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June 20, 2019

WPTavern: WooCommerce.com Clarifies Its Policy on Selling CBD Products

Last week, a member of the WooCommerce Help and Share Facebook group who sells Cannabidiol or CBD products submitted a post that included an email exchange with WooCommerce support.

In the exchange, the support rep explained to the store owner that when their WooCommerce.com account was connected to a WordPress.com login, it then fell under the WordPress.com store guidelines.

According to the guidelines, controlled substances (including marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, and other cannabis-derived products) are not allowed to be sold.

The support rep goes on to say that this included but was not limited to sites using WordPress.com, the Jetpack plugin, and any extensions from WooCommerce.com.”

The store owner is then informed that their store will be disconnected from Automattic hosted services if they continue to sell CBD products.

Legal Document Becomes a Source of Confusion

The support rep provided the store owner with a link to the most frequently asked questions on selling CBD products using WooCommerce.

The wording of the document made it seem as though there was a difference between downloading the plugin from the WordPress plugin directory or WooCommerce.com. It also appeared to apply limits on how the GPL licensed software could be used. Here is a cached version of the original document.

Can WooCommerce be used to sell cannabis-derived products such as CBD oil?

Yes, if you download the WooCommerce plugin directly from WordPress.org or install the WooCommerce plugin via the Plugins page of your site from WordPress.org.

No, if you download and install the WooCommerce plugin directly from WooCommerce.com.

It is the same WooCommerce plugin, but the location of download makes a difference?
What’s the difference?

The difference is ownership.

WooCommerce from WordPress.org is open-source software and is hosted through a third-party company.

WooCommerce from WooCommerce.com and WordPress.com is hosted through Automattic. Sites cannot sell cannabis-derived products if they are connected to Automattic servers, which includes and is not limited to WordPress.com, the Jetpack plugin, and any plugin or extension downloaded directly from WooCommerce.com.

Can I use WooCommerce software from  (x company)  to sell cannabis-derived products?
If you use open-source WooCommerce software from a third-party company, note that there may be additional limitations and regulations imposed by shipping and payment companies.

Can I get support for a WooCommerce store selling CBD products?
No, not from us at WooCommerce.com or WordPress.com.

Many of our store owners and customers reside in countries where CBD products and other cannabis-derived products are fully legalized, but the production and sale of cannabis-derived products in the US – where our company is registered – is highly regulated.

As a result, we are currently unable to offer support for any WooCommerce site that sells CBD oil or other cannabis-derived products, whether the CBD oil is over or under 0.3% THC and whether it is derived from hemp or cannabis.

Original WooCommerce and CBD Products FAQ

Taking note of the confusion, Paul Maiorana, Acting General Manager of WooCommerce, responded to the discussion and admitted in the Facebook thread that the policy was not as clear as it could be.

Earlier this week, the WooCommerce team revised the policy and made it much clearer on what is and is not allowed.

Can WooCommerce be used to sell cannabis-derived products such as CBD oil?

Yes, you can use WooCommerce for your site. As our software is open source, we do not limit its use.

However, while you can use the code of our WooCommerce plugin to sell products derived from cannabis and hemp, you cannot use services offered directly by Automattic to support those stores. This is the case whether the products are over or under 0.3% THC, and whether they are derived from hemp or cannabis. Automattic’s direct services include, but are not limited to, WordPress.com, WooCommerce.com, and the Jetpack plugin.

This means that you can use the open source WooCommerce plugin to sell cannabis-derived products, but you cannot:

Connect your site to Automattic’s servers in WooCommerce > Extensions > WooCommerce.com Subscriptions for automatic extension updates or at WordPress.com.

Use WooCommerce services that depend on a Jetpack connection, such as WooCommerce Shipping or WooCommerce Tax.

Host your site on WordPress.com.

Can I get help for my WooCommerce store?
Yes. Our WooCommerce.com help desk can assist you with your site if you would normally qualify to receive support. You might also receive help from others in the WordPress.org forums or the WooCommerce community.

Revised WooCommerce and CBD Products FAQ

In the last two years, WooCommerce has increasingly relied on Jetpack and its connection to WordPress.com’s infrastructure to provide services. These include WooCommerce Shipping, the WooCommerce app, and Automated Tax Calculations. In 2017, Todd Wilkens made it clear that WooCommerce would continue to make extensive use of Jetpack to provide cloud services.

While the policy makes things clearer, CBD store owners will need to determine if they can live without the conveniences provided by Jetpack, WooCommerce.com, and WordPress.com. This situation is also a reminder to all store owners to double check a service’s policies before connecting any sites.

by Jeff Chandler at June 20, 2019 01:02 AM under woocommerce

June 19, 2019

WPTavern: Watch the Free WordCamp Europe 2019 Live Stream June 21-22

WordCamp Europe 2019 kicks off tomorrow, June 20, with Contributor Day. If you have been following the event on Twitter, hundreds of WordPress enthusiasts and professionals have been descending upon Berlin this week in preparation for the world’s largest WordCamp. For those who cannot attend in person, WCEU will be live streaming the main conference on June 21-22 for free.

Unlike previous years, no tickets or registration will be required for live stream viewers. Removing this logistical hurdle makes the conference more accessible to viewers who may want to pop in for a session or two.

Matt Mullenweg will be giving an address at 2PM in Berlin on Friday, June 21, and his presentation usually includes some newsworthy announcements. Whether you’re interested in Gutenberg development, community relations, design, or business, there’s a session for a wide range of WordPress users. Those who are viewing from afar can check out the schedule and plan which sessions to watch online.

As it was last year, the WCEU website is a Progressive Web App (PWA) that allows users to favorite the talks they want to attend. Presentations last 30 minutes with 10 minutes added at the end for Q&A. There are 20 minutes scheduled in between sessions to allow attendees to change tracks or have conversations in the hallway.

WordCamp Europe plans to announce the live stream link on its Twitter account. Follow the #WCEU hashtag to join in the conversation online.

by Sarah Gooding at June 19, 2019 11:20 PM under WordCamp Europe

WPTavern: Google Announces Site Kit Plugin Now in Developer Beta

Google is churning out updates to its WordPress products ahead of WordCamp Europe in Berlin this weekend, with the AMP Plugin 1.2 release and Site Kit’s developer beta launch landing the same day.

Site Kit is a new addition to Google’s WordPress plugin lineup that was announced at WordCamp US 2018. It provides a dashboard that displays how well a site is doing with various Google tools, such as Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights, packaged as a one-stop solution.

The developer preview announced today includes the following features:

  • Seamless site verification with Search Console
  • Provisioning and configuration of Analytics, AdSense, Tag Manager and Optimize
  • Simple aggregate and per-page reporting from Search Console, Analytics, and AdSense, to help you understand the full acquisition and monetization funnel
  • Continuous site performance auditing and monitoring with PageSpeed Insights
  • Insights we derive from across the products you’ve connected and surface on your dashboard, to help you make sense of the stats

Site Kit will give WordPress users access to information and stats from Google tools directly inside the dashboard. Instead of having to log into multiple Google services to hunt down site performance and page traffic information, this plugin aggregates the most data and puts it at your fingertips inside the WordPress admin where it is most relevant.

The Site Kit plugin is still under active development on GitHub and beta testers will need to be familiar with the Google Cloud Platform and OAuth in order to get started.

The setup experience is not user-friendly but rather geared towards getting feedback on the plugin’s current features. Google isn’t planning on putting Site Kit on WordPress.org until the setup process has been improved to be a better experience for WordPress users who are not developers. The goals for the developer beta are to gather feedback on the plugin’s functionality and compatibility with other plugins.

A contingency of engineers from Google’s Developer Programs team will be available at the Google booth during WordCamp Europe to answer questions from the community on Site Kit and any of the company’s other products.

by Sarah Gooding at June 19, 2019 10:36 PM under Site Kit

Matt: Diversifying WordPress

WordPress is about democratizing publishing, removing barriers to getting your words on the web. There’s a cool effort underway right now to remove some barriers that people from groups underrepresented in tech might face when becoming a WordCamp speaker. Automattic is supporting this by sponsoring Jill Binder’s work on the WordPress Diverse Speakers Training Group.

I would love to see the WordPress contributor base become more diverse, and training people from marginalized communities to speak at WordCamps is a great way to help that along. Check out that effort if you’d like to get involved.

by Matt at June 19, 2019 09:42 PM under Asides

HeroPress: It’s never too late to start the right career path

Pull quote: Most late achievers will discover that they have more significant opportunities to succeed on alternative paths.

WordPress – Life changing experience

Recently I had an enjoyable experience with a team of WPTranslationDay4 where I took the challenge to be a Live Streaming Host for the first time. And it was a fantastic talk with Speakers.

By the time you read this, I would have experienced my first international talk in WordCamp Europe 2019 at WPCafe. And would have moved to the next :). In this essay, I will be sharing how I found my career path, how WordPress changed my life, why I took challenges. I am a non-technical person, if you are a newbie, struggling with your career, stopped taking challenges, gave up and lose hope, especially women’s, then this may be your compelling decision to be here. I am sharing my short story towards WordPress and putting some points that make me take these decisions.

Who am I?

My name is Afsana Multani, an artist by hobby and a WordPress enthusiast. You must think, why and how I work with WordPress? WordPress wasn’t the first choice in my life. My very first choice was painting. I didn’t even know I will be starting working with WordPress. :) To learn and work with WordPress, became the dream of my life, to follow this, I started working as a Customer Support Executive at theDotstore, which is a Venture of MULTIDOTS.

I was born & brought up in a reserved middle-class family, residing in Bhavnagar, a small city of Gujarat, India. Currently, I live in Ahmedabad. The family thinking is one which follows age-old customs and traditions and has stayed away from innovations. Where, most of the time, children do not have the freedom to dream, to develop, or to choose their life, to do something new. As a child, I had everything needed to live a better life – food, shelter, and clothes. But one thing was missing – “freedom.” I am the second one of four kids in my family and was lucky enough to study further.

Though I never had a chance to talk with my father about my career, and what I want to do in life or how life will be after studies. I was sure I have to do something and make my parents proud.

Besides all the strict rules and conventional thinking, my parents trusted me and allowed me to study further.

My mother never pushed me to cook or do household chores, as she spends her entire life doing this stuff. She loved to study, but due to this old thinking pattern, she had to drop her studies after her 3rd Standard. She starts cooking at home, with all household chores, preparing to get married one day.

You would say, it’s not an age to do this. But it was her childhood, where other children were playing with toys, she continued playing with real-life. She determined never give up; whatever I am today because of her if she does not do that I would never have the courage to study further. I was good in studies, and get 1st in every Curriculum activity; the reason was my parents. I wanted to see them happy and proud. I learned one thing from her –

Never give up on your dreams, work harder for what you want, and help others.

I always have struggled for my future path, I wasn’t sure what to do and what not to, but I learned not to be afraid of taking challenges. During the time, I was about to step into the new phase of life – “Marriage.”

Everything changed

In my sweet 16, my wedding fixed already. And my father asked me to drop studies after 10th and plan for marriage. But my mother wanted me to study; so, she convinced him. Fortunately, my life partner was also so understanding and carrying. We never met before our engagement day, but I still remember, as soon as we had our first phone call, we fell in Love. Just like that – like a Fairy Tale.

Suddenly everything changes when the day came to leave my parents home. I got married early after my Higher Secondary School at the age of 18. I was a child with no idea how everything goes after marriage but has to take the responsibilities. It was a new challenge – family and household chores. Understanding new families make them happy and still living in a joint family was a challenge to decide on a career. I remember one my Grandpa says,

“life will never be better, but we have to make it better”

Can a Hobby be a Profession?

So, the answer is yes. If your hobby wakes you up in the middle of your sleep, it does. But if you let someone entering into your hobby, then it may be challenging for you to continue further. For me, the painting was my hobby, since childhood. I never found a tutor to polish my skills and learned it myself as an inspiration from my elder sister. It was a dream to be a great artist one day; I decided to join the institute after my marriage. I initiated my first painting classes name “AKSA,” I enjoy with kids; my motto was to encourage them to develop their skills.

I did not have a better teacher in my childhood, so I wanted them to have one and not to struggle much to follow their path. Destiny has some other plans.

Introduction to the computer world

I also have learned PHP for a couple of months. But that was not something I am happy with so I continued my journey, finding some more opportunities.

In 2012, I found my first job out of my hobby with a full-service WordPress agency – MULTIDOTS as a front-end developer; I had picked up quite a bit of Photoshop designing as well as HTML. Work with photoshop was fun to play with computer. I did not have a computer at home, so this job was fascinating. I decided it quickly and started building websites and learning HTML responsive coding, on my own – Google was my teacher. I love learning new things which match to my nature and interest :).

I was perfectly happy as a front-end developer, yet I always felt as if there were some other types of work that I would adore more. “I just didn’t know what it was,” in 2017, I started working with WordPress.

The decision to start working with WordPress comes with challenges. It feels like going back to the first-level of schooling, taking classes to pick up necessary qualification.

For me, everything changed in my early 20’s. At 25, my brain woke up – it certainly feels like that. And I managed to win a job as a “Customer Support Executive” at thedotstore. I am a talkative person, and chatting with people around the world was amazing. As my Mom says, – help, support, and make people happy. Working freely with fun was one of my visions that comes true.

Thedotstore develops free and premium plugins for WooCommerce, with a focus on scalability, performance, and security. Customer satisfaction is the key success to thedotstore or any businesses. While working with IT company being a frontend developer, I came into contact with WordPress and found we can create a blog easily. But it was way far knowing about its vast community.

My first WordPress Blog

It was an enjoyable experience working on my first WordPress painting blog in 2014. :) I do not have an active link, because it was on a local server for practice.

But I have recently created a new Blog “afsanamultani.com” – which is live and active :) Where I have shared my journey being with Painting Studio as well as my experiences in contribution to WordPress.

My First interaction with WordPress Community

WordPress Ahmedabad community already started Organizing WPMeetups and also planning for the first WordCamp in 2017. I participated as Volunteer in my first WordCamp Ahmedabad 2017, Also have created a beautiful Selfie Booth with the team. During the day, for the first time in my life, I took the initiative to talk to different people about WordPress, got an opportunity to meet WordPress lovers, Automattician – Happiness Engineer, Nomad, people working remotely. Those words were new to me, and I was like- what are you saying! For me, it was a dream, “I was born for this man.” At the same time, I decided to be a Happiness Engineer one day. WordPress is not only a platform for a techie guy; it also helps a person like me to select their career path with WordPress. Doesn’t sound interesting?

A break that got me where I am today

It was my first day when I started learning more about WordPress and its community. In November 2017, WordPress was at version 4.9.1, and I was getting in. I spend days tweaking and learning about customer support, forums, and how to get involved. I wanted to be a part of the WordPress team.

Steps I followed

Step one:- with understanding the code of conduct and how the community works.

Step two:- How to get involved – make.wordpress.org

Step three:- What are the channels and how it works.

Step Four:- Go to the team channels and start surfing.

Step Five:- Join the slack channels, where you get the support and knowledge. It’s easy to join the public slack channel #forums #community-events #community-team and more.

As we know, it is not easy to get started and understand everything overnight. At first, when I joined these slack channels, I found lots of people chatting and sharing information, some asking for help and some are staff who helped people to solve their problems.

First Week with WordPress

My very first week went only on reviewing those chat conversations and how to get involved. So if you are new and want to get into this, be there for a while, don’t try to understand everything at first. Please go through all the chat conversations, and gradually, you will know how it works.

It’s a great platform to work; if you ask me how long I can work with WordPress, I would like to work with WordPress forever. It’s like I never think to change the platform since WordPress helps me to work freely and who does not love Freedom? :)

Dedication, Hard work, Patience, and Reading will always make you successful in any Career you choose.

I was a newbie, and I didn’t even imagine it will be a fantastic journey. It took me a year to understand the community. I am now working as a customer support executive, still learning and exploring new ways of contributing to WordPress.

Volunteer work

During this time, I have attended several WordCamps, and I got opportunities in organizing, speaking, and volunteering.

WordCamp Organizing Experience

After WordCamp Ahmedabad 2017, it was time for our second WordCamp. We started planning for the next Lead Organiser for the event. By the time of deciding for the woman candidate. Everyone asked me if I am ready to take this challenge. My first expression was – What? Are you kidding me? It’s a dream, someone, please wake me up, :D I asked many questions at the same time. I asked myself for a while, Am I ready for the big challenge? What if I could not make it? And I recall those words – never give up, take a challenge, and try harder than what you want.

I accepted the challenge, started reading WordCamp Organizer HandBook from WordPress.org site. There’s each and everything mentioned very clear from Applying Application to the WordCamp Central, where you find all the upcoming WordCamp lists and the End of the event process. It was a fantastic experience of WordCamp Ahmedabad 2018. There is one thing that I learn from this event, if you are ready to take the challenge, everyone will help you to fulfill that challenge. And it was never possible without my team and Aditya Kane, who was the mentor for the event. We are an excellent team of organizers.

WordCamp Speaking Experience

After volunteering, organizing, it was my dream to be a speaker. And I was fortunate to speak in WordCamp Kolkata 2019. I was so happy when I got an Email with “Congratulations.” Now, what? Let us prepare.

Sharing “20 Effective Ways to Build a Better Customer Experience” was a great experience in my life; I never imagined such a huge audience and a great team. By this time I have also contributed to upload WordCamp video on WordPress.tv. Learning Never Ends!

If you are reading this, and also have a dream to be a speaker, the first thing you need to do is, write your topic and send it over. Do not think much; push that Share Button, that’s all. Sometimes, we’re afraid to push that button and miss the excellent opportunity. If you think next time, write everything, and I would be happy to push that button for you. :D Especially women, it would be so lovely to see you, take this challenge and start living your dreams. Do not be afraid of making mistakes, remember – “every successful person made mistakes” even Gandhiji, but he learned from his mistakes and promised never to repeat.

“Take new challenges, make mistakes, learn, and improve.”

Moving further to contributions, it is always fun working with your love. I believe – “Love what you do and do what you Love,” and it works.

  • WordPress Support Forums
  • WordPress TV Contributor
  • WordPress Polyglots Editor
  • WordPress Polyglots Contributor
  • WordPress Meetup Organizer
  • WordCamp Volunteer
  • WordCamp Lead Organizer
  • WordCamp Speaker
  • WordPress Polyglots Translation Team

I have done what I love, and what about you?

Most importantly, I am glad to be a contributor. There’s one more thing – The badges are the best part of WordPress I have ever seen, and it’s like a volunteer reward.

So ladies and gentleman, How many badges have you collected? Share your list in comments :)

My initiative

After experiencing my contribution to WordPress, people come up with various questions, – how you have done this, and how to get involved in the community, what steps to be followed to contribute. So that makes me start this initiative iamwplearner as a knowledge sharing activity with a dream of helping the local as well as WordPress community through different channels and languages.

Good Takeaways – iamwplearner helps beginners, startup, and college students, who are looking for the opportunity and how to involve with WordPress.

Everything was possible only with the help of Aslam Multani. He is my supporter, my backbone, and my reason for life, he is the person who always guides me and motivates me in all situations.

Like me, most late achievers will discover that they have more significant opportunities to succeed on alternative paths. But, today’s obsessive way for new achievement is the fear of failure for those who do not attain it. They waste our national talent and stunted creativity.

If I can do this, You can do this even better. :)

All of us love someone and something, and the thing is we cannot give up on ourselves or others- especially if society has made it harder to catch up. Most people recently born will live in the 22nd century, and they will accept the modernization in the community. This is us; a healthy society needs all of its people to recognize that they can bloom and re-bloom, grow, and succeed throughout their lives.

I like to address this commitment, to all WordPress fans, especially a local womens community, to show your real talent, and break the stereotypes. Let people speak, there will be a doubt, a mistake, but if you are confident in you, no one can stop doing your best. :)
I wish you Good Luck.

What’s in the Future?

I would say, the future is yet to come. Be yourself, there are many opportunities, challenges, and learnings. I try myself ready for better today than yesterday. Keep learning is the key to success… After many trial and error, I am here with WordPress, and most important is, I love what I do. :)

Thank you.

Thanking Note:- I like to thank Topher and HeroPress for allowing me to write and share my story with you all. There’s always a best in everyone’s story, what’s in you? Share your thoughts, or say – Hi in comments below.

 

The post It’s never too late to start the right career path appeared first on HeroPress.

by Afsana Multani at June 19, 2019 12:00 PM

WPTavern: Developers at Yoast and Google Collaborate on Proposal to Add XML Sitemaps to WordPress Core

Developers at Google and Yoast are collaborating with other contributors on a proposal to add XML sitemaps to WordPress core. This capability has traditionally been handled by plugins, which provide a variety of implementations. The goal of this new feature project is to ship basic XML sitemaps in core while providing an XML Sitemaps API for plugin developers to extend. It would also update WordPress’ robots.txt file to reference the sitemap index.

Thierry Muller, a Developer Relations Program Manager at Google, published the details of the collaborators’ plans on WordPress.org. The sitemaps included in core would be enabled by default and would index the following content:

  • Homepage
  • Posts page
  • Core Post Types (Pages and Posts)
  • Custom Post Types
  • Core Taxonomies (Tags and Categories)
  • Custom Taxonomies
  • Users (Authors)

Although WordPress contributors have had multiple discussions regarding XML sitemaps on trac, Muller said there had not yet been a group to take ownership and get things moving forward. His proposal notes that 4 out of the top 15 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory ship with their own implementation of XML. Despite the demonstrated high demand for XML sitemaps, the right team for getting this added to core had not been assembled until now.

“XML Sitemaps is a standard across all search engines these days and any website with content which is intended to be indexed should have one,” Muller said. “Having XML Sitemaps in core would speed up content discoverability and indexing. We started discussing this topic last year with Yoast and agreed that it would be great to finally make it happen.”

So far the initiative has received a favorable response from the community and has already gained the support of WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg.

“This makes a lot of sense, looking forward to seeing the v1 of this in core and for it to evolve in future releases and cement WordPress’ well-deserved reputation of being the best CMS for SEO,” Mullenweg commented on the proposal.

Performance is one of the primary concerns that the WordPress development community has expressed regarding adding XML sitemaps to core.

“As simple and straightforward as XML sitemaps are, they present some relatively significant performance challenges at scale,” Matthew Boynes, partner at Alley Interactive, said. “As one for-instance, how many urls are going to be in each paginated (sub-) sitemap? A sitemap index file is limited to 50,000 sitemaps, so even though each sitemap is limited to a maximum of 50,000 urls, generating 50,000 urls in one page request would be extremely difficult and non-performant to do on-the-fly.”

Muller and other contributors on the project have a strategy for addressing scalability concerns and are planning to keep these considerations on the forefront while building core’s implementation.

“As for everything else, engineering new features should always be done with security and performance in mind,” Muller said. “It starts at the high level architecture down to the granular details. Each Sitemap entry will only contain , and which should not overload the server request with a paginated approach. The number of entries per Sitemap is still to be defined, performance will definitely be a deciding factor.”

The XML Sitemaps project has a clearly defined scope. The initial implementation will not include features like image, video, or news sitemaps. It also will not include a UI for controls to exclude individual posts, pages, or custom post types from the sitemap. This is somewhat controversial but plugins can always extend core to offer these features until a more sophisticated version of sitemaps lands in core.

Plugin authors who offer XML sitemaps will need to re-architect their plugins with the new API in order to avoid conflicts and indexing errors.

“I can confidently say that we will make it as smooth as possible and work with plugin authors to avoid conflicts,” Muller said. “If anything else, having XML Sitemaps as well as a Core API to extend it will make their lives easier – plugin authors will have a standard way to extend it.”

This effort to get sitemaps added to WordPress core is not limited to those working at Google and Yoast. Muller encouraged authors of other XML sitemaps plugins to get involved or at least follow the project’s development to ensure their plugins are compatible once it is merged into core.

by Sarah Gooding at June 19, 2019 03:49 AM under XML Sitemaps

June 18, 2019

WPTavern: WordPress 5.2.2 Squashes 13 Bugs

WordPress 5.2.2 dubbed a short-cycle maintenance release is available for download. This release addresses 13 bugs and improves the Site Heath features introduced in 5.2.

One of the changes in 5.2.2 affects the theme update link in the Customizer of multisite installs. The update link for themes on multisite installs in the Customizer has been removed. This is because updates can not be performed from within the Customizer in this situation.

Other changes include, adding a exit recovery mode button in the responsive view, making the Site Health page access filterable, and updates to the page editor packages.

JB Audras, Justin Ahinon and Mary Baum co-led the release with guidance from Executive Director, Josepha Haden. Thirty people contributed to WordPress 5.2.2.

by Jeff Chandler at June 18, 2019 09:24 PM under multisite

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.2.2 Maintenance Release

WordPress 5.2.2 is now available! This maintenance release fixes 13 bugs and adds a little bit of polish to the Site Health feature that made its debut in 5.2.

For more info, browse the full list of changes on Trac or check out the Version 5.2.2 documentation page.

WordPress 5.2.2 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.3; check make.wordpress.org/core for details as they happen.

You can download WordPress 5.2.2 or visit Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now. Sites that support automatic background updates have already started to update automatically.

JB Audras, Justin Ahinon and Mary Baum co-led this release, with invaluable guidance from our Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and contributions from 30 other contributors. Thank you to everyone who made this release possible!

Andrea Fercia, Andrew Duthie, Andrew Ozz, Andy Fragen, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), Chetan Prajapati, David Baumwald, Debabrata Karfa, Garrett Hyder, Janki Moradiya, Jb Audras, jitendrabanjara1991, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, Jorge Costa, Justin Ahinon, Marius L. J., Mary Baum, Meet Makadia, Milan Dinić, Mukesh Panchal, palmiak, Pedro Mendonça, Peter Wilson, Rami Yushuvaev, Riad Benguella, sarah semark, Sergey Biryukov, Shashank Panchal, Tammie Lister, Tim Hengeveld, vaishalipanchal, vrimill, and William Earnhardt

by marybaum at June 18, 2019 06:14 PM under Releases

June 14, 2019

WPTavern: In Case You Missed It – Issue 26

photo credit: Night Moves(license)

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

Birgit Olzem Could Use the Community’s Help

Birgit Olzem has encountered some financial hard times due to multiple illnesses and paying for acupuncture treatments and osteopathic therapy which are not covered by her insurance. Olzem fell ill earlier this year which prevented her from generating income as a self-employed person.

Olzem has translated WordPress, compiled release packages for de_DE, organized Meetups, WordCamps, answered support questions and has been part of different make/WordPress teams, some of them as a team-rep. She’s also contributed to WordCamps as a Speaker, Volunteer and Contributor day team-lead.

To learn more about her story and to donate, please read her request to the community.

Liam Dempsey’s Take on Gutenberg

Liam Dempsey describes what he likes and doesn’t like about the new WordPress editor.

Defending the Right to Publish Open Source Software in the UK

The EFF and Open Rights Group have submitted comments to the UK government defending the right to publish open source software.

Moreover, source code is a form of written creative expression, and open source code is a form of public discourse. Regulating its publication under anti-money-laundering provisions fails to honor the free expression rights of software creators in the United Kingdom, and their collaborators and users in the rest of the world.

Why Is It Important to Give Back to Open Source?

JC Mae Palmes on Twitter asked, why is it important to give back to the WordPress community? Here are a few responses. To see all of the responses, check out this Twitter thread

WordCamp US Speaker Selection Process

If you’re wondering how speakers are being selected for WordCamp US this year, check out this post by the Programming Team. The team is using a new process that includes, limiting the number of submissions per speaker to two instead of unlimited, reviewing submissions based on the organizer’s sphere of experience, and using blind reviews. Speakers who are chosen are scheduled to be notified by the end of this month.

An Easy Way to Make an Impact in The WordPress Community

David Bisset shared the following idea on Twitter and while a few companies have started doing this, I think it will catch on with individuals more than businesses.

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

by Jeff Chandler at June 14, 2019 10:06 PM under wcus

June 13, 2019

WPTavern: Justin Tadlock Proposes Idea to Solve Common Theme Issues

The Theme Review Team has been discussing ideas in Slack on how to solve the problem of themes in the review queue suffering from common theme issues. Just Tadlock has proposed a idea he calls Theme Feature Repositories.

The idea is to create standardized packages on the Theme Review Team GitHub repo that authors could use in their themes. If enough people bought into the idea and worked together, it would lessen the pain points between reviewers and theme authors. It would also decrease the amount of code written by hundreds of different authors to solve a common problem.

Tadlock used Admin notices and Links to ‘Pro’ versions as two examples that could benefit from this approach. Packages would handle specific use cases and be installed using Composer. For those who don’t use composer, an autoloader would be provided as well as a .zip file that could be dropped into a theme.

Tadlock is asking the theme community what packages do they need or what common problems could be solved together.

“This can literally be any common feature in WordPress themes, not just admin or customizer-related things,” Tadlock said. “Nothing is ‘out of bounds’. Every idea is on the table right now.

“This is an ambitious project. It’d require cooperation between authors and reviewers for the betterment of the theme directory as a whole. It’ll only work if we have buy-in from everyone.”

Tadlock also mentioned that due to his schedule, he will be unable to lead or co-lead the project and is seeking people interested in taking on these roles. Those interested should have knowledge of Git, Composer, and Object-oriented programming.

If you’re interested in this project or want to provide feedback, you can leave a comment on the proposal.

by Jeff Chandler at June 13, 2019 09:07 PM under standard

WPTavern: WordPress Spanish Translation Team Now has Meta Sites, Apps, and Top 200 Plugins 100% Translated

The Spanish WordPress community hit a remarkable milestone with translations this week. Polyglots volunteers have now translated the meta sites, WordPress apps, and the top 200 plugins at 100% completion, with no pending translations to review.

The size of the team is a major factor in reaching this milestone. According to stats Naoko Takano shared at WordPress Translation Day 4 last month, Spanish is the locale with the most translation contributors (2,863), followed by German (2,399), Italian (2,190), Dutch (1,584), and Russian (1,515). It is also one of the top non-English locales installed, with 5.0% of all WordPress sites using the translation. WordPress.com reports similar numbers, where Spanish is the second most popular language for blogs at 4.7%.

Rocío Valdivia, a Community Wrangler at WordCamp Central who lives in Spain, gave us a look at what is behind the team’s extraordinary growth and momentum. She identified several key factors that have contributed to their success in working efficiently and sharing useful information among team members during the past 2-3 years.

“We created a Slack instance some years ago, but at the beginning it was common for people to join and ask for support questions,” Valdivia said. “Now we have some protocols: the general channel is an only-read channel. If someone ask for support, we send them with a kind predef to the es.wordpress.org forums, where they get answers in a few hours. There are no questions in the forums waiting for longer than six hours ever, as we have a very active support team that coordinates in the #support channel of our Slack.”

Valdivia said that removing the noise of support requests has given the team very productive channels for translations, plugin and theme translations, meetups (where Meetup organizers share tips and resources using a shared Google drive folder), and WordCamps (where WC organizers share info, tips, answer questions in Spanish, and share resources like email templates.)

“Besides all of this, we’ve worked very well passing the philosophy of the project to the new members from the most experienced ones,” Valdivia said. “For example, people do very soft transitions from one lead organizer to the next one.”

Although some WordCamp attendees have complained in the past that not much is accomplished at Contributor Days, the Spanish community has had success using these opportunities to transfer knowledge to new leaders and contributors. The community hosted 10 WordCamps in 2018 and Valdivia estimates they will have 9-10 in 2019. WordCamp Barcelona 2018 and 2019 had 400 attendees and 180 people at their Contributor Days. WC Irun 2019 had 220 attendees and 100 participants at Contributor Day. WordCamp Madrid 2019 sold out with 600 attendees and approximately 200 participated in Contributor Day.

Although the Spanish community has experienced contributors across several WordPress.org teams, such as WPTV, Community, Support, and Polyglots, Valdivia said they are a bit thin on Core contributors.

“We’re lacking people with experience contributing frequently to Core,” Valdivia said. “We have some of them who have contributed several times, but still need more people with more involvement to be able to pass all this info to newcomers.”

Strong local meetups are another factor in the Spanish community’s success at keeping translations up-to-date. In addition to the largest team of translators in the world of WordPress, Spain has the second highest number of meetup groups and events per month. Spain is running 64 local meetups, with a population of 46 million people, compared to 201 groups in the U.S., which has 7x the population size (327 million).

“The language barrier has been an issue for years, as not everyone speaks English and not everyone feels confident following conversations in English,” Valdivia said. “So, being able to train our own teams of contributors in our own language and having our own shared resources and channels, has been very useful.”

by Sarah Gooding at June 13, 2019 08:22 PM under translations

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 356 – Gutenberg, Governance, and Contributing to WordPress with Jonny Harris

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Jonny Harris. Jonny describes how he discovered WordPress and some of the core projects he’s been working on including, Site Health Checks, fatal error protection, and Multisite. We discuss WordPress’ focus on users vs developers in recent years, Jonny’s experience contributing to core, and his thoughts on a WordPress governance model.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress Is Borked So Enjoy This Glorious Plant That’s Taking Over the Internet

WP Engine Launches DevKit Open Beta

Drupal Gutenberg 1.0 Released, Now Ready for Production Sites

BuddyPress 5.0 to Update Password Control to Match WordPress

Transcript:

Episode 356 Transcript

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, June 19th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #356:

by Jeff Chandler at June 13, 2019 08:08 PM under open source

WPTavern: Pika Project Launches New JavaScript CDN to Serve Modern, ESM Packages

Fred Schott, a software developer and former Google employee on the Polymer team, has launched a new CDN for his Pika project. Schott’s mission with Pika is “to make modern JavaScript more accessible by making it easier to find, publish, install, and use modern packages on npm.” Pika provides a searchable catalog of “module” packages available on npm – packages that use the more compact ES module syntax (ESM), which result in smaller Javascript bundles.

npm currently lists 59,851 ES modules. This makes up approximately 7% of total packages on npm are exporting an ES module, but the number is steadily increasing:

Pika makes it easy to search for these packages and the results will only include those that have a defined “module” entry point in their package.json manifest. Each listing consolidates the relevant information on one page, highlighting the important details.

One of the chief advantages of using ES modules is that they run natively on the web, without the need for a bundler. In a post titled “A Future Without Webpack,” Schott contends that JavaScript developers are “so steeped in the world of bundlers” that they overlook the possibilities of using ESM dependencies that run directly on the web:

Over the last several years, JavaScript bundling has morphed from a production-only optimization into a required build step for most web applications. Whether you love this or hate it, it’s hard to deny that bundlers have added a ton of new complexity to web development – a field of development that has always taken pride in its view-source, easy-to-get-started ethos.

@pika/web is an attempt to free web development from the bundler requirement. In 2019, you should use a bundler because you want to, not because you need to.

Schott created @pika/web to make it easy for developers to use ES modules, even when they don’t have compatible dependencies. It provides an install-time tool that is not exactly a build tool or a bundler but works to output web-native npm dependencies into a single ESM .js file:

@pika/web checks your package.json manifest for any “dependencies” that export a valid ESM “module” entry point, and then installs them to a local web_modules/ directory. @pika/web works on any ESM package, even ones with ESM & Common.js internal dependencies.

Installed packages run in the browser because @pika/web bundles each package into a single, web-ready ESM .js file. For example: The entire “preact” package is installed to web_modules/preact.js. This takes care of anything bad that the package may be doing internally, while preserving the original package interface.

Here’s a demo of how that works:

This week Schott announced the availability of a new Pika CDN for delivering modern ES module packages. It uses the pikapkg/web package builder to work with any ESM package and the CDN will automagically handle any non-ESM dependencies of that package. Pika CDN automatically detects the visitor’s browser and serves JS that is optimized to the environment, eliminating polyfills and transpiler bloat wherever possible.

“Pika CDN leverages your browser’s natural caching abilities to give your pages faster dependency load times, especially on first visit,” Schott said. “0ms first-loads are even possible (for your dependencies at least) if all packages have been seen before.

“With our CDN, package authors can distribute more modern, unminified packages without worrying about how to serve them directly. Instead, our nifty package-builder automatically resolves each package — and any legacy sub-dependencies — into a single, minified, ready-to-import JavaScript file.”

Schott recently left his position at Ripple to work full-time on Pika, a project that he believes will move the JavaScript ecosystem forward.

“Leaving my team was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but I know that I’m needed here,” he said. “I’m so excited to be a part of the future of the web, whatever it ends up looking like.”

Pika is looking for corporate sponsors. For now, Schott is funding the server costs using Patreon.

by Sarah Gooding at June 13, 2019 03:54 PM under Pika

June 12, 2019

WPTavern: Gutenberg 5.9 Brings Major Improvements to Block Grouping, Introduces Snackbar Notices

Gutenberg 5.9 is now available for those who are running the plugin to get the latest features on their sites. This release brings significant improvements to the grouping capabilities, allowing users to group and ungroup blocks inside a container block. Once placed inside a group, the blocks can be moved up or down within the group using simple up/down controls.

Nested blocks have also been improved so that users can click through to each layer to configure each and navigate to the deepest nested block.

Gutenberg 5.9 introduces “Snackbar” notices to communicate completed actions in the block editor UI that do not require further action.

The term “Snackbar” doesn’t adequately describe the way these notices behave. The concept was inspired by Material design and is traditionally used for providing brief messages about app processes at the bottom of the screen. Gutenberg’s new Snackbars pop up and disappear after a short delay, so the notice doesn’t have to be dismissed.

“For a distraction-free experience, all the notices used in the editor to inform about the post saving/publishing, reusable blocks creation and updates have been updated to use this new type of notice,” Gutenberg Phase 2 lead Riad Benguella said. He posted a gif demonstrating Snackbar notices in action:

This release brings several visual enhancements to blocks and UI components, including a redesign of the Table block placeholder, refactoring and consolidation of dropdown menus, and improvements the output of the Spacer block.

Gutenberg 5.9 contains more than two dozen fixes for bugs found in both desktop and mobile experiences. The editor took a slight dip in performance from the previous version, going from 4.8 to 4.9 seconds in loading time and 62.8ms to 66.3ms for keypress events. More than 40 people contributed to this release and approximately 15% were new contributors.

by Sarah Gooding at June 12, 2019 06:54 PM under gutenberg

HeroPress: My “Hero’s Journey” Through the Dark Underworld of WordPress Hosting

Pull Quote: Make things as simple as possible, while avoiding single points of failure on mission-critical systems.

The following is an expanded and updated version of my presentation at WordCamp Salt Lake City 2017.

My girls love Moana. Especially when it first came to video and they could watch it every day… or two or three times a day if mom wasn’t feeling good or catching up on sleep from being up with baby brother the night before.

There’s this strange part of that movie where Moana follows Maui to a place under the ocean called “The Realm of Monsters.” It’s where monsters go after being killed. If you have younger kids, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have kids, it’s when the giant crab sings the song “Shiny.”

One common theme in myths, legends, and ancient religious writings, is where the hero visits the underworld, aka “afterlife” or “hell.” There they experience a symbolic or actual death for themselves or a loved one. Often through conquering a monster who is the Lord of the Underworld, they then re-emerge with their loved one, new knowledge and power, and/or some object to help them on their quest.

The film Moana clearly plays out this theme. She and Maui emerge triumphant from the realm of monsters, having defeated the giant crab by flipping it on its back and retrieving Maui’s magical hook.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke descends to the underworld of Jabba’s Palace. There, he’s able to bring his friend Han Solo back from a virtual death, defeat the Rancor, kill Jabba the Hut (lord of the criminal underworld), save the princess, and retrieve his lightsaber. All this happens before we see even one single, fuzzy, cute, unblinking Ewok…. Unless you believe in the “special editions,” in which case the Ewoks blink.

There are many movies, books, stories, mythologies, etc that all follow similar patterns.

Like Maui’s hook or Luke’s lightsaber, in these stories the hero often emerges from the underworld with newfound knowledge and/or a powerful object. Briefly, I’d like to take you on my own personal “Hero’s Journey” to the dark underworld of WordPress hosting. Along with it my quest of building a business on WordPress and hosting, with its own mythical monsters to slay, trials to be conquered, riddles to be solved, and ultimately new knowledge and weapons gained.

The Call to Adventure

In the early days of my business, Fiddler Online (now called WordXpress), I envisioned building websites for companies on WordPress, then charging a monthly fee to maintain, support, edit, update, and manage them. I got started with a few clients and wanted to grow.

I’d trusted someone to set me up with a very inexpensive VPS on unmanaged hosting. He was supposed to do the managing and ensure it all ran smoothly. I quickly learned you get what you pay for! Soon our members’ sites started going offline, usually all at once as the VPS crashed from one problem or another. It wasn’t just the server being down that caused problems. It was also corrupting data and other strange and scary things that I’d never encountered before, such as the body content of posts and pages being cut off, starting with the first special character that appeared in the content (a database issue).

These were dark and scary monsters to battle. I knew cPanel pretty well, but the APACHE stack that ran beneath it was mostly a mystery to me. So was database encoding and other advanced technical realms that all have an impact on the server, WordPress, and ultimately our clients’ businesses.

The monsters appeared, seemingly determined to kill my small and struggling business, shortly after the birth of our first child. I was frequently up all night working with “Todd” the server guy (we’ll call him) to try and get the websites back online. We’d vanquish one monster, rest a day or so, and find another had taken some sites down again.

After a few weeks of constant frustration, I said “enough” and signed up for a Hostgator reseller plan. This was back when they were an independent hosting company. On this new plan I could install as many cPanel’s as I needed and manage each separately! I thought it was wonderful and would solve all my problems. Hostgator transferred all our sites from the terrible VPS hosting we’d been on to their servers and I thought perhaps that was it!

I thought my quest was over. I’d fought the monsters and won.

Scary as it was, it had been relatively brief. I’d learned a lot, but felt like I’d been to the underworld and back!

The Illusion of Safety

Unfortunately, the wraiths had cast a spell over me, blinding me to the fact that they were still lurking in the shadows. When transferring our WordPress websites to our new account, Hostgator had copied each entire cPanel over from the VPS. This eliminated the underlying problems in the APACHE stack on that horrible VPS, but brought with it the fiends that had infiltrated cPanel and even our WordPress websites. To be clear: they weren’t infected with any kind of malware, but configuration problems, cruft, and who knows what else, caused some really bad results.

With my new spellbound, but misled confidence, I pushed our business forward. I brought on a business partner, Kurt as the sales guy. Later we acquired another website company. Through all that, we’d learned a lot, and doing okay for that stage, but still struggled financially as we bootstrapped this new business from nothing.

When we acquired this other business, they’d been running all their client’s sites on WordPress Multisite. It seemed like a great idea because of how it allowed us to manage all the websites in one place.

Despite the progress the business made, the monstrosities emerged again and this time with higher stakes since our business had grown and was now managing many more websites. These monsters emerged partly from what had been transferred over with cPanel, and the difficulties of running a large Multisite where each child site had its own theme, plus the weight of adding more and more websites and traffic to hosting that was really just shared hosting with WHM access and more control.

The Plunge Into the Underworld

In each hero’s journey, there’s often a wizard or goddess that helps guide and mentor the hero along his journey. I eventually made friends with a great guy we’ll call Sam. He ran his own hosting company with data centers and a great support staff. Sam was somewhat like Obi-Wan, Merlin, or Maui in these stories: he was my mentor and companion on my adventures into the underworld that followed. He made a great guide, because he’d been there before. Unfortunately, his own journey had never taken him to some of the deepest darkest places we would soon encounter.

So we moved to Sam’s hosting, where he kindly watched things closely and provided a server admin’s perspective and advice at a much lower price than he would have normally charged.

It wasn’t long before the demons, wraiths, monsters, and other ghouls started crawling from the darkness. It started with random downtime. Then followed strange limitations on websites. Next emails were not getting delivered. Then it was slowness. Now we were hacked… or were we? Suddenly all the contents of all pages and posts were cut off (we thought we killed this monster before)! Then email wasn’t being sent. Next our server is sending spam email. Now a hard drive is dying. It just kept going and going. Many of these demons were completely new to Sam and his very experienced team.

It didn’t take long before there were whisperings of “the Fiddler curse.” This curse referred to Fiddler Online the name of our company. The hosting support team joked that we were cursed. All kinds of issues arose that they’d never seen before, and with a frequency they’d never experienced either.

When a car crashed into the data center’s power regulation center during a freak storm, it cut off power from the normal power lines, as well as from their automatic backup power supply! It completely took the data center offline. The “Fiddler curse” was in full force.

Or put better, we were in the deepest, darkest, part of the underworld, locked in an all-out battle with the worst demons and wraiths it had to send against us.

We tried method after method to defeat the monsters. We tried rebuilding the server stacks. We tried various WordPress optimizations. We bought our own server and had it installed in their data center. We even tried a totally different Linux stack and something called Interworx, a cPanel alternative, that came with load balancing and real-time backup. But no matter how much money, time, and knowledge we threw at it, the issues continued. No matter how many monsters we slew, we were still losing the war.

The “Real World” Dragons

When I recently asked my wife Jill about that time of our lives, she said:

“From my perspective, it was hard to know when to throw in the towel and say ‘enough’ because it’s just not working. Getting the hosting sorted out totally changed the entire dynamic and perspective of doing our own business. Before that, it felt like we were building a dream on a crumbling foundation.”

And don’t get the wrong idea from this image. Jill was no damsel in distress. She’s a warrior too. I’d have never completed this quest without her there, fighting alongside me. She may have not fought the technical fiends, but there were plenty other monsters in the form of financial struggles, moves, and difficult situations that arose from my unavailability, our lack of money, and more.

This was all a lot like battling the Hydra of Lerna: we’d cut off one head, and two would grow back in its place. We’d take a breather for a week, and then here came the wraiths!

The stress of it all exacerbated a gallstone problem I had. Because of a misdiagnosis, I thought it was something there was no solution for. So even when I wasn’t up in the middle of the night battling monsters demons of the hosting underworld with Sam, I was often awake at night in massive amounts of pain as my gallbladder tried to pass gigantic gallstones. So even then, I’d be sleeping the next day when I needed to be designing websites or networking.

Throw in a healthy dose of anxiety and some intermittent depression and you get the picture. Instead of growing, our business stagnated. The quest through this dark underworld seemed to have no end in sight. It ruined vacations, stole away family time, punished me physically, hurt our client’s business, and was pushing myself, Jill, and our finances, to our very limits.

Death and Rebirth

It all seemed to come to a head when the pain of my gallstones became so intense I thought I was going to die. After 2 visits to the Emergency Room and 3 days in the hospital, I gave birth to this baby. They actually saw a larger one than this in the ultrasound beforehand, but my body had apparently broken it up before they removed my gallbladder. I returned home with real-world wounds that would turn into scars, and lighter by one gallbladder and several massive gallstones.

I left the hospital with a new lease on life. I felt like I’d been resurrected, fighting my way out of the underworld and back to the land of the living. It helped me open up to a completely different approach to hosting and allowed me to see that tiny speck of light that ended up being the doorway out of this underworld made up of the dark side of WordPress and hosting.

I was able to use my newfound perspective to find some awesome new weapons, and fight my way to that exit. Luckily for you, you can learn from my pain and battles with the underworld.

The Road Back: Simplify

Illumination was mine! Of the knowledge I gained, one key principle stood out among the rest: make things as simple as possible, while avoiding single points of failure on mission-critical systems. Multisite was great for managing all the websites at once, but if one had a problem, they all went down! The same with having a single server to run all our sites: if the server went down, we had the urgency of 30 or 40 clients (back then) all being negatively impacted at once.

We started by killing our Multisites and traditional hosting setups. Instead of a single Multisite with 1 database where a problem could take down all the sites in the Multisite, we moved to individual WordPress installs for each site. As we pulled each site out of the Multisite and migrated it to our new cloud hosting, we also checked the databases and files thoroughly to ensure they were clean, light, and that we eliminated any cruft that had built up in the database. We also stopped running email and DNS through our web servers. This effectively killed the demons that had moved with us in previous hosting migrations.

Here’s my recommended do’s and don’ts for any smaller businesses hosting and maintaining WordPress websites:

Don’t:

  1. use shared hosting or hosting that uses cPanel
  2. use Multisite (SPoF)
  3. put all your sites on 1 server (SPoF)
  4. use your web server as an email server
  5. send WordPress transactional emails from your webserver
  6. use your web server for DNS
  7. use your hosting company for domain registration

Do:

  1. use cloud hosting with WordPress-optimized stack and custom control panel
  2. use a bulk-site-management tool
  3. spread your sites across multiple servers
  4. use an email suite (Hover, Zoho, G Suite, Office 365)
  5. use a transactional email service (SendGrid, Postmark, MailGun)
  6. use your registrar for DNS
  7. use a different registrar for registering domains, than your hosting

Following these tips eliminates many single points of failure, simplifies things greatly, and gives you the tools and ability to go right to the source of the problem. Since all your important WordPress functionality isn’t in one place with one point of failure, you can go where the problem is.

For example, if a client isn’t receiving WooCommerce new order emails from their website, we can quickly go to SendGrid to see why that is and what needs to be done to fix it in an easy to use interface. Try that on a traditional APACHE/cPanel setup that sends your client’s company emails, WordPress emails, etc. all from one place.

Cloud Hosting

We eliminated cPanel and the normal Linux hosting stacks by moving to CloudWays, which has a nice WordPress setup that they run on top of a number of cloud hosting services such as Google, Amazon, Digital Ocean, and Vultr. They have their own in-house customized stack and management dashboard. CloudWays removed all the normal bloat and potential for problems that comes with it, and really took away most of the pain, hassle, and responsibility of the hosting part of WordPress and for quite cheap.

On CloudWays, instead of putting all 40+ sites on one server, we split them up, with about 15 – 18 sites on one small Digital Ocean (and later Vultr) server. This meant that if one site had issues, it wouldn’t take down all our other sites. And even if the issue was bad enough to affect the whole server, or the server had its own issues, only a small portion of our clients would be affected at once.

Email Accounts and Transactional Email

Additionally, we stopped running email through our servers. Part of simplifying is outsourcing to people/services who can just do it better than you (or that old hosting you’re clinging to because it’s cheap). I love that good WordPress hosts like CloudWays, Flywheel, and Kinsta have no options for you to do this or include built-in services like SendGrid. I slew a lot of email monsters. Using something like SendGrid or Postmark for WordPress and G Suite or Office 365 for email accounts, eliminates tons of headaches.

We set up WordPress’s emails to go through SendGrid and all our members’ email accounts we migrated to Hover, Google Apps, or Office 365.

Bulk-WordPress Management

In place of Multisite, we found MainWP and chose it over other options like InfiniteWP. It provided us the bulk-control of Multisite, but without the single point of failure issue. The upside is that it’s fairly inexpensive and runs on a WordPress install, so you control it on your hosting.

That’s kinda its downside as well. If something goes wrong, it’s on my team and I to run the problem down and fix it. Or we have to go through the cumbersome process of reporting it to the MainWP support team, then providing them access to both the dashboard site and an affected child site. Eventually we decided to move to ManageWP because it’s a hosted platform. That means when something goes wrong, much of the time, it’s on them to fix, and they have access to fix their own platform, plus the logs, etc from our sites.

MainWP:

  • Inexpensive
  • Runs on top of your WP install
  • You maintain control
  • Familiar interface
  • Free to use the basics
  • Lifetime extensions purchase option
  • GPL licensed
  • Great support
  • Good community

ManageWP:

  • More expensive
  • Runs on their servers, so problems are largely theirs to deal with
  • Less overall responsibility and time drain
  • Free to use the basics
  • Great support

Master of Two Worlds of WordPress

Fortunately today there are many awesome hosting options and bulk-management tools that simply weren’t available to me years ago when I started on this journey. After this last, final push, my team and I stood back and waited and rested, expecting more monsters. And occasionally one crawled out of it’s hole. But by and large the underworld was defeated and left far behind. Moving to cloud hosting and simplifying were finally the spell that broke the Fiddler curse and freed us from the underworld. Our business’s core service was stable and safe and running like it should be. We could start growing again! It was such a relief!

To reiterate some of the illumination gained on my journey: simplify your WordPress websites and hosting through offloading everything you can to experts who do it better, often for cheaper (if you properly calculate the value of your own time). Focus on your super-power whether it be design or development, or just creating solutions on WP with existing plugins and tools. If your super-power isn’t WordPress at all, you can outsource maintenance, content updates, backups and security, plugin and core updates, and much more to a company like WordXpress. I’ve built this company based on the knowledge and tools I learned on my quest.

The post My “Hero’s Journey” Through the Dark Underworld of WordPress Hosting appeared first on HeroPress.

by Tevya Washburn at June 12, 2019 12:00 PM

June 11, 2019

WPTavern: Drupal Gutenberg 1.0 Released, Now Ready for Production Sites

The Gutenberg module for Drupal, created by Frontkom, reached the 1.0 milestone earlier this month. It is the first stable release recommended for use in production with Drupal 8.x.

The 1.0 release removes the Gutenberg-JS dependency and uses Gutenberg core files directly. It is based on Gutenberg version 5.6.1, which was released in early May. The module boasts better handling for media files, adding support for title, caption, and alternative text. It also adds an “Allowed Blocks UI” to the content type admin UI, so administrators can restrict which blocks show up in the block selector.

“We’re now ready for production sites in the sense that we’ll be more careful with structure changes, will try to do update paths when possible, and will create automated tests for crucial functionality,” Frontkom project manager Thor Andre Gretland said. “We’ve solved the blockers for a stable release.”

Upgrading the module from RC-1 may require some extra steps, because it is a big jump, taking the Gutenberg library from 4.8.0 to 5.6.1. Users will need to update the database. It is also necessary to navigate to content types and click save to enable Gutenberg again so that it will begin storing the Allowed blocks in the database. If users get notices about invalid blocks, they are advised to try the Attempt Block Recovery option:

“It’s actually a rather large update,” Gretland said. “We were planning to add a couple of last needed features to release our 1.0 version, but ended up using the latest Gutenberg version with several new great features. We’re also using more of the Gutenberg Core, that we’ve been able to use before.”

The module still has one critical issue that Frontkom is working on. Reusable blocks are not working with the latest release. Users are getting a “this block is unavailable or deleted” message when attempting to insert a reusable block. In the meantime, those who require this feature can roll back to RC1 to get it working again.

So far the Gutenberg module has been well-received. It has been downloaded more than 12,000 times and 494 sites are reported to be using it.

Drupal’s Gutenberg module includes access to the Gutenberg Cloud library of free blocks. Although the library has been slow to gain contributors, it does contain several blocks that are helpful for creating page layouts, such as Content in Columns, Hero Section, Section Wrapper, Section Row, and a Feature Box block. Site administrators can also use the Gutenberg module in combination with Drupal’s new Layout Builder, which was introduced as a stable module to Drupal 8.7 core.

“We see a valid use case for mixing Drupal Gutenberg with the Drupal layout builder when you might want to create layout templates with the layout builder, and keep the actual content editing in Gutenberg,” Gretland said. “For example you could use the layout builder to define fixed byline elements for author and create date, but leave the actual content creation experience to Gutenberg.”

There are a few limitations to using the two tools together. The only way to use them on the same project is if they deal with different content types.

“Since Drupal Gutenberg takes over the whole node UI, it can have some unexpected effects when used together with Layout Builder,” Gretland said. “That doesn’t mean that they won’t ever ‘work’ together. One idea could be using the LB data structure to generate Gutenberg fixed layouts/templates and even save Gutenberg data in a structured way handled by Layout Builder.”

Gretland said his team believes Gutenberg delivers a better editing experience than Layout Builder, as it is a more mature project. However, Layout Builder stores its data in a structured way, which has its advantages and disadvantages over Gutenberg.

WebWash has a good video tutorial for Drupal users who want to learn how to configure the Gutenberg module and use it on the Page content type. It includes a walkthrough for common actions like uploading images, creating reusable blocks, and using the Gutenberg Cloud. If you want to see how Gutenberg can improve Drupal’s authoring experience without installing the module, check out the frontend demo of Drupal Gutenberg created by the team at Frontkom.

by Sarah Gooding at June 11, 2019 11:03 PM under Gutenberg Cloud

WPTavern: WP Engine Launches DevKit Open Beta

Those who host or manage sites on WP Engine now have a new tool at their disposal. It’s called DevKit, developed by Chris Wiegman and Jason Stallings.

DevKit is a WordPress local development environment that includes SSH Gateway access, push and pull deployments to WP Engine, Command Line Interface commands for the Genesis theme framework and other tools.

Although DevKit has tight integration with WP Engine the software can be used independently of the host. With Local by Flywheel, Vagrant, XAMPP, and other tools available, Wiegman explains what motivated him to create a new solution.

“I’ve been working on the perfect WordPress developer environment since I learned about Vagrant in 2013,” he said. “As it was never my full-time job, I could never take it to the next level. DevKit gives me the power to do that.”

Stallings added, “We wanted to build a kick ass set of tools for developers building on WP Engine. That’s been our mission from the start, build something that all developers want to use (including us)!”

As what for what sets DevKit apart from the others, “I think our architecture is very different from both tools,” Stallings said.

“Similar to Docker Engine, DevKit CLI is the interface to DevKit. So when we build the GUI it will 100% complement the CLI, and the two can be used interchangeably. This will enable us to build other interfaces in the future too.”

DevKit provides the following features:

  • Container-based local development environment
  • SSH Gateway access
  • Push and pull deployments to WP Engine
  • Preview your local site with others via ngrok
  • PHP version selector
  • Email testing client
  • MySQL
  • Local SSH & WP-CLI
  • Genesis Framework WP-CLI commands
  • phpmyadmin
  • webgrind
  • Varnish
  • HTTPS Proxy
  • xdebug

Currently, DevKit’s user interface is command line only with plans to add a GUI later this year. It’s available for free and is in open beta for Mac and Linux. Those interested in participating in the open beta can sign up on the DevKit landing page.

by Jeff Chandler at June 11, 2019 08:12 PM under wp engine

WPTavern: Former npm, Inc. CTO Announces Entropic, a Decentralized Package Registry

CJ Silverio, former CTO of npm Inc., gave a presentation at JSConf EU 2019 in Berlin earlier this month titled “The Economics of Open Source.” More specifically, she discussed the economics of package management as it applies to open source software, based on her unique perspective and experience gained in working for the company that runs the world’s largest JavaScript package registry.

Silverio tells the story of how npm gained official status and characterizes its success as a catastrophe for a centralized package registry and repository. Although centralization has some advantages for usability and reliability, success can be expensive when a centralized service becomes popular. She described the events leading up to npm’s incorporation in 2013. The registry was down more than it was up in October 2013 and npm needed money.

npm’s owner took seed funding from a VC firm and the Node project continued to give npm special privileges. Developers perpetuated this by continuing to use npm, as over time it had come to define developers’ expectations in serving JavaScript packages. Silverio discusses some of the consequences of npm coming under private control, how developers now have no input into registry policies or how disputes are resolved.

Presumably speaking from her intimate knowledge of the company’s inner workings, Silverio describes how VC-funding turned npm Inc. into a financial instrument.

“Financial instruments are contracts about money,” she said. “npm Inc, the company that owns our language ecosystem, is a thing that might as well be a collection of pork bellies, as far as its owners are concerned. They make contracts with each other and trade bits of it around. npm Inc. is a means for turning money into more money.”

Silverio contends that JavaScript’s package registry should not be privately controlled and that centralization is a burden that will inevitably lead to private control because the servers cost money.

Her sharp criticism of centralized package management leads into her announcement of a federated, decentralized package registry called Entropic that she created with former npm colleague Chris Dickinson and more than a dozen contributors. The project is Apache 2.0 licensed and its creators are working in cooperation with the OpenJS Foundation.

Entropic comes with its own CLI, and offers a new file-centric publication API. All packages published to the registry are public and developers are encouraged to use something like the GitHub Package Registry if they need to control access to packages. The project is just over a month old and is not ready for use.

“I think it’s right that the pendulum is swinging away from centralization and I want to lend my push to the swing,” Silverio said. The last decade has been about consolidation and monolithic services, but the coming decade is going to be federated. Federation spreads out costs. It spreads out control. It spreads out policy-making. It hands control of your slice of our language ecosystem to you. My hope is that by giving Entropic away, I’ll help us take our language commons back.”

Silverio’s Economics of Package Management essay is available on GitHub. Check out the video of the presentation from JSConf EU below. If decentralized package management gains momentum and becomes the standard for the industry, this video captures what may become a turning point in the JavaScript ecosystem and a defining moment for the future of the web.

by Sarah Gooding at June 11, 2019 03:41 AM under npm

June 10, 2019

WPTavern: BuddyPress 5.0 to Update Password Control to Match WordPress

BuddyPress 5.0 development began in December 2018 after 4.0.0 was released in November. The core BuddyPress team has not published a roadmap for what will be coming in 5.0, but features and fixes added so far can be found on GitHub in the commit log.

One noteworthy addition to the upcoming major release is that the BP Nouveau template pack is being updated to use the same password control as the one used in WordPress core. BuddyPress users will now be able to set their passwords using WordPress’ interface on the registration page and on the user’s general settings page.

Here’s what it will look like in the templates:

By default, BuddyPress will generate a strong password, but the user can still edit it, if necessary. If the user selects a password that is too weak, the submit button will be disabled until the user confirms they want to proceed by checking the checkbox.

BP Nouveau replaced the bp-legacy template packs in 2018, introducing JavaScript-powered templates, integration with the Customizer, and more layout options for BuddyPress navigation and component directories. As a result of the password control update, the src/bp-templates/bp-nouveau/js/password-verify.js template is scheduled to be deprecated and deleted in BuddyPress 6.0.0, so developers will want to take note if using the bp-nouveau-password-verify script as a dependency for custom password control implementations.

BuddyPress 5.0 also adds BP-specific debug into to the Site Health Info screen that was introduced in WordPress 5.2. This release will require WordPress 4.7 or greater for optimal compatibility and older versions will not be supported. Site owners running on older versions of WordPress have time to prepare.

Although the BuddyPress core team and contributors have put out several security and maintenance releases since version 4.0.0, regular project meetings have been sporadic in 2019. BuddyPress 5.0 was expected at the end of May but a new timeline may be discussed at the next meeting, which is tentatively planned for Wednesday, June 12.

by Sarah Gooding at June 10, 2019 07:04 PM under News

June 07, 2019

WPTavern: In Case You Missed It – Issue 25

photo credit: Night Moves(license)

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

Open Call for People Interested in Being Team Leads

Josepha Haden has published an open call on the Team Updates blog looking for people interested in learning about the Team Lead role. The post includes links to training materials that will be open for two weeks where people can make suggestions.

Once the training materials are complete, interested parties will be sent the team leads training materials and quizzes. Those who pass the quizzes will then be part of a group orientation in which team leads and future leads will be chosen. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a team lead, the training materials in the post contain a lot of useful information about the inner workings of the project.

Marcel Bootsman Continues on After Hospital Visit

Marcel Bootsman who is walking more than 700km to Berlin, Germany for WCEU recently made a hospital visit. “The doctor asked about what I’m doing, and what the problem is, so I explained everything,” Bootsman said. “She examined both legs and found that there was a swelling on my right ankle. She sadly could not diagnose further, since it’s impossible. An expert has to look at it, and an x-ray picture has to be taken.”

The doctor diagnosed him with having an overloaded right ankle. After wrapping his ankle for extra support, Bootsman continued on. Check out his description and photos from day 19 of his travels.

WooSesh is Coming Back

WooSesh, a global, virtual conference devoted to WooCommerce, is scheduled to take place on October 9-10th. You can follow WooSesh_ on Twitter or sign up to their email list to be notified of when tickets are available.

GitHub Repo Templates

Earlier this week, GitHub launched Repository Templates to help developers manage and distribute boilerplate code. Web development agency 10UP has a Theme and Plugin repo template that is available for anyone to use.

WordPress 5.2.2 Release Date Changed

WordPress 5.2.2 was originally scheduled to be released on June 13th, but the release team has decided to push the date back. Tickets that are slated for WordPress 5.3 that meet the requirements to be in a minor release will be merged into 5.2.2. The new release date is Tuesday, June 18th, a few days before WordCamp EU.

WordCamp US After Party Is Now Wordfest

There won’t be a big after party at the conclusion of WordCamp US this year. Instead, organizers are hosting WordFest on Friday, November 1, 2019, at City Museum in St. Louis. According to organizers, the party doesn’t always have to be at the conclusion of the event thus the name change.

How to Use and Create Reusable Block Templates

Justin Tadlock has published a tutorial that explains how to create, use, import, and export reusable block templates in WordPress.

“A lot of this is not intuitive at this point and might take some digging for someone not intimately familiar with all the block editor features. But, this is an extremely powerful feature that I’m sure will become more useful in the future. I can even see things like theme authors sharing reusable blocks to help users build out certain page designs.”

I’m looking forward to seeing other people share their reusable blocks or templates. One of the beautiful things about the new editor is that it doesn’t require a developer to sort blocks into a particular layout and then save it as a reusable block that can be shared.

C02 May Be the Cause of Feeling Drowsy During Conference Sessions

I always thought it had something to do with lunch but I’ve felt drowsy before then. Interesting data shared in a Twitter thread. Hat tip to David Bisset.

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

by Jeff Chandler at June 07, 2019 09:33 PM under woosesh

WPTavern: Experimenting With Reusable Blocks to Create Post Templates

For the past several years, I’ve used the Post Template plugin developed by Vincent Prat to create and manage post templates. For example, some of the information in the WordPress Weekly and In Case You Missed It posts never changes and instead of manually entering it each time, it’s nice to use a template where only a few changes are necessary.

The other day, I was wondering if I could use the reusable block feature in Gutenberg to replace the plugin. Justin Tadlock reached out and provided me a reusable block template JSON file that I imported into Gutenberg. By the way, if you successfully import a block into WordPress, the block won’t appear until you manually refresh the page.

The reusable block template approach works fairly well. However, I noticed that I was unable to add a block inside the reusable block. When I tried, a red line was displayed and any blocks that were inserted were removed.

Red Means No

I understand that reusable blocks are meant to be restricted templates where changes are distributed across a site to wherever the block is displayed. But it’s still a bummer that I can’t add a block inside the template for a singular purpose if a need arises.

One other thing I noticed is that reusable blocks are custom post types. While there is a link to manage them within the reusable block selector, there isn’t a dedicated item within the admin menu. Unless you know the location of the management link, adding and managing them can be a bit more time-consuming.

If you want a quick shortcut to the reusable block management screen, add this to the URL after your domain name. wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=wp_block

I think I’ll experiment with reusable blocks a bit more but as long as they’re not changing often, I believe they’ll make a nice replacement for the Post Templates plugin. What use cases have you encountered where reusable blocks were the solution?

by Jeff Chandler at June 07, 2019 02:13 AM under reusable blocks

June 06, 2019

WPTavern: Branch Continuous Integration Service Selected for TinySeed Startup Accelerator

Branch, a Docker-based continuous integration service for WordPress, has been selected for TinySeed’s startup accelerator. The company was founded by Peter Suhm who is also the creator of WP Pusher, a plugin that lets developers install and update WordPress themes and plugins directly from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab.

TinySeed, founded by Rob Walling and Einar Vollset, is a remote accelerator that focuses on providing enough funding for early-stage SaaS founders to live for a year and focus full-time on their startups. It advertises itself as “the first startup accelerator designed for bootstrappers.” TinySeed is unique in that it does not have a bias against single founders. The website states that the majority of successful $1m-$30m SaaS companies that TinySeed is connected with were started by founders working alone.

Branch fits the bill as a SaaS company with a single founder and no employees. As part of the investment terms, TinySeed invests $120k for the first founder (plus $20k per additional founder) in exchange for 8-15% equity. If founders do not need the money for living expenses they are free to spend it on growing the business. Both Branch and WP Pusher are included in Suhm’s participation in TinySeed.

“WP Pusher was doing just enough to pay my bills living in a fairly cheap city (Glasgow), but not enough to pay a full time developer salary,” Suhm said. “However, I didn’t spend much time on WP Pusher in the past few years and was working part time for other companies – mainly Timekit as a backend developer.”

Suhm said the TinySeed investment will allow him to work full time on Branch and WP Pusher for at least a year or two without having to worry about making a salary.

“I may also decide to make a hire during the program, but I want the product to be a little bit more mature,” he said. “In terms of the roadmap, I’ll be able to focus more on building the best tool and less about making a lot of money in the beginning.”

Branch and WP Pusher are fairly unique products in the WordPress space. Suhm said he sees most of his competition coming from continuous integration services that are not tailored to WordPress.

“However, my biggest competitor at the moment is probably manual labor – WordPress developers testing and deploying everything manually,” Suhm said.

TinySeed received approximately 900 applications from which they will select 10-15 companies for participation in 2019. Co-founder Rob Walling has knowledge of the WordPress ecosystem, as he previously invested in WP Engine’s 2011 round of funding.

“Peter has a distinct advantage with Branch in that he’s building on the audience, customer base, and domain knowledge he’s developed with WP Pusher,” TinySeed co-founder Rob Walling said. “His methodical approach to shipping code and content every week has been a good signal for us that he’s pushing the product forward, as well as a key factor in building Branch’s traction in the space.”

Branch is joining a handful of other SaaS companies that have already been selected for 2019, including ClientSherpa, Gather, SimSaaS, Reimbi, and Castos.

by Sarah Gooding at June 06, 2019 08:31 PM under wp pusher

WPTavern: Automattic Adopts Alex Mills’ Plugins

Automattic announced today that a team inside the company will be adopting Alex Mills‘ plugins and continuing their development and support. Mills, also known around the web as @Viper007Bond, was a WordPress core contributor and prolific plugin developer who passed away in February 2019 after a battle with Leukemia.

At one time last year, Mills was the primary author for and contributor to more than 40 plugins hosted on WordPress.org. The current collection seems to have been pared back to 17 of his most popular plugins. According to stats from WP Tally, these 17 plugins have a cumulative download count of 138,665,603 and a cumulative rating of 4.55 out of 5 stars.

“Since all of my plugins are open-source, they are free to be forked by reputable authors in the WordPress community. It would mean a lot to have my legacy go on,” Mills said in his farewell post earlier this year. The plugins are all free without any pro versions or monetization efforts attached to them.

“I’d never monetize any of my plugins,” Mills told the Tavern after his popular Regenerate Thumbnails plugin passed 5 million downloads in 2017. “I write them for fun not profit. It would be a conflict of interest anyway due to my employment at Automattic.”

Regenerate Thumbnails is active on more than a million WordPress sites and passed the 10 million downloads milestone in January 2019. It has already been downloaded more than 7,000 times today and has regularly received 3K-12k downloads per day throughout 2019.

The enduring popularity of Regenerate Thumbnails is a testament to Mills’ commitment to writing future-proof plugins. What started as a small plugin to fix a client’s problem in 2008 quickly became an indispensable utility for millions of WordPress users transitioning between themes with different image sizes. For those users who could never write their own script to generate new thumbnail sizes, Mills’ plugin was a little piece of time-saving magic that exemplifies the significant contributions plugin developers can make when they write and share code that solves a common problem.

Automattic plans to fork each of Mills’ GitHub repositories and will add them to the Automattic Github account. The team behind this effort is also adding the following paragraph to each plugin’s readme file:

In February 2019 Alex Mills, the author of this plugin, passed away. He leaves behind a number of plugins which will be maintained by Automattic and members of the WordPress community. If this plugin is useful to you please consider donating to the Oregon Health and Science University.

Automattic will also be answering support queries on the forums and the team is open to receiving help from other members of the WordPress community in maintaining and supporting Mills’ plugins.

“In times gone by authors left works of music, novels, poetry, and letters on their passing,” Donncha Ó Caoimh said on the Automattic Engineering blog. “They were static works of art frozen in time. Alex leaves behind his code that will continue to evolve and operate in a living world used by thousands (millions?) of people every day as they go about their online lives.”

by Sarah Gooding at June 06, 2019 04:51 PM under regenerate thumbnails

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 355 – Food Poisoning Is No Joke

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss Joost de Valk’s decision to step down as WordPress’ Marketing Lead. I shared my recent encounter with food poisoning and some of the lifestyle changes I’m making to improve my health. We also talk about a new experimental plugin by Automattic that aims to provide full site editing and FreeCodeCamp’s decision to migrate away from Medium to Ghost.

Stories Discussed:

Joost de Valk Steps Down as WordPress Marketing Lead

FreeCodeCamp Moves Off of Medium after being Pressured to Put Articles Behind Paywalls

Automattic is Testing an Experimental Full Site Editing Plugin

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, June 12th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #355:

by Jeff Chandler at June 06, 2019 01:10 AM under yoast

June 05, 2019

WPTavern: Google Adds New Desktop/Mobile Selector to the Rich Results Testing Tool

Google’s rich results testing tool has been updated to include a selector for desktop or mobile so website owners can check their results on both platforms. This tool shows if pages are properly structured for display in Google’s carousels, images, breadcrumbs, events, books, and other types of rich snippets. A glossary is available with images showing what each type of result looks like with the proper structured data in place.

Last week Google announced that it will begin enabling mobile-first indexing (crawling sites with a mobile user-agent) by default for new domains on July 1, 2019. Site owners can select “Googlebot Smartphone” as the user-agent on the rich results testing tool to see if their sites are prepared for mobile-first indexing. The tool is still in beta, so not all rich results and error types are supported yet.

If your page supports rich results, you will see a confirmation and can click through to view the HTML. Certain rich result types will display a preview of how the result might appear in Google Search. If multiple result layouts are available, the tool will also let you drill down into the different layouts for both desktop and mobile.

If you get a result that says “Page not eligible for rich results known by this test” when you know that you have the structured data in place, it could be because the beta version of this tool only supports a subset of rich result types. These currently include job postings, recipes, courses, TV and movie, events, and Q&A pages.

You can also test your page using this tool by putting in a code snippet, in case your content is not publicly accessible or is restricted behind authorization.

Depending on your specific requirements, there are many different WordPress plugins that properly structure data to improve how your content appears in rich results around the web, such as Schema, All In One Schema Rich Snippets, Schema App Structured Data, Rank Math, and Yoast SEO, to name a handful of popular options.

by Sarah Gooding at June 05, 2019 07:57 PM under google

WPTavern: Joost de Valk Steps Down as WordPress Marketing Lead

Joost de Valk has announced that he’s stepped down from the WordPress Marketing and Communications Lead role. The position was created and awarded to de Valk earlier this year. Not only was it a new position, but it also expanded the leadership roles in the WordPress project.

Despite making progress, de Valk didn’t feel as though he was fulfilling the leadership aspect of his role. “My experience over the last few months made me feel that while I was doing things and getting things done, I certainly wasn’t leadership. I don’t want to pretend I have a say in things I don’t have a say in,” he said.

Not having a clear definition of what marketing means and having people within the project on the same page contributed to his decision.

“There’s a stark difference between where I thought I would be in the organization in this role, and where I am actually finding myself now,” de Valk said.

“Even things that every outsider would consider marketing (release posts, about pages) are created without even so much as talking to me or others in the marketing team. Because I felt left out of all these decisions, I feel I can’t be a marketing lead.”

He also cited a lack of clarity surrounding his position, “I’ve been asked dozens of times on Twitter, Facebook and at WordCamps why I now work for Automattic, which of course I don’t but that is the perception for a lot of people,” he said. “On other occasions, I seem to be the token non-Automattician, which I’m also uncomfortable with.”

Due to taking a toll from failing to fulfill the position, de Valk plans to take an extended vacation during the Summer and when he returns, focus 100% of his efforts on Yoast and his Chief Product Officer role.

Matt Mullenweg commented on de Valk’s article thanking him for being willing to try new things and for his passion, impatience, and drive to improve WordPress.

by Jeff Chandler at June 05, 2019 05:57 PM under yoast

June 04, 2019

WPTavern: Take Back Your Web: Tantek Çelik’s Call to Action to Join the Independent Web

Tantek Çelik, Web Standards Lead at Mozilla and co-founder of IndieWebCamp, delivered an inspirational talk titled “Take Back Your Web” at the most recent beyond tellerrand conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. He opened the presentation with a litany of Facebook’s wrongdoings, taking the world’s largest social network to task for its role in increasing polarization, amplifying rage, and spreading conspiracy theories.

Çelik challenged the audience to “stop scrolling Facebook,” because its algorithms are designed to manipulate users’ emotions and behaviors. He noted that it is the only social network with a Wikipedia page dedicated to its criticism. This massive document has a dizzying number of references, which Wikipedia says “may be too long to read and navigate comfortably.” As an alternative to scrolling Facebook, Celik encouraged attendees to spend time doing nothing, an activity that can be uncomfortable yet productive.

The “Take Back Your Web” presentation is a call to action to join the independent web by owning your own domain, content, social connections, and reading experience. Celik recommends a number of IndieWeb services and tools to empower users to take control of their experiences on the web.

With a free site hosted on GitHub, he said the costs of owning your own domain are less than owning a phone or having internet service. Suggestions like this are targeted at developers who share Twitter names instead of domains and post articles on Medium. Setting up a site on GitHub is not a simple task for most. That’s why networks like WordPress.com, along with hosts that provide instant WordPress sites, are so important for enabling average internet users to create their own websites.

Celik referenced Matthias Ott’s recent article “Into the Personal-Website-Verse,” highlighting the section about the value of learning new technologies by implementing them on your own website: “A personal website is also a powerful playground to tinker with new technologies and discover your powers.” It’s one of the few places developers can expand their skills and make mistakes without the pressure to have everything working. Ott enumerates the many benefits of people having their own enduring home on the web and encourages developers to use their powers to make this a reality:

As idealistic as this vision of the Web might seem these days, it isn’t that far out of reach. Much of what’s needed, especially the publishing part, is already there. It’s also not as if our sites weren’t already connected in one way or another. Yet much of the discussions and establishment of connections, of that social glue that holds our community together – besides community events in real life, of course –, mostly happens on social media platforms at the moment. But: this is a choice. If we would make the conscious decision to find better ways to connect our personal sites and to enable more social interaction again, and if we would then persistently work on this idea, then we could, bit by bit, influence the development of Web technologies into this direction. What we would end up with is not only a bunch of personal websites but a whole interconnected personal-website-verse.

Check out Çelik’s slides for the presentation and the recording below for a little bit of inspiration to re-evaluate your relationship with social networks, create your own site, or revive one that has been neglected.

by Sarah Gooding at June 04, 2019 09:50 PM under indie web

WPTavern: Jetpack 7.4 Adds Business Hours Block and Ability to Share Content Through WhatsApp

Jetpack 7.4 is now available and includes a new Business Hours block. This block contains a toggle that users can set to show whether they’re open or closed.

There’s also a way to add additional times so restaurants, for example, can display when they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, I couldn’t figure out a way to add text to label what the hours mean. Also, depending on the theme, the alignment displays incorrectly. You can see the block in action below.

Sunday
Closed
Monday
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday
Closed

The Slideshow, Carousel, and Tiled Galleries blocks have all received enhancements to improve their look and performance on mobile devices. The Carousel block also contains better theme compatibility.

WhatsApp is now included in the Jetpack Sharing module. Users can enable it by browsing to Jetpack > Settings > Sharing > Configure sharing buttons. The button supports sharing content through the stand-alone app and the web interface.

Jetpack 7.4 also makes a number of enhancements to the Recurring Payments block such as improving the display of the renewal frequency in the button list and improving the look of the payment modal on mobile devices. This version also requires users to be on the Premium or Professional plan on WordPress.com in order to access the button.

You can see a full list of changes in 7.4 by viewing the changelog.

by Jeff Chandler at June 04, 2019 08:19 PM under whatsapp

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

This month saw the 16th anniversary since the launch of the first release of WordPress. A significant milestone to be sure and one that speaks to the strength and stability of the project as a whole. In this anniversary month, we saw a new major release of WordPress, some exciting new development work, and a significant global event.


Release of WordPress 5.2

WordPress 5.2 “Jaco” was released on May 7 shipping some useful site management tools, such as the Site Health Check and PHP Error Protection, as well as a number of accessibility, privacy, and developer updates. You can read the field guide for this release for more detailed information about what was included and how it all works.

327 individual volunteers contributed to the release. If you would like to be a part of that number for future releases, follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A Successful WordPress Translation Day 4

WordPress Translation Day is a 24-hour event organised by the Polyglots team where community members from all over the world come together to translate WordPress into their local languages. For the fourth edition held on 11 May, 183 brand new contributors joined the Polyglots team from 77 communities across 35 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.

While the WP Translation Day is a great time for focussed contributions to localizing WordPress, but these contributions can happen at any time of the year, so if you would like to help make WordPress available in your local language, follow the Polyglots team blog and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Updated Plugin Guidelines Proposal

The Plugins team has proposed some updates to the guidelines for developers on the Plugin Directory. The majority of the proposed changes are intended to address significant issues faced by developers who do not speak English as a first language, making the Plugin DIrectory a more accessible and beneficial place for everyone.

The proposal will be open for comments until late June, so the community is encouraged to get involved with commenting on them and the direction they will take the Plugin Directory. If you would like to be involved in this discussion, comment on the proposal and join the #plugin review team in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Continued Gutenberg Development

Since the block editor was first released as part of WordPress Core in v5.0, development has continued in leaps and bounds with a new release every two weeks. The latest update includes some great incremental improvements that will be merged into the 5.2.2 release of WordPress along with the other recent enhancements.

In addition to the editor enhancements, work has been ongoing in the Gutenberg project to bring the block editing experience to the rest of the WordPress dashboard. This second phase of the project has been going well and the latest update shows how much work has been done so far.

In addition to that, the Block Library project that aims to bring a searchable library of available blocks right into the editor is deep in the planning phase with a recent update showing what direction the team is taking things.

If you would like to get involved in planning and development of Gutenberg and the block editor, follow the Core and Design team blogs and join the #core, #design, and #core-editor channels in the Making WordPress Slack group.


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by Hugh Lashbrooke at June 04, 2019 10:21 AM under Month in WordPress

WPTavern: Gutenberg Team is Exploring Adding Motion to Block Moving Actions

In a post titled “Using Motion to Express Change,” Gutenberg designer and engineer Matías Ventura takes a deep dive into how animation can be applied to interfaces to replicate realistic motion. These animations can sometimes more clearly communicate changes, particularly in relationship to the action of moving or reordering items on a page.

“Even though the instant transformation of the interface is accurate it may not be the clearest expression of the change that just occurred,” Ventura said. “The relationship between intention and effect might become harder to grasp. Motion can be a great aid in communicating relationships and clarifying the changes experienced in a more intuitive way.”

This creates an interesting choice for an interface designer. Although instantaneous changes are possible to implement, they may require more time for the user’s brain to process. In the case of an editor, any added cognitive processing can pull a user out of the flow of writing. Ventura sets a good practical rule of thumb for determining if an animation adds value to an interaction:

One could say that an animation is worth being present if the clarity of change it provides is greater than the time it would take to adjust cognitively to the new state in its absence.

Ventura illustrates this concept with two video demos in his post – one showing how block reordering currently looks in WordPress’ editor and a second with an example of how it could be improved with subtle, tasteful animations. It’s an early prototype but very convincing:

When Gutenberg was still in the selling phase before being merged into core, some said that moving forward was simply a matter of retraining your muscle memory to work with the new editor. However, at that time there were still a number of markedly flawed interactions that didn’t feel natural and were even jarring for the user. The legacy editor didn’t have blocks to reorder or many of the other interactions introduced by the new block paradigm, so there wasn’t much prior context for comparison.

User reviews have complained about the cognitive load that Gutenberg adds and have continued to identify problematic interactions with the core blocks. Unfortunately, in many heated exchanges that took place in comments and discussions prior to WordPress 5.0’s release, these concerns were often brushed aside as coming from people who were resistant to change.

Many of the reviewers may not have had the right words to communicate what it was they were experiencing, but the cognitive load may be one of the strongest reasons why the Classic Editor plugin has more than 5 million active installs.

Matías Ventura’s proposal to add motion to express change in the editor has the potential to solve some of these unintuitive interactions. The Gutenberg repository now has an issue dedicated to exploring and discussing the use of motion to add clarity to the action of reordering blocks.

Ventura’s post is an encouraging read that demonstrates the thought and craftsmanship that go into architecting an interface that is required to meet the needs of millions of users. If you have been impatient with Gutenberg’s progress, as I have been, it’s important to recognize that these kinds of refinements to interactions take time to percolate. Replicating realistic motion comes from contemplating how we interact with the known world and understanding how that informs users’ digital expectations.

by Sarah Gooding at June 04, 2019 04:43 AM under gutenberg

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June 20, 2019 07:45 PM
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