WordPress Planet

October 03, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress Global Sponsorship Program Raises Costs for 2024 to Support Expanding In-Person Events

WordPress’ Community team has proposed a draft for the 2024 Global Community Sponsorship Program, with fees increased to cover the costs of the rapidly expanding number of in-person events.

The program supports the volunteer-organized local events so that they can provide free or low-cost access for attendees. It helps companies streamline their sponsorship contributions across multiple events with less administrative overhead than it would be to sponsor individual WordCamps. The program does not include flagship events such as WordCamps Europe, Asia, and US.

Fees have gone up since 2023 for all three sponsorship packages: Gold, Silver, and Bronze, which offer varying degrees of visibility at in-person WordPress events.


The 2021 and 2022 programs did not include funding for WordCamps, due to the unpredictability of hosting in-person events when the pandemic made conditions unfavorable in many places across the world. At that time many WordCamp and meetup organizers opted to continue with virtual events.

In 2023, WordPress events are ramping back up again. Automattic-sponsored community contributor Isotta Peira said the number of in-person events has increased by 60% compared to 2022, and they expect Next Gen events will keep the program growing into 2024. So far 15 pilot events have been confirmed for the new Next Gen format, with 11 of them happening in 2023.

“As a result of the Meetup Reactivation project that started in July 2022 and ended in June 2023, 270 dormant Meetups started hosting events again,” Peira said. “Today, we have 729 WordPress Chapter Meetups in 107 countries and over 500,000 members globally. In the first 7 months of 2023, the WordPress Community has held 27 WordCamps, and another 29 are scheduled before year-end.”

The proposal highlighted a few stats demonstrating the strong resurgence of community events:

  • 36 local WordCamps held in 2023 to date, with 25 more scheduled before year end
  • 173% increase in WordCamps since last year: 60 WordCamps anticipated to be held in 2023, compared to 22 in 2022
  • 729 meetup groups across 107 countries
  • 507,796 meetup group members, program-wide
  • 2,998 meetup events scheduled in 2023 to date, and over 340 more scheduled through the end of the year

The uptick in events is the direct result of the Community team’s efforts in 2023 to reactivate dormant meetup groups, bring back in-person WordCamps, and evolve the WordCamp program to make room for new event types.

Companies that are interested to support WordPress’ burgeoning events program can get on board for 2024 by emailing support@wordcamp.org before November 30, 2023.

by Sarah Gooding at October 03, 2023 03:14 AM under News

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 12.0.0-beta3

Hello BuddyPress contributors!

If you haven’t tested our two first beta releases (👉 please read this post about beta1), please consider testing this third and last beta release. Beta testing is the best way to make sure the final release will fit perfectly into your WordPress / BuddyPress specific configuration. 12.0 is introducing a very important change about how BuddyPress URLs are built, analyzed and routed and more than ever we need your help to reach this important milestone for the plugin.

What’s new since beta2?

We’ve fixed 4 bugs and improved the BuddyPress URLs settings screen help area.

12.0.0 is slated to October 30, thanks in advance to all the contributors who will give us a hand to get there 😍.

You can test BuddyPress 12.0.0-beta3 in 4 ways :

If you find something weird, please report it on BuddyPress Trac, post a reply to this support topic or get in touch with us on our WordPress.org Slack channel.

Happy testing 👩🏻‍💻🧑🏾‍💻

by Mathieu Viet at October 03, 2023 02:56 AM under releases

Matt: Preserving Harvard’s Blogging History

This month, Automattic had the privilege of working with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (BKC) to migrate their early 2000s blogging platform over to our Pressable infrastructure. (Pressable is a small host Automattic runs to develop our WP.cloud infrastructure, it gets you all the performance and security of our high-end WP.com plans, but with a more plain-vanilla WP interface.)

The Harvard Blogs network that the Center launched back in 2003 was an important milestone in internet history. It provided a platform for over 1,500 high-impact bloggers—including Harvard students, faculty, fellows, staff, and alumni—to publish and engage in discussion.

We were alerted to BKC’s plans to decommission blogs.harvard.edu by none other than Dave Winer, the pioneering developer behind blogging, RSS, and podcasting, and a Berkman Center fellow from 2003-2004. As BKC shared in their announcement, the network played a formative role for many now-influential bloggers and internet figures. It also contributed to the rise of podcasting and projects like Ushahidi.

When we learned BKC planned to retire the Harvard Blogs platform, we wanted to ensure this valuable archive of early internet culture was preserved. We offered to host the network’s blogs indefinitely so they can remain publicly accessible for years to come.

The Harvard Blogs multisite consisted of around 1,500 blogs. To move it over, we systematically migrated the archive to our servers and then upgraded the network to the latest version of WordPress (we also updated a handful of plugins and themes and tested the updated versions against the original sites hosted by Harvard.).

Much like our recent unveiling of the 100 Year Plan for WordPress.com, the preservation of the Harvard Blogs archive demonstrates Automattic’s commitment to protect vital pieces of internet history and culture for generations to come. By preserving these blogs, we hope to inspire future generations of online voices.

There was something really nice about the neighborhood of blogs the Harvard blog network provided that I hope they or another university tries again sometime. Harvard is now 387 years old, I hope these blogs last at least that much longer (that would be 2,410 AD!).

by Matt at October 03, 2023 12:53 AM under Asides

October 02, 2023

Gravatar: New Gravatar Hovercards: Faster, Open-Source, and Everywhere

Hovercards offer a sleek, interactive way to showcase user profiles. With just a hover over the Gravatar image, a card displays essential information about the user. This eliminates the need to navigate away from the current page and encourages engagement.

A new open-sourced Gravatar Hovercards library is live for users of WordPress.com and Jetpack, and is available to be implemented by anyone around the web. Here’s what’s new:

  • Leaner and faster: By pruning redundant code and harnessing modern web APIs, we’ve achieved greater efficiency and reduced file sizes by more than 200%.
  • Improved UX: The hovercard design is more refined and will work better across sites with different styles and branding. The library now supports different placements to cater to a variety of needs.
  • Universal hovercards: The new library introduces the ability to attach hovercards to any element, not just the avatar image. For example, a site can @someone and show the hovercard on hover.
  • Open to the world: Developers can integrate it into their sites via the NPM package.

If you aren’t seeing hovercards on your WordPress site, go to Settings -> Discussion and look for the setting to enable pop-up business cards. You will need to be hosted on WordPress.com or have the free Jetpack plugin installed.

We encourage you to explore Gravatar hovercards, and welcome your ideas and contributions via our GitHub repo.

by Ronnie Burt at October 02, 2023 12:55 PM under Gravatar

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 63: A WordPress 6.4 Sneak Peek

Join WordPress Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, as she offers an exclusive preview of the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release, accompanied by special guest Sarah Norris, one of the Editor Tech leads for this release. Don’t miss this opportunity for an insider’s look!

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


Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Guest: Sarah Norris
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes


[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello everyone. And welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project some insight into the community that supports it. And get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

[00:00:28] (Intro Music) 

[00:00:39] Josepha: I have with me today, Sarah Norris. She is the Core Tech Editor in the WordPress 6.4 release. Welcome, Sarah.

[00:00:47] Sarah: Oh, hi, and thanks for having me.

[00:00:50] Josepha: First, I should give everyone kind of a concept of what we’re doing.

So this is the WordPress 6.4 sneak peek episode of our podcast, which means that we’re going to talk a little bit about like the stuff that we are excited to get into the release stuff that we’re hoping is actually going to make it into the final release. But also, we’re going to talk a little bit about like stuff that we wish people knew.

That we were working on. Things that are going to be really cool for users or developers or plugin authors, theme authors, things like that, that otherwise people would miss because it’s just hard to see. And so before we get started on all of that, is this your first release where you’re part of a squad like this?

[00:01:31] Sarah: Ah, so, it’s actually my second. I was part of 6.1 as well. I led the default theme of 2023. But I am finding that the experience is a little bit different. So I’m still learning probably just as much. 

[00:01:42] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and in 6.1 versus 6.4, for one, the themes are very different. Like the default themes are very different, but also the tasks involved with leading a default theme are very different from like leading things happening in the core editor in that Gutenberg plugin.

[00:02:01] Sarah: Yeah, there’s so many different tasks. Yeah, like, I guess maybe there’s such, there’s maybe just like a set of tasks for every part of the release squad. But they’re so different. And much more involved.

[00:02:12] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. And as of the time of this recording, we’re recording this on September 27th. It comes out a little bit later. But as of the time of this recording, like we just wrapped up beta 1 for WordPress 6.4 yesterday. But I understand that, like an hour ago, you wrapped up a final release of the Gutenberg plugin as well.

So you’re just kind of everywhere with us right now.

[00:02:36] Sarah: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, we tried to make the beta 1 for 6.4 and the latest release of Gutenberg quite close together to make it easier to, to merge those latest changes for beta 1 of 6.4. So yes, that’s why it’s so close together, and fingers crossed, they both went really smoothly, so I’m really happy about that.

[00:02:53] Josepha: Now we all sit around and watch the support queues and hope. That part, the sitting around and watching the support queues, is both my most favorite and least favorite sometimes part of releases. Like, it’s a little bit my most favorite because I get to talk to our support folks. I’m like, hey, is anything happening? But also, it’s my least favorite because it’s like the Schrödinger’s cat of releases. You’re like, as long as I don’t look at it, it could be all well or all bad, and I just don’t know.

[00:03:23] Sarah: I hear you. I’ve just been doing something similar with watching test releases.

[00:03:27] Josepha: Yeah. Just waiting and waiting and waiting. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Well, let’s talk a little bit about 6.4. So WordPress 6.4 is our third major release of 2023, which is kind of a big deal for one because, like, three major releases a year is always exciting. But this particular one is, on the one hand, much larger from a feature standpoint than we kind of expected it to be, or so far, it looks like it’s going to be a bit larger than we expected.

But also, it is our second iteration of an underrepresented gender release squad. Which I am very excited about. It’s a way for us to kind of bring in a lot of voices that otherwise we don’t see in the space. And so we’re going to just kind of talk through both of those things today. But let’s start with first: what are the things that are going into the release that you personally are most excited about, that you are most interested in making sure that we get all the way to the end of the release cycle?

[00:04:27] Sarah: So, ones that I am particularly excited for. So, the first one on my list is the Font Library. This is looking really good to include as well. So it’s gonna do your way for users to manage fonts across their site regardless of their active themes. So similar how to how their media library works at the moment for images and other media.

[00:04:44] Josepha: And if I recall correctly when I was looking at the prototypes for that, like the early demos of it, that has a lot of local font management as well, which helps us with GDPR concerns that we have had with font management in the CMS for a while. One, is that still correct? And two, does it look like it’s going to make it into the release?

[00:05:04] Sarah: Yes. Yeah. Both correct. Yes. Yeah. Very easy. Yeah, that’s exactly right. So yeah, all the fonts will be managed locally. So, including things like Google Fonts. And any of the popular libraries and the way it’s been built, as it calls its files like this, it’s been built with extensibility in mind. So yeah, hopefully, the possibility should be endless for any number of font collections to be added.

[00:05:23] Josepha: Yeah. Yeah. I, I know, for folks who are listening to this later, hopefully not much later, but if you are listening to this between when beta 1 came out and between and beta 2 is coming out, we didn’t get as much of that into beta 1 as we expected, but beta 2 should have a good chunk of it in there.

So get out there and test that.

[00:05:43] Sarah: It’s also just been released with Gutenberg 16.7 as well. So, I guess for anyone that you just mentioned listening in between. 

[00:05:51] Josepha: I’m one of those folks that has not; I don’t run trunk because I’m not that good with like preventing WordPress from falling apart. I’m not a developer, but I do run the nightlies and for the major releases for Core, and I run also the beta of Gutenberg. And so, I got both updates done this morning and started going in and looking at everything because I don’t run trunk. I didn’t have some of the weird edge cases that I saw reported over the last few weeks, which is probably good. 

[00:06:21] Josepha: But also, if anyone’s running trunk and is running all of the nightlies of anything, let us know where the problems are because there are not a lot of you. It feels like, like, a thousand people in the particular combination. What else is in there that you are very excited to see?

[00:06:37] Sarah: I’m also looking forward to, so we have a new feature called Block Hook, and for anyone who follows Gutenberg, you might have heard it’s called Auto Inserting Blocks, but we’ve renamed it to Block Hook. And yes, this is another powerful feature that expands the extensibility of block themes. And so it allows plugins to automatically insert blocks into content relative to another block.

And so, a good example that we’ve been using is automatically adding a like button to the post content block. And so yeah, I think it’s a, it’s maybe a more developer-centric feature. 

[00:07:09] Josepha: So, like, it detects what block you have and suggests bits and pieces that otherwise would make sense there that other people are usually using in those blocks.

[00:07:20] Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So you can add all through JSON as well. You can add a block that will automatically be added.

[00:07:25] Josepha: All right. Excellent. That was part of the Interactivity API, or is, is early parts of it rather, I guess.

[00:07:35] Sarah: Yes, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s the start.

[00:07:39] Josepha: Another thing that is a part of the Interactivity API, which we’ve been working on, folks. I think everybody knows for like a year or two. The other part that is shipping in 6.4 is, I think, the Lightbox for images. Is that right?

[00:07:55] Sarah: Yes, that’s right. Yes. And yeah, that’s due to be included with 6.4 as well.

[00:07:59] Josepha: I’m going to just tell us all a weird story. So, for maybe my entire life, like I understand what a lightbox is from a image and photography standpoint, but for the majority of my life, I thought that lightbox referred to those like big initial letters in old manuscripts. I don’t actually know what those are called if not lightboxes, but in my mind, that’s what they were.

[00:08:22] Josepha: And so when we first started talking about this, I was like, that’s what we’re shipping is like the drop capital letter, like the big one, but it’s not. In case anyone else also was confused about what a lightbox is, it’s the image-based concept of a lightbox.

[00:08:37] Sarah: I think it’s an important one because previously you would have to install, maybe a third-party plugin or, or build lightbox yourself so. It may sound like a, oh, it’s a tiny feature that’s been included, but it’s actually pretty awesome. You don’t have to include even more extra code. 

[00:08:51] Josepha: Speaking of things that we have been working on for two years or so, I think that every sneak peek for the last year, the folks of WordPress have heard me say that I was super excited about navigation and how we’re managing it, but it turns out that is a very complicated thing. Like we know that, managing menus, managing navigation on a site is complicated from just like a philosophical standpoint. When our users of WordPress, when consumers of WordPress like go through that process, that is the hardest one to explain. And therefore, very hard to manage as well. 

We have had like a requirement that you know three different admins in order to manage your menu, manage your navigation on your site, but we shipped some early components for it in 6.3 and in 6.4. I believe that we are planning; I’m crossing my fingers no one can see it, crossing my fingers. We’re planning on getting an updated treatment for the toolbar out. Is that correct?

[00:09:53] Sarah: Yes, yeah, I was a little bit worried because I didn’t know too much in detail, but I did know about the toolbar. So, yes, yes, I believe that is planned to get into 6.4.

[00:10:01] Josepha: Yeah. So, and the point of that, because for folks who have not tried this out yet, the point of that is that the navigation is kind of, when you look at it, individual components, it’s like a bunch of little blocks together, and then we wrap it as like a collection that shows up as the navigation block, but because it’s a bunch of little blocks and each of the little blocks has their own like toolbar that goes with it, it took a lot of work to kind of figure out how to get all of those toolbars to have a primary expression with the navigation. Versus like every single thing that you put into your navigation has its own toolbar, and good luck to you.

[00:10:44] Sarah: Yeah, it’s a really, really complicated problem, and I guess maybe it always has been, and hopefully we just keep improving and all the time, and we probably never will stop improving because it’s, yeah, it’s just such a complicated thing to edit, and I think particularly in an editor without using any code.

[00:11:00] Josepha: Yes.

[00:11:01] Sarah: We’re getting there, it always, it always is getting better.

[00:11:04] Josepha: Yeah. Before we move into the question of like things that you wish people knew about the release that maybe they’re not going to know, I do want to stop and talk about the default theme a little bit. Everyone loves the default theme at the end of the year. But every year, Matt and I talk about, like, what would it look like if we didn’t have a default theme.

What if we just were like, all themes are great. Just do whatever you want, which seems too difficult, frankly. But the way that this default theme is envisioned is so different. It’s got basically three different focuses. Do you know much about this year’s default theme?

[00:11:41] Sarah: Yeah, a little bit, so I, yeah, I know, I don’t know, I think it’s shaping up to be a really good starting point for so many different types of projects. So, I know that that is maybe the aim of every default theme. But we usually show off a lot of the features that are going into the release, like via the default theme.

I know we did that last time as well, but this time, we’re doing that stealth. But we’re also creating like a great baseline for so many different types of projects. And I think maybe in the past, we’ve maybe only hit like one type of project. And, like, this is a good example for this one very specific thing.

But yeah, this time, I know that that’s always like, especially working with other themers, they’re like, what’s the best base theme for this type of thing? And I’m hoping Twenty Twenty-Four is going to be the new answer for so many people.

[00:12:23] Josepha: Yeah, yeah, I looked at the early designs for that with the, because what it has, and these, we’ll put a link to this in the show notes to the repo about it and the Figma file and all those things. But what it has is like a really robust set of default patterns for anyone who’s wanting to have like a big commercial site with a lot of things that are required, a really complicated site. Then we have a suite of default patterns that are shipping so that artists and people who are focused primarily on visual assets on their site have the specific patterns and blocks and things required for that and then one that is specific to people who focus on the content in their site.

I am one of the people who specifically focuses on the content in the site. I was delighted to see that, but it kind of has three different levels of varying complexity based on what it is that people might, might want to have to, oh, not want to have to, might want to be able to do on their sites. And I think that’s kind of cool.

[00:13:31] Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. It’s super cool. And I think while we’re still in the development cycle as well, for 6.4, this is a; the default theme is a great way to jump into contributing if people are looking for good ways to jump in.

[00:13:44] Josepha: Yeah, it runs in a separate repo. And so it has a little bit of a different process, but also it feels like a little bit of a faster process. It kind of runs independently of the release cycle that we have for either the plugin or core. And so it kind of goes a bit faster.

[00:14:03] Sarah: Yes.

[00:14:05] Josepha: Yeah. Excellent. So, then, obvious next question. What Is happening in this release that you wish people knew about?

[00:14:15] Sarah: Yep. Okay. So, I think maybe things that are difficult to fit into the bigger categories that will be easy to shout about when we talk about the release when it’s been released. There’s a lot of accessibility enhancement that are going to be included. So there’s things like better button placements and upgraded spoken messages, especially in site health.

There’s also so many performance improvements that are scheduled to be included, so I know there was many performance improvements included in 6.3. We are continuing that for 6.4. There’s many more improvements to block themes and classic themes in the way the templates are loaded. And we’ve also got a we’re including a usage of the new defer and async loading strategies as well for script.

So these are sort of like, nitty-gritty detail sort of things that will be included that don’t sound too exciting but are actually really, really cool. 

[00:15:07] Josepha: Yeah. I understand the whole like, this is not very exciting. This doesn’t sound interesting but trust me, it is like, sometimes it feels like half of my job is that I’m like, I know that nothing I’m about to say sounds cool, but trust me, it’s amazing. We’ve been working on it for a long time, and it’s cool.

That’s great. That’s great. And so. For those things, it sounds like a lot, this is going to particularly be of interest to folks who are developing for other people using WordPress. But also obviously a little bit of, of benefit, maybe invisible benefit, but still benefit for our end users as we go.

[00:15:46] Sarah: Yeah, yeah, that’s right, exactly.

[00:15:48] Josepha: So those are kind of the sneak peek items that we’ve got going into the release. As always, with this particular episode, we’re not promising that any of those things will 100 percent for sure get in there. There is part of being a release squad that kind of doesn’t really get talked about outside of WordPress but is probably worth mentioning, which is that the release squad has the really unpleasant job of saying no at the last second for things that are breaking something, things that are not actually a better user experience.

Like we have the uncomfortable job of saying like, no, it wasn’t good enough. Sorry, thank you. Come again in the next release cycle. And so, like, all of these things are things that are currently in and being tested, but in the event that we discover it breaks 10 percent of the sites that we have on WordPress, like, we’re gonna, we’re gonna pull it.

So, right now, that’s all in there, we hope, and if listening to me for a whole year get excited about the changes in navigation, and then also not getting them in didn’t teach you anything, just because I want it in doesn’t mean that I get to have it in either. So, but yeah, so that’s exciting. The other exciting thing about this release, we mentioned it a bit at the top of the discussion, is that it is a gender-upresented, gender-underrepresented release squad. Not upresented, because that is a, not a word. And so this is the second one. Did you participate in the first one?

[00:17:22] Sarah: No, I didn’t no. Yeah, but I have read all about it, especially in prep to this release as well.

[00:17:28] Josepha: Oh, did you learn anything from it that you brought into this one, or was it just like, I need to know what I’m getting into kind of reading a lot about it? 

[00:17:36] Sarah: Yeah, basically, yeah, I was trying to prep myself, ever since I was involved in 6.1, I’ve tried to be, I’ve tried to follow along closely with the releases. But sometimes, there’s just so much going on all the time. Sometimes it’s a little bit much. But yeah, I just wanted to see if there was any, any big differences.

There shouldn’t be, right? So yeah, it’s all good.

[00:17:54] Josepha: I think all of the differences were in that boring part where people don’t, they’re like, that sounds so un-fun, we’re going to just stop listening. But it was like, in the planning and preparation for it, and the way that we did all the training, like the initial one had like an 18 month period between like, we’re gonna do it, and now it’s done, where we did a lot of additional work to get everybody in there.

[00:18:18] Josepha: And this time, we were like, get in here! That’s all we did. So, how has your experience been on the release squad? I know that you did one before. You did one in 6.1, but is this particular squad any different compared to your last experience of it, or what you expected?

[00:18:35] Sarah: So, I would say everyone is equally as amazing as every release and, including the resource they’re involved with. I think that the biggest difference for me, and maybe this links to something you just said, is that I, I knew I was going to be involved in the release squad a lot earlier, especially compared to me for 6.1, but I think I’ve heard other people say that as well. So, I think that’s a great thing for this release. We all have had some time ahead of the release and including during this 6.3 release as well, so I was able to watch particular people in, not in a non-creepy way, and make sure I knew which, like what the processes were.

Yes, to try and get my head around when when I’d be doing it. And, and obviously, the big help was that I’d be doing it immediately after they’d just done it as well. And the previous release squad has been a massive help as well when I’ve come across either very, very complicated issues or like super silly issues; I can write them and answer your questions so that I think if we could carry that forward with the future releases as well.

[00:19:28] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. So this time around, we had almost 50 percent new folks that that, like, let us know that they were participating, probably quite a few more than that. But, like, of the people who let us know that they wanted to participate in this release, we had like 28 out of 50 people, something like that, who are brand new to contributing to WordPress in some cases, but certainly, all of them are brand new to contributing to a major release like this. Have you, cause this is not your first time doing this, but it is your first time in this type of release. Have you found that, like, you’re feeling able to help new people see what’s happening also, like, do you feel seasoned enough for that? Or are you just like, nope, I’m also new.

[00:20:17] Sarah: Maybe a little bit of both. I guess I, yeah, I’m fortunate to have at least experienced, maybe, like how the deadlines roll. Actually, especially the point we’re at at the moment, where the weekly beta cycles happened. Last time, it took me by surprise. I was like, oh wow, okay, we have a week. Until the next one, and then a week, and so yeah, I feel a bit more psyched up for that this time around.

And hopefully, I can tap that on you to the new folks as well. But yeah, I also noticed we have a lot of new people. We have, especially from a core editor tech lead; I think we have nearly 30 people who are sort of officially following us along or shadowing us.

So yeah, yeah, but it’s really cool. I hope we can teach so many more people if they want to get involved with the next release or even just contributing in general. Yeah, it’d be amazing.

[00:21:00] Josepha: Yeah. If you are listening to our podcast, and you think to yourself, well, I’m here. And I wonder if anyone knows because I’m just watching everyone in a non-creepy way, like feel free at the next meeting that you’re watching to, to raise your hand and say, I’m new. We want to know that you’re there.

Not because we feel creepy otherwise. But also because we just want to celebrate that you exist new folks that are scared of us. Don’t be scared of us.

Oh, man, I feel compelled now to tell everybody about the first time that I led a core chat. So the core chat, I watched that without telling anyone I was watching it for like a year before I had to actually lead it, and I just didn’t tell anybody I was there like I didn’t even participate in the waving part at the start where it’s just like, Hey, everyone, I exist, like, when I was just silently watching it all go by and so when I got announced as part of a release squad. It was shocking for everyone, I think. And there is a public record of a moment where I was panicking. I felt like everyone was asking me a thousand questions, and I didn’t know the answers to any of them. And I just told all of them, like, there are a million of you and one of me, and you’re kind of scaring me, so would you stop?

And so there’s a public record of me calling out every developer that existed in WordPress at the time. I felt bad about it in the moment, but also like, whew, that was, I don’t think we have experiences like that for new contributors anymore, but it was, it was quite a moment. I remember distinctly, so Jeffrey Paul, he’s like one of our, I think we have three or four like self-declared project managing people.

He is a project manager person in WordPress that I really rely on, and I was DM’ing him in the background in a full panic. I was like, I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. What am I supposed to do? And he was like no is also an answer. So, like, just tell them no. Tell them you don’t know. That’s fine. And I was like, Oh, God! So, I think that we maybe don’t have too much of that happening anymore, but I also understand that I wouldn’t see it if it were happening. No one’s coming to me to be like, is this normal? Should I panic? They’re probably coming to you with that.

[00:23:21] Sarah: I think it’s a sort of good, I’m not good for you, maybe, but good for observers especially. You know, to see you go through that as well. I can really relate to, like, not even showing, like, a wave emoji because I’ve totally been in that situation. I think maybe we’re similar in that regard, like, it, sometimes I just feel really nervous even just showing an emoji.

And I think, again, shouting out about that and to, to those people who also feel like that, who are watching yeah, yeah, wave if you, if you feel like you want to, and don’t wave, it’s also fine just to watch. 

[00:23:48] Josepha: Once you’ve been to 52 meetings, then you can wave. Oh, it’s so hardworking in open source that way because, like, there is a lot of, like, basically faith in other people because trust comes with, like experiencing things together. But initially, you do just kind of have to have faith that no one’s going to laugh you out of the room or say that your ideas are stupid or that you are like even remotely understanding the problem, and so that’s a, it’s a part of the new contributor experience that I always find so interesting I used to routinely give presentations about like this is how you get started first get ready to be uncomfortable I don’t give those presentations very often anymore but probably probably I should ask someone to get out there and be like, It’s scary for everyone, including you!

Come be scared together! Cause I think that’s important to normalize. Fear’s normal. When you first started contributing to WordPress in general, let alone like being on a release squad, what is the team that you first joined through?

[00:25:02] Sarah: So, I guess, full-time contribution, it was themes. I was very involved with themes, and I still am as well; I really love themes, especially block themes. And also with the editor. But, like, years and years ago, I guess it was still themes. I used to build themes.

But that was very much; I was a forum user, and well, actually, I guess it goes back to me being very nervous and not wanting to admit the question that I wanted to ask, so I would hunt the forums, but afterwards just so helpful.

Like, yeah, I know this is a lot of people’s story, but yeah, the forums and just chatting amongst other community members is so, so helpful. So yeah, when I became a full-time contributor, I really, I love talking to other people who are trying to get help or, yeah, reaching out any way they can because I was like, I feel that I was you and still am you as well.

[00:25:50] Josepha: I mean, the good thing about it, like, we will always feel like we’re learning something because we are, but in my experience of folks in WordPress, and I haven’t been new in a long time, obviously been doing this for like eight years now which is ancient by technology standards, but like my favorite thing about folks in WordPress is that they are wanting to like learn enough to probably not break it forever.

Like it’s the probably is in there, and the forever is in there like I want to. I want to know just enough to be mildly dangerous and then bring everybody with me. Let’s go be dangerous together. And I think that is really charming in a way because it’s like we know enough to sort of break it. But not break it a lot.

So let’s go see how we break it a little bit to make it better. I think that’s such a charming attitude for some reason because then we all just get to kind of learn and be a little bit messy together, which is the nature of openly collaborating on a half-written software—all the time. But yeah, I think it’s kind of neat.

[00:27:05] Sarah: Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s exciting too, like if you’re staying, you’ve got that enough red push and edge that you’re just like, Ooh, I might break something. But then there’s so many people that help you out that, you know, just before you could actually break something important. 

[00:27:18] Josepha: Exactly. The one time when I did a very breaking thing because I didn’t know to ask about it and fixed it immediately was that I mentioned in the middle of a core chat that we were about to have a security release. But it wasn’t about it wasn’t like in the next 15 minutes, it was like three weeks away, which is not what you’re allowed to do like you are not allowed to mention that you have a security release coming in three weeks, and then hope that nobody figures out what it’s patching.

Yeah, I got so many messages in such a short amount of time from it felt like every lead developer of WordPress. That was my, my worst moment.

And I fixed it immediately. So that was good. But also, I don’t remember if we had to like move up the, the timeline for that release or what. I don’t; I have no idea what the outcome was because I was just in an outright panic about what I had done incorrectly.

Anyway, so that’s the; I’m just going to tell everybody my most embarrassing early contribution stories today. That’s what I’m doing. Excellent. Well, Sarah, before we head out of here, is there a final thought that you would like to share with either our listeners here or future potential contributors to WordPress?

[00:28:37] Sarah: Please help test 6.4, especially through the next few cycles of beta. It would be amazing to have everyone and anyone who would like to help. That is one of the best ways you can help is to test. And then, yeah, if you want to get involved a little bit further, then yeah, I guess, please reach out wherever you think you fit, which I know sounds a bit fake, but there are a lot of different places, and I’m sure there will be somewhere you fit as well.

00:28:59] Josepha: I will leave in the show notes a link to the page that has all of the upcoming meetings on it. You can probably go to almost any meeting and say, I think this is where I would like to contribute, but also, this is the kind of thing I can contribute, and they will be able to head you in the right direction if you’re not already in the right direction. But also, like, sometimes your skills that you have are going to be applicable in places where you’re not aware of yet. And so, go to any meeting—wave to the friendly WordPressers that are around, the Sarah Norrises that exist in the project. 

[00:29:36] Josepha: Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today. This was a delight.

[00:29:39] Sarah: Thanks so much for having me on; I really enjoyed it.

[00:29:42] (Music interlude) 

[00:29:42] Josepha: That brings us now to our small list of big things. First thing to know is that tomorrow we have Beta 2 for WordPress 6.4. This is our final release of the year, as you know because we’ve been talking about it for the entire episode. But, just like Sarah said at the end of our conversation, we absolutely need people to help us test it, make sure that it is working in as many places as possible so that we can have the best release possible. So keep an eye out on the core channel in the Making WordPress Slack, and of course, keep an eye on WordPress.org/news as those releases get packaged and ready to go. 

So the second thing is a proposal for documentation translation localization process update. This is an initial step to consolidate all of that documentation into a single easy-to-reach location. So we need some feedback on it. Head on over there, leave a comment to share your feedback about where that should possibly go, where is most useful and valuable for you. 

The second proposal that I have is actually sort of a tangentially related one, but so it’s not specific to WordPress but does need some WordPress input. There is a call for proposal for Interop 2024. There’s a post that has a lot more information about it than I do, but we would like for any WordPress developer who’s interested to head over there and submit a proposal for what they could speak about at Interop, I believe. You can leave your thoughts on the post itself as a comment, or there’s also a GitHub repo where you can interact as well.

The next thing on our small list of big things is that the WordCamp US Q&A, the questions that we didn’t get to because there were something like 87 or something in the queue. The questions that we didn’t get to, the answers have been posted. They’re over on make.WordPress.org/project, but I’ll include a link to those to that post in the show notes. 

And the final thing on the small list of big things, I’m actually quite excited about. We are hosting now accessibility office hours. In an effort to improve accessibility knowledge in the WordPress project in general, the accessibility team will be holding office hours every Wednesday at 14:00 UTC.

That started on September 20th. And so it’s been going for a couple of weeks now. And the purpose is to make sure that we have a dedicated space and time to discuss accessibility principles and best practices as we go through those things. 

[00:32:29] Josepha: And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Hayden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:32:38] (Music interlude) 

by Brett McSherry at October 02, 2023 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

September 30, 2023

Gutenberg Times: WordPress 6.4 Beta, NASA now on WordPress, Gutenberg 16.7, HTML API, Interactivity API – Weekend Edition #270


2009 I was invited to NASA first Launch TweetUp for STS 129 with ca 150 other Tweeple. We learned about the shuttle lunch, it’s mission, talked to engineers, astronauts, and administrators of NASA, and shared it with our followers on Twitter. It was certainly one of the most interesting weekends in my life.

In 2009, I also started my personal WordPress journey, testing and prodding searching for a CMS for a nonprofit internet service provider. I started on an incredible journey into web development, community building and open-source.

Now in 2023, those two life threads come together. After three years building up to it, NASA launched their new website built with WordPress. Members of the Website Modernization were invited to give WordCamp US participants a sneak preview and discussed the journey to get there. If you haven’t watched them yet, there were great presentations on the work. What a great way to showcase WordPress! WordPress and I have come a long way together.

Other block editor and builder news are below. Enjoy!

Yours, 💕

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 was released, and is ready for testing. There are two calls for testing, you can follow:

Sarah Gooding also reported on the release for the WPTavern: WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 Released, with a short summary of all the great new features that will come to a WordPress instance near you.

In his Design Share: Sep 11-Sep 22, Joen Asmussen highlighted the fabulous work of the WordPress design team:

  • A second iteration for the WordPress Pattern Directory, features a refined submission flow and a new “Pattern Bundle” feature. You can navigate through a clickable prototype on Figma.
  • Ongoing work in Pagination Design
  • An Enterprise Notice on the WordPress site so link to a page about the “State of Enterprise for WordPress” guide.
  • More exploration on organizing the Command Palette displays.
  • A polished modal on Mobile

Comment or contribute.

Pattern bundles shown in the Design share post

Sarah Norris, Editor Tech co-lead for WordPress 6.4, also was the release lead of Gutenberg 16.7 and published the release post to let you know What’s new in Gutenberg 16.7? (27 September). She highlighted a ton of features:

Font management screenshot

🎙️ Latest episode: Gutenberg Changelog #90 – New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4 with Tammie Lister as special guest, hosted by Birgit Pauli-Haack

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

Damon Cook announced on X (former Twitter) : “I’ve helped write #WordPress themes that went on to have 80,000+ installs, but never under my own name and always under the guise of an agency I was working for. Today, I’ve finally contributed a theme on .org with sole attribution.” Congratulations to Damon Gook for getting his first theme into the repository. The Theme is a block theme and called Bounds. “This theme is meant for slide decks. Use it for your next presentation. The default experience includes scroll snapping on large screens. There is also a style variation for a horizontal scroll snapping.” Cook wrote.

Munir Kamal announced a new feature for the almost evergreen EditorsKit plugin: adding and managing Block Styles. It’s a great example of how the WordPress Site editor can be used as a modern Design Tool for all kinds of use cases. Download the EditorsKit from the WordPress repository.

Tarun Vijwani published the release notes for the WooCommerce Blocks 11.2 release and highlighted blockified order confirmation, product collection patterns, the new Store API order endpoints and more.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Sarah Gooding recounts the story of Mike McAllister’s woes of being a trailblazer. Ollie Theme Faces Pushback from WordPress Theme Review Team. Adding onboarding setting screens to his newest block theme, bump up against the Theme directory’s guidelines as plugin territory. People agree that there needs onboarding solutions for new WordPress users after they log in into their freshly installed WordPress instance.

The team at Extendify also has a launch solution it offers to the hosting companies as a stand-alone product also built with Gutenberg components on top of WordPress.

James Koussertari of Gutenberg Market updated his Comprehensive Guide to Building WordPress Block Themes. “Now inline with the latest version of WordPress (I think)” he tweeted on X.

In their September Friday Hangout, Webdev Studios folks, Brad Williams, Victor M Ramirez, Raquel Martinez and Alfredo Navas, talked about full site editing and WordCamps. “FSE is an exciting advancement in website development that makes it easier than ever for anyone to create a professional-looking website, regardless of their technical skills.” They wrote in the description. They also mentioned their WDS WordPress Site Editor (FSE) Starter Block Theme, that is available on GitHub.

Screenshot of the panel in September Friday Hangout.

 “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.

Mary Baum published an introduction to The HTML API: process your tags, not your pain on the WordPress Developer blog: “All by itself, the HTML Tag processor is better than regular expressions. It’s convenient, reliable, fast—and You. Can. Read. It. This article shows you in two examples how to get started using the HTML Tag processor.” It also has a great list of resources for those who need to dive much, much deeper.

Ryan Welcher posted another episode of his Block Cook Book recipes on YouTube: The Interactivity API, and how to use the @wordpress/create-block-interactive-template template to scaffold a block that uses it.

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

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.

For questions to be answered on the Gutenberg Changelog, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com

Featured Image: Screenshot of the WordPress site on nasa.gov in 2023.

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at September 30, 2023 12:54 PM under Gutenberg

September 29, 2023

WPTavern: Gutenberg 16.7 Introduces Font Management

Gutenberg 16.7 was released this week, packed with several features that are headlining the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release. This will be the last plugin release that will be rolled into the next version of WordPress.

Font management with the new font library is now available for testing in the plugin. These features standardize a way to add font collections to WordPress’ new font library, so plugin authors can register lists of fonts and users can install the ones they want. It also enables font foundries to create their own WordPress plugins to provide access to their fonts.

The Font Library manages fonts independently of a site’s active theme, allowing users to install, remove, and activate fonts from various sources in WordPress. This works in a similar way to the Media Library.

After updating to Gutenberg 16.7, users can navigate to Styles > Typography to manage fonts.

From there, users can launch the Font Library, which loads in a popup screen, and browse all of the installed fonts. A Google Fonts tab allows for installing additional fonts that will be loaded locally from the user’s server. This gives site editors more freedom in selecting the typography for their websites instead of relying on a theme or plugin to provide font options.

Gutenberg 16.7 also brings several important enhancements to patterns. Users can now import and export patterns as JSON files from the Patterns screen, making it easier to share patterns to other WordPress sites.

The “My Patterns” category designation has also been reinstated to the post editor’s inserter, based on feedback after it had been removed.

Inside the the inserter in the post editor, pattern filters have been relocated to a dropdown at the top of the pattern list panel, along with a sticky header to help with navigation.

Other notable highlights of Gutenberg 16.7 include the following:

  • Group blocks can now have custom names, making it easier to know what they are in the List View
  •  New Social Link icon for the X service (formerly known as Twitter)
  • New ability to toggle ‘nofollow’ setting for inline links (rich text only)
  • Add aspect ratio to image placeholder
  • Image block: Revise lightbox UI to remove ‘behaviors’
  • Image block: UI updates for the image lightbox (redo)

Gutenberg 16.7 includes 331 pull requests from 88 contributors. For more details on all the enhancements, bug fixes, accessibility, performance, code quality, testing, and tooling improvements, check out the full changelog in the release post.

by Sarah Gooding at September 29, 2023 10:15 PM under News

Matt: Houston, we have a solution

The new NASA.gov website has launched on WordPress powered by WPVIP. (Also their science site.)

by Matt at September 29, 2023 05:44 PM under Asides

Do The Woo Community: Parts of the Brain Thinking About Ideas, Episodes and WordPress Highlights

The week wraps up with my thoughts on an idea, WordPress and WooCommerce highlights, podcast episodes and parts of my brain.

>> The post Parts of the Brain Thinking About Ideas, Episodes and WordPress Highlights appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 29, 2023 01:21 PM under WooBits

WPTavern: Ollie Theme Faces Pushback from WordPress Theme Review Team

Mike McAlister, creator of the free Ollie theme, has been working towards getting his theme approved for hosting on WordPress.org. Ollie went into public beta in April 2023 and gained momentum over the next few months when McAlister previewed the theme’s new onboarding wizard.

WordPress users have been slow to adopt the block editor and block themes by extension. In 2022, only 54% of respondents to WordPress’ annual survey have used the block editor, four years after it was introduced. Block themes have trickled into the official directory, far behind the lofty goals set for their expansion. The sluggish movement towards block-based sites has led some to speculate on whether there will ever be a market for commercial block themes.

Ollie was designed to make onboarding to a block theme easier and the Site Editor more approachable, so that users don’t have to start from a blank canvas. The theme’s demo boasts “a 40-hr head start” on setting up a new WordPress website, thanks in part to dozens of patterns for fast page building. Ollie’s built-in onboarding experience aims to drastically reduce the amount of time users spend getting started.

After receiving significant pushback from the Theme Review team during Ollie’s three weeks in the queue, McAlister has put up a poll requesting feedback on how he should proceed.

Although provisionally approved by veteran theme reviewer Justin Tadlock, who said the onboarding functionality should be allowed until WordPress core offers a standard solution, Ollie was met with heavy criticism from other members of the team.

“The setup wizard is plugin territory,” UXL Themes founder and theme reviewer Andrew Starr said. “Why not make this as a plugin that would work with any block theme? A plugin could be inspiration or a nudge to improve the core experience.”

McAlister responded to this question in the Trac ticket for the review and in posts on X. He maintains that a plugin is a “far worse experience for the end user” and for his team as the maintainers of the product. Also, since the plugin review queue has 1,249 plugins awaiting review with developers waiting an average of 98 days for an initial review, a plugin for Ollie’s onboarding experience would likely not be live until next year.

“As a compromise and show of good faith, I’ve chopped down the onboarding wizard to a fraction of what it was,” he said. “No dice. Still, it continues to be a highly contentious issue that is causing folks to publicly question my intentions and integrity. Disheartening to say the least.”

Automattic-sponsored contributor Justin Tadlock, who helped author the guidelines in question many years ago and who has historically been widely esteemed for his impeccable judgment in regards to the grey areas of content creation in themes and the necessity of preserving data portability, weighed in on the ticket after performing the initial review:

As someone who co-wrote the original guideline for settings to use the customizer, I can say with 100% certainty that we never meant that to be a hard line drawn in the sand. The team reps can and have always had the capability to mark a theme as a “special case” (there’s even a tag for this in the backend, or there was when I was a rep). And there are themes where we felt like the functionality was unique enough to give it a bit of wiggle room. That was a position that we took when we wrote the “settings must be in the customizer” guideline. While I’m no longer one of the team reps, I feel like this settings page feature is unique enough to mark as a “special case.”

With block themes, some things must be reevaluated because the customizer is not available by default and is not an expected part of the block theme experience. In fact, this guideline is very specific to classic themes. Nothing has been written yet for block themes. Whether that’s a good thing, I don’t know. This could be a good moment for experimentation.

I disagree that the settings page should be packaged as a companion plugin. That defeats the purpose of its inclusion in the theme, and it would create an additional hurdle for the users who would benefit the most from this feature.

Yoast-sponsored contributor Carolina Nymark contends that allowing this onboarding experience will set a precedent that erodes the standard the team is trying to uphold for the ecosystem of themes hosted on WordPress.org and gives Ollie an unfair commercial advantage:

“That settings pages are not allowed is in many ways unrelated to the customizer. And if we really want to angle it that way, it would be way easier to re-enable the customizer link in the theme.

It is about having a standard that is easy for all theme authors to use and easy to review.
It is about not opening up the reviews to another situation with incredibly difficult and time consuming reviews of code that the theme developers themselves don’t understand because they copy-pasted it and managed to cause all sorts of errors and security issues.
Where that feature “lives”, in the customizer or on another page, is not the issue.

I would like everyone to also consider that the Site Editor is not at all far away from solving the problem with the initial template selection. It does not solve all onboarding steps, like getting to the Site Editor, but it is improving.

Compare it with the use of TGMPA. There is a problem that needs solving and a solution has been agreed upon where the theme author and reviewers only need to adjust a few variables and text strings.

If something similar could be reached here I would support it.

This is not about a special case, because it is an unfair commercial advantage over other theme developers.

Ollie is a beautifully-designed multipurpose theme of the highest caliber, the likes of which WordPress.org doesn’t see very often. If expanding block theme adoption is an important goal, these are the kinds of experiences you want people building for WordPress users. It may be time to redefine theme guidelines based on the possibilities that the block editor enables, instead of saddling block themes with antiquated constraints for the sake of maintaining a more expedient review process.

“Just because there are problems with onboarding it doesn’t mean that a theme, any theme, is the right tool just because one can put code in it,” Nymark said. “Plugins extend features, themes display content.”

Given the amount of pushback from the Theme Review team, McAlister is now torn about removing everything “extra” to get Ollie in the directory for better distribution, or to keep the innovations in place and forego the directory in favor of independent distribution. So far, the results of his poll are overwhelmingly in favor of McAlister distributing the theme himself.

“I’m passionate about innovation and getting the most out of all the possibilities that modern WordPress affords us,” McAlister told the Tavern. “We were tasked to ‘Learn JavaScript Deeply’ not to remain where we’ve been for so long, but to push the boundaries and scope out the future of WordPress and what’s possible.

“So we designed and developed Ollie’s educational dashboard and onboarding wizard to help users get over some of the hurdles they’ve been plagued with for so long when setting up a new site or switching to a new theme. We even designed it in a very core-inspired way to match the site editor to create a very cohesive experience. The feedback has been inspiring!”

After posting about his experience with the Theme Review team, which McAlister characterized as “rocky (and downright combative),” the community following his work on Ollie over the past year has rallied around him with advice and support.

“I am torn about this,” Joost de Valk commented on McAlister’s poll on X. “I feel WordPress needs these onboarding experiences. Very very much. Should it be in themes? Not sure. Should the theme repository block this stuff? I don’t think so… we should be open to experimenting with this a bit more.”

McAlister said that even as the theme’s creator, he is torn about the decision as well.

“I built this as a good faith attempt to help people onboard into block themes and hopefully even help drive adoption,” he said. “My intentions are pure and steeped in 15 years of doing it ‘the WP way.’ It’s an attempt to move the needle, worth a shot anyway.”

“I always felt that onboarding like this should be part of Core,” Yoast-sponsored contributor Ari Stathopoulos commented. “The current experience for a newcomer to WP is not a good one. We have to start somewhere… if it’s in themes, then so be it.”

WordPress’ Theme Review team has a critical choice here, whether to stifle innovation and throw the book at one of the most highly anticipated block themes, or identify this as a special case where the author has the users’ best interests at heart.

Many participants in the discussion on X encouraged McAlister to distribute his work independently, citing examples of other WordPress products that have found success in doing so. This would be an unfortunate loss for WordPress.org where the project is essentially shooting itself in the foot by clinging to outmoded guidelines in order to deny high quality block themes that are innovating to create a better user experience. In pursuit of a more robust offering of block themes, the last thing WordPress needs to do is chase away its trailblazers.

“Since this morning, there has been an overwhelming amount of feedback telling me to avoid the WordPress.org directory,” McAlister said. “I’m kind of bummed by this because I think it says something about the directory that a lot of folks think but few want to say out loud.

“Personally, I want the directory to succeed and be an inspiring and resourceful jump-off point for new WordPress users! It’s the front page of our open source project, of our community. It should be a showcase of the finest our community has to offer. But today, I’m disheartened and not sure if it’s the place where I want to put some of my best work to date.”

by Sarah Gooding at September 29, 2023 05:07 AM under Themes

September 28, 2023

Post Status: WordPress 6.4 • Annual Survey • Stats & Dashboards • Global Sponsorship

This Week at WordPress.org (September 14, 2023)

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by Courtney Robertson at September 28, 2023 05:10 PM under WordPress News

Do The Woo Community: Managing Client Expectations, Partnerships, Woo Experts and Tips

Nils and Alex chat about managing client expectation, partnerships and collaboration, the Woo expert program and end with agency tips.

>> The post Managing Client Expectations, Partnerships, Woo Experts and Tips appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 28, 2023 11:40 AM under Podcast Guests from Europe

September 27, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress Opens 2023 Annual Survey

WordPress has launched its 2023 annual survey, which is open to the entire community, including users, site builders, plugin and theme authors, and contributors.

The 2022 survey collected responses from roughly 3,400 people, including approximately 800 contributors, a decline in submissions from previous years. The 2022 survey introduced the Likert scale, a rating scale that quantitatively assesses opinions, attitudes, or behaviors. The total number of questions were reduced, with socio-economic questions mostly removed.

WordPress is still evolving the survey format to get a better understanding of the community’s sentiments and values.

“This year, like last year, the survey has undergone some improvements to the flow and question set,” Automattic-sponsored contributor Dan Soschin said. “A new platform is also being piloted, offering an updated interface, enhanced multi-lingual support, expanded analysis and visualization tools for the results, and more. The new platform also has built-in accessibility and privacy controls, ensuring the survey meets the diverse needs of the WordPress community.”

The 2023 survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. It collects information on some basic demographics, various community involvements, preferred WordPress editor, how and why you are using WordPress, and more. Several questions allow the community to weigh in on the most frustrating aspects of WordPress, areas that need more attention, and whether or not the current WordPress roadmap reflects respondents’ needs and desires for the future of the project.

In addition to English, the survey is available in nine widely-used languages, which participants can select from a drop-down menu at the top of the page. All the data collected in the survey will be anonymized and WordPress does not associate IP addresses or email addresses with the results.

by Sarah Gooding at September 27, 2023 10:53 PM under News

WPTavern: #92 – Juliette Reinders Folmer on When Contributions Need to Be Paid


Juliette Reinders Folmer

[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 when contributions to WordPress deserve payment.

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, well, I’m 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 form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Juliette Reinders Folmer.

Juliette is a highly experienced professional in the field of coding standards. With a deep understanding of industry best practices, she has dedicated herself for many years to ensuring code quality and consistency within WordPress.

Juliette acknowledges that coding standards encompass more than just formatting and white space, they also play a crucial role in maintaining compatibility and preventing conflicts between plugins.

By adhering to these standards, developers can minimize errors, and fatal issues for end users. To facilitate the implementation of coding standards, Juliette talks about the importance of automated checks and continuous integration.

We chat about her commitment to WordPress coding standards, and how the work that she’s done in this field have made her a trusted authority. Through her contributions and guidance, she has helped countless developers enhance their code quality, ultimately improving the overall WordPress ecosystem.

We talk about Juliette’s role as one of the maintainers of WordPress Coding Standards or WordPress CS. Discussing the importance of consistent code and the challenges of maintaining, and funding, open source projects.

Clearly there’s great value in tools like WordPress CS. Consistency is key for developers, and using a tool like WordPress CS makes it easier for them to meet expectations and be productive. It saves time by automating manual changes, and helps prevent conflicts and potential problems with other plugins or WordPress Core. Juliette emphasizes the continuous nature of the project. Where updates to a variety of PHP projects need to be kept in sync with the WordPress side of things.

All that said maintaining open source projects like WordPress CS comes with its challenges. Juliette tells us about the importance of financial support and adequate resources to mitigate business risk, as projects that go on maintained can create dependency issues and pose problems during corporate audits.

She speaks openly about her decision to step away from contributing. The project is so crucial, but underfunded and Juliette thinks it’s time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time for contributions in return for payment.

It’s not just about financial contributions though. Juliette asks us to support the WordPress Community Collective, and for us all to explore other ways to assist the project. She highlights the need for all companies benefiting from WordPress to contribute towards funding more broadly, rather than relying on one or two of the larger companies in the space.

If you’re a contributor who was even pondered how much WordPress relies on volunteers, this podcast is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so without further delay, I bring you Juliette Reinders Folmer.

I am joined on the podcast today by Juliette Reinders Folmer. Hello, Juliette.

[00:04:41] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Hi Nathan. And you got my name right.

[00:04:43] Nathan Wrigley: I appreciate that. Thank you so much. I’ve had a little bit of a practice, let’s put it that way. I appreciate you being on the podcast today.

This is going to be a really interesting subject. It could get a bit nerdy, but I suspect that we’ll avoid large proportion of the nerdiness. But we’re going to be talking today about something which I suspect a lot of the people who tune into this podcast regularly may not know anything about. Hopefully during the course of this podcast we’ll alert you to why you should know about it, why it’s important, what it is, what it does.

But before we get into that, WordPressCS or WPCS, let’s ask Juliette just to introduce herself. Tell us a little bit about her background, working with WordPress, what she does and all of that. So Juliette, if that’s okay with you, over to you, little bio moment.

[00:05:32] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Oh dear. I did not prepare for that bit. Basically I’ve been self employed for good 20 years now, and as a general rule of thumb, I do whatever I like and I hope that sometimes people actually pay me money to do it. Which is not always great from a commercial point of view but it keeps me happy.

[00:05:51] Nathan Wrigley: Typically on this podcast we have people who are devoted to some aspect of WordPress. My understanding is that your technical expertise stretches beyond WordPress as well, PHP and various other different things. So is it true that you only operate in the WordPress space, or do you stretch a little bit further than that?

[00:06:11] Juliette Reinders Folmer: I’m all over the place. I sometimes say for people who are really in the WordPress community, see me as the PHP community reaching out and helping.

[00:06:20] Nathan Wrigley: Nice. So this podcast today is going to stem off a piece that I read on the WP Tavern. It was written by Sarah Gooding. If you want to find it I will link it in the show notes. But maybe for ease of use, it was published on August the 22nd 2023, and it’s called WordPress coding standards maintainer warns maintenance will be halted without funding, in quotes, this is an unsustainable situation.

That maintainer is you, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about that unsustainable situation. But I feel that we can’t really talk about why it’s unsustainable unless we learn a little bit about what WPCS is, what it does.

I know that’s an enormous subject to deal with in just a few moments. But I wonder if you could paint a picture of what WCS is because I feel the listenership, there may be quite a proportion of us that don’t know.

[00:07:17] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Absolutely. Okay so WordPress, like most projects, have coding standards. And now when I say coding standards a lot of people think, okay this is about how code should be formatted, white space, whether things should have comments and doc blocks. You know, how code should look.

In part, yes that’s correct. We do have rules for that, because if code looks the same across your whole code base it makes it much easier to review code and only concentrate on the actual changes, instead of being distracted by all the inconsistencies in how the code is formatted. So, yes there are rules about code style, code formatting. But WordPress coding standards does much more.

It also encompasses a number of rules around best practices, just industry best practices. Best practices for how to interact with WordPress. So as a plugin you don’t want to conflict with other plugins. So there are certain best practices you can apply, like prefixing everything you put in the global namespace.

And if you apply those correctly the chance of your plugin conflicting with another plugin and creating a widescreen of death, fatal error, for end users is a lot smaller. And WordPressCS can help with that as well and has, on the one hand, has some rules for that. On the other hand, what you then get is WordPressCS as the package, because you have the written rule, but then you also have tooling which basically takes those written rules and codifies that into automated checks. Automated checks which can be run in continuous integration.

So every time someone puts some code online those checks can be run to make sure that the code complies with the rules you’ve agreed upon. And WordPressCS is one of those packages. It’s a package which takes those rules, codifies them in automated checks and then can be run on your code. And it doesn’t just check it and point out errors, it can actually auto fix a lot as well.

[00:09:29] Nathan Wrigley: So the enterprise of WPCS, and I should probably say that CS is the acronym for Code Sniffer. The enterprise is to create this suite of tests if you like, so that whilst you’re writing code, if you’re using CI, it’s constantly giving you alerts as to whether or not there’s a problem. We’ve identified that there’s a little problem here, you can take a look at it, and thereby mitigate the problems, right?

[00:09:55] Juliette Reinders Folmer: It can even do it even more directly. If you use a modern IDE, individual development environment like a PHP Storm or VS Code, it can even give you those notifications while you’re coding. It integrates with that kind of tooling. So while you’re typing your code, it can fix things for you and it can notify you of the things it doesn’t fix.

[00:10:19] Nathan Wrigley: So given the open source nature of WordPress, and the fact that anybody can download it and anybody can write a plugin for it, an interesting comparison would be something like the Mac App Store, or the Apple App Store where Apple, in effect, is the custodian of the code. Apple will go to great lengths to make sure that your code is compliant and it’s completely the opposite model. You put stuff into their ecosystem, they’ll do checks and make sure that it’s all compliant with oh let’s say iOS or something like that.

[00:10:50] Juliette Reinders Folmer: In a way a similar situation is in place in the WordPress ecosystem at large, because if you want a plugin to be listed on wordpress.org it goes through a list of quality checks as well. And they have some specific checks from that team, but some of the checks they use also are based on WordPressCS or are from WordPressCS.

[00:11:14] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah that’s a really good point. I was thinking also about the sort of third party plugin marketplace which exists in WordPress, into which anybody can drop their code. So it’s quite, you know, you can go to one of hundreds of thousands of websites and download a plugin which you can add to WordPress. And really there’s a bit of a gamble going on there. You’re hopefully able to determine that the code is good.

But a tool like WPCS will give you some guidance. You can run it yourself. It’s not like you have to trust the repo. If you went out and got third party plugins you could run these tests yourself. And just before we started the call, you were talking about if you were, let’s say an agency, and you had a particular need and you had three or four plugins that you thought might be useful. They would, all of them satisfy the requirements that you’ve got. But you could run them through something like WPCS, and get a real useful insight into well, whether or not they meet the standards, how compliant they are and so on.

[00:12:12] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Correct. You will get some noise messages about different white space requirements, for instance. But you will also get messages about, hang on, this is not prefixed and this could conflict. Or hang on, output is not escaped. This plugin may introduce XSS security vulnerabilities. There are actual sniffs in WordPressCS which scan your code for typical attack vectors, and whether your code is well enough defensive against those attack vectors.

[00:12:45] Nathan Wrigley: And I’m guessing that the enterprise of keeping WPCS maintained is like a road that you never reach the end of. You are updating it but there’s always the next change out in the, I don’t know, PHP ecosystem, which means that you can’t ever say well it’s done. Because PHP 8 comes along, then PHP 8.1 and PHP 8.2 and so we go.

So would that be fair to say? What kind of things is it sniffing for? Are we just working in the PHP space, or is it working with other things as well?

[00:13:19] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Well PHP_CodeSniffer as the underlying tooling, at this point is capable of scanning PHP, CSS code and JavaScript code. For the most part WordPressCS just focuses on the PHP code, because by now if we look at the whole ecosystem in development, there is plenty of other tooling available for CSS and JavaScript. Which wasn’t available when PHP_CodeSniffer started, because this is an old project.

I mean this project got started in 2005. So at that time that tooling was not available. So this was one of the only tools which could do something like this. The intention of PHP_CodeSniffer, because there’s so much other tooling available now for CSS and JavaScript, is to actually drop support for CSS and JavaScript. So with that in the back of our minds, our focus is completely on PHP.

[00:14:11] Nathan Wrigley: And so getting back to the question about how this is a never ending road, I’m assuming there will have been no point in the past, or predictably in the future where you’ll be able to say, okay this is done, because there’s constant work that needs to be done because the technology, the PHP, is always adding lots and lots of different things from year to year.

[00:14:34] Juliette Reinders Folmer: And it’s not just PHP. I mean if something changes in WordPress, WordPressCS needs to take that into account. For instance one of the scans is applied to plugins but also I think to WordPress Core is, are you using deprecated functions? Because those functions are deprecated for a reason. So you should use something else. There’s normally an alternative available.

Or are you using particular PHP functions for which there is a WordPress alternative which should be used? So if WordPress introduces one of those alternatives then WordPressCS needs to be updated to add a new check. If WordPress deprecates functions, WordPressCS needs to be updated.

On the other hand, like you already pointed out, every year there’s a new minor release of PHP, sometimes a major. But at least every year there’s a minor and those introduce new syntaxes. And in the past three, four years PHP has introduced so many new syntaxes it became really hard to keep up. All those syntaxes mean that code can be written in different ways.

And sniffs basically look for a certain pattern of code. But if code can now be written in a different way, that new way of writing code needs to be taken into account. To prevent false positives, as in throwing an error when there shouldn’t be an error. But also prevent false negatives, for people using the new syntax and the sniff not being able to understand it and throw the error which should be thrown.

Every single sniff basically needs to be reviewed after every PHP release, to be checked if it needs to take any of the new syntaxes into account. But before we can do that the underlying tooling needs to be updated as well, because it actually needs to recognise the new syntaxes.

[00:16:26] Nathan Wrigley: So a constant study.

[00:16:28] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Yeah it’s a whole domino chain of things and it’s basically a circle going round, because yes, we put dominoes in place and then we managed to get things merged in PHP_CodeSniffer. Then PHPCSUtils can update, and then we can update WordPressCS. And by that time a new PHP version has come out and we can start the whole circle again.

[00:16:49] Nathan Wrigley: We have this expression in the UK, “it’s like painting the Forth Bridge”. The Forth Bridge is a particularly long bridge in Scotland, and you begin painting at one end and by the time a year or so later they’ve got to the other end, well, the paint on the far end has now become corroded, and they’ve got to begin again so it’s this never ending cycle.

If you’ve heard of WPCS and have used it, I’m sure that you will recognise the utility of it. But if you haven’t, and as I said at the top of the show, I think there’s probably a lot of people listening to this who haven’t. How do we actually make use of it? How would a typical WordPress user get WPCS working, and giving them some insight into the suite of things that they’ve got in their WordPress site?

[00:17:32] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Okay. Well for people who are not used to command line, this might be a bit scary. You need the command line. Then again I mean, as I said, it integrates with IDEs so you can run certain things in IDEs as well. But as a general rule of thumb if you want to scan for instance, say you’re evaluating those four plugins to find out which one you’re going to install, like the example you used earlier.

The easiest way to use WordPressCS as part of your toolset when you’re evaluating, is to do so from the command line. And that means you need PHP installed. Well if you work with WordPress you generally should probably have PHP installed. You need Composer which is a package manager in the PHP world, like npm for JavaScript but then for the PHP world.

And then you need to install WordPressCS and that’s a Composer require. And if you don’t work with code yourself I would say use a Composer global require, then you can use it anywhere on your system without it being project specific. If you do work with code, please use it on a project basis and require it for the project, because it will also make it transparent for other contributors that you expect them to comply with WordPressCS.

So yeah, you can either install it globally or you can install it on a project base. And once you run the Composer require, it has all of that in the readme of course, so you can just copy and paste that command.

Once you run that everything is set up, and you can just run the commands to run WordPressCS which is vendor, bin, phpcs, dash dash standard is WordPress.

At the same time, most of the time, you will want to customise a little. For instance, I mentioned prefixing before to prevent conflicts with other plugins. If you want to check prefixes you need to tell WordPressCS which prefix to look for. If you don’t give it any prefixes, we cannot check whether things are prefixed. We need to know what to look for.

In the WordPressCS repo, an example rule set, which has some of the common things which you should add to a custom rule set to use. There’s also, in the wiki, quite a lot of documentation about what the various options are you can toggle on and off. That way you can set up a customer rule set and get yourself running in a more detailed way.

[00:20:08] Nathan Wrigley: I suspect that the proportion of people listening to this podcast who really never look at the code, they are, I don’t know, you maybe call them implementers or something like that, might be thinking well, why does any of this matter? What is the point? And I guess that’s something that I want to tease out.

I want it to be clear that unless projects like WPCS occur and continue to occur, the bedrock of the software, which we’re all using for free, gratis, is not going to be something that you can trust as much, I guess.

So I don’t know if there’s anything you want to throw into the mix there. If somebody was to come to you and say well I just use WordPress, why should I care about this? Why is this of interest to me? It’s a bit like, if I never go to a hospital, it’s not well we shouldn’t have hospitals because I’m perfectly well. Something along those lines.

[00:21:01] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Yeah, well if your site’s never been hacked that’s the same comparison. Your site’s never been hacked. So why do we need security checks and security reviews?

[00:21:10] Nathan Wrigley: So what would be the single, or maybe a couple of messages that you would tell people, this is why what I’m doing matters. This is why we all need to know that this project exists, and that it’s important.

[00:21:23] Juliette Reinders Folmer: There’s different answers for different levels. So for developers it definitely makes it easier for them to be high productive. Because if code is consistent it makes it easier to work with, to know the expectations, to review code, et cetera, et cetera. So it’s a productivity tool for them, including the auto fixing.

Some of the changes which may need to be done, if you’d need to do those manually that would take you like a week or two weeks. And if you use the auto fixer, it’s done in five minutes for you. So that is literally two weeks of work saved. That’s on the development level and the management, the IT department level.

If you are an agency who normally doesn’t use code, it’s more about, okay if I install this plugin, will it cause problems with other plugins? Will it cause problems for WordPress Core? Because there are plugins which will gladly override a global variable from WordPress Core and then WordPress Core breaks.

WordPressCS has checks against stuff like that. I already mentioned the conflict. If there’s two functions in two different plugins which use the same name, you have a fatal error and a white screen of death. Do you want your customer to get a white screen of death? No you don’t. So this tooling can help guard against that, can help prevent those kind of situations from happening.

[00:22:52] Nathan Wrigley: So I’m going to go back to the piece on the WP Tavern. I’m going to read the title again because I think it’s important for the next part of our discussion. WordPress Coding Standards maintainer warns maintenance will be halted without funding, this is an unsustainable situation.

So the person that is referenced in that article is you. You’ve obviously decided that this is an unsustainable situation. I think we’ve painted a picture as to why WPCS is an incredibly useful thing to have around. But i’m keen to know exactly how many people get their hands in the weeds with that tool? How many people do you have on your air quotes team? How many hours are contributed by those people per month, per year, whatever? Just give us an inkling as to how much goes into this important project.

[00:23:42] Juliette Reinders Folmer: As I already mentioned, WordPressCS is not a completely standalone tool. It is built on the shoulders of giants. The underlying tool, PHP_CodeSniffer, needs to be maintained primarily before we can even do anything in WordPressCS. That tool currently has two maintainers and I’m one of them.

There are outside contributors, and quite regularly we get an outside contributor with a pull request. But if you look at the bulk, to be honest, I don’t think I’m saying anything silly if I say that for the past few years a lot of that has come down to me. So that is the biggest giant we’re standing on.

Then we have PHPCSUtils which is a layer on top of PHP_CodeSniffer which makes writing sniffs easier. Because writing sniffs can be pretty complex with all the syntaxes you have to take into account. Maintained by me, completely.

Then we have PHPCSExtra, which is an external standard which WordPressCS uses quite a few sniffs from. About, I think more than 50% of the sniffs from PHPCSExtra are used in WordPressCS 3. Again, I’m the maintainer.

Remember that I mentioned that you install everything via Composer? There’s a Composer plugin which makes sure that all those external standards get registered with PHP_CodeSniffer. I maintain that together with one other person.

And then we have WordPressCS itself. And we have a maintainer team of three people. I’m really, really happy that there’s three of us. At the same time the majority of the actual code work comes down to me. Dennis would love to spend more time, but he hasn’t got the financial safety net to be able to do so without funding. Gary hasn’t got the time to do so anyway.

So I’m really happy with Gary and Dennis’s support, and for all the code review they do. But if we actually look at the code changes, nearly everything comes down to me.

[00:25:45] Nathan Wrigley: So we’re painting a picture here, and it’s a funny phrase to bring out but there’s this idea of the bus factor. And the bus factor is the idea that if, sadly, somebody was to be hit by a bus, and they were no longer able to contribute to the project. The bus factor being one is indicative that you only need to have one person removed from the project for the whole thing essentially to collapse.

And that’s basically what we’ve got here. We’ve got a situation where you are maintaining an awful lot of what you’ve just described, and you’re doing it, well, gratis. You’re doing it largely I’m imagining, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, you’re doing this in your own time for no financial benefit.

And I guess one of the things that’s come out of the article is that having done this for so many years, and contributed so many hours of your own time, you’ve reached the end of the road potentially about that and you feel that this situation is no longer sustainable. It’s a bit of a plea for help?

[00:26:56] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Yes. I mean basically over the past two years this has dominated my daily life, in a way which isn’t healthy anymore. It’s not you know a nice side project anymore. No, it’s literally what I spend nearly all my time on. And I’m lucky that I have a few stable customers where I can scrounge some hours here and there to be able to actually pay for my bread at the supermarket.

The balance is completely wrong now.. And I’m not alone. I mean this is valid for a lot of open source projects. But we’ve reached a point that the balance is so far off that this is just not sustainable anymore. I cannot afford to do this anymore. I cannot justify doing this anymore.

[00:27:44] Nathan Wrigley: Forgive me asking this question, and I hope it doesn’t come out the way that it might, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Do you have regrets around the amount of time that you’ve contributed over the past? So you mentioned that it’s requiring lots and lots of your time, and you’re basically doing this as a, almost like a full time job really.

Do you have any regrets getting into 2023 and that situation being the way it was? Or do you wish that you’d have managed to have this inspiration, if you like, this epiphany about enough is enough, a few years ago?

[00:28:18] Juliette Reinders Folmer: When it’s enough I say so. It’s felt like it’s been enough for about a year, and a large part of that is the fact that, in my perception, I think there’s a disconnect between the open source user nowadays and open source maintainers.

Open source users often don’t realise there’s no funding. They are not the product. And they come in with a sense of entitlements, and a sense of pressure which is being put on maintainers to release, and yes but you should do this. No, I shouldn’t do this. I’m doing this out of the kindness of my heart, and you should be a lot kinder to me if you want to make any suggestions for the project.

[00:29:01] Nathan Wrigley: Can I just clarify, have you been at the receiving end then of things which you, in the way that you’ve described, you’ve had requests in well let’s not beat around the bush, less than polite, shall we put it that way?

[00:29:13] Juliette Reinders Folmer: We actually at some point had to put, in a hurry, a code of conduct into the project. And we couldn’t wait for the WordPress project to get themselves sorted with a code of conduct, because we had an abusive user which was really going way too far.

[00:29:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah I mean like you said, I think the word surrounding that is entitlement, isn’t it? Somebody who believes that it is your role. You have become the person doing this and so well it must now be what Juliette does. Juliette must fix it at the moment anything needs fixing. And of course I think you’ve reached the end of the road there, and you’ve decided that enough is enough.

Does that mean that you are, well, let’s examine what that means. Let’s throw out a few scenarios. Does it mean that you would like more maintainers, so that you can step away from the project? Or is there a different possible outcome here where you would love to be continuing to work on this, but there needs to be some way of putting food on the table, i.e. payment in exchange for your time here? So I guess both of those options could coexist at the same time.

[00:30:16] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Yes, and that would be the ideal situation because the thing is, it would be great if we could get more maintainers interested and more people be willing to contribute structurally to the project. Except this type of work has quite a steep learning curve. So to get to the point where you can function as a maintainer for a project like this, and actually take it seriously in the way it’s been taken seriously over the past few years, that will require quite a lot of coaching, and guess who’s doing the coaching then.

[00:30:49] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So let’s ask that slightly different question. Over the past several years, have you had people go through the project? You know, that they’re interested in it, but they don’t stick around or is it literally that the door is open but nobody ever steps through it?

[00:31:04] Juliette Reinders Folmer: There’s a number of different types of contributors. You have the drive by contributor. We will say okay, we have this sniff which we use in our own company, I’m going to throw it into PR and just drop it in the WordPressCS repo, because it could be useful for other people.

You do an extensive review and give them feedback of you know, this needs changing that need changing. Because if you use it in your own company you can take some liberties because you know what the agreements are, what code is based on in that company. Except you can’t take those liberties with a project which has this many users as WordPressCS. So we require a higher quality. And the drive by contributor will just not respond to that review at all, and just let the PR rot and die. So that’s the one.

Then you have, and I’ve seen two, three people over the past five years maybe in WordPressCS like that, will come in and actually understand what they’re doing and how to do a PR. But then don’t have enough time or have a family, have a job and their employer doesn’t allow them to contribute to open source regularly, et cetera. Or they get moved into a different position in their job, and then don’t have time anymore.

Those are like the little jewels which I’d like to hold onto, and cherish and cuddle and watch to flourish in the project. Except they are rare and unfortunately we rarely manage to retain them.

And then you have the, oh gosh how should I call it? What’s that called again? That month of code thingy, Oktoberfest. Yeah, I’m going to make a one character change in your readme. Let’s waste maintainers time, kind of PRs. Just so they can get a t shirt kind of thing.

There’s a couple of different types of contributors. A lot of contributors, or people I talk with, will say like, oh I’d love to contribute. I’m going to write a new sniff. And I’m like okay but do you actually know what you’re doing already? No, you don’t. Okay. So now you’re going to write a new sniff, and that needs a lot of coaching to get to a point where it’s actually mergeable. Instead of helping with the grunge work which needs to be done every time, every year, at every WordPress release, every PHP release. And actually learning from the patterns you see in others existing code.

And I know that the grunge work is boring, but it needs to be done, and we need people who will put up with the grunge work because otherwise the code base will just grow with new sniffs but nobody’s maintaining.

[00:33:47] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So I guess what we’re discovering here is, A the project is important. B there’s not many people meaningfully contributing to it, apart from the ones that you mentioned including yourself. I think you mentioned two other people.

[00:34:02] Juliette Reinders Folmer: We do get some contributions which are meaningful, absolutely. I’m not dissing that at all. But it’s the exception not the rule, in my experience. And that’s a shame. I mean I really would love to see more meaningful contributions.

[00:34:16] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah okay. Thank you for clarifying that. That’s good. But it also sounds as if you’re not quite at the point where you want to completely distance yourself from this project and never touch it again. I think I’m right in saying that a possible desirable outcome would be that you found a way to make this work for your setup.

And really what I’m talking about there is finance. Am I right in saying that you would continue this work if you were able to make it a job, if you like, and be paid for it?

[00:34:49] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Absolutely. I mean I enjoy this kind of work. That’s obvious otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten involved in the whole stack, and even projects related to which I haven’t even mentioned yet. I do enjoy this kind of work, but I do not enjoy the abuse, and the abuse is something I will not put up with anymore. Only ever put up with if it’s paid, if I get paid for it.

[00:35:11] Nathan Wrigley: So since the article was published on the Tavern, so we’re recording this just for context kind of probably about 20 plus days since that piece was published. There were a lot of comments, an unusually large amount of comments. So this topic is of great interest to people. And I wondered, given that there was great interest and a large amount of comments there, I wondered if anybody had figured out what your requirement was, and had approached you. In other words has anything changed or is it still the way it was?

[00:35:42] Juliette Reinders Folmer: I can see some parties being interested in contributing to a solution, but I’ve not seen a solution yet. But one of the things which has changed, and which I think is an improvement, and i’m really hoping that will allow people to contribute to the funding of the project, is that the WPCC has in their open collective, has opened a project for WordPressCS and the stack around it, to raise funding for that.

[00:36:15] Nathan Wrigley: So just for clarity, the WPCC is the WordPress Community Collective. And what you can do is you can go over there and they have a handful, at the moment, of projects which you can donate to. And it looks like you have been added to that, or at least the WPCS project has been.

Do you have an amount, like a target that you want to get to in order for this to be possible for you? Or is it more a, well let’s just see where this goes, and bit of blue sky thinking, hopefully some people will help me out?

[00:36:45] Juliette Reinders Folmer: I have a target in mind. I’m not comfortable calling that out on air though.

[00:36:48] Nathan Wrigley: No that’s fine. So that’s where we’re at. As of the 5th of September 2023, we’ve got this incredibly important project which underpins the sort of security, the confidence that you can have in WordPress and the plugin ecosystem surrounding it. But we’ve got this one or two or three, but largely one person maintaining that entire project. But it looks as if, unless something radically changes in the near future, as if that whole edifice might tumble. How much more time are you going to give this before you actually finally call it a day? Maybe that’s not even in your thinking, and maybe it’s you know you’re hoping that it will change

[00:37:29] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Well I’m definitely hoping it will change. As a rule of thumb I’m basically not touching the code anymore. Not until there is sight of a solution.

WordPressCS is definitely not an exception. I mean I know open source projects where there’s much bigger problems with abuse than in WordPressCS. I’ve known people who’ve had death threats in their DMs, et cetera, et cetera. That open source and abuse is a whole different topic, but it’s definitely not isolated to WordPressCS. And WordPressCS need for funding is also not isolated. I mean the accessibility project also needs funding. There’s other projects in the periphery of WordPress which could do with funding.

I think that it’s very easy for people to think, like okay but WordPress is open source and yeah there’s some big companies earning money so they should pay for everything. I do not agree. I think we should as companies which earn money from WordPress, that all those companies should get together in something like the WordPress Community Collective and fund those projects.

It shouldn’t come down to one or two of the bigger ones. It should come down to all of us because all of us are making money off it. Well all of you, because I’m not.

[00:38:48] Nathan Wrigley: Obviously the nuts and the bolts of that mechanism, the bits and the pieces that would need to be configured to make that work, i’ve come across that project yet. But that is a really interesting idea, isn’t it? The idea that there’d be somewhere, and the WPCC does seem the best bet we’ve got at the moment.

It feels a little bit like five for the future or something like that. But instead of it being time, it’s, okay we’re a big company we make money off these things. We use PHP, we use the code sniffing, we do these plugins that are open source and so on. So let’s just put our flag in the sand and say we’ll donate 5% of our resources, and then that organisation, whatever it was, the WPCC or something else that’s new, could then distribute those resources and people like you could dip into that pool. That seems eminently sensible.

[00:39:36] Juliette Reinders Folmer: I’ve written about this years ago already. It’s also about business risk. If you run a business which is built on an open source project, and you do not contribute back financially, as well as with people. You run business on quicksand. You are literally running it on quicksand. Any corporate audit type of your company will say you’ve got an unmitigated business risk.

You have risk that those projects which you’re not contributing to, which you’re not paying for, for which don’t have a service contract, are just going to go unmaintained. And you are so dependent on these projects, you should mitigate that business risk. And one way of doing that is with funding. Another way is with resources, and preferably with both.

And it’s not just WordPress yes, it’s all the open source projects in the stack. Go through the whole stack. You have PHP Units probably in your stack. You have Apache in your stack. You have a Chrome browser in which you test things in your stack.

And Chrome, yes, everyone associates it with Google, but it’s built on top of Chromium which is open source. You might use Mastodon as a communication channel. Make sure you also fund your Mastodon instance. It’s the whole stack of all those open source projects which need funding. So go through your stack. Do a proper inventory and fund them. This is the only way to mitigate the business risk all of those companies are running.

[00:41:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I think you’ve made a really compelling case for this. In that, A, we’ve painted the picture of what it is that you’re involved in, and how important it is as a real bedrock of reliance and the ability for us to be confident in WordPress. And then we’ve also painted the picture of how the underpinnings of that aren’t very stable. Because all of us, unless we’re incredibly lucky, have to put food on the table and we have to be paid for our work.

And it does sound like the balance, certainly in your case, has gone really far in one direction, and you are the single biggest contributor to that project. And so it makes it all the more important that something like this gets funded, however that may be.

Now if you happen to be listening to this podcast and you feel that you are able to change the direction here. Juliette, what would be the best way? It sounds like WPCC, which I’ll link to in the show notes, may be the best way at the moment. But I don’t know if you’ve got any other intuitions about how this project might be helped.

[00:42:07] Juliette Reinders Folmer: Companies can always reach out to me, DM me, Slack, or DM the maintainers as a collective. Gary, Dennis, and me on the WordPress slack. Open Collective is definitely welcome to receive funding for us. Keep in mind, I look towards the companies. I do not look to individual developers to fund this. Because, yes, they feel it most if projects like this don’t continue. But they are the ones we should talk to management and tell management to fund it, because it shouldn’t come down to individual developers. And one time contributions are very welcome, but recurring contributions are what keeps the project alive.

[00:42:48] Nathan Wrigley: Well let’s hope that there’s somebody listening to this for whom it has raised awareness enough. Let’s hope that we can come back in a year’s time, do another podcast episode and we’ll be talking about a different setup. Let’s hope that that’s the case.

Juliette, I really appreciate you being on the podcast today, and telling us an awful lot about your personal circumstance and things. So I really appreciate that. Thank you so much.

[00:43:11] Juliette Reinders Folmer: You’re very welcome. I enjoyed being here, and hopefully my bakery around the corner will enjoy it soon as well, because I can then actually start paying them.

On the podcast today we have Juliette Reinders Folmer.

Juliette is a highly experienced professional in the field of coding standards. With a deep understanding of industry best practices, she has dedicated herself for many years to ensuring code quality, and consistency within WordPress.

Juliette acknowledges that coding standards encompass more than just formatting and white space, they also play a crucial role in maintaining compatibility and preventing conflicts between plugins. By adhering to these standards, developers can minimise errors and fatal issues for end users. To facilitate the implementation of coding standards, Juliette talks about the importance of automated checks and continuous integration.

We chat about her commitment to WordPress coding standards, and how the work that she’s done in this field have made her a trusted authority. Through her contributions and guidance, she has helped countless developers enhance their code quality, ultimately improving the overall WordPress ecosystem.

We talk about Juliette’s role as one of the maintainers of WordPress Coding Standards (WordPress CS), discussing the importance of consistent code, and the challenges of maintaining and funding open source projects.

Clearly, there’s great value in tools like WordPress CS. Consistency is key for developers, and using a tool like WordPress CS makes it easier for them to meet expectations and be productive. It saves time by automating manual changes, and helps prevent conflicts and potential problems with other plugins or WordPress Core. Juliette emphasises the continuous nature of the project, where updates to a variety of PHP projects need to be kept in sync with the WordPress side of things.

All that said, maintaining open source projects like WordPress CS comes with its challenges. Juliette tells us about the importance of financial support and adequate resources to mitigate business risk, as projects that go unmaintained can create dependency issues and pose problems during corporate audits. She speaks openly about her recent decision to step away from contributing. The project is so crucial, but underfunded, and Juliette thinks it’s time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time for contributions in return for payment.

It’s not just about financial contributions though. Juliette asks us to support the WordPress Community Collective, and for us all to explore other ways to assist the project. She highlights the need for all companies benefiting from WordPress to contribute towards funding more broadly, rather than relying on one or two of the larger companies in the space.

If you’re a contributor who has even pondered how much WordPress relies on volunteers, this podcast is for you.

Useful links.

WordPress Coding Standards Maintainer Warns Maintenance Will Be Halted Without Funding: “This Is an Unsustainable Situation.”


PHP Storm

VS Code



The WP Community Collective

by Nathan Wrigley at September 27, 2023 02:00 PM under WordPressCS

Akismet: 15 Best Practices to Create a Lead Capture Form that Converts

Sometimes you hear about companies growing their email lists with huge numbers of new subscribers, and you look at yours that’s barely treading water and wonder — what are we doing wrong? One place to start is to consider your lead generation forms and the content surrounding them. 

Assuming your websites are attracting a strong amount of relevant traffic, if not enough people are joining your email list, a number of potential sources could be the problem. These include:

  • The lead capture form itself
  • The landing pages where the forms can be found
  • How well the rest of your site is directing people to the pages where they can subscribe
  • How well your external marketing is motivating people to subscribe

This article will introduce 15 strategies you can use for conversion rate optimization on your lead generation forms. And while most of these strategies relate to the form itself, some of them relate to other content and marketing assets that may be placed near the form, but that still play a big role in motivating people to opt in to your email list.

WPScan landing page, which includes a form

What is a lead capture form?

Also known as an opt-in form, a lead capture form is any form on your website that offers site visitors an opportunity to submit their information or join your email list — often in exchange for access to a “lead magnet” like an eBook or other downloadable asset. Forms can ask for as little information as just the email address, or as much as names, phone numbers, birthdays, and industry-specific interests and information. 

Lead gen forms can appear on homepages, blog posts, dedicated landing pages, and any other pages of your site. They can appear at the top of the page, in the footer, in sidebars, within the content, or as popups. 

Forms can use just text with fields to fill out, or they can also include graphics. A lead generation form typically includes a button that the visitor clicks once they’ve entered their information and are ready to sign up. 

What happens after someone fills out your form?

This matters. Most companies will send some sort of autoresponder email to confirm that the subscription has gone through. To confirm the subscriber is a real person, some companies will require them to click on another link within that first email to confirm they really want to subscribe. This is known as double opt-in. 

Rigby email example offering free shhipping

Example from Really Good Emails: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/welcome-%2B-free-shipping 

But too many companies don’t take full advantage of all that an autoresponder welcome email can accomplish. Some just use what amounts to a robotic email that says something like “subscription confirmed.” 

Though this post is just about generating initial subscriptions, once you’ve followed some of these strategies and have seen your numbers swell, be sure to take the steps of creating an effective welcome series and consistent content that’s relevant and engaging.

How to increase conversions from your lead generation forms

With all that in mind, let’s look at the 15 best strategies to check, “improve lead capture conversion rate” off your to-do list.

1. Keep it simple — fewer fields, more conversions

In general, you’ll get more lead capture form conversions if you ask for less information. The more fields you require, the fewer people will fill them all out. But, the quality of the lead tends to be higher with more required fields. What matters more to you — high quality leads or quantity? Use that to guide how many required fields you use.

Baseline information — the bare minimum — would be to ask for the email address and a first name. But sometimes, you do need a little more. A B2B company might ask for a company name, for instance. Or if you deliver segmented email marketing based on interests, demographics, or industry, you might include some checkboxes, so subscribers get added to the most relevant email list segments.

form asking for name and email

You can also include other fields but not require them. For instance, requiring a phone number will depress your conversions. But keeping it as an optional field may alleviate this problem, and still give people who are willing to supply their number the chance to do so.

2. Don’t use CAPTCHA — Opt for non-intrusive anti-spam

The data is in, and it doesn’t look good for CAPTCHA. These annoying little tests to verify you are not a robot mostly just tick people off, especially if they fail the test. One study found that 30% of users abandon lead generation forms during the CAPTCHA step.

That’s almost offensive. If you’re using CAPTCHA, that means a third of your potential lead capture form conversions are being lost to grainy pictures of fire hydrants and school buses. 

Actually, according to another study, it’s even more than a third. Only 71% of users even attempted to solve a CAPTCHA before quitting the signup process. That means lots of people won’t even attempt to solve the puzzles, and of the ones who do, 30% of those give up too. And audio CAPTCHAs are no better. They saw a 50% failure rate.

So, the verdict on CAPTCHA is pretty simple: It sucks. 

Users hate it. It obliterates your conversion rates. And even worse, a lot of the spammers it’s attempting to block keep finding ways around it. So, it’s not even very good at doing the job it was created for. That’s why CAPTCHA keeps coming up with new puzzles — because spamming software has cracked the codes of the older ones. 

What should you do instead? 

You certainly don’t want email lists filling up with bogus subscribers. That wastes your email marketing dollars. It can also hurt your sender reputation if you keep sending emails to bad email addresses. 

A better alternative is to use an anti-spam plugin like Akismet that doesn’t require the user to solve any puzzles or tests. It happens in the background, blocks spammers from filling out your forms, seamlessly integrates with your lead form software, and thus optimizes your conversion rates. 

Akismet page with stats about the user experience and conversion rates

Akismet was built by and for developers. It enables you to build its code into other applications and on pretty much any platform, not just WordPress, even though that’s where it originated. You can use it on unlimited numbers of websites. 

Akismet has a 99.99% accuracy rate in identifying spam. It stops spammers from filling out your lead capture form, in addition to stopping spam comments on your web pages and blog posts. There’s even an enterprise-level version for large companies. 

Read a case study about ConvertKit, and how Akismet saved more than 400,000 creators each up to 20 hours of work per month. And this was all while restoring their email reputation, which was under threat from the proliferation of spammers joining the email lists of their customers. 

3. Use motivating button copy, not technical terms

Developers are not typically marketers. When developers write software, they use computer code language that makes sense to them, even on user-facing portions of their work. And the “Submit” button is a classic example. 

While “submit” makes sense to developers, it’s not how your customers think. 

This is marketing: Filling out lead capture forms is optional. You have to make prospects want it. Be excited about it. Feel good about agreeing to receive emails from your company. 

And “submit” isn’t going to get the job done. Many tests and studies have been conducted on this. One such study found “submit” to be the worst performing button copy of all the choices in the study.

You won’t likely do much better with boring and generic terms like “join our list” or “subscribe.”

Use language that’s fun, engaging, or specific to your company or the offer made on the lead capture form. Use language that fits your brand. 

For example, if your lead generation form strategy is to offer a coupon reward to everyone who joins the list, then make the button copy something like “Claim your discount!” or “Send my coupon!”

If you’re offering a free guide or report, then say “Get your guide,” or “Access the free report.”

4. A/B test for success

As long as your lead capture form pages are getting enough traffic to collect valid data, A/B testing can help you optimize your lead capture form conversions over time.

And button copy is just one thing you can test on your lead gen form using A/B testing. You can also test many other items on this list, including headline, form design, button color, and location on the page. Find out what works best and build from there.

5. Use headlines to communicate value 

Yes, your lead capture form should have a headline. Use a headline to express, concisely, why your ideal customer would want to join your email list. 

A typical form tool will let you create a headline, or title, in large text and with colors you can manipulate. You should also create a subtitle that complements the main title with an additional incentive. 

As with button copy, your headline should not be “Subscribe to our newsletter!” 


Again, this is marketing. No one has to join your email list. They didn’t start their day thinking about how much they look forward to finding a company whose email list they haven’t joined yet. 

You’re asking them to do something they didn’t plan on doing. You must give them good reasons for doing so if you want to optimize your lead gen forms. 

You do that by telling them why they should join. Pick one benefit, or two if you can fit the second in the subtitle, and use those to motivate more signups. Use action-oriented language. 

Tell them what to do, and why they should want to do it. 

And as with the button copy, the headline should relate to the main incentive you’re offering to new subscribers.  

6. Make it pretty — design matters

Your lead generation form should stand out from the rest of your page. Design doesn’t just refer to the form itself, the colors, the sizes of the fields, the field label text, colors and fonts, or the shape. Yes, it includes all of that.

color swatches on a desk

But design also refers to how the form interacts with the rest of the page. Is it set apart from the other content on the page to distinguish it? Can it be easily overlooked because it blends in too well? Is the rest of the page too crowded, so the form is getting lost? This, too, is design. 

As for the form itself, many companies are tempted to use their brand colors on their lead capture forms. But is this smart? Again, if the form blends in too well with the rest of the page, site visitors will miss it. We’re not saying to use colors that completely conflict, but you can use design strategies that draw attention to the form and set it apart from how the rest of the page looks.

The fields and other elements can also be designed to look modern and appealing, not dated.

Many lead capture form templates can deliver effective design without a huge time commitment. And many of these can also be customized too, as you see fit. 

Remember, you can A/B test all of this. If your marketing department has a disagreement about the color or some other design aspect, do both and see which form gets more conversions. 

7. Keep it visible — make sure customers can find your forms

A lead capture form that’s hard to see or find on your site isn’t going to convert very many people to sign up. You have to make it a priority for your company to grow your email list. That means, make sure they can find your opt-in forms. 

Too many websites just slap a form in the footer and call it done. Or, they stick one on their homepage, and nowhere else. 

But that’s not how everyone finds your site. Not everyone makes it to the footer. And not everyone who does find your home page will return there after browsing other pages.

You need lead forms all over your site. 

Put them in the sidebars of articles. Embed them in key webpages. Use popups, some of which are triggered by time on page, and others of which are triggered when the user clicks on a relevant link. Create special landing pages and link to them from other pages using graphics and text. 

It should be almost impossible for anyone to visit your website and not see a lead capture form. 

8. Create marketing for your lead capture funnel

Joining your email list shouldn’t depend on customers coming to your website first. You can also create external marketing specifically for the purpose of gaining new subscribers. 

Create social media campaigns that link to landing pages containing lead capture forms. This could include posts, ads, graphics, and videos that aren’t selling products, but are offering incentives for joining your email list. Promote a 20% discount for new subscribers.

The landing page these posts and ads link to will sell the value of subscribing to your list, and the discount is just their first reward. 

The point is, if you want more conversions from high quality leads, create marketing that will go after your target audience.

9. Make sure your forms are responsive

This should go without saying by this point in the digital marketing world, but your forms need to show up and function on all devices, not just desktops and laptops. If users can’t see or easily navigate your lead capture form on their mobile device, they won’t complete it. 

10. Use social proof

This is less common to see within lead generation forms. But fitting a short testimonial within your form can make people more excited about signing up. This could even be your subtitle. You could also fit it below the fields and above the button, or below the button. 

example of testimonials near a form

You could also include testimonials near the form, but not within it. This way, someone looking in the direction of your form will see what other people like about being on your list, and consider joining.

Do your testimonials have to be about the actual email list subscription? Not necessarily, but that’s the best possible version. If you send out a quick survey to your existing email list, you could probably get some great responses about why people like being on your list. 

11. Give your email list a name

Exclusivity sells. Generic doesn’t. “Join our email list” is boring. 

Create a name that makes your list feel more like a club, or a community, or a place where the smartest, most motivated, most clever, most successful, happiest customers can be found. 

Whatever describes your ideal customer persona, try to come up with a name for your email list that will appeal to those people. 

12. Break up the form into multiple steps

If you need to collect more than just a couple of pieces of information, you may earn higher conversion rates if you break the web form up into steps. The first page might just ask for their name, or zip code, or email address. The second one might ask for more information specific to them. And the third might ask for a few more things. 

You can also create multistep forms that store the information entered on previous steps, so if the person abandons the form at a later step, you still have the data they already submitted.

But multistep forms feel faster to the user, and they look less intimidating. It’s less daunting to fill out two fields in three steps than to fill out six fields in one step. Same number of fields, but broken up into bite-size steps.

13. Use a progress bar to encourage visitors

If you do use a multistep form, use a progress bar to show how far along they are toward completing the process.

colorful progress bar

People like to feel like they’re getting things done. Watching the progress bar move along the top of the form motivates them to want to finish it. Online surveys have used this tool with great success to increase survey completion rates. It works just as well with lead generation forms.

14. Clearly state your privacy policy and compliance information

You can do this in one of two ways. First, simply include a short statement with a link to “view our privacy policy.” Second, you can ask users to check a box saying they have read and agree to your policy.

Either way, the main idea is to communicate that you have a privacy policy. This shows their data is important to you, and that they can trust you to handle it respectfully. 

Unless you specifically need to for legal or compliance reasons, you may not want to require users to check a box. Otherwise, they’ll find themselves wading through a page with legal jargon and privacy language that has nothing whatsoever to do with the benefits of joining your email list. 

So, it may be better to simply include the link for anyone who wants to see this information. You want them thinking about joining your list, not their data privacy. 

And, you can also include a short statement about how your email list complies with GDPR and other relevant email compliance regulations. 

15. Close the deal with video

If you really want to optimize your lead capture form conversion rate, have the face of your company or someone else your customers will admire, appreciate, or relate to, create a video that extols the benefits of joining your email list. 

The video should make joining seem desirable, appealing, and advantageous, with no risk and no downside. You can always remind people that they can unsubscribe at any time. 

Once this video is ready, place it on the landing page of your lead capture form. You can also put it on other web pages, your home page, and even post it on social media and on YouTube as a means of externally marketing your email list. 

Which of these strategies is the easiest to start using now?

Some of these tips require a little work on your part, and you can have your marketing or sales team get going on those.

But one of the most effective strategies to optimize lead forms for a higher conversion rate is one you can start using today. If you’re still using some version of CAPTCHA, Akismet will reduce your lead generation form abandonment rate by leaps and bounds.

As you saw earlier, with such high rates of people quitting the process when they run into these nonsensical puzzles, you’ll see far more signups simply by eliminating this needless barrier.

Use Akismet in place of CAPTCHA, and your lead conversion rate will increase. 

FAQs related to lead capture form optimization

How many fields should I include on my lead capture form?

While there’s no set requirement or ideal number, the fewer form fields you require, the more people will complete your web form. However, the quality of your leads tends to increase as you ask for more fields, so the balance may be somewhere in the middle. 

What information should I ask for on my lead capture form?

This depends on the goals you have set for your email list, and on your industry. If you are creating distinct marketing for different segments of your audience, you might ask for information on your form that will funnel people into the correct groups. 

At a minimum, you should ask for their email address and first name. This protects their privacy but gives you enough to start the relationship. 

How can I make my lead capture form visually appealing?

Use modern lead capture form templates that are both visually appealing and responsive to different devices and platforms. Use colors that are unique from the page it sits on, but that coordinate with your brand and overall site design. Add graphics and images of people, when appropriate, to humanize the form and make it feel a bit less transactional.  

Should I use a single or multistep lead capture form?

If you’re only asking for first name and email address, you only need a single-step form. But if you’re asking for four or more fields to be filled out, you might consider a multistep form, along with a progress bar, to encourage more users to complete the steps and fill out the entire form.

What are common mistakes when creating a lead capture form?

The most common mistake is to require too much information, especially phone numbers. One site that changed its phone field from required to optional saw its conversion rate go from 42.6% to 80%. There’s a sizable subset of people who simply will not give out their phone number in a lead capture form. 

A second common mistake is to not think about who your ideal customer is when creating these lead gen forms. The language of the offer, any incentives, and the button should appeal to your ideal customer, subscriber, or lead. 

Should I use CAPTCHA to protect my form from spam?

No — CAPTCHA increases frustration and dramatically increases form abandonment. A MOZ study found that 30% of lead capture form users gave up while trying to solve these annoying puzzles. That’s a lot of lost subscribers. 

A better approach is to use anti-spam tools like Akismet that run in the background and use AI to identify and block spambots from completing your forms.

What is Akismet, and how can it improve my form conversion rate?

Akismet is an anti-spam plugin built for marketers and lead generation. It’s an open-source tool created by WordPress that can work on almost any website platform because it was written by developers, for developers. 

Akismet homepage with the tagline

Akismet improves lead capture form conversion rates because it identifies and blocks spam without requiring your actual users to do anything. There are no annoying puzzles to solve or grainy pictures to scour through. All the anti-spam work happens in the background. 

That means it protects your site and your email list from spammers, but doesn’t hinder anyone you want to join your list from doing so. 

What types of companies generally use Akismet?

There are over 100 million sites currently using Akismet. There is a free version for non-commercial blogs, reasonably priced paid versions for commercial businesses, and an enterprise version for large companies. 

Happy Akismet customers include Microsoft, Bluehost, and ConvertKit, whose senior engineer John Lunsford said, “With Akismet, we don’t really have to think about spam prevention, which allows us to work on other things. We moved from a place of putting out fires to now things are automated. We’re tracking stuff, we’re alerting on stuff. So now we know across our whole surface area if we have bot attacks.”

Instantly improve your lead capture form conversion rates

You can spend hours optimizing lead generation forms, designing custom graphics, and tweaking copy. All of those things will pay off with incremental increases in conversion rates from your target audience. 

But what if you need results right now? The quickest way to boost results is to eliminate annoying CAPTCHAs and use Akismet instead to protect your site in the background while letting real users pass right by. 

Get Akismet today.

by Jen Swisher at September 27, 2023 01:00 PM under Tips

HeroPress: My Journey as a Teacher and Engineer

Pull Quote: I only knew I had teaching skills, but WordPress taught me to be versatile.

I always wanted to be a teacher from my childhood days. I have seen my mom giving tuition. My aunts, uncles, sisters-in-law, and cousins were all in the teaching field. Since I grew up observing them all teaching, I also envisioned myself as a teacher. I believed there was no better profession in the world, and I still do.

As I grew older, my goals shifted slightly. I started to see myself as a lecturer rather than a teacher. I was the first girl in my family to become an engineer.

During my studies, I never thought about working in the IT field.

I had a narrow view that IT or Computer Engineering meant only for coding. The employee has to work around the clock and move to another location. So, I had enough reasons to convince myself to pursue a career in teaching. Even today, if someone asks me in the middle of the night to explain how to debug a program using a loop, I can do so happily.

After completing my engineering degree, I started working as a lecturer. After getting married, I moved to a new city but continued working as a lecturer. During that period, my husband went to Singapore for work, and we all moved to our native place. I could not find a lecturing job as there were no engineering colleges. And other colleges only offered positions as computer lab assistants, which I declined. I began providing private tutoring for engineering students, and my life seemed settled.

Discovering Passion Through Writing: My Journey from Boredom to Blogging Bliss

Then, a turning point occurred in my life. Within five months, I also moved to Singapore. I managed to find a job in marketing, which was outside my skill set. I soon realized that it did not bring me joy. And without joy, there was no fulfilment.

I left that job after three months. I started getting bored. I did not have much to do except grocery shopping and household chores. One day, my husband suggested trying something new! It can be writing or documenting or anything that could help to stay content. I had never considered writing before! He suggested some blogging platforms like Medium, Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress. I created accounts for each of them and started publishing articles.

WordPress turned out to be the most engaging platform, and I decided to continue writing a blog on WordPress.

That was how I started my blog, out of boredom, which became a passion later. I connected with hundreds of fellow bloggers. I also started participating in various blogger events and started getting recognition. And this was something I could do for hours.

Crossroads and Choices: Navigating Career Transitions from Teaching to Testing

In 2015, we returned to India. We settled in Pune, which presented a new challenge for me in finding a lecturing job. Some institutes only offered me positions as visiting faculty. And pursuing further studies seemed impractical at that time. So, I had two options left. Either continue writing blogs full-time or join the IT sector. I enrolled in a testing crash course, which I would not recommend anyone to do. The institute focused on theory more and minimal practical knowledge. I also cleared my ISTQB certification.

And you won’t believe what happened next….!

After a few months, I landed a position at rtCamp as a QA Engineer! It’s fascinating to think that I initially used WordPress as a consumer to publish my blogs, and now I find myself testing websites built on the WordPress platform.

Like many others, I once considered WordPress to be exclusively a blogging platform, unaware of the efficiency and sophistication of the entire WordPress ecosystem. 

Back then, I had little technical knowledge about WordPress, but I became familiar with the plethora of terms specific to the WordPress environment and other technical nuances. I delved into concepts ranging from the Dashboard to slugs and post metadata, among other things. Initially, I conducted manual testing of websites, but over time, I acquired proficiency in various automation frameworks. At rtCamp, we have explored a multitude of frameworks for comprehensive automation, covering areas such as end-to-end testing, visual testing, acceptance testing, API testing, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about our QA services, you can explore them here.

COVID19 – A Journey of Career Break, Home Schooling, and Life Lessons

Fast forward to 2020, a year we remember as a pandemic! I took a career break around June 2020 for many reasons. I decided to home school my son. Teaching a preschooler is quite different from teaching a college student. I had no idea how I would be able to make homeschooling happen. I come from a traditional school environment.

To understand the depth of homeschooling was also a challenge for me. I had no idea where to start!

I started following many such accounts dedicated to homeschooling. But it did not go well initially. We took multiple breaks. I kept revisiting my failures in homeschooling strategies, what went well, what could be improved, and how can I make more engaging things like that!

I also started reading many parenting books. My son became more comfortable with the time. It was a journey filled with various gaps and learning experiences! I started documenting my parenting and homeschool journey. I also share bits of it on Instagram too.

During those years, we traveled to many places around India. And homeschooling became more like school on the road. It was not only about learning ABCs and 1, 2, 3. Homeschooling meant acquiring life skills. We traveled to different places, immersing ourselves in local cultures and food. We worked and improved on many aspects during our home school journey. Apart from academics, we learnt gardening, composting, eco-friendly practices, reading books, sharing toys/books and many more new things! My son never liked books but we ended up visiting the library twice a week!

My husband and I considered extending homeschooling, at least for kindergarten. But there are always pros and cons to everything! Home schooling is blissful yet it comes with challenges for parents and kids. I also wanted my son to attend a real school and want him to understand the difference between homeschooling v/s going to school every day where school follows a fixed curriculum. He is too small at this age to understand what is best for him. I wanted him to experience what school life is all about! Luckily, we found a good school in town that does not follow the traditional teaching approach. They focused on teaching children how to think rather than telling them what to think. 

Emerging from the Comfort Zone: Rediscovering My Career Path After an Extended Career Break

As my son started school, I again had some free time but was unsure about resuming my career. I retreated into a cocoon of safety. Resuming work meant facing new challenges for which I wasn’t prepared. So, I took more time to adjust to the upcoming changes. I explained to my son why I wanted to work and prepared him. Today, I am proud of how well he has managed.

Overcoming Rejections and Career Break Challenges

During the second half of the last year, I began preparing myself. The job market took a hit due to an economic downturn. Layoffs and pay cuts were happening even at major companies like Google and Microsoft. Despite the challenges, I started looking for job opportunities. My journey was marked by numerous rejections, even after successfully clearing interviews. In several instances, when multiple candidates vied for the same position, my career break seemed to be a decisive factor in being overlooked. This experience was disheartening, as many organizations fail to recognize the value of individuals who have taken career breaks!

My Journey Back to Work with rtCamp

But fate had other plans. I reconnected with my former employer this year around April 2023, and they didn’t let me down. It gives me goosebumps even now as I write this. I resumed my career back at rtCamp this year in June 2023

Rejoining the same organization after an extended break gave me the feeling of returning back to home after a vacation! rtCamp is known for its motto of “Good Work and Good People” and they proven to stand by it! 

From User to Contributor in the WordPress ecosystem

One of the remarkable aspects of rtCamp is, that we are encouraged to contribute to the WordPress ecosystem. I gradually began contributing to the WordPress Core, and it fills me with pride whenever even a modest suggestion, enhancement, or reported bug gets approved. Whether it’s a small or substantial contribution, each one enhances WordPress as a whole which millions of people use, resulting in continuous improvements. Being a part of the WordPress community brings me immense joy, and I consider myself blessed. Here are some of the tickets that opened and got fixed.

Inspired to Speak: My experience of attending Speaker Workshop for Indian Women

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Speaker Workshop for Indian Women in the WordPress Community, which took place on September 23-24. This workshop not only boosted my confidence but also shattered many myths. It made me realize that no one is an absolute expert, and nobody is perfect. Sooner or later, you break the cocoon to free your wings if you want to fly!

Regrettably, I hadn’t been able to attend any Meetups or WordCamps before. However, I am genuinely looking forward to participating in upcoming WordCamps and meetups very soon!

From testing exam papers to testing websites

I only knew I had teaching skills, but WordPress taught me to be versatile. One should keep exploring various opportunities rather than waiting for destiny to knock on the door. 

By the way, rtCamp is always hiring. If you’re interested in working with rtCamp, visit their career page.

Krupa’s Work Environment

We asked Krupa for a view into her development life and this is what she sent!

Krupa Nanda

HeroPress would like to thank Draw Attention for their donation of the plugin to make this interactive image!

The post My Journey as a Teacher and Engineer appeared first on HeroPress.

by Krupa Nanda at September 27, 2023 12:07 PM

WordPress.org blog: Help Influence the Future of WordPress by Taking the 2023 Annual Survey Today

Each year, the WordPress community (users, site builders, extenders, and contributors) provides valuable feedback through an annual survey. The results can influence the direction of the WordPress project by identifying areas that need attention. Annual surveying can also help track trends over time, with data points often finding their way into the yearly State of the Word address.

This survey helps those who build WordPress understand more about how the software is used and by whom. The survey also allows WordPress open source project leaders to learn more about our contributors’ experiences.  

To ensure your WordPress experience gets represented in the 2023 survey results, take the survey now (link).

You may also take the survey in other languages by using the link above and switching to another language, thanks to the efforts of WordPress polyglot contributors. 

The survey will be open for five weeks. Results will be published on the News blog in early December.

This year, like last year, the survey has undergone some improvements to the flow and question set. A new platform is also being piloted, offering an updated interface, enhanced multi-lingual support, expanded analysis and visualization tools for the results, and more. The new platform also has built-in accessibility and privacy controls, ensuring the survey meets the diverse needs of the WordPress community.

Spread the word

Please help spread the word about the survey by sharing it with your network, through Slack, or within your social media accounts. The more people who complete the survey and share their experience with WordPress, the more the project will benefit.

Security and privacy

Data security and privacy are paramount to the WordPress project and community. With this in mind, all data will be anonymized: no email addresses or IP addresses will be associated with published results. To learn more about WordPress.org’s privacy practices, view the privacy policy.

Thank you

Thank you to the following WordPress contributors for assisting with the annual survey project, including question creation, strategy, survey build-out, and translation:

adamsilverstein, adurasjb, alvarogóis, atachibana, bjmcsherry, chanthaboune, dansoschin, eidolonnight, fierevere, fxbénard, hassantafreshi, juliagasparyan, kittmedia, manudavidos, nao, nilovelez, rmartinezduque, and tobifjellner.

Thanks to Hostinger, Jetpack, and WordPress.com, for assisting with promoting the survey to their respective clients.

The survey closes on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 12:00.

by Dan Soschin at September 27, 2023 10:52 AM under survey

WPTavern: WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 Released

WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 was released today on schedule, led by an underrepresented gender release squad. It includes the last five releases of the Gutenberg plugin (16.216.316.416.516.6) along with the upcoming 16.7 release and 190 tickets for core.

If you are following Gutenberg development, many of these features have already been released in the plugin. The most notable highlights of features and improvements coming in 6.4 include the following:

  • Font Management – allows users to manage a font library independent of their active theme, along with Font Face support for server-side @font-face style generation and printing
  • Block Hooks – enables developers to automatically insert blocks into content relative to another block
  • Lightbox for Images – core support for lightbox functionality for image blocks
  • Expanded Design Tools – background images for Group blocks, aspect ratios for image placeholders, alignment settings for synced patterns, and more
  • Command Palette updatesimproved design, new commands, better consistency across existing commands
  • List view enhancements – usability improvements allow for renaming Group blocks, viewing media previews for Gallery and Image blocks, and duplicating blocks with a keyboard shortcut
  • New Twenty Twenty-Four default theme – a multipurpose block theme that will ship with a collection of templates and patterns that lend themselves to a wide variety of use cases. See a demo at 2024.wordpress.net.

WordPress 6.4 will also include many accessibility and performance improvements that will improve workflows and speed for all users of both Block and Classic Themes. A detailed testing guide is available that covers all the key features and how to test them, with video demos for each.

Beta 2 is expected on October 3. WordPress 6.4 will be the third major release of 2023, and is scheduled for November 7.

by Sarah Gooding at September 27, 2023 03:04 AM under WordPress

September 26, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress.org Expands Two-Factor Authentication Interface to Include Security Keys

WordPress.org began testing two-factor authentication (2FA) as an opt-in feature in May 2023. The interface and functionality are still in beta but it’s operational. This week contributors have expanded support for 2FA with a new interface for adding security keys, which are more secure than the one-time passwords.

A logged in user can set up the keys by visiting their WordPress.org profile, scrolling down to the “Security” section, and clicking on the support forum profile link.

Users who have two-factor authentication set up can click on “Two-Factor Security Key” and follow the instructions to set them up.

This update to the interface also adds Time-Based One-Time Passwords (TOTP), which are generated from the user’s chosen authentication app on their device and changed every 30 seconds. WordPress.org currently defaults to using security keys over the time-based on-time passwords, but contributors are working on making that configurable in the future.

Additions to the interface also include the ability to generate backup codes, which enable access when users don’t have their 2FA security key or app configured. The backup codes come with a note of caution from Automattic- sponsored Meta contributor Steve Dufresne, who has been working on the 2FA project:

Regardless of whether you are using security keys or a Time-Based One-Time password, make sure you generate and print backup codes. If you lose your primary key/device and don’t have a backup code, you will lose access to your account forever.

Dufresne encouraged WordPress.org users who haven’t set up 2FA to go ahead and do so. Any bugs can be reported to the project’s GitHub repository.

by Sarah Gooding at September 26, 2023 09:02 PM under News

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.4 Beta 1

WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 is ready for download and testing!

This beta 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 you evaluate Beta 1 on a test server and site.

You can test WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 in three ways:

  1. Plugin: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on a WordPress install (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).
  2. Direct download: Download the Beta 1 version (zip) and install it on a WordPress website.
  3. Command line: Use the following WP-CLI command:
    wp core update --version=6.4-beta1

The current target for the final release of WordPress 6.4 is November 7, 2023. Your help testing this version is key to ensuring everything in the release is the best it can be.

The WordPress 6.4 release is brought to you by an underrepresented gender release squad to increase participation of and partnership with those who identify as gender-underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.

Get an overview of the 6.4 release cycle, and check the Make WordPress Core blog for 6.4-related posts in the coming weeks for further details.

How you can help: Testing

Testing for issues is a critical part of developing any software, and it’s a meaningful way for anyone to contribute—whether you have experience or not. This detailed guide will walk you through testing key features in WordPress 6.4.

If you encounter 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. You can also check your issue against a list of known bugs.

Curious about testing releases in general? Follow along with the testing initiatives in Make Core and join the #core-test channel on Making WordPress Slack.

Learn more about Gutenberg updates that have debuted since WordPress 6.3 by reviewing prior editions of What’s New in Gutenberg posts for 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, and 16.7.

WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 contains over 400 enhancements and 370 bug fixes for the editor, including more than 190 tickets for WordPress 6.4 core.

Vulnerability bounty doubles during Beta 1

Between Beta 1 and the final release candidate (RC) for each new WordPress version, the monetary reward for reporting new, unreleased security vulnerabilities is doubled. Please follow responsible disclosure practices as detailed in the project’s security practices and policies outlined on the HackerOne page and in the security white paper.

A first look at WordPress 6.4

WordPress 6.4 will introduce a versatile default theme, new features, and numerous updates designed to enhance your WordPress experience across multiple areas—from writing and design to workflow efficiency. All while the foundational work continues for Phase 3 of the WordPress roadmap. Read on for some highlights.

Meet the Twenty Twenty-Four theme

Twenty Twenty-Four is a new default theme that will launch with 6.4. With a versatile collection of templates and patterns, this theme covers a diverse range of use cases, from entrepreneurs to small businesses to artists and writers. Twenty Twenty-Four also emphasizes the latest design tooling and site editing features, enabling you to leverage the flexibility of blocks and unlock numerous creative possibilities with just a few tweaks. Follow the theme’s progress and report any issues on this GitHub repo.

Manage fonts across your site

WordPress 6.4 will introduce new font management features:

The Font Library enables you to handle fonts across your site, regardless of your active theme—just like you manage assets in the Media Library. Easily install local and Google Fonts and choose which to activate for each theme. This new font manager is a powerful way to control a fundamental piece of your site’s design and branding without coding. Thanks to its extensibility, custom typographic collections can expand your font choices.

On the other hand, Font Face provides server-side @font-face style generation and printing support. It introduces a new global function called wp_print_font_faces(), which processes font data received from styles set in the editor or by the active theme.

Please note: The Font Library is slated for inclusion in upcoming 6.4 beta releases.

Add lightbox functionality to your images

Showcase your images in an interactive fashion with lightbox functionality. This new core feature will be available for Image blocks, allowing visual assets to be opened and enlarged on top of the existing content.

Enjoy new writing improvements

Many enhancements in 6.4 will ensure that your WordPress writing experience remains smooth and enjoyable, from new keyboard shortcuts to more reliable pasting from other sources. Moreover, a fresh toolbar experience will be available for the Navigation, List, and Quote blocks, making working with their tooling options more efficient and intuitive.

More design tools, greater creativity

New design tools will improve the overall creation experience with WordPress while providing greater layout control and flexibility. Some updates include:

Upgrades for smoother workflows

As the Site Editor continues to evolve and expand its capabilities, so do the interface and tools that support it.

First introduced in WordPress 6.3, the Command Palette helps you perform actions, search, and quickly navigate your site’s content and settings. It will receive significant updates in 6.4, featuring an updated design, new commands to accomplish block-specific actions, and better command language and action consistency.

List View provides a great way to browse and work with the blocks that make up your site. This release will introduce enhancements to its interface and usability, making it even more powerful. You can rename Group blocks, view media previews for Gallery and Image blocks, and duplicate blocks with a keyboard shortcut.

Pattern advancements

Patterns play an essential role in site editing, and its importance remains prominent in the upcoming release.

6.4 will allow you to better organize your synced and unsynced patterns with categories as part of the creation process. These categories are available for sorting within the insertion flow to make discovering and adding patterns easier. In addition, you can conveniently access all your custom patterns from the same place—the Patterns section of the Block Inserter, which removes the separate tab for synced patterns.

Other improvements include importing and exporting patterns as JSON files, ensuring backward compatibility with Reusable blocks, and enabling pattern transfer across sites.

Lastly, building on the groundwork laid in WordPress 6.3, this release will improve the pattern management experience for non-block themes by adding a Patterns tab under the Appearance menu, allowing access to the Pattern list page of the admin screen.

Update (October 2, 2023): While 6.4 will bring several exciting pattern advancements, the previously mentioned improved pattern management experience for non-block themes will regrettably not be included in the 6.4 release. Thank you for your understanding, and be on the lookout for it in WordPress 6.5.

Introducing Block Hooks

Block Hooks is a new powerful feature that enriches the extensibility of block themes, drawing inspiration from the familiar WordPress Hooks concept. Upon activation, plugins can automatically insert blocks into content relative to another block. For example, a “Like” button block can automatically be inserted after the Post Content block.

While developer-centric, Block Hooks enhances the user experience by making block usage more intuitive and allowing for further customization and control over where and how the auto-inserted blocks appear. A new block inspector panel named “Plugins” is designed to respect creators’ preferences, ensuring you can add, dismiss, or relocate Block Hooks as desired.


WordPress 6.4 has 70 accessibility improvements slated for inclusion, 60 of those are included in Beta 1. Notable updates focused on enhancing the user interface (UI) experience include better button placements, improved context for “Add New” admin menu items, and upgraded spoken messages in Site Health.

Additionally, fixes for image editing in the Media Library, error reporting on the login screen, and “no motion” settings for GIFs have been implemented. The cause of some false positives in automated UI tests has been corrected, and users without JavaScript now see a direct link to install the Classic Editor plugin. Learn more about these changes and other accessibility improvements for 6.4 on WordPress Trac.


WordPress 6.4 will include more than 100 performance-related updates, including improvements to template loading performance for Block Themes and Classic Themes, usage of the new script loading strategies “defer” and “async” in core, blocks, and themes, and new functions to optimize the use of autoloaded options.

Please note that features in this list are subject to change before final release.

A haiku for 6.4

Inline fonts, lightbox
Command blocks like CLI
Almost to 6-4

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @meher, @sereedmedia, @meaganhanes, @rmartinezduque, @annezazu, @cbringmann, @flixos90, @richtabor@francina, @joedolson, @priethor, @davidbaumwald, @chanthaboune, @luminuu.

by Reyes Martínez at September 26, 2023 08:21 PM under releases

Do The Woo Community: A 3m x 3m Grid Planet Wide Geocoding System with Phoebe and Jash

what3words, a unique geocoding system that represents any location on our planet, divided into 3 x 3 meter grid, and identified by three words.

>> The post A 3m x 3m Grid Planet Wide Geocoding System with Phoebe and Jash appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 26, 2023 08:23 AM under Ronald Gijsel

September 25, 2023

WPTavern: Matthaus Klute Acquires Social Link Pages Plugin

WordPress developer Corey Maass has sold his Social Link Pages plugin to Matthaus Klute, an independent WordPress consultant and developer with Alpha Particle. It’s another story of small plugins changing hands, where developers get the opportunity to test ideas and business models. Even the most modest creations have value in a thriving marketplace where business owners are willing to invest in these types of assets to expand their own offerings.

In 2019, Maass created Social Link Pages after taking a course on how to market himself as a musician and DJ. The course required him to sign up for Linktr.ee, a popular “link in bio” landing page service.

“In typical developer fashion, instead of paying $8 a month, I thought ‘I should build this,'” Maass said. “So I spent hundreds of hours building Social Link Pages for WordPress.”

Initially, Maass built the free version with most of the basic bells and whistles found in other link-in-bio page builders. After getting some pushback from the Plugin Review team, who Maass said were “skeptical about why we needed a ‘mini WordPress inside WordPress,’ the Social Link Pages plugin was approved for the directory.

Over the next year he added features that he needed while figuring out the right extras for a Pro version.

“Along the way, a user contacted me, asking if the plug-in could be white-labeled and used to build her own SaaS,” Maass said. “Shortly thereafter I released the Pro and Community (i.e. SaaS) versions of the plugin.

“Then I took a day job and stopped working on it for about a year and a half. I took the commercial versions offline. I barely looked at the plugin because there were almost no support requests.”

When Maass’ day job ended 18 months later, he went back to the plugin and was pleasantly surprised to find it had 1,000 active installs. This encouraged him to make some major updates and add new features.

The first marketing effort he made was to put Social Link Pages on AppSumo. At that time they were just opening up their marketplace.

“In the marketplace, you don’t benefit from AppSumo’s larger email campaigns, but I think Social Link Pages got a lot of eyes from people looking for good lifetime deals,” Maass said. “I sold about 80-lifetime licenses and was surprised to find that only two or three were ever actually claimed. I’ve since heard of other plugin developers who have had the same experience. Apparently, a lot of people collect lifetime deals, but never actually use them. So in the end it was free money.”

Over the next few years, Maass continued to add features but his interest was waning.

“The plugin did what I needed on my own sites, so I was not inspired to keep adding features just because I could,” he said. “I also saw a lot of new link-in-bio apps come online, though none were specific to WordPress. And I wanted to move on to new ideas.”

At the beginning of 2023, while considering all of his projects, Maass said he “could not find the willpower to market Social Link Pages as it should be.” He knew he was no longer the best owner for the plugin, so he listed it on a couple of sites dedicated to selling small software products.

Social Links Plugin Sells for $3K

“I’d always heard the correct pricing for a software product is 12-18 months of revenue,” Maass said. “Social Link Pages was only making about $125 per month at the time, but I was selling a complete business, already set up with e-commerce, multiple products, email automation, and more.

“I listed it at $5000. I heard from a dozen or so potential buyers, all of whom asked for charts and spreadsheets I did not have. I’m a developer and guilty of ignoring a lot of the standard sales and ‘biz dev’ practices. As I was asking too much based on what was ‘on paper,’ I did not find a buyer. I unlisted Social Link Pages, figuring I’d try again in the future.”

Maass tried again in the summer, listing the plugin in Post Status and a couple of other solopreneur-focused communities. He also dropped the price to $3,000.

“Immediately I heard from a number of interested buyers who saw the value in what I was selling,” Maass said.” I probably could’ve brought the price back up to $5000 again, but I wanted to see the plugin go to a new, better owner.”

Two years ago, Maass sold his Kanban for WordPress plugin to Keanan Koppenhaver at Alpha Particle. After discussing with Matthaus Klute, a developer who works with Koppenhaver, Maass knew he had found the right buyer.

“He’s a thoughtful developer with WordPress experience interested in building a product business,” Maass said. “We met up in person at WordCamp US in DC in August 2023, and spent a few hours moving all accounts to his name and getting him set up. It was a fun experience to do in person.”

Klute said Maass came to him highly recommended from others who had purchased plugins from him in the past. After he spoke with his lawyer, they proceeded to do an in-person asset transfer at WordCamp US (WCUS).

“I wasn’t actively shopping for a plugin, however I’ve always had a passing interest in asset and/or small businesses acquisitions,” Klute said. “Corey’s plugin caught my attention for several reasons. It fit well within my budget, boasted an active user base, and generated consistent recurring revenue.

“With my 9 -5 spent coding, the prospect of having an existing solution that I could focus on marketing rather than building was enticing. Lastly, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the plugin ecosystem.”

Klute said Maass’s experience played a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transfer. He had all the plugin’s accounts and services separated from his other entities, making it easily transferable. While at WCUS, they conducted a few Zoom sessions to explore the plugin’s codebase in-depth.

“Despite the focus on marketing, I do have a few ideas for the plugin roadmap,” Klute said. “I’m looking at the possibility of a digital business card functionality similar to Blinq and also exploring ways to enhance the plugin’s compatibility with WooCommerce for my dynamic shop functionality for e-commerce businesses.”

by Sarah Gooding at September 25, 2023 05:44 PM under Plugins

September 24, 2023

Gutenberg Times: Hallway Hangouts Galore, Recipes in the Block Cook Book, Default Theme and much more—Weekend Edition #269


We are running towards WordPress 6.4 Beta 1! Gutenberg 16.7 RC candidate was released this week. What are you most excited about for this major WordPress release? For me, it’s the Block Hooks that allow you to auto-insert blocks and the font library it empowers users to manage local fonts for their site that are independent of the design of the theme.

The best way to learn how all the new features with WordPress 6.4 work is to follow along with the 26th Call for Testing coming out of the FSE Outreach program: FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final touches by Anne McCarthy.

Congratulations to the team of Openverse for winning the Open Infrastructure Award! Many of our featured images originate at the directory of Creative Commons licensed assets. Did you know that you can search the directory directly from your image block? Try it out.

And as always, there are more updates in this edition. Enjoy!

Yours, 💕

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Next week is release week! WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 will be released on Tuesday, September 26th, and Gutenberg 16.7 on September 17th, 2023.

WordPress 6.4

Apart from the gazillion ‘quality of life’ improvements of site editor, writing flow, list view and blocks, there are four big features coming to 6.4: The Font Library and Management, Block Hooks, user added categories for Patterns and the image Lightbox feature

As mentioned above, Anne McCarthy published FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final touches. The instructions lead you through the array of new features for WordPress 6.4: You get to learn how to manage fonts, get your side organized using the Command Palette and rename Group blocks. Then you are asked to create a new Pattern and finish a Portfolio page. You also get to swap out patterns, and handle the display of a like button. It’s a fun call for testing for sure and the deadline for feedback is October 9th, 2023.

Gutenberg 16.7 RC

Gutenberg 16.7 Release candidate is now available for testing. It’s the last release before WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 and all new things should be already in there, except for three features, Lightbox for image blocks, Block Hooks and Font Library. Additional refinements will be made in upcoming Gutenberg releases that will be synchronized with the WordPress 6.4 release cycle all through the Beta period.

Gutenberg 16.7 has a whooping 290 PRs merged. When you consider that there has been an additional week to merge new code, it maybe isn’t so much. But of course, the changelog is again a mile long. Sarah Norris handled the release as part of the Editor Tech lead role on the underrepresented led WordPress 6.4 release.

Tammie Lister is Norris’ co-lead and joined me again for this week’s Gutenberg Changelog recording. We discussed the most important PRs during the recording of the 90th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast on Thursday. The episode will arrive at your favorite podcast app over the weekend. We also discussed the features that will make it into WordPress 6.4 and what we are excited about.

Tammie Lister and Birgit Pauli-Haack recording Gutenberg Changelog 90

🎙️ Latest episode: Gutenberg Changelog #90 – New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4 with Tammie Lister as special guest, hosted by Birgit Pauli-Haack

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

Nick Diego announced Block Visibility 3.1.0: Introducing WooCommerce and EDD controls, after improving the WooCommerce and EDD integrations for sites with large product/download catalogs. Diego mentioned a notable change to the product-based rules. “Previously, you had to select which product you wanted to target with the visibility conditions. While this is still possible, Block Visibility can now detect the current product.” he wrote.

With this version, the migration from Pro features to the free version is complete. Once you update to 3.1.x it’s safe to deactivate and uninstall the Pro edition. The complete changelog is available on GitHub

Sarah Gooding has a reported on the plugin update for the WPTavern, too.

Jamie Marsland interviewed Mike McAlister creator of the Ollie theme on Will WordPress Block Themes ever be as popular as Classic Themes? They discussed some reasons for a seemingly slow adoption of block themes.

Right on cue, Fränk Klein tweeted about the key benefit of Block Themes and Full site editing: Interoperability.

  • Content written with blocks is stored as HTML. So you can transfer it to another CMS.
  • Plugins that use blocks work with all block themes. Without needing an extra compatibility layer.
  • These plugin blocks, if written the right way, inherit theme styles.
  • And in the near future patterns (previously called reusable blocks) will be portable between themes.
  • There is no page builder, theme framework, or metabox plugin that can do the same.

What do you think are the biggest hurdles for you? Hit reply on the email or share in the comments here.

New tutorials on Learn.WordPress

The WordPress Training team released new tutorials for WordPress users:

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

The new default theme: Twenty-Twenty-Four is progressing fast, too. You can follow along via the demo site, the Slack channel, the GitHub repo and via the meeting notes:

Screenshot Demo Site Full-Page Patterns

 “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

Matthias Hunt and Michelle Schlup released their VS Code WordPress Syntax Highlighter. This extension provides syntax highlighting for the following WordPress syntaxes that exist inside traditional comment blocks:

  • Plugin header fields (PHP)
  • Block pattern fields (PHP)
  • Theme header fields (style.css)
  • Block markup (HTML + JSON)

Ryan Welcher started a series of twitch streams working on Block Developer Cookbook recipes. The first few broadcasts are now available on YouTube:

  • 🧑‍🍳 Block Level Validation – How to create block level checks to ensure that button blocks have text in them before the post can be published.
  • 🧑‍🍳 Connecting to Post Meta – How to create a block that can read from and write back to WordPress custom post meta.
  • 🧑‍🍳 Block Variations is the latest in the series, streamed last Thursday and is only available on Twitch

Every Thursday at 10:30 ET / 14:30 UTC Ryan Welcher goes online on Twitch with live programming sessions.

🗓️ Save the date: Hallway Hangouts Galore

September 27th, 2023 at 14:00 UTC Developer Hours: Building better blocks with the ‘create-block’ package. Ryan Welcher and Nick Diego will be diving deep into the functionalities of the create-block package. Developed to simplify and accelerate the process of building custom WordPress blocks, this package has become an indispensable tool for developers of all levels.

WordPress Developer Hours are held regularly on the last Wednesday of each month (except October 2023)

Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 18:00 UTC Hallway Hangout: What’s new for developers in WordPress 6.4 Justin Tadlock, Ryan Welcher and Nick Diego will host a casual conversation about the most important and exciting developer-related changes coming soon in WordPress 6.4. From Block Hooks and the Font Library to improved Editor flows and the new Twenty Twenty-Four theme, there is just so much to talk about.

Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 15:00 UTC Hallway Hangout: Performance Improvements for WordPress 6.4 The hosts Emily Clark, Joe McGill and Felix Arntz will go through quick intros (what each person does/focuses on) before reviewing WordPress 6.3 performance impact in the field, diving into WordPress 6.4 performance improvements and looking ahead at what can be learned for WordPress 6.5. 

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

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.

For questions to be answered on the Gutenberg Changelog, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com

Featured Image: “Moveable type used on Hawaii’s first printing printing press at the Hale Pa’i Printing Museum at Lahainaluna” by Kanalu Chock is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at September 24, 2023 11:30 AM under Site Editor

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #90 – New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4

Tammie Lister and Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss the New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes


Core Editor Improvement: Commanding the Command Palette

FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final touches

Training Team

Community Contributions

Understanding block attributes by Michael Burridge

What’s new for developers? (September 2023) by Justin Tadlock and Birgit Pauli-Haack

Learn more how to contribute to the Developer Blog

What’s released:

Gutenberg 16.7.0 RC 1

Call for testing of the new Font Library

What’s being worked on and discussed?

Underrepresented gender led WordPress 6.4

Project Board of Editor Tasks for WordPress 6.4

Stay in Touch


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 90th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about the new testing call for the FSE program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4 of course. And I’m your host Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and full-time core contributor for the WordPress Open Source project sponsored by Automattic’s Five for the Future program. My special guest today again is Tammie Lister and she and I are working on the WordPress 6.4 underrepresented gender release team and she is the co-lead of the editor tech teams. She also works as a developer at Inpsyde and started our new writing project. You will hear about it maybe in a moment. So welcome to the show Tammie. How are you and have you recovered from the last WordCamp?

Tammie Lister: Yeah, I’m doing really well. Yes, I had the pleasure of going to WordCamp with Lee Bay on Monday, a couple of days ago now. It was really nice. It was a small WordCamp at a tiny little beach place up in the northeast of England and it was a real pleasure to go there and talk about Gutenberg as a product. And you mentioned my new writing project. Yes. I’m just writing about how do all the various parts and patterns, templates, it’s at presselements.com kind of come together design system with surprise thinking. So I’m doing really well. Thank you for having me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah, well the WordCamp sounds lovely in the last summer days in a bay.

Tammie Lister: Yeah, it was lovely to just be at a single track was I think I’m correcting saying the first WordCamp since the events of the past few years for my country’s community. And it was really nice to just get together and just all be there. And there’s something about those small WordCamps that are really nice to have those conversations. At the end of it, everyone can go to the same restaurant and then kind of relax down, and it was a real pleasure to just listen to it everyone’s talks and just learn how everyone was using Gutenberg and what everyone was creating. I got to see what agencies were creating and what they were doing as well, which was really fascinating.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I like the small WordCamps too. In July, I was in Leipzig, which is also very small one-track camp and it was a very good, I felt very welcome in the German community because I had just moved to Germany and it was the first time at the German WordCamp so it was lovely and we had some great conversations.

Tammie Lister: You get to do those long lunches and just the pace seems, you’re not to kind of chasing to go and see everybody because there’s so many people in this space. You can actually have the conversations with everybody in the room and it was really nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And you don’t have to make a decision on which session you’re going to now it’s just one track.

Tammie Lister: No, yeah, and it was super nice being by the sea so you could look out of the window and go by the sea and yeah, that was kind of nice.


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, nice, nice. So we have a few announcements to make. So one of the more hidden features that were part of the WordPress 6.3 release was the command palette and that can be invoked within the site editor and now also with the post editor using control or command K. And it gives you a quick access to various tasks and settings throughout the space and you don’t have to hunt down the third level menu item to get to places where you needed to go. 

FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final Touches

And Anne McCarthy has published a great article on the Core Editor Improvement series, Commanding the Command Palette. So if you haven’t explored that yet, you definitely want to read that. And of course we show the links in the show notes and really it’s, well first of all the post editor I think is only coming with a 6.4. 6.3 was only with a site editor. But it’s such a lovely improvement if you are a power user you can get to places very, very fast. Have you tried it?

Tammie Lister: Yeah, personally the command palette I think is going to be really powerful going forward, but I don’t think people are quite using it yet. So what I love is that we are creating more documentation and that we are starting to really show these articles and use cases because in the conversations I’ve had with people there, curious but don’t quite know yet how to utilize it, I absolutely have tried it but I’m also trying to find out how do I start to use this and where do I start to do it? So the more articles that we have on how to extend it, the more happy I am and I think we’re going to get to the massive docs stuff data. So I’m really excited how all these features we start having things like that as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and if you want to really get into the what’s coming to WordPress 6.4, I really would recommend that you follow Anne McCarthy’s call for testing on the final touches because the instructions lead you all through the area of the features of 6.4. Among them, the command palette but also the group block and the new pattern. And you get to learn how to manage the fonts of course the big new feature and how to swap up patterns and templates and display like button on the portfolio page. And it’s a fun call for testing and make sure that you get your feedback in before October 8th. So all the feedback that you get in can be fixed in beta and release candidate for 6.4. So it’s kind of both. It’s a training on the 6.4 features but it’s also a kind of have more people find the bugs before we release. So I really hope you can make it and go through it.

Tammie Lister: And that’s been one of the biggest comments from the phone library to the command palette that I’ve heard from people is where do I go for all this information? So having these hallway Hangouts to these posts I think is really essential. The moment I show someone one of these posts, their little eyes light up and they’re like, oh, I can go to one place and I can then follow these information.

Hallway hangouts are great for that as well for people where they can just go and then they can see a summary of links and they can just wander around without having to scour or use search, search inputs it really difficult to know to collect that information and not everybody can ask everybody and some people just want to at their own pace, discover these things. So again, that kind of goes back to finding that information. If you are in a release, you’re going to know I’m trying fonts because I’m in the release and it’s going to come up. I’m trying this because it’s in a release and it’s going to come out, but I’m not trying the things that aren’t in the release because I’m focusing on the release.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we will share. Anne McCarthy also did a hallway hangout and going through the roadmap and just briefly said, “Okay, this made it, this didn’t make it, this made it.” And demo some of that as well if you don’t want to go through the call of testing. So I’m going to share that as well in the share notes. No show notes. Well share notes could be too. Right. And then a big shout-out also to the WordPress training team. They’re quite a productive bunch and their newest tutorials were, they’re not yet for the release of course because they don’t have all the information yet, but there’s an intro into the site editor. So if you haven’t gone and used those features, there’s a short intro. There’s also for those new to WordPress and how to schedule posts or pages. And one is also how to create your own synced or non-synced patterns.

Now that you can do it on WordPress patterns are really a great way to streamline your processes but also to help standardize your site production when you work within a team. And then last but not least, for this round of shout-outs, the WordPress database. And that’s a dive into, if you ever want to customize some of the WordPress, you need to know how the database is structured, how you can access it, how you can do all the edits, updates and deletes and what the actions and filters are. So this is, it’s a short intro but it’s really powerful so don’t forget to go to the learn.wordpress.org site to pick out all the tutorials that you need. But these are the four new ones from September, no, August. Yeah.

Tammie Lister: I think those are great. Someone could just be joining today and they turn up and they’re like what synced or non-synced? And we use language that we presume people know what they mean. I do all the time. So always. Yeah, it’s so good that we are actually correcting that by having these information resources.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And they mix the production of those resources between someone who has been in the community for a long time and just needs a new feature. And those who came in yesterday and need to know, okay, how to create your website, what’s the site? So it’s so important to have these resources.

Tammie Lister: And there’s a lot of people who have a lot of knowledge on creating, if you are talking either not just an end user, but you’re also talking about someone who’s a developer. They may have used different systems and they may use the terminology synced or non-synced, completely different to how we use synced or non synced. So coming into our space and then we, because do use, we are adorable, but we do use terms in a very specific WordPress way for certain things. So having some clarity I think is great, because you never know what is your source of truth for a lot of these things. So I am so pleased to find this information.

Community Contributions

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And we just talked about this, that the new WordPress Developer Blog, which has only been happening for the last nine months is not so known in the community. And I just want to give a shout-out to Michael Burridge. He posted a great tutorial for beginners on understanding block attributes, beginners being block development beginners, and there is more to block attributes that meets the eye and attributes contain data needed for your block or the data can be retrieved in multiple ways. And in this he walks you through a progressive kind of complexity way from the anatomy of a simple block to sources and selectors and HTML attributes and also how to use a query as the source of those attributes. And there were actually some great comments from block developers. One was, “I’ve been creating blocks since 5.0 and this is the first time that I actually understood how the query works. Thanks, man.” And then another one, “I always struggled with using HTML attributes as a source and this makes it so clear.” So it’s definitely a post to look through even if you’re an experienced block developer.

Tammie Lister: I just adore this because really to me it does come back down to the visibility and in the olden days it was go to Make Core. It really, Make Core is not, it’s great, but it’s an information resource, and the Developer Blog is really where you are safe to, maybe it’s me, but I don’t think it is. You’re safe to Instapaper, you get your highlighter, your digital highlighter pen out and you sit down and you learn. And that’s what this is becoming. So when I’m talking to someone at a WordCamp, when I’m talking to somewhere, one of my first conversations with a developer is going to be, Hey, are you following this blog? Because this is just as if you’re following React or you’re following whatever your flavor of awesome that you’re creating with because everybody has their own pet scripts that they create with.

It’s like sports teams, are you following this? Because we always used to say, are you following Make Core if you are a developer, are you following Make Design? If you’re a designer. This should be on those lists of are you following this? I don’t actually just think developers. I think even if you are slightly interested in what’s going on because, and I think this is worth saying the scale of what has been put there, and this might be something to look at in the future is having a, you need to know because I think sometimes knowing what you need to know is curious on here and a lot of people are presumed knowledge. So that’s something as we’re kind of doing this, some people have incredible knowledge in PHP, but not the knowledge in JavaScript quite yet. And that’s great because this blog can give them that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: In multiple ways and also to keep up with what’s changing because Core and Gutenberg reapers are changing so much.

Tammie Lister: Theme Jsons, block Jsons, if you were making blocks before and then you went for two years to do something like life and then you came back the way the blocks are done now or the way that themes are done now, completely different from the way that they were being done.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s true. And there’s one roundup post on the Developer Blog that’s come out every month and Justin Tadlock just posted the one from September and it’s a monthly roundup post for WordPress developers working on plugins, themes, and agencies. And this edition has about 20-plus short updates that gives you an overview what’s released, what’s about to come out in future releases. And also for both the front end as well as backend, sometimes I use that distinction between Gutenberg and Core to make it more one thing.

And the monthly publishing frequency is actually more digestible, even if it’s 20 plus items. But you can decide, they are divided up into highlights and plugin and theme developers. So you only have to, if you’re a plugin developer, just do the 10 items from the plugin section, but it’s more or less digestible than the three times a year field guide that comes with, I don’t know, tons of updates that are, you never know from the one-liners if it’s really important to you personally or is it just something you can ignore and it’s really hard to keep track of it. So it’d always be published on the 10th of the month and we are working on the October edition. And it comes out October 10th.

Tammie Lister: It’s a random suggestion, but this is not, I would love to see behind the scenes of the default being there or behind the scenes of releases, I don’t know, but I would love to see more community developer stuff there. But that happens with eyeballs on the blog. So I think that that happens as it grows. So more people pay attention to the blog and then more people can be there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. And if you are a developer and you want to share your journey…

Tammie Lister: There you go.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … on certain things, if you go on the WordPress, so it’s developer.wordpress.org/news is the address of it. There are two things to contribute to. One is the tips and guidelines for the writers and the reviewers and the other one is how to contribute because it’s not only the writing part, it’s also, yeah, we need to organize it. We have editorial group meetings and all that. So this is all kind of laid out in two pages, well pages, they’re very long pages.

Tammie Lister: I would love to hear more because there’s so many good stories and so many problems people are solving that they don’t keep to themselves in a bad way, but they keep themselves, they don’t have a place to put it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: To put it. Yeah.

Tammie Lister: And Make Core isn’t the place. This is the place. So I am so excited we’re talking about this.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Even if your personal blog is not the place because you’re talking to clients on your personal blog or the agency blog. Yeah, it’s a place.

Tammie Lister: The personal blog is also sometimes one space and sometimes you might have like, Hey, I did this, I’d love other opinions about what I did, which is hard to do, but it’s also good to collaborate and share as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But it’s more the exploration on the personal blog where you can collaborate with people, but then the outcome of it could be on the Developer Blog, on the official WordPress Developer Blog. So we have a discussion board on the Gutenberg, I share all those links of course in the show notes in the Developer Blog content repo on GitHub where we have discussions and we talk about those in the monthly meetings. So yeah, kind of hit me up either on Slack, WordPress or there in the meeting or in the channel we have actually a 4-dev-blog blog is the channel for all things Developer Blog. So yeah, come join us.

Excellent. Well, thanks for the ping here.

What’s Released – Gutenberg 16.7

Yeah, that brings us to our section, what’s released. And Gutenberg 16.7 had a three-week release cycle. And the change on is again about one and a half miles long with 290 PRs merged. Whoa. So Tammie and I, we have our work cut out today going over the most relevant parts. So Sarah Norris, your co-editor, tech lead, managed the release in preparation on the WordPress beta release that comes on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023. And 290 PRS, 72 of those are bug fixes, so it’s a really great release with some fixes as well.

Tammie Lister: Yeah, I think it’s worth saying that this is 6.4, it’s coming. We have the beta Tuesday? Always like to check. Calendars are hard and tricky and they see they’re popping up on my computer. With that, that’s why it took a little bit of a longer time. But those 72 bug fixes I think are incredibly important. We kind of get into that as well. Often we focus on the things we release, but the things we fixed and made even better and even more stable are incredibly important and this release has been a lot about that. So yeah, getting into that and getting into was Gutenberg for 6.4 is there, what now from Gutenberg? So I’m excited to dive into this and one day I’ll turn up and it’ll be a really short changelog for you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I don’t know, maybe 16.8 or so. Well let’s look at the November one because there’s not a whole lot of people, they’re all on vacation holiday.

Tammie Lister: But then it opens up again and then everyone’s like, oh, put all the things in there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely. Yeah. So tell me, what features are you most excited about for WordPress 6.4 to just derail us a little bit more?

Tammie Lister: I really, it’s not features, well default theme. I’ve always loved default themes, which is like, yes, it’s a Gutenberg, but it’s a tangent because I think now it showcases what can be done with the editing experience in its current incarnation, if that makes sense. Incarnation is a weird word, but that’s true. What it should do is showcase, oh goodness, if no one’s been following along, I’m very excited to deliver that Christmas present. It shows what you can do and empowers. So that to me is always powerful because you click it and it works for so many people and so many people turn it on from day one. So that and then just the fixing, it’s not a feature. And then I do absolutely have to say font library mainly because maturity of product, I feel that I always say there’s a checklist of modern editing experiences like yes, block editor, yes, collaboration, but honestly font management feels pretty standard, font management design, so that is really big. What about you?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m definitely font management, but I’m excited of all of it, but it’s the font library, it kind of empowers the user first time that you are not having to rely on a theme to get you the fonts that you want. So you can do a theme selection outside of your favorite fonts and you can find fonts that can be decorative, and you can do a lot more with it as a designer with the site editor now than you could before because you don’t have to bundle all this, you can just kind of have it in there.

Tammie Lister: We’re saying it’s not just that you have to rely on a theme, you also don’t have to rely on tutorials or plugins or something you might be trusting and it could not be great code. And I don’t mean to scare people, but the way that sometimes people have implemented fonts have at best not being performant and at worse, not being secure and not being performant and having these ways just helps everything from those angles. And I’m not going to be super scary, but the more holes we block from a performance and security angle, the better in that. And it just happens that it’s just better from a user journey perspective as well. Spoiler alert. It’s always better that someone doesn’t have to Google how to add a font and then put code. Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I also like that you can have the fonts stored locally on your site so you don’t have to go out to third parties and share your YouTube.

Tammie Lister: It encourages good behavior, which I think is really, we kind of started that with the accessibility with the little nudge of like, hey, that’s not an accessible color combination. Do you really want to do that? And it’s doing that. It’s encouraging the best practices and I think the more that we do that, the better. It makes gentle, happy nudges to best practices is the best way.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, let’s get into the changelog. So the first feature that I see on the changelog, but it’s not, is rename root blocks in the editor via a modal. And this is so powerful because it helps you as a site developer or even as a template developer to actually name the things, the sections that your template is for or if you have a long post you can easily see it’s not only just heading, heading, heading, heading. So you can actually name these things and find your way around much better. It also keeps the name, if you give it a name in the pattern, it keeps the name also there. So I really love that new feature. Yeah, I’m glad it’s coming to 6.4.

Tammie Lister: So next we have font library, which you’ve already discussed I think, but really it’s a font collection backend and the front end. It seems a small feature but really I think in the importance of this is to do the call for testing again and say that because yes, something getting in but something getting in that has a really thorough call for testing and everybody has got their sticks and gone and tested it with everything and tested it with their existing implementations of fonts. I think is something worth calling because or tested, turning it off because quite a lot of people may have pretty established settings at the moment, so we need to know can you turn it off and particularly an agency setting, can you turn it off? All these kinds of things.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah.

Tammie Lister: So knowing how it works in your situation and being empowered to do that is really important.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, absolutely. Every new feature in WordPress comes with an off switch because that’s some people want…

Tammie Lister: But knowing how to do that now will super educate you for when 6.4 comes out and I think that’s my biggest reflection from working in that space is learn now at beta what you are going to be turning off going forward. Yes, it’s going to take you a little while to roll out those new features but it’s being able to know, and then pivot is really important.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And so for the user that are using the site editor to build themes, so you can upload the font management thing is you upload a font that you first have downloaded and then upload it to a site and then you can select the variance of it and then it will fill up the dropdown boxes for font management for blocks, elements and for even patterns and templates and all that. So it’s so powerful. It also lets you delete fonts that are already enabled, just delete them and not have your user use them. So it’s quite a big new environment. 

Tammie Lister: Almost want to plug in where someone says, hey, you haven’t used that for, someone sits with fonts for a certain time, Hey you haven’t used it for a while. I’m sure someone’s going to create that. Would you like to remove it? Because you know humans, I’m going to try a lot of fonts.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I like the gamification kind of thing. So after six months if you haven’t used it, I need to use it in my closet as well, to have a person point out to me, okay, you haven’t worn that T-shirt for two or three years.

Tammie Lister: But I think that’s something that we maybe can, totally going off track, but that’s something to look at as improvements to all of these kind of things is and that’s the evolution, that’s part of it. We’re putting these features in and then how do we build then giving the feedback. So part of this is also giving your feedback to all these features, so test it and then give feedback. This is the first pancake at font library and the best guess at what people are going to need, but it’s not going to be the ultimate, it’s going to be the first start of it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, yeah.


Tammie Lister: Next we move on to enhancements I think. Is that correct?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Tammie Lister: There are lots of enhancements and one I would particularly like to call out is improving error messages and codes and not because I am fixated on errors but mainly because I think it’s really important to call out anytime the errors messaging is really improved. Sometimes like copy errors and different things, just hard to improve. But that has happened with the desk console and match JS, along with there’s also been visual tweaks to specific block commands. So all of these things they really add up to just a better experience for everybody no matter what type of user you are experiencing the editor.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, there have been some component updates and if you are using many core components, you probably want to go through a whole list. We have about three to shout-out. One is the support controlling open and closed state for dropdowns and dropdown menu. This definitely helps with a standardized way on how to manage that state. And then there’s a popover update. You can update the position types now for popover component and make them more flexible in using, so it could be an overlay or floating or it could be anything that you want. And the documentation for that is definitely is in the PR. So if you go through the changelog and you’ll see the PR for that. Yeah.

Tammie Lister: Another one I’d like to call out in there, to finally finish components is tooltip. So there actually has been a refactor using, I’m going to try and say this and see if it works, Ariakit and I think that’s it. Tooltip was kind of there, it kind of had bugs and it kind of was fixed but it was there. So this is quite a big one to do it. It means a lot of things, the biggest of those is it’s easier to create from and easier to extend from I think as well as you just get all the benefits of it being using that as well. So I think that’s really worth calling out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. You don’t have to run your own tooltip kind of system, you can just tap into the WordPress one. Yeah, absolutely.

Tammie Lister: And if you think about how many different tooltips have you seen over time. To me that is a strong thread leading into a lot of the phase three site admin, stroke design system stuff going forward is just how can we have lots of awesome things in our Lego Kit, going back to Legos, that we can start using foundationally. So if we have one tooltip system, we have one modal, we have one and then you can extend it, then you can bring your designs to it. I think that that’s really powerful. So I am delighted to see this. Shall we move on to block library? So block library has quite a few in, I want to call out first of all buttons. Buttons are a really powerful part of the block library and there’s two particular things I want to call out which is allow using a button element for button blocks and show inserter, if button has variations. Again, these are small but real quality of life fixes as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And what I learned, I don’t know if I learned it by reading through the PRs or by reading Nick Diego’s post on block variations on the Developer Blog. Sometimes you just don’t remember where you read things, but do you have it in your knowledge.

And is that you actually can replace a core block with your variation if you just use the is default and then the core block wouldn’t show up in the inserter but yours will replace that. So if you have a certain separator that you use throughout the whole site and you never want to see a different separator and whoever uses the separator has the right one, use that tool. Create a separator variation and set it is default and then it will automatically be the one that’s in the inserter for people to pick. And I think that’s so powerful and an easy way to extend the block editor for your client sites without having to do a whole lot of custom block development.

Tammie Lister: We need that article linked in the show notes I think.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And speaking of buttons, what was missing terribly from the navigation block or the navigation menu item was that you could actually use a button in header in the navigation to call out a certain feature. If you look around and I saw that in the PR, how many sites actually are using having a button on the top in the header for navigating to a certain specific place on the site that everybody always wants to use like the login or the access your or Pay Now or these kinds of things. Now you can use it in the navigation block just as a block and add a button to it and style it of course. There’s a button, so I’m really happy about that.

Tammie Lister: So moving on, we have one of my favorite sections, the design tool sections. This is a small but mighty section in the changelog. And the ones that I would like to call out is add a blockGap to post content block, that is really useful. It’s one of those small things that you’re just like, oh yeah, blockGap is an unsung part that really in design tours you don’t know you need it until you need it. I think whenever you’re creating something and add block, instant element support for buttons and headings. And block supports, add background image supports to group block, really interesting for that one. And columns adopt block and heading element colors.

Again, what this says to me and what it is really is just refinement and knowing where these blocks and where things are getting used and that will be from feedback and that will be from people using them. Probably in this context a lot of it, and I’m going back to what you’re getting for Christmas, which is a default theme. So default themes are great because what they do is they push the editing experience and that’s probably where a lot of this has come from in a beautiful way of, oh we can’t do that pattern or oh this agency has given this feedback. So keep the feedback coming and really keep trying to make patterns and breaking the editor because as you do, you’re going to get the design tools and the experience that you want from it. Is my best message around design tools.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely.

Tammie Lister: And that leads on to patterns I guess.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s another big feature, but I really happy about the background image for group block. Yeah, I just not always want to use a cover block for the whole thing. 

Tammie Lister: Oh, I have so many sites where I just put cover block as the background before everything. It’s a horrible way, just so I can do that. So now I know I don’t have to be evil on my site.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And you just upload it, check it from the, and you have a little at a sidebar, you get a little note which…

Tammie Lister: Don’t have to hack around it. We can actually use the editor how we wanted to use it, not how we were hacking.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And the pattern changes in this Gutenberg release is also something to now the developers edit categories to your user patterns, to the patterns that you all create. You also can create categories to it so you can cluster them, you can make them available, you have a little taxonomy to them and you can also filter by that when you look in inserter as well as on the pattern site editor section. So that’s so powerful. It also when you create a sync pattern, it offers you the category and I’ve been testing this and I really love how that works. And you can also have it when you edit it, you can add categories in the sidebar. So it’s a very thought through process in multiple ways. So I really, really appreciate that and you can use them for sync patterns as well as the unsync patterns or the sync patterns are what we call five years the reusable blocks. So it’s a new term for the same thing. So I really love it.

Tammie Lister: So moving on, do you want to talk about custom pattern category management?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You can change the categories of course. Actually using the WordPress native taxonomy management for the pattern category. So you can access it through plugins, your themes to anywhere where you use custom categories anywhere because it’s just a custom post type and then you have a custom taxonomy with it. That’s all what that was…

Tammie Lister: Or you can just leave that out then confused.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’ll just leave it there.

Tammie Lister: So moving on, I think we should be talking about the interactivity API and we have one particular bit that might seem a little bit unexpected, which we have with the image block and we have two. Which one is revise lightbox UI to remove behaviors and image block UI updates for the image lightbox. This shows just some thinking. Anyone that has experienced what the lightbox would say, one, lightbox is needed. Nobody is in doubt with we need it, but is it needed where it was? Is it needed to be called behaviors? Probably not. Was that the right place? Maybe. No, maybe not. So this shows reflection and what this shows is consideration and people taking feedback and something doing that. So I don’t know what you feel, but that’s what this shows to me is things should be released when they’re ready and when they’re in a place. One of the really key things is that this functionality is really wanted, but if we put it somewhere, everybody is going to learn that it is there. So where we put it better be the place we want it to be.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. I think there were too many abstractions about the behavior thing, thinking about it, this would be an example, but at the end of the day it’s a feature for an image and that’s where you find it. You find it in your image settings, image box settings and in the sidebar and you can turn it on and off. What it does is actually, but it’s enabling that you can expand it on click the image that you’re looking at. So it fills up the full screen content if you want to and any user can, with the image decide if they want to enable it or not. So this is bringing something very complex to a very simple user interface and I really love that sometimes you take big detours.

Tammie Lister: And the first version was quite complex and I think it’s really good because it’s basic saying, hey, what we put in, what’s not what we, and again it shows putting something in the plugin gets the feedback that then oh nope, reverse the car and that’s good. So now what we have is lightbox is going to be there and lightbox is going to just be a lot more minimal and it’s going to be exactly what it should be. Actually what it’s coming down to is exactly what most plugins have for it more or less, which I think is going to be a lot easier from a pitch perspective and easier from a user perspective of understanding and easier to onboard users into the native from the non-native, which is always what I think because there’s so many sites that I know that they already have lightboxes, but I so want to put them onto the new lightbox the moment it’s there.

So the closer it is to their current experience, the easier that’s going to be as soon. As it’s in a completely different postcode or zip code, depending on your own adventure, it’s going to be really difficult for that kind of adventure.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But it also has the danger that a lot of people have used lightboxes before and have a lot of expectations to it. So this is…

Tammie Lister: Lots of feelings when you talk about lightbox. Lightbox is one of those words that one, people will always visually see something. Two, people always have a favorite plugin and then three, people always have feelings.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We have big feelings, yeah. And right now it’s the basic implementation of a lightbox for an image block. So if you expect in the gallery block that you all of a sudden can use it as a carousel, that’s an expectation that will not be met.

Tammie Lister: It’s a great call out, because I think people are going to want that. In fact, I encountered that recently of that’s actually a common use case patterns. So where you’re going to have something, I think that that’s going to be a real expectation and until that that happens, spoiler, it probably will, because it’s a…

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sooner or later.

Tammie Lister: … natural progression. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sooner or later it’ll happen.

Tammie Lister: It’s a natural, but we need to get these things in. We’ve kind of spoken about that with the font library and everything. We need to get things in a simple form and then we can complicate, but sometimes it’s still tempting to be complicated to start.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Tammie Lister: Because we’re all human.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We want all of it and sometimes…

Tammie Lister: We want all…

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All of it.

Tammie Lister: … the cake… all the time.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So then another thing that’s in the plugin is in the page inspector, the ability to switch templates for pages. So right now in WordPress we have two places where you can edit pages. That’s the old way, the WP admin pages kind of section and add or edit. But the other one is that you can, through the site editor, you have a pages menu there and there you can also now swap out templates for that particular page. So you have multiple templates for maybe a service or maybe a portfolio or something like that. You can now switch in the page editing section of the site editor, the template. I’ve seen some implementation where you actually can preview the template in the sidebar, but I don’t think that made it yet. I was briefly testing it, so if you find it kudos to you, but I only saw it in a demo on the PR but in a discussion, but I don’t think that part made it yet into the plugin.

Tammie Lister: Moving on, I think we’re at block API, is that correct?


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah. We’re moving on to new APIs for the block editor and two of them are for the use case of Gutenberg as a framework. So using it outside the WordPress context and Riad Benguella has been looking into certain packages to decouple it for the WordPress backend and one of them is to extract the undo redo into methods and storage and all that into a separate package so it can be used outside the WordPress context and also introduce something like a block canvas to have the iframe, the block list and the writing flow kind of also in the framework rather than just in WordPress.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to shout out that that is coming. Somebody is taking a look at that. I got quite a few, when I’m at WordCamp Europe, I had some conversations on how that actually is more developed and there is a plugin by Automattic, like Gutenberg-everywhere or block editor everywhere, but it’s not yet fully developed. And I think having that in core would definitely be a better way to work with that. So if things are coming, please test it because as Tammie said, feedback is everything in this kind of line of work.

Tammie Lister: I think something like that is also going to be curious as someone to test and think does it fit a use case from a pitch perspective? Is it something that you felt you were working around WordPress before? Would it fit into it, would it not? All these kind of things, because starting to see WordPress as that framework and WordPress as that foundation and Gutenberg as that kind of kit that you can build out from is a hundred percent what I’m kind of curious about. I mean it’s WordPress but the kit of WordPress is where all of this is going and it’s very, very exciting to me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For me too, we talked about it before on this changelog, but not very recently. So Gutenberg is used in Drupal. Gutenberg is used in Tumblr and Gutenberg is used in Day One, the journaling app.

Tammie Lister: Using it to build products, using it from, it’s such a hipster kind of word, but headless. And I mean that in an adorable way, but honestly choosing the right tool and the right foundation means being able to pick. And to do that we need things like having it as a framework. And we also need the other thing, curiously leading into the stabilizing block hooks feature, which is just having the right things in the right place at the right time, that’s kind of what it is. And marking things as experimental that should be and just being clean about a lot of what we do. A lot of the time we are just pushing to do stuff. So that is coming in here as well. It is going to be part of 6.4. There’s a lot of iceberg features that kind of go through, which is a stabilizing, block hooks feature is part of that. It’s where you are looking at a cross between core and also Gutenberg as well. I don’t know what you think about that?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well the block hooks feature was actually released in an earlier plugin version, but it was always hidden in the experiment section. And so if people don’t explore the experiment sections, they don’t even know if that’s what it is. And now for 6.4 there was the decision that, oh, we need this in 6.4. So before it can go into core, it needs to be stabilized, it needs to, all the experimentation code needs to be looked at. Is it something we want to support backwards compatibility for the next, I don’t know five years or 10 years or so. Yeah, so those are very…

Tammie Lister: And having that consideration, but I think it’s really important to have that consideration and go through as well. I haven’t explored too much really this, I think this feature is really about trying to get something in that also is going to be really powerful for the foundation.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. So the block hooks features is actually the one that was previously announced on the auto inserting blocks. So you could add a like button to a comment block without having a user needing to put it in. They just can take it out from the plugin version. So it’s an extensibility feature that people have been waiting for quite a bit. Just to reiterate, what are block hooks? Yeah.

Tammie Lister: It’s worth calling it out separately. I think sometimes a lot of this, again the iceberg, a lot of this stuff as you were saying, it didn’t kind of get seen because it’s in there. The experimental flag is amazing because there’s so much good stuff hidden under there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’m calling out some of the bug fixes for the widget editor. Well that’s a blast from the past. We haven’t talked about widgets for quite a while, but it’s still very, very prominent in classic themes. And there were some broken layouts that had been fixed. The invisible area on the top toolbar, there was kind of a lot of white space there that had been fixed. And also the toolbar actually showing in the customizer, in the widget sidebar control, it has also been fixed. So if you are kind of waiting for those, it’s here now in the Gutenberg plugin and it will come to WordPress 6.4.

Tammie Lister: That’s really important. A lot of people still use widgets.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely.

Tammie Lister: So we have to a hundred percent still support that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And kudos to Aki Hamano who took those three fixes on and to push some over the finish line. 


So now we come to a huge section in this release and that’s documentation. And there are multiple documentation updates, but I think we can cluster them into three kinds of categories or three sections. One is Gutenberg as a framework. So Riad Benguella has done Bootstrap, the documentation website that is geared towards the usage of Gutenberg outside of WordPress. Of course he hasn’t filled in the pages yet, but he did the architecture of it and also has one page in there to explain how to implement the undo and redo in a third-party editor.

And then Nick Diego and JuanMa Garrido and Ryan Welcher and some others have worked on the overhaul of the Block Editor Handbook to bring it up to date and rearrange some pages and also to delete pages like the outreach page, which was actually put in because there was the documentation missing, which is now in there. Or remove unneeded block theme documentation that is coming to the theme handbook very soon. So there’s some, so move the glossary and into a get it started, the FAQ and get the get it started section really robust. And also update how to set up a block development environment with some of the instructions that are much more geared towards and successful into implementation of a local development than before. Do you have any thoughts on that, Tammie?

Tammie Lister: I absolutely adore that we’re adding to our documentation. I think we don’t know what we don’t know about the weird statement, but the gaps. So if anyone is like, wow, I wish we had this resource. I think saying that, this is so great because many times you are even repeating the same information. I would love to have these resources to point to. So I am over the moon that we have these resources. So thank you everyone that’s doing them.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then the third section that I mentioned was about documenting, the comment palette, which Riad Benguella has in these dev notes from 6.3, quite a few examples in there, but on the Make Core block buried under, I don’t know, 450 posts and they are brought now, those examples are now brought into the commands documentation to add more context and to help people to create new…

Tammie Lister: That’s really important.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: New comments.

Tammie Lister: People are not using that enough quite yet. And that kind of goes back to the beginning when I was just, we were talking about testing and everything, but really it’s the chicken egg, whatever analogy that we used in your culture. Really having that, the people that create it really saying, hey, this is how you can do this. And then people exploring for themselves how to do it. So I personally am going to be checking out that documentation to see how to, because that’s not something that I’ve played with and I really want to play with, I really want to play with it, Clippy and all that, but just really trying to, but now we have these documentations and now we’re starting to have the Developer Blog. We can start going in and just having better resources to do it. So I’m very excited to see that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Me, too. Me, too. And I just wanted to call out one update on the component changelog to mark the popover slot removal as a breaking change. So we mentioned that the had an additional placement there, but there’s also probably a little breaking change there. It’s documented in a component changelog, but I don’t think it made it into Block Editor Handbook yet. So I’m going to call that out in the show notes as well, just for those who use that popover component in their own apps. It’s a small thing, but it might trip up some people. So did we actually get through it?

Tammie Lister: We survived.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We survived.

Tammie Lister: Go team.

WordPress 6.4 Beta Release

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Tammie, it was wonderful to have you here and go through this. So what’s next for us? Of course, it’s the WordPress 6.4 beta release on Tuesday, September the 26th. And the release party is at 18:00 pm UT? No, it’s on 4:00 PM UTC. Join us in the core channel and have a party.

Tammie Lister: I was meant to try to work out what time that was me for tea time. That’s just tea time for me, to bring tea and cake. And I think that’s really important to say, that for those working on 6.4, now we step, we’ve been doing stuff all along, but from beta choose own adventure. It really is where we start. Yes, we have been doing stuff. We have not been absent. We have absolutely been doing stuff, but really this is the hard end of the release where everything gets really like, ooh, and everybody starts doing lots of things.

It is a shorter release or the end of the year releases are always shorter. You always try and put everything in Santa’s stocking or whoever you’re going to believe in and it never fits. But from a Gutenberg perspective, that means that it’s kind of shipped for 6.4 and a plugin will be open for your happy things to go into 6.5, because Gutenberg time travels in the best possible way. So you will start seeing people starting to talk about wider projects and because of the gap, you’ll probably see people starting to talk about some of the wider projects around collaboration and some of those kinds of things. I don’t know what you think, but that’s kind of what the end of the year vibe is always. People take breaks, please people take breaks because you are human. But also people start thinking about some of the bigger projects. So I expect to see probably…

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Tammie Lister: … some lovely in-depth project, make posts, Developer Blog posts and just follow, always the tickets I love on the GitHub are the tracking ones. Once they tracking, if you search for tracking in the GitHub repo, that’s one of my favorite things to search for.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Tracking an overview. Yeah, those are the big items. Yeah.

Tammie Lister: Tracking is like the new hotness over overview at the moment. It feels.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Tammie Lister: We should unify that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m really looking forward to the next three, four weeks just because we’re going to see a lot of bug fixes coming into 6.4 from the beta release, and then the release candidate. Well release candidate one is the deadline for developer notes to come out and the field guide to come together. So have an eye out for that.

Tammie Lister: Yeah, you’ll start to see sources of truth posts come out, which would be like, here’s actually what was in, we’ve been talking a lot about here’s what’s going on, but say, I don’t know, the top toolbar focused outline. I’m literally looking at something in the changelog, turns out to hurt bunnies. I don’t know. Then that will be pulled because hurting bunnies is bad. So all those kinds of things is what will happen when it actually goes in and has more people testing it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the final release, 6.4 is in November 7th, so it’s early Christmas this year to follow your metaphor there.

Tammie Lister: This is early, everybody.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s early there.

Tammie Lister: … take a long, long break.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, after that a lot of people are going to take off because in America it’s going to be Thanksgiving, Christmas is bigger in Europe, Christmas holidays and all that. So in January…

Tammie Lister: But people also talk about, I think the other thing that people do over this time is think about a lot of the longer term projects. You’ll see a lot of housekeeping, a lot of tests, a lot of just general thinking about the bigger projects. So there’ll probably be, as I’ve mentioned, that the collaboration posts and things, which I think is always, you end on that and then you start afresh thinking about the roadmap. I love this time of year because, and this is one of my favorite releases because, and then you also get the default theme to play with. So you can start thinking about what you want to do and what you want to create with the editor. What tickets do you want in next year? What do you want to create? Sounds fun.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Well, we always love to hear from you. So if you have things that you want us to know about, send us your questions or suggestions or the news you want us to include, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com, the changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. And as always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is episode 90. Wow. 90 episodes. Well, 10 more episodes we’re at 100.

Tammie Lister: Yay. You need cake for 100.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I need Cake. Yes. Okay. So thank you so much, Tammie, to be on the show and make this a fun show again. And wishing everybody a nice start into the fall. And I hear you all in three weeks because 6.7 had a three-week week cycle. So 16.8 is not coming out until beginning of October. You all take care and I’ll be out of here. Bye, Tammie.

Tammie Lister: Bye.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, thank you.

by Gutenberg Changelog at September 24, 2023 09:51 AM under WordPress Themes

BuddyPress: BP Attachments 1.2.0

Immediately available is BP Attachments 1.2.0. This BuddyPress Add-on maintenance release main goal is to fix two annoying issues (one of them is a regression introduced in previous minor release). Please make sure to upgrade asap.


  • Make sure to only override the WP queried object if it is an Attachment one.
  • Only list the BP Attachments Add-on in optional components into the BP Components Administration screen.

Please upgrade to 1.2.0 asap !

by Mathieu Viet at September 24, 2023 04:34 AM under releases

September 23, 2023

BuddyPress: BP Classic 1.1.0

Dear end users & site owners,

If you don’t know yet what’s the purpose of BP Classic, we advise you to read the Add-on’s first version announcement post. In short: BP Classic is a BuddyPress Add-on that is being developed and maintained by the official BuddyPress development team. It mainly provides backwards compatibility for BuddyPress 12.0.0 & up in case your active BuddyPress plugins or theme are not ready yet for the great BP Rewrites API introduced in BuddyPress 12.0.0. It basically brings back the BP Legacy URL parser.

NB: BuddyPress 12.0.0 is still under development and you can contribute to BP Classic as well as BuddyPress 12.0.0 improvements using the 12.0.0-beta2 (or up) pre-version.

1.1.0 is fixing 2 issues:

  • It makes sure BP Classic is activated at the same network level than BuddyPress (See #21).
  • it improves the way the themes directory is registered (See #23).


@imath @dd32

Please upgrade to BP Classic 1.1.0

by Mathieu Viet at September 23, 2023 08:05 AM under releases

WPTavern: Block Visibility 3.1.0 Adds WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads Controls

When WordPress contributor and developer Nick Diego released version 3.0 of his Block Visibility plugin earlier this year in March, he made all the Pro features available in the free version, with the exception of a few that would take more time. The plugin, which is used on more than 10,000 WordPress sites, allows users to conditionally display blocks based on specific user roles, logged in/out, specific users, screen sizes, query strings, ACF fields, and more.

In the latest 3.1.0 update Block Visibility has added the missing WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) controls. These features were originally planned to be merged into the free version in April but required more development to improve how they work on sites with large product/download catalogs.

The WooCommerce controls include 18 conditional visibility rules with full support for products with variable pricing. It allows users to show or hide blocks based on products, cart contents, customer purchase history, and more.

“There is one notable change to the product-based rules,” Diego said. “Previously, you had to select which product you wanted to target with the visibility conditions. While this is still possible, Block Visibility can now detect the current product.

“This functionality is extremely useful on product pages, single product templates, and product grids (Query blocks).”

The EDD controls allow users to show or hide blocks based on downloads, cart contents, customer purchase history, and more. Since EDD doesn’t have as many block-powered layouts as WooCommerce, Diego did not include the “Detect current product” feature.

“The EDD visibility control currently has no product-based rules,” he said. “If greater block support is added to EDD in the future, such as an EDD Products block that supports inner blocks, expect more functionality.”

Block Visibility 3.1.0 also adds a new Command Palette command to “Manage Visibility Presets,” which requires WordPress 6.3+.

image credit: Block Visibility repository – PR #84

Diego said he doesn’t plan on adding any new integrations to the plugin but will continue improving existing controls. Now that all the features from the Pro version have been merged into the free plugin, users who have the Pro version installed can deactivate it after upgrading to version 3.1.0.

by Sarah Gooding at September 23, 2023 02:07 AM under Plugins

September 22, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress Plugin Review Team Onboards New Members, Releases Plugin to Flag Common Errors

WordPress’ Plugin Review Team continues to dig out from under a massive backlog that has grown to 1,260 plugins awaiting review. Developers submitting new plugins can expect to wait at least 91 days, according to the notice on the queue today.

Currently there are 1,241 plugins awaiting review,” Automattic-sponsored Plugin Review team member Alvaro Gómez said earlier this week.

“We are painstakingly aware of this. We check that number every day and realize how this delay is affecting plugin authors.”

Although the backlog seems to be getting worse, Gómez published an update outlining new systems the team is putting in place to get the situation under control. He likened it to patching a hole in a boat, as opposed to simply prioritizing bailing out the water.

“During the last six months, the Plugin review team has worked on documenting its processes, training new members, and improving its tools,” he said. “Now, thanks to your patience and support, the tide is about to turn.”

The team has now onboarded two rounds of new members, with three more reviewers added recently, and has a system in place to make this easier in the future. After receiving more than 40 applications to join the team, the form will be closing at the end of September.

They also sent plugin authors still waiting in the queue an email asking them to self-check their plugins to meet basic security standards, as another effort to mitigate the growing backlog.

“We find ourselves correcting the same three or four errors on +95% of plugins and this is not a good use of our time,” Gómez said. “Once authors confirm that their plugins meet these basic requirements, we will proceed with the review.”

A new plugin called Plugin Check has just been published to WordPress.org for plugin authors to self-review for common errors, which will eventually be integrated into the plugin submission process.

“Once the PCP is merged with this other plugin that the Performance team has been working on, it will provide checks for a lot of other things,” Gómez said. “When this is completed, we will be in a better spot to take in feedback and make improvements.

“In the short term, we are going to ask authors to test their plugins using the PCP before submitting them, but our goal is to integrate the plugin as part of the submission process and run automated checks.”

So far plugin authors have reported a few bugs and issues with the plugin not recognizing files or giving unintelligible errors. These issues can be reported on the GitHub repo, which is temporarily hosted on the 10up GitHub account but will be moving to WordPress.org in the near future.

by Sarah Gooding at September 22, 2023 05:51 PM under plugin review

Do The Woo Community: WooBits: Accessibility, Diversity, Community, WooSesh and More

This week, diversity at WP Accessibility Day, WooSesh, Cart and Checkout Blocks and more WordPress and WooCommerce community.

>> The post WooBits: Accessibility, Diversity, Community, WooSesh and More appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at September 22, 2023 01:04 PM under WooBits

WPTavern: WordPress Accessibility Day 2023 Announces Diverse Speaker Lineup, Doubles Sponsors from Previous Year

WP Accessibility Day (WPAD), an independent 24-hour virtual conference, has published its schedule for the upcoming event on September 27, 2023. Co-lead organizer Amber Hinds reports that more than 1,248 people have registered for the event so far with attendees across 30 different countries. Approximately 50% of attendees are from the U.S.

WPAD has attracted an influx of new voices this year. All speakers, excluding sponsored sessions, are first-time speakers at the event.

“We were nervous initially about speaker applicants, but we actually received a lot more speaker applications than last year and also more applications that were higher quality than in previous years,” Hinds said. “It was hard to decide!”

The keynote address will feature a conversation between Jennison Asuncion, co-founder of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and Joe Dolson, an accessibility consultant and co-founder of WordPress Accessibility Day. Attendees will learn how to perform usability and accessibility tests on their websites, how to build an accessible WordPress pages and posts using the block editor, simple ways to make email more accessible, how to understand color and contrast requirements in WCAG 2, and more.

Based on the stats for speakers (of people who opted to give the info), WPAD’s organizers have succeeded at recruiting a diverse lineup for the event:

  • 10 countries
  • 67% female, 30% male, 3% Nonbinary
  • 14% LGBTQ
  • 41% non-white identifying
  • 2 first time speakers who have never spoken at any event.
  • 11 of the 27 speakers identify as having a disability. (41%) – There are speakers who identify as blind/low vision, deaf or hard of hearing, have limited mobility, and learning disabilities.

“These were the hardest decisions we’ve had to make yet in selecting the WordPress Accessibility Day speakers,” Speaker Team lead Joe Dolson said. “There were so many truly excellent ideas proposed. As a result, our speakers include people who work across many different aspects of the web – inside and outside the WordPress community. I feel like we’ve ended up with an excellent cross section of topics, so we have something to offer for developers, policy makers, content creators, or community organizers.”

WPAD secured non-profit status earlier this year through a fiscal sponsorship partnership with Knowbility, an Austin-based digital accessibility advocate and services provider. One of the reasons the organizers wanted to manage it independently of the WordPress Foundation was to reserve the option to do things like pay speakers for their time and expertise. Speaker pay is one expenditure for the event, which is supported by corporate and community sponsors.

Hinds said it was easier to attract sponsors this year and that the sponsors team received positive responses fairly quickly. They also added a microsponsorship option earlier this year (previously it was only on the registration form) and were able to recruit more businesses as microsponsors.

The team’s goal this year was to get enough sponsorships to cover the cost of the event itself, make a donation to Knowbility (part of the event’s fiscal sponsorship agreement with them), and have enough leftover to cover year-round expenses, such as Google workspace, Buffer, domain registration, and hosting.

Hinds said the organization met its sponsorship goals at most tiers, due to the hard work of the Sponsors team leads Bet Hannon and Joe Hall, along with the generosity of the community in supporting the event.

“We are thrilled to have doubled the number of sponsors this year over last year,” Hannon said. “I think this reflects the increasing awareness about accessibility as an issue to be addressed, as well as the wider WordPress community coming together to sponsor an event providing high quality accessibility education.”

New in 2023: WPAD to Broadcast via Zoom

In addition to a whole new crop of speakers this year, WPAD is offering t-shirts for the first time as a thank you gift to attendees who want to make a donation when they register.

“We had a lot of people ask us last year how they could get a t-shirt, but they were only available to organizers, speakers, and volunteers,” Hinds said. “This year they’re available during registration so anyone can get one.”

Last year the event was broadcast via an embedded YouTube video on the WPAD website with third-party embeds for chat/Q&A and the live transcript.

“We got feedback from attendees that this did not work well because they didn’t have control of the layout of the video,” Hinds said. “It was particularly limiting for attendees who rely on the sign language interpreters; they needed the interpreter video to be larger. Other people said that they found the interpretation to be distracting or they needed the slides to be bigger so they would be easier to read.”

The 2023 event will be live streamed using Zoom, which recently introduced a sign language interpretation view that allows hosts to assign interpreters.

“Attendees can choose to view the sign language interpretation in a separate window,” Hinds said. “With this new feature available, we decided to change to Zoom webinars. We have one long 24-hour webinar that people can jump in and out of as they see fit, and each attendee can set a view for speakers, slides, signers, and captions that works best for them.”

Registration for the event is free and it’s still open. Attendees have the opportunity to receive virtual swag and win prizes from the sponsors. Organizers have also gotten the conference pre-approved for continuing education credits for the International Association of Accessibility Professionals Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) and Certified Professional in Core Competencies (CPACC) certifications.

by Sarah Gooding at September 22, 2023 03:49 AM under accessiblity

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Last updated:

October 03, 2023 07:30 AM
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