WordPress Planet

April 19, 2021

WPTavern: Recreating the Classic Wedding WordPress Theme Homepage With the Block Editor

I simply do not understand it. For at least the better part of a decade, theme authors have asked for the tools to create more complex layouts with WordPress. They have asked for the ability to allow end-users to more easily recreate their demos. They have wanted methods to bypass the “restrictive” theme review guidelines.

Over the past couple of years, WordPress has consistently delivered features that theme authors have asked for. Yet, themes that use them are few and far between.

During my weekly perusal of the latest themes to land in the directory, a new wedding theme caught my attention last week. Of course, I downloaded, installed, and activated it only to find that I had no idea how to recreate the homepage design. There were no instructions. The theme options in the customizer seemed to make little sense. Nearly all of the decorative images were non-existent in the theme folder.

Did I need to upgrade to the pro version to get what was in the screenshot? There seems to be a plan for such a version, but it is not available yet.

Classic Wedding theme screenshot.

I am no rookie, but I was stuck. I liked the simplicity of the design. However, I could not imagine setting up a wedding site with this theme. From a user’s standpoint, it should not take more than a few mouse clicks. After that point, it should only be a matter of customizing the content.

I recognize that there is still a sort of love/hate divide for the block editor in the inner WordPress community. However, theme authors are not doing any favors for the overall WordPress user base by not taking advantage of the tools available.

So, I recreated the Classic Wedding theme homepage from scratch. Using the block editor. With a theme that supports it.

Creating a Wedding Homepage

My goal was simple. There was no demo to work from, and all I had to go on was an 800-pixel wide screenshot from the theme page on the author’s site. Like I recreated the Music Artist homepage several weeks ago, I wanted to do the same for Classic Wedding. With a couple of exceptions, which could have been handled by the theme, I was successful.

Because Classic Wedding does not support the block editor itself, I could not recreate its homepage via the block editor while using the theme. It was not happening — I tried. I knew that the Eksell WordPress theme had a “canvas” template that allowed users to edit the entire page, so it was an easy choice.

I also loaded the Kaushan Script and Lora fonts to more closely match the original theme. This was unnecessary for the experiment, but I wanted my recreation to at least look somewhat similar.

I immediately knew that I would have one hurdle to overcome. The theme used an image that overlapped both the section above and below it. This requires margin controls, particularly the ability to add negative margins. Unfortunately, this is a missing component of the block editor today. It does not mean that theme authors cannot do it with custom block styles or patterns. It simply means that end-users are unable to control it from the interface.

Because I did not want to spend my time writing the code for this, I leaned on my usual safety net, the Editor Plus plugin. While it can be a little clunky sometimes and feel like overkill, it does include those missing features like margin options.

Adding negative margin to an image.

I used px units there because it was easy. In a real-world project, % or rem would have been better. But I was just doing a quick proof-of-concept.

Everything else in the content area was straightforward. I needed a Cover block with an Image, Heading, Paragraph, and Button tucked inside. I needed a Group block as a container for Image, Heading, and Paragraphs in the bottom section.

Because the theme did not package its decorative images — again, how would users recreate the homepage without them? — I opted for a simple striped SVG background instead of the flowers in the original. Since I already had Editor Plus installed, I added an SVG from Hero Icons as the main background.

Wedding page content recreation.

My original idea was to recreate the “content” part of the homepage only. However, it was a bit boring on its own. Therefore, I transformed everything into a Columns block and added the sidebar. I recreated the primary elements using the Image, Heading, Paragraph, and Navigation blocks. Then, I added a Social Icons block for fun.

Full wedding homepage design.

I did hit one snag with the Navigation block. WordPress does not currently offer a method of centering each link in the list when using the vertical block variation. I had to write a couple of lines of CSS to make this happen. This seems like an oversight and one area where the block editor failed to meet my expectations. Of course, this could be handled on the theme side of things.

Overall, this was a relatively simple project. However, this experiment added some complexities that were not present when I recreated the Music Artist homepage. Margin controls and vertical Navigation block alignments are must-haves. Using a third-party plugin and writing custom CSS is not ideal, and these were requirements to make this happen straight from the editor.

All of this is possible from the theme end. Each piece of this design could have been packaged as a block pattern. The overlapping image effect would have made for a neat block style. I just wish that theme authors would start utilizing the features that are being hand-fed to them.

by Justin Tadlock at April 19, 2021 09:42 PM under Themes

WPTavern: Automattic Launches Jetpack Boost: A New Performance Plugin

The Jetpack team has been quietly testing a new plugin called Jetpack Boost, which addresses website owners’ performance and SEO concerns. Version 1.0 was released today, one month after the final pre-release came out in March.

Boost is a separate plugin under the Jetpack brand and it does not require Jetpack core to work. The first iteration bundles three performance modules:

  1. Local Critical CSS generates optimized styles for the homepage, posts, and pages to display content faster, especially for visitors on mobile devices.
  2. Defer Non-Essential Javascript moves some tasks to after the page loads, so visible items load faster.
  3. Lazy Image Loading loads images as the visitor scrolls them into view.

Once the plugin is installed, users can toggle the modules on or off. Optimizing the site’s CSS can be a lengthy process but it shows a progress bar and alerts you if are trying to navigate away from the page before it’s finished. Jetpack Boost displays an initial score when it’s first installed and will update after optimizations are put in place.

Here’s an example score from a relatively unoptimized simple blog with 20 active plugins:

After installing Jetpack Boost, there was a significant improvement on scores in the dashboard. It’s not a magic wand but it’s a fairly user-friendly way to tackle some basic performance issues that may translate into a better visitor experience.

Checking the before and after scores on web.dev demonstrates a noticeable improvement on the Core Web Vitals assessment. For some websites this could mean the difference between passing or not (meaning 75% of pages on the domain pass).

Before installing Jetpack Boost
After installing Jetpack Boost

Automattic engineer Nauris Pūķis, who worked on the project, said one reason the plugin was created was to help users “get their Web Vitals up and make the web a better place.”

Google Search will be adding Page Experience to ranking signals in May 2021, and WordPress sites need all the help they can get. Page Experience is measured by a website’s Core Web Vitals metrics, but these scores are not easy to improve without some technical knowledge and troubleshooting.

Despite Jetpack already including so many different, varied features, Automattic opted to put the Boost modules in a separate plugin.

“We want Jetpack Boost to have a life of its own – focused on performance and make it available to everyone, including people who don’t want to use the main Jetpack plugin,” Pūķis said.

The plugin was built with the same modular structure as Jetpack core, so users can easily deactivate modules they don’t want to use. This is helpful for ensuring compatibility with other performance or caching plugins that website owners may already be using.

“You’ve probably noticed that both Jetpack and Boost have lazy loading images – it’s the exact same module,” Pūķis said. “If the user happens to have both Jetpack and Jetpack Boost active – it’ll just use the most recent version of Lazy Loading Images.”

The features in version 1.0 are just the beginning of Automattic’s plans for Jetpack Boost. The project appears to be on track to become a full-blown performance plugin that may even migrate some of Jetpack core’s performance-related functionality.

“Version 1.0.0 is being released the “one-point-oh” way,” Pūķis said. “We’re releasing as early as we can call it stable – but there’s so much that we want to do. Starting with simple modules that package up other typical optimization techniques (like concatenation, minification, maybe even photon?) – all the way to more advanced ideas like performance tracking, intelligent performance suggestions, etc.”

Pūķis said none of these ideas are set in stone and the team is open to exploring and building modules that will have the highest performance impact after getting more feedback.

by Sarah Gooding at April 19, 2021 05:37 PM under performance

April 18, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Page Template Editor for WordPress 5.8, Videos and Plugins – Weekend Edition #166


Yes, it’s been a while that you received a fully curated Weekend edition. After the move it took a while to get my office operational again. We still have too many boxes to unpack, though.

Nevertheless, let’s catch up on Gutenberg news together!

All the best,
Birgit 💕

Gutenberg 10.4 Released (and 10.4.1)

The Gutenberg Changelog episode 42 is now available. Grzegorz (“Greg”) Ziolkowski and I discuss Full-site Editing Scope for WordPress 5.8, Gutenberg’s 10.4, Gallery Block Refactor and Block-Based Theme updates.

Sarah Gooding of the WP Tavern wrote about the Gutenberg 10.4 release: Gutenberg 10.4 Introduces Block Widgets in the Customizer

Full-Site Editing and WordPress 5.8

If you now find yourself in the position to learn more about the extent of Full-Site Editing experience, I have a real treat for you: A 30-min video Full-Site Editing Overview by, Anne McCarthy, Developer Relations for the Gutenberg project.

On April 14, 2021, the Gutenberg and 5.8 release leads held a meeting, with Matias Venture giving a tour of the current state of the Phase 2 of Gutenberg development. The outcome of the meeting was a decision on Go/NoGo for component that make it into core for WordPress 5.8.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy provide in her follow-up post a list of the detailed scope, the video of the meeting and a transcript of the recording.

The block editor scope

  • Improvements from Gutenberg 9.9 to 10.7 plugin version.
  • Introduce 25 new blocks (Query, Site Logo, Navigation,Posts, Comments, Archives etc. ), the most valuable among them will be the Query Block.
  • theme.json Mechanism for Theme builders (see developer documentation)
  • Template Editor for Pages/Blank Template. (see demo by Marcus Kazmierczak)
  • Widgets Screen & Block widgets in Customizer.
  • Design tools: Duotone, Layout controls, padding, etc.

There is the caution stated in the post: “Not all the above are currently ready, but there’s some level of confidence that they can be by the time of 5.8.”

For the Template Editor for Pages/Blank Template you can see it in action in a demo by Marcus Kazmierczak, he gave at the Mega Meetup last week.

Bud Kraus of JoyofWP showed us in his video, how the Widget screen will look like in the future. It does not show the Widget handling in the Customizer yet, but that is to come to WordPress 5.8. You could see a short piece of it in Matias Ventura’s demo video from the release leads meeting. It is now already available in the latest Gutenberg plugin release.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
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. The index 2020 is here

Justin Tadlock summarized last week’s announcements in Full Site Editing Is Partly a ‘Go’ for WordPress 5.8

Testing Full-Site Editing

As the latest Full-Site Editing Call of Testing, Anne McCarthy has a Query Quest for you. Again with a great set of test instruction, you are guided towards usage and various features of the Query Block and its accompanying new post blocks for title, content, comments, feature image and pagination.

Justin Tadlock discussed this task a bit further in his article: FSE Outreach Round #5: Venturing out a Query Quest. “Testing never has to be boring. I encourage participants to grab inspiration from their lives as they venture out on their Query Quest.” he wrote.

Apropos Testing: Sarah Gooding wrote about our Gutenberg Nightly plugin to get the latest development of the block-editor in an easy to handle plugin. Set Up a Gutenberg Test Site in 2 Minutes with the Gutenberg Nightly Plugin.

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

GitHub all releases

Anne McCarthy curated all the feedback from the fourth testing call: FSE Program Custom 404 Page Testing Summary

Block-Based Themes

Helen Hou-Sandi streamed on Twitch her exploration session to create a block-based theme for the Full-Site Editing.

Kjell Reigstad opened an issue for Query Block Pattern inspirations. There are great examples posted that could be converted to pattern, that could be bundled with WordPress 5.8

Marcus Kazmierczak also used Twitch to stream his Lunch & Learn series on Block-based themes.

Keep abreast on specific Theme related development and discussions with the weekly round-up from the Themes Team. Kjell Reigstad posted this week’s edition. Gutenberg + Themes: Week of Apr 12, 2021

A couple of PRs that should help with transitioning existing themes to be block-based:

In their latest episode of WPCafe co-hosts Mark Wilkinson and Keith Devon talked about Building Twenty-Twenty-One with Caroline Nymark and Mel Choyce-Dwan.

Plugins for the Block Editor

Gutentor published a collection of 70+ Blocks and layouts for Gutenberg Editor.

If you are working on your set of Blocks for the editor, Justin Tadlock has some thoughts to consider: Yet Another WordPress Block Library Plugin. He is making a well though through case to suggest more unique blocks to fill the gap to the core blocks. It seems to me that, two years of seeing block collections being acquired by big companies like Atom Blocks, Co Blocks and latest Kadence Blocks, might tempt a small developer team to come up with another set of blocks matching a specific theme and hope for an acquisition by another big company in the space. There might be space for a few more, indeed.

Tadlock’s longs for something new, a unique extension of core or a missing tool:

Conditional Blocks by Morgan Hvidt allows you to create block that are displayed when certain conditions apply. We saw other plugins that offer that, like Block Visibility by Nick Diego. This one is a bit different. It allows you to change content depending on HTTP referrer, so if someone comes from Twitter, they could see a different message than someone coming from a Google Search or a link in a newsletter or an affiliate link. The plugin is also available as a pro version with premium features at conditionalblocks.com

Episode #42 is now available, with new co-host Grzegorz Ziolkowski

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast
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People and Community

It’s been already a year that Anne McCarthy joined the Gutenberg team as a developer relations wrangler. It has been a great pleasure meeting Anne and collaborating with her has been quite inspiring, and I learned a lot from her wisdom and her wealth of ideas. She has also become a good friend. She is som much better and being a remote friend that I ever will be. On her personal block Anne published One year in DevRel

Anne’s pioneer work with WordPress open-source project has been so successful that Automattic wants to sponsor another person for developer relations.

Developing with ReactJS and Gutenberg Blocks.

Rob Stinson wrote a tutorial on how to building custom Collections in Genesis Blocks. Now Collections in this context are Layout templates, that extend existing Genesis blocks.

Mark Howells-Mead uses ReactJS to build interactive single page applications with WordPress and wrote a tutorial. It’s not at all about Blocks and Gutenberg, but it’s related to the skill set of learning ReactJS and hopefully inspired developer to gradually make the transition.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at April 18, 2021 11:33 PM under Weekend Edition

April 17, 2021

WPTavern: Gutenberg 10.4 Introduces Block Widgets in the Customizer

The latest release of the Gutenberg plugin (10.4) brings block widgets into the Customizer. When customizing widget-enabled areas, a new block inserter icon is now available for dropping blocks into sidebars. This is the first iteration of block management in the Customizer, tackling the technical integration for editing blocks while also taking advantage of the live preview in the Customizer.

Version 10.4 includes several design updates to the Site Editor List View, bringing more consistency to the icon sizing and spacing, as well as new colors for hover, focus, and select states. The publishing UI has been updated to display the site icon and name, adding a more personal touch to this flow while also making it more clear for full-screen or mobile users.

Gutenberg 10.4 release post

More progress on site editing experiments includes the following notable updates:

The block editor still fails to deliver a consistent preview of core blocks on the frontend in many cases. Version 10.4 brings greater parity between the editor/frontend with more consistent markup for archives, latest comments, quote, and separator blocks, with improved default padding to match the browser’s default. The GitHub issue for this improvement contains a to-do list for additional blocks that need more polishing on previews, including search, paragraph, columns, embed, post title, and more.

For a full list of all the enhancements and bug fixes, check out the 10.4 release post.

by Sarah Gooding at April 17, 2021 01:59 PM under gutenberg

April 16, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Video: Full-Site Editing Overview with Anne McCarthy

As part of the Meta Meetup on April 15th 2021, Anne McCarthy gave a presentation on what Full-Site Editing entails, the updated scope of WordPress 5.8, what the FSE outreach program is and what issues surfaced during the four calls for testing from the group.

It’s a fantastic and fast-paced presentation and covers a lot of ground. It’s ideal for WordPress users that just now want to catch up on all the buzz around Full–Site Editing and learn what will come to WordPress in the 5.8 release in July 2021.

Big Thank You to Anne for allowing us to publish the video here with the transcript.

For those interested how the template editor works, jump right in to Marcus Kasmierczak’s live demo portion of the WordPress Mega Meetup recording

Shared Resources

See transcript below

Full-Site-Editing – the Ultimate Resource List
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. — Marie Curie 
Full-site Editing MVP: Can I Build a Landing Page?
Josepha Haden Chomphosy was the featured guest on the inaugural episode of the WPTavern Jukebox podcast, hosted by Nathan Wrigley. Chomphosy explained her unofficial benchmark for the Go/NoGo decision on Full-site Editing for the WordPress core merge. 


Featured image: 404 template by Channing Ritter on critterverse.blog

Howdy. To start, thanks so much for having me. This is a presentation about full site editing. I’m very excited to talk with you. This is a feature I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last year and I’m excited to share with you all. I’m also really keen to learn from each of you what you’re worried about, what you’re excited about, how you think full-site editing can improve your workflows, and more. So this is prerecorded because I wanted to make sure with so much information going around, wanted to make sure I had all the details lined up and so I could pause and rework certain sections. But please know that I welcome questions. So while you can’t interrupt me during the presentation, there will be a whole section at the end. Pull out your pen and paper, write them down, and know that they’re very, very welcomed. But for now, let’s dig in.

So briefly about me, I’m actually originally from Winter Park, Florida. So I haven’t been home in about a year and a half, and thank you for letting me virtually return home by participating in this meetup. In 2011, I first found WordPress as a student at UNC Chapel Hill. I worked on their multi-site, had a great time. 2013, I went to my first ever WordCamp. 2014, joined Automatic as a happiness engineer focused on VaultPress and had a great time focusing on security of websites. It gave me a really interesting look into concerns people have about websites that most people don’t think about. Then 2020, I switched into the developer relations position at Automatic and have been there ever since.

So let’s get meta and talk about the talk. (laughing). So to start, I’m going to zoom out really big and then slowly put pieces together until we kind of get a nice map of what full-site editing is with all the details. So this will look kind of like first answering some big, high-level questions, digging into then how the work is actually being done, so going from high level, “What is this? Why does it help me?” to “How is this work actually being approached? What are the pieces of the work that I need to know, the role of the outreach program?” Then I want to address some key topics and questions that I often get asked when I’ve presented at other places and talked on other podcasts about full-site editing or just one-on-one with people. I love to talk about full-site editing. So hopefully some of the key topics and questions can help get people thinking about other things they want to ask about.

So let’s dig into the first big picture question. Why is this being done at all? Simply put, it’s to empower users. Rather than having a specific part of the site locked away in a theme or requiring a plugin, full-site editing will basically open it up to customize any part of your site the way you want to, or, on the flip side, you can let it be, or if you’re an agency, you could lock certain sites down or certain parts of a site down, depending upon how you want users to have access. So it’s a pretty powerful, big mission to actually deliver on full site editing.

So I answered why is this being done. Now let’s dig into how does this fit into the WordPress roadmap? So full-site editing is a major part of phase two of the current roadmap. It’s not the only part, though. There’s actually other interrelated projects, including things like block patterns, the block directory, block-based themes. So it’s just one piece of this larger roadmap, but it’s one of the major grounding points of phase two of the roadmap.

So what is full-site editing at a high level? Essentially, it’s a collection of features, and it’s important that you get the collection part. But it’s a collection of features that bring the familiar experience of blocks to all parts of your site, rather than just posts and pages. But Anne, what does a collection of features mean? Basically, I’ve noticed people tend to refer to full-site editing as one big thing. It’s like an on-off switch. It’s this monolith, and it’s actually not. It’s not this binary thing. It’s way better to talk about how there’s different pieces that fit together and interrelate, because it actually gives flexibility for release squads to release what’s ready, rather than all of it at once. So while it might be easier to talk about how it’s this one big thing, I encourage you all to kind of think about the different pieces, if you can, and I’ll touch on this more in a bit.

Okay. So what does full-site editing actually allow me to do, right? So cool, Anne, a collection of features, but show me the money. (laughing). So this is an example of a 404 page. So a 404 page, typically you’re not actually able to edit, but with full-site editing, you could actually create this 404 page. This was actually done by one of the automatic designers, Channing. Shout-out to Channing. She did this as part of one of the tests for full-site editing, the outreach program. So it’s a pretty beautiful thing. While we all might not have the design chops that Channing does, it is pretty neat to see kind of a very tangible, hands-on example of what full-site editing unlocks you to be able to do.

To get more specific, basically, if you’re a user, imagine editing the template that a specific post has for a specific category. For theme authors, you’ll be able to tap into design tools that allow you to focus more on actually creating a really compelling experience and less on getting the code in place and hacking things up. You can also out in and out of whatever you’re ready for, which is really exciting. But ideally, for theme authors, it’s going to be a huge change. It’ll allow creating themes to be much, much easier. If you’re an agency, you’ll have greater control over what you can offer clients, including setting custom brand colors with presets to locking down various aspects for consistency, such as typography or wanting only certain default colors to be used.

Milestones of Full-Site Editing Experience

So how is this work being done? So rather than trying to go through everything in one go, this project has actually been broken down into seven different milestones. Some of these milestones are completely separate, their own thing. Some are very interrelated. Some mix and match in different ways. But we’re going to go through each of them so you can get a sense of how this is being done. I’m going to try to stay at a high level before going into a very brief demo midway through the presentation. But hopefully this’ll give you a sense of what this looks like.


So milestone one, this was actually such a big milestone that it was broken into two parts. Essentially, this is all about laying the foundation, everything from multi-entity saving, which is actually being displayed here in the GIF that you see, where you can actually update multiple things at once, including a template part. You update your header, you update a post, and you update your footer. It’ll show all the changes happening and allow you to check and uncheck different boxes to save. Basically, just think about this as building the foundation of the experience, the technical foundation, unlocking things like being able to edit a template directly to working on specific blocks for full-site editing, like the site title. So we have a site title block, and it updates everywhere you have it listed.

Browsing Templates and Template Parts

Milestone two, browsing. Again, there’s another little visual so you can see what this actually looks like. This is basically giving you a map and a GPS to know your location, how to get where you need to go for your site. So because there are these new parts of editing your site that are unlocked with full-site editing, like template editing and template parts, like a header or footer, there needs to be a way to navigate between them. So this milestone is dedicated to that. How can we make it as easy as possible for you to you get where you need to go?

Styling – Global Styles + theme.json

Milestone three, styling. So this actually covers a couple different layers. I’m going to break it down in this slide and then the next one to help give you a sense visually of what this looks like. But this includes everything from the technical requirements to make various levels work and the UI for users. So you can actually see a depiction of the future design for the UI that users will interact with in the imagery here. So there’s generally three layers, including selling for local blocks, theme defaults, and then global modifications or what we often call global styles. You can think of global styles as basically having the option to edit all aspects of your site. So if you want to set a typography that goes across your entire site, if you want to have certain colors for all H1 headers, you can set that up with global styles.

Currently, much of the work has been focused on the technical underpinnings, especially around aspects like theme.json, which is a very key component for block themes and a really big tool for block theme authors. But for 5.8, the focus is generally going to be on merging the non-user interface parts of global styles. So don’t expect to interact with this system unless you’re a theme author. If you are a theme authro, get really excited. Here’s a little visual, just you can get a sense of it. So these are the different layers that have to interact in the styling system and hierarchy that needs to be thought of when working on this milestone.

20+ Theme Blocks

Milestone four, theme blocks. So because full-site editing opens up so many more aspects of the site to edit, new blocks had to be created, basically. So if you’re creating a new template for a specific category and you’re putting in post content and you want to add the post author block, which you can see here, you can quickly add it in, customize it to your liking, add in post comment, add in post data, remove the post date. You can edit each parts of these things, which pretty excited about this, is there’s actually 20-plus blocks that fall into this category. If all goes as planned, some of those will be released for 5.8 and available potentially for all sites. So even if you’re not using a block theme, you could have access to these theme blocks, which is pretty powerful and pretty cool.

Query Block – The Loop or Post List

Query block. So the query block has its own milestone, because it’s a pretty powerful block. It’s also meant to be a theme author tool, so in the long run, if you’re a user, imagine that you interact with what we call block variations, which basically are just different variations of a block, as the name implies. But imagine you want to add in your latest post. You’ll add the latest post block, but underneath it, what will be powering that experience of adding your latest post will be the query block. Essentially, as the name implies, it allows you to query posts and pages and display them in different arrangements on the page. I’m very excited, actually. In Gutenberg 10.5, which will be released in just about two weeks, there’s going to be some new patterns. You can see right here, large, medium, small are the current selection of patterns that you have for the query block. But pretty soon, there’s going to be a grid pattern and a couple other cool ones, which is pretty exciting. Generally speaking, though, if you’re an end user, don’t expect to interact with this. If you’re a theme author, get excited.

Navigation Block

Navigation block. Again, this is just a single block, but don’t be fooled. It’s definitely a mighty one. So this last one is dedicated to all things navigation block, both in terms of structure and design. You can see in this little GIF I have going on, I’m just kind of making little design changes and moving things around so you can get a sense of what it’s like to interact with this block. This milestone actually includes everything from how do you build a really simple menu with a few items to thinking about how to create a really large mega menu and add in new blocks, like the search block that you can see here. We’re even adding sub-menus, different designs, different layouts, and more.

Gradual Adoption – Widgets, Customizer, Hybrid Themes 

So the last piece of the milestones is the gradual adoption. I hope this GIF makes you laugh, but also seriously, this is the intent, is we slowly want people to be able to adapt in the way that they can. Once more of these pieces are completed, there’s basically a ton of room to start exploring how adoption might look like for those who can’t or don’t want to restructure a full theme. So this might be an intermix of block-based things and regular PHP templates, or it might be covered by projects like the block-based widget editor and the navigation screen. Both of those projects I’ll cover later, but for now, just keep in mind that this is intentionally a milestone. We want to allow for gradual adoption and want people to have lots of pathways in to taking advantage of full site editing.

What’s coming to WordPress 5.8

So what’s coming to WordPress 5.8? So just last week, a post went out from Josepha, who is the executive director of the WordPress project. I want to read a quote from it just to kind of set the tone and give you a sense. So full-site editing is a collection of projects, and together, they represent a big change, arguably too much for a single release. The most important context to share is that it isn’t shipping as the full default experience for users. One of the clearest pieces of feedback from the phase one merge process was that there wasn’t enough time for extenders, agencies, theme authors, plugin developers, site builders, et cetera to prepare for the upcoming changes. With that in mind, this merge process won’t be an on-off switch, and you can see I’ve bolded various specific parts that I hope you take home with you.

All right. So let’s talk WordPress 5.8 plans. This is up-to-date information as of today. A post was released from Josepha on [inaudible 00:12:21], if you’d like to check it out. From the call that the project leadership had, this is what they came up with for the 5.8 plans. This includes improvements from Gutenberg 9.9 and beyond. So we always package different versions of Gutenberg into major releases. This release is no different. There’ll be an introduction of new blocks, including query, site logo, navigation, et cetera. These are each very powerful blocks, very exciting to see. theme.json mechanism, this is part of what allows block themes to use different global styling, which will be very cool for block authors to get their hands on.

The template editor for pages and a blank template, I’ll actually be showing a demo of this in a moment. So hang tight there, but it’ll all make sense in a bit. The widget screen and block widgets in the customizer, this is basically work being done to bring blocks to the widgets experience. I will talk more about that later, about how it’s a stepping stone towards full-site editing. Then finally, design tools, so even more design tools that people can hook into, including duotone, which adds a really cool color filter, layout controls, padding, and more.

Short Demo: Template Editing, Navigation Block and Multi-Entity Saving

So at this point, let’s pause for a minute and actually show off one of the features that is aimed to be included in 5.8. 

I’m going to show you template editing, the navigation block, and just some of the cool flows with multi-entity saving is one of the things that we talked about that will make it into this release. So I’m in the post editor. I have a new post. I love to blog and write and present. I hit Update. Super happy, whatever. Open up the post settings, and there’s this new section that allows you to both create a brand new template. This will ideally be used both in themes that are block-based themes, so they’re ready for full-site editing, and potentially for classic themes. There’s actually work underway so that this will be available in anything being used in WordPress right now.

So right now, if I hit Edit, this will take me into the template that this post is using. So let’s do that now. So as you can see, this drops me into what looks like the entire site. So you can see I have my header up here, I have the footer down here, and I can make changes directly to them. So, for example, if I jump in here, this is the navigation block, and I haven’t yet set it up. So I can say add all pages, and I can start empty. In this case, I’ll say, “You know what? Let’s start empty.” Let’s say I want to add a custom link. One of the cool things you can actually do, you can quickly select from here, or let’s say I want to add a new post. Let me first select post link.

So adventures around the world. Let’s pretend I’m just inspired where I’m writing this. I can actually create a draft post, which is pretty cool, and it’ll show up here. It will not show up on the front end, since it’s a draft, but it actually creates a page draft for this with this title automatically. So let’s say I’m scrolling through here. I’m going, “Oh, this looks pretty good. Actually, I kind of want to see what it looks like if I add an image to the post here.” Pull up an image block. Oh, my media library. Hammocks. Can’t get enough hammocks. Going to throw that in there. Great. So at this point, I’ve made changes to the actual header. I’ve made changes to the post. I’m just going to apply and see what happens.

So this is the multi-entity saving that I mentioned earlier. Now, as you can see, it has a section for posts, so it’s saying, “Hey, you edited this post,” and it has a section saying, “Hey, you edited the header.” So at this point, I’m going to hit Save, because I want both those changes to propagate. Now I’m back into my post, into the writing flow, and I can easily switch back and forth. I can also select a new one. But yeah, hopefully this gives you a good sense of one of the key parts that’s being worked on for inclusion in 5.8. There will be a demo later, but this is just a taste.

Timeline of 5.8 Release

To help set the stage for what you can prepare for, here are some upcoming dates to keep in mind. If you’re like me, time is moving really strangely, so I like to have dates to kind of anchor me. Feel free to take a screenshot of this or write it down if you’d like. So April 13th and April 27th, these are the go and no-go decision dates. So right now, project leadership actually has gathered. So you might notice if you are good with dates and good with time right now, April 13th has come and gone. So this date has passed, and project leadership has met actually to go through different FSE-related features and projects to figure out what might be ready for 5.8. I would expect to see more high-level posts throughout the month, especially after the second date, the April 27th date. That’s when final decisions will be made around 5.8.

Then if all goes well, the beta period for WordPress 5.8 will start on June 8th. So people can actually start getting their hands on the tools that are going to be in place in the actual release and testing it and finding bugs and improving things from there. July 20th is the actual date of WordPress 5.8 and when it’s released. This is being considered as an open beta, where theme authors, plugin authors, agencies, and more can dig into the tools that are being offered and that I went over previously. Then in December 2021, that’s around the time when WordPress 5.9 will be released, and this is when I expect to move from tools for extenders into tools actually for users and more user-facing interactions with full-site editing and having things unlocked in the interface that previously in 5.8, most users won’t notice and won’t interact with. In 5.9, I expect that to be more visible.

So some key takeaways. I know this is a lot of information. So only what’s ready from the various milestones will be shipped. This is not an on-off switch, and it won’t take over your site. The focus right now is on giving tools to extenders first, before user-facing changes. That’s a big lesson that was learned from the 5.0 merge, where Gutenberg and the core editor was brought into the WordPress experience. This is something that, thankfully, we’re in a position where because of these interrelated projects, we’re able to move in a more flexible and adaptable way to release what’s ready and not anything else.

What is the FSE Outreach Experiment Program?

All right. At this point, let’s jump into the full-site editing outreach program. As a reminder, this is the program that I actually run, so consider this free rein to ask me whatever question you’d like, because I think probably too much about this program. But it’s something I’m really excited to talk to you about, and I think it’s a really neat vehicle for both feedback and education about full site editing.

So let’s go over some big picture questions, kind of like we did earlier on, and just get the details of the way. So let’s start. What is it? So essentially, it’s just a program focused on full-site editing. It’s in the form of a Slack channel right now. I’ll go over how to join it in a bit. But it has curated calls for testing, summary posts of the feedback that we get, and various educational opportunities that you can hop in on, mainly in the form of live streams. I’m running some hallway hangouts, which are basically just Zoom calls. People can come in, and we can talk about full site editing.

What’s the goal

What’s the goal? So the goal is pretty simple, help improve full-site editing experience by gathering feedback from WordPress site builders. While the group originally started solely to be about feedback, there’s actually this really neat educational component that has come up as the feature has developed and as more people have gotten curious about it. So people can join just to build their own awareness about what’s happening with full-site editing and kind of just look at a glance or just help amplify the posts that are coming through.

Why was it started?

Why was it started? So I’m going to quote Josepha from the kickoff post. During the WordPress 5.0 retrospective, which is when Gutenberg was merged and the core editor was merged, one of the things that came up routinely was the need for better engagement with users. It was generally agreed from all levels and area of contribution that users would be most impacted by Gutenberg, but the users were also the group we had the least channels of communication to. To help get user feedback to WordPress developers a little bit more seamlessly, I’m going to try and experiment outreach program. So basically, this is a lesson that was learned from the 5.0 release. In order to prevent another situation where people are caught by surprise, this program is in place to help people get excited and on ramped and on boarded onto full-site editing, as well as getting feedback so that we know if a major workflow change is coming into play, we can actually get user feedback to make it a little bit easier.

How to Join FSE Outreach Experiment

All right. At this point, I bet you’re just so stoked. You’re ready to dive in. Awesome. (laughing). All you’ve got to do is join FSE Outreach Experiment in Make WordPress Slack, and then you’re all set. You’ll just get a bunch of annoying pings for me with prompts for how to test, interesting posts related to full site editing, and more. I promise it’s also not as scary as this dive, which looks absolutely terrifying, but also beautiful.

High-Level Feedback from Calls for Testing

So because at this point, we’re on our fifth call for testing, I want to go over some high-level pieces of feedback that we’ve actually gotten about the experience so far. Basically, across all the calls for testing, these are repeated themes that have come up. But keep in mind that because there are certain aspects that we actually haven’t tested, so global styles, for example, the UI isn’t available really for users, and it’s not refined for users, so it’s not something that we’ve had as a focus part of testing, even though there is a UI that is available. So certain things are left out purely because they aren’t necessarily ready for testing, but these are the top pieces of feedback. So bear with me.

Preview Content

Previewing content. Publish a post. You want to go preview it, or you’re editing a post. You want to go preview the content. The same thing is true with full site editing. This is a big thing that kept coming up. My question is, is this a necessary workflow, or is it a symptom of other problems? Because in general, the site editor should be as WYSIWYG, as what you see is what you get, as possible.

So if you’re making a change, it should look exactly the same as the front end of your site, and because it doesn’t right now, it’s causing this tension. There actually is a preview site option under discussion, as well as a browse mode option, which basically, if you’re actually editing your site, it would turn off everything that wouldn’t actually show up on the front end. So if you only have one page of posts, but you have pagination set up so if you had multiple pages, that would actually go away. So as you can imagine, this is currently up for discussion, but there actually are a couple different pathways to try and address this problem. But it’s a very important one to address.

Saving Process

Saving process. I like to say it’s technically reliable, but not yet delightful. So basically, it’s left a lot to be desired right now, and it’s resulted in a fair bit of confusion. There’s a lot of feature requests and enhancements and bugs that have come up related to saving. This is likely because the multi-entity saving aspect that I demoed earlier is very new for WordPress users. It’s not something we’re used to having as part of our workflow. So it’s something that inherently needs some work on. So whether it was people requesting more granular saving options to show specifically what was being changed to issues with saving for screen readers to confusion around even just what the general parts mean, like what you’re actually selecting or unselecting, This was definitely a big, big area of feedback.

Distinction between editing area.

Distinction between editing area. So basically, because you can edit all parts of your site, it’s hard to know, “Am I editing the header for all of my site, or am I editing just a specific piece of content on a post?” This kind of distinction, jumping between different levels of, “Oh, you’re changing this. This will change everything” to “You’re just changing this one thing in this one spot” is pretty tricky. Right now, there’s not a lot of friction, and there’s not a lot clarity in the actual experience to show when you’re actually jumping between those different levels. So this was a big piece that’s come up, and it’s something that is an active area of iteration and exploration to kind of get the right amount of friction in place.

Rethinking Width and Alignment.

So rethinking width and alignment. Previously, alignment in full-site editing worked to optimize how traditional things worked, where basically, traditional things provided their own alignment styles. This worked okay for the project up until this point. But recently, work has been shipped to reimagine how this dynamic should work to allow for actually more control over alignments when using the site editor. This should actually help make sure that whether you want something that’s full width or you want to change the actual width of your content that’s showing up that it’ll actually be what you see is what you get. Right now, this is another piece of feedback at a high level that’s impacted what you see is what you get experience.

General usability improvements.

Generally usability improvements. I admit this is totally a catchall, and it covers a ton of stuff, but it’s actually a very important one to think of, because it’ll actually move the site editing experience from being just functional to actually delightful, which is really exciting. There’s a ton of issues that are included in this, including some enhancement requests, bug reports, all that good stuff. One of my favorites to talk about is creating a background image on a template part. So imagine you have a header. You’re working on it. You’re super excited, and you’re almost done. Then you’re like, “Oh, do you what would be really cool is if I had mountains in the background. Maybe I’ll add a cover block in the background and add an image and set the opacity pretty low, but have mountains going in the background of the site.” That’s really hard to do.(laughing). You basically would have to delete everything and add the block in and then add everything back. So those are the kinds of experiences that we’re trying to improve right now.

Improving Placeholders.

Improving placeholders. So placeholders, especially for some of the newer blocks, are a powerful way to both guide people and a current point of confusion. So you probably saw this with the navigation block earlier, where it had those little grayed boxes. It’s like, “How do we explain to people, ‘Hey, this is something you have to set up and engage with, but here’s generally what it will look like and what it will do’?” 

The feedback for this mainly came into play with the query block, social icon block, featured image block, and the navigation block. Each currently actually also get users started in different ways. So not only are there different placeholders for different experiences, the actual experience of interacting with the placeholders are all pretty inconsistent right now. So I think in the long run, it seems that users will benefit a bunch from a standardized, consistent way to interact with placeholder content so that it becomes a really familiar interaction when you’re working with a more powerful block. This especially is true for the query block and navigation block.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the milestones, the outreach program, high-level pieces of feedback, I’m going to quickly run through some key topics that I imagine you’re going to have questions about. Just because I cover them here does not mean I don’t want to answer questions, so please don’t see this as a sign that you can’t also still ask questions about these topics. This is just what I’ve been hearing from folks.

Will full site editing take over my site?

Hopefully by this point, you all can say no in a resounding way. But no, this is not something that’s going to all of a sudden, on-off switch, you upgrade to 5.8, it takes everything over. Not at all. You very much have to opt into it through using a theme blocking that supports, actually, these features. In time, more pathways are going to be built as well so that when you’re actually using full-site editing, you’ll likely be using pieces in all of it. So you could just be using the query block, or you could just be using global styles without it taking over your entire site.

What about the block-based navigation and widget screens?

What’s the deal there? So in case you missed it, there’s actually two additional projects that are dedicated to bringing blocks to more areas of the site outside of full site, I think. This include the navigation screens. You can build out menus and the widget screens. You can build out your widget sections, and this is pretty powerful and high-impact work. They are both separate projects that are tangential to full-site editing, but you can think of them as stepping stones, basically. So you could have a theme that is a classic theme, but it uses a block-based widget screen so that people can have the power blocks with their widgets. Essentially, the whole point, like I said, it’s a stepping stone to get people used to using blocks more places.                                                       

Site builders

I could write a thesis about this, because there’s so much to talk about here. I imagine I’m going to get questions about this, but essentially, full-site editing is being built partially so people don’t get stuck or locked into one site builder or another. It’s also being built in a way that site builders can actually hook into what’s being created if they choose to. I’ve heard from a lot of folks, though, that they expect full-site editing to actually fully replicate their favorite site builder’s functionality, and I’m here to say that while the goals between full-site editing and site builders are pretty similar in terms of empowering users and giving better tools to customize a site, the difference is that we’re building for 40% of the Internet, and we’re building even for site builders, where site builders have a much more targeted approach.

In the future, I do think there will always be room for specific takes of how to have an ideal site editing experience, whether that’s geared to a specific group, like a marketing style approach, or if you want to have things locked down or if you want to have things opened up. But generally speaking, full-site editing is meant to actually expand the way WordPress as a whole uses blocks, so don’t expect it to fully replicate any sort of site builder, your favorite site builder, essentially.

How is this going to impact themes?

How is this going to impact themes? So in the long run, this should actually make theme development much easier. I think Marcus’s demonstration later will show that, and much simpler, especially with the design tools that will be essentially ready at your fingertips to tap into. Ideally, because of what’s being released, it should allow theme authors to focus less on coding and functions and more on design aesthetics, integrating block patterns, and all that good stuff. But because one of the key things I wanted to really drive home in this section, though, is that because full-site editing requires a block-based theme or a theme with certain functionality enabled, this makes theming extremely important to get right. So I’ve heard people say like, “Oh, themes are a thing of the past.” It’s very much not true. I’d actually argue the opposite, that theme is almost key to this experience, to having it be delightful and having it makes sense.

What pathways are going to be created?

I know I’ve talked a lot about pathways this entire time, but it is the entire focus of the final month milestone for full-site editing. So expect a lot of pathways. For now, this includes everything from having a classic theme that can take advantage of global styles to template editing or a block-based widget screen. This also includes things like allowing certain full-site editing, really, blocks to be available for users, regardless of if they’re using a classic theme or a block theme or enabling the ability to edit block templates directly, kind of like I showed in the demo earlier. So there’s going to be a ton of options here, and I’m actually really excited to see what happens once 5.8 kind of sparks the creativity of the community, because I imagine both that people will create their own pathways and start experimenting, and we’ll also get a very clear sense of, “Hey, I actually really need X, Y, and Z pathway.” We’ll get a sense of demand from the community of core, which is super exciting to have.

What’s the best way to prepare? 

So this depends on who you are. (laughing). So depending on whoever you are, at a high level, this is what I recommend. Join the FSE Outreach Program. I know this is the thing that I run. I’m very biased. But seriously, join it. I think it’s really, really helpful to get a sense both of feedback, what’s being currently iterated on, and just general education opportunities. If you’re a theme author, I really recommend checking out the theme experiments repo and joining the block-based theme meetings to learn about the latest and greatest, because lots of good information is shared there. In general, too, it’s often also helpful to join the weekly core editor meetings, because there’s regular updates about the projects and PRs people working on. Finally, pay attention to upcoming content on Learn WordPress, because I think there’s going to be a ton of stuff coming up about full-site editing, depending upon what’s scoped for 5.8 and 5.9, including building a block-based theme, for example. That will really help, I think, everyone level up.

Stay connected with Anne McCarthy

All right. So we’re at the very end. At this point, if you want to stay connected with me or you have follow-up questions after this talk, I very much welcome them. You can find me on WordPress or on Slack @annezazu, or you can reach me at my site, nomad.blog. I will also try and drop my automatic email address separately. I just won’t on a live presentation, in case you want to follow up directly via email. I’m not on Twitter. I’m not on Facebook. I’m on and off of Instagram. So please don’t try to contact me those ways.

Finally, I just want to say thanks so much for your time. Let’s hear your questions at this point. I’m really excited to hear what you all are thinking and curious about. I do want to say I don’t know everything, but I can find anything, and I’ve talked with David about how he can follow up after this presentation to get you all information and answers that you all want to questions that I might not be able to answer. So at this point, I’m going to pass it off to live and current Anne and give a high-five from past Anne.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at April 16, 2021 06:21 PM under Updates

WPTavern: Enō: ‘Probably This Is the Best Blogging Theme Ever’

Sometimes a theme’s description is so moving that one must install, activate, and test the project. I often rail against the obviously keyword-stuffed text in the free WordPress theme directory. But, I am pleasantly surprised from time to time.

Enō is an elegant, modern and functional WordPress theme. Probably this is the best blogging theme ever. Just see the demo at…It supports Gutenberg block editor and has a lot of Customizer options…

Thus began my journey into Enō, an upcoming theme by Ivan Fonin. I could have been partially a language-barrier thing. Or, the author could have just been having a bit of fun. Nevertheless, it was the sort of description that stood out enough to pull into my test environment. Any blogging theme claiming the title of “the best” was at least worth a look.

What I found was a well-designed theme that focused on some of those timeless elements, such as generous use of whitespace and sound typography. I would not go so far as crowning it the best ever created, but it will undoubtedly be the perfect fit for many bloggers in the future.

Currently, the theme is awaiting a review before it lands in the official WordPress theme directory. However, those who want to try it out early can snag a copy of the ZIP file from its Trac ticket.

Enō tackles the intricacies of block editor design like a pro. In areas where so many “block-ready” themes fail to live up to expectations, it is a textbook example of working alongside the block system.

Where it falls short is that it does not go beyond nailing down the basics of block design. The theme bundles no patterns, which would allow users to quickly drop in more advanced layouts. It also does not include block styles or even a custom color palette. There are no unique elements in the design where the author stamps his own signature in bold. It is almost formulaic, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Formula can feel good. It can be comforting when you need something that simply gets out of the way and allows your content to shine.

While Fonin bills the project as a blogging theme, it stands out as a solid option for photographers. The open-canvas layout leaves ample room for large images and galleries, and the theme’s demo is filled with examples.

Gallery examples from the Enō theme.

What would make this theme even better would be a few image and gallery styles, allowing end-users to spruce up their blocks a little more.

As much as I like the theme, it does tick one of the boxes from my most-irritating-things-that-themes-do checklist. It outputs the featured image on single post views above the post content. This creates the dreaded double-image issue when a user also uses the same image in the post itself. The easy fix for this is to provide a theme option for not showing the featured image on single posts.

No customizer option to disable post featured image on single views.

It is a surprise that the theme does not have this option because it allows users to enable or disable nearly everything possible outside of the post content. It has three different areas where metadata can be shown: before the post title, after the title, and after the content. Users can pick and choose what appears where via a series of checkboxes. The approach is convoluted at best and is a good representation of why we need the site editor. This is not so much the fault of the theme as it is a limitation of the customizer. Instead of ticking and unticking boxes, users could simply move blocks around to their desired location.

The comments are broken in the theme at the moment. Each comment’s text is outputting a simple comma instead of the content. I am sure this will come up in the theme review and be addressed before it goes live.

For users looking for a minimalist, block-ready theme, this will be a solid option once it makes it through the review process. I look forward to the day when themes like Enō are the baseline when designing for the block system.

by Justin Tadlock at April 16, 2021 05:20 PM under Reviews

April 15, 2021

WPTavern: Full Site Editing Is Partly a ‘Go’ for WordPress 5.8

Today, Josepha Haden Chomphosy announced the results of yesterday’s “go/no-go” demo and decision on whether Full Site Editing (FSE) would land in WordPress 5.8. The site editor and global styles are not landing in the next release. However, several other features should launch and allow users to build their sites with blocks in new ways.

The following people attended the demo:

  • Matías Ventura – Demo Host and Gutenberg Project Lead
  • Matt Mullenweg – WordPress Project Lead
  • Helen Hou-Sandí – Lead Developer
  • Josepha Haden Chomphosy – Executive Director
  • Héctor Prieto – Technical Project Manager
  • Chloé Bringmann – Assisting with administrative and operational logistics

Ventura walked the group through the various FSE features that could be ready for WordPress 5.8, taking questions and discussing along the way. There was also a discussion afterward that focused on ideas beyond the next release.

The following FSE-related features are expected to ship:

  • Improvements from Gutenberg 9.9+.
  • New theme-related blocks like Query, Site Logo, Navigation, and more.
  • theme.json integration, which allows themes to define block defaults and settings.
  • Template-editing mode for the block editor.
  • Block-based widgets screen and customizer integration.
  • New block design tools, such as duotone (SVG filters for images), layout controls, padding, and more.

“Not all of the above are currently ready but there’s some level of confidence that they can be by the time of 5.8,” noted Haden Chomphosy in the post.

This list feels like a solid compromise between launching some of the more polished FSE features and trying to force in those that are probably out of reach for a July 2021 release. The features also provide current users access to new block tools without activating a block-based theme.

The group focused on the Query block for much of the early discussion. The Gutenberg development team will likely change the block’s user-facing name to something less confusing. It also needs a bit more polishing to make things more user-friendly. I am interested in seeing how theme authors use this in conjunction with patterns once this launches.

One other feature that users should look forward to is the pattern directory. While it is not ready for integration into the WordPress admin UI, it does not need to be. Users will be able to copy patterns from the directory and paste them directly into their editor. In time, it should become a part of the built-in experience.

The group seems to have made a good call on which features to include. It is easy to want to push forward and get everything into the hands of users. It can be tougher to pull back and compromise.

Full video of the demo:

I had two takeaways that stood out to me more than anything in the meeting.

Takeaway #1: Page Template Editor

In WordPress 5.8, users should gain access to the template editor. On the page-editing screen, it allows users to switch out of content-editing mode. From there, they can work on the overall template. Essentially, for this release, it would serve as a landing page builder.

This is a sort of middle ground between just the block editor and the eventual site editor. I like this route because it does not overwhelm end-users with a complete site-editing experience at once. It is a helping hand, a transition from the current phase to the next, allowing users to familiarize themselves with more advanced tools.

The template editor will work for all users too. They will not be required to run a block-based theme to access it. Because each template would be a one-off use case, WordPress can serve this up without theme authors opting into it.

Many block-ready themes have already been including an “open canvas” type of template. This would remove the need for those unless also including it for third-party builders. It would also solve the portability issue when users switch from a theme that bundles the template and one that does not.

Takeaway #2: Many Block-Based Themes

At the end of the discussion, the group was more or less spitballing some ideas beyond version 5.8. In particular, Hou-Sandí shared a vision of what theme development for the official directory could look like in the era of FSE.

“Because the full site editing, like from a user-facing point of view, is not about page building all the time,” she said. “It’s about tweaking what’s there. Yeah. So I feel like the correct thing for core to do in terms of bundled themes is actually a bunch of small bundled themes.”

I have previously written about how work on Twenty Twenty-Two should already be underway instead of waiting until the last moment to piece a new default theme together for the end-of-the-year launch. The yearly default theme system has served the community well for over a decade now. I am already warming to the idea of turning it on its head and forging a new path.

With FSE, developers do not necessarily have to follow all of the rules of traditional themes. Themes like Kjell Reigstad’s Carrd-like, two-column landing page theme would be well-suited to such an experiment. Smaller, more experimental projects like this could replace the old Twenty* theme system with something new or even complement it.

Hou-Sandí also threw out a few ideas around building block-based themes via a library of CC0 images, the patterns directory, and copying/pasting things from WordPress.org. She likened it to the CSS Zen Garden era. It could even open the possibility of bypassing the theme review process since everything would be pre-vetted.

But, these are thoughts for tomorrow. For now, we are at least getting some initial FSE components.

by Justin Tadlock at April 15, 2021 09:54 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: Zerodium Temporarily Triples Payout to $300K for WordPress Exploits

Zerodium, one of the most well-known security vulnerability brokers, announced that it is tripling payouts for remote code execution exploits on default WordPress installations. Payouts are typically $100K but have been temporarily increased to $300K.

The company focuses on acquiring original and previously unreported zero-day research. It pays researchers for high-risk vulnerabilities and fully functional exploits, with the highest rewards at $2.5M for ‘full chain, zero-click, with persistence’ Android exploits. This price tag was increased from $200K in September 2019, suggesting Android exploits have become more difficult to find or that demand for them has increased significantly.

Exploit resellers operate within a sort of grey area of security research. As a standard practice, security researchers are encouraged to report vulnerabilities to the original developer of the software, not an intermediary that may pass it along to a party that may not use the information for good. The appeal of these companies is that they pay more than most organizations, hence the tagline: “We pay BIG bounties, not bug bounties.”

WordPress has an account with Hackerone to pay security researchers for vulnerabilities but payouts are much smaller in comparison to what exploit brokers pay. This makes it a tough choice for security researchers who do this for a living. Professional zero-day hunters are looking for the highest payouts for the vulnerabilities they find, which can sometimes take months or longer.

Zerodium does not reveal who its clients are or what their purpose is for buying the the vulnerabilities. The best case scenario would be a government entity wanting to secure its own systems. Even then one cannot guarantee that they use the exploit ethically or that they don’t inadvertently leak the exploits where they could be used maliciously by others.

Zerodium did not elaborate on why it has increased payouts for WordPress exploits to $300K. WPScan speculates that the company may suddenly have a greater demand for WordPress RCE exploits, combined with WordPress becoming more secure:

This could indicate that WordPress is becoming more secure and that it is getting harder to find the critical security issues that buyers want. On the other hand, we must also assume that these types of exploits already exist and are already being actively sold on Zerodium and other similar platforms.

We could also conclude that if a government is going to pay more than $300,000 on a WordPress RCE exploit, that they intend to use it. World governments may even barter over the exploits so that the seller, in this case, Zerodium, gets the best price.

WPScan also emphasized that with WordPress having such a large presence on the web, an exploit against core with those particular characteristics “would be devastating to the web as a whole if it landed in the wrong hands.”

“Zerodium increasing their prices may indicate that it is becoming harder to find these critical issues in WordPress Core,” WPScan founder and CEO Ryan Dewhurst said. “That, at least, should be good news for WordPress and the web as a whole.”

by Sarah Gooding at April 15, 2021 06:11 PM under security

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.7.1 Security and Maintenance Release

WordPress 5.7.1 is now available!

This security and maintenance release features 26 bug fixes in addition to two security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 4.7 have also been updated.

WordPress 5.7.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.8.

You can download WordPress 5.7.1 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

Security Updates

Two security issues affect WordPress versions between 4.7 and 5.7. If you haven’t yet updated to 5.7, all WordPress versions since 4.7 have also been updated to fix the following security issues:

  • Thank you SonarSource for reporting an XXE vulnerability within the media library affecting PHP 8.
  • Thanks Mikael Korpela for reporting a data exposure vulnerability within the REST API.

Thank you to all of the reporters for privately disclosing the vulnerabilities. This gave the security team time to fix the vulnerabilities before WordPress sites could be attacked.

Props to Adam Zielinski, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Alex Concha, Ehtisham Siddiqui, Timothy Jacobs and the WordPress security team for their work on these issues.

For more information, browse the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the version 5.7.1 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.7.1 release was led by @peterwilsoncc and @audrasjb.

In addition to the security researchers and release squad members mentioned above, thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.7.1 happen:

99w, Adam Silverstein, Andrew Ozz, annalamprou, anotherdave, Ari Stathopoulos, Ayesh Karunaratne, bobbingwide, Brecht, Daniel Richards, David Baumwald, dkoo, Dominik Schilling, dragongate, eatsleepcode, Ella van Durpe, Erik, Fabian Pimminger, Felix Arntz, Florian TIAR, gab81, Gal Baras, Geoffrey, George Mamadashvili, Glen Davies, Greg Ziółkowski, grzim, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Jake Spurlock, Jayman Pandya, Jb Audras, Joen A., Johan Jonk Stenström, Johannes Kinast, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, Jonathan Desrosiers, Josee Wouters, Joy, k3nsai, Kelly Choyce-Dwan, Kerry Liu, Marius L. J., Mel Choyce-Dwan, Mikhail Kobzarev, mmuyskens, Mukesh Panchal, nicegamer7, Otshelnik-Fm, Paal Joachim Romdahl, palmiak, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, pwallner, Rachel Baker, Riad Benguella, Rinat Khaziev, Robert Anderson, Roger Theriault, Sergey Biryukov, Sergey Yakimov, SirStuey, stefanjoebstl, Stephen Bernhardt, Sumit Singh, Sybre Waaijer, Synchro, Terri Ann, tigertech, Timothy Jacobs, tmatsuur, TobiasBg, Tonya Mork, Toru Miki, Ulrich, and Vlad T.

by Peter Wilson at April 15, 2021 03:05 AM under Security

April 14, 2021

WPTavern: FSE Outreach Round #5: Venturing out a Query Quest

The Full Site Editing (FSE) outreach program is chugging along. Since December, it has called for and completed four rounds of testing. The latest round asks volunteers to provide feedback on the Query block, arguably one of the most crucial pieces of the FSE-puzzle.

Automattic Developer Relations Wrangler Anne McCarthy has been overseeing the program since its inception. Each round of testing asks participants to follow along with a set of instructions while testing a specific feature related to FSE. They can then provide feedback on what does or does not work. Thus far, the program has tested and identified issues for template-editing mode, building a custom homepage, creating a 404 page, and wrangling a restaurant-themed header.

Volunteers for the program should install the latest version of the Gutenberg plugin and the TT1 Blocks theme. Participation is open to all, and further details are available through the announcement post.

The latest test is all about the Query block — McCarthy is dubbing it a “Query Quest.”

“Not many blocks get an entire milestone dedicated to them but the Query Block did!” she wrote. “As the name implies, this is a pretty powerful block allowing you to display posts/pages on your site and customize them as you see fit. For example, you could easily use this block to show off all of your favorite recipes by setting it up to show a specific category of posts.”

Generally, theme authors will primarily work with this block. However, for those end-users who will inevitably want to customize post output on their sites, they may need to at least have some basic familiarity with it or its block variations.

Building With the Query Block

Following the instructions for the testing round netted fairly consistent results between the editor and front end. Each step walks participants through the process of assembling a two-column page with posts from separate categories. Within just a few minutes, I built a few demo posts with custom categories named “Veggie Garden” and “Fruit Trees” (side note: these are pics of my plants). I sped through the process with no issues.

Using Columns to output two category-based Query blocks.

However, I am a bit of a pro at this point with the Query block. It is one feature I have been eyeing at least every week for months.

The two primary issues I ran into were with the “read more” link and spacing. For the more-link, it simply did not appear on the front end. When viewing the source code, the wrapper HTML was there, but the actual text was nowhere to be found.

As for spacing, this is more of a theme problem. I have harped on this issue in past testing rounds, and it is the same ol’ tune. TT1 Blocks failed to produce consistent spacing between the front and back end. One example is when using the Post Featured Image block followed by the Post Excerpt block. In the editor, there is little whitespace between the two. On the front end, there is ample room.

Some might say it is the most vital part of page building — nailing down the layout. I have voiced my concerns ad nauseam on spacing, so I have nothing new to report on the subject.

I decided to take a few extra steps and move beyond the basic testing instructions. Because it is springtime, I have been enjoying the outdoors a bit more as of late. I wanted to spruce up my Query block design. I wrapped the initial design in a Cover block with a garden-related background image, dropped in some header and intro text, and created boxes for my posts with the Group block. With a splash of color, some font-size changes, and a Spacer block here and there, I built something with a tiny bit more personality.

Custom layout with the Query, Cover, and Columns blocks.

Testing never has to be boring. I encourage participants to grab inspiration from their own lives as they venture out on their Query Quest.

While I have my complaints about the site editor and realize we are miles away from the long-term vision, it is also amazing what is now possible. Even six months ago, building something as simple as this was not happening. More and more each day, I believe a public beta of the site editor and other FSE components in WordPress 5.8 is not such a bad idea.

by Justin Tadlock at April 14, 2021 10:38 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2021 Opens Call for Speakers and Workshops

WordCamp Europe 2021 will be taking place online, June 7-10. This will be the second year in a row that the event has not been held in person due to the pandemic, but organizers are incorporating feedback from the first edition to improve upon it.

Speaker applications are now open and first-time speakers are encouraged to apply. Organizers posted a list of example topics for inspiration, including advanced development, frameworks, security, storytelling, website performance optimization, and more.

WCEU 2021 will be running two tracks, with two different presentation formats: long talks (20-minute talk with a 10-minute Q&A) and lightning talks (10-minute talk with a 5-minute Q&A). Prospective speakers are allowed to submit up to three different presentation topics on their applications. The call for speakers is open until April 24, 2021, and selected speakers will be contacted the first week of May ahead of mid-May public announcements.

WCEU organizers also plan to continue the successful tradition of hosting workshops after 77% of attendees who completed a feedback survey requested their return. Workshop sessions will be 45 minutes long and hosts will have workshop assistants available to them. Organizers are aiming to schedule a diverse lineup of workshops with topics like “Starting with WordPress,” accessibility, development, security, and SEO, to name a few.

The call for workshops is on the same timeline as speaker selection, with a closing date of April 24, 2021.

by Sarah Gooding at April 14, 2021 02:40 AM under WordCamp Europe

HeroPress: A Journey toward Freedom with WordPress – वर्डप्रेससंगै स्वतन्त्रता तर्फको यात्रामा

Pull Quote: My WordPress job allowed the freedom to work on my time.

यो लेख नेपाली भाषामा पनि उपलब्ध छ।

Hello world!

“Always be thankful for what you have, many people have nothing!” – Buddha

Yes, I’m immensely grateful to be writing this essay! I’m fortunate to have had the education that gave me the capacity to aspire, get into a WordPress job, meet people from around the world, connect with Topher of HeroPress, and tell my story!

How I Landed Into a WordPress Job

My WordPress journey began by chance! Honestly, I didn’t know WordPress until I landed on a WordPress job.

Back then, I was doing my Master’s degree in Sociology and had just left my work as a school teacher. I was looking for a job that would allow me to focus on my study and pay me a decent salary.

I had a long career of over 5 years in teaching which was a full-time job. In addition to 9 AM to 5 PM work, we had to work extra hours at home – designing lesson plans, evaluating assignment works, exams, etc. – so I was finding it hard to manage time for my own study. I just needed a job that wouldn’t require me to work after office hours.

After applying to several different positions, I finally got a content writing job. Fortunately, the company turned out to be a successful WordPress development company based in Nepal (Access Keys).

Well, it’s how my WordPress story began! But it’s not the full story.

For Hope! My Family’s Struggle for Education

I come from a remote village in the hills of Nepal, not connected by any means of transportation until recently. We had to walk a minimum of an hour to go to the nearest school, from where I completed my secondary education.

But that time wasn’t just about walking hours to reach school. It was also about poverty, hardships, and the burning desire to overcome them someday!

Schools were first opened in the late 1970s in our village but my parents couldn’t even complete the lower secondary level. Pervasive poverty and lack of awareness both were responsible for it.

Time passed but our family’s financial condition was still the same. But my parents had understood that the only way out of it was education. Hence, they decided to send us to school, no matter what. Our father sometimes as a seasonal migrant worker to India, sometimes as a porter, brought us (me and my siblings) school supplies. Our mother worked day and night, managed home, family, and our farm.

After completing secondary level education, I moved to a nearby city in the guardianship of my aunt. With minimal financial support from my parents, my aunt helped me complete higher secondary school.

However, she had her own hardships. She was a single mother without any academic degree so had to work minimum-wage jobs which hardly met her and her family’s needs.

Therefore, I couldn’t simply add to her burden. And on the other side, my parents had to support my younger siblings too. So, the only choice I had, if I wanted to study further, was to support myself, for which I started teaching in a school.

Breakthrough through English Language Skills

I got my life’s first job but it wasn’t easy. I joined a private English-medium school as a teacher. But my schooling as well as the undergraduate program had been in our national language, Nepali, and not in English. We had “English” as a subject in school but the teacher taught us English in the Nepali language. We never spoke in English. Yet, my English writing was fine as I was a good student.

When I joined an English medium school as a teacher, I had no choice but to improve my English. I practiced speaking English with primary-level students. Within a year, my spoken English improved considerably.

Along with my teaching job, I continued my college. It was a super-busy schedule but was the only option I had! With my earnings, I paid my college fees, covered some of my living expenses, and also supported my family. Well, this is how I completed my Bachelor’s degree and started my Master’s degree too.

Later on, the same teaching job that I started to sustain myself enabled me to apply for an English content writing job! As of now, I’m quite confident about my English language skills but still feel hesitant when I have to talk with native speakers.

My WordPress Journey – Toward Freedom

As I stated earlier, I landed on my first WordPress job when I was looking for the type of job that would allow me free time for my study. Yes, and that’s from where my journey toward freedom began!

During my interview, I explained to the CEO of Access Keys (Arjun Singh Thakuri) about the flexibility that I need in my new job so that I could also focus well on my studies. I was hired and could join from 11 AM instead of the usual 9:30 AM after attending my classes in the morning. It was a moment of gratitude and great relief for me!

I learnt WordPress at Access Keys. First, by reading Wikipedia and other blogs on the web. Second, from Arjun sir as well as from the senior developers and the designers at the company. I used to have a lot of questions, and my team at Access Keys helped me get answers to those questions. Third, by doing. I set up a WordPress.com blog, a testing site on localhost, and tried different options.

My curiosity was definitely the driving force, but above all, ‘the way WordPress is built’ is what made it possible for someone like me (with no technical background) to understand a powerful website creation software, WordPress.

As for content writing skills, I started with list articles (theme collections). Arjun sir mentored me for my first few articles. Later, Access Keys hired an experienced SEO professional Amin Ghale who taught me more about SEO and content writing. He is a mentor cum brother to me.

When in Access Keys, I joined WordCamp for the first time – WordCamp Nepal 2015. The event was grand! I met people involved in WordPress from other companies in Nepal and abroad, heard their stories, and learnt about new innovations in WordPress!

I was truly enthralled by the event and had truly wished to give a presentation in a WordCamp someday. And I did, the very next year! I shared what I had learnt so far on the title ‘SEO Copywriting for WordPress’ at WordCamp Kathmandu 2016.

Later, I also joined a panel ‘Girls in WordPress – Story, Experience, Opportunity, and Career’ in WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 along with a dear friend Ganga Kafle and my WordPress sister Prithu Singh Thakuri. Now, looking forward to joining some international WordCamps!

Speaking at WordCamp Kathmandu 2016 S Rai Sunita Rai on a panel at WordCamp A Moment of Fun at WordCamp Kathmandu 2018

About my WordPress career, I’m still in WordPress content writing.

After Access Keys, I went to ThemeGrill, another successful WordPress business in Nepal, with even more flexibility and freedom in the working hours.  Sanjip Shah and Rabin Shrestha (Founders of ThemeGrill) encouraged me to learn and explore this field even more. After some time, ThemeGrill hired a few new writers and I started mentoring them.

Next, I joined Awesome Motive, the company behind the popular WPBeginner blog. In the beginning, I wrote for IsItWP and MonsterInsights blog but later also got the opportunity to write for WPBeginner. When at Awesome Motive, I got an even better opportunity to learn WordPress and marketing skills.

My supervisors Shahzad Saeed from India, Noumaan Yaqoob from Pakistan, Lauren Tharp, and Keri Lynn Engel from the United States helped me be better at my work. Above all, I was super lucky to have Syed Balkhi himself tutoring me every week on various aspects of content writing and marketing. I still remember how he explained the “success gap” over multiple calls, over weeks. He’s really a wonderful mentor!

As of now, I work with beginners who’re just starting their careers in WordPress content writing. I’m trying to help small WordPress businesses and blogs with the marketing skills I’ve acquired so far. For example, SiteSaga.com, ZakraTheme.com are some of the sites I’m currently working on. Yet, I feel there’s a lot more for me to learn!

Now, I want to make my final and important point – freedom!

First, my WordPress job allowed me the freedom to work on my time (so I could manage time for my study too). But more importantly, I meant the ‘economic freedom’.

For an individual, economic independence is a major freedom factor! Income isn’t everything, but definitely a basic aspect of human development!

My salary at my first WordPress job wasn’t high, but increments since then are cool! Plus, we can always do some extra work. For instance, after my talk at WordCamp, I got a lot of freelance work opportunities, which I did during my free time and earned some extra bucks. Then, I was able to support my family even better.

Finally, it’s the ‘feeling of freedom’ that, I have now, enabled me to share this story. I always had an ‘inferiority complex’ due to which I could never tell anyone about my family or our socio-economic background. Even if someone asked, I’d simply avoid the question or lie to them.

I’ve now overcome the situation as well as the fear of being judged. And, I believe it’s the ‘freedom’ in its truest sense.

That’s my story of freedom! Story of our freedom!

Now is Great! I Have Greater Aspiration for the Future!

Yes, now is great! I have a good career as a WordPress content writer, editor, and mentor. I also joined the MPhil degree and will soon complete it.

For the future, have greater aspirations!

  1. I hope to continue doing what I do – teaching beginners copywriting skills and help them achieve their part of freedom. WordPress is a gift for people like me!
  2. I want to earn a Doctorate degree; not yet content being a student! I haven’t planned it yet but I really wish to do it in this life!
  3. I want to give back to my community. Our village hasn’t changed much – still struggling with poverty. Even today, most students from my village fail to complete their university degree in lack of a support system. I firmly believe education is vital to change; for individuals as well as society as a whole. So, I really wish to work on it but I’m not yet sure how! I hope time will answer!

Thanks for reading my story! Thanks, dear friend Topher for this opportunity! It’s a privilege to be sharing my story on HeroPress (feeling like a hero!). :D

Thank you to every single individual who supported my journey to this date! And, thanks to the universe for everything I have!

वर्डप्रेससंगै स्वतन्त्रता तर्फको यात्रामा

नमस्कार संसार!

तपाईंसँग जे छ त्यसैमा सदैव कृतग्य रहनु, किनकी धेरै मानिसहरू संग केहि पनि हुन्न। – बुद्ध

हो, म यो लेख लेख्दै गर्दा एकदमै खुसी र आभारि छु। म आफुलाई एकदमै भाग्यमानी ठान्दछु कि मैले जस्तोसुकै परिस्थितिमा पनि शिक्षा आर्जन गर्न पाए जसले मलाई सपना देख्न प्रेरित गर्यो, वर्डप्रेसमा काम गर्न सक्षम बनायो, संसारभरिका मानिससंग भेटघाट गर्ने अवसर दिलायो, हिरोप्रेसका टोफर संग भेत्न र मेरो कथा सबैसंग बाड्ने अवसर दिलायो।

मेरो वर्डप्रेस यात्राको शुरुवात

मेरो वर्डप्रेस यात्रा संयोगवश सुरु भएको हो। साच्चिकै भन्नुपर्दा मैले काम गर्न सुरु गर्नु भन्दा अगाडी मलाई वर्डप्रेसको बारेमा केही पनि थाहा थिएन।

त्यो समयमा म समाजशास्त्र बिषयमा मास्टर डिग्री गरिरहेकी थिएँ। समयको अभावले गर्दा भर्खरै विद्यालय शिक्षण पेशाको काम पनि छोडेको थिएं। त्यसैले म यस्तो कामको खोजीमा थिए जुन बाट राम्रो तलब र मेरो पढाईको लागि केहि समय पनि बच्न सक्थ्यो।

मैले शिक्षण पेशामा लगभग ५ बर्ष सम्म काम गरें। ती दिनहरुमा म विहान ९ बजेदेखि दिउँसो ५ बजे सम्म स्कुल पढाउथे । अनि फेरि राति अर्को दिनको कक्षाका लागि तयारी र गृहकार्य जाँच गर्दा गर्दै ठिक्क हुन्थ्यो। जसले गर्दा मलाई आफ्नो पढाई सम्हाल्न गाह्रो भइरहेको थियो। त्यसैले मलाई खासगरि अफिस समयपश्चात अरु थप काम गर्नु नपर्ने खालको काम चाहिएको थियो।

धेरै खालको जागिरहरूमा आवेदन दिएपश्चात बल्ल कन्टेन्ट राइटिङ्ग (इन्टरनेटको लागि लेख लेखन) को जागिर पाए। भाग्यवश मैले काम पाएको कम्पनी वर्डप्रेस विकासको क्षेत्रमा नेपालको एक सफल कम्पनी रहेछ (एक्सेस किइज)।

हो यसरी नै मेरो वर्डप्रेसको यात्रा सुरु भयो, तर यो नै सम्पुर्ण कथा भने हैन।

शिक्षाको लागि मेरो परिवारको संघर्ष र आशा

नेपाल को पहाडी भेगमा अवस्थित एउटा गाउँमा मेरो जन्म भएको हो जहाँ आवतजावत गर्नलाई अझैसम्मपनि भरपर्दो सडक अनि गाडीहरूको ब्यबस्था भएको छैन। हाम्रो घरबाट नजिकैको विद्यालय नै १ घण्टा को बाटो हिडेर पुग्नुपर्थ्यो र त्यहि विद्यालय बाट मैले कक्षा १० सम्म को अध्ययन पुरा गरें।

तर हाम्रो गाउँको त्यो समय घन्टौ हिड्नुपर्ने दुखका बारेमा मात्र थिएन। सर्वत्र ब्याप्त गरिवी, खानलाउनको लागि कठिन संघर्ष, र यि तमाम दुखबाट कुनै दिन मुक्त हुने प्रबल आकङ्क्षाको पनि समय थियो।

हाम्रो गाउँमा विद्यालय सन १९७० को दशक अन्त्य तिर खुले तर मेरो आमाबाबुले भने गरिवी र अशिक्षाको कारण निम्न माध्यमिक तहको शिक्षा सम्म पनि पुरा गर्न सक्नुभएन। समय बित्यो, हामि बिद्यालय जान थाल्यौ तर पनि हाम्रो परिवारको आर्थिक अवस्थामा भने कुनै सुधार आएको थिएन। तरपनि मेरा बुबाआमाले भने शिक्षाको महत्व बुझिसक्नु भएको थियो। त्यसैले उहाहरुले जस्तो सुकै अप्ठ्यारो परिस्थिति भए पनि हामी लाई विद्यालय पठाउने निधो गर्नुभयो।

आपा (राई बान्तावा भाषामा बुबा) कहिले भारततिर मौसमी कामदार को रूपमा त कहिले भरियाको रूपमा काम गर्न जानुहुन्थ्यो। अनि फर्केर आउँदा म र मेरो बहिनीहरू लाई किताब कापी र स्कुलको कपडा हरू ल्याइदिनु हुन्थ्यो। हाम्रो आमा भने रातदिन आफैं खटेर घरपरिवार, खेतिपाती र गाइबस्तु सम्हाल्नु हुन्थो।

गाउँकै बिध्यालय बाट माध्यमिक तह उत्तीर्ण गरीसके पछि म नजिकै को सहरमा फुपुसंग बस्दै पढ्न थालें। मेरो फुपुले मलाई उच्च शिक्षा हासिल गर्नमा धेरै मद्दत गर्नुभएको छ।

तर त्यो बेला उहाँको लागि पनि कठिन समय थियो। कुनै पनि शैक्षिक डिग्रि नभएको एक एकल महिलाका लागि सहरमा आफु अनि आफ्नो सन्तानलाइ पाल्नु, हुर्काउनु, पढाउनु सानो दुख थिएन। उहाँले दिनभर ज्याला मजदुरि गरेर कमाएको पैसाले बिहानबेलुका को छाक टार्न मै ठिक्क हुन्थ्यो।

त्यसैले म आफैंपनि उहाँमाथि अझ भार थपिन चाहन्नथे। फेरि अर्को तर्फ मेरो बाबाआमा ले पनि त अरु साना बहिनीहरू लाई हेर्नुपर्थ्यो। अब भने मसंग आफ्नो उच्च शिक्षालाइ निरन्तरता दिनको लागि एउटै मात्र बिकल्प थियो – आफैले कमाएर पढ्ने। यसैकारण मैले एउटा विद्यालयमा पढाउन शुरु गरें।

अङ्ग्रेजी भाषाको ज्ञानमार्फत उडान आरम्भ

मैले मेरो जीवनको पहिलो जागिर त पाए तर त्यो सोचेजस्तो सजिलो थिएन। मैले शिक्षक को रूपमा एक निजी विद्यालयमा प्रबेश गरे। तर म आफैले भने सरकारी विद्यालयमा पढेको थिए जहाँ नेपाली भाषामा पढाई हुन्थ्यो। हाम्रो कक्षामा अङ्ग्रेजी एउटा मात्र अनिवार्य विषय थियो तर त्यो पनि शिक्षकहरु ले नेपाली भाषामा नै पढाउनु हुन्थ्यो। हामीले कहिल्यै पनि अङ्ग्रेजी भाषा बोलेनौं। यधपी म राम्रो बिध्यार्थीहरु मध्यको एक थिए, जसकारण मेरो अङ्ग्रेजी लेखन भने सामान्यतया राम्रो नै थियो।

मैले अङ्ग्रेजी शिक्षकको रूपमा पढाउन थालिसके पछि भने मसंग अङ्ग्रेजी सुधार्नु भन्दा अरू कुनै उपाए थिएन। त्यसैले मैले प्राथमिक तहका बिध्यार्थीहरूसँग अङ्ग्रेजीमा बोल्न सुरु गरें। फलस्वरूप एकवर्ष भित्र मेरो अङ्ग्रेजी बोलाईमा धेरै सुधार आयो।

शिक्षण पेशासंगै मैले मेरो पढाईलाई पनि अगाडि बढाउदै लगें। त्यो बेला मेरो दैनिकि धेरै नै व्यस्त थियो, तर फेरि अर्को विकल्प पनि त थिएन। मेरो तलबले आफ्नो पढाई खर्च जुटाउँदै अलिअलि परिवार लाई पनि सहयोग गर्न थाले। हो यसरी नै मैले ब्याचलर डिग्री पुरा गरें र मास्टर डिग्री पनि शुरु गरें।

मैले आफ्नो आवश्यकता पुर्ति गर्नको लागि सुरु गरेको शिक्षण पेशाले नै मलाई अङ्ग्रेजी कन्टेन्ट राइटिङ्गको जागिरमा आवेदन दिने साहस दियो। अहिलेको कु्रा गर्ने हो भने, म मेरो अङ्ग्रेजी भाषाको बोलाई र लेखाईसंग केही हदसम्म विश्वस्त छु तर अझै पनि अङ्ग्रेजी नै मातृभाषा भएका बिदेशिहरुका अगाडि बोल्न भने केहि हिच्किचाउछु।

मेरो वर्डप्रेस यात्राः स्वतन्त्रता तिर

मैले अगाडि नै भनेको जस्तै मेरो पढाईलाई हानी नगर्ने खालको काम खोज्दै गर्दा संयोगवश वर्डप्रेसमा प्रवेश गरेको थिएँ। र यहि बाट नै मेरो स्वतन्त्रता तिर को यात्रा सुरु भएको हो।

मैले कामको लागि अन्तर्वार्ता दिँदै गर्दा नै एक्सेस किइज कम्पनीको प्रमुख (अर्जुन सिंह ठकुरी) संग आफ्नो पढाईको लागि चाहिने समयको बारेमा पनि कुरा गरेको थिएँ। उहाँले सजिलैसंग सहमति जनाउनु भयो। फलस्वरूप मैले आफ्नो बिहान को कलेज सकेर ११ बजेदेखि कार्यालय जाने भए जबकि अफिस समय भने ९ः३० बजे नै शुरु हुन्थ्यो। त्यो पल मेरो लागि कृतज्ञता र ठूलो राहतको क्षण थियो।

एक्सेस किइज कम्पनीमा काम गर्दा नै मैले वर्डप्रेस सिके। पहिलो, विकिपीडिया र अन्य ब्लग हरूलाई धेरै पढे। दोस्रो, नजानेको सानासाना कुराहरू अर्जुन सर र अरू अनुभबी कर्मचारी (डेभलपर, डिजाइनर) हरु संग सोध्थे। र उहाँ हरूले पनि धेरै सहयोग गर्नुहुन्थ्यो। तेस्रो, मैले आफैले वर्डप्रेस डटकम ब्लग स्थापना गरें, परिक्षणका लागि वेबसाइट बनाए र त्यहाँ हरेक कुरा जान्ने र बुझ्ने कोशिस गरे।

अवश्य पनि मेरो जिज्ञासु भावना नै मलाई अगाडि बढाउने शक्ती थियो। यधपी म जस्तो प्राविधिक पृष्ठभूमि नभएको ब्यक्तिलाई वेबसाइट बनाउन सक्ने शक्तिशाली सफ्टवेयर, वर्डप्रेस को बारेमा बुझाउनमा भने वर्डप्रेस आफै सरल हुनु र इन्टरनेटमा प्रशस्ट सामग्रि पाइनुको ठूलो भुमिका छ।

मैले कन्टेन्ट राइटिङ्ग गर्ने क्रमको शुरुवात भने वर्डप्रेस थिमको सुचि बनाउने लेखहरुबाट गरें। सुरूको लेखहरूमा अर्जुन सर नै मेरो सल्लाहकारको रूपमा रहनु भयो। पछि एक्सेस किइज कम्पनीले अनुभबी एसईओ विज्ञ अमिन घले लाइ नियुक्ति गर्यो र उहाँले नै मलाई धेरै कुराहरु सिकाउनुभयो। उहा मेरो गुरुका साथै दाई पनि हुनुहुन्छ।

म एक्सेस किइज कम्पनीमा काम गरिरहेकै बखत पहिलो पटक “वर्डक्याम्प नेपाल २०१५“ मा सहभागी भए। यो कार्यक्रम भव्य थियो। मैले त्यहाँ वर्डप्रेसमा काम गर्ने नेपालका तथा अन्य देशबाट आएका ब्यक्तिहरुसंग भेटें, उनीहरूको कथा सुने र वर्डप्रेसको बारेमा अझ नयाँनयाँ कुराहरु थाहा पाए।

म त्यो कार्यक्रमबाट धेरै नै प्रभावित भए र त्यतिबेलानै कुनै दिन वर्डक्याम्पमा वक्तव्य दिने अठोट गरे। नभन्दै मैले अर्को सालको “वर्डक्याम्प काठमान्डु २०१६“ मा वक्ता को रूपमा सहभागी भए र “वर्डप्रेसको लागि एसइओ कपिराईटिङ“ शिर्षक मा वक्तव्य दिए।

पछि फेरि बिराटनगर मा आयोजना भएको “वर्डक्याम्प बिराटनगर २०१८“ मा पनि सहभागी भए। यसमा म, साथी गंगा काफ्ले र प्यारी बहिनी प्रिठु शिंह थकुरीले “वर्डप्रेसमा केटीहरुः अनुभव, कथा, अवसर, र चुनौती“ शिर्षक मा छलफल गरेका थियौ। अब भने, मलाई अरु अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय वर्डक्याम्प हरूमा सहभागी हुन मन छ।

वर्डक्याम्प काठमान्डु २०१६ मा प्रस्तुति दिदै गर्दा वर्डक्याम्प बिराटनगर २०१८ मा एक प्यानलमा बोल्दै गर्दा वर्डक्याम्प काठमान्डु २०१७ मा वर्डप्रेसको मेरो दाजुभाइहरु सँग फोटो खिच्दै वर्डक्याम्प काठमान्डु २०१८ मा एक रमाइलो क्षण

म अझै पनि वर्डप्रेस कन्टेन्ट राइटिङ्ग नै गर्छु।

मैले एक्सेस किइजमा काम गरिसके पछि नेपालको अर्को सफल कम्पनी थिमग्रिलमा प्रवेश गरे। त्यहाँ अझै धेरै काममा सौलियत र समयमा लचकता थियो। थिमग्रिल कम्पनी का संस्थापक-सन्चालक द्वय सन्जिप शाहरबिन श्रेष्ठ सरले झन धेरै कुरा सिक्ने हौसला दिनुभयो। केही समय पछाडि कम्पनी ले नयाँनयाँ लेखकहरु ल्यायो र मैले उनीहरूलाई सिकाउन थाले।

पछि मैले अमेरिकामा अवस्थित अवसम मोटिभ कम्पनीमा पनि काम गरें। सुरु सुरुमा “इजइटडब्लुपि“ र “मन्स्टरइनसाइट्स“ ब्लगमा लेखे र पछि “डब्लुपिबिगिनर“ मा पनि लेख्ने मौका पाएं। म यसै कम्पनीमा काम गरिरहेकै बेला वर्डप्रेस र मार्केटिङ सम्बन्धि अझ धेरै कुरा जान्ने मौका पाए।

मेरो काममा सुधार आउनुमा मुख्यतया मेरो निरिक्षक साहजाद सइद (भारतबाट), नवमान याकुब (पाकिस्तानबाट), लउरेन थार्पकेरि लिन एन्जेल (अमेरिकाबाट) को धेरै ठूलो भुमिका छ। यतिमात्र हैन कम्पनीको प्रमुख शाइद बाल्खि संग काम गर्न पाउनु पनि मेरो लागि भाग्यको कुरा थियो। उहाँले मलाई प्रत्येक हप्ता कन्टेन्ट राइटिङ्ग को बारेमा बिस्तृत रुपमा सिकाउनु हुन्थ्यो। मलाई अझै याद छ उहाँले थुप्रै पटकको संवादमा “सफलताको अन्तर” को बारेमा सिकाउनु भएको थियो। उहाँ साच्चिकै राम्रो प्रशिक्षक सल्लाहकार हुनुहुन्छ।

अब अहिलेको कुरा! हाल म वर्डप्रेस लेख लेखन क्षेत्रमा भर्खर आउदै गरेका ब्यक्तिहरु संग काम गर्छु। मैले अहिलेसम्म बटुलेको अनुभवहरु को माध्यमबाट साना वर्डप्रेस विजिनेश र ब्लग लाई सहयोग गर्न खोजिरहेको छु। जस्तो कि म अहिले “साइटसागा डटकम“ र “जाक्राथिम डटकम“ मा कार्यरत छु। यधपि मेरो आफ्नै सिक्ने क्रम भने सदैब जारि नै छ।

अब भने म आफुलाइ लागेको सबभन्दा महत्वपुर्ण कुरा भन्न चाहान्छ। यो क्षेत्रमा मैले पाएको सबभन्दा महत्वपूर्ण कुरा भनेको “स्वतन्त्रता“ हो।

सर्वप्रथम त मेरो वर्डप्रेसको कामले मलाई समयको स्वतन्त्रता दिलायो। मेरो मतलब यो काम म आफुले भ्याएको समयमा गर्न सक्थे जसले गर्दा मेरो आफ्नै पढाईको लागि समय छुटाउन पाए। अनि दोस्रो कुरा भनेको “आर्थिक स्वतन्त्रता“।

आर्थिक आत्मनिर्भरता प्रत्येक व्यक्तिकालागि स्वतन्त्रता प्राप्तिको एक प्रमुख आधार हो। आम्दानी नै सबै कुरा हो भन्ने त होइन तर यो मानव विकासको एक आधारभुत पक्ष भने अवश्य पनि हो।

वर्डप्रेसमा मेरो शुरुको तलब ठिकै मात्र थियो तर यसको वृद्धि क्रमशः राम्रो हुदै गयो। उदाहरणका लागि, मैले वर्डक्याम्पमा वक्तव्य दिइसकेपछि भने मलाई अरू पनि धेरै फ्रिल्यान्सिङ्ग काम गर्ने अवसरहरू पाए जुन काम मैले खालि समयमा गर्थे र केही थप पैसा पनि कमाए। त्यसपछि मैले मेरो परिवारलाई पनि राम्ररि सहयोग गर्न थाले।

अबभने, म स्वतन्त्रता बारे अन्तिम कुरा भन्न चाहान्छु। मलाइ लाग्छ यो स्वतन्त्रताको अनुभुति नै त हो जसले मलाइ यो लेख लेख्न सक्षम बनायो। किनभने मलाइ जहिल्यै पनि लघुताबासले थिचिरहन्थ्यो र आफ्नो परिवार अनि आफ्नो सामाजिक-आर्थिक अवस्थाबारे कसैलाइ पनि भन्न सक्दिनथे या चाहान्नथे। यदि कसैले सोधिहाले पनि, म त्यो प्रश्नलाइ बेवास्ता गर्थे वा ढाटेर जवाफ दिन्थे।

अहिलेको सन्दर्भको कुरा गर्दा, मैले त्यो परिस्थिति र अरुले के सोच्छन भन्ने डर दुबैमाथि जित हासिल गरेझै लाग्छ। र मलाइ यो नै साचो अर्थमा ‘स्वतन्त्रता’ हो जस्तो लाग्छ।

यही हो मेरो स्वतन्त्रता को कथा! हाम्रो स्वतन्त्रता को कथा!

आज राम्रो छ र मसँग अझै ठुला आकांक्षाहरु छन् भविष्यको लागि!

हो, मेरो वर्तमान राम्रो छ! वर्डप्रेस कन्टेन्ट राइटर, एडिटर, र सल्लाहाकार रूपमा मेरो करियर राम्रो छ। म एमफिल डिग्री पनि गर्दैछु र छिट्टै पुरा पनि गर्नेछु।

तर अझपनि भविष्यको लागि मेरा धेरै ठुला आकांक्षाहरु छन्!

  1. म जे गरिरहेको छु त्यसैलाई निरन्तरता दिन चाहन्छु – नयाँ लेखकहरुलाई कपिराइटिङ्गको सिप सिकाउदै स्वतन्त्रता को अनुभुति दिलाउन। म जस्तो मान्छेहरू को लागि वर्डप्रेस एक अमुल्य उपहार हो।
  2. म कुनैदिन विद्यावारिधि गर्न चाहन्छु। यसको लागि यतिबेला भने कुनै योजना बनाएको छैन तर जसरी पनि यसै जुनिमा पुरा गर्ने इच्छा छ।
  3. म मेरो समुदायलाई सहयोग गर्न चाहन्छु। हाम्रो गाउँमा अझै पनि धेरै परिवर्तन आएको छैन – गरिबीको अवस्था यथावत् नै छ। राम्रो सहयोग प्रणालीको अभावमा अहिले पनि मेरो गाउँका धेरै जसो विद्यार्थीहरु स्नातक तह सम्मको अध्ययन पुरा गर्न सम्म असमर्थ छन्। मलाइ चै ब्यक्ति र समाज सबैको परिवर्तन को लागि शिक्षा एक्दमै महत्वपुर्ण हुन्छ भन्ने कुरामा दृढ विश्वास छ। त्यसैले म यो क्षेत्रमा काम गर्न चाहन्छु, तर कसरी गर्ने भन्ने कुरा भने थाहा छैन! मलाई आशा छ, समयले मेरो प्रश्नको जवाफ अवश्य दिनेछ!

मेरो कथा पढ्नुभएको यहाँहरु सबैलाई धन्यवाद! मुख्यतः मलाई यो अवसर दिने साथी टोफर लाई धेरै धेरै धन्यवाद! हिरोप्रेसमा मेरो कथा सुनाउन पाउँदा म धेरै नै खुसि छु (आफुलाइ हिरो जस्तै महसुस गरिरहेकोछु)।

मलाई यो स्थान सम्म पुग्न मद्दत गर्ने सम्पूर्ण व्याक्तीहरूलाई धेरै धेरै धन्यवाद! मैले पाएका सम्पूर्ण चिजहरुको लागि ब्रह्माण्ड लाई धन्यवाद!

The post A Journey toward Freedom with WordPress – वर्डप्रेससंगै स्वतन्त्रता तर्फको यात्रामा appeared first on HeroPress.

by Sunita Rai at April 14, 2021 02:24 AM

April 13, 2021

WPTavern: Yet Another WordPress Block Library Plugin

You are the team manager at a WordPress development company. You just spent the last couple of months directing the group of highly skilled developers that you oversee to create the latest and greatest block library for WordPress. Your developers just spent those two months recreating what has already been done at least a couple of dozen times.

You go through your product launch list:

Testimonial block? Check.

Accordion block? Check.

Countdown block? Check.

Meme-creation block? Coming in version 2.0.

Everything seems to be in order. Your company has a new and shiny wheel, a bullet point on its product list, and a promise to end-users that you are keeping up with the times, launching a set of blocks that they can pick up literally anywhere else. But, yours is better because you built it in-house.

Color me unimpressed.

Maybe you are just trying to make a dent in the market, grabbing your share of the pie that companies have been snacking on for the last couple of years. Every time I see another forms plugin, I wonder how they will remain competitive, but there have been success stories. However, the ones who tell those stories always had a fresh take on an old concept.

I worry about the upcoming years when the block market is simply a race to the bottom. Everyone has built their plugin with 100+ blocks, 500+ patterns, and more customization options than you can count. It is the story of the early ThemeForest days where premium themes amassed a gluttonous amount of theme options. The top sellers were continually one-upping each other with another notch on their feature lists.

As a user, developer, and journalist who writes about these products, I am often lost. I look at a new plugin and ask myself if I had already checked it out and dismissed it last week. I am always searching for something innovative, but the lines between one project to the next are blurry. I am swirling in a sea of icon, shape divider, post list, and container blocks — just looking for a life preserver to pull myself out.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a wheel recreator myself. I have built products that others had already created. In some cases, I launched something better. In others, I failed miserably. I may be a little biased, but I always felt like I was bringing something new to the table. And that is where I take issue.

I want to see you create a block that no one has ever done before, such as drawing digital sheet music or a side-scrolling T-Rex game.

I want to see you extend the editor with new tools like inserting Emoji or Font Awesome icons into Rich Text.

I want to see you overhaul the editor and create a Markdown-friendly experience.

Instead of an “advanced” list block of your own design, create a plugin that extends the core List block with custom options. Skip that custom gallery. Bring something new to the existing Gallery block. Got a custom music player? Use it to overhaul the Audio block instead of wrapping it up separately.

The community has all the tabs, buttons, and progress bars it can handle. Of course, if you are raising the bar on all of these same ol’ blocks, keep pushing forward. Let’s see what you can do. Otherwise, keep thinking outside of the box.

by Justin Tadlock at April 13, 2021 08:34 PM under Opinion

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Tyler Lau

WordPress is open source software, maintained by a global network of contributors. There are many examples of how WordPress has changed people’s lives for the better. In this monthly series, we share some of the amazing stories that are lesser-known.

Embrace Who You Are and Your Journey

In this People of WordPress contributor story, we chat to Tyler Lau from the US on his relationship building work in marketing and his WordPress journey.

Read on to discover his story which shows it is often what you have learned from negative experiences in your life that can make you a major asset to a product team.

Tyler Lau stood in front of a colorful mural

An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tyler recalls he always had a knack for spotting a enterprise ideas. As an industrious seven-year-old, he was already finding ways to make sales during the school breaks. 

While many entrepreneurs have similar stories, Tyler’s path took many turns before he discovered and thrived in the WordPress community.

He was drawn to both the software and the community that surrounds it from his search for personal and professional freedom. He ultimately was able to combine his various business interests and people skills into professional marketing work.

Using your skills to uncover your journey

Tyler Lau pictured sat on a chair using his mobile phone in his social media work

Tyler’s current role is as a Marketing Relationship Builder, based in Kansas, USA. His responsibilities span across all digital properties and products, leveraging his broad set of business and people skills.

These skills are amplified by his creativity and adaptability. Tyler says that one reason he is always looking for new projects is his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a diagnosis he received in 2005.

In an industry built by programmers and developers who often have a strong sense of focus, Tyler felt that someone with ADHD wouldn’t be seen as a natural fit. He found the WordPress community to be a place where everyone can find the right spot for their unique skills. Tyler’s skill is people, and this has translated into many opportunities and responsibilities in his work life. His skills have also helped him give back to the WordPress community as a speaker and volunteer, and through multiple contributor days.

Relationship-building as a career

Most of Tyler’s experience was in the restaurant industry, and his resume did not exactly point to a career in tech. But the service industry actually prepared him well for everything he has taken on since.

When he is at work events, he meets people from across the world and builds connections with them. As an extrovert, he enjoys this and couldn’t imagine a job where he was isolated from getting to know others and relationship-building.

Understanding people and being able to operate in any setting are key competencies. Social skills and tact are useful for community building in the WordPress space too, and in Tyler’s life at different times it has been necessary for survival.

The true meaning of freedom

In the WordPress community, the concept of freedom comes up often. WordPress is built on GPL, free software, and open-source values. Practically speaking, anyone can work remotely or be their own boss to gain more freedom in work and life. Tyler feels that he never fitted into a traditional work mould. With his strong focus on freedom, he found this resonated with the freedom and opportunities he believes WordPress provides him and thousands of others.

Tyler describes how in 2013 his ‘inner opportunist’ got him into trouble. After dropping out of college following a brain aneurysm, he needed capital to fund his first startup. He shares that he found a quick but unlawful way to make money. Alongside this between shifts as a waiter, he worked on prototypes for his first product. The company was growing fast, and to protect his patents and take research and development to the next level, he had to work hard. Everything came to a halt when some of the actions he took resulted in being sent to prison.

He says that meeting other inmates reminded him that he was in a much better situation than most. He was educated, well-off, loved, and knew he had a future once he was released. He found that many inmates never graduated from high school and were computer illiterate. While inside, Tyler taught subjects like science, math, writing, reading, and social studies. He found that due to the lack of skills and support, many inmates would struggle upon release. He believes getting the mental health support and job training needed to thrive after prison is not easy for many.

There’s more to freedom than just being on the outside. You also need a sense of agency and enfranchisement,” says Tyler. He considered his sense of purpose and support network were plenty to keep him going and was ready to take on his next (legal) business challenge as soon as he could.

Going forward positively 

Tyler Lau portrait picture

The idea that your past doesn’t define you and you can choose to embrace it, is a key driver for Tyler.

He describes himself as an outlier in many ways. He recalls how politics influenced his life from the day he was born. Tyler’s father is a semi-dissident Chinese visual anthropologist, his mother is an art professor who left her home country of Japan to break free from traditional Japanese gender roles. Tyler feels he inherited a lot of this fearlessness.

I’ve never fitted in, and yet this is what makes me able to adapt to most situations and relate to just about anyone. I embrace my eclectic, dissonant past and see beauty in the person those experiences shaped me to be,” says Tyler. 

Now, he’s able to put those skills to good use in the WordPress community and beyond. 

He says: “Regardless of your physical abilities, mental health struggles, upbringing, and even your run-ins with the law, no one is excluded from carving their place in the WordPress industry”.


Thank you to Tyler Lau (@tylermaximus) for sharing his #ContributorStory.

Thanks to Larissa Murillo (@lmurillom), Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), Olga Gleckler (@oglekler), Meher Bala (@meher), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) for working on the People of WordPress series.

HeroPress logo

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members in our People of WordPress series.

#ContributorStory #HeroPress

by webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK at April 13, 2021 01:47 PM under WordPress journey

WPTavern: Free Software Foundation Unrelenting on Stallman Reinstatement: “We Missed His Wisdom”

The Free Software Foundation has published a public explanation of why they decided to reinstate Richard Stallman to the board of directors last month:

“The voting members of the Free Software Foundation, which include the board of directors, voted to appoint Richard Stallman to a board seat after several months of thorough discussion and thoughtful deliberation.

We decided to bring RMS back because we missed his wisdom. His historical, legal and technical acumen on free software is unrivaled. He has a deep sensitivity to the ways that technologies can contribute to both the enhancement and the diminution of basic human rights. His global network of connections is invaluable. He remains the most articulate philosopher and an unquestionably dedicated advocate of freedom in computing.”

The board took responsibility for bungling the news of his election to a board seat, stating that the planned flow of information was not executed in a timely manner. When Stallman announced his return to the board at last month’s LibrePlanet event, the free software community was not able to discern whether he did so with the board’s permission. It took the FSF by surprise, polarized the community, and provoked organizations and corporations to publish statements condemning his reinstatement.

The board admits that “FSF staff should have been informed and consulted first,” but follows it up by effectively downplaying his influence, stating that Stallman is “an unpaid volunteer and subject to the organization’s policies.”

The statement reads like a perplexing love letter for someone who struggles with social cues. It obscures most of the real issues outlined in an open letter signed by many prominent members of the free software community. The FSF board referenced a statement from Stallman, published one minute prior, and claims that he has acknowledged his mistakes:

“He has sincere regrets, especially at how anger toward him personally has negatively impacted the reputation and mission of FSF. While his personal style remains troubling for some, a majority of the board feel his behavior has moderated and believe that his thinking strengthens the work of the FSF in pursuit of its mission.”

The FSF board has officially confirmed that the majority of its leadership advocated for Stallman’s return and see it as important in its aim “to attract a new generation of activists for software freedom and to grow the movement.”

Stallman’s statement identifies his past behaviors as something outside his control, saying it was “not a choice” and “unavoidable:”

Later in life, I discovered that some people had negative reactions to my behavior, which I did not even know about. Tending to be direct and honest with my thoughts, I sometimes made others uncomfortable or even offended them — especially women. This was not a choice: I didn’t understand the problem enough to know which choices there were.

Sometimes I lost my temper because I didn’t have the social skills to avoid it. Some people could cope with this; others were hurt. I apologize to each of them. Please direct your criticism at me, not at the Free Software Foundation.

He also attempted to explain his position regarding the 2019 controversy that prompted his resignation from the FSF board and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

“It was right for me to talk about the injustice to Minsky, but it was tone-deaf that I didn’t acknowledge as context the injustice that Epstein did to women or the pain that caused.

I’ve learned something from this about how to be kind to people who have been hurt. In the future, that will help me be kind to people in other situations, which is what I hope to do.”

This strategically intertwined pair of statements from Stallman and the FSF did little to change the community’s perception of his reinstatement to the board. They seemed to have the opposite effect of inflaming those who opposed it in the first place.

“I’m really grateful that the FSF board took the time to clarify this,” Tock founder Brian Fitzpatrick said. “This makes it crystal clear that they would rather have RMS around than become an inclusive and welcoming environment to more than half the people who write software. Toxic to the core.”

The statements were met with considerable backlash, as they did little to assuage community concerns regarding Stallman’s patterns of misconduct. More recently that includes his controversial remarks on rape, assault, and child sex trafficking, along with two decades of behaviors and statements that many have found to be disturbing and offensive. Whether these behaviors are motivated by malice or simply a lack of understanding the proper context, the damage to the FSF continues.

Red Hat principle engineer Elana Hashman, former director of the Open Source Initiative, published a thread with suggestions for 501(c)(3) public charities the community can donate to as an alternative to the FSF, including The Software Freedom Conservancy, EFF, OSI, and Software in the Public Interest.

Last week we reported that the WordPress project does not support Stallman’s return to the FSF board of directors. Curiously, WordPress’ executive director Josepha Haden-Chomphosy published the statement to her personal blog instead of on the project’s website, but she confirmed it is WordPress’ official stance on Stallman’s reinstatement. Since that time, the WordPress Foundation has quietly removed the Free Software Foundation from its list of inspirations.

Many corporations and individuals have distanced themselves and pulled funding from the FSF, but it has not had much impact on the leadership of the organization. The FSF board seems confident in their decision to keep Stallman in place, despite openly admitting that “his personal style remains troubling.” When the organization’s actions so sublimely repudiate its stated goals (to attract a new generation of activists for software freedom), it’s easy to see why former supporters can no longer buy into the FSF’s promises to improve transparency and accountability.

by Sarah Gooding at April 13, 2021 03:53 AM under Free Software Foundation

April 12, 2021

WPTavern: Display Digital Sheet Music With the WordPress Block Editor

OSMD plugin output on the front end.

PhonicScore, a company out of Vienna, recently released its OpenSheetMusicDisplay (OSMD) plugin. It is a WordPress block built for rendering digital sheet music in the browser.

The OSMD plugin is built on top of the team’s JavaScript library of the same name, a project officially released in 2016. It is a bridge between VexFlow and MusicXML. VexFlow is a JavaScript API for rendering music notation, and MusicXML is a standard open format for exchanging digital sheet music.

“As WordPress is one of the most popular CMS’ we decided to make an out-of-the-box solution that users could easily plug in their WP websites,” wrote Marin Jurcic in the announcement post. “This wasn’t an easy build, lucky for us OSMD provided all the tools for the job. To make this happen we relied heavily on the latest OSMD release and bundled it with the plugin. To add the ‘out-of-the-box features’ and get it working we used WordPress’s framework/library — Javascript and PHP.”

This is the type of plugin that allows the beauty of the block editor to shine. A few years ago, such a feat would only have been possible via the shortcode system. Users would have had to manually type in all of the shortcode’s arguments — assuming they could remember them all — and preview the post to see what it would look like. Today, they can interact with and make changes directly to their sheet music’s display from the editor.

OSMD was never a WordPress-first project. It was a standalone library that the company decided to make available to WordPress. With the power of the block system, they were able to do that. One can only hope that we see investments in our community from similar projects now that the block editor has become more stable.

We are barely digging beneath the surface of what will be possible in time. Blocks like OSMD build upon the optimism I had when the system was first unveiled.

To use the plugin, users must simply insert the OpenSheetMusicDisplay block into their content canvas. It is located under the Embed category. From that point, they must select or upload an XML file via the block options sidebar (.xml, .musicxml, and .mxl files are supported). Dragging and dropping a file does not work in this version — maybe a feature request for 2.0?

OSMD block in the editor.

The “Basic Options” tab has several width and aspect ratio settings. For the most part, it is probably best to leave these at the defaults. However, this will depend on your theme and how much room it provides.

The block does not currently support the standard wide-alignment system. Instead, it has a width option, allowing users to determine the front-end output. Because this is a non-standard option, it may not play well with all themes. Depending on how the user’s active theme handles content width, they can get wildly different results.

The “Drawing Options” tab is where users have more control over customizing the output. These settings allow users to determine what is “drawn” in the digital sheet music. One option is whether to draw the composer’s name. Another is to output time signatures. With 10 settings in total, there is a lot to tinker with.

The biggest issue I ran into with the plugin was with the editor freezing from time to time. It appeared that the block was trying to reload, even when I was working outside of it. This happened despite having unticked the “Automatically Rerender on Change” checkbox.

Overall, this plugin should serve users who want to display sheet music well. It is simple to use and offers numerous customization options. The team has a demo of the OSMD library in action on their site.

For those who are not inclined to share digital sheet music, well, we can all appreciate the genius of J.S. Bach’s Air:

by Justin Tadlock at April 12, 2021 09:16 PM under Plugins

WordPress Foundation: Announcement: Upcoming live discussion on do_action charity hackathons

This live discussion has concluded. You can find a video recording of the live discussion on this post or watch it directly on YouTube and on WordPress.tv. Captions and a full transcript of the video will be made available shortly.

Over the past few months, many community organizers have expressed interest in organizing do_action charity hackathons and asked many questions about the event to Community deputies. In order to address these questions – some members of the WordPress Community are organizing a live Tuesday Training discussion on How to organize do_action charity hackathons!

Hari Shanker, Hugh Lashbrooke, Naoko Takano, and Yogesh Londhe – who are all experienced do_action hackathon organizers, will participate in this Live discussion on do_action charity hackathons. The event, which will be streamed LIVE on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC, is open to all! Community members can also participate in the discussion by asking questions in the live chat, which will be answered by the panelists live, during the session!

What are do_action charity hackathons?

do_action hackathons are community-organized events that are focused on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organizations their own online presence. Each do_action event includes participants from the local WordPress community coming together to plan and build brand new websites for a number of local organizations in one day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do_action hackathons have moved online.

In this session, we talk about do_action events, and their importance in this post-pandemic world, and on how to effectively organize an online do_action hackathon.

Watch the discussion!

The live discussion has concluded, but you can catch a recording of the session below.

Date and time: Tuesday April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC (Click to view in your local time)
You can sign up for notifications on the YouTube live link below!

In case the timing is off, and if you will not be able to join the live event, fret not! The event recording will be available on YouTube, and will soon be uploaded to WordPress.tv as well!
As mentioned above, while the live discussion has concluded, don’t forget to check out the recording of the live discussion above. We are working on adding captions for the video and will share a transcript of the same, shortly.

We hope that this session was useful. We strongly encourage you to organize a do_action charity hackathon to support your local non-profits by giving them a WordPress-powered online presence. Thank you for all that you do to support the global WordPress Community!

by Hari Shanker at April 12, 2021 03:10 PM under online event

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Who Is WordPress?

In this episode, Josepha explores the five groups within the WordPress ecosystem and provides a high-level example of how they interact and support one another. As always, stay tuned for the small list of big things and a contributor highlight.  

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




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

In the first episode of this podcast, I said that there’s a lot that goes into WordPress, that’s really hard to see. One of the hardest things to see about the WordPress project as you get started is the overall structure. There is quite a bit of documentation that can clarify the basics: the names of teams, what they work on, and where, and when they meet. The way that they influence and support each other can really feel like a bit of a mystery. So today, I’m going to break down the WordPress community into five big groups; I want you to keep a couple of things in mind. 

Firstly, these are high-level and based on my observations. Each of these groups can be further broken down into subgroups. So while you may not feel represented in this exact five, you are included if you were to dig a little bit deeper. The second thing to keep in mind is that the makeup of these groups is pretty fluid. Many community members find themselves in more than one group, but generally not far off. Some group two folks end up in group three, depending on the situation, people in group four can also end up in group five, and so on. As with so many things that I share, I’m not trying to insist that one size fits all. I’m not trying to put the WordPress community into a box. This is just a basic framework to understand how it all fits together. Alright, are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s do it!

Okay, I have a broad definition of the community, which I have mentioned before. I believe that the community is anyone who has interacted with WordPress, whether they know it or not. So, I’ll start from way out there and work my way in that first group; we’re going to call our Visitors

Visitors are people who arrive at a WordPress site to gain information or engage in an activity. Sometimes they know it’s a WordPress site, but most of the time, they don’t. The second group are Users, people who use WordPress as their CMS. So, that’s website builders, website designers, small businesses, content creators, and the list goes on and on. The third group I like to refer to is the Extenders. Those are people who extend WordPress through the creation of blocks, themes, plugins, and more. There are also people who teach WordPress to others through WordPress podcasts, and newsletters and tutorials. The fourth group I refer to as our Contributors is the people who contribute to the open source software and the infrastructure supporting it, but not necessarily the same people who contribute directly to their own product. And then there’s group five, Leaders. Those are people who help drive the vision and strategy for WordPress; the most notable member of that group is of course, Matt Mullenweg. And I’m also in that group. 

Each of these groups directly influenced the groups on either side. For example, a WordPress user is affected by both visitors and extenders. Imagine a content creator who shares their passion for photography through a WordPress site; this photographer may have visitors that need to purchase photos. In response, the user now has a need to make it possible for visitors to purchase photos on a site. So they go to what we consider the extenders, people who have built a plugin that supports that need. And as a result, that user can install that on their site. And they have have satisfied the need of the visitors to their site, the people who now can purchase photos. 

There are a lot of examples like this in the WordPress project. Every small pattern that you see is mirrored in the larger patterns across our ecosystem. And every large pattern you see in the ecosystem can be seen among our teams. It’s pretty cool to look at really. So, why should this matter to you? From a very practical standpoint, this matters for anyone who’s trying to learn more about contributing to the WordPress project. These five groups mirror very closely the five steps of volunteer engagement that we see across the ecosystem and from a more philosophical standpoint, it’s just kind of nice to know who your neighbors are. Without the influence and support of the groups around us, it can be hard to know whether we’re on the right track or not. So take a look to your left and look to your right, and get to know your partners in this project.

That brings us now to our community highlight, the segment where I share a note about contributors who have helped others along the way, or WordPress success story. This week’s highlight is from @CoachBirgit, Birgit Olzem, a longtime contributor and a friend of mine. Her success story goes like this. 

WordPress has allowed me as a mother of five to leave a toxic marriage for good. 

Later, the community picked me up when I became seriously ill. 

So I can say from the bottom of my heart, that working with WordPress has saved my life.

And now our small list of big things. I’ve got three things for you this week. I think that they’re all very important. And I hope you check them all out. The first one is a reminder that word camp Central America is coming up on April 15 and 16th. If you have not registered for tickets, you still have time, I will share a link to the registration page and the schedule in the show notes below. 

The second thing on our small list of big things is that the Gutenberg 10.4 release is coming out later this week on April 14th. It’s an important release because it’s when we take a look at the current iteration of full site editing tools that we have, and decide if it’s ready to get into the WordPress 5.8 release. There’s a post that has a little more information about that which I will share in the show notes below as well. If you haven’t checked out the Gutenberg plugin lately, obviously I think it’s a good idea to do that in general, but definitely a good idea to check it out now. 

The third thing on our list today is a reminder to check out our most recent block pattern tutorial, I’ll share a link to that in the show notes. It’s this kind of tips and tricks, tutorial, the “show me how to do it,” kind of thing in the style of CSS-Tricks. If you or anyone that you know might be interested in sharing a similar style of tutorial, there’s a link to a form in that show notes as well so that you can share with us your name and the topic that you’re interested in. We’ll take a look and see if it’s something that we definitely need to make sure our users know how to do. So, that my friends is your small list of big things. 

Thank you for joining in today for the WordPress briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!

by Chloe Bringmann at April 12, 2021 02:36 PM under wp-briefing

April 11, 2021

WPTavern: Set Up a Gutenberg Test Site in 2 Minutes with the Gutenberg Nightly Plugin

WordPress contributors are working towards landing full site editing (FSE) sometime this year, an ambitious plan that will require all hands on deck for testing. A meeting of a small group of core leads on April 14 will start the process of deciding whether FSE will land in version 5.8. In the meantime, the FSE outreach program has extended the deadline for the fourth round of testing until April 12.

One of the quickest ways to get started doing alpha/beta testing is to install the Gutenberg Nightly plugin, which pulls in the latest build from the Gutenberg project. Ordinarily, to get the latest build one would have to install NodeJS and npm and use the command line to get set up. This process can be prohibitive, along with the dizzying pace of Gutenberg development, for less technical users who want to start testing.

The Gutenberg Nightly plugin, combined with the GitHub Updater plugin completely automates the process of grabbing the latest zip from Gutenberg trunk, and users will be notified when a new nightly is available for updating.

How to Set Up a Gutenberg Nightly Test Environment

The first step is to download and install the Gutenberg Nightly plugin by uploading the zip file. If you already have the stable version of the Gutenberg plugin, you will be prompted to replace the current version with the one you are uploading. If you want to get updates when a new nightly is available, download and install the GitHub Updater plugin the same way.

Gutenberg Nightly update available

Testing the full-site editing project will require you to install a theme like TT1 Blocks, which has support for the experimental feature. Once you do, you will see the “Site Editor (beta)” menu item in the dashboard.

I set up a Gutenberg testing environment in 2 minutes using these plugins. Please note that it’s not recommended to use Gutenberg Nightly in production.

Birgit Pauli-Haack, publisher of the Gutenberg Times, created the plugin in October 2020, to help testers keep up with the rapid pace of Gutenberg development.

“On October 19, 2020, there were 250 new commits made since the last release (9.1.1) and before the release of 9.2,” Pauli-Haack said. “Any issue you might file, might get a response like ‘Could you please try it in master, I think it was already fixed.'” This slows down the testing process and can be discouraging to testers.

Pauli-Haack creates the build every day as a volunteer service to facilitate Gutenberg testing.

“At the beginning it took a bit longer but now I wrote a small Node CLI script that does the distribution to GitHub and uploads it to the GT site as well, so the button Download gives you the newest version,” she said. “In October, I was a total rookie with an idea.”

Pauli-Haack credits Andy Fragen, author of the GitHub Updater plugin, and Riad Benguella, a technical lead on the Gutenberg project, who helped her past some skill gaps in getting the process more automated.

“Andy Fragen helped me think through it for making it the easiest for the ‘normal’ users to get a Test version without to know much about git, node and stuff,” she said.

Gutenberg Nightly has facilitated more than 62,000 downloads to date. The repository for the plugin has discussions enabled so users can stay updated with major changes, make feature requests, and participate in Q&A.

by Sarah Gooding at April 11, 2021 04:12 PM under gutenberg

April 10, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Full-Site Editing Scope in WordPress 5.8. Weekend (Tiny) Edition #165


In the last two weeks there was so much was happening around Gutenberg. To keep you somewhat in the loop, I interrupt my unpacking of way-too-many boxes and share a few links with you.

Next week again in full force. Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

Yours, 💕

Grzegorz (Greg) Ziółkowski and I published our first episode together, Episode #41. It is a great episode, and we had a lot of fun. I am delighted having Grzegorz on the show. It’s now available with show notes and transcript.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy posted Full Site Editing Scope for WP5.8 (u)

  • Lesson from Phase 1 roll-out, extenders like plugins developers, site builders and theme authors didn’t have enough time to test their products with the new editor in core. 
  • Full-Site Editing user experience with Global Styles, Template editing and saving, will not be changing default user experience. It’s opt-in only. There is some confusion on saving template and switch from overall template to content and back. Polishing those will be out of scope for 5.8. 
  • Also, on the scope list for WordPress 5.8 are: Widget Editor, Navigation Screen and block, refactored Gallery Block and the List View. These  components are some of the most complex, and the user experience of them will be key. “They are all high priority to complete (hopefully for WP5.8), but will be punted if they aren’t ready in time for Beta.” 

Matias Ventura will demo the current state of these features to the release lead team trio of  Matt Mullenweg, Josepha Haden Chomphosy and Helen Hou-Sandi.

Justin Tadlock has the skinny: Will Full Site Editing Land in WordPress 5.8? A Decision Is Forthcoming

Hector Prieto published the April Focus areas for the Gutenberg team. 

As expected, it covers Widget, Navigation Screen, and Full-Site Editing with more details. Please see the “Area to be aware of” section of the post, for Block and plugin Developers, Designers and Theme builders. We talked about most of them in one or the other episode, but you find them all in one place in Hector’s post. 

Kjell Reigstad published the notes from the Block Theme Meeting They team discussed among other things:

  • TT1 Blocks update 
  • Block-based theme updates in Gutenberg 10.3 with alignment styles automatically for front and back end and the capability to use theme.json styles for every block.
  • New tools for transitioning to Block-based Themes.

The deadline for the Full Site Editing Testing Call #4 has been extended until April 12th, 2021.

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

Don’t Miss this!
Mega-Meetup April 15th, 2021 6:30 -8:30 pm EDT / 23:30 UTC with Anne McCarthy, David Bisset and the organizers of six Florida Meetup groups. All About Full Site Editing (Coming in WordPress). Register via Meetup.com

For a more in-depth look on current Gutenberg development, the Index page with all the teams’ updates in the Core handbook has the latest.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index” 
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. The index 2020 is here

Featured Image: Photo by Fran Jacquier on Unsplash

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Episode #41 is now available, with new co-host Grzegorz Ziolkowski

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast
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Review by Peter Ingersoll on Stitcher

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at April 10, 2021 03:24 PM under News

April 09, 2021

WPTavern: Will Full Site Editing Land in WordPress 5.8? A Decision Is Forthcoming

Yesterday, Josepha Haden Chomphosy announced the roadmap for deciding whether Full Site Editing (FSE) will land in WordPress 5.8. After the launch of Gutenberg 10.4 on April 14, a small group of core leads will participate in a go/no-go demo.

The following people will be on the call:

  • Matias Ventura – Gutenberg Project Lead who will host the demo.
  • Matt Mullenweg – WordPress Project Lead.
  • Helen Hou-Sandì – Lead Developer.
  • Josepha Haden Chomphosy – Executive Director.

The meeting’s agenda is simple. Ventura will host the demo, and the group will discuss and cover implementation questions.

If there are no blockers, they will share a plan for merging FSE into WordPress. The more likely outcome is that they will find at least a few items that must be addressed. In that case, they will share these publicly with a plan to tackle them before a second go/no-go date of April 27.

The first beta release of WordPress 5.8 is set for June 8, with a general public release for July 20. The team needs to decide on inclusion early in the release cycle to give theme and plugin developers time to prepare.

While many are on their toes awaiting a final decision, everyone needs to have a little patience at the moment. Everything needs to be carefully weighed by the project leaders. There is a good chance we will not know the outcome until that second, April 27 deadline.

Most of the FSE transition would be a beta run for a subset users. Including these features in core does not mean that WordPress immediately flips the switch and enables everything for 40% of the web. For the overall FSE experience, users must make an explicit choice to install and activate a block-based theme.

With that in mind, the onboarding experience should be a welcoming one that invites users into site editing while letting them know the potential issues. If it is a built-in beta, they really need to understand that improvements are forthcoming.

An in-core beta run like this is also welcome, given the project’s launch of the block editor a couple of years ago. Regardless of whether people loved or hated the block editor, the rollout was not smooth for everyone. WordPress dropped end-users into an overhauled system, which was a shocking change for many. The project has a chance to do better this time around by incrementally introducing features to users and allowing others to immerse themselves in the new experience of their own choice.

“The most important context to share is that it isn’t shipping as the full, default experience for users,” wrote Chomphosy in the post, noting that the team is growing beyond past mistakes. “One of the clearest pieces of feedback from the Phase One merge process was that there wasn’t enough time for our extenders (agencies, theme authors, plugin developers, site builders, etc.) to prepare for the upcoming changes.”

The decision-makers may also decide to ship some pieces but not others. FSE is a project made up of several components.

“The whole full site editing project is sort of an umbrella term for a collection of tools and projects, so it would be possible for some pieces to ship while others don’t,” said Haden Chomphosy. “There are probably some exceptions to that, as you mentioned, but many of these can ship as they are ready.”

The exceptions she was referring to are components that make more sense together. For example, block-based themes via a theme.json config file and most of the site-editing blocks are not as useful when separate.

Of course, there are cases where something like the Query block could be used outside of the site editor. Users might create custom queries within a page without the benefit of the site editor, for example.

My primary concern is not with features related to the site editor but with block-based widgets. It is a transitional tool for users on traditional themes. Along with the new nav menus screen, it is not a part of the block-based themes experience. The goal is to allow users to start using blocks in more places. However, this will result in a broken UX in many cases.

The widgets experience is still partially broken, treating each block as a separate widget. Users must learn to put a Heading (widget title) and another block (widget content) into a Group (widget wrapper) for the correct widget-related classes on the front end of the site. For some themes, whether users do this will be a non-issue. For others, it will look ugly at best and break the layout at worst. Putting this responsibility on the shoulders of end-users was deemed an acceptable solution.

I wanted to focus on this issue because it is one of those things that may simply be flipped on for all users. I am still afraid that transitioning from a functioning system to a potentially broken one will make for a bumpy ride.

The WordPress 5.6 release team decided not to ship block-based widgets. Hou-Sandì, as the core tech lead for 5.6, provided a historical account of the decision and why it was not ready for inclusion:

My question for features that affect the front-end is “can I try out this new thing without the penalty of messing up my site?” — that is, user trust. At this current moment, given that widget areas are not displayed anything like what you see on your site without themes really putting effort into it and that you have to save your changes live without revisions to get an actual contextual view, widget area blocks do not allow you to try this new feature without penalizing you for experimenting.

While widgets have arguably improved, I still see the answer as being the same as last October. I have not seen enough buy-in from the theme development community to support the block editor itself, much less new block-related features. However, at some point, the project simply needs to move forward. Themers will just need to keep up.

by Justin Tadlock at April 09, 2021 03:48 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: iThemes Acquires Kadence WP, Plans to Sunset Legacy Themes in 2022

iThemes has acquired Kadence WP, the Missoula-based makers of the Kadence Blocks plugin and its accompanying Kadence theme. Originally founded in 2008 as a themes company, iThemes became more of a plugin-oriented business over the years before it was acquired by Liquid Web in 2018. The company is returning to its roots with this acquisition and plans to make Kadence WP the official theme platform of choice for iThemes.

“It’s no secret that the ‘themes’ part of iThemes has been lacking for many years now,” iThemes general manager Matt Danner said. “While we got our start in WordPress themes in 2008, over the past 10 years, we pivoted to the more obvious needs of our customers (mainly WordPress security, backups, memberships and maintenance) as the theme marketplace got more competitive. 

Joining forces with Kadence WP means that iThemes can once again have an innovative and modern WordPress theme platform.”

iThemes announced it will be sunsetting its iThemes Builder theme framework and all of its legacy themes in 2022, in favor of supporting the Kadence theme which already has more than 50,000 active installations. Danner said the older themes “are no longer truly compatible with the future direction of WordPress.”

Kadence Blocks are even more popular than the accompanying theme, since they can be used in combination with any WordPress theme. The plugin has gained more than 100,000 users after its initial launch in August 2018. Kadence Blocks pioneered some of the first full-featured layout blocks in the early days of Gutenberg prior to its inclusion in core.

“This last year has marked some ridiculous growth for Kadence WP,” co-founder Ben Ritner said. “Only one year ago my sister Hannah (many users will know Hannah from our support channels) and I were the entirety of the Kadence WP team. It is hard to gauge user numbers with accuracy because of how many free products we have, but the amount of people using Kadence WP products has roughly quadrupled in the last 10 months! Our new Kadence Theme, which landed on the repo in November (only 160 days ago), now has more than 50,000 active users.”

Kadence WP will continue running under its same branding and as a separate company under the iThemes brand. Pricing will remain the same for existing Kadence WP customers. iThemes plans to raise its prices for its Agency Bundle on May 1, 2021, but renewal pricing will remain the same as long as the customers’ subscriptions auto-renew.

Kadence Blocks is adding dynamic content for its pro version in the next month. The team is also launching a new plugin called Kadence Cloud, which will allow users to create a pre-built cloud of content that they can pull down into any website. Both Kadence Blocks and the theme will also be rolling in many of the top-voted feature requests from its community. A major new product release is planned for Q4 2021.

iThemes will be hosting a townhall meeting Friday, April 9 at 11:00 am CST to address any questions or concerns that users and customers may have. They are also running an online training workshop titled “Learn How to Use Kadence WP” on May 5, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. CST.

by Sarah Gooding at April 09, 2021 05:23 AM under kadence wp

April 08, 2021

WPTavern: Yes, Comments Are Still Relevant, But We Need a Better System

More and more, open comments are becoming a thing of the past. Large news organizations have kicked them to the curb. Frustrated bloggers who no longer desire all of the hassles with moderation shut down their forms. The conversations have moved to corporate-controlled social media.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment much of the web devolved into chaos. It was probably more of a gradual thing. The tools that we built fostered the darkest side of humanity. Far too often, people let out their worst unfiltered thoughts without regard to decency and kindness. If we dig deep enough, social media is likely the culprit that spawned this growing experience. However, it is also entrenched in the blogging world.

Now, with the ubiquity of mobile phones, everyone has a voice. And, far too often, the vocal minority drives the masses from discussion to ad hominem. Or, maybe the majority was always looking for a justification.

There is a bright side. Commenting on and discussing ideas in an open forum can change hearts and minds. It can lead to discoveries and create life-long friendships — I still routinely chat with people I met through blogs and their comments from nearly two decades ago.

Ryan McCue, a core contributor to WordPress, said that comments should be a plugin.

There are few things I could think that would hurt the blogging community more. Comments are the lifeblood of many WordPress-built sites. Without them as part of the core experience, how many new users will venture out to find a commenting plugin? Such a change would sign the death warrant for commenting on a large part of the web, moving more discussion away from blogs into the waiting arms of social networks.

McCue’s response was to a tweet by Brian Krogsgard, the Post Status creator and editor. “WordPress should have one singular button that says: Turn off all comments and comment displays. This is so hilariously complicated, it’s absurd.”

He is not wrong.

The WordPress comment settings screen is so complex that I rarely change anything other than a setting or two, even when I want comments enabled for a site. There are around two dozen individual options on that screen, and none of them just allow users to turn it all off.

Eric Karkovack explores this same topic in his piece for Speckyboy titled Is the WordPress Comment System Still Relevant? He concluded:

So, where does this leave the default comment system? It still offers the basics and can be extended. Yet it seems a bit antiquated when compared to what other services are offering. To remain a compelling option, improvements are in order.

There’s certainly no harm in keeping it around. But, short of a renewed effort to improve the out-of-the-box functionality, perhaps it shouldn’t be as front-and-center within WordPress as it is now.

WordPress has failed to iterate on its commenting feature in recent years.

“Like most things, [Full Site Editing] will change things there,” wrote WordPress Themes Team rep Ari Stathopoulos in the Post Status Slack. “Want comments? Add the comment-form block in your template. Don’t want them? Don’t add it.”

While that is partly true, it only handles things on the front end of the site. All the commenting-related features would still be there in the admin. However, it is a step in the right direction.

The ability to easily opt in or out of a commenting system is merely one change that needs to happen. Something as basic as an in-context comment list view is a must for easier moderation. The Tavern still uses Stephen Cronin’s Show Comment Parent plugin for this. Even a basic JavaScript-based front-end submission form would go a long way toward modernizing the commenting system. Does anyone enjoy a full page reload when leaving a comment?

However, there is more that we could be doing. For a platform that prides itself on democratizing publishing and owning your content, a ticket for supporting webmentions has had virtually no movement in five years.

A Webmention is a standardized protocol for mentions and conversations across the web. It is a part of a goal for a decentralized social “network” of sorts where everyone owns and controls their content. While the Webmention plugin by Matthias Pfefferle takes care of this feature, universal adoption would be a far more realistic goal as part of WordPress.

We should also have some serious conversations about what tools publishers need to build thriving communities via their comments. For example, is comment moderation easy enough? If not, what can we do to improve it?

WordPress is more than simply a blogging platform. Users can build any kind of site they want today, with or without the comments. However, commenting is part of the software’s history and identity. It is a gateway to discussion — often as important or even more so than a site’s content.

Comments will always be relevant. Whether it is a response to a blog post, tweet, Slack thread, or some new thing we have yet to think of, the web is all about connecting and communicating with others. We should constantly reevaluate whether WordPress is leading the pack, creating the tools to enable more discussion.

by Justin Tadlock at April 08, 2021 11:11 PM under WordPress

HeroPress: Hallway Chats Joins The HeroPress Family

Original Hallway Chats logo

As any parent or pet owner knows, quiet doesn’t always equal inactivity. And the same is true here at HeroPress.

Investing in a sustainable framework

While we haven’t said much over the last few months, we’ve been working with the initial feedback we received to expand HeroPress in the most manageable and sustainable way. Because really, if it’s not manageable and sustainable, what’s even the point?

This quest prompted a lot of additional research and active listening, all of which lead the fine folks behind the Hallway Chats podcast to start a conversation with us.

Hallway Chats found us

We were considering a podcast, but had moved it down the build list. Tara Claeys and Liam Dempsey, while loving the work they’ve done with Hallway Chats, found life was moving then in different directions, as it does for us all. And as Hallway Chats approached its 150th episode, the decision was made to pass the torch, or microphone as it were.

We’re thrilled to be able to build on their legacy and continue to grow Hallway Chats through out the community, and we’re grateful to Tara and Liam that they’ve entrusted it into our care.

Embrace opportunities that are the right fit

A few shifts and changes are inevitable, but the spirit of Hallway Chats will always stand. After all, why change something that so ideally meshes with our own goals?

Listen to the 150th Episode of Hallway Chats where Tara, Liam, Topher, and I talk even more about the direction we’re all heading.

The post Hallway Chats Joins The HeroPress Family appeared first on HeroPress.

April 08, 2021 02:55 PM under News

April 07, 2021

WPTavern: Calling All Themers: Design the Next Round of Query Block Patterns

The Gutenberg plugin repository currently has an open ticket calling for community-contributed Query block patterns. These would launch alongside Full Site Editing’s inclusion in WordPress, which could be as soon as version 5.8 — no hard decision has been made on that yet. Some may not end up bundled directly in WordPress but could be included in the upcoming pattern directory.

Gutenberg 10.2 introduced a new feature called “scoped patterns.” This system allows developers to build block patterns within a specific context instead of always being available from the inserter. Specifically, the Gutenberg development team created a handful of patterns for the Query block. When inserting the block, users can choose between each of these patterns as a starting point for outputting their posts.

Pattern selections for the Query block in its initial state.

The patterns are far too generic and do not come close to replicating the array of design options in the real world. While the end goal is to not cover every scenario imaginable, WordPress should ultimately give users a little more flexibility as a jumping-off point.

“Those were always meant to be temporary to start with,” wrote Kjell Reigstad, a core WordPress contributor and Design Director at Automattic, in the GitHub ticket. “Let’s take another look at these, both to replace the current ones for now, but also so that we eventually have a nice set of WordPress community-designed query block patterns to add to the Pattern Directory at launch.”

Theme authors will be able to release their own scoped patterns for the Query block too. However, with block-based themes being few and far between at this phase of the project, WordPress needs to set the stage.

This is one of the reasons I was so vocal pre-WordPress 5.5 about the early pattern designs, and it is why I was happy to see them overhauled before the launch. Many users need that bit of inspiration, that push to try out alternate layouts instead of building them on their own. They need options beyond the typical stacked blog posts layouts.

A few well-designed Query patterns do that.

I decided to try my hand at building what I think would be a fun Query pattern to use:

Query block pattern with full-width background image.

I built this using core blocks instead of the Query block with the Eksell theme installed. Side note: let me just reiterate my earlier review of Eksell. It is such a well-rounded design that anyone can create all sorts of custom patterns. It makes for an easy-to-use testbed for exploring design concepts.

The idea was based on a pattern that Mel Choyce-Dwan shared in the ticket:

Query block pattern with background image and centered text.

I do not think it is currently possible to build this Query pattern idea with the site editor. Unless I am mistaken, there is no way to use the post featured image as a background or within the Cover block, a common layout design.

Eventually, the site editor should get to the point where theme authors can move at least a hair beyond the basics. It will take some time for the tooling to catch up, but we are approaching the point where designers can build more complex things. That is another reason theme authors should be involved with this discussion. It needs input and ideas from themers who are out there dealing with users in real-world settings. The Gutenberg team cannot know everything it needs to build without this vital community source.

Choyce-Dwan shared several other patterns in the ticket that are worth exploring. Along with Reigstad, Beatriz Fialho and Paal Joachim Romdahl have contributed pattern ideas.

If you fancy yourself a theme designer, now is as good a time as any to contribute.

by Justin Tadlock at April 07, 2021 10:45 PM under gutenberg

Matt: Wix and Their Dirty Tricks

Wix, the website builder company you may remember from stealing WordPress code and lying about it, has now decided the best way to gain relevance is attacking the open source WordPress community in a bizarre set of ads. They can’t even come up with original concepts for attack ads, and have tried to rip-off of Apple’s Mac vs PC ads, but tastelessly personify the WordPress community as an absent, drunken father in a therapy session. 🤔

I have a lot of empathy for whoever was forced to work on these ads, including the actors, it must have felt bad working on something that’s like Encyclopedia Britannica attacking Wikipedia. WordPress is a global movement of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and community members, coming together to make the web a better place. The code, and everything you put into it, belongs to you, and its open source license ensures that you’re in complete control, now and forever. WordPress is free, and also gives you freedom.

Wix is a for-profit company with a valuation that peaked at around 20 billion dollars, and whose business model is getting customers to pay more and more every year and making it difficult to leave or get a refund. (Don’t take my word for it, look at their investor presentations.) They are so insecure that they are also the only website creator I’m aware of that doesn’t allow you to export your content, so they’re like a roach motel where you can check in but never check out. Once you buy into their proprietary stack you’re locked in, which even their support documentation admits:

So if we’re comparing website builders to abusive relationships, Wix is one that locks you in the basement and doesn’t let you leave. I’m surprised consumer protection agencies haven’t gone after them.

Philosophically, I believe in open source, and if WordPress isn’t a good fit for you there are other great open source communities like Drupal, Joomla, Jekyll, and Typo3. We also have a great relationship with some of our proprietary competitors, and I have huge respect for the teams at Shopify and Squarespace, and even though we compete I’ve always seen them operate with integrity and I’d recommend them without hesitation.

I have to believe that users will care about that in the long run, and maybe that’s why Squarespace just passed up Wix in market share. They natively support exporting into WordPress’ format and don’t have to resort to dirty tricks to be successful. I expect Squarespace’s upcoming IPO will be a great one.

Wix, though, continues to show their true colors. Regardless of their product, I hope people consider the behavior of companies in the world they support with their dollars. Wix really wants you to see their new campaign though, so let’s take the bait and watch the creepy, misleading way they are trying to represent themselves.

by Matt at April 07, 2021 05:34 PM under Open Source

WPTavern: Wix’s Negative Advertising Campaign Falls Flat with WordPress Developers and Professionals

Wix has launched a negative advertising campaign targeting WordPress, following a bizarre marketing stunt where the company shipped out Bose headphones to influential WordPress community members. Recipients were puzzled, because it appeared the company was wasting its marketing budget on people who were not likely to be swayed by the campaign. Wix seems oblivious to the negative responses to its headphones marketing ploy.

Subsequent advertisements in this new “You Deserve Better” campaign are markedly more negative than the launch video sent to recipients of the headphones, packed with tasteless and tired motifs.

Wix representative Maya Gril said the campaign is part of the company’s “initiative to connect with an audience that doesn’t think or know that Wix applies to their needs.”

When asked what message they are intending to send with the videos, Gril likened using WordPress to being stuck in a bad relationship.

“The campaign shows in a clever way that WordPress users don’t need to be stuck in a bad relationship with their platform and they should consider the alternative which allows them to focus on their actual work,” Gril said. “Each video in the campaign revolves around user pain points, which also highlight Wix’s strengths.”

Morten Rand-Hendriksen, who received a pair of the headphones, characterized the campaign as “nuclear troll-marketing.” Instead of emphasizing any new, innovative features of the Wix platform, the ads come across as short, petulant narratives with no clear objective.

“I guess they’re trying to provoke us into responding?” WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg tweeted in response to discussion on the campaign. “I agree it comes off as creepy and misleading to impersonate ‘WordPress’ this way.

“I can’t tell if trying to get a cease and desist letter is part of their strategy to try and drum up press. Unethical, tacky behavior from an unethical, tacky company. Good reminder: I really appreciate the integrity, principles, and ethics of WordPress ecosystem companies.”

Wix’s new video ads seem more geared at professional developers with references that are likely outside of regular users’ experience with the software. The company may have failed to attract professionals in the past, which might explain why it opted to send thousands of dollars worth of headphones to influential WordPress users who fall within that demographic.

In 2019, Wix began shifting its marketing budget away from TV advertisements and added products that targeted agencies, developers, and designers. The company spent $55 million in marketing in the first quarter of 2019, according to reports shared with Digiday. Wix became more active on LinkedIn and Twitter in pursuit of professionals who would bring more customers to its platform.

“We want to make it clear that we have everything a professional needs,” Maya Gril said. “Our product is mature and constantly evolving. We’re broadening our target audience and we want all new, existing and prospective users to know that Wix is the ultimate web creation platform to help them create, manage and grow online.”

Unfortunately, Wix is lacking one very important feature for catering to “professional needs” – data portability. When asked for his thoughts on the campaign, Mullenweg added that Wix is the only CMS in the world that doesn’t allow export – even Facebook does. The Wix support center states: Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be exported elsewhere.

Having content that is locked in and cannot be easily exported to other platforms or hosts does not appeal to professionals. No amount of extravagant spending on marketing stunts will convince developers to bring their customers to a proprietary CMS that also locks in your content.

This is why their marketing doesn’t appeal to the group of people who received the headphones. Many of them build WordPress as long-time contributors or run WordPress product businesses.

Wix fundamentally misunderstands why people use WordPress and what makes them stay. It’s for reasons not found in their overly simplified list of differentiators played out in the new video ads. The desperate marketing tactics, which are geared more towards developers and power users, serve only to reinforce the platform’s underdog status and lack of market awareness.

by Sarah Gooding at April 07, 2021 07:10 AM under wix

April 06, 2021

WPTavern: Twentig Now Upgrades the Twenty Twenty-One Theme Experience

Twentig, the brainchild of sibling co-founders Diane and Yann Collet, now supports the Twenty Twenty-One theme. The developers originally built the plugin, which is hosted on WordPress.org, around the idea of “supercharging” Twenty Twenty. After its initial success, they have turned their sights onto the most recent default theme, adding a slew of new features over the past few months.

The plugin still supports Twenty Twenty. It has merely added features for the latest default theme to its repertoire. The duo behind the plugin does not plan to stop there either.

“Yes, we’ll definitively continue this with the future default themes,” said Yann Collet. “It will be exciting to see what we can do with Full Site Editing and the next block-based theme. With FSE coming, the opportunity is immense, making us confident that we can help people building better websites.”

When I last covered it, Twentig had a mere 4,000 active installations. All 34 of its reviews were five stars. Today, the plugin has accumulated over 10,000 installs and 75 five-star reviews. It did garner its first four-star rating, bringing the average down a tad. Nevertheless, its user base clearly loves what the plugin developers are doing.

The team has created 10 website demos and 8 single-page examples for inspiration, each on top of the Twenty Twenty-One theme.

One of the great things about the plugin is that it essentially treats the default themes as a bit of a foundation, a framework. Users do not have to search around for a new theme when they tire of their current look. They can simply mix things up with Twentig.

“The goal is to showcase the power and flexibility of Twentig, the default theme, and the block editor,” said the team. “And ultimately inspire people to be creative with blocks. It’s incredibly fun and fast to build directly inside the block editor with our block patterns instead of using a prototyping tool like Figma.”

Extending the Block Editor

The Twentig plugin’s strength is in how it extends the block editor. Users are first presented with a custom sidebar panel with a plethora of patterns and full-page layouts. The plugin then further provides options for individual blocks.

Unlike many other block-related plugins, Twentig does not register its own blocks. It uses the core WordPress blocks, except for Contact Form 7 integration, by mixing and matching them in various ways. If a user needs a call-to-action section, the plugin offers 11 patterns. If a user wants to spruce up their galleries, they have plenty of choices.

Inserting a single page layout.

The plugin’s page layouts and patterns all work with both the Twenty Twenty and Twenty Twenty-One themes. Since Twentig relies primarily on core blocks, it is just a matter of making sure its custom CSS works.

Some blocks get an extra setting or two through the plugin. However, the bulk of customization options happen through the Twentig “CSS Library.” This is a setting under the Advanced tab for most blocks that users can access by clicking the “+” icon next to the Additional CSS Classes option. It allows users to tick off checkboxes for numerous classes — each has an explanation of what it does. These are merely a set of utilities that change the block’s output in some way.

Picking Heading block classes via the Twentig CSS Library.

Twentig’s CSS classes system follows the road paved by utility class frameworks like Tailwind. WordPress does a little of this but does not take a holistic approach to it. I have argued that WordPress should build a design framework in the past. A standardized class system would play well with block options, giving the development team a foundation for creating a better user experience across themes.

The drawback is that the two extra stylesheets on top of Twenty Twenty-One’s CSS add a bit of heft to the page. This could give pause to users who want to keep things lightweight. However, it has a smaller footprint than when using it with the older Twenty Twenty.

Customizer Options and More

Customizing Twenty Twenty-One’s design.

The plugin packages dozens of settings under the “Twentig Options” customizer panel. It also extends other sections, such as adding more color options. Users who care more about modifying the overall design than blocks will find nearly anything they need to put their own spin on their sites.

Everything from fonts to site layouts to what post metadata to show is covered. Users can also switch between stacked and grid-style blog posts designs while further customizing based on their choices.

The biggest downside to the plugin’s customizer integration is that it does not utilize the live preview functionality with most of its options. Making a change means a frame refresh to see its effects. A little bit of custom JavaScript and a few partials for server-side changes would go a long way toward making the experience better.

Ultimately, future versions of Twentig will rely less on or not at all on the customizer. If Twenty Twenty-Two is a block-based, FSE theme, such customization will happen in the upcoming site editor. The plugin developers will need to change tactics and find ways to extend the experience in new ways.

by Justin Tadlock at April 06, 2021 10:36 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: Wix Takes a Jab at WordPress with Bewildering New Marketing Campaign

Wix is taking direct aim at WordPress in a new cryptic marketing campaign that began over the weekend with shipments of Bose noise-canceling headphones landing in the mailboxes of prominent WordPress users. At the end of December, 2020, Wix sent out the following Twitter DM to a group of people it deemed “influencers from the tech industry,” soliciting their addresses in order to deliver a box:

In the last few months, my team and I have been working on a new innovative concept. We have packed this concept into a free, no strings attached box that we’d love to share with you as one of our selected influencers from the Tech industry.

I know the information I have provided you is basic, but the reason is that I do not want to ruin your experience (and let’s be honest, what’s more fun than being surprised on the holidays?)

Recipients were instructed to scan a QR code to view a one-minute video where a man acts as a personified “WordPress” making bizarre claims:

“Apparently, Wix is coming out with a campaign trashing me. I just want you to know that it’s totally fake news, completely bogus. They’re just spreading lies because they’re jealous of our relationship.”


The message of the video is not clear and it ends with a few snide jabs referencing “exhausted memory” and WordPress’ market share.

The most common reaction to the surprise headphones was confusion. Many recipients had no idea what Wix was trying to communicate with the gift.

A few people perceived the video to be cheeky and humorous. WordPress contributor Aaron Campbell found it off-putting.

“The video takes some odd snipes at WordPress, but the whole overall feel is a bit shady/dirty. Not a great look for Wix in my opinion,” Campbell said after receiving the headphones in the mail. “I think I’d be fine with it if it weren’t signed as ‘From WP’ and ‘Yours, WP.’ By the time I got to watching the video I already had that bad taste in my mouth.”

Some speculated that it may be the first act in a strange marketing saga of Wix targeting WordPress. Others were inadvertently convinced the headphones were actually from WordPress, since the advertisement uses WordPress’ trademark in the video. This may be a violation of the WordPress Foundation’s trademark policy, but this has not yet been confirmed. Wix was not printed anywhere in the message, except on the shipping label.

This isn’t the first time WordPress and Wix have been at odds. In 2016, Matt Mullenweg called out Wix for copying GPL code from the WordPress mobile app and distributing it in its proprietary app. This rendered the entire app in violation of the GPL. Instead of complying with the GPL, Wix responded by removing the GPL-licensed code and forking the original MIT-licensed library that the WordPress mobile app code was built upon. The fork was relicensed under an absurd modification of the MIT that prohibits the code’s redistribution under any copyleft license.

In October 2020, Wix passed Drupal as 4th most popular CMS, according to W3Techs. Since that time, Squarespace has grown to overtake Wix, pushing the CMS back into 5th place with 2.4% of the market. It’s only natural that Wix would want to target WordPress, the market leader at 40.9%. However, the strategy of misrepresenting WordPress, while sending headphones to influential users and contributors, was perplexing and unsavory. Wix has not yet responded to my request for comment on its new marketing campaign.

by Sarah Gooding at April 06, 2021 06:09 AM under wix

April 05, 2021

WPTavern: The Michelle WordPress Theme Launches With Dozens of Block Patterns and Styles

Oliver Juhas recently released his sixth theme to the WordPress community for free. Michelle is a block-ready theme. However, it also supports Beaver Builder, Elementor, and other page-building plugins.

It is a multipurpose theme, which is often an immediate turn-off for me. I prefer to see a purpose-driven design with a unique take on a niche. However, it is hard not to love the personality of Michelle. Juhas did not shy away from putting his brand of styling on the project, which is evident in his past free themes.

Juhas is marketing Michelle as an accessibility-ready theme. However, it has yet to receive an accessibility review for the theme directory, which would allow it to be tagged as such. From a quick scan for common issues, everything seems to be in order. It will likely pass its review like some of his past free themes. And, “inclusive, disabilities friendly, and barrierless” are at the forefront of his branding for WebMan Design.

As has become common for block-ready themes, Michelle packages a “Content Only” template. This is a post/page template that allows end-users to use the block editor as a page builder by not displaying anything other than the post content.

The theme is yet another showcase of what is possible with the block editor. A couple of weeks after Anders Norén’s Eksell landed in the directory, Juhas has presented the community with another quality theme. The two are entirely different in style and approach, but they both make the block system shine in their own ways.

Portfolio designed using multiple blocks.

Users can read more about the theme and peruse several demos via the theme’s official page.

Block Patterns and Styles

Michelle may be the only free theme in existence with 67 patterns. And, no, you did not misread that. It literally registers 67 block patterns. Yeah, that is a lot.

It has a little bit of everything. From team galleries to logos, from hero headers to contact cards, it is hard not to find something you need. There was no way that I could realistically test all of them. However, for the dozen or so that I did try, they worked well and offered an easy one-click option for end-users.

Variable gallery with description pattern.

I always knew the day would come when a theme author would push the limits on the number of patterns it should offer. While 67 seems a bit excessive, I know from experience that we will see a day when patterns number in the 100s.

I hate to continue beating a dead horse, but WordPress needs to use an overlay system for block patterns, at least for desktop users. Michelle makes it more apparent than ever that a small slide-out panel will not cut it.

If the theme’s array of patterns is not enough to whet users’ appetites, its two dozen block styles just might.

Hiding a Heading block for everyone but screen-readers.

The options range from light and dark text shadows to variable galleries. It even has an “accessibly hidden” style for Heading blocks, which hides the text from the screen but makes it available to screen readers.

Block-Ready Footer and 404 Page

The theme allows end-users to build their footer and 404 error pages via the block system. Considering that the site editor is not available yet and the block editor is limited to post content, Juhas had to think outside the box a little to make this possible. He made use of the reusable blocks system. This is the sort of ingenuity that happens when theme authors are not burdened by too many rules.

In the customizer, users can select the Theme Options > Content section. From there, they are directed to pick a reusable block for their footer and 404 pages. Or they can simply opt out of it. The customizer section also links to the semi-secret admin page to create reusable blocks.

Select reusable blocks for the 404 and footer content.

In the past, I have used a similar technique for 404 views. Instead of going the reusable block route, theme users could select a private page. Either option is acceptable for allowing users to modify content they may not have been able to customize in the past.

Starter Content

Michelle makes extensive use of the WordPress starter content feature. This allows new WordPress users to see what their site could look like with pre-loaded content. The theme creates Home, About, Blog, Services, FAQ, and Contact pages.

Homepage starter content.

The feature has languished in recent years. Many theme authors had hoped they would eventually be able to use the feature for non-new installs too. However, Helen Hou-Sandí got the ball rolling again in November 2020, breathing new life into an old idea. WordPress.org would begin displaying theme starter content via the theme preview system. Only the Twenty Twenty-One, Twenty Twenty, and Twenty Seventeen themes received this treatment last year. It now seems that it is being rolled out for others.

This is a welcome change in the directory. Users can now get a feel of the Michelle theme without tracking down the author’s demo. It is a better experience than the old-school demo content.

One issue is that the previewer uses the first sentence of the theme description for the demo’s tagline. This can make for a long and unusual bit of text. It can also mess up a theme’s layout as it is doing with Michelle. I hope this will be addressed from WordPress’s end soon.

Other theme authors should note that starter content could factor into whether a user skips over or downloads their theme.

by Justin Tadlock at April 05, 2021 11:21 PM under Reviews

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April 20, 2021 01:30 AM
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