been replaced with system fonts, and there are no images included. The theme will use the fluid typography feature released in Gutenberg 13.8, and has spacing presets in place.

“One important note is that we are limited in the number of fonts we can include with the theme and should aim to use 3–4 different typefaces across all variations (in addition to systems fonts),” Ritter said. The initial list includes the following fonts, but can evolve based on contributors’ feedback:

  • System sans serif font
  • IBM Plex Mono
  • DM Sans
  • Source Serif Pro

One of the most exciting aspect of this project is that WordPress’ design contributors have invited the community to take a stab at submitting their own style variations for consideration. The variations that are selected will ship as part of the upcoming default theme.

Whereas many default themes in the past have come from a single designer or from an existing theme, Twenty Twenty-Three (TT3) will offer a kaleidoscope of style variations from different community contributors.

The theme in progress is available on GitHub and anyone can try their hand at creating a style variation. There are three different ways to do it. The most straightforward for some will be to create an alternate theme.json file and edit the code directly.

Those who prefer to design their own variation visually in the editor can make changes to the Global Styles panel and then save them as a new style variation using the Create Block Theme plugin. This opens up contribution to anyone with design skills, even if they do not feel comfortable editing the theme.json file. Alternatively, contributors can design static mockups in Figma or another program.

More detailed instructions for submitting a style variation are available in the post and those interested to contribute can join the new  #core-themes-projects Slack channel to ask questions and connect with others who working on the same project. The first variation submission to the TT3 repository is from new contributor Colin Chadwick, who created an eggplant color scheme complemented by the DM Sans font.

The WordPress community is full of talented designers and this call for style variations is an incredible opportunity to contribute without having to touch any code.

Style variation submissions for this project will close on August 31. The final curated set will be announced on September 7. The new TT3 default theme will ship with WordPress 6.1, which is expected on October 25, 2022.

by Sarah Gooding at August 12, 2022 02:09 AM under WordPress

August 11, 2022

Matt: Telegram Channel

You can now subscribe to updates from this blog in this Telegram channel! Right now it will get updates from Ma.tt and Matt.blog, and hopefully my Tumblr in future once the bot supports that as a content source. If you’d like to set this up for your WordPress site, check out this tutorial on Jetpack.

by Matt at August 11, 2022 07:50 PM under Meta

Do The Woo Community: Plugins vs. SaaS with Danni, Josh and Vito

Listen as some WordPress and WooCommerce builders weigh in on choosing between a SaaS product or standalone plugin.

>> The post Plugins vs. SaaS with Danni, Josh and Vito appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at August 11, 2022 10:09 AM under Woo BizChat

WPTavern: New Proposal Calls for Contributors to Stop Merging Experimental APIs from Gutenberg to WordPress Core

The practice of merging experimental APIs from Gutenberg into WordPress core may soon be coming to an end. A new proposal, published by Automattic-sponsored contributor Adam Zielinski, calls for contributors to stabilize APIs before merging them into core.

Over the years, approximately 280 experimental APIs have been merged from the Gutenberg plugin, which Zielinski audited in a ticket he opened for the issue in April. In balancing the drive to move fast with iterating on the editor(s) against WordPress’ commitment to backwards compatibility, the number of experimental APIs has become untenable and the practice of merging them into core is now being actively reconsidered.

Officially, the experimental APIs are flagged as such to discourage third-party use, since they are expected to change. In practice, people building for the block editor are using them anyway because they are in core and they want to extend the features these APIs enable.

“Plugin and theme authors are forced to rely on the __experimental  features that could get removed or changed in a backwards incompatible way at any time,” Zielinski said, echoing the frustration and concerns many developers have had with the project the past few years. “It is a serious maintenance burden. Every new Gutenberg/WordPress release means potentially breaking changes.”

WordPress core committer Peter Wilson commented on the ticket, saying he is in favor of limiting experimental APIs to bleeding edge product. Driving home the need for this change, he cited a host of negative impacts that these core experimental APIs have had on the ecosystem:

  • core committers unwilling to use certain library features to make core tasks easier because they don’t trust the reliability
  • developers no longer upgrading WP client sites. As a core committer who has strived to maintain backward compatibility for years this disappoints me. As a security team member it’s greatly concerning
  • developers deciding to include copies of packages in themes and plugins rather than rely on the wp.* globals. Again this concerns me from a security perspective but it also increases the JavaScript payload significantly more than maintaining backward compatibility
  • reports of backward compatibility breaks in minor versions: “you don’t expect a 5.9.1 release to break the responsiveness of a bunch of images in our sites outside the block editor”
  • developers considering never using core blocks because they’re too unstable: “I stopped using/extending core blocks because they were changing too much and I’ve been using ACF Blocks so that I at least I know I can make blocks that won’t break. Granted the UI isn’t as good as core blocks but I’ll take stability over blocks breaking any time.”

The Gutenberg plugin was meant to function as a feature plugin where breaks in backwards compatibility are expected while contributors polish features before merging them into core. Getting back to the roots of this approach, and making the editor less experimental, is at center of this proposal.

“Instability between versions is already beginning to alienate some of the block-editors biggest external advocates,” Wilson said.

Maintaining this level of instability could discourage people from building on WordPress, pushing them away to other more straightforward projects that are managed in a different way. It is possible that the need to rely on experimental APIs has discouraged developers from building more products, slowing block editor adoption.

“As a plugin author that is currently using many __experimental APIs, I would love to see these stabilized,” WP Engine-sponsored contributors Nick Diego said. “Most provide crucial functionality but building a product that relies on an __experimental API is always a bit disconcerting. So long as the process is exceedingly transparent, is well publicized, and we provide plugin/theme authors with a guide on how to migrate to stable versions, then I like this initiative.”

After months of discussion on the ticket, Zielinski distilled contributors’ concerns into the plan of action proposed on the Make WordPress Core blog.

The proposal indicates that most of the existing experimental APIs already merged into core would get a stable alias.

“It would preserve backwards compatibility and shouldn’t noticeably affect the bundle size,” Zielinski said. “Some will need a different treatment; let’s discuss that case-by-case.” He also recommended contributors consider whether an existing experimental API already in core needs to be removed. He doesn’t anticipate many instances of this but recommends these use established practices of contacting plugin authors, using soft deprecations, and publishing Core posts.

“I also see two things at play here: the use and abuse of experimental APIs during the API design (generally to be used and tested in the Gutenberg plugin) and the lack of a diligent process for stabilizing them when they satisfy design criteria,” Gutenberg lead architect Matias Ventura commented on the original ticket. “The ones that are to be considered de facto public are those that have existed for many releases in a stable form despite their nomenclature.”

In the interest of preserving WordPress’ ability to deliver on its backwards compatibility promises, the proposal recommends experimental APIs be restricted to the Gutenberg plugin and never merged into core. In the instances where a stable feature depends on an experimental API, Zielinski identified a simple answer:

“Then it isn’t actually stable. Let’s stabilize the dependencies first.”

This is essentially a new way of moving forward that should increase stability and confidence in WordPress’ APIs and updates, but it does have a few drawbacks.

Users and contributors can expect that Gutenberg features may be slower merging into core, as they cannot rely on experimental APIs when they hit prime time distribution in major releases. Zielinski also noted that contributors may also have difficulty refactoring these APIs once they have shipped and go into use on millions of WordPress sites.

So far the proposal has had overwhelmingly positive support, as many believe these APIs should never have arrived to core in the first place while still in the experimental stage.

“I’m very much in favor of this approach,” WordPress developer Mark Root-Wiley said. “I build custom themes and have a few simple plugins. For both, I have found myself somewhat frequently forced to deal with experimental APIs and the difficulties of keeping up to date with them when features are put in core that can only be turned off, adjusted, or extended through an experimental API.”

“A return to this sort of stability in core would go a long way to regaining some developer goodwill,” WordPress contributor Dovid Levine commented on the proposal.

The deadline for commenting on the proposal is September 7, which would close out the discussion just shy of three weeks before WordPress 6.1 Beta 1 is expected. This gives contributors some time to more deeply audit the experimental APIs ahead of the next major release, should they reach a consensus on restricting them to the Gutenberg plugin.

by Sarah Gooding at August 11, 2022 03:23 AM under gutenberg

August 10, 2022

Post Status: Back Compat & Experimental APIs, Safely Handling SVG via “Insert URL”, WordPress 6.1 Bug Scrub Schedule, Database Performance Health Checks

This Week at WordPress.org (August 9, 2022)

Is it safe to insert an SVG via URL? How healthy is your database? Performance Team Rep Nominations.

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by Courtney Robertson at August 10, 2022 03:18 PM under Writing

WPTavern: #38 – Paul Bearne on How Working With WordPress Allows for Different Lifestyles

On the podcast today we have Paul Bearne.

Paul is a WordPress enthusiast who loves to come up with ways to make WordPress do things it doesn’t normally do. Having engaged with WordPress almost from the start, he specialises in the creation of highly performant, scalable, accessible and SEO friendly code.

He has contributed consistently to WordPress Core since version 3.9 as well as setting up a local meetup and speaking at WordCamps. He is currently being sponsored by XWP to work on Core as part of their Core initiatives.

In the podcast today Paul talks about the many ways in which it’s possible to work within the WordPress ecosystem. He’s tried many of them out over the years.

Many of the jobs in and around the WordPress space require only a few things, access to power and internet and a computer. The geographical constraints for work are often non-existent. If you have the skills, can get online and put in the hours, then you might be good to go. The pandemic brought this distributed working model to the masses, as more and more organisations realised the benefits that working in this way affords.

Paul talks through some of the different ways that you can work and draws out the benefits and drawbacks that they have. How can you find the work and what can you do to make sure that it’s as stable as it can be?

If you’re already a remote worker, much of this conversation will resonate with you, but if you’re not, but are curious about your options, this podcast will be of interest.

Typically, when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air-conditioning. In this episode both Paul and I wore face masks which you can also detect. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things, WordPress, the people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case how WordPress can enable you to work and live in different ways.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WPTavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL in to most podcast players. If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your idea featured on the show. Head over to WPTavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the form there.

So on the podcast today we have Paul Bearne. Paul is a WordPress enthusiast who loves to come up with ways to make WordPress do things it doesn’t normally do. Having engaged with WordPress almost from the start, he specializes in the creation of highly performant, scalable, accessible, and SEO friendly code.

He has contributed consistently to WordPress Core since version 3.9, as well as setting up a local meetup and speaking at WordCamps. He’s currently being sponsored by XWP to work on Core as part of their Core initiatives.

In the podcast today, Paul talks about the many ways in which it’s possible to work within the WordPress ecosystem. He’s tried many of them out over the years.

Many of the jobs in and around the WordPress space require only a few things, access to power and internet, and a computer. The geographical constraints for work are often non-existent. If you have the skills, can get online and put in the hours, then you might be good to go. The pandemic brought this distributed working model to the masses as more and more organizations realized the benefits that working in this way affords.

Paul talks through some of the different ways that you can work and draws out the benefits and drawbacks that they have. How can you find the work and what can you do to make sure that it’s a stable as it can be?

If you’re already a remote worker, much of this conversation will resonate with you. But if you’re not, but are curious about your options, this podcast will be of interest.

Typically when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air conditioning. In this episode both Paul and I wore face masks, which you can also detect. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable. I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WPTavern dot com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well. And so without further delay, I bring you Paul Bearne.

I am joined on the podcast today by Paul Bearne. How are you doing?

[00:03:52] Paul Bearne: Thank you. All right. It’s been a hectic WordCamp, and feet haven’t touched the ground, but yeah, it’s good to be here.

[00:04:00] Nathan Wrigley: What have you mainly been doing over the last couple, well, I say a couple of days, maybe you weren’t here for contrib day.

[00:04:04] Paul Bearne: I was here for contrib day, because I’m a core contributor. I’ve been working on the performance plugin. I’m lucky to be sponsored by XWP to work on core projects. And we’ve been focusing on the performance enhancements. So in the last release, we got five queries out of a standard homepage load. You imagine what that’s done to a million sites. And the performance add-on, I’ve been working on the dominant color feature, which is coming in the next block.

That’s gonna be interesting to see the reaction of that in the community as that comes out. Cause that’s a visual change. And the WebP stuff. So I’ve been working, busy doing that, as well as running my own premium plugin, business. And it’s really nice to be able to work part-time for one of the big agencies.

[00:04:48] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, we’ll come onto that in a minute. You’ve got a talk here though, which kind of anchors us to what we’re gonna talk about. How did it go?

[00:04:55] Paul Bearne: I think it was well received. A lot of people said it was really good value for them. Yeah, I think it went down really well.

[00:05:03] Nathan Wrigley: Just broadly outline what the topic was that you covered.

[00:05:05] Paul Bearne: It’s a lifestyle talk. basically trying to expand and give people confidence that they can create a lifestyle, whatever lifestyle they want with WordPress. You know, whether they want to be a digital nomad whether they want to live in the countryside or live in the center of a city. There is employment available in all of those places. And you need to look at yourself, see what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Are you a city or a country person? Are you self-directed or do you need to be managed? What’s your timekeeping like? Can you do sales? Can you do administration of doing invoices and tax returns and things like that? Cause if you can’t, you can’t be freelance, or not, not easily.

I’m lucky that my wife is good at the sort of administration stuff. So I’ve been able to do more freelance work than really I should be able to. But now my life’s changed a little bit and having been able to work full time or be paid by XWP to work on core, which is like a dream job for me. It reduces the amount of administration my wife has to do, and I haven’t gotta go chasing freelance work. It’s coming to me. The work is being found for me, and it’s interesting work. You can create whatever life you want. There’s a niche in WordPress.

[00:06:29] Nathan Wrigley: Presumably, if that’s the case that you’ve been through a whole cycle of different types of work, maybe you work for an agency and a…

[00:06:37] Paul Bearne: I went through the various types of agencies. We looked at multinationals, we looked at small agencies, big agencies, government digital services, media companies, high end design agencies in the center of cities, and then the distributed agencies, and touched a little bit on what it’s like to have a plugin, a premium plugin. What it’s like to be as a freelance person, because I’ve done all of those in my career. So I was able to give some, hopefully some insight to what it’s like to do those. And what’s the pitfalls and the bonuses of working in those different environments.

Second half the talk I tried to give some career advice and some, you know, you can do this. This is gotta get noticed. How do you stand out in the crowd? How do you price yourself as a freelance person, and a few things like that. Try to set some reasonable expectations of what the market, what you need to charge to actually be viable.

[00:07:33] Nathan Wrigley: If you look back on your life was it a series of trying things out and then ultimately dissatisfaction with the way that you were working and then try something new? Eventually find that that was not satisfactory and try something else and ultimately where you are now. And it sounds like at this point in time, you’re really happy with where you’re at.

[00:07:51] Paul Bearne: Yes, of course you have to take what comes. I talked in my talk about, details are okay. The trick is to fail fast and learn. So if you get into a situation where it isn’t right, don’t hang around. There is lots and lots of good freelance or good WordPress work out there, or just development work. You don’t have to put up with bad environments, horrible bosses, stupid hours. Not unless you are getting a reward.

And if you’re, if you are in a high end design agency, it’s a young game, and the burnout is quite high but they’re gonna pay you a little bit more. You’re gonna be working on really leading edge work. So you’ll put up with the hours. And you’ll be happy to go out and socialize with the team after work, because that’s part of the culture. But if that’s not what you want then there is other choices.

Maybe that’s a young person’s game and then you mature into a slower agency, a local agency, or a distributed agency, or you go freelance. You get a few clients and you run freelance. Or maybe you do partly your own freelance or partly on the freelance platforms like Codeable, and you work that way.

[00:09:13] Nathan Wrigley: I know that you said that failing fast is a desirable way to go about it. And I can see what you’re saying there in, in the sense that you’ve got a quickly figure out that this isn’t working, because then you need to quickly find something which is working. Presumably there’s gonna be a raft of people, anybody listening to this, there might be a load of people saying, yeah, that’s okay Paul, but I’ve already got the mortgage, and I am living hand to mouth, month to month. And I guess that plays in a little bit. You’ve gotta be a bit conservative in some regard.

[00:09:40] Paul Bearne: Yes of course. Okay, so there’s a number of scenarios that are out there. So say you are working for a small agency serving the local community, which I think is the hard end of the business. Because you have to be a Jack of all trades. you have to do whatever work the agency finds, yeah. There’s no real picking, you know, they ain’t fussy about what jobs they take on, and they’re gonna be small and bitty, and not spectacular. But you want to break out from that.

So you’ve got things like, you could go freelance or semi freelance with the platforms. Codeable platforms, finding new work. But if you go freelance, you’ve gotta have enough money to pay for a laptop and have a space to work. You can’t do long term freelance from a coffee shop.

So there is a little bit of a, you know, can you actually even afford to do freelance, to start up? Because a modern Mac isn’t cheap, or even a modern good laptop isn’t cheap, PC laptop. So that’s the dilemma and I understand that dilemma, But there are choices. The amount of stuff that’s remote, you know, look at a remote agency.

If you are competent as a WordPress developer, you can be hired by a remote agency in no time. They are looking for people who are prepared to work, and they’re more interested in the attitude than your skill set. If you are, can get work done, they’ll hire you. And if you need to train up for a particular type of section of skill, to learn a bit more performance, you need to learn a bit more Gutenberg or whatever the flavor is. Yhey’ll train you. The good ones will. So you don’t need to stay where you are. There are options.

[00:11:22] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. It’s interesting that you say that, you mentioned competence. I was kind of assuming that the competence would come before the attitude, but you’re saying it’s the other way around. Looking for people with a certain approach to work, who they can then up skill.

[00:11:33] Paul Bearne: I’ve hired people. I’ve hired students for year placements. I’ve hired people to work as colleagues. And when I do interview questions, I will start going down a technical tree somewhere. Cause I’m a geek. And I’ll keep going down a rabbit hole until they don’t know the answer. And then I explain the answer to them and I want to see a light bulb go off in their head. Oh, yes that makes sense. I understand what that was. And that’s what I’m looking for.

Cause I can train that person. I can teach them. They will learn. Cause as a web developer, I will never, ever finish learning. Every time I open up a piece of code I will learn something. One of the things I do in Core is I write unit tests and so I’m looking at functions that I’ve never seen before. I learn what the Core of WordPress does, function by function. And there’s stuff in there that I, say, whoa, that’s interesting. Oh, that’s clever how they did that. So you never stop learning. And if you stop learning, especially if you stop learning in some environment, time to go.

[00:12:42] Nathan Wrigley: There must be drawbacks and there must be benefits to this whole approach. Let’s go with the good first. And that may be the time of day that you can work, the amount of money that you can earn, the location that you can put yourself in and so on. Over the course of the years that you’ve been changing things up, what have been some of the things that you’ve looked back and thought, uh, that aspect of that job was really good. And that aspect of that job was really good. Basically. What are the benefits of becoming a freelancer, I guess?

[00:13:05] Paul Bearne: You get to be your own boss and get to pick the clients and the work. You should pick the clients and the work. Don’t take everything that comes at you, because you need to pick work that you are an expertise in. Because if you are doing stuff where you are an expert, you can charge more.

The downside is you gotta find it. It tends to be feast and famine in freelance. You’ve got too much work and then there’s no work. So you’re stressed because you can’t get the work done. And then you’re stressed because you’re looking for work, because you have nothing. So that is one of the major dilemmas of freelance. But you should earn more.

In my talk, I talked about, if you expect your hourly salary to be say $60 an hour, talking universal currency of dollars, the freelance rate minimum is 120, 150 will be nice. That’s really what we’re aiming for. Because if you don’t charge enough, two things will happen. You will not be valued by your client, because, they’re cheap, they can’t be any good. And you’ll get crap work. I have a line in my slides, superstar prices get superstar contracts.

You get better work if you charge more. It’s not a case of more work, better work. Better work pays better. You can have a better lifestyle because you’re not working 14 hours a day. You’re working five hours a day to get that contract done. And you’ve got three hours to do your administration and look for your next contract.

[00:14:44] Nathan Wrigley: So the flexibility’s there. You mentioned the downside of the fact that you’ve gotta create that work or somehow have it created for you. Any other downsides that you’ve figured out over the years?

[00:14:55] Paul Bearne: Freelancing can be lonely because you are one per, one person shop, effectively. You need to work at that not being a problem. So if you are in a, a reasonable metropolitan area, look for meetups, peer groups. Come to conferences. Remember, you gotta pay for them and you gotta manage the time off for that. Your clients aren’t paying you while you’re away. Your company doesn’t earn. So you gotta budget for that.

[00:15:20] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. There may be other additional things, you know, like pension and healthcare and…

[00:15:24] Paul Bearne: You won’t have any healthcare cover. You may be able to insure yourself, but you’re taking the risk on yourself. Pensions, if you’re charging properly, you can push money into your pension, because you’ve got spare cash coming in. You’re cash rich because you’re charging properly.

[00:15:39] Nathan Wrigley: Do you need to be more self-disciplined? In other words, if you’re turning up to an agency at nine in the morning and you’re leaving at five and the work is handed out on plate and you’ve got briefings in the morning and then the briefings and blah, blah, blah. With this, you’ve gotta be a Jack of all trades a bit, but you’ve gotta be mindful that, you know, you, aren’t just sitting down having a coffee in front of the television, letting the work drift and drift and drift.

[00:16:02] Paul Bearne: Yeah, I have a friend in Canada he’s freelance business shall we say suffered? He let clients down badly. I picked a couple of clients up. He saw that I was linked to him on LinkedIn. They were chasing him and he was just got quiet on them. Awkward situation. I was able to pick some clients up because he wasn’t delivering. So you do need to have self discipline to be a freelancer.

If you’re not, then look at the other choices. If you want to be remote, look at what are the remote agencies, and they’ll do it. If you want to be in an office, are you compared to travel into the city center? Then look for one of the big design houses in city center. If you are up for the pace. If not, maybe there’s a local agency who’s servicing the local community, that feels right for you. Because they tend to be nice and friendly and family like, yeah, they’re cozy. But the work won’t be stellarly interesting.

[00:17:00] Nathan Wrigley: I guess you’ve gotta be a bit, not just disciplined, you’ve gotta be self-motivated as well. You’ve got to be the kind of person that can incentivize themselves, because if you’re working for the man, as it were…

[00:17:10] Paul Bearne: Who will drive the direction and push you forward. Being self-aware of where your strengths are, is the most important thing you can acquire. If you can get that self-awareness and be honest to yourself about where you are, what sort of personality you are. You may need to work for somebody, in order to actually get anything done, and that’s not wrong. In fact, being honest about that is a really powerful thing, and it makes your life less stressful.

When I worked for corporate in multinationals, it was a doddle. Nine to five, ate in the canteen, endless coffee supply, projects took forever. Downside is our server was IIS, yeah. But when I had to go to the US I had to fly business class, you know. There are pros and cons to all environments,

[00:18:11] Nathan Wrigley: The WordPress ecosystem, obviously you are into the code, but you only have to look at the speeches that are on this weekend, and the presentations that are on to realize that code is a tiny fraction of the WordPress ecosystem. We’ve got SEO experts, and we’ve got copywriters and so on and so forth.

Did you ever stray into a different territory or have you always been code all the time and therefore sort of increasing your portfolio and your CV, if you like, one job after the other.

[00:18:35] Paul Bearne: I actually for a while ran social media for corporation. I got there because I realized that we needed to own the brand names and I stepped ahead above the parapet and said, oy, Mr. CTO, we need to own these. Shall I go and get them? Had a fun story around corporate name changing, but, I went out and registered all the, the corporate brands. And for four years, before marketed caught up with me, I was the owner and access gatekeeper to all of their social media accounts.

We have wandered around a little bit but I am primarily a coder. That’s where my strength is. I understand by strength. That’s why I didn’t stay in social media. I’m not a writer, I’m not a content person. And so that’s part of me understanding my strengths and weaknesses.

[00:19:29] Nathan Wrigley: I kind of wonder if people who may be listening to this who figure, actually, I just wanna throw all the cards up in the air and see where they land. In other words, I just wanna try something new and everything that you’ve described so far fits that picture really nicely, you know?

[00:19:43] Paul Bearne: Yeah.

[00:19:43] Nathan Wrigley: All of this would work in, well, pretty much any industry I’m imagining.

[00:19:46] Paul Bearne: Yep, and detours are okay. Throw your ears up. You hear a sniff of something. Go knock on the door. Have a look in. Go and talk to people there. Go on interviews. I love interviews. I’d almost do it as a hobby, go on interviews. Go and see what they’re doing. And if it feels right, go and join them. If you don’t ask the question, it’s impossible for someone to say yes.

They might have to say no, but people actually like saying yes. So go look. Take a Friday afternoon off and go for an interview somewhere. If you just chalk it up as interview practice, you are not that serious. You get to look behind the curtain a little bit. You get some reference points about what an alternative life would look like. Think about moving to the countryside. Think about moving to the city moving to another country.

You can go and visit them. I emigrated from the UK to Canada in my fifties. I visited Canada a couple of times, found I liked it and then went through the immigration process. Uh, it took a couple of years to do that, but you get there.

[00:21:04] Nathan Wrigley: You mentioned earlier about, well you said the words feast and famine or something To that regard, and I’m just wondering, okay, so I’m not talking about the money where the money may go up and the money may I go down? I’m talking more about the pipeline of work. Have you ever struggled with that? Have you ever had periods where, there really is nothing on the horizon. What have I done?

[00:21:24] Paul Bearne: Oh totally and my solution in fact is to use Codeable. When I was freelancing, I was a member of Codeable from almost day one, very early joined there, and I’ve never done it as my full time gig. Now there are people who all the work comes through Codeable, but I’ve used it as my back fill. Whenever I’m a little bit short of work, I will go on a Codeable. I will bid for one of the contracts. Find a contract, get a contract and then do that project, because they’ve got so much work there.

You could go and pick a contract up really easily. And you could find one that fits your skill set and your knowledge base. Yeah, so I’m an expert in sort of job boards and things like that. So I would always go and look for something in that space, because I can provide skills and knowledge in that space, and it becomes easy for me to complete the task.

[00:22:14] Nathan Wrigley: So you are kind of running those two things, not quite in parallel, but they happen concurrently. But you’ve got your work, which is the desired outcome, the stuff that you’ve put in place for yourself.

[00:22:25] Paul Bearne: I will get more income from that.

[00:22:26] Nathan Wrigley: And then the Codeable is when the gaps appear.

[00:22:29] Paul Bearne: Yeah. When the gaps backfill. If I’m short off work, I’ve got nothing to do for the end of the week I’ve got four hours. I can find a job on Codeable. Or I’ve got two days of spare capacity. Because everybody wants it done now on Codeable, brilliant. Rock up, log in. Go and see what the current list of open jobs are. Find a job that’s in your space that you can present value to. Don’t just go and do anything. And then go and fix that problem for that client.

And I’ve had repeating clients who’ve kept, effectively become part of my freelance stable, still through Codeable, I’ve done ongoing contracts with them. So it works really well. And the Codeable guys are really, really nice. You know they have a lovely active Slack channel. They do regular meets and training. They almost feel like a distributed agency. That hybrid space. And that everybody there is competent WordPress designer, editor content, it’s not just code at Codeable. Remember that, so there’s other skills that could, people will hire you for there.

[00:23:39] Nathan Wrigley: Would you therefore suggest that’s possibly a good place for somebody to just begin? If they’re tentative and they’re you know, they could slot a bit of that into their weekend with their regular job.

[00:23:48] Paul Bearne: They’ve got a regular nine to five job and they want to start learning, doing some freelance, it’s a really good place for them to get their feet wet, a little bit. In a very safe environment. Cause the money’s being collected by Codeable. It’s in the escrow. So you know you’re gonna get paid. If there’s a problem with the client the staff will wade in, and they’ll help you out. And if you get really, really stuck you can reach out to staff and they’ll find one of the other experts to come and help you. And if you get a problem, you could ping the Slack channel, say, how do I do this? And one of the other experts will wade in and help you. Very friendly.

[00:24:29] Nathan Wrigley: Is it difficult to differentiate yourself, to make yourself stand out? It’s just you pitching for work. Presumably on Codeable you’ve got a set number of fields that you’ve gotta fill out to demonstrate how good you are at a certain thing. And, and everybody else has got those same set of fields and…

[00:24:43] Paul Bearne: Yeah, yeah it is slightly difficult. They are quite good about saying no more than five experts should reply to a client’s inquiry. So you don’t get millions of people trying to bid for piece of work. And they don’t do the lowest price wins. They average out the price bids. Someone puts a, a thousand dollars in for a project and someone else puts in 800, the client’s gonna get told 900. They take a commission off the top, or they add a commission on top of that price and they charge the client to that. And then you get your money out in USD.

[00:25:20] Nathan Wrigley: One of the things that always attracted me, but I never managed to kind of make the leap, was this idea of being a digital nomad. So everything that you’ve just talked about, all of these rungs on the ladder of how to get work and how to manage your relationship with clients and build up your portfolio and all of that, all of that’s happened. And then you just don’t live in the same place for any great length of time. You flit about. You’ve sort of done that, you’ve moved a country. Do you know any people who do that?

[00:25:45] Paul Bearne: I have a good handful of friends who do that. Within XWP, I think have probably 20 or 30 people who are digital nomads within the company. I don’t think Codeable people tend to do that as much, because the infrastructure stuff that you need to do in addition to charging and billing and things like that, becomes difficult as you flip around the countryside and do stuff. Freelance people tend to hire local freelancers a little bit, so it tends to lock you into a country. And if you suddenly move, there’s some dynamics there.

My recommendation, if you wanna do proper nomad work, go and talk to one of the distributed agencies, you know, Human Made, 10up, XWP, you know, that level of company. Especially if you are skilled as a WordPress developer. All of those are actively looking for people. I will personally recommend XWP. I do work there, but I’ve also worked at a few of the others.

They’ve got it right. They’ve learned over the years how to do remote web development and manage the culture and the team so well. And it’s art, and I think they’ve nailed it because they’re based in Australia, you know, the corporate HQ is over there. So all of the European staff they’ve got here, they’ve got 60 people at this WordCamp or something. They’re all of remote. There’s only about two or three have flown all the way over for Australia. And so, because they’ve done it, it just, they just nailed it.

[00:27:22] Nathan Wrigley: Final question, did you ever, do you ever, sort of pinch yourself and reflect on how incredibly lucky you are? I say you, you, as in, all the people who have careers in the same manner that you do.

[00:27:38] Paul Bearne: Hey, I’m a guy who started as a tea boy on a building site, my first job. I now have a house on a lake with a motor boat tied up at the bottom. I would never have dreamt of that when I was a young lad. You really now in this day and age can work from anywhere. And as you know, Starlink and things like that are coming online, you really can go out into the sticks and work from anywhere.

Anywhere you can get decent internet is now fair game as a location to do web development work and design work and other services. I’m a developer, so I tend to think developer first, but there’s PMs, there’s sales, there’s HR, there’s marketing, there’s video production, there’s design, there’s content writing. All of those can be done remote.

Unless you are physically manufacturing something, and even some of that can be done remote in small batches now. Anything in this sort of digital space can be remote and often better done that way. Unless you really doing high cycle stuff, I think remote is the way to go.

[00:28:55] Nathan Wrigley: Paul Bearne, thank you for chatting to me today.

[00:28:58] Paul Bearne: My pleasure.

by Nathan Wrigley at August 10, 2022 02:00 PM under podcast

WPTavern: ServerPress Is Shutting Down

ServerPress, makers of DesktopServer, a WordPress local development tool, announced it is shutting down after 12 years in business. The company emailed its customers and posted a farewell message on its website after disabling new purchases and is in the process of canceling renewals for existing subscriptions.

ServerPress was founded by Steve Carnam in 2010. His leadership helped the company remain independent of large hosting companies that have scooped up WordPress development tools of all kinds. Carnam described how the market has changed, forcing ServerPress’ partners to make the difficult decision to close:

Earlier this year, one of the team members questioned whether or not DesktopServer v5.0 would have a viable market share. We had been so focused on building it out that throughout the development, we lost sight of constantly checking the temperature in the room.  Once we started discussing this we came to the conclusion that DS5’s potential market share has changed significantly over the last 10 years. The WordPress development tool landscape has grown and diversified greatly. This has diluted DesktopServer’s overall market share. The time, effort, and costs to bring in new users to DesktopServer’s workflow would be too much overhead for ServerPress to be sustainable. While many larger, well-funded companies would be able to absorb such costs involved, a company of our position cannot.

ServerPress did not communicate any plans for the future of its software products beyond the fact that they will no longer be supported. Longtime users and fans were disappointed to learn that the company is shutting down and some asked if they might consider making DesktopServer available to the public.

I asked Carnam if ServerPress is in talks with another company to sell or if they are considering making DesktopServer’s code available. He could not offer any further details but said he may have more news in the near future.

“With regards to selling, or open sourcing the code (which would be great); I’m unfortunately not at liberty to say at this time,” Carnam said.

The small ServerPress team, which includes Stephen J Carnam, Marc Benzakein, and Gregg Franklin, have not yet announced what their next ventures will be, but they plan to support current customers for the duration of their subscriptions.

“If you are a Premium Subscriber, we will continue to support you until your subscription is up,” Carnam said. “For some, that will mean support on issues with DesktopServer v3.9.x. For others, it may mean assistance with migrating to another local development tool. We will continue to help those of you with Premium Memberships with site deployments until your subscription expires.”

by Sarah Gooding at August 10, 2022 01:26 AM under News

August 09, 2022

WPTavern: WordCamp US 2022 Publishes Speaker Schedule, Livestream Will Be Available

WordCamp US (WCUS) kicks off one month from today in San Diego, CA, and organizers have published the full schedule for all sessions. The three-day event will feature three tracks with a combination of lightning talks (15 min), standard talks (45 min), and workshops (1 hr+).

This year’s lineup is heavy on educating professionals on building with blocks. Attendees and livestream viewers can expect to learn how to customize core blocks for clients and create a custom block in 15 minutes. Speakers will also offer a glimpse into the future of designing themes for the block editor, the foundational concepts of the new era of block themes, and demonstrate how to build a block theme.

Block themes and plugins aren’t the only things on the menu for WCUS attendees. The event will include a diverse range of topics, including WordPress and the creator economy, accessibility, multichannel e-commerce, performance, community, and creating editorial experiences.

The sessions begin on September 9, and continue through the next day, capped off with a chat with Matt Mullenweg, who will also answer live questions from the audience. Contributor Day is scheduled for Sunday, September 11.

Unfortunately, for many hoping to attend, all 650 of the available tickets sold out within the first day. Everyone else across the world of WordPress will need to tune into the livestream, which organizers expect will be fairly popular this year due to the limited in-person tickets. The sessions in Sun track and Palm track will be live streamed, but the Surf track workshops will not. The livestream page is already published and no special tickets will be required.

by Sarah Gooding at August 09, 2022 09:30 PM under wordcamp us

Matt: Gaiman on Tumblr

From a nice new Polygon article, Our favorite Neil Gaiman books, comics, and more:

Before I elaborate — yes, people still use Tumblr and it’s far more popular than most people think. Neil Gaiman has been an active Tumblr user since 2011, and he still actively uses the microblogging platform to this day. This is notable, because celebrities have notoriously been bullied off of Tumblr. Yet somehow, Neil Gaiman has outlived them all, watching from the shadows of his own dashboard.

He keeps his ask box open and answers questions from fans. He gives life and writing advice. He talks about the various adaptations of his works, giving information he is able to give and answering with a signature “wait and see” when he cannot. He plays along with dumb jokes and reblogs additions. He helps fans track down obscure lines he’s written. And as is the reality of the internet, he deals with his share of haters and trolls, but he’s always remarkably graceful toward them.

He also reblogs posts, adding on new informationproviding funny commentary, or giving helpful tips (this usually causes some surprise from people who organically stumble upon a comment from Neil Gaiman in the wild, and it’s always really amusing to see).

He’s just a good presence on the internet, which is exceedingly rare to see these days.

I’m seeing more and more people use Tumblr in this way, and it’s nice to be part of making the web a more interesting place. If you haven’t tried Tumblr recently, download the app and start with Neil’s blog as a subscription. Hat tip: Matthew Ryan.

by Matt at August 09, 2022 02:05 PM under Asides

Do The Woo Community: Software Licensing Solutions for WooCommerce Builders with Anh, Phil and James

A great discussion on the options for software licensing with WooCommerce, both out-of-the-box or should you roll your own custom built solution.

>> The post Software Licensing Solutions for WooCommerce Builders with Anh, Phil and James appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at August 09, 2022 10:08 AM under Woo Roundtable

Post Status: Local Development Tools and the Open Web

Who is not using Local? Is it an Open Web tool? Let's review some “Local history” and consider where WP Engine's popular developer tools could be headed.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

DesktopServer: The end of an era and the beginning of a new one

Once upon a time, I used XAMP. Then I used DesktopServer. I liked it and soon bought a subscription for updates and support. It was very host-agnostic and could be set up to push/pull to/from local and development sites. (In practice, this could be pretty difficult to get working.) MAMP remains a good choice for local development, but DesktopServer was probably seen as the best for WordPress until about 2019 when Local emerged. This past week DesktopServer closed its doors, noting how its independence from hosting platforms had become a significant disadvantage:

“We’re a small company that has remained independent of large hosting providers and their influential budgets; this choice had initial market share benefits but longer-term financial constraints.”

ServerPress (the parent company for DesktopServer) was typical of the classic small WordPress company and the small-scale success story associated with many WordPress businesses: well-liked and personable people involved in the WordPress community and its culture of giving back. Today, that story might be seen as ending in the era of product consolidation under big hosting platforms that are aiming at vertical integration in e-commerce, subscriptions, edutech — and the tools to build WordPress sites professionally.

Local: an outstanding but less open product without strong alternatives in a consolidating market

The ServerPress team also mentioned the diversification of the WordPress development tool landscape has become too complex to cope with too, but for the type of tool DesktopServer is, there is really only one solution now. It's a safe bet that whatever market share DesktopServer once had only three years ago went to Local — then named “Local by Flywheel” after that hosting company's 2016 acquihire of Clay Griffiths and Pressmatic. Pressmatic was first released that same year and cost its users $99 with no freemium pricing. Rebranded and rapidly developed for Mac, Linux, or Windows, Local was not open source but completely free — for a while.

Connectability — Anyone should be able to connect to anyone else who wants their connection. This is the foundation for community and well exemplified in tools that are easy to take for granted, like email and Open Source projects like Matrix. 

The Open Web Manifesto

Free — for now

Next, WP Engine acquired Flywheel in 2019, and Local came along with it. Local was already a raging success, and it probably has only grown in its user base since then — if there was much remaining market share left to capture. To no one's surprise, a separate, subscription-based “Pro” version soon rolled out with the most useful basic features unbundled from the free version and bundled into the Pro version. Due to the negative reactions that came in, the plug was quickly pulled on Local Pro. Today, some features in Local still require additional subscription fees, but most users won't be crippled without them.

If your host is able to open your books, why not ask them to open source the tools you use to build sites potentially on their platform?

The effort to monetize Local this way appears to have failed due to the developer community's reactions. At that point, Local had 300,000 developers using it, according to Sarah Gooding — and they strongly resisted “Pro” in force. Their resistance focused heavily on the lack of host-agnostic support for syncing files and databases.

WordPress Dev Community: Paying for key features that come with platform lock-in is not OK

More specifically, I would say people who loved using Local hated how the Pro edition was packaged and designed to pull you into one particular host. If you paid to get more features, you also got more lock-in. And that hosting platform was designed completely around the concept of getting all your clients inside and handling things like billing — which is part of a paid extra, Flywheel's Growth Suite. In theory, Flywheel can know as much about your business as — maybe even more than — your accountant. That's not a service for everyone, as you might imagine, even if it was free. Trust really matters in that kind of relationship. If your host is able to open your books, why not ask them to open source the tools you use to build sites potentially on their platform?

Beautiful product at the price of freedom

“I feel it's time for a bump to this issue…. Connect is a closed aspect of Local and we don’t seem to have any sort of mechanism or ability to add to or modify it ourselves, meaning we can’t even write our own extensions to Connect for other hosts and feel this needs to be addressed in totality not just adding a new connection to appease just a handful of users.”

User dsnid3r on the Local Community Forum

Local has continued to advance. It remains widely used and is, as far as I know, unmatched in features with no direct competitors. There's integration with WP Engine's new tools for headless sites, like Atlas, along with Migrate and other tools acquired from Delicious Brains. Add Genesis — which represents WP Engine's “commitment to the open web,” and consider where it's likely headed with Full-Site Editing. (See the work Mike McAlister has been doing on FSE Studio.) You can imagine the end result being just about anything needed for WordPress site builds, from relatively simple content sites to complex applications and headless installs.

This quasi-promise was dangled for several years.

Local and newer developer tools in the WP Engine portfolio are all either free or reasonably priced freemium products today. I've used and bought into almost all of them in the past. How well any of them will work with other hosting platforms down the line is the question that might have otherwise happy Local users a little worried. It's certainly been on my mind.

In the past, Local's Connect feature (what makes it fundamentally useful) was promoted as one that would be opened to other hosts. From 2020-21 people were pointed to a form or a category in the Local Community forum to propose their preferred host(s). The form page now returns a 404.

Former intake form page for suggesting a host to add to Local Connect.

Developer requests for this feature have never let up — not a surprise. And also the fact that it hasn't happened. Nevertheless, the goal of connecting to other hosts was expressed by the Local team as a possibility for years — has that door closed? All the way? For good? I imagine 300,000+ users might still have some say in that.

I'd love it if Local and its MagicSync feature worked with any host — including SpinupWP and InstaWP. Local plus Migrate (which is host agnostic) would be terrific.

Will it happen? If it doesn't, can we really say Local supports the Open Web?

by Dan Knauss at August 09, 2022 05:38 AM under XAMP

Post Status: Pentesting as Contributing

Robert Rowley at Patchstack explains what I believe is the first-ever reported vulnerability in Gutenberg (the plugin, not in WordPress core) to make the National Vulnerability Database. Robert has opened an issue for discussion in the Gutenberg GitHub repo that has a good quick summary of the vulnerability. It appears to be only a theoretical vulnerability. To exploit it, an attacker would need the ability to create content in WordPress along with other conditions. As Robert explains:

Gutenberg allows users to click “insert URL” and paste in a remote URL that points to an SVG file. Gutenberg then uses that value in the <img> tag when generating the HTML. SVG files may contain javascript, which makes them a security concern similar to XSS.

Safely handling SVG via “Insert URL” (Discussion around CVE-2022-33994) #43039

There is no immediate risk of this vulnerability being exploited in the wild, so it represents a theoretical security concern that might help shape future development around SVGs in WordPress.

Notably, this theoretical vulnerability was discovered by Jitendra Patro, a software developer and WordPress user. Jitendra found the vulnerability in his own pentesting and has shared all the details on his blog. As a self-described WordPress enthusiast, Jitendra has had it as a goal to find a vulnerability in WordPress. That might seem like strange fan behavior outside open source, but it's actually a high compliment.

While closed source SaaS platforms seldom get their security issues aired widely in public, when they're massive like this recent one at Twitter, it's hard to hide.

by Dan Knauss at August 09, 2022 05:30 AM under Security

August 08, 2022

WPTavern: Gutenberg 13.8 Introduces Fluid Typography Support and Revamped Quote Block

Gutenberg 13.8 was released last week with some major enhancements that should delight block theme authors and users alike. The long-awaited fluid typography support landed in this version. It provides smooth scaling between smaller and larger viewports, adapting in a fluid way to varying widths.

Release lead George Mamadashvili demonstrated how this works in a video:

“Contrast that idea with font sizes that respond to specific viewport sizes, such as those defined by media queries, but do nothing in between those sizes,” Automattic developer Ramon Dodd said in the fluid type PR.

“Theme.json already allows authors to insert their own fluid font size values. This won’t change, but this PR offers it to folks who don’t want to worry about the implementation details.”

Theme developers who want to opt into fluid typography need only set typography.fluid to be true in theme.json and add fluid to each of the settings.typography.fontSizes with min and max values.

Gutenberg contributors are requesting feedback from theme developers on this first iteration, as it is an experimental new feature. In the future, the feature may be configurable for users through the Global Styles UI.

“The intention is to garner feedback on the formulae and API, before we think about any editor UI and, beyond that, introducing fluidity to other properties such as spacing,” Dodd said.

Theme authors have already started updating to use the new fluid typography. Brian Gardner updated his Frost Theme to use the feature, and Rich Tabor updated his Wei and Wabi themes.

“As one of the bigger efforts towards making publishing beautifully rich pages in WordPress, fluid typography is a pretty big experience win for both the folks building with WordPress — and those consuming the content,” Tabor said in a tutorial on adding support for fluid typography in block themes.

“It’s also a part of making WordPress more powerful, while not more complicated (which we all know is quite the challenge).”

Gutenberg 13.8 also includes a revamped Quote block that is capable of nesting other blocks inside. Previously, the Quote block did not allow inner blocks, but users have often requested the ability to add lists or headings inside of them.

Quote block with nested blocks

Other user-facing improvements in 13.8 include the following:

  • Template part UX improvements that make specific template part variations available in the block inserter
  • Border controls for image blocks
  • Post Comments and Comments blocks merged into a single block – Comments
  • New content size and wide size controls in Global Styles, under “Layout” allows users to override content dimensions defined by a theme
  • Accessibility enhancements – improved and labels and tooltips across the editors, added more keyboard-friendly clickable elements in the “Add template” modal
  • New WhatsApp icon added to the Social Icon block

This update erased performance gains from previous updates in both the post and site editor but future improvements may be able to chisel the times back into the range of previous benchmarks.

Check out the 13.8 release post for the full changelog and more details on all the enhancements and bug fixes.

by Sarah Gooding at August 08, 2022 08:28 PM under typography

August 07, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Layouts and Wide Alignments in WordPress: Then, Now, and Upcoming Changes

For most of WordPress’ history, the platform accepted a single layout width, defined by the active theme’s global $content_width variable. Theme authors were required to handle the CSS for it and any other sizes they wanted on output.

When WordPress 5.0 launched the block editor, it introduced the concept of wide and full alignments (technically, they are “widths” or “sizes,” but let’s jump past this oddity of pigeon-holing sizing into the existing alignment system). Themes could add support via add_theme_support( 'align-wide' ) to allow users to select these additional widths for blocks, which would expand beyond the content area:

Full-width group with nested content with no width set in Twenty Twenty-One.

The solution was a groundbreaking first step. However, once again, theme authors were mostly left to figure out how this worked on their own. The flagship Twenty Twenty-One theme had dozens of lines of CSS to cover various scenarios to get it to work. WordPress had yet to include a standardized layout system at that point.

Fast forward to the WordPress 5.9 release in early 2022. The update added a global settings and styles feature, which included a layout system for handling wide sizes. Theme authors merely needed to define settings.layout.contentSize and settings.layout.wideSize in a theme.json file, as shown in the following code snippet:

{ "version": 2, "settings": { "layout": { "contentSize": "38rem", "wideSize": "64rem" } } }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

This meant that developers could remove most (all in some cases) of their custom CSS around content, wide, and full-width layouts. Compared to the previous default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two only had a handful of CSS workarounds for issues related to full-width alignments and root-level padding.

The new layout system came with new “rules” for aligning nested children of container-type blocks, such as Group. And, WordPress would only show the wide and full options if they were allowed. This caused some compatibility issues for classic theme adoption of theme.json, which we will get to. However, overall the system was finally coming together.

A full-width group with nested content-width text and a wide image.

Users had a standard system that was cross-theme compatible (at least those with theme.json support), and theme authors only had to plug in a few configuration values.

A Problem with Classic Theme Layout Support

The introduction of WordPress’ built-in layout system made for a lot less hassle coping with the multitude of page designs that users might attempt. It gave theme authors a much-needed standard that core could build atop in the future. However, the new system broke compatibility with some scenarios in classic themes.

For classic theme authors who adopted theme.json, they began noticing two primary issues:

  1. When using a wide container block in classic themes, most themes defaulted to automatically showing nested blocks at the content width. However, in the new theme.json-based system, child blocks fill the width of their parent.
  2. In classic, users could assign a wide/full width to any block, regardless of its container. The new system only supports wide/full alignments on children if the parent supports it, such as when the Group block sets nested blocks to inherit the default (content) width.

The default user experience changed and broke compatibility for classic themes that adopted theme.json after the WordPress 5.9 release. The mere existence of this file moves the user to the new layout system, regardless of whether settings.layout is explicitly set. Developers have no mechanism for opting out of it. This makes it a blocker for gradually adopting FSE components.

For this reason, I recommend classic theme authors temporarily postpone adopting theme.json if they have an existing userbase. For new projects, adding support should be a non-issue.

There is good news in store. First, I (along with others) updated the layout documentation to provide a warning in the Theme Handbook about this issue.

However, a more permanent fix may be on the way. There is an open pull request to create a new content width layout type. It would also make this the default setting for newly-created Group blocks, returning the user experience to the original behavior. There is no set-in-stone deadline for this, but I hope it lands in WordPress 6.1.

by Justin Tadlock at August 07, 2022 06:05 AM under Themes

August 06, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #71 – Gutenberg 13.8, Fluid Typography, updates to the Block API and more

Grzegorz Ziolkowski subbed for Mary Job as co-host with Birgit Pauli-Haack. They discuss Gutenberg 13.8, Fluid Typography, updates to Block APIs and WordPress 6.1 Planning.

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes

Announcements

WordPress 6.1 Planning Roundup v2

Proposal: A new kind of default theme

Proposal: Moving Core block styling to JSON

PR in 13.5 Prototype: merge block CSS with theme.json styles

Design Exploration: Encourage editor configuration during on-boarding

Community Contributions

Giving FSE a More User Friendly Name 

FSE Program Category Customization Summary

What’s released

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.8? (3 August)

Block supports: Add fluid typography

New examples for Block Types Data (core/blocks package

What’s in active development and discussed

Block API: Tracking issue

Blocks: Further improve assets handling for blocks

Reference PHP file necessary for the block from block.json. It could be a new setting render_template

Injecting dynamic data to block HTML markup in PHP

Updated: Tracking: Add a Style Engine to manage rendering block styles

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hello and welcome to our 71st episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. In today’s episode, we’ll talk about Gutenberg 13.8 release updates to the block APIs, WordPress 6.1 planning, giving FSE a new name and so much more. I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and WordPress developer advocate, and today my cohost is Grzegorz Ziolkowski, JavaScript developer and WebPress core contributor. Thank you so much, Grzegorz for subbing for Mary today. Mary sends her regards. She’s really inundated with work, which is good at one point, but we miss her today, and she will be again on the next episode. So how are you, Grzegorz? Thanks for joining us.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Hello, Birgit. Hello, dear listeners. I’m great. So happy to join you again and talk about everything related to Gutenberg, which is always fun.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and we are so glad to have you. You will bring… We will talk about some block APIs because there are big changes coming. Can you let us in or should we wait ’til we get through the release?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh yeah. Like there are a lot of things going on. We are trying to better organize the roadmap for more technical aspects of Gutenberg. So that was one of the talking points during WordCamp Europe. Many core contributors brought that. It’s like the roadmap for user facing features is pretty well defined. You have a lot of references for that, but sometimes, like with so many open issues, it’s really hard to find what’s the most important bits on the technical level and how we can improve building blocks for core and for all extenders, how we can better integrate customizing blocks to work better with blog patterns and with teams in general. So this is what we are trying address with that and we can cover that at the end of the show.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And just wanted to tease it out so people stay on beyond the Gutenberg Changelog for the last Plugin release. 

Announcements

But before we head into that, there are a few things that happen on the team. One is the WordPress 6.1 planning is done. We have a preliminary schedule and the post also contains a full slate of release leads. So the Feature-Freeze and Beta I for 6.1 is September 20th, and that brings us with Gutenberg up to the version 14.1 if the team keeps the two-week release cycle. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t. And then a release Candidate I would be October 11. That’s when all the Field Guide is going to be published and now more any string, it’s also hard string freeze so that the translators are able to kind of continue the work. And then the final release is November 1st. That moved from the preliminary schedule that was published four weeks ago or something like that, but with the comments from that planning, it didn’t have a third Beta release, but that is now on the schedule and that pushed the final release date a week into November 1st.

The release squad is release leaders, Matt Mullenweg with the release candidate coordinators again with Hector Prieto and Jonathan Derosia, two veterans leading the release, coordinate the release. And then core-tech co-leads, sorry, is Mike Schroeder, David Bombard and Jeff Paul. And editor tech co-leads, Michael Chaplinsky and Bernie Reider. And then core triage co-leads is Jean-Baptiste Audras and Ahmad Jayon. And editor triage co-leads are Nick Diego and Anne McCarthy. Documentation co-leads is Milana Kapp and Femi Pressid, and yours truly again. So now I’m not a rookie anymore and it’s good to do two releases in a row, because first you learn a lot and the second one you can actually really contribute and not be a pain in the whatnot with all the questions. Marketing and communications lead is Jonathan Pantanni. Test lead is Brian Alexander and Ana Lakisik, and design lead is Rich Tabor. So this is a great squad, again, for the 6.1 release. That’s the third release in 2022.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think the squad is excellent. We have a lot of people that were involved in the previous release and also in the release from many months ago, so that’s always a good mix of people. And I guess you did excellent in the 6.0, Birgit, so you are too humble.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, we also have something new on the release lead. Femi Pressid, she’s new to the release cycle, but she has been working on the Gutenberg end user documentation for about a year now and has done an excellent job keeping up with all of it. And now being on the Release co-lead for documentation means the end user documentation gets a lot more weight and she also can start earlier to triage what will be in the Release and what is user facing to update the documentation. If it’s not before the release, then it’s very close after the Release. So we give her all the support that she can get and if you, dear listeners, are inclined to do some writing and want to do some updates on the end user documentation, because you do it for your clients anyway, or you are, you always wanted to start contributing to the documentation team. Don’t hesitate to come and either ping me or ping Femi or Milana that you want to contribute. And believe me, we will put you to work, so you can definitely make a great difference on the documentation team for that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. It’s also the last release of the year, which means that there should be a new default team. I don’t know how it’s going to be handled this year, because with block teams, there are so many options. You can use block team variations or type variations. There’s many options like block patterns. So I have no idea how the design team is go going to sort that out. I know that Rich Tabor as a team lead, that’s an excellent choice. He has a lot of teams in the repository. I mean, in the directory, so you can check them out, look buy out or name and see what he’s capable of. So that’s going to be very interesting. And I also am really excited that the blog editor triage leads, this idea is continued. It was a last minute edition for 6.0 and Nick Diego, he did excellent job helping Core editor Dech Letes with picking the right back fixes and improvements, enhancements, and stuff like that during the holiday. So now having him and Anne McCarty that should be a dream team to work with.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I totally agree with that. He and George Mamadashvili, who also was release lead for this latest Gutenberg Plugin release, they do actually weekly triage meetings now in the Core editor channel and they started that, I think about a month ago. And this has been quite helpful because they sometimes close issues or can push some of the PRs further and see if it gets to a solution quicker. We also have, thank you for pointing out the proposal or mentioning the new default theme. If you missed that, there is a proposal for a new kind of default theme. What was that name? Man, Jenny Ritter. She posted that about two weeks ago and it’s more like it’s going to be a base theme, but then it’s a call for the community to send in style variations as well as for that theme that then totally can change how a site looks, even if it doesn’t change the theme.

So I think it’s an excellent new approach using all the different tools that are available, especially the style variations. I find that very… And Rich Tabor also has, he’s not on the team for the default team, but he’s definitely raised his hand to say, “Well, I will contribute some style variation for the default theme.” And please, we will share the post in the show notes, of course so you can share your feedback. That’s one thing, but also you can be updated on the next version of this, because the next iteration will be that there will be a basic theme and then how to submit style variations that hasn’t been yet finalized. How the process going to work, it’s always with the new things. You need to find the right process to make it work, but Jenny Ritter and the design team and the theme team are working closely together to make this a great new default theme experience.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So we have one more news to share. So because the date for the WordPress 6.1 is so far ahead, we are also preparing a bug fix release for WordPress major version, which is going to be 6.0.2. And we still didn’t decide on the exact dates, but we are shooting at the end of month and you should expect some official announcements soon, probably after The core chat that happens every Wednesday.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that is good. That’s good. There are a few bug fixes that came out and having them fixed sooner rather than later is really good. Thanks for pointing that out, Grzegorz. We also have a link to the design explorations that James Koster did and he published it on the Design Team post, and that is a new way to offer editor configuration to new people who encounter the blog editor for the first time to select on their, the placement of their toolbar and has some little jiffs in there that actually shows the user, what does it mean? One is the toolbar, the other one, and then the document tool being on top, and then the block toolbar, as well as the accessibility. Like you want to see only the icons or also the text for the buttons in the toolbar and similar things.

So it’s very interesting. It makes the model, the grading model a little larger, but it actually conveys so much more information and it’s so much more helpful I find than the current user experience. So take a look at it. Right now, these are explorations. There’s nothing decided on yet, but that’s the right moment to offer your opinions and offer suggestions and ideas and be part of the process. So we will share that link in the show notes, of course, and it’s called “Design exploration, encourage editor configuration during onboarding.” So Ben Dwyer just merged a prototype to merge blog CSS with the theme JSON Styles. And that definitely is something that theme developers should take a look at to see if that works with how they want to approach it or with their themes. It’s in combination with a new post that says, “Moving core blog styling to JSON.” And that’s certainly something that is ahead of 6.1 to figure out, to make the process of, to give more customization optimizations options through the global styles UI, and that themes can override block JSON styles as well.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how that is received by the design and theme developers, as well as the Plug-in developers. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, so like we are training in the very interesting situation because, so far team could have opinions about styles, like default styles for blogs, and that’s like something that can scale well, but sometimes, because we have this interface that unifies how you deal with so many aspects of how blogs look like. So you can change spacing, padding, fonts, and all the types, all that everything created to typography. You can change background color, foreground color, links, and so many things that we constantly see new things arriving. And that’s like in the past, you would customize that for the individual blogs using CSS. But now the same styles can be replaced by the same construct that exists for themes in the theme JSON file. So like the idea is how to leverage that also on the blog level.

And it brings a lot of power because you can use one language to change everything, but then it creates a lot of questions, like what comes first? Which one should be applied on top of another one? And there’s also a similar exploration for Plugins. So there’s Plugins that change a lot of things. For instance, WooCommerce comes and they can have opinions about styles for blocks as well. So they also trying to find a way using the same representation in the JSON file. So you could combine them together. And it’s definitely very powerful. The benefit of using this common language to express styles is that you can use all type of tools that we see popping up in the community. There is a few tools that allow you to generate those theme JSON files.

So that could be extended for in the future for block JSON. And for maybe, I don’t know, what’s going to be for Plugins, maybe a theme JSON, but maybe Plugin JSON. Time will tell, but it’s about having programmatic control over all those things and having a coherent way to change the same aspects of the front, on the front end how everything looks like. And some people describe that this is how the design system gets introduced to WordPress which is like a good change from the design perspective. But it’s a very complex to come up with a good approach. So that’s why we have this proposal, the call for feedback. So people can share their ideas and their concerns, how that might evolve, how that might impact their projects and products and so on.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah, it’s going to be… It’s some interesting times, especially as you said, kind of the roadmap for, at the beginning for UI and for the no code users is pretty much well spelled out and there’s a vision, but now that it’s almost done with the underlying architecture, there are now the things that need to be happening for extenders, for plugin developers, theme developers. And because everything is now at least understood how it’s in place, there are still a few things like the style engine and this, the common language of how blogs are styled that are coming together. And yeah, these are exciting times. I love it. 

Community Contributions

For the community, so Josepha Haden Chomphosy, executive director of the WordPress open source project has posted a post with a headline, “Giving FSE a more user friendly name.” And the TLDR for it is that the terms full site editing or full site editor also abbreviated FSE were actually just a code name internally.

And they were developed to easily refer to all the collection of features under, that are for site editing and global styles and that. And I integrate in the WordPress experience, but how can we best update the wording to be more user friendly? Because it doesn’t tell the user anything. And naming is really hard. We see that all the time. There are few issues that she has with it, or sees with it that it’s already possible to edit every part on WordPress using code. So the term for that editing doesn’t differentiate between the phases of the project and does not show the new capabilities of the CMS per se. And it also implies the use of blocks, but for new users, there’s no reason for them to expect anything else. So the term isn’t descriptive enough for a user that comes to WordPress, what does it do?

And then she goes in a little bit more detail and asked then a few questions for you. We’ve referred to it this way for a long time is one of the reasons how can we tackle renaming it together? And then it’s in the code base. So how will we make sure people who aren’t regular contributors see that there will be a change and repeating in line? What other context do you think we need to be aware to look at when we refer to the collective work in the future? So this is one of the more discussed posts. But your opinion is definitely worth bringing in. There are 88 replies already, but I don’t think that a lot of people have seen that yet. So if you haven’t read it yet, and haven’t thought about that, it’s definitely worth your attention, unless you say, “Okay, well, I don’t know how, what they call it. I don’t care.”

So, but yeah, most of the time, if you are an educator, if you are a theme developer, you have to talk to your users and just explain what it is. This is what we call full set editing now. And there might be a better way and there should be a better way, I think. So that’s one of the pieces I have for you and the other one… So there was a call for testing out from the FSE program, the 15th in a row. And Anne had a deadline of August 1st for comments. I think it ran for four weeks and she now published the summary post for it. And yeah, it was amazing. There were two translations again for the Japanese community, as well as for the Italian community. So there were other voices heard while speaking of translation. Yeah, full site editing doesn’t translate well into a lot of languages.

So there was also a concern. And then she also used for the first time for a test release, a feature or a service called Insta WP, which lets her set up a site and give you a link to it, so you can spin up your own test website without having to do a local install or any of that. So you could use it for seven days to go through the test. That was really interesting. So the high level summary is there’s still a lot of confusion about certain things, especially it was heavy on the Query Loop, but it was also when you create a new template, you get an empty view. Is there a way to make it replicate some of the footers and headers that is on other templates also for a new one. So they know, okay, this is what I have on every website and something like that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So to clarify, what was the text as exactly. I read that you were asked to go to the editor, like full site editor, just to make a pun of the name and then go to the toolbar and probably create a new template and pick a category, like version of the template and then like go and like use Query Loop to display all the posts from that category and provide everything else that you want to see on this type of pages. Right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. Right. And that was one task. And the other task was to create new posts, to explore patterns that were already available on the site. That’s why the Insta WP was an important, that a pattern for a new event announcement and a pattern for an event recap, meaning there were also additional information that we’re supposed to be in there in the pattern and how it worked.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. But still, this is very exciting that you can go and create a template using your browser without having any access to the server and like, you know it’s just like, it’s a so huge change for site owners.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. And up until those changes were in the block editor, it was always more like a catch up for what has been around in page builders for maybe a decade or something like, well, no, no six or seven years apart, that was not in core. But now with this new template editor, this is something that you couldn’t do before without code. That you have an author template and the in 13.7. There were a whole range of new templates available now. And in this version we have, yet another one and that is probably the conclusion of, how many different template types can we create. Yeah, I’m really excited about that. That’s a total new thing for site owners that don’t need any developer to not only have a new template, but also can create the pattern creation that is still the missing link.

But you can do a combination of having for every new user on your site that edits, you could as a developer, you can actually have patterns for a certain blog type or post type show up in the create new methods. So that is also something that is highly underused right now. I think those things all come together with time and we need to really have more educational posts around that, like the call for testing. That’s the best way to learn what the new features are when you follow those calls for testing, because they’re very detailed and very distinct and make sure that you can accomplish that, but you learn so much. All right. Yeah, that brings us to what’s released?

What’s Released

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I mean, finally, there is a lot of cover that’s happening in the community. That’s great.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So Gutenberg 13.8, it was released. George Mamadashvili, was a release lead and he noted that we are almost really 3 releases away from 6.1. I did some calculations and it seems that 14.1 will be the last Plugin release that will make it into 6.1. And that is supposed to come out on September 17, something like that. Yeah. So 13.8 comes with fluid typography, accessibility improvements, revamped quote blog template parts, UX enhancements. And it’s also of course always full of bug fixes and code quality improvements. So let’s take it from the top.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So the flow typographic is a huge change. It’s something that probably a lot of designers expected to see and, it’s something that still isn’t exposed in the UI. So we need to wait for that. It’s a pretty common approach that we seen in the past. And we talk about the other future that our first available through code and then the UI comes after, after it’s properly tested. So maybe Birgit will tell more about what’s exciting about this feature.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, the fluid topography, what that does is that you can, as a theme developer set a minimum size of your font sizes for the smaller screen and the maximum size for the big, big, big screens. And then what the theme does is, or WordPress does is kind of scales from the small to the screen, seamlessly the typography. So the size of the letters, the spacing of the letters, and also how the paragraphs kind of form. So there is no set viewpoint or view port for the mobile version or the tablet version. It is seamless. And that is kind of the approach that the Gutenberg developers have taken to more implement intrinsic design rather than the certain viewpoints that are along the way, which other page builders have. It’s now available in theme JSON and the fourth theme JSON. So you need to, can set it in the theme JSON file and then how to implement that is in the PR that’s 39529.

And I know there is a certain, a post in the works to flash that out a bit for the theme developers and it’s coming out in the next week or two, but in the PR which we will separately share in the show notes, you are able to set the settings dot typography dot font sizes, and then give it presets for your theme. You set the fluid field to true, and then you have the minimum size and the maximum size, or you can name them. And your theme then is able to, and WordPress will create the variables for it, for the units. It seems that the best use would be to use the REM units for the relative size propagation. Right now the maximum view port is 1600 pixels. And yeah, I don’t know if that’s right, that it says here 768 for the smaller size.

So it will not go all the way down to the mobile, but this is the first version. So it’s not going to be perfect and it’s going to be, it’s really going to be rough. So the developers really need you to test it out and give some feedback on it, how your implementation is either stifled or what are the blockers? What does work, what does not work. How you would kind of proceed with that, because as Grzegorz said, the first version is just to get it out in front of the people to be testing and then iterate on the implementation with the feedback from the community.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. Although I must say that all the demos I’ve seen so far look pretty great. Maybe it isn’t like so rough, as you mentioned, maybe it’s like good enough for some themes to enable that and see how it plays in practice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. I certainly have a “it’s good enough kind of approach to many, many things.” But I know that separates me from the professional theme developers and designers. They want it to be pixel perfect. And they want it to be very granular, have flexibility, very granular form. So I think I would not be a good judge of the feature because I also don’t make a living selling themes. So I really would love to see what Anna Sekoda for instance does with it, or what Ellen Bauer who is also, has been a theme developer since the beginning of blocks and FSE. And they have already published quite a few like Rich Tabor, quite a few themes in the theme directory or also on the WooCommerce marketplace. So that is definitely something they will test it out and figure out what’s needs to be done.

Enhancements

So other enhancements that we have in the 13.8 release is that the social icon block has a variation now or an icon for the WhatsApp app, has a WhatsApp icon. So you can also connect your profile, your WhatsApp profile on your website. What I also am quite excited about is actually talking about theme JSON, that quite a few things in this release that are concerning the theme JSON on file. This one is also support for heading and caption elements in the theme JSON schema, meaning that you can target with your CSS directly, the HTML elements without having to create another class name or something with your styling. One is also a little minor. That’s the merge of comments and post comments blocks. That’s a big deal, but it’s also kind of the merging of the old thing with a new thing. So when you use the old comments block and now use the new post comments block, it will update your comments.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s mostly before the themes that use the old block. So right now, if you use that, it’ll migrate to the new one, but it will still retain the old behavior. And you will be able to switch to the version with blocks, which like within the blocks, which is like more powerful in terms of all the types of customization that users can do inside the editor in WordPress. Whereas the old one, it depends on templates that are PHP based. And in like by fault, it uses what every WordPress instance provides that can be written by teams, but every site could also provide their own. But you need to code that so that the new version is what we would prefer, because with the block concept, you can do more.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So another great feature is now added to the image block and that is border support for color, width and style. And I think that’s the last piece missing to make it really flexible what you do with themes. And George wrote that he’s very curious to see what the creative folks at the museum for block art can accomplish with that, because now you can actually change the border width and differently from the right and left on top and bottom, and then change the color of each. And it’s very flexible and you also can change the radius of the border. So you have round a corner on two sides and square corners on the other side. And it’s just really amazing what you can do with it when you have border controls. So yeah, definitely check it out and see what you want to do with it. The block museum for block art is definitely open for submissions. And I will share in the show notes, how you can submit your creations and see what you can come up with.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, there were also a couple of changes to template parts, which makes them even more powerful. The one thing that I like a lot is that right now it was quite difficult to explore existing template parts in the inserter because they were hidden and you had to insert the template part and you’d, once the block was in the editor canvas you had two options. One was, set existing template part, the other one, you could create it from the scratch. So right now all the existing template parts are also exposing the inserter, which is like a shortcut for everyone. It’s easier to find them, which is a good change. It also aligns more with how usable blocks work, which are in their own tab in this inserter here. Like those template parts, as far as I remember, there are inside blocks, which is like, might be a little bit confusing, so maybe that’s something that could be iterated full there. However, if you search, you don’t care so much and you will be able to see them. So I find it like a great step in their right direction.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it’s interesting how people explore interfaces completely differently. So having multiple ways to do the same thing, really exposes more users to the intuition on how to change things and streamlining the process, like these shortcuts is definitely a way to go. Yay. There is a minor change to the color palette. It now displays of checkout preview background and the value is transparent. So you couldn’t see from the color settings, if there is a transparent color or transparent background on a group blog or on a cover block, now you can see it through the checkout preview. That’s definitely a quality of life kind of change that your brain really can absorb that and see that there and give you the signal. There’s a transparent value there. You can now also, and that was missing for a while, you could do the layout content size settings through the theme JSON, but the user didn’t have any way to correct that or change that. Now a site owner has. You can now do it through the interface that you can set the content with as well as the wide width and also the padding for, for those blocks. So that is really for the layout of the template, so that has…

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There’s one change that I’m pretty excited about. It’s about the placement of the inline toolbar when using feature text tools like bold italic underlying. So at the moment, like in the past, like in most cases you would see that in the block toolbar that could be either dock to the header or on the top of your block, especially when you write a longer paragraph is like is far away when you want to use a mouse to interact with that. So now you can change the setting and that will be like a floating toolbar that’s always next to the text that you have highlighted, which is very similar to what you will see on mobile devices or tablets when you interact with the apps that come with the system, like iOS or Android. So I like that one. And I’m hoping that people find useful as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I really like that. I saw that first in medium, when they came out that they had this, you highlight a text and then they offered you a formatting toolbar. And I really loved that. And I was missing that in Gutenberg forever, obviously. But I also tested the distraction free writing tool that Rich Tabor and Jeffrey Carandang created that was the iceberg editor. And they actually implemented that as well. And I’m glad that it now came to core and that we have the first iteration of that. And I’m eager to test it out and use it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. Also from the experience, I know it’s a bit tricky to use that feature, especially when you are using mobile devices because their system provides their own toolbar. So if in that context, it might be very disruptive, because you don’t know whether that toolbar will come from the system or from the block editor. So, not all features might be available if you see the system one. So, it’s something that needs to still to be tested, but because it’s a setting you can for the mobile, you can disable that. And for the browsers, you can have it enabled. So I’m sure that we all see some improvements on that front.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent, yes. And a whole new, so the quote has received a total revamp, so to speak the quote block, now you can use it and it’s coming out of experimentation with this 13.8 version. So it gets quite a few more testing in before it actually will come to 6.1. Now you can use nested blocks with your quote block. So you could have a quote from someone and add an image to it, or have multiple paragraphs in there, or have a list in a quote block. Often, you couldn’t do a list and make it a quote. So now you can, and I’m really happy that it made it into this version.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s very powerful, especially for developers who use GitHub and they know what you can do using markdown that you often quote something which includes code examples, images, videos, and so on. So like this is like bringing the same functionality into the block ward. So I’m really excited about that one.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, especially when you have code quotes and tutorials also. Yeah, it definitely helps to have that, also have the citation with it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And also there’s ongoing work to bring the same set of features for the list block, which is another level of complexity. So now you would be able to have a quote that has a list that has inside that nester blocks, you can have paragraphs headings and code examples, even in list, which you know.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Icon, emojis. Emojis in a list block. Yes. Nice.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: These are much more complex because they’re like, at least are not two dimensional and it’s not only like the nest of blocks can be on one level, but you can have, the list itself can have a nest at least. So it’s like the interactions between those internal, nested blocks are much more complex. I don’t know if that’s going to be ready for 6.1, but it’s definitely in works and might happen.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And if you are very interested in that list version two, list block version two is still in experiments. So you need to enable it through the experiment settings before you can test it out in your local or test site. I wouldn’t do it in production, but yeah, for testing, it’s definitely, you need to enable it in the experiment settings. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to that, especially because you’re not, so when you change from a bullet list to an ordered list, you change the whole mockup in it. So what happens then? There are quite some complexities there. We have seen that in discussions also with the table of contents block that comes out of the gate with a numbered list. But many people don’t like the numbered list and there is no way to change it over to a bulleted list. Say maybe the experiences that come with the list development with the list block version two can actually be replicated for other great blocks that are out there. So what else is in there? So anything that stood out for you?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think we covered the most important aspects, like enhancements and new features. That’s quite a huge list. There are some accessibility improvements as usual. It’s always great to see contributors focus on that area, which is like never good enough because the interactions in the editor are so complex. That is very hard to do it right on field first run.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. There have been changes to the border controls, which are trigger quite some creativity. So getting that right for accessibility, with labeling and tool tips and field sets and legends that is now available in the Plugin. And then there were some fixes for descriptions or for some other labeling and semantics in the paragraph block. And then also to, they also replace some diff elements, clickable diff elements with actually buttons because that’s a better experience for all users.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There’s also, like in that, related to that, there’s a very interesting change now. When you are focused on the group block, you can use, enter key to create a new empty paragraph just after the group block. So before you would just like, it wouldn’t like, nothing would happen. So you would have to use maybe the drop down menu from the toolbar for the block to find insert a block after the group, or maybe like find some other way, like in between line easier there with mouse. Now it’s much more convenient just to press enter.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I always appreciated that with, for instance, the list block where you can enter, enter, and then you’re out of the list block and can start. But getting that to more than one blocks is really good. There are also some big change, not big, but yeah good changes in the documentation of things, especially, having many more examples in the core blocks, a data API on how you use it. And some of the examples are also with great comments, so you can make more sense out of things. I think that Ryan Welcher does the great work there and he definitely can use some help. He is determined to have for every function call or store call or something like that. He has an example that is ready to copy paste into some other code, or at least with adaptions. The docs for the block JSON are also updated because it was missing the block variations. And that has been added to the JSON schema definition so now.

Now you can point to the block variations as well as to the styles with your block metadata. And then the data module had some missing references and that have been updated. So you can actually find them in the documentation now.

And again, theme JSON got some clarifications on the null true and false values for the block gap setting. That was a little confusing before. So it’s now straight net, as I would say.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s ongoing effort to improve developer documentation. There is a lot of public APIs that are documented, but they miss examples. And I think that the work that Ryan Welcher is shepherding is so important to get it because like having code examples makes it so much easier to actually use the code.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. Yeah, totally agree with that. So I think we are at the end of the Changelog for the 13.8 Plugin release that happened this week on our third. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

And now we come to the section, what’s an active development and what’s discussed. And before we head into the block API issues, I think there was one thing that I wanted to point out and that is that Ramon published an update also on the style engine tracking issue. So we will definitely point to that in the show notes, but he has, so the style engine is at an experimentation, right or is in experimentation right now. So, but it has a phase one which is block supports and building the foundation. And then the phase two is the global styles consolidation, reducing style tags. And in both, he has some updates on some of the issues. So make sure if you’re theme developer, you’re definitely interested in what’s coming down with the style engine development.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s very related to what we are going to cover now, which is block API. So style engine is in fact, subset of that, it’s related to how class names and style attributes are added to the block HTML output. And the idea we style engine is that eventually we would have everything generated on the server only on the front end, so that means that only styles and class names would be included on the page when the given block is there, which means an excellent reduction of unused CSS, which a lot of websites struggle with today and the progress on that is really promising. And I hope that in a few months we will see all the benefits of the work happening on that front.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. So you revamped some of the… You created a tracking issue for the block API that had quite a few chapters on it and does seem to only have 35 tasks and there are other tracking issues with much longer, but it covers issues that are around block assets, block registration, block attributes, variations, block supports, and then the inserting and moving blocks and block editing, dynamic block manipulation, server side rendering component and of course documentation. So what stands out for you on this? What is the big effort here?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So first of all, we have over 4,000 issues open in the Gutenberg repository. You know it’s very hard to triage all of them, go back and see what’s there. So the effort that I made together with Matias just was, can we identify the most common, occurring issue that people rise and they want to see improved and that we wanted to collect items that make the biggest impact in the short term. And it’s not like the list is close. We will be constantly revisiting whether the list makes sense. We will be adding new features based on the feedback from people in general. It’s just a way for us to bring better focus on what we can work on in the upcoming WordPress releases and Gutenberg releases and, like it’s dividing the sections, just like it tries to follow how the milestones for how the WordPress, the block editors and the full site editing should evolve.

It’s always like milestone for template parts, milestone for global styles and so on. We try to mirror the same structure. And for now it’s because issues that we’ve been talking about, some of them for years now, and there were never clear focus to work on them. And we are trying to change that because we see that stuff like block validation and block deportation comes back every now and then, this people often complain about. So we just want to make sure that there is single place that people can go and see, “Okay, is that on the roadmap? Is that being tracked? How can I get involved and help move that forward?” So instead of saying that, find the issue on GitHub throughout all those 4,000 issues. Like there’s a single place. It’s pinned when you go to the Gutenberg repository and you go to issues like on the top of the page, there are three pinned issues.

It’s one of them now. So it’s easy to find for people if they know about that thing. And so it’s easier to discover and this is also a good way to see what’s actually being worked on because if you go to this issue and the tracking number is 41236, you can see because there is an icon is a ranch or how you call it like that like…

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, toolbox tool.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Toolbox.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Tool set.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Toolbox, tool set. So you can see this icon. It means that someone is actually working on this feature or there is open PR, so you can leave your feedback there. And once we have some issues done, then we just be marked as finished. So people can see at some point a history of the progress what’s being worked there. It’s also a nice way if someone opens a new issue and you know, like Fabian Kagy, he opened recently some issues related to how we could better control inserting blocks in the editor.

So you could define, for instance, this blog goes only when there is no block inside the template, or maybe I want to have only a single instance of this block when it is inside a given parent block, like very complex use cases and those type of issue, they’re great ideas, but it’s not so easy to define how that could be done. So this tracking issue will try to combine similar issues like that and put that into the tracking issue. So you can have a single reference and find those issues also from the perspective of project management, like when someone opens a new issue and we can easily say, “Okay, please check this tracking issue and see what we already have on this topic and see how that fits to the proposed solutions so far.” Like this type of capabilities are open and I mean, I’m really excited about that because so far it was really hard to identify how people can get involved to improve the API blocks.

So it impacts how you develop blocks and to make it easier, more straightforward for all the developers. But also it impacts the core blocks. Everyone would benefit from the ideas that are in short in decision.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So, let’s see at some of the examples and so in the assets there isn’t one tasks to explore how to tree shake block styles on the front end and has an example issue and that is how, what does it mean? That’s kind of how the CSS cascades through the front end. Another one is combined.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes it is.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Go ahead.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So the idea here is for instance, the idea was whether we can find a way to define, okay, this style is present on the page when the following conditions happen. For instance, in the block has a special class name called, whatever. And then the system that would be built behind that could say, “Okay, and this blog doesn’t have this class. That means that we can skip that and we don’t have to serve it to the user.” So it’s fairly technical, but that gives you idea what exciting things we can do with blocks, having better understanding of how they are structured, what they contain and like these ideas. Also, there’s a lot of requests from Plugin outdoors. So they would like to have a better ways to inject their own styles to blocks or JavaScripts. So, we are discussing different ways how it to make it easier so you could just define okay to all blogs that met certain criteria, let’s add this style that brings some additional visual effects.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. Okay, I understand that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: One of the things that we are actively working on is related to dynamic block manipulation. So we always wanted to have a way to, let’s say, use some data that comes from database or some external service. So for instance, the ideas are the simplest one, you have a block inside the footer that shows a copyright note, like in PHP it’s easy because you are using date function and just like changes every year. So you don’t have to go to your website and update that. And how to define some, some ways. So you could just insert a token that says, “Okay, this is a date.” And it displays a year and it will change automatically inside the block. So it’s shortening the database, something dynamic, on the render of the front end it changes.

So, this is very advanced concept. And however we are now, we should see next week a proposal on make core block for something more simple. Often people want to replace some text or token or something, the credit that like a pattern inside your block. For instance, the cover block has a featured image and it’s really powerful. And we’ll be seeing a proposal for special API that will make that simpler so you can define like, let’s find this stack and change this attribute source with the value that comes from the featured image and this type of thing. So everything is very technical. And I think that is a good common, like good place for people who are very familiar with JavaScript, but also with PHP. So like everyone finds something to think about.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, especially the inline token. We actually had Danny Schnell as a guest on our podcast here when he was working and trying to think through that. And he took us quite deeply into what needs to happen. And so make it complex, make it easy, make it simple. And we call it back then, we call it kind of the short codes 2.0, so it’s not nothing new to WordPress, but it’s the innovative version, the better blocks version for it to have these inline tokens for replacing some variable with something else or with some values. And I’m glad that you said that’s kind of in the works for next week to try out or to at least kick it around in theory, so that’s wonderful. There’s also something that’s in the works that’s…

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And for block registration, there is like a very quite simple proposal. Like right now to define how the dynamic block gets rendered with PHP you need to like define a function. Inside this function you will get some, like content of the block attributes and the block type, and use all those variables to generate the output that’s going to be displayed on the front end. And we are also thinking ahead and trying to combine efforts with how in the future you could like to write simpler blocks in that you would provide a PHP template that generates that output instead. So you don’t have to deal with functions. You just provide a function that just prints everything. And this proposal covers that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That sounds really interesting.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So in the future, we could have something similar for JavaScript. So also you could provide like, depends would we peak and land on.

And, but there is this in the WordPress like organization on GitHub, there is block hydration, experiments, repository, and like explores exactly what I said for JavaScript, how to make blocks interactive on the front end. So for instance, they can have buttons that change state of the block, and you can have like dynamic data that updates, for instance the simple example, people always use the counter. Like you click the plus sign and the number changes, so this type of features. And at some point we hope that this PHP template and JavaScript template could be somehow unified. So maybe not in a sense that you would be writing a single code, but with some tooling, maybe we could have some format that allows you to generate PHP and JavaScript. So you don’t have to bother and write it twice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was a big discussion between Helen Busandy and Mark Jakeworth and Riad Benguela about, I think it was in October last year. And then I know Michael Chaplinsky has done some more exploration. And then there was, did you work with Ellen Cherser on the, there is a new JavaScript.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Bento?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Bento. Yeah, Bento JavaScript. Kind of replace the JavaScript framework with a different framework. It’s not certainly the best approach, but if it works for people who use that. Before that you can use it for blocks with different languages or languages and variations and frameworks.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: In some ways the Bento components that Google is working on are similar to the ideas because it just exactly does that. So they have some way to define components and they have different representation for web components for PreAct and you can just, it’s the same UI, but you can use different code, depending whatever you want to have on your website. And it sort of falls in the same category. But it’s just like Bento is done by Google. And it’s hard to tell how it evolves. So we are exploring different parts for now.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. No, I get it. Well, so is there anything else then, do you want to point out from this tracking issue or discussion?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I guess I’m good. One of the ideas that Fabian mentioned is very interesting, so because the way to control where you display blocks has always been troublesome for people. So people want to have flexibility. For instance, you have custom post type, you don’t want to see all blocks, so how to do that. And we have some ways on the server you can provide allowed blocks to which is list of types of blocks that are allowed. But sometimes we want to have the positive approach. How do I say that? Which blocks I don’t want, and I want the rest. So that’s also some of the discussions happening that the people like our listeners could chime in and share their ideas. And in general, with WordPress 6.0, we added our sister Field, which allows you to define, “Okay, I want to have this block when one of the parent or grandparent or grand grandparent blocks are this and that block.”

And it’s gives more flexibility, like the comments lock uses that because it allows you have comments and you can have group, then you can have, I don’t know, what else do you want? You can have several groups and then you use a common title, for instance, I mean, in small complex, but make it shorter. And this gives a lot of flexibility and one of the ideas I had originally, how you say like, “I want to have this parent and this ancestor, but I don’t want to have this ancestor.” This type of way of defining, which would satisfy a lot of use cases.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, indeed. And I think we need to really write much more use cases for it, and tutorials so people can actually imagine things here because theoretically, what’s an ancestor? What’s a parent, what’s a child, where’s a child? It’s all a little bit more, little bit too abstract when you’re kind of try to figure out how to get it all together. There are so many ways to skin, the cat. So are there answers, so I have a question for you and one is that, is there a way to actually pick up custom fields for custom post types if they were kind of already created or if they are kind of available to use them also in a template or? It’s probably very hard to do it via UI. That’s why our advanced custom fields is still for many developers that go to place instead of creating custom blocks for the custom fields. But I think that. Are there any thoughts on that, in this reiteration of the block API?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So for now, the proposal, that’s going to be shared next week for replacing parts of HTML with API that allows you to change attributes. That could be a way, you could say that, “Okay, this field is like going to be replaced with custom field.” So you give you the name and something like that, but it’s still not good enough, in my opinion. We need to have a proper way for that in the future. And maybe even more advanced way of defining dynamic in my tokens. The way it works with blocks, ACF Plugin is that they allow linking between an attribute, so it stores the reference to the exact filter in the database. So it stores the number and based on that, it can provide the correct value. So whenever it changes, it updates on the server as well. So it’s not that easy to do that, but for that ACF has created a special way of writing templates, which takes that into account. It’s dynamic.

It is able to link all the correct numbers and so on. So, I mean, it’s like having something like that in a more flexible way that works, not only with what ACF provides, it’s a bigger task and it is definitely something we would like to have, we just need to do it in steps.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, no, so that will be the block API, third iteration. Now it’s the second iteration and then the next iteration is going to maybe, kind of thinking about through that part. Well, excellent. Thank you so much for walking us all through that. And what’s in the works and what the next iteration of extensibility for blocks actually will look like. That is definitely now that the foundation is in place. Now extensibility has a higher priority, it seems for the Gutenberg project. So I’m really glad that this took a lot of work to find all the right issues and figure out how to structure that. So thank you for going through that and also leading us through that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Although to be fair, most of the issues were opened by our excellent contributors. I just only did the part of finding them and putting them in one place.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And yeah, you helped a lot of people kind of get a good roadmap through that, or at least an idea of what the vision is going to be, so. Because that’s always a question that we get, so what’s the vision? And only these tracking issues and overview issues like Matias did and what you did and was also Andrew does for layouts and for style engine all that. Maybe I should share some of the tracking issues. I think I collected about 10 or 15 tracking issues now. From the Gutenberg project, it’s probably a better way to figure out what’s current on what people are working on. So yeah, that’s a call for me to maybe think about some curation of that. 

All right. Well, thank you very much. At the end of the show, we are way over whatever we wanted to do as an hour limit or so, but that’s okay because you brought so much more insights into what the second iteration of block API is going to hold. Is there anything else that you want to leave our listeners with?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I don’t have anything.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You don’t have anything. I don’t have anything. I said everything that I wanted to say at the beginning in the announcement, in the community and no, I’m glad you were on the show. Thank you so much for coming. As always the listeners, the show notes will be published on Gutenberg Times.com/podcast. This is episode 71. And if you have questions, suggestions, especially answer for Grzegorz with all the questions that you might have for the blocks API, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com, that’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com or ping me or Grzegorz on Twitter or WebPress slack. My handle is BPH. That’s my initials on both of them. What’s yours, Jergus?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Mine is G-Z-I-O-L-O

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Giolo? Gizolo?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, cool. Well, this was it. And thank you very much for listening. If you find this helpful, create a review and we read that out loud here. So you would get a little shout out on the next episode. Thank you for listening, and I wish you a great week. And next two weeks until we hear you again.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Thank you for the invitation Birgit. It was as your role, a pleasure to catch up what’s happening with Gutenberg.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, thank you so much, and it’s always a pleasure to have you thanks so much, Grzegorz.

by Gutenberg Changelog at August 06, 2022 09:00 PM

August 05, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Fluid typography, Gutenberg 13.8, Moving block styling to JSON – Weekend Edition 225

Howdy,

Greetings from Berlin with a view of The Cube near the main station of Berlin. My husband and I connected with family and did some sightseeing of the German capital. I also visited the Museum Barbarini in Potsdam and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition: The Shape of Freedom. International Abstraction after 1945. Interestingly, enough, ‘Abstraction’ is also a topic for software makers. And that’s enough distraction. Let’s catch up together on two weeks of WordPress and Gutenberg news.

As mentioned before, you don’t have to read it all in one sitting. You can always come back gain to read more. It’s summer time in the Northern hemisphere. Hope you can stay cool.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Various team published new initiatives and updates.

Always seeing the bigger picture, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, executive directory of the WordPress open-source project, ask for you help to Giving FSE a More User Friendly Name. Not all commenters are convinced that there needs to be a name change. I also wasn’t thrilled by the outlook to update lots of post, documentation etc, after discussion Full-Site Editing for over 2.5 years, but I must admit, it’s more the resistance to let go of something I am used to, then a good reason to not try for a more user-friendly name. Some commenters are delighted because they feel it doesn’t translate well into other languages and they already started shortening it to something like site editor or layout editor. I favor something that ends in ‘designer’, like Layout designer, or template designer. The comments are still open. Chime in with your opinion.


Hector Prieto published WordPress 6.1 Planning Roundup v2 with the updated release schedule and the release squad. Feature Freeze and Beta 1 are scheduled for September 20, 2022, Release Candidate 1 for October 11, 2022 and final release will make WordPress 6.1 available on November 1, 2022.


For the WordPress design team, Channing Ritter posted Project Update: WordPress.org Homepage and Download page mockups. I am excited about this new look of the WordPress open-source project on the Internet. What do you think? Share your comment on the post.

James Koster, also on the WordPress Design team published about his Design Exploration: Encourage editor configuration during on-boarding. It shows a bigger Welcome guide that also help the user make decisions on several settings and features when they first start using the block editor.

Ben Dwyer outlines in his post Moving Core block styling to JSON the reasoning behind an effort to enable styling of block via the block.json file rather then via css styling. This will have to standardize and streamline ways themes can override 3rd party plugins styling. It will also enable the user to modify the look and feel withouth the need to dive into CSS syntax and language.


In her article, Gutenberg Contributors Experiment with Custom Labeling of Blocks in List View, Sarah Gooding explains the exploratory efforts by developers to allow users to name sections of their page/site to better find them in the List View. Dave Smith create the PR ready for review. If you haven’t tested a PR before the merge, I would recommend following Paal Joachim Romdahl‘s Testing a Gutenberg Pull Request (PR)

Gutenberg 13.8 is now available

George Mamadashvili was the release lead for the Gutenberg plugin v 13.8 release. In his post What’s new in Gutenberg 13.8? (3 August), he highlighted:

Fluid typography has been requested by theme developers for quite some time. It’s only available to theme developers/designer via the theme.json for now. Before the settings can be made available via the Global Styles interface, this first iteration could use some thorough testing.


This week, Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I discussed the Gutenberg 13.8 release, changes to the Block API and so much more for the next episode of the Gutenberg Changelog (episode 71). It will arrive at your favorite podcast player over the weekend.

🎙️ New episode: Gutenberg Changelog #71 – Gutenberg 13.8, Fluid Typography, updates to the Block API and more – with co-hosts Grzegorz Ziolkowski and Birgit Pauli-Haack

Classic Widgets in FSE, 3D Cut-out Image, Open-Source Theme Designs and more – Weekend Edition 221
Howdy, Some great Block themes resources are now available. And if you haven’t yet, consider joining the Full-Site-Editing Outreach program channel on WordPress Slack. Anne McCarthy always invites members to… Read more.
Conditionally Registering Patterns in Themes with Third-Party Blocks
What happens when a theme registers a pattern with a third-party block? If the user has the block plugin installed, it appears as it should. WordPress also does a good… Read more.
Live Q & A: Block-First Approach at Pew Research Center
On July 22, 2022, Michael Piccorossi, Head of Digital Strategy and Seth Rubenstein, Lead Developer at Pew Research Center talked to co-hosts Anne McCarthy, WordPress Product Liason and Birgit Pauli-Haack,… Read more.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Carolina Nymark updates instructions on how to implement Fluid Typography via Theme.json that are now available via 13.8. It’s part of the Typography lesson on of her Theme builder course for developers.


Daisy Olsen held a workshop on Learn. WordPress that is now available on WordPressTV: Theme Development Workflows For Different Types of Developers. During this workshop, Daisy Olsen discussed the different workflows that someone might use in the creation of block themes. Discover the best development workflow that is right for you.


 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
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

Anne McCarty published FSE Program Category Customization Summary of the 15th call for testing. It’s an interesting read to learn what people struggle with and also what they appreciate when creating category templates and interact with patterns for custom post types.


Ari Stathopoulos, from the WordPress Themes team, details how themes submitted to teh themes directory are to Use locally-hosted Google fonts in themes and answer frequently asked questions.


Shout-out for the theme.json feature of block themes by Daniel Schutzsmith via The Repository under A concept worth understanding he wrote. “As a developer, I’ve been playing with the new theme.json concept and I can easily say it is something we all should be adopting as we create new websites. The concept of using a JSON file to set up the common styles used throughout WordPress core works well, especially in a traditional version control workflow on a team. It’s worth digging into fullsiteediting.com and learn.wordpress.org. Both of these resources provide some terrific materials to make it all easier to understand.”


Sean Blakeley was a guest on the WP Tavern Jukebox podcast and talked with Nathan Wrigley on Transitioning a Large Agency Over to Gutenberg. “After years of experiments with different approaches and collaborations between designers and developers, their team has begun to rely heavily on block patterns, and they’ve found it is greatly increasing their productivity. It’s fair to say that block patterns have revolutionised the team’s approach to the entire design process.” Wrigley sumarizes.

Sean Blakeley also talked about Block Pattern Revolution at WordCamp Europe. The talk is available on WordPressTV.

Site owners and nocode site builders using the Block editor

In his post and video , I’m Switching to Gutenberg For WordPress | And YOU SHOULD Too (Probably!), Paul Charlton of WPTutz talks about his reason, why he sticks with WordPress’ core block editor, plus 3rd party plugins to extend the features set to his needs, mostly more controlas for animation and grid block layouts. What are some of the tools you are using to augment the WordPress block editor?


Vikas Singhal announced a new plugin Newsletter Block and Jamie Marsland reviewd it on his YouTube Channel and called it The Best WordPress Gutenberg Block for Mailchimp


In his video on WordPressTV, Ben Evans introduces you to Nine Design Blocks. He shows you how these blocks behave differently on different screen sizes and let’s you take part on how he experiments making different layouts using these blocks.


Wes Theron shows you the steps necessary to Create a landing page with a block theme. You’ll learn how to create a custom template and build two landing pages using different methods.


Nick Diego‘s part 2 of Let’s Build a Custom Theme (No Coding Required) is now available on WordPress TV. Part 1 is also online

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Berhard Kau helps fellow developers to creata A first simple block with some ES6 code – it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s a follow-up post on creating a block via React. Kau suggests relying on the official scaffolding tool for block creation, tool called ‘create block’ that is available from the Gutenberg repository.


Nick Diego helps you to Unlock the Power of the Block Locking API. In this article, Diego explored the block locking API, how to implement locking in a real-world example, and discussed ways to extend this functionality by restricting who can lock and unlock blocks. Coincidently, Core contributores also update the documentation with a new page in the handbook: Curating the Editor Experience


Jonathan Bossenger‘s session on Let’s Code: An Introduction to Block Development is now available on WordPressTV. In this session, Bossenger walks you through the software required to develop blocks, and how to set it all up. Then he shows a tool called create-block to create our first block, and then looks at the code that this generates and what each piece does.

Block editor and block themes at WordCamp US

The organizer at WordCamp US published the schedule of talks. it’s a great line-up of speakers. Below list might make it onto your calendar. The WordCamp will livetstream the sessions.

Friday, Septemberg 9, 2022

A series of 15-minute talks:

4 pm EDT / 20:00 UTC
Customizing Core Blocks for Clients with Alex Ball

5 pm EDT/ 21:00 UTC
Let’s Build a Custom Block in 15 Minutes with Nick Diego

5:15 pm EDT / 21:15 UTC
FSE For the Win with Evan Mullins

Saturday, September 10, 2022

12:15 PM EDT / 16:15 UTC
Build Your First Block Theme with Daisy Olsen, a 2 hrs Workshop

4 pm EDT / 20:00 UTC
A New Era of WordPress Themes is Here: Block Themes wtih Rich Tabor (45 min)

5pm EDT / 21:00 UTC
The Future Of Themes: Designing for the Block Editor and Beyond with Michelle Schlup (45 min)

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

GitHub all releases

Upcoming WordPress events

November 18, 2022
WordFest Live 2022
Call for speakers ends August 15, 2022

WordCamps around the World

September 2 + 3, 2022
WordCamp Jinja 2022, about 2 hrs West of Kampala, Uganda. Calls for sponsors, speakers, and volunteers are open now.

September 3 + 4, 2022
WordCamp Kathmandu, Nepal

September 9 – 11, 2022
WordCamp US in San Diego

September 15 + 16, 2022
WordCamp Netherlands at the Royal Burger’s Zoo in Arnhem

September 24 + 25, 2022
WordCamp Pontevedra

February 17 – 19, 2023
WordCamp Asia, Bangkok, Thailand
Call for speaker was just published. Deadline: September 15th, 2022 (UTC +7)
Contributor Day is planned for February 17, 2023 (Day 1)

Learn WordPress Online Meetups

August 10, 2022 – 3 pm EDT / 19:00 UTC
Block Theme Builders: Design With Figma w/ Damon Cook & Sarah Snow

August 16, 2022 – 5 pm EDT / 21:00 UTC
Showcasing Content with Query Loops with Wes Theron


Featured Image: The Cube at the main train station in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Birgit Pauli-Haack


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at August 05, 2022 07:52 PM under Weekend Edition

Post Status: Post Status Picks for the Week of August 1

Adam Silverstein on Performance in large plugins, GDPR and accessibility, World Wide Web Day in the global WordPress community, Jonathan Wold on partnerships, women in software, and Michelle Frechette on building communities.

Post Status Podcast Picks 🎙

Video Pick:

Get our weekly WordPress community news digest — Post Status' Week in Review — also available in our newsletter. 💌

And don't miss the latest updates from the people making WordPress. We've got you covered with This Week at WordPress.org. ⚙

by Dan Knauss at August 05, 2022 02:41 PM under Sam Munoz

Do The Woo Community: WooBits: Do the Woo 4.0 Coming Your Way

The next big version of Do the Woo is on the road map.

>> The post WooBits: Do the Woo 4.0 Coming Your Way appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at August 05, 2022 10:40 AM under Site News

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress – July 2022

July 2022 brought a lot of exciting announcements and proposals for the WordPress project, from an updated timeline for the WordPress 6.1 release, to design updates on WordPress.org. Read on to learn more about the latest news from the community.


WordPress 6.1 development cycle is now published

Mark your calendars! The WordPress 6.1 development cycle has been published along with its release team. The expected release date has been updated to November 1, 2022, to incorporate feedback received on the first proposed schedule.

In the meantime, you can upgrade WordPress to version 6.0.1. This maintenance release became available for download on July 12, 2022, and includes several updates since WordPress 6.0 in May 2022.

Want to get more involved with WordPress? Join Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy, as she guides you through the five stages of contribution in a recent episode of WP Briefing.

A new look for the WordPress Homepage and Download page

Following the revamp of WordPress.org/News and the Gutenberg page, further design updates are coming to WordPress.org to create a fresh and modern user experience that reflects the future of WordPress.

The WordPress.org home and download pages will be the next pieces to get a refreshed look and feel. The redesign project kicked off on July 8, 2022, and the development work is already underway.

Take a look at the design mockups and join the conversation.

Gutenberg versions 13.6, 13.7, and 13.8 are here

Three new versions of Gutenberg have been released since last month’s edition of The Month in WordPress:

  • Gutenberg 13.6 shipped on July 6, 2022. It includes 26 bug fixes and accessibility enhancements. This release also builds on previous work to expand theme.json and to allow you to create a cohesive design across blocks.
  • Gutenberg 13.7 brings an updated modal design, the ability to apply block locking to inner blocks, and new template types, to name a few highlights. It was released on July 20, 2022.
  • The latest Gutenberg release, version 13.8, went live on August 3, 2022. It comes with ​​fluid typography support among other enhancements, a new feature that will allow you to define text size that can scale and adapt to changes in screen size.

Follow the “What’s new in Gutenberg” posts to stay on top of the latest updates.

Team updates: WordPress mobile app changes, pattern previews, Five for the Future improvements

WP Briefing celebrated World Wide Web Day 2022 with a special episode! Tune in to hear contributors from the community reflect on how WordPress impacts their world.

Feedback & testing requests

The Community Team is calling on all meetup members and organizers to complete the 2021-2022 Annual Meetup Survey. Your feedback will help strengthen the WordPress meetup program for years to come. Please respond and help spread the word.

WordCamp updates

Join #WPDiversity with a free, online speaker workshop for Indian women in the WordPress community. The event will take place on September 24-25, 2022. Sign up now!


Have a story that we should include in the next issue of The Month in WordPress? Let us know by filling out this form.

The following folks contributed to this edition of The Month in WordPress: @chaion07, @laurlittle, @mysweetcate, @sereedmedia, @dansoschin, @rmartinezduque.

by rmartinezduque at August 05, 2022 08:57 AM under month in wordpress

August 04, 2022

Post Status: Building and Sustaining the WordPress Community Through Mentorship — Post Status Draft 123

Mentor someone. Today! Don't wait. Start today! Talk to people. Connect with them. Go on Twitter. Just 15 minutes a day. Tell them why this community is great. Make them want to join!

Nyasha Green

For Nyasha Green, a healthy tech community prioritizes mentoring. She credits her mentors with helping her find her place in WordPress. How well does your part of the WordPress ecosystem support mentorship? Can we make mentoring a key way people contribute to WordPress's future?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In this episode of Post Status Draft, Nyasha Green joins Dan Knauss to tell her story about joining the WordPress community relatively recently. Ny is a Software Developer at Howard Development and Consulting as well as the Editorial Director for MasterWP. Ny credits Ken Elliot and Shambi Broome as mentors who got her into WordPress. Together they're getting two new WordPress Meetups up and running in Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC.

Picking up on one of Kim Lipari‘s comments last week (“We're not a small village anymore.” A Conversation with Kim LipariPost Status Draft 121), Nyasha shares her thoughts on the ways the WordPress community can better embrace growth and change by enlarging its circles of leadership, innovation, and talent. For Ny, a culture that prioritizes mentoring relationships is essential. She sees value in paid internships at WordPress companies, intentional programming at Meetups and WordCamps, and the continued use of travel scholarships to welcome new people to an increasingly inclusive WordPress community.

Finally, we also talk about dealing with grief, loss, and emotional health in tech, how social media hurts and helps, and resources like Big Orange Heart that are there for you when you're all out of spoons.

🙏 Sponsor: A2 Hosting

A2Hosting offers solutions for WordPress and WooCommerce that are both blazing fast and ultra-reliable. WordPress can be easily deployed on ANY web hosting plan from A2: Shared, VPS, or Dedicated. A2 also offers Managed WordPress and WooCommerce Hosting. Take a look at a2hosting.com today!

A2 Hosting

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

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The Post Status Draft podcast is geared toward WordPress professionals, with interviews, news, and deep analysis. 📝

Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS. 🎧

by Olivia Bisset at August 04, 2022 10:15 PM under WordCamp

Post Status: WP.events — Find out what’s happening next

Have you recently thought it would be nice to have one comprehensive source for all WordPress community events?

Thanks to The Events Calendar and some nice people at StellarWPHazel Quimpo, Zach Tirrell, and Michelle Frechette — there's a great new place to go exactly for that: WP.events!

Javier Casares‘ wonderful wpcalendar.io has been deeply missed, as he covered all the meetups happening around the world. Maybe it will be back one day… Sounds like he needs time and maybe some help to revamp it. There's only so much you can do with RSS though.

Still, it's a wonderful open web technology…

WP.events

WordCamp Central

  • July 28, 2022
    Dates: October 21, 2022 – October 22, 2022 Location: Valencia, Spain Venue: Complejo deportivo y […]
  • May 25, 2022
    WordCamp Gresik will be the first WordCamp in Gresik, and in Indonesia since 2019. Gresik […]
  • May 23, 2022
    The Biggest Nepali WordPress Conference: WordCamp Nepal is an informal, community-organised gathering of WordPress enthusiasts […]
  • April 5, 2022
    Namaste, everyone! We’re so happy to announce that WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 is officially on the […]
  • March 28, 2022
    WordCamp Jinja 2022 (Friday 2nd– Saturday 3rd September 2022) will be a major community event […]
  • March 17, 2022
    Dates: November 11, 2022 – November 12, 2022 Location: Milan, Italy Venue: Universitá Degli Studi […]
  • March 5, 2022
    El WordCamp regresa a la modalidad presencial Enfoque de temas ayudarán a emprendedores Del 4 […]
  • February 9, 2022
    After six years, WordCamp The Netherlands is back with a physical event! And in a […]
  • February 3, 2022
    Mamy przyjemność ogłosić i zaprosić na długo wyczekiwane, WordPressowe wydarzenie w Polsce. 11-12 czerwca 2022 […]
  • December 17, 2021
    The wait is over – WordCamp Asia is finally happening! The first flagship WordCamp in […]
  • December 11, 2021
    WordCamp Pontevedra is going to be the third physical WordCamp in Galicia, a well-known region […]
  • December 9, 2021
    La WordCamp de Sevilla de este año tiene como objetivo dar un paso atrás y […]

WP Tavern Event News

by Dan Knauss at August 04, 2022 05:50 PM under Zach Tirrell

Do The Woo Community: WordPress Core Performance with Adam Silverstein

Adam Silverstein talks about WordPress core performance and how it ties into the performance of larger plugins like WooCommerce.

>> The post WordPress Core Performance with Adam Silverstein appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at August 04, 2022 10:18 AM under Woo DevChat

August 03, 2022

Post Status: Free Rider Problem, JSON Core Block Styling, Redesigned Home & Download Pages

This Week at WordPress.org (August 2, 2022)

Have you seen the new home page demo? Is there a problem with Free Riders? Do you want block styling standardized?

News



Thanks for reading our WP dot .org roundup! Each week we are highlighting the news and discussions coming from the good folks making WordPress possible. If you or your company create products or services that use WordPress, you need to be engaged with them and their work. Be sure to share this resource with your product and project managers.

Are you interested in giving back and contributing your time and skills to WordPress.org? 🙏 Start Here ›

Get our weekly WordPress community news digest — Post Status' Week in Review — covering the WP/Woo news plus significant writing and podcasts. It's also available in our newsletter. 💌

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Build your network. Learn with others. Find your next job — or your next hire. Read the Post Status newsletter. ✉ Listen to podcasts. 🎙 Follow @Post_Status. 🐦

by Courtney Robertson at August 03, 2022 05:59 PM under WordPress News and Insight

WPTavern: #37 – Jonathan Wold on How Partnerships Might Help Your WordPress Business

On the podcast today we have Jonathan Wold.

Jonathan joined the WordPress community seventeen years ago, and he’s been here ever since.

He likes to think about WordPress as an operating system for creating on the open web, and invests his time and energy into growing the WordPress ecosystem.

With that in mind he gave a talk at the recent WordCamp Europe called “Growing in WordPress through partnerships”, in which he laid out his thoughts on how WordPress companies can enable greater growth by joining with other, like minded companies.

There’s a lot of WordPress products out there, and whilst building a product can be a challenge, getting that product into the market, gaining growth and recognition can be another hurdle altogether.

Jonathan talks today about how strategic partnerships can, in some cases, make the job of selling a product easier and more rewarding.

We talk about how the WordPress ecosystem has grown over time, and how discoverability of your product is harder now that it used to be.

We discuss the fact that WordPress has a heritage of solopreneurs who might not be as good at marketing as they are at coding, and how joining forces with partners can make it easier to succeed in the marketplace.

Are partnerships for everyone, or are they only for a subset of companies? How do you go about finding a partner and what are the ways that you can ensure that you’re working with the companies which offer the most benefit to you and your customers?

Typically, when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air-conditioning. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast, which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, creating partnerships to grow your WordPress business.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice. Or by going to WP Tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully we can get you or your idea featured on the show. Head over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the contact form there.

So on the podcast today we have Jonathan Wold. Jonathan joined the WordPress community 17 years ago. And he’s been here ever since. He likes to think about WordPress as an operating system for creating on the open web, and invests his time and energy into growing the WordPress ecosystem.

With that in mind, he gave a talk at the recent WordCamp Europe called growing in WordPress through partnerships, in which he laid out his thoughts on how WordPress companies can enable greater growth by joining with other like-minded companies.

There’s a lot of WordPress products out there. And whilst building a product can be a challenge, getting that product into the market, gaining growth and recognition can be another hurdle all together.

Jonathan talks today about how strategic partnerships can, in some cases, make the job of selling a product easier and more rewarding. We talk about how the WordPress ecosystem has grown over time, and how discoverability of your product is harder now than it used to be. We discussed the fact that WordPress has a heritage of solopreneurs who might not be as good at marketing as they are at coding. And how joining forces with partners can make it easier to succeed in the marketplace.

Are partnerships for everyone, or are they only for a subset of companies? How do you go about finding a partner and what are the ways that you can ensure that you’re working with the companies which offer the most benefit to you and your customers?

Typically when we record the podcast there’s not a lot of background noise. But that’s not the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air conditioning, and whilst the podcasts are more than listenable. I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world we’re at play.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all of the other episodes as well. And so, without further delay, I bring you Jonathan Wold.

I am joined on the podcast by Jonathan Wold. Hello?

[00:03:43] Jonathan Wold: Hey Nathan, how are you?

[00:03:44] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, you sound truly excellent on this microphone.

[00:03:47] Jonathan Wold: We have an awesome little set here.

[00:03:49] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. Well, we’re in the bowels of the Super Bock Arena in the most undiscoverable bit, but you’ve managed to find me. It’s early morning. It’s the first day. We’re you here yesterday?

[00:03:59] Jonathan Wold: Yeah, contributor day was fantastic. It’s so good to see so many faces, including faces that I thought I’d seen before, but hadn’t. You find out that people are taller or shorter than you expected.

[00:04:09] Nathan Wrigley: That’s right. Over Zoom over the last couple of years, you’ve basically been reduced to a postage stamp.

[00:04:13] Jonathan Wold:Yes.

[00:04:14] Nathan Wrigley: And people actually have legs. Yeah. So what did you contribute to, what was your bit?

[00:04:18] Jonathan Wold: I floated around. Mostly trying to support other folks. There are a lot of first time contributors yesterday, which is fantastic. It’s so good to see that. So I did what I could to support them.

[00:04:26] Nathan Wrigley: My understanding was that it was about 60% of people who showed up today will be first timers.

[00:04:33] Jonathan Wold: Yeah I think that’s fantastic. Like it’s so good to see so many returning faces, but really we want to see the new people coming in.

[00:04:40] Nathan Wrigley: You’re doing a talk we’re gonna talk about that I think. Tell us what the premise of the talk is.

[00:04:45] Jonathan Wold: The talk is focused on this idea of growing in WordPress through partnerships. I’ve had the privilege working with a lot of product businesses over the years and, I’ve seen this recurring theme of frustration where a product business, they’ll have a good product, they’ll get some good market validation. Maybe some customers that really love the product. And then this frustration where they can’t seem to tap into the larger ecosystem, like WordPress is huge. Or even just take a sub ecosystem like WooCommerce. There are millions of WooCommerce installs and for a product business, oh, we’re gonna serve WooCommerce customers.

And then it’s this challenge of how do you get to ’em? There’s not this like one central place. You could work with WooCommerce, certainly, but even if you do a partnership with WooCommerce, that doesn’t guarantee that you get in front of all their audience. So it becomes very challenging and frustrating for product businesses, because of how decentralized our ecosystem is. Of which there are many benefits and things that we enjoy.

It can be challenging to say, okay, how do we navigate this? Who do we talk to? Where are all the customers? There’s some good reasons for that. So in my talk today, I’m trying to kind of unpack that. Give some perspective, especially to folks who are coming from outside the immediate ecosystem. There’s a lot of SaaS businesses that have built great products that work well with WordPress. They come in though, and they hit these roadblocks where they’re like, okay, what do we do? Like, how does this community work?

Where do we go? How do we act? Where do we focus our energies? And I think it’s a lot harder right now than it needs to be. Like growth in WordPress is difficult if you don’t know where to go. And I think that hurts all of us. So, my intent anyway is to try and demystify some of that and then give a clearer path to like, hey, if you wanna grow a product business in the WordPress space, partnerships today is probably your best way of doing so, and here’s how to do that.

[00:06:32] Nathan Wrigley: Do you think this is a function of personality a bit? And what I mean by that is, if you are a born coder and you spend your time in your room and you’re extremely good at that, this comes out of personal experience. I’ve encountered lots of people who are extremely good at that side of things. And then they build the thing and the thing is brilliant, but they are not the person to make it go out into the ecosystem.

Because they code and then they struggle with that piece of getting it recognized. So they contact podcast owners. They write to blog vendors and so on and so forth. But, it’s very difficult because you have to be that effervescent, outgoing marketing type of person.

[00:07:09] Jonathan Wold: That is part of it, but it’s also a timing thing because the coder, if you will, was able to pull it off before. If you think about how WordPress has grown over the past 18 plus years. In the early days, that was enough. You could build a great product and other people would do it for you.

Right? You go to a meetup, oh, you gotta use this plugin. That worked, and I think there are folks now who will look at that and like, why isn’t it working for me as well? Well, that worked more because of just where WordPress was and it’s life cycle at the time And it doesn’t work anymore. It’s just because of how big it is. Or rather it can still work. You can still absolutely grow something by word of mouth.

You’re gonna hit a ceiling though. And if your ambitions are greater, if you’re wanting to create something that’s more ubiquitous that solves needs for a much larger swath of the ecosystem, that’s not gonna be enough. You’re] gonna have to do the work and get in front of the audience.

[00:07:58] Nathan Wrigley: Is it a product of geography as well? Where you are in the world?

[00:08:02] Jonathan Wold: That’s always a factor in that it can limit who you’re connected to. Because someone who’s a great coder, maybe they’re introverted and, but they’ve gone to their local WordCamps, and that’s where they make connections and other folks do the recommendations for them. And so yeah, in that sense, geography could be a limiting factor if you haven’t had the chance to go all the way around.

[00:08:19] Nathan Wrigley: So I was thinking of an example, let’s say that you live in North America or something. There’s hundreds of different events that you could attend and there’s conferences and there’s countless things where you could present your face. Whereas if you live in a different part of the world where the community just isn’t there, that’s gonna be a, a bit of a struggle.

[00:08:33] Jonathan Wold: It is, and from my point of view, the struggle existing doesn’t fit with the ethos of WordPress and it’s international nature. And that’s why I think at least in my experience so far and where I’ve seen product companies have success, like they’ll be something that very few folks will know about. And then they begin to do the partnership work and approach it in the WordPress way, and then they can build success on that.

[00:08:55] Nathan Wrigley: So map out for us what you actually mean by partnership. Obviously everybody gets what that word is basically, but tell us what is it that you are gonna be advising somebody who wants to make hay out of their brand new plugin, theme, block, whatever.

[00:09:07] Jonathan Wold: The way that I think about it, and at least I found most helpful is to start with the audience. You’re building a product. What audience are you focusing on? Who has a problem that you’re trying to solve? Be really clear who that is. You could say, oh, small business. Well, small business is still very broad and general. Maybe you have a specific type of small business, whatever that may be.

Start with that audience of like, okay, we’re gonna build a product or maybe you have a product already. And some folks will maybe have a product, they’re not sure what audience it’s for, but let’s just set that aside for a moment. But once you, as the product owner have a clear audience in mind, then it’s like, okay, who else is already serving that audience?

One of the common mistakes I’ve seen folks make is they’ll make a product, and they’re like, okay, we need partnerships and they’ll go partner with, uh, a hosting company for instance, but that serves a different audience. Because it’s like once you know who your audience is, you find a potential partner where you can work together on it.

Then all you’re really doing is say, okay, what’s the mutual win. Like how can we together provide more value to that audience? Where I see most partnerships fall apart is where it’s an audience mismatch. Or maybe they got the right audience, but they still don’t have a clear value proposition for that audience. The ones that work really well are, same audience or very similar, nice overlap. And then they’re just providing them value in a way that benefits all the parties involved.

[00:10:26] Nathan Wrigley: I feel like a lot of the stuff that you’re saying makes perfect sense to you, you know, find the audience and so on and so forth. You’ve probably been through this many, many times. Those kind of processes aren’t necessarily obvious because you, you might just think I’ve got a plug in. It’s for every body, and the whole ecosystem can use this. What is the actual process? I mean, are you literally pen on paper? Have you got like a spreadsheet that you fill out or.

[00:10:47] Jonathan Wold: So, it’s a good point to bring up the, all the audience. I actually love working on plugins and with authors that are going for all of WordPress. It’s a smaller subset in general, right? Because like, one of the things I love about how we approach core development in WordPress is, what are the things that serve the 80%. Because WordPress, we’re not trying to, in the core solve for everyone. And in similar vein, there are product businesses that can be wildly successful that aren’t trying to do it for everyone in WordPress, right.

So I think that’s worth calling out. There’s still a lot of opportunity to go for ubiquity in the ecosystem. Be clear though on whether that, whether or not that’s actually your intention. So let’s say for instance, you are not going for all of WordPress, you’re going for a, just a sub ecosystem. WooCommerce for instance, a smaller part of WordPress and within WooCommerce you could go for small businesses. You could go for mid-market. You could go for enterprise. Let’s say you went small business WooCommerce. This is the audience that we wanna work on. They do less than a million dollars a year in revenue, and we have a specific problem we’re solving for them.

So in just this example, most folks I talk to, if they’re that clear, they’re more than halfway there, right. They’re often not though where it’s like, oh, we want to do this for everyone, right. It’s very difficult. And especially when it comes to partnerships where it’s like, we’ll work with everyone. In some cases that might be the play, but it’s often not. Does that make sense?

[00:12:06] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah for me, it’s the actual going through the process. Like, I usually need a form to fill out. Firstly, do this. Secondly, do this. And then, you know, it might be creating the customer avatar and giving them a name and trying to figure out what industry they’re in and so on. And having that structure, something to hang it on works for me. But it may not be the kind of thing that you would advise people to do when, when going out to get partnerships.

[00:12:27] Jonathan Wold: Yeah It’s a good question. It’s a good question, because I guess I am making the assumption that someone’s clear on who they want to serve.

[00:12:33] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, and that’s difficult.

[00:12:34] Jonathan Wold: It can be difficult, because there’s an inherent choice in who you’re not gonna serve, right? And again, it’s worth calling out that when I think about positioning for a product company, to say who, okay, this is who we’re gonna serve. Doesn’t mean that you can’t also serve others who come to you. It’s not that you have to turn them away. It’s making a choice though, on who you’re gonna focus your energies and your messaging, your positioning on.

And that, it is hard. And it’s often hard because of that fear of what you’re gonna miss out on. But when it comes to your marketing efforts, your even your, like your product development, and then in this case, partnerships, if you’re not clear on who you’re serving, it’s very hard to find ways to reach them.

[00:13:13] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So let’s assume that we’ve got that piece of the puzzle nailed down, and we know who we’re trying to serve. What’s the next step? What does a partner look like? How much are you giving away of your company? How do you contact these people? How do you give the pitch? In a way, trying to find a partner is perhaps equally as difficult as trying to find a customer.

[00:13:31] Jonathan Wold: Well, so it’s a fair point on what does it mean to partner. In general, what I’m talking about with these strategic partnerships would pretty much never involve any, like giving away part of the company. It’s more a transaction of like, hey, you have this audience, we have this product, how can we work together to serve them, right? And sure there are a lot of ways that could work. In some cases you might take investment from the partner that you’re working with.

There’s lots of ways you can approach it. Which is, in my mind a key is to not go into these conversations with everything figured out, but to say, okay, how can we together provide more value to the audience? I sometimes I see folks jump too quickly to like, okay, what are the commercials?

And saying, that’s a little bit of the cart before the horse, right? Where’s the value we can provide for the audience. If we’re not both really clear on that value, it’s gonna make negotiations difficult, and ultimately probably not be as successful for either party. I’ve seen product companies do distribution deals with hosting companies, for instance, that are pretty terrible. Where it’s like, okay, we wanna get our product in front of all your customers. And they’re like, okay, well, here you go. And it’s not a good deal.

[00:14:36] Nathan Wrigley: Are events like this, like WordCamp Europe, are events like this a great way to sort of short circuit the whole finding a partner thing? There’s thousands of people in this case, all in one room. A proportion of those are they’re playing that game. They wanna find partners and they’re looking for people to hook up with. I mean, you’re in a room it’s difficult. There’s no sort of your head saying, I want to partner. So, is that a part of the jigsaw puzzle of an event like this?

[00:14:59] Jonathan Wold: It is, and this is perhaps where personality is more of a factor. I would not advise someone to approach events like this as okay, we’re gonna go get partners. This is really in my mind more about context development and connecting with folks. Like, yeah, you might have folks, this is someone who I’d like to work with. And WordCamp can be a great place to build some shared context.

In general, for instance, I would see a WordCamp more as adding personal context to a conversation that’s already happening. You could certainly meet new folks, but I guess what I’m trying to say is like, I would hate to see someone put too much pressure on themself. To like attend a WordCamp and like try to get all this stuff done. That’s not really the vibe of it. It’s more about building context. If someone’s new to the space, it’s like go to contributor day first. Just soak it up a bit. Like one of the mistakes that I’ll see product companies from outside the ecosystem make, is just be really off on their messaging and positioning. Or being overly aggressive.

It’s like, no. That stuff is fine. Like it’s good to see the ambition. Take some time though, to understand the ecosystem, and WordCamps to me are really good for that. So it’s more about go in curious, and see what you can learn and don’t make assumptions. And yes, you’ll probably find some really good opportunities. In general though, it’s like, if you had a list of folks that you want to connect with, be talking to them already before WordCamp, and WordCamp is more about just seeing them in person.

[00:16:19] Nathan Wrigley: So everything that you’ve just said, I totally identify with, and I do see people not doing that, and I see people showing up and they’ve clearly got the laundry list of people they want to contact. And it all feels a bit clumsy. Is that a unique thing about the WordPress ecosystem? And what I mean by that is the whole FOSS thing, the free open software. For example, if I was to attend, I don’t know, a conference about podcasting or something. Is the same audience there?

Are there different rules at play here? And it feels a little bit like you’ve got to be a bit more restrained. You’ve gotta do your homework a bit more because there’s trip wires everywhere, and sometimes even just etiquette and the things that you mentioned about just don’t overstep the line, we don’t know each other yet. We’re not ready for that bit, but maybe if you are a different kind of an event, that stuff is, I’m open for it.

[00:17:05] Jonathan Wold: In my experience, yes, but most of it’s hearing that relayed from a software as a service companies, for instance, who are used to other industries where it’s lot more, not business oriented, but yeah, perhaps more transactional. And it’s a bit of a system shock to come to a WordCamp. Or even just the idea of how involved volunteers are. Many of us, like if we’re involved, I’m helping organize WordCamp US this year. I’m doing it as a volunteer.

And that idea of volunteers is kind of an odd one for folks coming from outside. And I think that well typifies, like this is different. People are here because they really want to be here, at least from what I hear. And the other events I attend, it is a very different vibe. Which is why it’s like, yeah, you can prepare for it, but the starting point is just be open and put out your preconceived notions and take a deep breath. It’s gonna be okay.

[00:17:52] Nathan Wrigley: The whole partnerships thing, is that a piece of what you do when you’re not at a WordCamp? Is that part of your business life?

[00:17:59] Jonathan Wold: It is, mostly from like an advising perspective. Part of the challenge that I’m personally trying to see us solve is, I don’t like that there’s and it’s getting better, but having just a handful of folks who do partnerships work in the ecosystem is not good for the ecosystem. It’s something that I’d like us to see, just become a lot more professionalized and this is just how to do it. I don’t think it’s healthy to have it locked up in just a few people who do it.

So yes, I’ll help folks do it. I’m much more interested though in seeing us open source, like how should this get done? How do we professionalize this aspect of our ecosystem? There’s a lot more of it starting to happen, but I feel like the advantage in our ecosystem is, has been more to like the few hosting companies who are better at it than others, or the product companies that are better at it than others. Where really, if we can all get better at it, I think the ecosystem as a whole benefits.

[00:18:49] Nathan Wrigley: So is this more that for the last decade or so, we’ve had a lot of people who’ve had a cottage industry for want better word for their job, and the ecosystem, I’m gonna use the word matured. I dunno the right word, but the ecosystem has matured. It’s become more professional, so the people who had the cottage industry need to up their game and figure out what the rules are, how to piece that jigsaw together.

[00:19:10] Jonathan Wold: Yes. There’s a few factors to it. There’s the folks who’ve come up through it, like upping their game, which is hard. Well, what’s happening is that there are a lot of folks, software as a service companies, for instance, wake up and say, hey, more than 30% of our customers are on WordPress. Like 40% of our customers are on WordPress. We need to have a strategy. We need to have an approach. Even just to serve our existing customers better.

The company that wakes up and says, we need to have an integration. We need to have our own plugin. And there’s them serve their customers better, which is good for all of us. But then many of them will say, hey, we can grow through WordPress. Like there’s opportunities here to grow our audience.

So it’s a bit of a clash where what’ll happen sometimes is these companies from outside will look in and they’ll see existing behavior and think that’s how it should be done. But they’re watching the cottage industry approach. And it’s like, no, we all need to grow here. The folks who have been in it this whole time, we need to get better at how we do this.

And then the folks who are coming from outside need to take a cue and say, okay, well, how do you change and, and work within this culture? It’s challenging. I’m encouraged with the progress that I’m seeing, but it’s not enough.

[00:20:15] Nathan Wrigley: It feels like you’re a bit worried that if we leave this whole partnership thing unchecked, a decade from now there’ll be a few major players. There’ll just be this pyramid structure with a…

[00:20:24] Jonathan Wold: Yeah, that’s part of it. And I think it’s just not healthy for the ecosystem as whole. A great example is contribution to core, right? What I love about all these new folks coming in. I’ve talked to some of them where they’ll explicitly call out, like it’s intimidating to go into like one of the core with thousands of people. And put a reference to a ticket or something. Yeah, it’s intimidating. And that’s why we have days like this to sit alongside someone and help them feel comfortable.

If we’re gonna continue to grow as an ecosystem, we have to be welcoming to new ideas, new input, and we have to make it accessible for them. And I think partnerships is just a good example of that. Right now, because we’re so decentralized and may it ever be so, you have to do that work to make the connections happen. And I just, I see a lot of opportunity for that to become professionalized.

[00:21:11] Nathan Wrigley: That’s a really interesting point because when I started building websites, basically you built a website. You found a client, you built a website, you passed it on.

And then as the industry matured, the job of an SEO expert came along and the job of a copywriter came along. All these little jobs in, WordPress came along. And it feels like you are advocating for a job of some kind of partner interface career. That’s the job. You need people like that. You need little, little businesses that are set up to figure out how to get plugin company, a theme company, a hooked up with other company B.

[00:21:40] Jonathan Wold: Yep.

[00:21:41] Nathan Wrigley: So that they can figure out a way to move forward.

[00:21:43] Jonathan Wold: I’m sure I’m exaggerating, but if there were only 50 people like really doing this professionally today in the ecosystem, there needs to be a thousand. And this is not a new thing. Partnership management, like business development is not new. It’s well established, but the folks who, what I’ve noticed is folks will have those roles in software as a service companies. And just not know how to navigate our ecosystem because they didn’t grow up in it.

So I think for the folks from the outside coming in, it’s figuring out how to do that same work, the WordPress way. And for us in, it’s like, how do you embrace that, and learn, okay, well, how do we have to think about this? Like where do we have to grow up? And I think we are more than big enough. And I think that that idea, if there’s 50 today, there should be a thousand next year.

[00:22:26] Nathan Wrigley: If somebody was thinking, actually, do you know what I would like to pivot and become that person? I wanna become some sort of partnership company, whatever it may be. What would be some sort of key things that you think they should be doing today in order to set that business up, you know, move away from whatever it is that they’re doing and stray into partnerships.

[00:22:42] Jonathan Wold: To me, these types of roles always start with curiosity. Being someone who’s curious, and really looking for the wins. At its simplest level, it’s a mutual win between three parties. The customer first, like the audience that you’re trying to create value for. And then the two other parties that serve that same audience. There will tend to be common patterns of what that looks like. For instance, a product company is often looking for distribution. Like they want to get in front of a bigger audience. And hosting companies often have the distribution.

So there, there’ll be some common patterns. Yet, I think there’s a lot of room for creativity, especially in these earlier days. And it’s just being open and curious and staying focused on who are we serving and what problem can we solve for them, and letting that kind of direct how you go.

[00:23:26] Nathan Wrigley: We’ve got a few minutes left. So I’m gonna pivot the conversation just for a few minutes. We’re gonna go to acquisitions and mergers. Some interesting news over the last few days that a company that I’m sure many of us have heard of called Delicious Brains has just recently sold to WP Engine with kind of looks like 90% of their product suite, which is really interesting. But over the last couple of years, lots and lots and lots.

Are you sanguine about this? Is this a good thing on the whole? Does it concern you that a lot is being bought by the same few companies? And at some point we’re gonna be left with, well, if you wanna do anything with WordPress, you’re gonna have to go with this hosting company or this other company.

[00:24:00] Jonathan Wold: I’m, very optimistic by nature. So in general, it’s like, yeah, I think that’s all great. There are always trade offs with things I like this in particular. WP Engine they’ve made some great acquisitions. We could have a whole discussion on the strategy behind this because I think, I think you’re gonna have less if we just sort of continue as we are, you’re gonna have, there’s not that many more Delicious Brains left, no pun intended.

So it makes sense at a high level. Advanced Custom Fields fits their narrative, like the nature of some of the plugins and their suite fits the WP Engine narrative, this focus on developer tools, what they’re doing with Atlas. At a high level, it makes sense.

Also, I wasn’t surprised and it makes sense to see Spinup separated from that, right. That’s what they said they wanna focus on. So I like it. In terms of concerns or thinking about the ecosystem broadly, one of the limiting factors I think we have right now is that it is difficult for folks from outside the ecosystem to invest in the ecosystem.

I think it also comes to a bit to that, like professionalizing. There is plenty of capital out there and, I’ll talk to founders who don’t know how to get to it. Like they’re building a WordPress business. And so there’s an interesting disconnect right now where if you’re from outside the ecosystem, they might not get it. Like, what is this WordPress thing? Like, how does this work? They’ll hear the market share stuff. And it’s like, okay, we wanna invest, but where do we do that? How do we do that? There’s some curious gaps at the moment.

I’ll put it this way. WordPress businesses in general, in my experience are quite undervalued. If you compare a typical WordPress business to a SaaS, the SaaS will get multiples of value, quite higher than the WordPress business. Where the WordPress business, if you look at it objectively is a stronger investment. So there’s a disconnect there where the reality is there’s a lot of opportunity for investors, and the challenge for them is like, how do we navigate this?

[00:25:43] Nathan Wrigley: Curiously, it feels to me like the more things that are acquired, the more need there will be for partnerships.

[00:25:50] Jonathan Wold: Yeah.

[00:25:50] Nathan Wrigley: It kind of feels like the two go hand in hand, if there’s hosting company X over there, who’s acquired all the things. And you’ve got a rival of one of their things. Fighting their marketing machine is gonna difficult.

[00:26:00] Jonathan Wold: It’s gonna be difficult.

[00:26:01] Nathan Wrigley: So need a partner that can help you get through that. Yeah,

[00:26:04] Jonathan Wold: Put one way the downside of too much consolidation is that you risk losing the innovation and the market is way more than big enough for new players to be coming in. There’s lots of sub ecosystems. I think in general, folks just need more help navigating and, as long as we keep seeing new folks come in, we’re gonna be just fine.

[00:26:23] Nathan Wrigley: Very last question and a curious little bit of a curve ball. You were talking about the market. The watch word there seems to be growth, growth, growth, the market’s growing. And yet very interestingly over the last month or so we had some sort of interesting data. This first data point where the market just took a tiny little bit of a dive, not 0.2% or something like that. Any thoughts in your head that the curve is beginning to go in the other way? The seesaw has finally tipped.

[00:26:44] Jonathan Wold: We have different sources of data.

[00:26:45] Nathan Wrigley: That’s right.

[00:26:45] Jonathan Wold: So there’s a whole discussion first about you know, what’s our basis for data. I think we could have an interesting discussion if we felt confident that that was the case. I’m working with, um, the HTTP archive on the Web Almanac project this year. And we’re about to have a new set of data in the next month or so. No particular thoughts. I think, sometimes we overreact. While I am an optimist, we will hit a point at some point.

I’m much more interested right now in focusing on like for that big swath of market we already have, how can we serve them better?

Because that’s really where the growth is gonna come from. Is how do we help more people have success in WordPress? Because in general, there’s a lot of frustration, like lots of success, lots of things that are going well. When it’s not working though, where are people going? And they’re tending to go to the proprietary platforms. Which is fine, but at the end of the day, if we want a healthy open web, we need a healthy WordPress ecosystem. And there’s still plenty of work to do, regardless of what the numbers are saying.

[00:27:41] Nathan Wrigley: Jonathan Wold. Thank you very much for talking to me today.

[00:27:44] Jonathan Wold: Thanks for having me.

by Nathan Wrigley at August 03, 2022 02:00 PM under podcast

HeroPress: Life At The End Of Your Comfort Zone

Pull Quote: WordPress is big enough for everyone to thrive.

It is often said that life, adventure, challenge, growth, etc, begins at the end of your comfort zone. Like all much-abused aphorisms, that is both true and not. Yes, growth comes from outside your comfort zone, but then your comfort zone just becomes bigger.

Before I get ahead of myself though, I should introduce myself. Hi, my name is Akshat, and I am the founder of BlogVault, MalCare, WP Remote, MigrateGuru and AirLift. I have spent 12 years on a rollercoaster WordPress journey, building these solutions for high performance WordPress sites.

Today, I am going to tell you about my comfort zone. If you are wondering what WordPress has to do with my comfort zone, you’re about to find out.

But first, a little context

In the pre-BlogVault world, I was working at Citrix, doing kernel hacking for a product called NetScaler. This is as far removed from WordPress as you can possibly imagine. I was about to discover my new path rather abruptly.

One fine day, The Coding Horror blog crashed. In case you are unfamiliar with this stalwart of the programming world, it is Jeff Atwood’s blog. Jeff Atwood is the founder of StackOverflow, another keystone of the programming community. If Jeff Atwood’s blog didn’t have backups, I thought, what about the legions of sites out there?

Thus, BlogVault was born; its siblings mentioned above soon to follow.

Stage 1: Products for problems

When I created BlogVault, I wasn’t thinking about building for people. I saw a problem that I could fix, and created a solution for it. In fact, I understood so little about how people purchase products that every time someone bought a subscription, I thought it was a miracle.

Obviously, magic wasn’t part of the equation, so I figured that I would have to actually meet people in WordPress. I needed to understand them, and why they were buying my product at all. This was a big step out of my comfort zone, by the way. I do not excel at meeting new people. That may be the understatement of the year.

Hello strangers!

Enter WordCamps.

Now, everyone knows that WordCamps are events of inclusion, bringing people from all walks of life together. I didn’t at the time, and attending my first few conferences was me actively putting myself out there. I volunteered at a few, and spoke at others. None of this came easily or naturally, because it was innately difficult to interact with strangers.

Over a few events, the discomfort became less and less, till it has gone entirely.

I met wonderful people and built lasting friendships. For instance, I attended a WordCamp Europe in Spain one year, and got in touch with a friend who lived in the country. We’d never met before, but we’d corresponded a few times. He and his wife came to pick me up, and they showed me around for 2 days. It is incredible that someone can have so much generosity for a virtual stranger.

Stage 2: Products for people

Once I crossed the hurdle of interacting with strangers, I started to understand that building a product cannot be done in a vacuum. It is important to consider the people who are going to use it, why they would use it, and how it solves their problems.

The WordPress community helped me reframe our products in terms of value propositions. Our marketing evolved to be about creating and showcasing value, and solving issues. I also learned how to use the right metrics to measure interaction. I found myself moving towards a more analytical mindset.

This was in stark contrast to how I started: with a gut-based approach and the joy of making. I pivoted quickly to add people into the mix. It feels great—almost romantic—to say we build for the joy of making, but it is not a viable business model unless you factor in people.

The courage to be imperfect

BlogVault is a great backup product, even if I do say so myself. MalCare is too. MigrateGuru is the stuff of dreams, even. But. BUT. AirLift isn’t. Not yet, anyway.

These are all products that we have made for WordPress, and have continued to improve over the years. It took us ages after we built MalCare to actually release it.

It wasn’t perfect, how could we possibly release it?

Eventually, I realized that this wasn’t the way to grow. And, I’m not going to lie, it took a lot to overcome this mindset. There were unexpected cheerleaders in every corner, and bit by bit, we were emboldened to take a leap of faith. Customers who loved our existing products encouraged us to let them try our new ones.

Slowly I developed the courage to be imperfect, and trust in the process. We moved forward with the certainty that we would make it better.

A fair field and no favor

WordPress has been around for decades, and there are competitors on every level. This knowledge contributed to the desire to perfect our product. How will something that is less-than compete with established products in the market? I needed to develop a competitive mindset!

Not quite. WordPress is big enough for everyone to thrive. But more than that, it isn’t a dog-eat-dog world.

The community doesn’t have a win-at-all-costs mentality.

People here have a lifestyle approach to business, without the hyper competitive spirit. It is a wholesome and largely ethical ecosystem.

I discovered that the competitive spirit I thought I needed to develop—which didn’t come naturally—wasn’t necessary. I could succeed and make a mark, without that trample-to-get-ahead mentality.

(If only I could stop using trite-but-true phrases as adjectives as easily.)

The wheel has come full circle

12 years ago, I started my entrepreneurial journey with BlogVault, a definite outsider to WordPress. While I have encountered the boundaries of my comfort zone many times over the years, WordPress has helped me push past them. Today, I can proudly claim to not only be part of this amazing community, but contribute to it in a meaningful way. It is now my comfort zone.

The post Life At The End Of Your Comfort Zone appeared first on HeroPress.

by Akshat Choudhary at August 03, 2022 02:00 AM

August 02, 2022

Post Status: Barriers to Contributing

Small teams face frustrating barriers trying to make their contributions count

TL;DR: Small teams have common barriers to contributing to Five for the Future. Making efficient use of their time and team members is hard when tooling and communication can soak up the hours. Learning how to contribute — and keeping up with WordPress core — makes it hard to get started and sustain effective contributions. How much of this has to do with Trac/SVN and the Make WordPress Slack “firehose,” I wonder?

In Post Status Slack last month, Cory got a number of responses when he asked,

“As a manager or owner of a WordPress company (or a WP professional), what are your obstacles/frustrations/challenges for contributing to Five for the Future?”

A helpful pattern emerged in the responses, which I hadn't considered previously.

Direction and Feedback Needed

Patrick Garman asked for clarity on what's wanted and what's actually being done for 5ftF. He also shared how tasking a dedicated staff member with a half day to contribute each week was far more effective than spreading it around his team on a totally voluntary basis. Sharing best practices for efficient contribution widely would be valuable.

A Sustainable Model of Contribution for Small Teams

Justin Sainton agreed that “sustainable” contribution for a 1-10 person agency needs a good working model, and he hasn't found one yet. Barriers “include infrastructural issues” on both ends — the contributor and project.

Timi Wahalahti also spoke to time management challenges in a small 8-person agency.

Just Keeping Up Takes a Lot of Time

Thomas Maier noted the challenges of keeping up with the firehose of WordPress core communication and information:

Keeping up to date with something happening in a team I am interested in working in already needs more than 5% of my and my companies time. That’s the burden for us. I don’t feel that there is a chance to make contributions that count to the project that only need 1-2 hours per week. Assuming that publishing code on GitHub or blogging about solutions don’t officially “count.”

Trying to Make the Most of a Few Hours

Brian Coords also related to feeling like a few hours a week is not helpful or accomplishing much. He also opined that many employers might rather just donate money to a non-profit at arm's length from any interested parties in the WordPress community.

One takeaway here for me is that learning/teaching how to contribute and keeping up with WordPress core is hard enough to make it feel like you can barely get to square one as a contributor with a few hours a week.

How much of this has to do with things like Trac/SVN and the WordPress Slack “firehose,” I wonder?

by Dan Knauss at August 02, 2022 10:03 PM under WordPress.org

Post Status: Laura Nelson on WordPress and Email Marketing — Post Status Draft 122

Laura is the Content Marketer at WooCommerce — a popular email marketing plugin for WordPress. She’s been working in the WordPress space for the past eight years, with experience in both agency and in-house marketing teams.

Laura Nelson and Cory Miller talk about creating content for email marketing.

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by Olivia Bisset at August 02, 2022 09:15 PM under Email Marketing

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Last updated:

August 12, 2022 06:30 PM
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