WordPress Planet

October 05, 2022

Do The Woo Community: devlife_snippet: Partnership > First Win >Talk About It

A lot of founders constantly struggle with WooCommerce and WordPress product growth. Jonathan's loop gives a new perspective on a growth strategy.

>> The post devlife_snippet: Partnership > First Win >Talk About It appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at October 05, 2022 09:00 AM under Product Growth

WPTavern: Gutenberg 14.2 Improves Writing Flow, Adds Kerning Controls for Headings in Global Styles

Gutenberg 14.2 brings some important changes to the writing flow in the block editor that simplify the experience and remove unnecessary obtrusions.

One small but significant change is that the sibling and line inserters have been updated to use a more natural animation effect with a slightly increased delay to minimize accidental triggers. This release also improves selection of multiple blocks, making it smoother and more consistent.

One of the most impactful improvements to the writing flow is that the editor now hides all floating block UI while the user is typing. Gutenberg engineer Michal Czaplinski demonstrated these updates in a video:

Version 14.2 adds support for kerning controls in the Global Styles panel, making it possible for users to adjust the letter spacing with live preview in the editor. Gutenberg contributor Robert Anderson, who submitted the PR for this feature, advocated for getting it into the upcoming 6.1 release.

“It isn’t technically a ‘bug’ (more ‘missing functionality’) but it (along with #44067) does make global styles feel less broken,” Anderson said. 15 days ago the feature was cherry-picked and added to the wp/6.1 branch to have it included in the next release.

video source: Gutenberg PR #44142

A few other notable improvements in version 14.2 include the following:

  • New Calendar block settings for adding the background, link, and text color
  • “Banners” and “Footers” added to block pattern categories
  • Autocompletion for links is now available in any block using the [[ shortcut to trigger it in the editor

Gutenberg developers also discovered that they recently introduced a bug when improving the List block to use inner blocks, where it would re-render for each level of nesting. Fixing this problem brought significant performance gains for the initial load of the editor. This improvement has also been cherry-picked for inclusion in the upcoming WordPress 6.1 release.


by Sarah Gooding at October 05, 2022 03:30 AM under gutenberg

October 04, 2022

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.1 Beta 3 Now Available

WordPress 6.1 Beta 3 is now available for download and testing.

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, or test this version of WordPress on production or mission-critical websites. Instead, it is recommended that you test Beta 3 on a test server and site. 

You can test WordPress 6.1 Beta 3 in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the Beta 3 version (zip).

Option 3: Use the following WP-CLI command:

wp core update --version=6.1-beta3

The current target for the final release is November 1, 2022, which is about four weeks away. 

Additional information on the 6.1 release cycle is available.

Check the Make WordPress Core blog for 6.1-related developer notes in the coming weeks detailing all upcoming changes.

Keep WordPress bug-free – help with testing

Testing for issues is critical for stabilizing a release throughout its development. Testing is also a great way to contribute. This detailed guide is an excellent start if you have never tested a beta release before.

Testing helps ensure that this and future releases of WordPress are as stable and issue-free as possible. Anyone can take part in testing – especially great WordPress community members like you.

Want to know more about testing releases like this one? Read about the testing initiatives that happen in Make Core. You can also join a core-test channel on the Making WordPress Slack workspace.

If you have run into an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac. This is also where you can find a list of known bugs.

To review features in the Gutenberg releases since WordPress 6.0 (the most recent major release of WordPress), access the What’s New In Gutenberg posts for 14.1, 14.0, 13.9, 13.8, 13.7, 13.6, 13.5, 13.4, 13.3, 13.2, and 13.1.

This release contains more than 350 enhancements and 350 bug fixes for the editor, including more than 300 tickets for WordPress 6.1 core. More fixes are on the way in the remainder of the 6.1 release cycle.

Some highlights

Want to know what’s new in version 6.1? Read the initial Beta 1 announcement for some details, or check out the product walk-through recording.

What’s new in Beta 3

Nearly 100 issues have been resolved since Beta 2 was released last week.

A Beta 3 haiku for thee

Beta time done soon
Gather up your WordPress sites
RC then we ship

by Dan Soschin at October 04, 2022 05:55 PM under releases

Donncha: How to “remember me” on the WordPress login page

If you’re like me:

  1. You’re the only one who logs into your WordPress website.
  2. You only do it on your computer at home.
  3. You lock your computer every time you step away, even when there’s nobody at home.
  4. You have a 2FA plugin which adds a new field, and means checking your phone on each login.

You might have become annoyed from time to time when you forget to check the “Remember me” checkbox on the login page. You know that you will have to log in again tomorrow or whenever the login session expires, rather than in 2 weeks time. Just because of an empty checkbox.

There’s very valid reasons for not checking this box. If you use a public computer, or one in an office and don’t lock your computer, then you want to be logged out. For the rest of us, it’s a bonus if you don’t need to login again so soon.

Here’s a tiny little script that will check the “remember me” checkbox. Create a php script called remember-me.php in wp-content/mu-plugin/ with the following:

function remember_me_on_login() {
    $_POST['rememberme'] = 1;
add_action( 'login_init', 'remember_me_on_login' );

Then logout and visit wp-login.php and “remember me” will be checked for you!

If you want more control, there’s the Remember Me plugin, but it does the basic job in a similar way.


by Donncha at October 04, 2022 05:25 PM under WordPress

Post Status: Going from Agency to Products: The Story of Barn2 — Post Status Draft 125

From client services and agency work to a successful product business — Katie Keith tells Cory the Barn2 Plugins story in this episode of Post Status Draft.

Estimated reading time: 35 minutes

Katie and Andy Keith started out as a WordPress agency almost a decade ago and then tried to break into WordPress products, first with themes and then plugins. Challenges arose with reliable project management on the agency side while they tried to establish a foothold in the WordPress plugin market after a first attempt with themes. The WooCommerce Extensions Store is where their business took off. With niche extensions that had no competition, they ranked very quickly. Other ideas for plugins solved problems in custom development projects for clients. Eventually, the Keiths developed a formula for evaluating new plugin ideas. Learn from their challenges and successes — there are a lot of interesting details that only come from experience.

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🐦 You can follow them on Twitter:

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

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


Cory Miller: [00:00:00] So, hey everybody. I'm talking to one of our great post status members, Katie. Keith. I got to meet her in person a couple weeks ago at work camp US in San Diego, and got a little bit about her story there and she's got so many compelling things to part of her story that's gonna be valuable to our audience and our membership.

Um, particularly how do you go from client service and agency? To successful plug-in business, particularly, you're gonna hear all those stories about, um, Katie and her work and her team's work at Barn two. But Katie, thank you for, um, coming on, uh, post draft today and being willing to share your story.

Yeah. Thank you for having me. Okay, so tell us a little bit about yourself. You're the co-founder of Barn Two, but I want to give you an opportunity to just kinda say a little bit about yourself.

Katie Keith: Um, yeah, so I'm Katie. Um, kind of one of the two directors at Barn, two plugins. I run [00:01:00] the company with my husband Andy.

Um, we're English, but last year we moved to, uh, New Yorker, Spain, um, because of the flexibility you get with this industry, which is amazing. Um, So that's kind of what's new with me at the moment and new country to live in. And we have a kind of a team around the world. So, um, we were able to work from anywhere.


Cory Miller: awesome. Um, and we could talk about New York all the time cause I remember you mentioned that and I love that, uh, story. But I'm gonna stay the topic here today. Well, so tell us about, Okay. Currently today, um, Your business is primarily around plugins, but WooCommerce plugins, and I wanna get to that, but I wanna talk about the story of the beginning.

Um, mm-hmm. , you, you and your husband started in 2009, but could you tell us the story about how you started in web design and development and WordPress and all that?

Katie Keith: Yeah, sure. So, um, Most of the [00:02:00] time when in, when we were in our twenties, we had normal jobs, um, both in the public sector in England, and we would always talk about we wanting to run a business together and we never did it for ages and ages and, um, just kept taking our salaries and not doing it.

And then eventually, um, Andy in particular was, um, quite fed up with his job and so we thought, Right, we're gonna take the plunge and do something. And we couldn't afford for us both to do it. So he quit his job and I kept my job and we started freelancing together, basically building websites. Uh, we thought that was a fairly easy thing to get into because, um, you can attract quite small clients and work your way.

So, um, he's a software developer and did the technical stuff and I have a marketing and project management background, so I managed the clients and did their SEO and content and everything. So it worked quite well as, um, something we could do together. So we started freelancing, um, fairly quickly. We [00:03:00] discovered WordPress as being the best way to build a website.

So all our projects were built on WordPress. Um, it wasn't something the clients were asking for, that was just our decision. And then after about a year, I thought, Well, what if I actually advertised this as WordPress specialists? So this was in late 2010. So I ran a Google AdWords campaign focusing on keywords like WordPress experts and things like that, and it was amazing.

We. I think I spent 3000, uh, probably pounds, and we got within couple of weeks, more than 10,000 pounds worth of work out of it. I realized it's not that easy now because there's a lot of WordPress specialists, but back then there was a gap that we kind of fell on, and so the agency grew from there.

Cory Miller: Okay, so then you're, and then you were able to come full time at some point, of course.

And, uh, what, what happened? So you, you found WordPress, you started to build this, and how did the next [00:04:00] couple of months, years or whatever until, um, the plugins go, what were you, you were just, you were building websites and all the things around it. Did it get, did it broaden out to anything specialization wise, or?

How did that grow? Grow from there?

Katie Keith: Yeah, we specialized in doing more bespoke, uh, client projects in WordPress because we'd found this gap that there was at the time. And we recruited a team of freelancers, um, from websites like Upwork, which wasn't called Upwork then, and people per hour and found good people and, you know, we thoroughly vet them and things.

And so we managed to build a freelance team. We didn't have any employees or anything. Everybody was just freelance. And that way we could increase capacity. We were really pleased at first that we were running our own business. We quit our jobs, and that was really great. And then we started to think, actually, it's still kind of not the perfect lifestyle because clients work, [00:05:00] as I'm sure all your listeners know, can be quite demanding.

They want things done straight away. They have problems with their website, which you have to sort out immediately and you don't really get any time. So we have that in the back of our minds that what is the ultimate sort of lifestyle type business where we can be successful and have that flexibility.

And being in the WordPress industry, we could see that WordPress products and the growth of that. And, um, at the time you could see how well people were doing with themes, particularly, um, on theme forest. So in about 2013 we spent like literally a year building a theme, which we were gonna spend on sell on theme forest, and it was rejected, so that was disappointing.

Um, we spent so long building this product that in the time we were doing so that market changed and it became very competitive with the big themes like Avada and Jupiter coming out, uh, which were huge [00:06:00] pieces of software, uh, with tons and tons of features, which we. Possibly do, um, ourselves. So we kind of gave up on that idea for a while.

Um, and then in, but in 2016, we thought, let's go down the plugin route because plugins can be small and very niche, or do I have to say niche, um, . Um, and so we launched our first plugin, um, and um, it went from there.

Cory Miller: Okay, so let's back up just a second. So, started themes, what was the, was the desire there to kind of diversify income, explore this?

Did you have, you obviously had some time to be able to, like your, your agency work is going well and start to, Okay. Hey, how, how did the product and the themes, uh, idea kind of get started and, and what were your thoughts around that? Like,

Katie Keith: We found the capacity to develop it, um, through the freelance team so that [00:07:00] they didn't do the theme.

Um, they did the client projects and that freed up Andy as the technical director to work on the side projects. So because we had people that we could outsource the technical side of projects, Two, he was able to do that. And then I was able to take over the marketing when things were launched. And so that was, um, if it was just him doing all the client projects, that would've been very difficult because he, you get dragged onto those.

Of course, whenever something urgent happens or he, you need some money, then you'd end up doing the work yourself. So through the, um, freelance team, that was helpful.

Cory Miller: I feel like I hear a lot of stories where it's, you get up to kind of cruising that altitude and you're able to have just a little bit more time and space to go, Huh?

What else would we like to do? Um, you mentioned lifestyle in a second ago, but what was the spark that goes, Okay, maybe if this is true, we had one more time in space where [00:08:00] Andy, for instance, in this scenario, Do that more. What was the spark that led to that? That initial theme product? The

Katie Keith: spark was that we reached a ceiling in the growth that we were realistically able to achieve.

If we had taken on a lot more risk and full-time staff and gone down a much more traditional company model, then we could have continued to grow. But basically the limit we faced was project management. So we found good people that could do design websites and plugins for us, for our clients more specifically.

Um, but whenever we tried to find project managers, it didn't work. And I spent a long time training some freelance project managers and they just didn't have the WordPress experience, the relationship with the clients as I did in. Managing myself. Um, so, and the clients were less happy. Um, and one time [00:09:00] in 2015, um, it, our daughter was just about to start school.

And as you will know, that holidays get very expensive when your child's at school. So before that, we decided to take a month off. And we hired a motor home and drove around France for a month, and that meant we had to take a step back from work. And I got one of my project managers to handle everything, and it was a disaster.

The clients were unhappy, projects failed. It just didn't work. And it became clear that that was the ceiling I had to manage all the project. Um, I obviously didn't have the skills to recruit and train project managers. I know some people are good at that, but I wasn't. And, um, so we couldn't grow any further because I couldn't manage any additional projects.

And so then we started thinking, how can we grow, uh, products?

Cory Miller: I see. I, I love how you described it as ceiling, cuz I can totally see that, you know, you get to a point where, kind of a fourth in road too of what do you, [00:10:00] what do you wanna do? And we feel like we're right here. So that's, that's, that's inspiring too.

Um, okay, so we had the same product and that didn't go well. We, you sp said you spent about a year doing that. Um, and then we get over to plugins. I think you said two. 16. But I, I hear from a lot of, um, agencies that have transitioned or offer products that often they start as, uh, client work and you go, Oh, it's a discovery of there's a need here.

So how did the plugins and I wanna talk about, and actually talk about what the plugins are, but how did that, uh, spark get started there too with the plugin?

Katie Keith: Um, well, we launched two plugins very early on. One of them we got the idea from the WooCommerce Ideas forum, where you can publicly see where the gaps in the market are.

So we just went through the list by the number of votes and found the idea that was, had the most votes. That was realistic for us to develop. So, um, that was our first [00:11:00] plugin, which was called WooCommerce, Password Protected Categories. So it was very simple. It loads of people wanted it, there was nothing at the time that did it.

And it just lets you password protected category for your store. Like if you wanna create a, a hidden area in your shop for members or wholesalers or. So we launched that and our other initial plugin, we got the idea from a client. So this client, uh, hired us to create a searchable table for his blog. So he had hundreds of blog posts about this spiritual leader that he followed, and they wrote all these things about his teachings and things, and there was this massive blog and he wanted a much more searchable, filterable, indexable way.

Than a normal WordPress blog where you just have the posts in reverse chronological order. That wasn't how he wanted it to be. And so we built this j query table plugin for the client, which he obviously paid us for. And then [00:12:00] independently we built it into a sellable plugin. So we, uh, added a lot more features.

We added settings, pages, the kind of things that you wouldn't realistically do on a client level project. So we put a lot more into. But the original idea came from this client. Um, we actually released that as a free plugin, which is still available on webpress.org now. It's called Post Table with Search and Sort.

And that's basically the, um, bells and whistles version of what we did for the client. Um, but then once we'd released the free plugin, we started to get feature requests. As you do when you put something out there. So people started asking for two key things. One was the ability to create a searchable table of custom post types.

So that might be documents or members or articles, videos, audio, all these sorts of custom post types. Um, And the other was specifically W commerce products. So later in 2016 we built our [00:13:00] post table pro plugin, which lists custom post types in a searchable table and our product table plugin W Commerce product table, which takes your W Commerce products and puts them in like a.

Table, which is basically a one page order form. So that works really well because you've got your variations and your quantity boxes and add to cart buttons all on this one page order form. So it's, even though it looks the same as the original table of blog posts. So it's actually a totally different purpose because it's an eCommerce order form.

Um, but the idea all came from that one client. And both of those projects have always been, those plugins have always been amongst our most successful. And WooCommerce product tables sold something like 1.2 million worth over its lifetime. And it is our biggest, um, lifetime selling plugin.

Cory Miller: Oh, that's excellent.

And I, I never asked revenue numbers, but thank you for sharing that, cuz I think that's, uh, inspired people to see how [00:14:00] you've come and how it, you know, evolved as a framework for how they can do that in their own world. Um, the back to, so I, I love that kind of little mini story of how that post search table, I've gotta look this up by the way.

Um, cuz I think we might need to post that, um, from, From that product came on our client. I hear that a lot and you gave such an amazing, um, example of how something can. Birth out of client work WooCommerce marketplace. You said the other one came from an idea on the Mark WooCommerce ideas place, but did, how did you get to WooCommerce?

Were you doing WooCommerce type projects for clients or did you say, did you just see that this thing called WooCommerce was coming, this big, big thing, or how did. Has it lead you to the marketplace to find that idea?

Katie Keith: We just knew that we commerce was big and we had also heard or felt, I don't remember that.

Um, people are more inclined to buy premium [00:15:00] products, premium plugins, when that will make them money. Which makes sense, doesn't it? Mm-hmm. . So, uh, we particularly wanted to sell plugins for e for eCommerce because they would be easier to go premium.

Cory Miller: Yeah, I, So for my time at Ithe, um, we built, mostly, we ended up building, we meandered in the path to plugins and then we kind of found our niche was utility plugins.

And I always said, um, Hey, we're saving people money, time, and things like that. That's the stuff you think about, like insurance. I go, I gotta have insurance. Um, but it's not sexy. What sexy is making. You know, and, uh, we never got to this part of the making money part. We felt like we were helping people by extension make money and build their business.

But it's, it's so neat to hear you all saw, okay, this is something that people, if you help make them money, it's a really good thing. Cuz I said, Hey, nobody grabs about the bill of something that, like if you have your [00:16:00] PPC campaign or whatever going and it's convert. . Nobody complains much about that Bill, but you complain.

I complain about our, our house insurance bill. You know, we gotta re up our house insurance bill because I don't think about like, well I don't want a fire to burn the house. I want to take care of itself. But on the other side to make money part is, is always felt easier to make that self. Cuz you're not a cost item per se.

You're more like, No, this is essential to helping us keep making the money.

Katie Keith: Okay. And not just for the initial sale either, but for ongoing renewals because obviously most plugin companies now sell annually. And if the customer sees that value coming in from the product, they're more likely to keep paying as well.

And we do quite a lot of analysis of our pricing to see what, um, is the best balance between sales. A cost per product and, and the W commerce versions always will justify a higher price than a general WordPress plugin. So, W Commerce Product Table and [00:17:00] Post Table Pro are good examples. Post Table Pro has never been able to justify the same price tag as product table because people are displaying information in a useful way rather than selling something.

Cory Miller: Okay, so were, Was there a point. After these two plugins start to have success and maybe others that you do, where you said we're, we're gonna, we're gonna thin down client work and we're gonna focus on, um, our, just our product and our plugins side of the business. And how did that, Yeah, how did you get to that decision?

Katie Keith: It happened surprisingly quickly. So we launched our first paid plugin in early March, 2016. And by August we were making decisions, Let's stop taking on new clients. So we'll follow through on existing projects, ex if existing clients want a new website, we'll do it. So we kind of slowed it down gradually.

So by then the plugins were probably making, I dunno, [00:18:00] $5,000 a month or something, which was less than the client business, but enough to live on. Um, so we could feel fairly confident. And we also had the safety net of a large number of clients that we were hosting and maintaining their websites. So we kind felt that we could take that risk and not be, keep taking up our time building new client projects surprisingly quickly.

Cory Miller: So I'm sure looking back, it feels like a magical time. It was for me when you go, Okay, this thing that we did, Is working and there's another opportunity here to, uh, you mentioned lifestyle in, in the beginning here is, and, and that's what motivated me too, is always to have this, Oh, this is working. Where could it lead?

And it feels, it feels magical to me, but how, how does that, reflecting back in 2016, those six months or so, from. Wow, this could actually be a thing. Oh, this is, oh, we should make these [00:19:00] decisions to do this. Reflecting back, how does that whole time period, uh, feel and how do you think about it?

Katie Keith: Well, the first sale was amazing cuz we just, so we used our existing website, which was@thetimebantu.co uk.

We eventually went to bantu.com but that took years. Um, so we had quite good SEO from the client business, so we didn't want us. Start again with a new domain or anything. So we put up a, a plugin section on our agency website. So we were advertising web design services and plugins on, you know, different menu tabs, basically, um, added some blog posts.

And because our first plugin, we commerce password protected categories was unique in the market, uh, there was no competition and we ranked very quickly. Which was amazing. And so, um, it actually was literally a few days before the first sale came and we were like, What? We saw this email, new plugin sale.

That's not one of our [00:20:00] tests. That's a real person. Oh my God. And we didn't even know it would ever sell. Um, so the first sale was really interesting because that's the first kind of evidence that people might actually find our website that way and buy things on it.

Cory Miller: That's awesome. Okay, let's fast forward a little bit to today.

What do you, what do you offer and what are you doing with Barn two? Let's see, what if I'm doing my math? Six plus years later, almost six years later, you're kind of coming up, You're already past your anniversary of that big decision. Now what? What are you doing at Barn two? Um,

Katie Keith: so kind of more of the same really.

So we've taken what worked and kept doing it. Um, we now have 19 premium plugins, plus maybe four or five free ones. And we have a team of about 14 people, um, who are all, um, working independently around the world. Um, [00:21:00] so from their, their. Uh, so we've got like a support team and a development team and a marketing team, which is amazing.

Um, but ultimately we are just trying to kind of replicate what we started and scale it up cuz it works.

Cory Miller: Yeah, it, it for sure did. Congratulations on your success and what you built so far today. Um, it's uh, I think a lot of people dream, Oh, I'd like where Katie is now. That's where I want to be. And how do you get there?

And I think you've shared so many key parts to the story. Definitely resonate with me, um, about building product, business. And I go back to what you. Find what works, keep doing it and if it stops working, find something else that's working and doing that. Um, I know we talked about some of the original ideas that came from Woo Marketplace looking in, seeing, seeing an opportunity there, and the other side was clients.

Any other thoughts about how, how you go about, or how someone else could go about finding the opportunities for [00:22:00] products as they're building their.

Katie Keith: Just keep it in mind really, the information, the insights are probably there. If you are in the WordPress industry, you're doing projects, you're building websites for people.

I would be surprised if you weren't coming across gaps in the market. And, um, if you do a bit of research, you can find out if other people are looking for the same thing that your client has found that doesn't exist. Maybe you've recently done some custom code and customization for, I dunno, the events calendar or something that what, there wasn't a feature built in.

And so you've written something bespoke that might be a plug-in idea for an extension you could sell. Um, there's tons of things like that in all the major plugins, um, like eCommerce. Easy digital downloads, gravity forms and so on. There's all these gaps. So if you are using these tools and customizing them, there's then to have a think about whether that's a product idea,

Cory Miller: it, it's part of your experience, part of your expertise, and seems [00:23:00] like a good place to start for me.

Um, when we started, I think we started with themes. And, uh, eventually we got into plugins because it was, it was definitely part of conversations I was having, uh, seeing that there was this opportunity with plugins, but it came out of a need for us in those, Just listening to customers, like you're saying, is just.

What are the things that people are bumping into that are problems that probably are valuable if you can solve those problems, Like your, um, your custom posts searched and organized plugin came out of that one person with this massive site. And then did you start asking like, what were the questions you started asking for me with, for instance, back, but when that, that was not my idea.

It came from our team and I go, Oh, a backup. Click in. My first question was, everybody needs a backup of their web WordPress website that came out of our own pain. Um, but where were some of those questions you started asking as you determine like, this [00:24:00] is feasible for us to take time, resources, energy, You know, I, we'll talk about like getting things off the ground to, from a marketing side.

I know, um, too, because I want to tap into that experience you have and expertise. But, um, what were some of those questions you asked when you're like, How do I. How do I determine, make this decision? This is worth some time.

Katie Keith: Well, to be honest, we did had a lot of randomness and luck and instincts. We weren't brilliant at establishing that data.

Um, we've worked a lot with ellipses to reduce randomness. Um, you know, the marketing company for WordPress, uh, product companies, sis, and, um, because we. Checking that it didn't exist. So we were checking, there was a gap, but we weren't establishing the, the demand. Sometimes we would just do it because it was new and have a go.

Um, so that, yeah, we probably [00:25:00] wasted some resources there. Uh, and um, so that has been an ongoing challenge and not something we've always been brilliant at, but the data is there and if you hire an SEO company or something, you can find out about search volumes or, or just go on Google Trends yourself and see.

Cory Miller: I love your authenticity though to say that because that's so reflective of my own experience and I think of many others. We don't just look into it crystal long. Go. There it is. Sure. Maybe that that's out there. I have this great idea. I think it would work, but there's probably so much backstory to it.

The story I tell often, and so much of this is experiments and over time I tried to make my experiments, uh, cost less and less and less because I made some very expensive. Experiment, failures, you know? Yeah. But I just love your genuineness of saying like, it, we didn't have it all together and neither did we, by the way.

Um, when you're starting and you start to hone that process, like that laboratory process, [00:26:00] I read a book called Little Bets and I back in the day and I go, Oh, I shouldn't just go. Um, see an opportunity. Let's run for it. Maybe there's some nuance there. Uh, one of the mistakes that we made that I often say when people ask me about my failures, particularly in product, I say, uh, I call it, I think it's exchange.

Back in this day, we were seeing the WooCommerce market really grow and explode and, um, it seemed very complex to me, and our opportunities started at, or the, the thought started. There should be a simpler way to do e-commerce for the person actually running the site, putting their products on the site.

And so we started, I think, exchange with that kind of premise, but we didn't do a lot more thought past that. And it ended up costing us probably 400,000, $500,000 fixed cost. Not to, not to mention opportunity costs. So I use that as my thing. It's like, okay, why did I. Why did that fail? Where did we go [00:27:00] wrong?

But I'd say that like there's so many failures that get to like, you know, get to, Oh, this is it. But I just keep anchoring back to your client's story when they birth out of either your experiences, like you said, or a client that see and like, Oh, could other people use this? How much do they value those things?

And I sometimes probably get thought, get paralyzed in that over analysis. But there is some here of. Those basic questions of like, is this something that we think could go and going from hunch to actually, let's put it out there and test it. Do you have any thoughts around that too? Um,

Katie Keith: yeah. I've never been a big risk taker and I like small risks, um, that aren't like gonna break the bank if they're not successful.

Uh, so. The, you know, where we haven't established the market first, it wasn't a huge amount of development time to get the product out there, for example. Um, we now have a formula which [00:28:00] we use to evaluate new plugin ideas, which looks at factors such as, uh, search volume. Other searches for that, um, concept going up or down, competitiveness, um, difficulty to develop that kind of thing.

So we've got this, this whole spreadsheets that we plug new ideas into with some data, so that helps. But yeah, I, I've always been scared of themes because I perceive them as being really huge and a big risk to develop. But you were very brave starting with

Cory Miller: themes. It was much more complex in two thou. I mean, I'm sorry.

Much more simple in 2008, by the way, than it is today. Um, for for sure.

Katie Keith: Yeah. Yeah. Cause it was about 2013 that it changed, which is when we were trying to build a theme and suddenly these multipurpose themes flooded the market, didn't they?

Cory Miller: Yes, absolutely. And, and that's the other part I think you even mentioned in there is competition is seeing what other people are doing out there in the space.

When we did backup Buddy, there wasn't really [00:29:00] anything that, what we felt was a holistic backup plugin to do backups, migrations, restoring of websites. And so, but, but again, it was early enough where there wasn't a lot. Now, today, totally different story. If we're going, we want do a backup plugin, well, There's, look at the landscape.

It's pretty competitive. The other side, and I love your input on this too, is that so many people, as we the theme market, got so competitive. And people would say, Do you think you could build start, Someone could build, Not even me, just someone could build a theme company. And early on in my, uh, naiveness, I said, um, I don't think so.

I think it'd be really, really tough. Well then probably right as, as I say that companies like Beaver Builder come out and I'm. Wow. Even the competitive, what I viewed as a competitive market, they saw a way to innovate that changed the game. Now they would say, I think [00:30:00] it's a plugin versus a theme, but I, But to me, they had a different perspective and they looked at some of what I was buried in complexity and go.

No, there's this, and then, then this whole page builder market starts. Um, and so that's always interesting too, is just when I, I, I always say never because when I have said, I don't think so, someone ever else goes but here, and it's so cool with the innovation that you can do in market. And

Katie Keith: that's an interesting example cuz I think a lot of the, uh, Beaver Builder diehards are developers and people that are quite, uh, into WordPress.

And, and I know that's not their whole market, but I think they go more in that direction in terms of their fan base. So they kind of found a bit of a gap as well from say the visual composer types who are very much not that group at.

Cory Miller: Um, well, okay, so let's, we've talked about kind of getting plugin, evaluating it and all the story that goes a part of that where [00:31:00] Barn two is today.

Um, the other compelling question that we talked about before, uh, before we had this, we started recording, was the whole marketing of plugins. Um, and. Particularly, I know this was something that you started with, with the agency back in the day, was your emphasis on marketing too, but how do you think about marketing plugins?

Okay, we've gotten past decision, we're building it, we've got it ready to go. And then just that big, broad question of how do you market plugins?

Katie Keith: Well because I'm not a big risk taker, I try to keep it small, but fi cuz with WordPress, in particularly with commerce, small, is a huge market because even the tiniest things there are loads of people searching for.

So if I was going to launch, An events plugin or a membership plugin, I don't think I would be that successful, to be honest. Uh, because it's so competitive. How are you going to rank for WordPress membership plugin? Never gonna happen, or you'd have to be very, very good. But [00:32:00] to rank for something really specific that doesn't exist in the market is actually quite easy, particularly if you already.

Say an agency website that you can start selling your products on and blogging on about your products and that you've got some domain authority built up. So my advice, um, if, if you've not got a huge budget and massive marketing skills is to go for the niches and find something specific that you have got a reasonable chance of success.

Cory Miller: As you're looking back to, do you think there were, where were the catalyst moments when. You know, you're, you're starting to get a flow in of customers that's kind of growing. Um, and like, oh, this point here, when this happened, things started to take off from marketing or customer, you know, incoming customers or things like that, that you think made the difference that you think about quite a bit today in terms of the marketing and growth of [00:33:00] the products that you offer.

Katie Keith: Um, it's funny cuz what we do now is kind of the same things that we always did, which is finding content opportunities that fill a gap that isn't already catered for and a bit of ads and things like that. So it was just about really getting, there wasn't really a catalyst moment because we did that from day one based on experience of marketing the agency business, it's more.

Reducing the randomness as I talked about earlier, and fine tuning that process so that you can predict the chance of success more before you start throwing things out.

Cory Miller: Yeah, I, The first month, that first eight months of item I tell people a lot is that I was doing support cuz I was the only person and um, oh yes, but I cannot take that experience back.

I would never want to because I learned so much about the who I thought. For, for the tenure, I [00:34:00] was, uh, part of Mythe. I always thought I'm our, I'm our base user. I'm not very technical. I'm technical enough. I can take a plugin, I can use it, um, but I'm not gonna get into PHP or anything like that. And that helped us maintain our cut or who we were and what we did.

But that first eight months was so interesting, just like when I've talked to our agency owners at post status. Um, you, you said this from the beginning, I just kind of assumed, if you like, from the agency mindset, um, you'd start. And then you'd hire a full-time person. That's a wrong assumption. I've, I've heard over and over you started with contractors or freelancers that helped you with your capacity of the work, and I've heard that so many times.

That was a nuance because I haven't been an agency owner that I learned, but those eight months that I themes, I realized. Um, a couple insights that now in reflection, you know, a long time past, it drove all of our key values because I was getting to understand the actual customers. They were freelancers, [00:35:00] solar printers out there, just kind of doing Lance web, WordPress web design on the side.

And eventually it would birth into something like you all did too. Um, and. Just knowing that helped me. And then just seeing the customer. We had a forum at the time. Everybody's asking about CSS customization. We would do a theme with the right sidebar. Now remember, don't make, this is 2008. So like they'd, we'd release a theme with the right sidebar and they'd say, Well, they wanted on the left, and we'd help 'em with the css.

And it was this thing of just noticing and observing what people were actually asking for and putting the head their headset. Headset on and saying, Okay, I wanted to be able to have this flexibility that helped us figure out what next products and what next features we would do because we kept really close to the customer.

Yeah. Are there things that in your experience, you've seen too or kind of, It doesn't have to be that, but I was trying to give an example to say, I know some of those [00:36:00] things were critical to our success, staying close to the customer, but there are other things that Jesus go, This happened, we learned from.

We're gonna do that over and over and over. Yeah.

Katie Keith: Um, there's a few things to unpick there. We've definitely listened to the customers, not just our initial clients. So I did the support myself for much longer than I should have done until it basically just became unmanageable because it was so many tickets.

And, but that gave, as you said, that gave me. Such a unique insight into our products and how people are using them so that then I could use that to inform new product decisions, new features, that kind of thing. But even now, we have a support team, which I think is six people as of a couple of weeks ago.

Um, we have a very comprehensive feature request list for each product where they put things on every days and that we, you know, We got formula again to say, uh, the demand and the difficulty and the impacts and stuff like that, and how [00:37:00] many people are waiting so that I can go in there and see what people are asking for.

Uh, and we have quite a loose interpretation of what makes a feature request. They may not be explicitly asking for something, but if that would meet their need, then we put it on the list, if that makes sense. Um, so we try to be quite, um, open. That so we've got more feedback, um, recorded. So that really helps because you get that insight to, as you say, reduce randomness and know what to build that will work.

Um, so for example, tons of our eCommerce product table customers were asking for quick view buttons in their table and they were asking for us to add that to their plugin, which makes sense. Can you add quick view? And we thought, hang. Quick view is not just for product table, that is for any store. You don't have to be using the product table layout to want quick V buttons in order to, uh, view more information and add to the cart without [00:38:00] visiting the separate product pages.

So we built a WooCommerce Quick View plugin, which again is still available today, uh, and integrated it with product Table. So when we buy Product Table now, you can either buy it on its own or there's like a bundle with Quick View, which quite a lot of customers go for. Um, and you can buy Quick View as a standalone.

So you would kind of look at what the customers are asking for and then make business decisions around that. Uh, but the other side of what you were saying was about building a team and, um, hiring staff straight away. And because I've always been a bit risk averse, I've waited until we're making money, um, until committing, um, particularly big commitments like staff.

And rather than freelancers. But it's interesting seeing more and more at the moment WordPress companies with the more of the startup model where they're seeking funding and so on. Cause that's something I've got no experience of personally and I've, we just [00:39:00] bootstrapped it, done the work ourselves until we can afford to hire people.

Um, and that's worked for us. So I watch with interest people with a different model because it's like bringing. Big business into WordPress. And you see that more and more the last couple of years, don't you?

Cory Miller: Oh yeah. And, and that was one of the primary drivers for us selling. Um, And being, being acquired is that there is a lot of money, big money coming, coming, continually coming into the space.

Um, okay. So Katie, I, we've talked about this past, thank you so much for just sharing that cause I think that's so inspiring and helpful for others trying to do. Even just the agency part, you know, And then get to a, what you said, the ceiling and going, Okay, what's next? What do we do? And oh, there's, there's these things that come out and, uh, then the present we're born to is now, but what is exciting about you and Barn to in the future?

What's getting you revved up about what you're doing, where you're going and [00:40:00] want to share with others about barn? Um,

Katie Keith: I think kind of keeping going and, uh, it's working, um, doing more, We are getting more ambitious with the sorts of plugins that we will release now. Our SEOs better and we know what works.

Um, I still don't think I'd have the confidence to do something really generic like a membership plugin. Um, but we are trying to have a ban to version of all of the Major W. So, for example, last month we launched a filter plugin. Um, actually there isn't a major version of that. There's a, There wasn't, Yeah, that's a bad example because there wasn't a major, major competitor.

But, um, that was quite a, it was our most complex plugin that we'd built. So, um, we were ambitious in that. Sense. And, uh, in the next week or so, we're going to launch a, uh, product option plugin. And there is a very strong, um, official version of product add-ons and we, but we've looked at what the gaps are and um, in what ways that plugin is not [00:41:00] like, and, uh, fix that in our own.

So that's exciting to see how that does, um, and just keep, um, doing what we're doing. All right.

Cory Miller: Well Katie, can you tell the, tell, tell listeners where we can find more about you and also Barn two in your work?

Katie Keith: Um, well the best place is our website, barn two.com. Um, and you can also find us, um, on Twitter at Barn two plugins.

Cory Miller: Excellent. And, and also I'm post out a slack. Um, but I don't want people bombarding you, but I know you're so generous with your expertise and your success story and everything like that. Katie, thank you so much, uh, for coming along and sharing your story. We need more like this, more willing to kind of share the story as inspiration, and you've been so generous and kind to share.

These parts that others can look at and go, Gosh, I need to think about this part that you shared. So thank you for sharing your story and thank you for your time today. And I'll see you in post at Slack.

Katie Keith: Yeah. Well, [00:42:00] thanks a lot.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Olivia Bisset</span> at October 04, 2022 02:15 PM under WooCommerce Extensions

Do The Woo Community: The Evolution of WooCommerce and WordPress Hosting

In this DevChat Till, Zach and Carl have a lively discussion on the evolution of hosting with both WooCommerce and WordPress.

>> The post The Evolution of WooCommerce and WordPress Hosting appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at October 04, 2022 09:00 AM under Woo DevChat

WPTavern: WordPress.org Removes Active Install Growth Data for Plugins

Over the weekend, WordPress.org meta contributors removed the active install growth charts for plugins, a key metric that many developers and a handful of services rely on for tracking. “Insufficient data obfuscation” is the cryptic reason cited for the charts’ removal, but the decision-making process was not transparent.

In a ticket titled “Bring back the active install growth chart,” RebelCode CEO Mark Zahra contends that this data is useful for gaining a long-term perspective on a plugin’s changes in installs.

“These stats are actually very useful for plugin developers and it’s really and truly one of the only indications of the growth or decline of a plugin over time,” Zahra said. “These graphs at least give us an idea of the performance of a plugin before and after we make certain changes, helping us get a better idea of how helpful they are for WordPress users.”

Plugin developers were left to speculate on the reasons for the removal and took to the #meta Slack channel in search of more information. Feedback from plugin developers indicates this was an unpopular decision and a failure of communication.

“I want to echo disappointed in that chart being removed,” Equalize Digital CEO Amber Hinds said. “I hope we’ll hear something soon. In an ideal world this commit should be rolled back pending community discussion.”

Zach Tirrell, product manager at Liquid Web, said, “We get very limited metrics from the plugin directory and this one was very important to plugin authors.”

WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden-Chomphosy joined the discussion in the channel but had very little information to offer about why this change was made without any public discussion.

“The data shared is always a bit obfuscated so that it’s harder to ‘game the system’—the same reason we don’t have running leaderboards for contributions,” Haden-Chomphosy said.

“Suggestions are welcome for how to get some data for you all while doing our best to stick with a ‘co-opetition‘ mindset.”

Co-opetition is a term coined to meld the concepts of cooperation and competition to create a system where different vendors cooperate for the benefit of the system while still competing. Haden-Chomphosy did not elaborate but it seems that obfuscating data had been deemed a necessary sacrifice for the sake of co-opetition.

Audrey Capital-sponsored meta contributor Scott Reilly, who committed the change, said “the implementation made it possible to deduce the stats we were looking to obfuscate.”

Not all plugin authors agree that these stats need to be obfuscated, nor do opaque decisions like this one inspire trust in those who are cutting off access to the data.

“The real data exists,” Yoast founder Joost de Valk said. “Automattic is one of the companies buying plugins and has access to the exact data and now even more than before, others do not.

“The whole coopetition nonsense is all interesting, but I would say this is an unfair advantage. Literally every other open source system out there just opens these numbers publicly, and so should we.”

It has still not been confirmed whether this decision was rooted in a security issue, but de Valk and others are imploring WordPress.org’s decision makers to bring the data back until a suitable alternative in available. Participants on the ticket have also urged WordPress’ leadership to open a discussion with the plugin developer community about what would data would help them in the creation of an alternative.

“Thank you for the feedback, and I do realize that there were a number of third party commercial and free services scraping these data en masse and using it,” Matt Mullenweg commented on the ticket.

“If someone has reasons to bring it back that haven’t been presented above already, please add it to this thread so we have the best possible presentation of that side of the argument to consider.”

After a 10-month hiatus from his WP Trends newsletter, Iain Poulson returned today with an issue titled “Second-Class Third-Party Developers” that identifies this clawback of active install growth data as “a symptom of the wider issue that WordPress doesn’t really want to support third-party developers who build freemium plugins.”

“Because of this, the data insights for developers is severely lacking and it’s one of the reasons I created Plugin Rank and why other solutions like wpMetrics exist and both will be impacted by this change. That’s not to say other platforms and marketplaces are perfect, but they don’t seem to work against developers like WordPress.org does. As a plugin developer trying to grow a business, data is everything and the data from the directory is poor and requires a large overhaul to improve what is collected.”

Poulson contends WordPress.org could even go beyond the previously offered data and add new installs per day/month, how many existing sites updated per day/month, and the search terms leading to the download.

“Freemium Plugin developers shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens in the ecosystem,” Poulson said. “Even developers with just free plugins should be able to see decent statistics. There’s no incentive to keep developing plugins if you don’t know people are using them.”

Beyond the lack of meaningful data for developers who are trying to monitor the trajectory of their free plugins, the non-transparent decision from the meta team seems to be the greater issue at hand for many participants in the resulting discussions. The sting of another closed-door decision cannot easily be explained away with a fancy portmanteau that promotes cooperation without adequate communication.

If plugin developers cannot be trusted to act “co-opetively” with this data, will WordPress continue collecting it? Who has private access to it? Why weren’t alternatives explored before silently removing access? These questions need to be answered in the process of finding a way forward for improving plugin data after this decision.

by Sarah Gooding at October 04, 2022 03:15 AM under Plugins

October 03, 2022

Post Status: Open Source Communities: You May Not Be Interested in CISA, But CISA is Very Interested in You

United States national security interests are poised to become more invested in and engaged with open source projects classified as public infrastructure. From Log4j to the Securing Open Source Software Act, how did it all come together in 2022, and what may lie ahead?

Estimated reading time: 35 minutes

Back in 2016, the White House officially promoted open source software in the federal government and beyond. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued memorandum M-16-21 then, which required that all federal agencies open all new custom code for reuse by all other agencies and release 20% or more of any new custom code as free and open source.

Things have changed, but not the importance of open source software in government and critical infrastructure.

It is risk tolerance, which is never high in government, that has diminished greatly.

At the same time, open source software is increasingly associated with risk, if only because it has become so successful. It's a huge attack surface in the middle of a seemingly permanent and escalating cyberwar, a cold war that never ended, or what is more commonly seen now as fifth-generation warfare.

It's logical for government to step in to try to reduce that risk. Since the Apache Log4j/Log4shell vulnerability (Base CVSS score of 10) became public in December 2021, those big wheels have started to turn.

“There was a pretty big government response”

A critical vulnerability in the widely used Java logging tool (Log4j, specifically a Log4j 2 dependency, Log4shell) turned out to have been exploitable for about a decade, giving potential attackers “easy access to internal networks,” according to The Guardian. (It even touched WordPress, through Openverse, but was quickly handled as Chloe Bringmann later reported.)

Often described as the most serious vulnerability in a decade (if not all time), the US government response it motivated was recently summarized in The Washington Post. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) led that response and will be leading new initiatives regarding open source in the near future.

Initially, “CISA briefed industry leaders, issued an emergency order for federal agencies to patch the issue and jointly published an alert with the FBI, National Security Agency and governments around the world.”

After that, all attention turned to future risk mitigation.

Like CISA in the US, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security already distributes a vague and clumsy “WordPress security advisory” from time to time. Expect it to improve — there's a lot of money and jobs for it in the federal pipeline.

Who shows up when decisions are being made?

In January this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned companies to remediate the Log4shell flaw or face potential legal action. And the White House brought in leaders from major tech companies to discuss what might be done about widely used and under-maintained open source software. Only three organizations represented open source at that meeting, including the Open Source Security Foundation, a project of the Linux Foundation.

WordPress was not publicly represented in these proceedings or any that have followed. In January, Lesley Sim and others in the WordPress community asked, “Who represents our open source commons?” And the question keeps coming up. 🦗

Tech Security Experts and Foreign Policy Interests Converge on Software Supply Chains

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on Log4Shell and open source security in February. The speakers involved, the discussion that took place, and subsequent legislative development indicate federal funding and involvement in open source is coming. It's just a matter of when and how much. GovTech did a nice summary of the event, but there are some things on the speakers' prepared statements worth singling out. The Q&A; is also worth watching.

David Nalley, Apache Software Foundation

David Nalley, President of the Apache Software Foundation, was the first to speak. The words “non-profit,” “charity,” and “contributors” figured early and prominently in Nalley's brief statement. (Later “free riders” came up in the Q&A.;) He emphasized a need for government investment in software supply chain security and the problem of getting updates out to vulnerable systems.

Brad Arkin, Cisco Systems

Brad Arkin, Senior Vice President, Chief Security and Trust Officer for Cisco Systems, also emphasized the need to be able to see the maintenance status of all software in use and make rapid upgrades — without overly focusing on Log4shell or regarding open source as being especially risky. Architecting systems with the “necessary separation inside” them to limit any damage and “providing transparency about
software components … through a software bill of materials (SBOM)” capped off his recommendations.

A “software bill of materials” (SBOM) has emerged as a key building block in software security and software supply chain risk management. An SBOM is a nested inventory, a list of ingredients that make up software components.  The SBOM work has advanced since 2018 as a collaborative community effort, driven by National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) multistakeholder process

CISA <https://www.cisa.gov/sbom>

Jen Miller-Osborn, Palo Alto Networks

Jen Miller-Osborn, Deputy Director of Threat Intelligence at Palo Alto Networks, went into greater technical detail with similar recommendations for containment, SBOMS, zero trust network architecture, etc. One item of note to software engineering teams stressed the value of Development Security Operations (DevSecOps):

Impressive work is already being done in this arena, but the community would be
well-served by increasing adoption of existing development tools to control access to open source components. These tools can scan all of the open source packages for both integrity and security before they are approved and allowed for engineering teams to use in products. Our recently released State of Cloud Security Report 2022, which surveyed over 3,000 IT professionals, found that organizations with tightly integrated DevSecOps principles were more than seven times likely to have strong or very strong security posture. They were also more than nine times more likely to have low levels of security friction.


Trey Herr, The Atlantic Council

Dr. Trey Herr, Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, was the last to speak. An academic and lobbyist, he was the only member of the panel not from the tech industry. Notably, the Atlantic Council promotes Atlanticism and has historic ties to NATO as an advocate for NATO interests. Dr. Herr took a slightly more alarmist view of open source as especially risk-prone. In his very goal-oriented, politically savvy statements, he called for DHS through CISA to fund and directly involve itself in the open source community:

This office should further encourage collaboration among the United States and allies in supporting the security of open source projects identified as critical by the office and act as a community liaison/security evangelist for the open-source community across the federal government.


Further, “Open-source security should be part of mainstream supply chain security policymaking, and this office would be charged with supporting those efforts while acting as the single point of contact for external stakeholders.”

Deep Pockets Ready to Spend

Herr also pointed to:

a proposed amendment to HR 4521, the America COMPETES Act of 2022, that would authorize the creation of a set of Critical Technology Security Centers inside of DHS [through CISA], including one focused specifically on open-source security.


He then urged the Senators present to support this legislation “when it reaches the Senate, with the understanding that a substantial portion of moneys appropriated for these centers, on the order of $20 to $30 million a year, is dedicated to this open-source mission.”

In subsequent years, Herr predicted hundreds of millions would be spent on open source security by the federal government — all with the goal of:

…focusing on secure developer tools and “foundational” infrastructure for the open-source ecosystem, to incentivize rebuilding codebases in memory-safe languages, to support audits and volunteer labor to identify and patch vulnerabilities, and to support efforts to drive security talent into this space and towards the most impactful libraries and packages in open source.

In May, a second Open Source Software Security Summit was held in Washington, DC when “the Linux Foundation and OpenSSF gathered a cross-section of open source developer and commercial ecosystem representatives along with leaders and experts from key U.S. federal agencies.” Their goal was to build a mobilization plan — “a consensus on high-impact actions to take to improve the resiliency and security of open source software.” They came up with 10 areas of focus to improve OSS security and called for immediate funding from the tech industry in the ballpark of USD 150 million.

The Securing Open Source Software Act

In late September, Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Republican Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced legislation that directs CISA to:

  • “Hire open-source experts.”
  • “Publish a framework on open-source code risk” within a year and then regularly “perform an assessment of open-source code components that federal agencies commonly use.”
  • Study, within two years, whether their risk assessment framework “could be used in critical infrastructure outside the government and potentially work with one or more critical infrastructure sectors to voluntarily test the idea.”

The Washington Post noted, “Other agencies would have roles as well, such as the Office of Management and Budget publishing guidance to federal chief information officers on the secure use of open-source software.”

Open Source Software as Public Infrastructure

Trey Herr was very positive about the Peters-Portman Act, saying:

“This important legislation will, for the first time ever, codify open source software as public infrastructure. If signed into law, it would serve as a historic step for wider federal support for the health and security of open source software.

While it may not be possible to rush through Congress before it's out of session this year, it seems very likely the Act will drive greater self-regulation in open source — and bring in new government requirements to comply with. Parallel developments are happening in Europe where investment in open source as a public good has advocates arguing it leads to nearly a hundredfold return. Opportunities will surely emerge from new sources of funding and jobs for open source, but national and regional geopolitics may complicate the nature of contribution within truly global and international projects.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at October 03, 2022 07:22 PM under Trey Herr

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 40: All Things Testing with Special Guests Anne McCarthy and Brian Alexander

In the fortieth episode of the WordPress Briefing, Josepha Haden Chomphosy sits down with special guests Anne McCarthy and Brian Alexander to discuss the Testing Team and how to get started with testing in the WordPress project.

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


Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Santana Inniss
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod


Anne McCarthy
Brian Alexander


WordPress 6.1 Testing
Testing Reports w/ Template
Week in Test Series
Reporting Bugs Handbook Page
Fullsite Editing Outreach Program
FSE Outreach Experiment Slack Channel
#WPDiversity Speaker Workshop for Women Voices in Latin America


[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:00] 

Hello everyone. And welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy.

Here we go. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:42] 

So I have with us today on the WordPress Briefing a couple of special guests. I have Brian Alexander, as well as Anne McCarthy. I’m gonna ask you both to tell us a little bit about yourselves, if you can tell us what you do with the WordPress project, maybe how long you’ve been with WordPress, and if there are any particular teams that you contribute to, that would be great. 

Brian, why don’t you get us started?

[Brian Alexander 00:01:02] 

Hi, I’m Brian. I work on the WordPress project as a full-time contributor, sponsored by Automattic. And I am one of the Test Team reps, so I help promote testing across the project. And that’s not just in Core, but it could be for Themes, Performance, feature plugins, what have you. So try to make that stuff move forward and wrangle as many people as we can to get on board and help.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:32] 

Excellent. All right, and Anne, what about you?

[Anne McCarthy 00:01:36] 

I spearhead the Full Site Editing outreach program. I am a sponsor contributor for Automattic as well, and so I contribute across a couple of different teams depending upon what the outreach program needs as well as various release squads I have been a part of. So for 6.1 coming up, I’m one of the co-Core Editor triage leads. 

Brian is also on the squad as the co-Test lead, which is very exciting. So it’s been fun to work with him and be on the podcast. And I’ve been around the WordPress project since about 2011. But this is, the last couple of years, the first time I’ve been able to be sponsored by Automattic and be a part of giving back to the community that’s given me so much.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:13] 

Amazing. All right. For folks who’ve been listening to the WP Briefing for a while, you know that I’ve been saying for like a full year that I think that testing is one of the best onboarding opportunities we have. And then also I really like to bring in our co-creators of WordPress through that testing program. Because we don’t know whether we’re right or not unless people tell us that we’re right or not. And we would like to hear so much from the users who, you know, use it and don’t necessarily have an opportunity, that privilege to kind of build on it or build the CMS itself.

So I just have a few questions since I’ve got a couple of our strong testing wranglers here. The first thing I have is what are you doing? Or, do you have any advice for getting people outside of our active contributor base and the community to participate in testing?

[Anne McCarthy 00:03:03] 

I can kick this off. Just thinking about the Full Site Editing outreach program model. So just for context, there are various calls for testing in different formats. So everything from really procedural where you’re following exact steps to follow, to very open-ended calls for testing, as well as we recently did usability testing.

And one of the things that come to mind immediately just for getting different contributors is to have very specific, fun, engaging, relevant tests that can draw people in. So if you have a call for testing that really speaks to someone, they might be more willing to participate. As well as just different formats.

So someone may not want to, you know, follow 30 steps, but they might want to follow something more open-ended. They might want to answer a survey rather than opening a GitHub link. And so I think a lot of facilitation with the outreach program has served us really well to bring in different folks as well as explicitly reaching out.

So I’ve done a number of talks in different WordPress related spaces and non-WordPress spaces to try to tell people about what we’re up to and really go meet them where they are. Because I think that’s ultimately, especially with Covid and the pandemic, there was a really unique opportunity to do that and to join the random online meetup that was happening and talk about the program and talk about ways that people could get involved and feel heard. 

[Anne McCarthy 00:04:12] 

And the last thing I’ll mention is translations. The program that’s culture testing that I write is written in English, but I’m very fortunate to have people who translate those. And so that’s a huge way that I cannot contribute but that other people have. And so I really want to highlight that and call that out because it’s been hugely impactful to have these calls for testing in a way that people can more readily access. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:32] 

Yeah, absolutely.

[Brian Alexander 00:04:35] 

Yeah, I was going to add in, in addition to the calls for testing that are, as Anne said, structured such to isolate so that someone can just kind of go through a list of steps to do rather than just being exposed to Trac or GitHub and have kind of snow blindness with, with everything that’s happening.

We also have a Week in Test series of posts that goes out about every week. And what we try to do with that series is to curate a list of posts that might be a good starting point. So we try to find one that, in each type of testing example, is something that would, a more novice contributor might be able to start with. Things for more intermediate and then also advanced ones that, for testers who may need to have a development environment and the ability to make some pretty deep or type of customizations to their WordPress project in order to test a patch or reproduce a particular issue that might be happening.

So that’s a good springboard for someone to come in where there’s just a small thing that they can kind of look at and then dive into the larger process.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:46] 

Absolutely. That’s very smart. It’s hard to figure out how to get started in WordPress at all, let alone as a contributing by testing things sort of area. That feels new to WordPress even though the team has been around for a long time. And so I think that’s excellent. 

Brian, you mentioned in your note about who you are and what you’re doing that you’re helping with testing not only in the test section in the Test Team but then also across the project. So, I have a follow-up question for you. What can developers do to create better tests for their software?

[Brian Alexander 00:06:18] 

There are sections within the Core handbook that kind of go into detail about the types of tests that should accompany individual contributions. A lot of those require kind of an extra step, and some developers maybe don’t have as much experience there. So hopefully, the Core handbook can provide a little bit of that guidance.

We also have a lot of contributors who are interested in things such as unit testing, E2E testing, which is end-to-end testing, and testing in JavaScript or in PHP. So there’s a wide variety of the types of tests that you can actually contribute to. And I would say maybe about 50% of the tickets that I’ve triaged, personally, the contributor who brought in the patch was unable to or was not familiar with providing unit tests. So that is a very good opportunity for someone to come in who maybe is not as well versed in the depth of what the patch was involved with. But by contributing a user test, they get an opportunity to look very focused at a particular piece of code, what was modified, and then create unit tests based on that.

[Brian Alexander 00:07:40] 

And then once that unit test has been submitted and starting to be reviewed, other reviewers, Core contributors, or Core committers, I would say, they’ll start looking at that and if there are additional details that should be there, expanding the tests or little modifications. Then that also is feedback to that test contributor so that the next time they come in, they’re more prepared for it. They’re learning more about Core, and eventually, maybe they’ll also become a Core contributor.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:08:07] 

Excellent. We will include links to these handbook pages and documentation in the show notes if you’re listening to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform, Pocketcasts, or it’s somewhere else. I don’t know where people listen to podcasts, but if you’re listening to it somewhere that’s not on the website, you can come to get that on wordpress.org/news.

Okay, the next question that I have, and I think this is for both of you, Brian, it sounds like you partially answered it, but I bet there are more answers from Anne as well. What advice do you have for those submitting bug reports?

[Anne McCarthy 00:08:38] 

I’ll chime in to start, and then Brian, I’d love to hear your unique take because I also think you do an excellent job whenever I’ve engaged with you in various places of providing really good replication steps. And so I love that, and I wanna offer things specific to WordPress itself and something that I’ve noticed that’s more cultural rather than necessarily like steps to follow.

And one of the things I’ve noticed that I think has started to come up partially with Covid is people, you know, you start talking at WordCamps or at a meetup, and a bug comes up, and you find someone who knows where to put it, and that kind of connection is has been frayed in the last couple years.

And so one of the things I feel like I’ve been saying to a lot of different people at this unique point in time is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. And so if it means you just need to drop it in a Slack channel and you just are like, I don’t know where to put this, that’s huge.

We need to hear from people across the project. And I just really encourage anyone, even if you don’t have the complete information or you’re not a hundred percent sure you’re afraid it’s been reported 10 times before, like, please still report it because we need those reports and also if 10 people reported it and it’s still not fixed, that also means we need to iterate.

[Anne McCarthy 00:09:40] 

And so that’s one of the things, especially with the Full Site Editing outreach program, I feel people will message me saying, hey, I’m sure you’ve heard this a bunch, but… And sometimes I’ve never heard it at all. And I shudder to think of all the people who have not reached out or have not posted in GitHub or Trac or wherever.

So yeah, share, and write blog posts. I think that another great way that people can give feedback is if you don’t know how to get into the depths of WordPress, writing a post and talking about it and sharing it on social media is also a great way to get attention. I read a lot of those. But as much as possible, getting to, if you can, if you’re comfortable, getting to the source where we’re able to see it in Github or Trac goes a really long way.

And share as much as you can. And don’t worry if you can’t spend hours writing the perfect bug report, we still wanna hear from you.

[Brian Alexander 00:10:21] 

Yeah. Building off of what Anne said, just the fact that you’re speaking out and raising an issue is a huge step for many, many people. And once, once you’ve actually done that, as Anne said, it doesn’t need to be perfect. There are a lot of other people who are going to be looking at these bugs, trying to figure out the replication steps used.

So even if you can’t provide all this detail up front, someone will help. On the back end, they’ll help kind of fill in those gaps. If you do have the time to actually get deep into providing a very detailed bug report, then there are some key aspects of the bug report that make it very helpful for contributors, not only testers, who should be able to reproduce the issue to validate and make sure that this isn’t something that’s unique, unique to a plugin, to a custom theme or snippet that you dropped into your functions PHP. 

But, also for the actual Core contributors, who then need to be able to understand what is happening so that they can fix the right thing. And some of those items are the information about your testing environment.

[Brian Alexander 00:11:34] 

So that could be your browser, your server, the type, whether it’s Apache, Nginx, et cetera, the operating system you’re running, what version of PHP you’re running, the version of WordPress, very critical, and… 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:11:49] 

Super important.

[Brian Alexander 00:11:51] 

Any themes and plugins that you’re using. And that kind of information helps set the stage, and then other people will be able to set up their environment similarly if they’re going to try to test it.

After you have provided the environmental information, the steps required to reproduce the issue should be as detailed as possible. You may not have realized that clicking this caused such and such to happen, so just try to remember, or maybe even walk through if it’s something you can repeat multiple times, walk through a couple of times and write down everything that you’re doing.

[Brian Alexander 00:12:30] 

So that you’re sure, hey, this is the way that I can reproduce this bug. And then those steps will be very helpful for other contributors when they’re reviewing it. And then it’s also very helpful if you have video, screenshots, debug logs, any of those other kinds of resources that you could refer to because not all bugs are easy to explain.

And we tend to… Trac and GitHub issues for the Gutenberg project, everybody’s writing in English. And maybe your main language is not English, and it might be a little bit challenging to do that. So providing a video, it’s worth a thousand words in any language. So, if you can provide those types of assets, that’s also very important.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:13:22] 

Yeah, and I’ll share a little bit of a you’re-not-alone-in-it sort of anecdotes from the first few bugs that I ever filed for WordPress. I sort of had this feeling that if I were to file a bug, everyone would know that I wasn’t a developer. And like everyone knows, I’m not a developer, but a little bit I was like, they’ll know now. And so if that’s where you are also,  Anne said it, and Brian said it as well, like, we can’t fix things that we don’t realize are broken. And just because you’ve run into it 15 times, which obviously should never happen, you should run into it once, and then we know, but it happens.

If you run into it 15 times, probably other people have as well. And if it’s still not fixed, it might be because no one has thought to themselves I should tell someone that’s broken. And so if that’s your primary hurdle, folks out there in our listening space, I was once there too. And honestly, knowing that it’s a problem is as valuable as knowing the solution to it most of the time. 

[Brian Alexander 00:14:23] 

Yeah, and those are, I wanted to add, there is a lot to that to remember. That’s a lot to remember in terms of what you should be submitting, what, or I should say, what would be ideal in what you’re submitting. But luckily, in the test handbook, there’s a test report section, and it includes a description, it goes everything from, it starts with why we do bug reports to examples of the types of testing, whether it be for bugs or enhancements, which also need testing, and it has templates in there that you can copy and paste directly into Trac. And that’s very helpful.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:15:03]

Yeah,, we will have links to those in the show notes as well. Since we’re right there at that moment, what do you think we could do as WordPress to make reporting problems easier?

[Brian Alexander 00:15:15] 

I know that this has been something that’s come up during our weekly meetings, discussions on the Core test channel, as well as in contributor day test table discussions. And the test documentation that’s on the website is a little bit fragmented. I believe that the current test handbook was originally written for a type of flow analysis and feedback testing that is not the norm today. So it’s a little bit confusing. The terminology is a little dated, and the most recent updates that have been provided on there relate solely to Gutenberg, which is very important that that also be represented, but, in order to find information about testing and Trac or PHP unit tests, you have to go over to the core handbook.

So we could definitely make things improved by consolidating, bringing everything into one area so that if you are interested in testing, you’ll have everything in one place and not be split between that and not have outdated methodologies that are asking you to submit videos that nobody’s going to really look at because we’re not doing the flow tests anymore. So I think that that would be a benefit to future testers.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:16:41] 

Anne, any thoughts?

[Anne McCarthy 00:16:43]

Yeah. I’ll also add that I think there are like two things we can do. One is, there’s so much happening in the WordPress project in such a cool way that I think the more we can write targeted tests and talk to people about, like, hey, here’s this new thing coming. This is a high-impact area to test. It’s under active iteration. You’re gonna get a lot of engagement. People are really thinking about this and pulling people into that where you kind of get the momentum of getting the feedback in right when someone needs it. 

I think we could do that a bit more to make reporting problems easier because it’s kind of like you’re in the thick of it with a lot of people rather than maybe exploring an area where someone hasn’t looked at it in a minute.

So that’s the thing that comes to mind is just the more we can take the time. I think this release cycle has been really good with that, where there’s been a call for testing for fluid typography. There’s also been one for using block template parts and classic themes. And there’s a ton of stuff that’s been happening where we can kind of make these both developer and more end user testing experiences easier and better.

And Brian has done a great job continuing the tradition of, you know, helping test this latest release cycle. And he’s taken those posts and done an amazing job of helping, having specific testing as well. Tied to this, I think just this has always been a thing but better, easier testing environments for developers and for quickly setting up more WordPress sites to test things for end users.

[Brian Alexander 00:17:56]

Yeah. Another thing that we have been discussing in Slack in the Core and Core Test channels is the possibility of pre-populating the Trac tickets. With a template based on what it is that you’re reporting. So similar to copying a template for a test report out of the handbook. Instead, you would hit a button to say the type of bug you are submitting, and then it would pre-populate that, and then you could fill in the gaps for that. This already happens over in Gutenberg. There, there are templates, and I find that that is very helpful. And so being able to do that in Trac would be useful. 

And then for reporting problems on the user side, I thought that it would be interesting to have like you have for any other modern app, a button that says Report Bug in WordPress that could capture some intelligence data for your installation, the page that you’re on and have a simple text box where you could provide a little description and then submit that.

[Brian Alexander 00:19:08] 

Now, these wouldn’t be the types of things that would just go straight into Trac, most likely. However, it would be an opportunity to allow end users to just send something in, and start having it looked at, rather than looking and saying, okay, I found a bug in WordPress. Now, what do I do?  And then not reporting. 

So that would be the worst case is that the bug just doesn’t get reported. So that would be information that is already harvested if you go to your site health screen and your WordPress installation. A lot of that information that would be useful is there. In this type of bug report, we would want to anonymize and strip a lot of that information out.

There’s a lot of private stuff you don’t wanna share, but there is that data there that’s available that could potentially help in doing a bug report.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:19:57]

Brilliant. All right. Question for everyone in the room: what opportunities are there currently to help with testing? Anne, I know, and you already mentioned a few, we can just bombard everybody with links to the tests if we want. But yeah, what opportunities are currently out there?

[Anne McCarthy 00:20:13]

Yeah, I’ll mention the Full Site Editing outreach program. I’m very biased, but we’re always looking for new folks. We just crossed, I think, 600 people, which was unbelievable. So even if you’re not necessarily always able to help join the calls for testing, you can always pop into the FSE outreach experiment channel, which we’ll also add a link to.

And that’s just a great way when you have time to join because I flag stuff all the time, whether it’s about the outreach program or just in general across the project. Brian does really good weekly round-up testing posts as well. So make.wordpress.org/test is also a great place to get started.

And then right now, I think when this comes out, will be a great time to be helping test WordPress 6.1. So check out that post. I kind of wanna just shove everyone in that direction currently cause I think that’s the most high-impact thing to get involved with and one of the great ways to give back to the next version of WordPress to make it really delightful and easy to use.

Yeah, I’m just gonna leave it there, even though there are so many ways you can help.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:21:11]

WordPress 6.1 coming out on November 1st if you haven’t yet heard about it. Brian, what else have you got out there?

[Brian Alexander 00:21:16] 

In terms of the online stuff, Anne covered that pretty well. I would say if you have a local WordCamp, sign up for their contributor day or if there are any local WordPress meetups. When Covid ended up hitting and lockdowns were rolled out, a lot of this stuff started to really slow down. So I think now is a good time to maybe introduce the idea for, hey, let’s have a local meetup, and for a couple of hours, we’ll just do some testing, and look at some stuff in WordPress. 

So it might be a good way of getting people re-engaged. It’s a little bit lighter weight if you’re doing testing versus trying to actually provide a patch to fix an issue. So, might be a good way of bringing in some new faces and re-engaging people who we lost over the lockdown.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:22:09] 

Yeah, and if you all have never done a testing party for WordPress before, and it sounds like it’s maybe a really boring thing, it’s actually not, she said with strong authority and opinions. But also, I have never had a more successful learning experience with the WordPress CMS than when I was trying to figure it out with other people.

They see things that you don’t see, they know things you don’t know, and it really covers a lot of the bases for unknown unknowns when you’re trying to learn something. And then also you have all these people that like, we’re really in it with you, and everyone’s really pulling for each other, and it’s actually a bit more fun than it sounds like when you’re just like, a testing party. It turns into just like jointly solving a puzzle together, which I think sounds like a lot of fun.

It’s like a party, but for technology, I would feel this way. I am a mad extrovert, and we all know it, but. Now you two know it as well.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:23:08] 

I have a final, just like a fun question for you both, and if you have an answer, great. And if you don’t have an answer, I would be surprised.

So here we go. Last question of the day. If five more volunteers suddenly appeared to help on the Test Team, what would they do? Just, I waved a magic wand. I guess that’s what made it fun. I don’t know why. I was like, fun question and then I’m, like, assigned tasks that, Yeah, I waved a magic wand. That’s what made it fun.

[Brian Alexander 00:23:38] 

Yeah, I would say I would probably point them to FSE outreach program posts because…

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:23:45] 

Woot woot. 

[Brian Alexander 00:23:47]

…the outreach program does a great job of outlining steps. You’re isolating testing in one particular area. It’s got a lot of tests. There’s examples of the types of feedback that you’re looking for, et cetera.

That’s a really good introduction to it, and most FSE testing does not require a local dev environment. Which is probably the biggest hurdle for a new tester coming in. If you do have developers with more experience, then they could start–and they wanted to look into Trac tickets or GitHub issues– then it does take a little bit of setup and you may spend the next few hours configuring your development environment.

So instead, I would recommend that you start with something like FSE outreach program posts.

[Anne McCarthy 00:24:37]

I did not pay Brian to say that. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:24:42] 

We’re just all partial to it here. That’s all.

[Anne McCarthy 00:24:45] 

No, we really are. Yeah, no, this is, I love this question, and I actually find it really fun cause I think about it a lot. And we’ve talked about some of this stuff too, and it’s something that when I think about five more people suddenly appearing, makes me giddy.

Because we have folks, who have helped with like, I think I’ve mentioned like translations and group testing and even responding to questions that come from the channel and like, I just wish if we had five folks full time dedicated to that, I could see way more hallway hangouts where we casually talk about stuff and actually go on a call and talk live.

I could see folks, someone dedicated to helping translations and translating even more places. We have an Italian contributor who does it regularly, and a couple of Japanese contributors every once in awhile we get Spanish translation. But I’d love to see more translations to bring more people in, more facilitating group testing, more types of testing, helping me be more creative because sometimes I get a creative wall.

But more than anything, if I really think long term about the project and thinking about this outreach program model, which I don’t think I fully appreciated how new it was, Josepha, when you introduced the idea, I think it would be so neat to bring in more folks to actually create new outreach programs.

[Anne McCarthy 00:25:52] 

So maybe there’s an outreach program for theme authors or block theme authors, or maybe there’s an outreach program around collaborative editing. Like what does this look like, and how can we expand this to bring more people in? And I think a lot of that will prove the resiliency and lessons we’ve learned from Covid in the WordPress community. 

We can’t necessarily always rely on the meetup groups, so how can we meet people where they are? And I think there’s something really interesting and almost serendipitous that the outreach program started literally, I think it was like May 2020, like a couple of months into the pandemic.

And I, like, I want to see it in a position of strength where we both have the in-person community alongside this outreach program model that can intertwine work. And I’d love to see the model expand to different types. And right now, maybe part of that is we use the outreach program model, the full site editing outreach program group itself, to experiment more and to keep that level of experimentation.

That’s something I feel really strongly about is continuing to find what works and what doesn’t. And so if we had five more people, I could just, I’d probably go wild and have all sorts of cool, cool things and spinoffs, but I’m more introverted than Josepha, so there’s limitations to this.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:26:56] 

Well, you heard it here first. If you’re one of my 6,000 listeners. I only need five of one of you. Five of the ones of you to come and make Anne’s whole life an exciting joy for the next 12 months. So, I only need five of you and I know that you’re out there. There are 2000 or something, 6,000. I have no idea.

I’ve got more than 1000 of you listening, and I know that you wanna come and help Anne cuz she’s a delight. I know you wanna come help Brian cuz he’s a delight. Both of you. This was such a fun conversation. Thank you for joining me today.

[Brian Alexander 00:27:29] 

Thank you, Josepha. Thank you, Anne.

[Anne McCarthy 00:27:31] 

Yeah. Thank you.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:27:33]

And there it is a bit of a deep dive on the Test Team and how to get started on it. Like I mentioned, we’ll have a ton of links in the show notes over on wordpress.org/news. And I wanna remind folks that if you have questions or thoughts that you’d like to hear from me about, you can always email us at WPbriefing@wordpress.org.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:27:58] 

That brings us now to our small list of big things. First and foremost, we are counting down the days to the WordPress 6.1 release. We are within a month of the target release date. So if you have not tested the latest version with your plugins or themes, now is the time. 

Secondly, we are seeing translated tutorials being submitted on learn.wordpress.org. I’m delighted to see that happening, and I encourage any polyglots out there who feel called to consider translating one into your language and help other people feel empowered to use WordPress. 

And then the third thing is that the WordPress Speaker Workshop for Women Voices in India just concluded, so to celebrate, we’ve opened registrations for the WordPress Speaker Workshop for Women Voices in Latin America. Unlike the last one, this event takes place in person on October 29th. And so I’ll include a link to registrations for that in the show notes as well. 

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosey, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

by Santana Inniss at October 03, 2022 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

Do The Woo Community: How to Translate a WooCommerce Store Without Fuss or Friction

Translating a client website is essential. Given the reach of the web, there is value in making sure your client's shop is accessible to any visitor who visits.

>> The post How to Translate a WooCommerce Store Without Fuss or Friction appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at October 03, 2022 09:43 AM under Tutorial

Post Status: Active Install Charts Removed from Plugin Repo

In reaction to as yet unpublicized details about the abuse of active install data in the WordPress.org plugin repository, the charts displaying that data have been removed from plugin pages in a move expected to be temporary. Important (and some familiar) questions are emerging as this story unfolds: how to balance the values of openness, security, and privacy as well as cooperation and competition at WordPress.org — still the central hub for WordPress plugin businesses.

Estimated reading time: 35 minutes

On September 29, changesets 12097 and 12098 were committed to the Meta Trac repository for wordpress.org by Scott Reilly (Audrey Capital). These changes remove the Active Install Growth chart from the plugin repository's “Advanced” section on individual plugins. The only explanation given by Scott is “insufficient data obfuscation.”

These changes are simply a reversion of the code that Alex Shiels (Automattic) added to create the section with active install data back in 2017. Alex's ticket for improvements to the “Advanced” view (#3106) includes other additions to public plugin data that were never implemented due to concerns over the potential for them to be “gamed.”

Plugin Owners Respond

On September 30, Mark Zahra opened Trac ticket #6511 “Bring back the active install growth chart” to express its importance to plugin owners and to request improvements rather than deletion. Discussions were already taking place in Make WordPress #meta, on Twitter, and in Post Status #business, where Mark shared his ticket. At Post Status, a discussion was already happening about the challenges of entering the plugin repo and succeeding there since Vito Peleg had just launched Atarim's freemium Visual Collaboration plugin at wordpress.org.

Abuse Comes to Light But Details Aren't Clear Yet

For some time now, it's been a common and reasonable assumption in the WordPress business community that some of the bigger plugin owners have very accurate data on their plugins' usage as well as their competitors — enough to create a “leaderboard” to assess the effectiveness of sales campaigns or to see a buying opportunity in others' declining install figures.

Abuse of the active install growth chart has been an issue in the past. Barış Ünver's article, The Decline of Speed Booster Pack, touches on an incident where several hundred plugins had their install stats artificially inflated, mostly to mask the perpetrator.

Abuse seems to be an issue again but of a different type.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy joined the #meta discussion and said Marius Jensen was approximately correct in guessing “the active install growth could be (was being?) used to determine near exact numbers, making the intended obfuscation pointless.”

The data shared is always a bit obfuscated so that it’s harder to “game the system” — the same reason we don’t have running leaderboards for contributions.

Josepha haden Chomphosy <https://wordpress.slack.com/archives/C02QB8GMM/p1664559896577109>

Security or Privacy? Or Security and Privacy

In reply to Mark's ticket, John James Jacoby affirmed there had been, in Michael Nelson's words, a “closed-door security or privacy decision taken by a larger group.” The active install growth charts were not pulled on a whim by a single individual.

Sponsored by Awesome Motive, John is a full-time contributor to the Core, Documentation, and Meta teams. He says he independently reviewed the code generating the data for the active install chart which he noted “is outside of the Meta repository” with other “code responsible for keeping WordPress.org running.” None of this code is “publicly available,” but he “independently identified precisely why these charts were removed the way that they were,” and he “would not have made any different decisions had [he] been in on the decision-making process.”

John added he doesn't “have any doubts that [improvement and not removal] is the long-term goal” for the active install growth chart. Further, he added that fast, private action was called for and “is not intended to hurt your community of users.” Instead, the intention is to “[exclude] many people to protect them from some people.”

Later, in #Meta, John specified two future options for the return of Active Install data:

Private by default, and optionally made public by plugin authors on a per-plugin basis.

A GUI could be invented to allow plugin authors to add usernames with access to the stats, similar to how it works for the support forums.

Why Active Install Data Matters

Active installs are the only way plugin owners can estimate the number of sites that are using their free plugin — and assess growth or decline over time. As Joost de Valk noted on Mark's ticket, “The trends in this data are super important for plugin developers, as seen by the many many people that have responded to this in [WordPress] Slack.”

By monitoring many plugins across the repo, market trends can be assessed as well. Doing this work manually for even a single plugin is quite a chore. Iain Poulson, who is now at WP Engine, automated and improved on that process for Plugin Rank, which is now an Awesome Motive product. wpMetric offers a similar analysis. So does WPDesk's Active Installs.

For some time now, it's been a common and reasonable assumption in the WordPress business community that some of the bigger plugin owners have very accurate data on their (and their competitors') plugins' usage — enough to create a “leaderboard” to assess the effectiveness of sales campaigns or see a buying opportunity in others' declining install figures. Josepha and John are clearly opposed to that happening, certainly in a public way.

Healthy Co-opetition Is Not a Leaderboard

Reflecting on some early BuddyPress history, John shared how that project's “original primary concern” had been:

…revealing active install charts & graphs for all plugins & themes may not actually be healthy for the entire community, because it is impossible to resist using that single number to speculate about things those numbers may or may not imply – quality, security, performance, earnings, success, etc… and when that scales to inevitably comparing data across multiple plugins & themes, is any of that actually healthy, positive, or a real goal?

John also addressed Joost's sharpest criticism that “Automattic has an unfair competitive advantage because they have access to more accurate stats,” while everyone else is now fully in the dark. (Joost made this claim on several channels, and it's a continuing thread in #meta.)

I will go one step farther and say, that if a goal with any data is to be fair to each other with it, that includes a responsibility to serve up the same data with the same interface to everyone, and to prevent people from accessing it in any way that is unintended or unfair.

…which is essentially what has happened, here.

JJJ <https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/6511#comment:5>

Open to all — for all who want to be open — seems to be the way the issue will be resolved, probably to a near consensus.

But will enough data be available to satisfy those who feel like “Second-Class Third-Party Developers,” as Iain Poulson put it in his WP Trends newsletter this morning?

The deepest issues will likely remain divisive — perceived competitive advantages, the definition of healthy competition in an open source ecosystem, and who gets to referee these things.

Josepha emphasized that “suggestions are welcome for how to get some data for you all while doing our best to stick with a ‘co-opetition‘ mindset.”

Reply on Mark's ticket if you have helpful contributions to make toward that goal.

Worthwhile questions that (re-)emerged in these events:

  • Can active install data collection be improved and explained sufficiently to indicate what it measures and how accurate it is — without revealing too much information that could be abused? What is the best balance of care, openness, and awareness that abuse will always happen, sooner or later?
  • Can decisions like pulling active install data (along with the people and processes involved in those decisions) be more transparent and publicly defined to avoid the confusion, injury, and distrust that often results? As a matter of internal public relations, could there be people tasked with explaining delicate issues that can't (immediately) be explained fully in a public way? (As opposed to hints and guesses in Slack.)
  • Same question for WordPress.org #forum policies on moderation, reviews, replies to reviews, and other things plugin owners care about. Without being too open (due to the risk of “gaming”), can clearer guidance be given to onboard new plugin owners at .org? E.g, how reviews are validated, why they may be removed, and how to appeal their removal? Or how plugin owners and their support staff should avoid or deal with being put under moderation?
  • What are winning growth strategies for plugin owners that aren't dependent or overly focused on single measures of success — whether they use the .org repo or not? What are the best ways to go all-in with .org? Or is that simply a mistake?
  • How does/doesn't the inclusion of all wp.org plugins in the new wp.com marketplace affect active install stats? Are these combined or separate numbers? What data is available from wp.com to free and commercial plugin owners about their installs there?

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at October 03, 2022 05:01 AM under Yoast

October 01, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Content-only editing for patterns, Learn to use Data Layer in WordPress and more – Weekend Edition 231


Thank you for the check-ins after Hurricane Ian aimed for Southwest Florida, and made landfall on Wednesday. Some areas of Florida experienced major destruction, via the storm surge and flash floods. My husband and I were lucky. We have no damage to our house, and we were only without power and internet for 28 hrs. We are both back at our desks working.

And bringing you the news on block theme building, custom blocks and more.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Yours, 💕

PS: If you want us to share your block-theme, your latest block plugin or your tutorial, feel free to email pauli@gutenbergtimes.com. If you have questions about any of the topics, comment below and I answer within a day or two.

PPS: On Monday, I will be a guest on Nathan Wrigley’s This Week in WordPress together with Kathy Zant and Bob Dunn. Join us via YouTube at 9 am EDT / 13:00 UTC

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Gutenberg 14.2 was released. Release lead Michal Czaplinski, posted about What’s new in Gutenberg 14.2? (28 September). He highlighted the following features:

Anne McCarthy published another post in the series of Core Editor Improvements, titled Catalyst for creativity and control. “This post goes through each category of design tools, what blocks they are available in, the progress made, and some fun examples showing off what you can now do. The result is a catalyst for creativity, with more to come on the horizon. ” she wrote. The design tools listed are:

  • Typography Controls
  • Dimensions and Spacing
  • Color Controls
  • Layout Support
  • Border Controls
Blocks with Typography Support from the post Core Editor Improvement: Catalyst for creativity and control

Joen Asmussen posted an update from the WordPress design team: Design Share: Sep 12 – Sep 23. The team explored how it would look if the Documentation Outline would be integrated into the List View. There is quite some overlap between the two features that could be simplified. There is ongoing work done on the placeholder designs for the Site editor. New inserter preview and features are explored and many more updates. They could all user your input on how things could be improved for the content creator and site builder. Check out a proposed refresh of the patterns that come bundled with the Query Loop block.

Proposed Query Loop pattern seen Design Share: Sep 12 – Sep 23

🎙️ New episode: Gutenberg Changelog #73 – Gutenberg 14.1, next default theme, design Tools in WordPress 6.1 with special guest, Channing Ritter, and host Birgit Pauli-Haack

Plugins, Themes, and Tools for #nocode site builders and owners

Nick Diego built his Slidedeck for WCUS entirely out of blocks. He now wrote a post about the Why and the How Diego also mentioned he used 724 blocks in his slide deck.

Jamie Marsland explains that Custom Post Designs are easy with WordPress Block Themes – no plugins needed! in his latest YouTube Video. In this 9 min-video, you’ll learn

  • How to create a custom post design
  • How to create a custom post category page
  • How to use the Custom Post Type UI plugin
  • Use Custom Post Type UI plugin with a WordPress Block Theme
  • How to create a custom archive with Custom Post Type UI plugin

Kevin Batdorf published his new plugin Code Block Pro. It provides you with an editor that runs your code directly through the same rendering engine that is used by the popular VS Code editor.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Nick Diego’s WCUS talk is now available on WordPressTV: Let’s Build a Custom Block in 15 Minutes

Carolina Nymark posted a tutorial on Creating templates for custom post types, as “several theme developers have reached out asking how to create full site editing templates for custom post types.” In this lesson, Nymark explains:

  • How to create templates for custom post types in the Site Editor
  • How to add file-based templates in your theme
  • How to add default blocks to the post type templates
Building a Block-Based Header Template in a Classic Theme
Thisstep-by-step tutorial teaches you how to build a block-based header template in a classic theme in WordPress, including CSS tweaks, template parts, pattern creation, and more.Theme authors who are considering adopting block template parts, especially those with classic themes and existing user bases, this tutorial is for you. It touches on a few different features and how they come together. Read more.

Rich Tabor wrote a guide on How to simplify WordPress patterns with content-only block editing, coming to WordPress via the version 6.1. “When applied to a block pattern, all content blocks nested within continue to be editable, but moving and removing is disabled, and all design controls are hidden” Tabor explained.

Jacob Martella continues his series of Creating a block Theme with this week’s Creating the Archive and 404 Templates. And you can learn it in less than 8 minutes.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

New Course to Learn.WordPress: Using the WordPress Data Layer – This course by Adam Zielinski provides a step-by-step introduction to all the data layer concepts, a JavaScript library used throughout the WordPress editor to read and write data. Whenever you save a post, insert a page list block, or select the post author – it’s all powered by the WordPress data layer.

Ryan Welcher explored three new features for developers coming in WordPress 6.1 release. He covered

  • Query Loop block variations
  • Using the render property in a block.json file
  • Block-based template parts in Classic themes

The author team Lindsey Bell, Lax Mariappan and Ximena Kilroe of Webdev Studios published Optimizing the WordPress Block Editor Experience in which they outline how to make it easier for editors to perform their jobs, using ACF, ACF blocks, and other tools.

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

GitHub all releases

Upcoming WordPress events

Oct 11 – 13, 2022
WooSesh  A virtual conference for WooCommerce
The schedule is now available. I am looking forward to Darren Ethier’s The Future of Personalizing Your Storefront and what WooCommerce is doing in the era of WordPress Full Site Editing (FSE) on October 12 at 1pm EDT / 17:00 UTC.

Have a look at the schedule of upcoming WordCamps.

Learn WordPress Online Meetups

October 17, 2022, at 4:00 PM EDT / 20:00 UTC
Part 1: Re-Creating Block Designs

Recorded and available on WordPressTV

Featured Image: Buildings, Roads, Bangkok by Kaushik Baroliya, found on WordPress Photos.

Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at October 01, 2022 05:32 AM under Weekend Edition

Post Status: Drinking from the Firehose

Happy Friday!

We're finding it increasingly tough to get all the best WordPress news and info into a reasonably-sized email, but we're doing it by making lots of cuts.

In the newsletter, you'll see links to the full weekly digests for the Business, Tech, Career, and Community sections we're focusing on now. Plus we've added a new ongoing section focused on WordPress project and contributor news from core and all the teams.

You can read all of this week's newsletter here

And if you want everything without the cuts, head over to poststatus.com/the-week/.

Get some rest and recharge this weekend! (I hope to.) See you next week! 

–Cory Miller

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Cory Miller</span> at October 01, 2022 12:00 AM under Post Status Team Blog

September 30, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Building a Block-Based Header Template in a Classic Theme

WordPress 6.1 will allow classic theme authors to begin using block-based template parts. It is one of the most exciting features of the release and one that has long been on my personal wish-list.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a deep dive into this new feature, wondering how it could fit into real-world projects. My conclusion was:

  • If building a new classic theme from scratch, block template parts should be relatively easy to insert into it.
  • If adding block template parts into a classic theme, there are likely a few hurdles that you’ll need clear, hoops to jump through, and even potential mountains to climb.

The latter is what this tutorial will focus on. There are 1,000s of classic themes out there in the wild, and the most likely use case for this feature will be the developers who are gradually adopting FSE features.

With that use case in mind, I picked a battle-tested classic theme that is still somewhat recent: Twenty Twenty-One. It already had some of the foundational pieces, such as supporting the block-based content editor. However, it didn’t have support for newer FSE features, such as theme.json.

The other goal for this walk-through was to show a more advanced use case rather than only cover the basics. Ultimately, this helped reveal some of the issues theme authors might face as they go on this journey.

In the end, I created hero header for Twenty Twenty-One that provides users a ton of flexibility for customizing its output on the front end:

Hero header built with a block template part.

I invite you to come along with me down this path. I did all of the hard work ahead of time in hopes that it will help those of you who want to give this new feature a try.

If you’d rather skip the walk-through and dive right into the code, no worries. I extracted everything I am covering into this tutorial and put it in a child theme named TT1 Block Parts. Child themes are an easy way to test features without directly changing the parent theme, so I encourage going that route too.

Setting the Groundwork

This feature will be available as part of the WordPress 6.1 release. To test it now, you must either install the WordPress 6.1 Beta 2 or the latest version of the Gutenberg plugin. You will also need a classic theme active on your site. Use Twenty Twenty-One to follow along with each step exactly.

Before building a block-based template part in a classic theme, you must enable the feature via the block-template-parts theme-support flag in your theme’s functions.php file.

<?php add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'tt1_block_parts_setup' ); function tt1_block_parts_setup() { add_theme_support( 'block-template-parts' ); }
Code language: PHP (php)

This code will create a new Appearance > Template Parts page in the WordPress admin:

Initial template parts screen when no parts are registered.

At this point, it’s empty, but you and your users will be able to customize any existing block template parts from this screen once you’ve created them. Let’s do that now.

The next step is building a header template part, which will live in the theme’s parts folder (this is where all block template parts go). The easiest way to get started is to create an empty parts/header.html file. We’ll build this out from the site editor in the next steps.

Now, we need to replace Twenty Twenty-One’s header with our custom one. Open the theme’s header.php template and find this line of code:

<?php get_template_part( 'template-parts/header/site-header' ); ?>
Code language: PHP (php)

Replace it with the following:

<?php block_template_part( 'header' ); ?>
Code language: PHP (php)

It won’t be that easy with every theme. Fortunately, Twenty Twenty-One already separated its primary template code into a PHP-based template part, so we merely needed to change one function call with another. For other themes, it may require removing large chunks of code. It just depends on the theme itself.

Clearing Those Hurdles

Most classic themes were simply not designed to handle blocks outside the content area. This is even true of Twenty Twenty-One because the block-based template editor didn’t exist when it was created.

Each theme is unique, so there is no way for me to realistically foretell what sort of adventures you might go on to get block template parts to work. However, what I can tell you is what I changed with Twenty Twenty-One.

The goal here is transparency rather than glossing over those very likely hurdles you’ll need to jump, but do not let them scare you away.

Adding theme.json Support

Based on my tests with Twenty Twenty-One and other themes, opting into theme.json was almost a must-have. I had the most most success by configuring settings.layout to support wide/full alignments (I used existing CSS properties from the theme for this). I also needed settings.spacing.blockGap to have control over the spacing between menu items in the Navigation block.

With that in mind, I strongly recommend starting with a simple theme.json file in your theme, assuming it doesn’t already have one:

{ "version": 2, "settings": { "layout": { "contentSize": "var( --responsive--default-width )", "wideSize": "var( --responsive--alignwide-width )" }, "spacing": { "blockGap": true } } }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

Style Overrides

I also had to make a few CSS overrides (editor and front end) so that everything was a bit less wonky. Remember, we’re pushing blocks into a place they have never been before in the theme, so some adjustments are a given.

The following CSS is all that was needed to make the block template part work. The most time-consuming aspect was tracking this stuff down in a theme that I wasn’t particularly knowledgeable of.

.wp-block-navigation:not(.has-background) .wp-block-navigation__container { background: transparent; } .wp-block-cover__inner-container > * { max-width: none !important; } .wp-block { max-width: none; } .wp-block-cover .wp-block-site-title.has-text-color a { color: inherit; } .is-root-container > :first-child { margin-top: 0; }
Code language: CSS (css)

Building a Block Header Template Part

Before we get to the more advanced, media-based version of a header template part, let’s stick with the basics. I promise to cover some of the fun stuff as we move along. For now, let’s learn to crawl before attempting to walk.

Go back to the Appearance > Template Parts screen in the WordPress admin that you created in the first step. Click on the “header” template part, which will take you to the template editor. You should see an empty canvas on which to place your creation.

I started with a Cover block. It’s a simple starting point but one of the most flexible blocks in WordPress, providing end-users with tons of customization options out of the gate.

Adding a Cover block to the Header template part.

I kept my block settings simple and selected the following:

  • Overlay Color: The theme’s default gray
  • Overlay Opacity: 100

Inserting Branding and Navigation

I wanted to keep Twenty Twenty-One’s default header elements in place, which meant recreating the theme’s branding and navigation menu while not going overboard with additional elements.

To achieve this, I added a 50/50 Columns block (the widths of these could be adjusted). In the left column, I inserted Stack with Site Title and Site Tagline. On the right, I placed a Navigation block.

Adding branding and a navigation menu.

The individual settings for these blocks are not particularly important. You can customize them to your liking. The most vital ones are likely justifying the Stack block left and Navigation block right. I also bumped up the block spacing to space out the nav menu items.

This is where you can have a lot of fun, and I don’t want to spoil it with a step-by-step guide on what stylistic settings to choose. Experiment. Go wild!

Extra: Locking Blocks

One of my favorite tools as a theme author is the ability to lock blocks in place with more complex templates or patterns. One of the primary use cases for this is to prevent end-users from accidentally removing an important block, such as the Site Title, or moving things around and being unable to reconfigure them. The site header is one easiest areas to mess up.

For the individual Column block wrapping the Site Title and Site Tagline blocks, I selected all three of the currently-available lock settings:

  • Disable movement
  • Prevent removal
  • Apply to all blocks inside
Locking the header branding Column block and its content.

I also set a lock on the outer Columns block to prevent users from inadvertently moving or removing it.

By default, end-users can unlock a block by clicking the “lock” toolbar icon. The extra step primarily serves as a warning to only take this action if they feel comfortable doing so. It’s possible to even prevent this from the development end, but that’s outside the scope of this tutorial. To go even more advanced with block locking, take a read the the Curating the Editor Experience documentation and its section on the Locking APIs.

Copying the Header Part to the Theme

Because we built this template part within the editor, all of our customizations are stored in the database. If planning to distribute this theme to others, you should copy all of the blocks from the editor to your parts/header.html file.

The final code for my template part was:

<!-- wp:cover {"overlayColor":"gray","minHeight":450,"minHeightUnit":"px","style":{"spacing":{"padding":{"top":"4rem","right":"4rem","bottom":"4rem","left":"4rem"}},"color":{}}} --> <div class="wp-block-cover" style="padding-top:4rem;padding-right:4rem;padding-bottom:4rem;padding-left:4rem;min-height:450px"><span aria-hidden="true" class="wp-block-cover__background has-gray-background-color has-background-dim-100 has-background-dim"></span><div class="wp-block-cover__inner-container"><!-- wp:columns {"verticalAlignment":"center","lock":{"move":true,"remove":true}} --> <div class="wp-block-columns are-vertically-aligned-center"><!-- wp:column {"verticalAlignment":"center","width":"50%","templateLock":"all","lock":{"move":true,"remove":true}} --> <div class="wp-block-column is-vertically-aligned-center" style="flex-basis:50%"><!-- wp:group {"lock":{"move":false,"remove":false},"style":{"spacing":{"blockGap":"var:preset|spacing|30"}},"layout":{"type":"flex","orientation":"vertical","justifyContent":"left"}} --> <div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:site-title {"style":{"typography":{"textTransform":"uppercase","fontSize":"1.5rem"},"elements":{"link":{"color":{"text":"var:preset|color|white"}}}},"textColor":"white"} /--> <!-- wp:site-tagline {"style":{"typography":{"fontSize":"16px"}},"textColor":"white"} /--></div> <!-- /wp:group --></div> <!-- /wp:column --> <!-- wp:column {"verticalAlignment":"center","width":"50%"} --> <div class="wp-block-column is-vertically-aligned-center" style="flex-basis:50%"><!-- wp:navigation {"ref":2586,"textColor":"white","layout":{"type":"flex","justifyContent":"right"},"style":{"typography":{"fontSize":"16px"},"spacing":{"blockGap":"2rem"}}} /--></div> <!-- /wp:column --></div> <!-- /wp:columns --></div> </div> <!-- /wp:cover -->
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

After saving that file to your theme, you also need to clear your customizations from the database. You can do this by clicking on the Template Parts admin menu item and selecting the (vertical ellipsis) button for the Header part and clicking the “Clear customizations” option.

Clearing customizations from the Header template part.

As you can tell from the above screenshot, I have been tinkering with a lot of template part ideas.

Leveling Up With Patterns and Media

A plain ol’ dark gray header background might not be too exciting. As promised, we’ll kick this up a notch by integrating with another block-related featured that classic themes can opt into: patterns. We’ll use this to add a video background (or, image, if you prefer).

Because block template parts are HTML, it means that you cannot do anything dynamic, such as accurately reference media via your theme’s URL path. You need PHP to do this. That’s where patterns come in.

Instead of putting all of the block code into parts/header.html, you now only need one line of code:

<!-- wp:pattern {"slug":"tt1-block-parts/header-video"} /-->
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

This references a “Header Video” pattern that we will build in these next steps.

WordPress will automatically register any patterns found in a theme’s patterns folder. So, the next step is to create a patterns/header-video.php file with a few lines of info:

<?php /* * Title: Header - Video * Slug: tt1-block-parts/header-video * Viewport Width: 1024 * Categories: header, twentytwentyone * Inserter: yes */ ?> <!-- Replace with block code. -->
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

When you’ve built out your header, just remove the <!-- Replace with block code. --> and put the block HTML code in its place.

Let’s jump back to the editor. Using the same header from earlier, we can make a few simple changes to the Cover block to liven things up a bit.

  • Click the “Add Media” toolbar button and select a image or video (your preference).
  • Click the duotone toolbar button to put a filter over the media.
  • Remove the overlay color and adjust the opacity settings in the block inspector sidebar to your liking.
Adding a video and duotone filter to the Cover block.

Now, you need to copy the block code from the editor and paste it into your patterns/header-video.php file. However, there is one important step you must take afterward. You need to change any references to image or video files that look like the following (there may be more than one occurrence):

Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Those need to reference the media file wherever it lives within your theme. Because I put my header video MP4 into my theme’s assets/video folder, I changed each reference to the following:

<?= esc_url( get_theme_file_uri( 'assets/video/header-bg.mp4' ) ) ?>
Code language: PHP (php)

My final patterns/header-video.php code became:

<?php /* * Title: Header - Video * Slug: tt1-block-parts/header-video * Viewport Width: 1024 * Categories: header, twentytwentyone * Inserter: yes */ ?> <!-- wp:cover {"url":"<?= esc_url( get_theme_file_uri( 'assets/video/header-bg.mp4' ) ) ?>","dimRatio":0,"backgroundType":"video","minHeight":450,"minHeightUnit":"px","isDark":false,"style":{"spacing":{"padding":{"top":"4rem","right":"4rem","bottom":"4rem","left":"4rem"}},"color":{"duotone":["#000000","#D1E4DD"]}}} --> <div class="wp-block-cover is-light" style="padding-top:4rem;padding-right:4rem;padding-bottom:4rem;padding-left:4rem;min-height:450px"><span aria-hidden="true" class="wp-block-cover__background has-background-dim-0 has-background-dim"></span><video class="wp-block-cover__video-background intrinsic-ignore" autoplay muted loop playsinline src="<?= esc_url( get_theme_file_uri( 'assets/video/header-bg.mp4' ) ) ?>" data-object-fit="cover"></video><div class="wp-block-cover__inner-container"><!-- wp:columns {"verticalAlignment":"center","lock":{"move":true,"remove":true}} --> <div class="wp-block-columns are-vertically-aligned-center"><!-- wp:column {"verticalAlignment":"center","width":"50%","templateLock":"all","lock":{"move":true,"remove":true}} --> <div class="wp-block-column is-vertically-aligned-center" style="flex-basis:50%"><!-- wp:group {"lock":{"move":false,"remove":false},"style":{"spacing":{"blockGap":"var:preset|spacing|30"}},"layout":{"type":"flex","orientation":"vertical","justifyContent":"left"}} --> <div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:site-title {"style":{"typography":{"textTransform":"uppercase","fontSize":"1.5rem"},"elements":{"link":{"color":{"text":"var:preset|color|white"}}}},"textColor":"white"} /--> <!-- wp:site-tagline {"style":{"typography":{"fontSize":"16px"}},"textColor":"white"} /--></div> <!-- /wp:group --></div> <!-- /wp:column --> <!-- wp:column {"verticalAlignment":"center","width":"50%"} --> <div class="wp-block-column is-vertically-aligned-center" style="flex-basis:50%"><!-- wp:navigation {"ref":2586,"textColor":"white","layout":{"type":"flex","justifyContent":"right"},"style":{"typography":{"fontSize":"16px"},"spacing":{"blockGap":"2rem"}}} /--></div> <!-- /wp:column --></div> <!-- /wp:columns --></div></div> <!-- /wp:cover -->
Code language: PHP (php)

As you did in the earlier step, clear any customizations from your header template part in the admin for the file from the theme to take effect.

Cleaning Up the User Experience

There is one final task that I must ask of you as a theme author. It’s not required, but it is one of those nice-to-haves that will make the user experience a bit nicer.

Remember that theme.json file that we created much earlier in this walk-through? Let’s add a templateParts section to it and register our custom header. We can add a title for our header template part that can be translated.

The final theme.json file:

{ "version": 2, "settings": { "layout": { "contentSize": "var( --responsive--default-width )", "wideSize": "var( --responsive--alignwide-width )" }, "spacing": { "blockGap": true } }, "templateParts": [ { "name": "header", "title": "Header", "area": "header" } ] }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

Now everything is nice and polished. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done if you’ve made it this far. Block-based template parts can be a lot of fun, and they’ll put a ton of customization power into the hands of your users.

Resources To Learn More

by Justin Tadlock at September 30, 2022 02:46 PM under Themes

Post Status: WordPress Careers Roundup for the Week of September 26, 2022

Craft your origin story • Pointed questions for devs to ask prospective employers • Strategies against Ageism • IBM's a**hole test • Take a pass on a “fast-paced environment.” • WordPress Translation Day • Writing Tips for Engineers • Preventing burnout as a manager

Estimated reading time: 35 minutes

Walt Kania explains why you should craft your origin story over at the Freelancery. Walt has good advice, and most of it applies far beyond freelancing. I've only seen about three truly helpful books about freelancing on the web, and they were all free — once. Walt's is the best, hands-down, for any kind of professional contractor practicing a craft. That's how he approaches copywriting, and so should you — whatever you do. Way Smarter Freelancing: Your Real-World, Hands-On, Field Guide is available for only USD 9.95. READ →

Jussi Pakkanen has some pointed questions for developers to ask a prospective employer during a job interview. Two good ones: Does this or any related team have a person who actively rejects proposals to improve the code base? Explicitly list out all the people in the organization who are needed to authorize a small change, like a typo in a log message. MORE →

Sadly, these “5 Secrets to Getting Hired After 50” from the AARP are mostly about getting past age discrimination, especially the advice to “polish your appearance.” But, “According to some research, once hiring managers were able to interview applicants face-to-face, they were 40 percent less likely to hire older workers than they were to hire a younger applicant with the same skills.” MORE →

Supposedly IBM used to have an a**hole test to see how job candidates behaved in a group that was given an impossible task. Mean, and maybe unfair but also a worthwhile thought experiment or even a fun team-building exercise when no one is being evaluated by HR. How do you think you would behave? MORE →

The Misanthropic Developer casts a cold eye at job listings that mention a “Fast Paced Environment.” Why isn’t this a selling point? “It’s often (correctly) interpreted as code for ‘overworked and understaffed.'” MORE →

Quick Links

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 30, 2022 01:30 PM under Walt Kania

Do The Woo Community: Do the Woo, a Community Partner at WooSesh 2022

We are excited to be part of WooSesh 2022 this year as we host end-of-the-day wrap up conversations with speakers from the event.

>> The post Do the Woo, a Community Partner at WooSesh 2022 appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 30, 2022 09:27 AM under WooBits

September 29, 2022

Post Status: Shiny New Things!

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 06:48 PM under WP Tests

Post Status: WordPress Biz Roundup for the Week of September 26, 2022

WordPress Business News and Insights

2022 Web Almanac CMS findings • WP Cloud • Sponsored core contributor and sponsor data • WP Biz Dev • Female-Owned and Led WP Businesses • and more →

Estimated reading time: 35 minutes

2022 Web Almanac CMS Report

According to the CMS chapter of the just-released 2022 Web Almanac from the HTTP Archive, sites using a CMS — and WordPress — are still steadily increasing globally, and 34% of all the sites with an identifiable CMS were using a page builder. WordPress comes in at the bottom of the pack, however, when it comes to non-mobile device performance as measured by Core Web Vitals. For mobile, only Adobe Experience Manager performed worse — and by quite a margin. In terms of Lighthouse performance scores, WordPress was on par with its peers. MORE →

⛅ This week's WordPress Weather Report from Ellipsis: WordPress is up 0.02 to -0.02 under the baseline while WooCommerce holds steady at +0.02. 📈

What is WP Cloud? Who is it for?

WP.cloud has been flying under the radar for a while. At the WP Minute, Matt Medeiros spoke with Jesse Friedman, Director of Innovation at Automattic, to learn more. WP Cloud is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) built on the hosting infrastructure that’s behind WordPress.com, Pressable, and WordPress VIP with GridPane soon to follow. Agencies that want to white label their client hosting are ideal customers for WP Cloud via GridPane. In Post Status Slack, there's been a hearty discussion about where WP Cloud fits in the hosting industry and why you might want (or not want) to use it. MORE →

WordPress Core Contributor Stats: 19.9% Sponsored for 6.0 Release

Chuck Grimmet, who is on Automattic‘s Special Projects team for WordPress.com, “did some data exploration around WordPress core contributors and the companies they work for.” Chuck breaks down the data in detail with several tables on his blog. The results point toward nearly 20% of contributors being sponsored for the 6.0 release, assuming they were sponsored by the same company during that entire time. MORE →

Quick Links

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 06:45 PM under WP Cloud

Post Status: WordPress Core Contributor Stats: 19.9% Sponsored for 6.0 Release

Chuck Grimmet, who is on Automattic‘s Special Projects team for WordPress.com, “did some data exploration around WordPress core contributors and the companies they work for.” Chuck breaks down the data in detail with several tables on his blog.

Notably, the percentage of sponsored contributors has steadily increased to almost 20% for the 6.0 release. However, Chuck notes, “The data gets less accurate the further I go back in terms of release dates because I can only scrape their current profile, not their previous profiles. Some most likely switched employers.”

Core Contributor Marius Jensen noted in Post Status Slack how complicated it would be to get a totally accurate fix on sponsored contributors. Marius has contributed to all the releases in Chuck's survey, but Marius was not with his current employer for that entire period. As well, some contributors may have been sponsored in the past but are no longer sponsored — or vice versa. Others' sponsors may have changed.

Chuck's research was inspired by a good question from David Bisset:

I've been an admirer of Chuck's blog for a while — especially his use of Webmentions. We should all use them.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 01:35 PM under WordPress.com

Do The Woo Community: All You Should Know About the WooCommerce Agency Partner Program

Mary Voelker from WooCommerce shares all that you need to know if you have an agency interested in being part of the WooCommerce Agency Partner Program.

>> The post All You Should Know About the WooCommerce Agency Partner Program appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 29, 2022 10:31 AM under WooWP Chats

Post Status: 2022 Web Almanac CMS Report

According to the CMS chapter of the just-released 2022 Web Almanac from the HTTP Archive, sites using a CMS — and WordPress — are still steadily increasing globally, and 34% of all the sites with an identifiable CMS were using a page builder. WordPress comes in at the bottom of the pack, however, when it comes to non-mobile device performance as measured by Core Web Vitals. For mobile, only Adobe Experience Manager performed worse — and by quite a margin. In terms of Lighthouse performance scores, WordPress was on par with its peers.

Top 3 countries with the most WordPress sites with passing CWV scores:

  1. Japan
  2. Canada
  3. Germany (a very close 3rd)

The average number of plugins used on WordPress sites remained the same as last year: 24. If you're interested in image formats, page weight, fonts, CSS, and other resources impacting performance broken down by CMS, there are a lot of details about that in this report.

One unfortunate limitation of the data is that the more highly visited a site is, the less likely there is to be an identifiable CMS.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 04:52 AM under Plugins

Post Status: Management Code: Management Skills for Female Creative Agency Owners

Natasha Golinsky has launched a Facebook group for women who own creative agencies: Management Code: Management Skills for Female Creative Agency Owners.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 04:19 AM under Natasha Golinsky

Post Status: The Unofficial Directory of WordPress WBEs

Last week, Steve Burge asked on Twitter, “how many female-run WordPress companies are there?” A big list emerged in the replies:

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 04:14 AM under Steve Burge

Post Status: WP Biz Dev Job Board

Lawrence Ladomery has launched WP Biz Dev, “the first job board dedicated exclusively to Marketing and Sales roles for WordPress businesses.” MORE →

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Dan Knauss</span> at September 29, 2022 04:07 AM under WP Biz Dev

September 28, 2022

Post Status: WordPress 6.1 Beta 2 • Serverless WordPress • Annual Meetup Survey • Catalyst for Creativity

This Week at WordPress.org (September 26, 2022)

Help test WordPess 6.1 Beta 2! Check out the latest features that are coming in the 6.1 release. Learn how to run WordPress using WebAssembly, and take the Annual Meetup Survey to give feedback on events.


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

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

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

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You — and your whole team can Join Post Status too!

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

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Courtney Robertson at September 28, 2022 11:41 PM under WordPress.org

WPTavern: WordPress Punts Locally Hosted Fonts for Legacy Default Themes to 6.2 Release

In June 2022, WordPress.org’s Themes Team began strongly urging theme authors to switch to locally hosted webfonts, following a German court case, which fined a website owner for violating the GDPR by using Google-hosted webfonts. For years, theme authors have been enqueuing Google Fonts from the Google CDN for better performance, but this method exposes visitors’ IP addresses.

The Themes Team warned that guidelines regarding locally hosting fonts will be changing imminently and many theme authors moved to comply before it becomes a requirement.

A ticket for bundling Google fonts with WordPress’ legacy default themes had patches and was on track to be included in WordPress 6.1 in November. WordPress contributor Hendrik Luehrsen requested more eyes on the ticket, saying it “directly affects the core WordPress audience in Germany.” He reported that users in Germany were still getting emails threatening fines for using fonts loaded from Google.

WordPress core committer Tonya Mork suggested exploring releasing the updated version of each theme separately from WordPress 6.1.

“When each theme is ready, release it to wp.org’s theme repo,” Mork said. “Users can then update to get locally hosted fonts ahead of when WP 6.1 is released.”

This changed the direction of the ticket and with more scrutiny, contributors found the patches could use some more work.

“Creating new theme versions for this specific change could be good when they are ready,” Stephen Bernhardt said. “Using locally hosted fonts is already recommended, but we need to fix our own themes before we can make this a requirement for others.” He submitted a list of problems and potential improvements after reviewing the patches, and contributors are working on a better approach.

WordPress core committer David Baumwald changed the milestone to 6.2, as Beta 2 for 6.1 was released yesterday and the ticket still needs a final direction and patch.

“While I understand the issue, this is nonetheless sad to see,” Luehrsen said. “This is still a serious issue in Germany (and other GDPR territories), as users with active Google Fonts are currently getting targeted by people exploiting the law.”

Luehrsen took to Twitter to comment on his disappointment with the ticket missing the window for 6.1.

“This is the reason why WordPress will probably lose relevance,” he said. “Real users get hurt here, but they are in GDPR territories and this does not seem to be important.

“Could I have done more? Probably. But it is somewhat sad to see how quickly the momentum on that ticket fizzled out. If Squarespace, Wix and sorts start marketing privacy against WordPress, we’re screwed in GDPR countries.”

In the meantime, those who are using WordPress’ default themes can use a plugin like Local Google Fonts or OMGF | GDPR/DSVGO Compliant, Faster Google Fonts to host fonts locally.

Users can also switch to Bunny Fonts, an open-source, privacy-first web font platform with no tracking or logging that is fully GDPR compliant. Bunny Fonts is compatible with the Google Fonts CSS v1 API so it can function as a drop-in replacement. The Replace Google Fonts with Bunny Fonts plugin makes it easy for users to do that without editing any theme code.

Contributors are working on having fully GDPR-compliant WordPress default themes ready for WordPress 6.2, expected in early 2023.

by Sarah Gooding at September 28, 2022 06:31 PM under google fonts

Akismet: Version 5.0.1 of the Akismet WordPress Plugin is Now Available

Version 5.0.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available. This update contains the following improvements:

  • An improved settings screen when there are not yet any statistics to display.
  • A fix for a bug that broke some admin page links when certain Jetpack plugins are active.
  • Improved performance in newer browsers on pages with forms.
  • A fix for a conflict between Akismet and forms that post to third party sites.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

by Christopher Finke at September 28, 2022 03:28 PM under Releases

WPTavern: #44 – Joe Dolson on How To Fix the Six Most Common Accessibility Errors on Your Websites


[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, how to improve the accessibility of your WordPress website.

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

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m very keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your idea featured on the show. Head to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the contact form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Joe Dolson. Joe is a WordPress plugin developer, a core committer and a web accessibility consultant. He’s part of the Make WordPress accessibility team, the team dedicated to improving accessibility in the WordPress ecosystem.

His recent presentation at WordCamp US entitled, finding and fixing the six most common WCAG 2 failures, highlight some of the key areas where websites are not as accessible as they should be. The areas we discuss are, low contrast text, missing alternative text, empty links, missing form labels, empty buttons and missing document language.

Joe explains what each of these problems are, both in terms of how they can be fixed as well as what people with accessibility requirements might experience when they visit your site. We talk about how you can equip yourself with the tools that you need to diagnose these issues and online resources you can use to discover more about website accessibility.

It’s Joe’s opinion that you’re better off making a start right now, carrying out incremental changes rather than attempting to solve every single problem that your website might have. Begin the journey and take it one problem at a time.

We also chat about the fact that there’s an ever-growing legal compulsion to make websites follow accessibility guidelines. Lawsuits are going through the courts with greater regularity. So now might be the time for you to look into this topic.

That being said, Joe cautions against the use of tools, which purport to solve your accessibility issues with minimal effort. A variety of pop-up solutions have emerged onto the market, which claimed that they can make your site compliant with almost no effort. Joe is adamant that these promises are almost always false and that there’s real work to be done on each website, as they’re all unique and have unique problems to solve.

Typically when we record the podcast. There’s not a lot of background noise. But that’s not always the case. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be bringing you recordings from a recent trip to WordCamp US 2022, and you might notice that the recordings have a little echo or other strange audio artifacts. Whilst the podcasts are more than listable, I do hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world we’re at play.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, and you’ll find all of the other episodes there as well. And so without further delay, I bring you Joe Dolson.

I am joined on the podcast today by Joe Dolson. Hello Joe.

[00:04:23] Joe Dolson: Hello.

We are at WordCamp, I nearly said WordCamp Europe. We are at WordCamp US 2022. We’ve got Joe on the podcast today because he is doing a talk at WordCamp US. Do you just wanna tell us a little bit about yourself? Why you’re on this podcast, but then stray into what your talk is about.

[00:04:40] Joe Dolson: Certainly So I’m Joe Dolson. I’m a WordPress core committer. I’ve been a contributor to the accessibility of WordPress for quite a long time. I think I first started contributing in WordPress 3.4. I’d have to look at my history to actually know that for sure, but it was somewhere around there. So today I’m talking about a study from the nonprofit organization, WebAIM, out of Utah, in which they looked at the top million homepages around the web. The most widely visited, heavily known webpages, and did a bulk analysis of the accessibility issues on those pages.

And, I’m going to talk about six specific types of errors that they found constituted 96.5% of all detectable errors using automation. And the things that that exposes and how you can work with consultants. How you should use your time and how you should use automation to solve problems.

[00:05:39] Nathan Wrigley: Can I ask how it is that you became interested in accessibility problems, given all the myriad things that you could have become interested in web? How did accessibility fall into your lap and create so much interest for you?

[00:05:51] Joe Dolson: So when I started my business in 2004, I started right from the beginning with the idea that I wanted to pursue accessibility in websites. And that was because when I decided to become a web designer, I wanted something that was unique about what I did. I wanted to do something that wasn’t just marketing. I wasn’t really interested in marketing. I’d seen a lot of that around and I’m like, boy, that, that just doesn’t seem like it’s socially motivating.

[00:06:21] Nathan Wrigley: Mmm.

[00:06:21] Joe Dolson: It doesn’t seem like it’s interesting. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. So I had to think to myself about, well, what do I know already? What do I have a unique access to that can make my business be a little bit different? And my mother was the executive director of a nonprofit that provided arts access for people with disabilities.

And so for years, I’d had conversations at home with family when visiting my mother in her workplace about what people with disabilities needed and how the ADA worked, and how all of this sort of world needed to be constructed. So what I already had was a reasonably strong sensibility for why people with disabilities need access and the very fact of the modality of different experiences and different perceptions. And so with some study about the actual technical side behind that, I was able to pick that up relatively quickly. Which is not to say I didn’t make absolutely horrible mistakes in 2004 and five.

[00:07:29] Nathan Wrigley: It’s almost, it’s something that came from your, your background,. Your family enabled you to have some sort of prior wisdom. Most of the rest of us, I would imagine are coming at it pretty cold, and if we were to go back, I don’t know, 5, 6, 7, 8 years, I feel like nobody was really talking about this. I could be wrong. Obviously you were interested in it, but as a proportion of the people that were designing websites, I feel that accessibility was not on everybody’s radar. I would imagine that many, many of the websites out there were not accessible in any way, shape or form.

But it’s become a real talking point in the last few years and people are making much more of an effort. Obviously you’ve got your conversation, your presentation at the event in the next couple of days. I’m just wondering if you could outline for those people who, maybe they’re new to WordPress, maybe they’re new to web design and they hear the word accessibility and they just think, well, I don’t know what that means. Just, in the broadest possible brush strokes. Just let us know what the 10,000 foot high version of accessibility on the web is.

[00:08:31] Joe Dolson: So yeah, the 10,000 foot view. Accessibility, web accessibility, and the access to information for people with disabilities is about making sure that the content you’ve put on your website is interpretable to the most, the widest variety of senses. So for people who are visually impaired, that means making sure everything can be understood by what’s called a screen reader. That will look at the text content of your site, look at the code of your site and interpret that in voice production.

For people with hearing impairments, that’s about having captions for your video. It’s about having transcriptions of your audio files. So it’s really about recognizing that people have different ways of perceiving the world, whether that’s because of dyslexia, and they have difficulty with the way text is structured. Or it’s visually impaired, so that they literally cannot see your images and have no idea what that is. Your responsibility in sharing that information is making sure it’s available to multiple senses.

[00:09:40] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you.

Your talk is called finding and fixing the six most common WCAG, W C A G, two failures. First of all, what’s WCAG 2? And then if you wouldn’t mind elucidating what are those six most common failures? Maybe we just go through them one at a time, and if we, if we stray off into a conversation about each one of them, that’d be good, and if not, we’ll carry on from there.

[00:10:02] Joe Dolson: Sounds great. So the web content accessibility guidelines is a document coming out of the W3C, the worldwide web consortium, and it’s kind of the international standard for what is considered to be accessibility. Version two is the version that was published in, I wanna say 2008. So it’s not new. But it’s been then updated periodically since then. The current version is 2.1. 2.2 is currently a candidate. It is likely to become a recommendation sometime at the beginning of 2023.

And that just keeps incrementing different ways of looking at things and what is considered to be a standard internationally for what makes content accessible. It’s a very useful document. It is enshrined in law in a number of contexts. The US government’s section 5 0 8 is based on WCAG 2. A lot of international laws such as what the EU uses for their guidelines are based on WCAG 2. So being aware of these guidelines is pretty key.

[00:11:07] Nathan Wrigley: Just before we go into the six areas that your presentation is about. When you say that the things are enshrined in law, and you mentioned the US and the EU in particular, I guess there’s going to be a whole swathe of different responsibilities and things that you are compelled to do. You are in the US, so just give us an idea, just paint the picture in the US specifically, and we’ll just ignore the rest of the world for now, about what the absolute requirements are. So, in other words, if you don’t satisfy this, you are in breach of the law. So are you able to speak to that?

[00:11:40] Joe Dolson: I can definitely speak to that. And it’s definitely good that we’re narrowing that just to the US, because otherwise this would go on for hours.

[00:11:47] Nathan Wrigley: One country time. Yeah.

[00:11:49] Joe Dolson: So in the US, what we’ve got is section 5 0 8, which is part of the federal regulations governing the acquisition of software for government institutions. And that only applies when you’re getting funding from the federal government. So you’re only in violation of that if, for example, you’re a university and your website is funded by federal grants. And that is, 100% it’s based on WCAG 2.

There are a few tweaks that are not exactly identical, but basically if you’re violating WCAG 2 at what’s called level AA, there are three levels of severity within WCAG. There’s level A, AA and triple A. Triple A is usually very specific types of errors that apply to relatively small populations and mostly need to be handled if you’re specifically serving that population. The guidelines, the laws are around AA, which is gonna be very broad, but it’s still, there’s got a fair amount of meat to it.

The other law is the ADA, which is a 1991 law, and this may shock you, but at the time it was written, they did not directly address websites. And that does not mean that website accessibility isn’t covered by the ADA, and case law has repeatedly demonstrated through precedent, that yes, the ADA does require websites that are publicly accessible and commercial need to be accessible.

What is lacking in the US is any regulations that stipulate what that means, and that is a case where WCAG has not been brought into the legal bounds on these websites. And that is why you hear so much about so many lawsuits against companies for web accessibility. It’s because we don’t have regulations that allow anybody to easily look at their website and determine whether or not they’ve met those requirements. Really. the ADA stipulates your website needs to be accessible, it needs to provide this equal access. Figure out what that means.

[00:13:50] Nathan Wrigley: You just mentioned lawyers and that’s kind of an interesting place to go just for a moment. It feels like there’s two premises here. We could have the carrot approach, or we could have the stick approach and the stick approach, by that, I mean is the threat of somebody contacts a lawyer and threatens to sue you because your website is not up to scratch.

On the other hand, there’s the, uh, carrot approach, which is the kind of thing that I’m imagining you are doing. You’re involved in educating the community and, and making this stuff happen with a little bit of education. Do we need to fear the lawyers, the stick approach? Is that an increasing thing that’s happening? I mean, you see it in all other walks of life. People are sued for things that they haven’t done because people think they might be able to make a little bit of money out of it. Is that kind of on the horizon? Are people doing that? Do we need to be worried about the legal aspect?

[00:14:36] Joe Dolson: Yes, 100%. As recently as six or seven years ago, I would’ve said no, you don’t really seriously to worry about that unless you’re an international scale company. And that’s just not true anymore. And that’s directly because we don’t have those regulations. They’ve been slated to be added on many, many occasions, and keep getting canceled. They are currently on the docket to be created again, hopefully in 2023. But until that happens, we don’t really have anything that gives us a goal. And one of the things that regulations could come with is a schedule. A schedule of enforcement. That’s what certainly a lot of other places have done.

The province of Ontario created a document, the AODA, which is a set of laws within Ontario for what is needed to accessible, and that came with a schedule of enforcement. Instead we have a free for all. Anything could happen. And there are thousands of accessibility lawsuits every year. And a lot of them are just accident chasers effectively. They’re not people with a very serious concern. They’re just looking for a quick payoff. And that is a horrible, horrible scenario to be in because you might receive one of these demand letters, and there’s a very good chance you are in fact in violation of it, and it is legitimate, even though they probably wouldn’t pursue it in court, but you can’t count on that. So it’s, it’s a very unpleasant situation.

[00:16:09] Nathan Wrigley: That, is curious. But also, conversations like this and podcast episodes like this, at least we’re alerting people to the fact that this is something to be taken seriously. I wonder at what level, like you mentioned six or seven years ago, if you are a, a major corporation, you probably needed to worry about this. And then as though six or seven years have passed, presumably that barrier has gone lower and lower and lower. But at some point it doesn’t matter who you are, you are going to be liable unless you take this sort of stuff seriously. Sorry, you were gonna say.

[00:16:35] Joe Dolson: Right, right, right. I was say that there usually is a point when you get down into non-commercial websites, when things do get a lot fuzzier as to whether or not you’re likely to be liable, but that’s really a question that the law should be settling and the regulations should be settling.

What we should probably do is actually get to these six error types. All right. Let’s do it. So the number one is low contrast text, and that literally means where you have gray text on a slightly darker gray background, and it’s just hard to read. And there are a lot of very very specific calculations that determine in WCAG what is considered to be low contrast or not. It’s an extremely easy thing to test for, and it’s just a matter of trying to meet those guidelines.

Nobody is trying to claim that these color perception tests are perfect. It’s a number. It’s intended to be there so that you have to meet this basic minimum. An important thing to remember about contrast is that this is not a scenario where higher contrast is automatically better. If you’ve met the guideline, you’re in perfectly good shape. You do not need to then go, oh, but I should probably just go black on white. That’s not necessarily better. There’s a whole population of people who will actually find that to be a completely separate struggle.

After contrast, it’s all about, images and that’s images that are either missing alternative text, have generic alternative text, like just image or file or something useless, or are repetitive. And that’s going to be cases where maybe you’ve got a linked image next to a link where the text of that alt text is exactly the same as the text of the link, it’s just duplicate. It’s not helping anybody. These are also really easy to find because you can easily identify that your images have this really common recurring pattern. In a lot of cases in the world of WordPress.

You know, you might have a block pattern that’s producing an image with a heading and some text. And if that block pattern is just presetting an alternative text to something that’s not good, that’s where you might have a problem, it just needs to be dealt with and fixed.

[00:18:50] Nathan Wrigley: Can I just interrupt there a moment, because a default install of WordPress will give you more than alternative text. You’ve got descriptions and captions and so on. You only mentioned alternative text. Is that the case? It’s just that one field that we need to be mindful of.

And you’re describing what is in the image. So, for example, if there’s a red car with a, I don’t know, a dog in the backseat or something you would write, this is an image of a red car with a dog in the backseat.

[00:19:15] Joe Dolson: That’s a great question. I’m gonna answer two parts of that. First of all, you don’t describe the image. You describe the purpose of the image, which may or may not be a description of the image. It really depends on the context. For example, if that image is a link to a post, then what that image is actually conveying to the user is, what is this link for? Which is not necessarily going to be what is the image of. Which is also a question for, is this the right image for this? If that alt text doesn’t make any sense with that image, then maybe this isn’t the right image. But ultimately what you’re actually describing is the purpose of the image. It might be that it’s an image of a dog in the backseat of a red car.

The other thing I wanna mention about that is you would not say, image of. Because that is already going to be predicted and produced by the screen reader. They know it’s an image. You got that covered. And that is an extremely common problem actually, is people stating that it is an image? Totally unnecessary.

[00:20:15] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So we went through number one and number two.

[00:20:18] Joe Dolson: Well, there was another part of that, which is the WordPress fields. So the WordPress media library has four fields that can be filled in. Title, alternative text, caption and description. Those four things all serve completely different purposes. The title is really only for administrative use. In very old versions of WordPress, it was used to add a title attribute, but that has not been the case for many years.

The alternative text is the thing that basically represents the image. It’s the alternative to the image. When that image is not available, whether it’s because somebody can’t perceive it or because it doesn’t load. That’s the thing that should take the place of that image. And that’s the generic version of it because the things stored in the media library is just one alternative text. So usually that is going to be a description of the image. In actual use, you may or may not want to use that text depending on the context. Again, with that linked image, it’s not necessarily a description of it. It might be a description of the target.

And then the caption, the caption is a thing that should be universally available. So both people who are sighted and people who are visually impaired will be able to see that. So really it’s something that should be complimentary to the image. It gives additional context, but doesn’t necessarily explicitly describe it. An example there would be, it might be used to say who is in the image. For example, you know, the description is a man with glasses and a beard, stroking a cat. And then the caption actually says, this is a picture of our founder, Joe Dolson and his cat Bubbles. I don’t have a cat named bubbles. just to be clear.

[00:22:00] Nathan Wrigley: There was more in that than I, I imagined.

[00:22:02] Joe Dolson: The description field is actually not used by default unless your theme has decided that there’s some context in which that’s used.

[00:22:09] Nathan Wrigley: So, okay, we’ve done one and two.

[00:22:10] Joe Dolson: Moving on to number three. That’s form fields without labels. And that is an incredibly big deal. I mean, if you have a contact form or a search form or a sales form, any kind of query, and those form fields don’t have labels, then basically a user with a screen reader, they don’t know what they’re trying to do. They have no idea what this is. Frequently, you have form fields that have text nearby that is visually a label, it looks like it has a label. But if there’s no explicit association between that information, because a label is a specific HTML field and it’s connected to an input using a for attribute and an ID, attribute. And that makes it really straightforward, really explicit.

And that tells somebody what this field is for. And those being missing are just, that’s just wrong. It should not be missing. Next one after that, and I’m just gonna collapse the next two into one because they’re effectively the same problem. Empty links and empty buttons. That is literally a link that does not have any text contained inside it, or a button that doesn’t have any text. As often as not that’s because they’re either an image that doesn’t have an alt attribute.

So there’s nothing meaningful there. It’s like a font icon or an SVG image that is supposed to represent your hamburger menu, or it’s a close icon, or it’s a help icon or any of those many possibilities, but doesn’t have any kind of accessible name. It doesn’t have any attributes that give that a text context. So the screen reader knows what this is supposed to do. Those are also extremely common.

The last of the six, and this is quite rare to be a problem on a WordPress site because WordPress pretty much takes care of this, is a missing document language. Every HTML element should have a lang attribute that declares what language the document is in. English, German, French, Spanish, whatever. And the purpose of that for a screen reader is to tell them how to pronounce it.

Not having that means it will be pronounced according to whatever that person’s local settings are. So if they’re a French browser on an English site, the English is gonna have a very strong accent. And in fact, it’s not really an accent because it’s following a completely different set of pronunciation rules and that’s going to make it incomprehensible.

So making sure that that attribute is present is really important. I haven’t seen that as a problem on a WordPress site with a theme that’s reasonably recent for a long time. There were definitely a lot of older themes where, big problem.

[00:24:49] Nathan Wrigley: I’m guessing that the six things that you brought to the table could easily be 15, 20 things, but six was the number that was chosen there. I guess the problem is you could have gone on all day and we could have talked for hours about all the other things, but these are the things that have risen to the surface.

So anybody who’s not encountered this is now going to be presented with additional things to do. Work to be undertaken. Things to be learned and so on and so forth. I’m just wondering if there’s any, any useful things, tools for want of a better word that you have found over the years that have enabled you to short circuit things, make things as easy as possible. So it might be a browser extension, or I don’t know, some app that you can install on your computer or something like that.

[00:25:32] Joe Dolson: Yes, there are an incredible number of these types of tools, and they all have slightly different ways of working, slightly different sets of tests. But these particular six items, all of the automated tests are going to find these and help you solve them. They’ll give you guidance about what you have and what you need to do.

So I think some of the ones I use the most are going to be, there’s an automated tester from tenon.io, and that’s an application that you can run remotely. It’s got an API, you can run it just automatically. And it’ll just scan a page and give you a list of everything it’s found on it..

Another one is wave.webaim.org. That’s from the same group of people who produced this report that found these errors. And that’s available as a toolbar for, I think it’s Chrome. Firefox or Edge, so pretty broadly available. It’s also testing one page at a time, but they do have a tool through a company called Pope Tech, that can give you generated reports of larger sets of pages. So you can get a much larger body of data.

There are browser extensions from an organization called Deque called Axe. Those also do a wide variety of automated tests.

One of the things that’s important in development with accessibility is that it’s always something that needs to be based on the rendered site. There’s a reason they’re called the web content accessibility guidelines. It’s because it’s all about the user experience and what they’re actually getting. So there aren’t a lot of tools for doing like pre-production linting as part of your development. You know, you can do some of that in an end to end test, but it’s going to be very limited because it’s, there’s so many assumptions you have to make.

And the real world is where people have put in content that, the content is what’s really causing problems. Anything with these images, almost all of that is problems coming from content.

[00:27:28] Nathan Wrigley: So it strikes me from what you’ve just said, that there might be a better place to put this work. This work that needs to be done in the workflow of a typical website. And from what you’ve just said, it sounds like it would be better done toward, the end of the development cycle?

[00:27:43] Joe Dolson: Different parts of it fall in different locations. So low contrast text, for example, is frequently a design issue. So that as often as not should go at the very, very beginning. That’s when you’re deciding what kind of color palette you’re going to use and what your base design looks like.

The images, it’s a mix, because it depends on whether you’re using a plugin that generates a body of images, or you’re using images embedded into content. In the latter case, it’s a content production issue. So it’s something that you should be checking on the fly and should be done on a constantly recurring basis.

For the application environment, for, you know, a plugin that’s producing these lists. That needs to be fixed in the development side, on that plugin of whatever it’s doing.

Form fields are another one where most of that needs to come from the plugin that’s generating your form. Gravity Forms has done a huge amount of work on improving the accessibility of their product. They’ve got more to do. It’s always, these things are a constant battle of, oh, we screwed this up now we’ve gotta fix it. Oh, we fix this, but now we screwed that up. But Gravity Forms has done a really great job, and one of the advantages to that is that they don’t give you a lot of room to screw it up. Just make sure that legacy markup is not turned on.

[00:28:58] Nathan Wrigley: There’s a whole other conversation I think to be had there as well, but…

[00:29:01] Joe Dolson: There’s a lot.

[00:28:03] Nathan Wrigley: In terms of a typical agency, let’s say who’s done none of this work before. They’ve got a legacy of websites. Let’s say, I don’t know, 50 websites, which they’re maintaining and they’ve built. So suddenly we are presenting the agency with work that they need to go back, and if you like retro fit the websites that they’ve already built and bring them up to standard.

And then of course, there’s gonna be the new work which comes through the door and that’s gonna be a little bit more straightforward. This brings to mind the question, how much do we need to be doing of this now? How imperative is it for us to go back to our clients and say, look, we need to begin this work yesterday?

Or is it more a case going back to the clients and saying, maybe it’s time to begin again. And I know that’s not gonna be a comfortable conversation to have. Essentially what I’m trying to say, is it easy to retrofit or is it sometimes easy just to begin again almost?

[00:29:55] Joe Dolson: It is absolutely frequently easier to begin again. But it’s it is very much a case by case scenario. One of the things about the WordPress environment and this ecosystem, is that there’s a huge number of themes and plugins that you’re building your sites based on.

If those themes and plugins are issuing updates and they’re fixing problems, then a lot of the problems that are coming out of those tools can be fixed for you. And I mean that’s why I think the people who should be looking at this first and foremost are the tool creators. WordPress Core, plugin authors, theme authors, because that is going to solve the biggest, most global problems. And when I say global, I mean, these are things that are infecting, that are affecting entire sites.

I said, infecting. It’s kind of an interesting perspective, I like that in some ways, I don’t know. They’re infected with inaccessibility. But anyway, if these plugins can fix something then they can have an impact on thousands, millions of sites. I mean this is one of the reasons I contributed to WordPress at all is if I can make one little change, it can potentially impact millions of sites.

[00:31:06] Nathan Wrigley: Just the answer to this may simply be a no, and it goes nowhere else. But is there any sort of an accreditation system that things like plugins can get certified against. So that, for example, you mentioned Gravity Forms as a good example of a company that have done some work in that area. So that you could visit their website, see the accreditation stamp somewhere and say, okay, I’m assured that at least some of the work has been done. I don’t know if that’s even a thing.

[00:31:31] Joe Dolson: There’s nothing that I’m aware of really for plugins. There’s an organization. It’s the IAAP, the international association of accessibility professionals. Uh, and they certify people as specialists. In the theme world the WordPress theme repository does have the accessibility ready tag that does require some manual testing.

Plugins are a really difficult case because it’s hard to set a specific set of tests and guidelines that they have to meet because they do so many different things. For some plugins, there are no settings, there’s no user interface, it just does some automation. And you’re like, well, is that accessible? It literally has no interface. How do we judge that?

[00:32:14] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so, we talked about retrofitting. We talked about beginning and potentially that the beginning is the easiest way to go forward. That therefore raises the question of how much of this do you need to be mindful of before you can say, that site is ready to ship. And bluntly let’s say, is it okay to have a site where 10% of the tick list that you want to achieve has been completed?

Is that okay to launch, or do we need to be higher into the fifties, or indeed the nineties, or the 100%? In other words, is it better to do something and launch it, rather than wait until it’s perfect? We know how this works. If we build websites, we’ve had this problem time and again. You know, things creep in that we need to do, and we never end up launching the product because we’re constantly, constantly making it perfect. So just some guidance on where we need to be there.

[00:33:05] Joe Dolson: So it’s a slightly different answer depending on whether we’re building a new product or making changes and retrofitting something old. When you’re retrofitting, in my opinion, it’s just, the goal is make it better every day. If you can ship an update that fixes one problem, then fix that one problem.

It’s better. It doesn’t have to go from zero to a hundred in an instant. There’s no reason to wait. To shift an improvement. When it’s a new product I would say 10% is awfully low, because we all know how priorities work And as soon as that product gets in front of users. Now you’ve got user demands. You’ve got clients who just are like, oh, I don’t, I don’t know that I want to pay anything more right now.

And so that additional percentage may just never happen. So going over 10% is definitely worthwhile. But you should always recognize that there is no a hundred percent. Like you’re not going to achieve a hundred percent accessibility. The range of human experience and human perception is far too great. All you can reach for is try and think of everything you can, and everything that seems reachable and that you understand and recognize that you’re going to make mistakes.

[00:34:20] Nathan Wrigley: You were mentioning earlier about the lawyering and how that has become a thing. And I’m wondering who is the person who’s responsible. So in other words, if you are the web designer and you’ve taken on that work and you’ve handed over to your client, but then they’ve taken over for example, and they’re maintaining and updating from this moment forward. Is there any guidance around that?

In other words, can you insulate yourself from the problems which may occur? And again, there’s a myriad set of different ways that we could build and hand over and all of those kind of things, but, I’m sure a lot of people listening to this will be thinking, okay, how can I protect myself, having done some of it, but not all of it?

[00:34:58] Joe Dolson: This is definitely one of the areas where that gap in regulation is a real problem. In terms of responsibility that ultimately falls on the business owner, the website owner, or the product owner. But of course, the terms of your contract will vary and your specific liability to the outcome of your product might vary.

And even in the most solidly constructed contract where you protect yourself, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be sued for negligence. You know these things all revolve around. If a company ends up having to pay damages of $7 million because of an inaccessible website, it’s very reasonable to think they’re gonna go back to the people who they hired to work on that website and be like, we are not happy. I think that’s an extremely justified position to be in. So I think everybody needs to take a piece of this responsibility.

I know for a fact that, in the Ontario law, the AODA, they do explicitly specify that everything on the website has to be accessible, including third party products that you are using. So a common problem in a lot of websites that I’ve audited, you know, it’s a nonprofit, they’ve got a great accessible website, but they’re using this client relationships, module, a CRM to take their donations, and it’s a mess.

And you’re like, okay, this is an absolutely key part of keeping your organization operating, is getting these donations working and that’s not accessible. So you really do have a problem there. And that’s a third party application. You don’t have any direct control over it. You can’t directly fix it, and I think that’s a marketplace problem. Where all of these elements within the overall picture have to be thinking about what their responsibility is.

[00:36:50] Nathan Wrigley: You’re obviously very keen on this. And I’m just wondering if this is becoming an industry. In other words, a few years ago, we didn’t have SEO experts. Well, quite a long time ago now, but let’s say 20 years ago, there was no such thing as an SEO expert. It just, wasn’t a thing. Now there is. There’s people who you would hire in because you want to take over the SEO and give it to somebody else. And that’s now their responsibility.

Is there a growing collection of people like yourself, who you can hire in to examine and look, so you’re not relying on the tools, the automated tools. You’re really getting a, a human being in to do the real work, and yeah, is there a career there?

[00:37:30] Joe Dolson: Oh, absolutely. It is actually a huge growing market. I think the growth of the accessibility consulting and testing market is pretty high. I don’t know what it is right now off the top of my head, but it’s a growth market with no question.

And as somebody who’s been in accessibility for almost 20 years, there’s always been an industrial market for accessibility. 20 years ago, it was almost exclusively in government, universities, higher ed, that sort of area. And it has been growing very rapidly. There are a lot of large companies now that they exclusively provide accessibility consulting. There’s actually been a lot of consolidation and acquisition within the accessibility space. So there’s no question that this is absolutely a major career. It’s a market where if you engage in some training and accessibility, there are jobs to be had. They are all hiring, and this is because it has grown enormously in the last four or five years,

[00:38:31] Nathan Wrigley: Which brings me to nearly my last question, and that is, imagine that we’re working for a large agency and we are employed by a boss who, how to put this, does not care about the last half an hour’s conversation that we’ve had. And just simply wants to ship things as quickly as possible, and obviously what you are proposing is not as quickly as possible. There’s other work that needs to be done on top of that. So we could hire out, we could find somebody such as yourself, who’s able to guide us with our, your expertise. But, what do we say to those bosses? How do we persuade them that, not only does this matter, but it’s essential?

[00:39:08] Joe Dolson: So I think, you know, some people are unpersuadable. There are always going to be a group of people for whom this is simply not, not something they are going to choose to care about. And those people will ultimately only be persuaded by legal action. And so when their company gets sued, they will have no choice but to deal with that. But operating on the assumption that we’re working with somebody who at least is willing to listen to reason and to, justifications about why this needs to be done.

There are a lot of arguments in favor of it, in terms of the fact that it makes websites easier to use. It makes processes easier for customers. So there’s a, there’s an acquisition aspect. There’s a sales benefit. Just making things easier to use, making things possible to use by more people.

It’s an estimate of around 15% of the world population has some form of disability that could impact their experience on the web. And a lot of that is in cognitive impairments, where they might have problems with distraction, or lack of focus, short term memory loss, and all of those people are going to benefit enormously from the same kinds of principles that go into web accessibility.

And so on a, on a marketing argument, the very fact that by implementing accessibility, you can increase your potential market by 15% is something that should be relevant. I think there is a perception sometimes that people with disabilities aren’t a market with money to spend. That’s a bias that’s coming through things like, the social security programs for supporting people with disabilities.

But the fact is, in this era the percentage of people with disabilities who are able to be gainfully employed is rapidly increasing because the digital marketplace takes away a lot of the barriers. You don’t have to necessarily travel to your job, which might be very difficult if you are visually impaired. Or if you have problems with distraction in an environment, or you just need to be able to get away from over stimulation. So

that market is increasing. I think, I think it’s the US number right around now. I happen to do a presentation on Thursday morning about accessible advertising. So a lot of these numbers are things that I’m remembering from my presentation two days ago, that the estimated buying power of the US disability, people with disabilities, is around 350 billion. But an awfully high number of products cannot be purchased by those people, because they’re not accessible. There’s an awful lot of people with disabilities where I buy from this company. Why? Because it’s the only one I can.

[00:41:58] Nathan Wrigley: That is absolutely fascinating. And it really speaks to the question that I asked. If you have a boss who doesn’t care, potentially this is the quickest route to somebody caring. There is a market, it’s a growing market. You can be more profitable by making these tweaks.

Final question if that’s okay? We’ve talked about a lot. There’s probably gonna be a lot of confusion about where do I go, how do I find out more about these things? And you’ve sent me, we had a little shared show notes, and you’ve sent me a bunch of links. It’s gonna be difficult for us to spell them all out. I will put every link in the show notes and hopefully get them done correctly. Do you just wanna say something about the best places, the most reliable, the quickest wins, if you like that you have come across where people could? I don’t know, two or three or four of them that you’re happy to share.

[00:42:41] Joe Dolson: So yeah, I mean the list of people I’ve mentioned, they all have unique perspectives and great information. I always recommend when you’re trying to get the current best practices on how things really work and what is, what support is available for a particular interaction interface. I like to go to Adrian Roselli. He’s very, very thorough researcher on accessibility issues. And one of the best things about what he publishes is that he routinely updates things. So his website does not have stale content.

I shouldn’t say that absolutely. I haven’t read everything on his site. It might have stale content, but I’m not aware of it. So that’s a great place because you can trust that it’s going to be current and maintained and is very thorough.

I also like Haydon Pickering and Scott O’Hara. That might be O’Hara. I honestly don’t know. They both do a lot of nitty gritty experimental of, this is how you use these various accessible interactions. They’re great resources. And then there’s a general website, it’s the A11Y project, the accessibility project. And that publishes articles by a lot of very experienced accessibility practitioners who’ve been around for a long time, who are new to the industry, but writing really solid information about how things work.

And then of course there’s the actual WCAG documentation. There’s a lot of information from the web accessibility initiative, the WAI working group, and they have an enormous amount of information about just general, what it means to be accessible and what an accessible interface looks like.

[00:44:25] Nathan Wrigley: Overlays.

[00:44:26] Joe Dolson: Ha, yes.

[00:44:27] Nathan Wrigley: Overlays have cropped up. Essentially what we’re dealing with here is a, click a button, I will solve all of your website accessibility needs. That sounds too good to be true. It sounds too simple to be able to install something, let’s say it’s a plugin or a piece of JavaScript or whatever it may be, and to say to yourself, I’m done. I am compliant. I’ve done all of the things by installing some small bit of code. Tell me your thoughts about this.

[00:44:54] Joe Dolson: Well, you know, if things seem too good to be true, it might be because they’re false. And that is absolutely the case with overlays. If an overlay is claiming, I’m going to solve your problems, you don’t need to think about anything else, you are now compliant, that’s because they’re lying to you. Flat out lying to you. Because what overlays are is they’re kind of a side effect of the accident chasing, legal thing. They’re a reaction of, oh, we have all this AI. We can solve things. We can find all these problems. It’s amazing. This is fabulous. But they can’t, because the problems are vastly more complex than they actually think they are.

So many things simply, you can’t even test to identify the problem, let alone fix it. So overlays are basically just a disaster.

[00:45:44] Nathan Wrigley: Is there any scenario in which they represent a decent bridge? In other words if, if you just click that button, get that overlay on there, and then begin the good work that you’ve described during the podcast, all the other things that you can do. Is there any scenario where that could be recommended? Knowing that it was the temporary kludge.

[00:46:02] Joe Dolson: Mostly, no. Now I will say that’s a no in terms of any of the really major overlay vendors, because for the most part, they are actually going to make your website worse. There are certain of those vendors who will absolutely, definitely make it worse. And there are browser extensions that have been marketed directly to the disability community for the sole reason of disabling these overlays because of the problems they cause for people with disabilities.

There are some extremely narrow categories where an overlay can bridge that, and a lot of the major accessibility corporations as part of their work, they will build an overlay, a custom overlay, which specifically deals with specific problems on your website. And that’s going to be in cases where the process to actually get the backend code updated is too burdensome, and they need something fast. But it’s only gonna solve a tiny fraction of those problems.

That should be something that’s custom, that’s targeted. I have a plugin, WP Accessibility. It includes some overlay aspects within it, but they are very targeted because they are targeted at specific things that are known to happen with WordPress or with WordPress themes, and they have known answers.

And even then, I wouldn’t say that’s something that guaranteed to fix everything. It could still cause problems. And you shouldn’t keep it installed and operating in that manner any longer than you absolutely have to, because fundamentally what you need to do is get the fix in place But these big commercial overlays are just horrendous. They make things worse, period.

[00:47:44] Nathan Wrigley: There was one further question. Sorry, I was sneaking this one in right at the end. I also asked you to recommend a community that you thought was worth hanging out in, because that’s often a way to just sort of speed up the process. You find some friends in there and they help you and they point you in the right direction. So, you’ve mentioned one here. Do you just wanna tell us about that?

[00:48:01] Joe Dolson: So there’s a Slack community for web accessibility professionals. It’s web-a11y.slack.com, and there’s about 10,000 members of that Slack organization. And it’s a great place to ask questions, look for advice, read what other people have done, search for past conversations on various topics. It’s a pretty large Slack. It’s very active. It’s kind of the place where the community mostly hangs out I would say.

[00:48:32] Nathan Wrigley: And should anybody wish to find you Joe, off the back of this. If you’re willing to share, what are the best places to get in touch with you?

[00:48:39] Joe Dolson: I’d say the best places for me, you can find me on Twitter @joedolson, J O E D O L S O N. You can find me in the WordPress Slack, also Joe Dolson. Pretty much anywhere I am, you’ll find me as Joe Dolson.

[00:48:54] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you very much for joining us on the show.

[00:48:56] Joe Dolson: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

On the podcast today we have Joe Dolson.

Joe is a WordPress plugin developer, a core committer, and a web accessibility consultant. He’s part of the Make WordPress Accessible team, the team dedicated to improving accessibility in the WordPress ecosystem.

His recent presentation at WordCamp US entitled ‘Finding and Fixing the Six Most Common WCAG 2 Failures’, highlights some of the key areas where websites are not as accessible as they should be. The areas we discuss are:

  • low contrast text
  • missing alternative text
  • empty links
  • missing form labels
  • empty buttons
  • missing document language

Joe explains what each of these problems are, both in terms of how they can be fixed, as well as what people with accessibility requirements might experience when they visit your site.

We talk about how you can equip yourself with the tools that you need to diagnose these issues, and online resources you can use to discover more about website accessibility.

It’s Joe’s opinion that you’re better off making a start right now, carrying out incremental changes rather than attempting to solve every single problem that your website might have. Begin the journey and take it one problem at a time.

We also chat about the fact that there’s an ever growing legal compulsion to make websites follow accessibility guidelines. Lawsuits are going through the courts with greater regularity, so now might be the time to look into this topic.

That being said, Joe cautions against the use of tools which purport to solve your accessibility issues with minimal effort. A variety of pop-up solutions have emerged onto the market which claim that they can make your site compliant with almost no effort. Joe is adamant that these promises are almost always false and that there’s real work to be done on each website as they’re all unique and have unique problems to solve.

Typically, when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be bringing you recordings from a recent trip to WordCamp US 2022, and you might notice that the recordings have a little echo or other strange audio artefacts. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable, I hope you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.

Useful links.

by Nathan Wrigley at September 28, 2022 02:00 PM under podcast

Matt: Tumblr Updates

Tumblr launched Community Labels yesterday, which allows consistent tagging of addiction, violent, and adult content, and for people to hide, blur, or show that content. It’s gone pretty well so far. We’ve still been getting a lot of questions if it’s going to be free-for-all with adult content again, and the short answer is no, but the longer answer is covered in Why “Go Nuts, Show Nuts” Doesn’t Work in 2022.

If you haven’t tried out Tumblr in a while, check it out. Lots of improvements the past few months, and it can be a refreshing alternative or add-on to your online social life. And get your friends on it too!

by Matt at September 28, 2022 09:40 AM under Asides

Do The Woo Community: devlife_snippet: Thoughts on Translating the WooCommerce Plugin

We share some thoughts on how to get started with WooCommerce translation and some of the challenges behind it.

>> The post devlife_snippet: Thoughts on Translating the WooCommerce Plugin appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 28, 2022 09:00 AM under Site Builders

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