WordPress.org

WordPress Planet

August 29, 2015

Matt: Rigamortis Cover

Great jazz cover of one of my favorite Kendrick Lamar songs, Rigamortis, which of course is inspired by the great jazz song The Thorn by Willie Jones III.

by Matt at August 29, 2015 03:33 AM under Asides

August 28, 2015

Post Status: Our WordPress 4.4 wishlist — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Brian and his co-host, Joe Hoyle, a co-founder and the CTO of Human Made, discuss some of today’s hottest, current WordPress news.

Listen now:

https://audio.simplecast.fm/16131.mp3

Direct Download

Stories discussed:

by Katie Richards at August 28, 2015 01:45 PM under Everyone

WPTavern: WordPress.com Unveils the Action Bar

WordPress.com has unveiled a new user interface called the Action Bar. It’s a bar that shows up in the bottom right corner of the screen for logged in users and is accessible from any device. The bar performs multiple tasks depending on the page you’re on.

WordPress Action BarWordPress Action Bar

When on a WordPress.com powered site that you’re not following, the bar turns into a Follow button. Clicking the follow button will notify you of new posts published on the site.

Action Bar Follow ButtonAction Bar Follow Button

If you click the three dots to the right, you’ll see a variety of options depending upon the page you’re viewing. If it’s the homepage, you’ll see links to download the theme the site uses, report the content, or manage the sites you follow.

If you’re browsing a specific post on a WordPress.com site, you’ll see an additional link to copy a shortlink for quick and easy sharing.

Easily Share PostsEasily Share Posts

If you have a site on WordPress.com and are logged in, the Follow button turns into a Customize button. This link provides a quick way to enter the Customizer. There’s also an Edit link if you’re browsing a published post.

Edit and Customize LinksEdit and Customize Links

If the action bar is too big and you want to minimize it, click the three dots and select the option to Collapse the bar. It will shrink the bar into squares and get out of your way.

My User Experience

One of the best features of the action bar is the ability to quickly see and download a theme used on a WordPress.com site. However, it doesn’t work for WordPress.com specific sites like The Daily Post.

What annoys me about the action bar is that it disappears when I scroll down. I caught myself scrolling down to read a post and when I looked for the edit button to fix a typo, the action bar was gone. I think it should stay on the screen at all times.

I’d also like to see the Edit link in the action bar open a front-end editor. It’s time WordPress.com step up its game and stop forcing users through a backend interface to edit published content.

I like the experimental action bar but at the same time, I question the reasoning for adding yet another user interface element to mimic actions already supported by other buttons and links.

For example, between the admin bar, dashboard, the edit link underneath a post, and the action bar, there are now four different ways to edit a post. How many roads are necessary to reach the same destination?

If you have a site on WordPress.com, let me know what you think of the action bar.

by Jeff Chandler at August 28, 2015 07:43 AM under wordpress.com

Matt: Frequent Flyer Syndrome

It turns out not everything about traveling all the time is roses. (Posted from 38k feet.)

by Matt at August 28, 2015 07:17 AM under Asides

WPTavern: BuddyPress 2.3.3 Patches Security Vulnerabilities in BuddyPress Messages Component

BuddyPress Featured ImageBuddyPress 2.3.3 is available and users are encouraged to update as soon as possible. A few security vulnerabilities were discovered in BuddyPress Messages, a core component that allows users to send and receive private messages.

A vulnerability was responsibly disclosed to the BuddyPress team that could allow members to manipulate a failed private outbound message and inject unexpected output to the browser. The vulnerability was reported by Krzysztof Katowicz-Kowalewski.

In addition to the first vulnerability, the BuddyPress core development team independently discovered and fixed related vulnerabilities with the messages component that could allow for carefully crafted private message content to be rendered incorrectly to the browser.

BuddyPress 2.3.3 also fixes a couple of bugs in the 2.3 codebase and improves support for backend changes made in WordPress 4.3. To protect your sites from these vulnerabilities, you should perform a full backup and update BuddyPress as soon as possible.

by Jeff Chandler at August 28, 2015 06:27 AM under security

WPTavern: Theme Review Team Begins Phasing Out Favicon Support

One of the main features in WordPress 4.3 are Site Icons. A Site Icon is an image that represents a website across multiple platforms and replaces Favicons. With Site Icons in WordPress core, the WordPress Theme Review team is phasing out the feature in existing themes hosted in the theme directory.

Site Icons in The CustomizerSite Icons in The Customizer

Justin Tadlock, a theme review admin, published a tutorial that explains how to provide a backwards compatible experience.

According to Tadlock, the easiest method is to check if the has_site_icon() function exists. This tells you if the user is running WordPress 4.3 and has the site icon feature available.

You can also check if the user has set up a new icon using the core WordPress feature by using the has_site_icon() conditional tag which returns either TRUE or FALSE.

Here’s some example code from the tutorial you can use to handle the check:

if ( ! function_exists( 'has_site_icon' ) || ! has_site_icon() ) {

    // Output old, custom favicon feature.
}

For additional information, I encourage you to read Stephen Cronin’s post which goes into more detail.

The Theme Review Team enforces a guideline where features added to core are phased out of themes within two major releases. By the time WordPress 4.5 is released, theme authors will be able to remove legacy code without disrupting the user experience.

by Jeff Chandler at August 28, 2015 05:05 AM under theme review team

August 27, 2015

WPTavern: WordPress Community Summit Set for December 2-3, 2015

The WordPress community summit will take place on December 2-3, 2015, in Philadelphia, PA two days before WordCamp US. The summit will be held at Impact Hub Philadelphia, a co-working space where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and social innovators work together, share ideas, and build networks.

inside Impact HubInside Impact HubImpact Hub is spacious and has dedicated meeting and conference rooms. According to the announcement, the summit is invite only similar to last year’s event at WordCamp San Francisco:

The WordPress Community Summit is a smaller, invite-only event for active members and contributors on the many teams that work to improve WordPress: Core, Design, Mobile, Accessibility, Support, Polygots, Documentation, Themes, Plugins, Community, Meta, Training, Flow and TV .

A survey or application form will soon be published which will result in a pool from which the attendees will be invited.

The summit is a rare opportunity for members of various contributor teams to focus and work together in the same physical location.

Annual WordPress Survey

If you use, build, or make a living with WordPress, please take the annual survey. Results will be shared during Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word presentation at WordCamp US. The more people who fill out the survey, the more representative the data will be.

Watch Mullenweg’s State of the Word presentation from 2014 to see results from the previous survey.

by Jeff Chandler at August 27, 2015 09:07 PM under wordcamp us

WPTavern: Stream Is Shutting Down Its Cloud Data Storage October 1st

Stream 3 is available for download and includes some significant improvements. Stream is a WordPress plugin that tracks changes to a site similar to an audit trail. When version two was released nearly a year ago, it morphed from a plugin to a service. Activity logs were stored in the cloud which lessened the amount of resources used on local webservers.

Version three will no longer store data in the cloud. Instead, it will store activity logs locally. The cloud service provided by Stream 2 is closing on October 1st. This gives users a little more than a month to migrate data from the cloud to their local webserver.

The Cloud is Expensive

Luke Carbis, lead developer of Stream, says the time frame was chosen based on a number of factors, “We chose a 6 week migration window as a balance between bleeding cash and doing the right thing by our users.

“It’s also helpful to remember that the vast majority of our users are on a Free plan, which only includes 12 weeks of storage. We are monitoring the accounts of each of our paid users and I’m personally making sure that every one of them has migrated,” Carbis told the Tavern.

The move away from the cloud is largely based on cost. The majority of Stream’s customers signed up to the free plan with a significant lack of interest in the Pro Subscription. Server costs were also higher than expected.

XWP to The Rescue

With a lack of income from Stream 2 and acquisition talks failing, Carbis was contracted to do outside work leaving Frankie Jarrett the only person working on the project. Stream’s investor decided to pull the plug on the project at the same time Jarrett decided to resign from the company.

“When I heard that Frankie had resigned I gave him a call. We reminisced on our achievements, and threw around some of our ideas on what could have been. That conversation renewed my inspiration. I jotted down some notes, and that’s when things started to turn around,” Carbis said.

Members from XWP stepped in to lend a helping hand and the project is now officially under the XWP umbrella. This allows Stream to remain free and open source. The partnership will also facilitate add-on, connectors, and adapters

What’s New in Stream 3

Stream 3 is rewritten from the ground up. Activity logs use half the space in the database compared to Stream 2. It supports multisite through the use of Network Admin and uses a dependency injection model to be more extendable and efficient.

Although Stream 3 includes a variety of improvements two notable features have been removed, Notifications and Reports. If you depend on these features, please review the following FAQ.

A New Direction

Carbis and XWP are taking Stream into a new direction. Stream’s proposed roadmap is available on GitHub and Carbis encourages users to not only review it, but to contribute to the project’s future, “I’d like to see Stream’s users contribute more to its direction. Contribution isn’t limited to ideas either. If you can design, develop, or translate, please consider contributing to the Stream project,” he said.

It will be interesting to see if Stream can regain the momentum it lost after transitioning to a cloud based system to store data. Now that Stream stores activity logs locally again, those in the EU should be able to use it without breaking privacy laws. Stream is available for free on the WordPress plugin directory.

by Jeff Chandler at August 27, 2015 08:17 PM under xwp

Akismet: Quantifying Reddit Bigotry

Update (2015-08-30): It looks like the team who created the tool decided to retire it due to some reported accuracy concerns.

We never pass on the opportunity to mix in a little bit of humor with our passion for web content moderation.

One of our engineers, Dan Walmsley, participated in Cultivated Wit’s Comedy Hack Day in Los Angeles last weekend, and his team’s resulting project has since surfaced on Motherboard and Engadget.

Free Reddit Check, created by Dan’s team and crowned with the day’s top prize, is a site which attempts to quantify the terribleness of Reddit users based on their public comment content and subreddit participation. While perfectly suited for a hack day which pairs developers and comedians, there is certainly usefulness in determining the respectability of a potential online acquaintance. Or just knowing who to ignore.

And being obsessed with content analysis, community moderation, and keeping the web’s underbelly in check, we can’t help but think it’s a nifty idea.


by Anthony Bubel at August 27, 2015 11:43 AM under News

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 205 – Interview With Miriam Schwab

In this episode of WordPress Weekly, I’m joined by Miriam Schwab, founder and CEO of Illuminea, a web development company based in Israel. She’s also on the Steering Board of Digital Eve Israel, one of the leading communities for professional women in Israel to help empower women economically.

Schwab explains her WordPress origin story, what it’s like to live in Israel, and how active the WordPress community is in her area. She shares her thoughts on the future of WordPress and warns that if it doesn’t improve the user experience, it will drive users away to competing platforms. At the end of the interview, she tells us her favorite plugins that she installs on most of her client sites.

Stories Discussed:

First Look at the Twenty Sixteen Default WordPress Theme
Sessions From BuddyCamp Brighton, UK Now Available to Watch on WordPress.tv
OSTraining Makes Pods Framework Video Training Series Available for Free

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, September 2nd 9:30 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #205:

by Jeff Chandler at August 27, 2015 04:24 AM under wpgarage

August 26, 2015

WPTavern: First Look at the Twenty Sixteen Default WordPress Theme

WordPress 4.4 is the last scheduled major release of the year and with it will come a new default theme to replace Twenty Fifteen. On the Make WordPress Core site, Tammie Lister published an image gallery that shows off the design of Twenty Sixteen.

According to Lister, the process of determining the new default theme has taken months, “Lots of themes were considered, eventually settling on the one you see below. It’s a perfect fit,” she said.

Twenty SixteenTwenty Sixteen

Twenty Sixteen is designed by Takashi Irie, who also designed the Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen default themes. Irie describes Twenty Sixteen as:

A modernized approach of an ever-popular layout — a horizontal masthead and an optional right sidebar that works well with both blogs and websites. It has custom color options that allow you to make your own Twenty Sixteen. The theme was designed on a harmonious fluid grid with a mobile first approach. This means it looks great on any device.

The new theme has hints of Twenty Fourteen but is different enough to stand on its own as a unique design. It doesn’t look as modern as Twenty Fifteen out-of-the box but the design could change during the 4.4 development cycle.

If you want to help Twenty Sixteen be the best it can be, please join the weekly meetings held every Monday and Friday at 16:00 UTC in the #core-themes channel on SlackHQ. The meetings are a half hour-long and start once the theme is initially added to WordPress core.

What do you think of Twenty Sixteen?

by Jeff Chandler at August 26, 2015 01:20 AM under wordpress 4.4

WPTavern: Sessions From BuddyCamp Brighton, UK Now Available to Watch on WordPress.tv

Earlier this month, the first BuddyCamp Brighton, UK successfully took place. Six speakers presented their sessions from within the venue while four participated remotely. Here’s a break down of the attendees:

  • 13 Sponsors.
  • 8 Sessions.
  • 7 Volunteers.
  • 6 Speakers plus another 4 via video message.
  • 33 Attendees.

The conference featured sessions on the origin of BuddyPress, a fireside chat with Paul Gibbs, and messages from BuddyPress contributors.

Photographs of the event are available on the official BuddyCamp Brighton website. In addition to photographs, sessions were recorded and are available to watch for free on WordPress.tv.

In the following video, Gibbs explains the origins of BuddyPress.

If you attended BuddyCamp Brighton, UK please share your experience in the comments.

by Jeff Chandler at August 26, 2015 01:11 AM under BuddyPress

August 24, 2015

WPTavern: OSTraining Makes Pods Framework Video Training Series Available for Free

podsOSTraining, a site that offers video training for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and other technologies announced their Pods Framework video training series is now available for free. Steve Burge, founder of OSTraining.com, says offering the video series for free is the result of a partnership with the Pods Framework project.

“This project came about because the OSTraining and Pods teams bumped into each other on a regular basis. I often ran into Jim True and Josh Pollock from Pods. We met at WordCamps and WordPress meetups in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami, FL.

“The Pods team explained that they were working on improving their documentation. They started a YouTube series, wrote tutorials, and started the Friends of Pods initiative to support their efforts. Making the videos free is our way of contributing to the Pods project,” Burge told the Tavern.

Burge recorded the series after using Pods to create the Appalachian Trail website. The series provides an introduction to Pods, templates, creating a custom taxonomy, and more. Those interested can view the series on OSTraining.com or YouTube.

Here’s a look at the first video in the series which introduces viewers to the Pods Framework.

Although it was created in 2014, the series contains great insight into the project and provides an educational foundation for learning Pods 3.0.

by Jeff Chandler at August 24, 2015 09:20 PM under pods

Alex King: Request: Alex King Rememberances

Dear WordPress community,

My apologies for the selfish and personal nature of this post. I hope you will forgive me given the circumstances. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2013.

One of the things my wife and I are trying to do is put together some information about my career that will hopefully give my 6 year-old daughter a better sense of who I was as an adult. She knows me as “dad”, but when she gets older she’ll be curious about who I was to my peers and colleagues.

I’ve spent more than a decade in the WordPress community and I’d like to request that you to share a few thoughts or remembrances about me that we can compile and share with her when the time is right.

If we have crossed paths or if I have managed to do something that you found helpful, I’d love it if you would take a few minutes to write it down and send it to me or my wife: heatherkingcom@gmail.com. If you’re willing to have the story shared publicly, please indicate that accordingly. By default, we will keep everything confidential.

This post is part of the thread: Cancer – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

by Alex at August 24, 2015 09:01 PM under WordPress

WPTavern: Step Up Your Game: How to Work With Successful WordPress Clients


Mario Y. PeshevThis post was contributed by Mario Peshev. Mario is the founder and WordPress Architect at DevriX building and maintaining large WordPress-driven platforms. With over 10,000 hours of consulting and training, Mario’s Yin and Yang is his Open Source advocacy and business growth strategy.


Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning – Benjamin Franklin

Step up your game featured imagephoto credit: Stairwell(license)

I’ve been a learnaholic for as long as I can remember and when I read the aforementioned quote, it resonates strongly with me. My prelude to WordPress years ago was one of the steps toward improvement and success and I’ve developed a special love-hate relationship with WordPress.

Utmost admiration about its influence over the world in terms of Open Source and opportunities for various people in different niches, and its plague of being diminished and depreciated by professional developers and successful businesses.

There are ways to solve these issues as long as the inner circle works towards the same goal.

Note: If you are happy building lego type websites with random ThemeForest themes and you see that as your future, this post is not for you. If you love doing the same repeatedly for mom and pop shops, this may not resonate with you. This is applicable to people who want to get better at what they do, be more professional, and make some impact by solving complex problems for larger customers.

WordPress For a Better Future

In May, I presented at a conference focused on kids and teenagers to motivate them, prepare them for the adult life, and nurture their creativity. Kids these days hardly think about their future, between their teenage emotional dramas and boring homework assignments. If you think about it, how can they be passionate about becoming someone if they have no real idea what they need to know and do on a daily basis?

I used WordPress as an example of a platform that children can use, one that provides them with the opportunity to develop a talent or passion.

Using WordPress for homework and general notes (or a diary) could indicate interest in several areas:

  • Young bloggers can potentially do creative writing or copywriting.
  • Constantly switching themes and playing with colors might open the room to design.
  • Adding plugins and trying to implement complex combinations is the first step to programming.
  • Sharing posts, looking at analytics and comparing different titles or photos is the way to marketing.

There are other potential areas of course, but as long as kids can associate with an activity, become passionate about it, and start digging into it, they can save years of slacking, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars on college degrees for specialties they couldn’t care less about.

This is one of the reasons why more and more people join the WordPress industry and switch boring jobs in order to make a living off of WordPress.

What Types Of WordPress Services Exist?

The amount of opportunities for WordPress work is incredible but the vast pool of WordPress jobs is so vague and blurry, that hiring and educating talent is out of control.

I keep an eye on dozens of job boards, portals, and freelance networks. Clients look for Virtual Assistants to get their websites built. They look for expert WordPress developers to apply content changes to their site or web designers to develop complex plugins.

On a weekly basis I see references to WordPress administrators, programmers, developers, designers, marketers, digital artists, webmasters, VAs, and plenty of other job titles used improperly. As a matter of fact, I’m now fascinated when I see a WordPress related job post or an offer looking for the right type of candidate.

The great news is that you can do anything with WordPress. The caveat here is that WordPress itself is not a skill. You don’t ask for an Internet expert nowadays and you don’t go to the same doctor when you have a headache or you’ve injured your leg.

The wide industry of innocent clients and amateur service providers have made it nearly impossible to tell a developer from a marketer, or from a general user who has installed WordPress with an auto-installer twice.

The Indecent World of WordPress Experts

Job Titles Featured Imagephoto credit: I love ’84(license)

I’ve read a lot about impostor syndrome in several reputable WordPress blogs, and people keep identifying themselves in the comments. In my opinion, this is a problem so insignificant as compared to the ever-growing pool of people claiming to be WordPress Experts.

In the last several years, I’ve interacted with people all around the world working with WordPress. From freelancers to successful business owners at conferences, and from beginner virtual assistants to full-stack consultants in social media, blogs and job networks.

The largest group of service providers that I’ve found is the one of WordPress experts. You can easily substitute expert with specialist, guru, master, ninja and rockstar. Just open a new tab and do a few quick searches in Google, job networks, social media and view the large number of results.

Next on the list are WordPress developers. A WordPress developer is often described as people who install plugins. There are various possible scenarios, but this is rarely the definition of an actual developer proficient in WordPress.

Some boards or blogs list specific skills that let you filter by programming language or a separate tool. My latest research with 200 contractors with WordPress developer titles led to 170 people who rate themselves with 4 or 5 out of 5 stars in PHP proficiency, and 30 with 3 stars.

Out of the 170 people in the first group, 150 were college students, Internet marketers, VAs, and people who have substituted strings in WordPress themes thanks to support forums or help from the Codex. Not a single line of code was written from scratch, let alone building anything, and 4 out of 5 or higher self-assessed their level of PHP experience.

Tom McFarlin published a post on the difference between a developer and implementer and I wrote an overview defining various technical skills in the WordPress context. Due to the lack of proper training, any official educational resource or meaningful set of skills per role, both finding talent and improving one’s skills is being challenged.

I challenge you to interview several successful clients around you who looked for skillful WordPress folks. They either happened to know the right people, were recommended someone, ended up with several freelancers who messed up big time, went AWOL and suddenly took the cash and disappeared, couldn’t deliver, or they did and the site is incredibly slow and/or got hacked soon thereafter.

That’s sending serious businesses away and I won’t touch the topic of under pricing services and products which brings the quality and support way down.

What motivates people to use a reliable resource in order to grow? The WordPress Foundation, nor any of the big players provide official training curriculum, and a definition for formal roles. There is no WordPress certification program (I won’t get into that to avoid unnecessary discussions), and there are no clear paths for requirements.

The WordPress Community is Filled with Amateurs

As a result, our community is a large group mostly composed of amateurs who started using WordPress one way or another. These people started earning money and reached a point where they don’t know where they stand, what they’re proficient in, if they’re doing fine, whether they’re experts, impostors, or somewhere in the middle, and what would be helpful to them?

We still use FTP and work with PHP 5.2-supported hosts. The most popular theme marketplaces provide products with broken and inconsistent code. The WordPress.org plugin repository accepts plenty of plugins with suspicious consistency and compatibility.

None of these issues are recognized publicly in the WordPress community. Some hosts prohibit SSH and allow solely FTP. PHP 5.2 will be supported by Core for a while, which doesn’t motivate hosts to upgrade. Marketplaces earn millions from their top sellers, so they’re not interested in quickly bringing up quality as long as poorly coded themes sell well. There’s also no formal constantly reviewed plugin repository for high quality plugins and no one is actively backing this idea up.

If you read the last paragraph as a rant, it’s because it is. It’s meant to be a “wake up call” to clients who don’t know better and service providers who want to become better. While the WordPress Core itself is incredibly stable and flexible, the rest of the infrastructure is mostly poorly coded due to under pricing, lack of skills, and lack of more successful clients interested in backing up WordPress teams and consultants.

There are different kinds of people and plenty of applications of WordPress. Whatever you do, it’s your professional duty to offer the right type of service instead of misleading your clients, and be aware of the other pertinent verticals. Moreover, it’s the only way forward working with reputable organizations and large profitable corporations.

What is a Successful Client?

Success Featured Imagephoto credit: seeveeaarcc

Prestige Conference happened a few weeks ago, and Shane Pearlman from Modern Tribe shared his experience in a presentation entitled, Land the Big Fish: Strategies Acquiring Larger Clients. It’s a motivational talk that outlines different strategies on negotiating and landing larger customers.

During the Q&A at the end of the session, Pearlman is asked, “What’s in it for me to go through all of that headache to procure bigger brand names?”

As I stated at the beginning, working with successful clients is not for everyone. Some people are afraid to leave their comfort zone. Others are too lazy to learn new skills or sometimes doing the same thing repeatedly may be their perfect job. For every other entrepreneur or business player, successful clients are exciting.

Each small change is magnified when working with successful clients. Usually, they have a lot of employees, a solid budget for marketing and advertising, a lot of traffic, and various complex requirements that help them attract more leads or automate their processes. T

hey are often respectable and have access to more capital. This allows them to invest more since their return of investment is worth it; while taking a risk due to saving a few bucks could very well ruin their reputation and harm their business. There are several examples of products or companies in the WordPress community that were hacked or where updates caused major issues.

Working with successful clients is extremely rewarding and exciting, but getting there requires ace skills and solid experience, as well as the right mindset.

How to Target Successful Clients

Based on my experience with banks, telecoms, automotive, airline brands, large educational institutions and media outlets over the last 12 years as a developer and a technical lead, there are several specific areas where courageous WordPress freelancers and small business owners can focus on if they are aiming for growth and successful clients, but aren’t there yet.

I have identified some steps for moving from a freelancer to a successful company. Here is what we should focus on in the WordPress context in order to step up our game, understand our industry better, and start acting professionally if we want to be taken seriously.

WordPress is a Vague Term

Being a WordPress Expert says nothing. You may be a lead developer of WordPress or someone who can memorize the order of all submenus under Settings in the admin dashboard. Both are classified as WordPress experts and that’s what many people don’t realize.

Specialize in a given niche and polish your skills. Focus on a specific group of projects – membership websites, eCommerce stores, multisite installs. Become a know-it-all professional for an extensible plugin such as, BuddyPress, Gravity Forms, or Easy Digital Downloads.

Understand the value you are providing and what it corresponds to. Be respectful to the broad community of professionals in your area, learn from them, ask them to be your mentors. Even the best athletes and CEOs have coaches, business mentors, and boards of directors. Find out what it is that you do whether it’s design, development, marketing, or something else and learn the skill inside and out.

WordPress Installments Don’t Matter

Plenty of people offer WordPress services as an add-on to their portfolio of other services without realizing the impact it has on the business. While WordPress is used for plenty of purposes, it’s still a technical platform that comes with its own specific set of requirements.

Imagine what will happen if:

  • You set up a vulnerable plugin that is exploited and your client’s password is stolen, along with their private details.
  • You forget to protect the media uploader and the client uploads sensitive data. Scanned images of contracts and ID cards end up in the public space.
  • Your sitemap plugin indexes protected data since you used a plugin that doesn’t work.
  • You set up a site and sell it to a client, and due to the terrible choice of plugins, the site crashes miserably and kills the server during a demonstration in front of their big clients.

Its a small list of what ifs, but they happen all the time. If you don’t possess the skills or offer the wrong service, this could damage your client’s business. Upping your game and providing solutions instead of websites allows you to take care of the infrastructure, maintenance work, support, development, security, marketing of the project.

At the very least, be aware of the consequences and partner up with other agencies and consultants. Complete packages are what successful clients look for and inexperienced people often mess up what others have built.

WordPress Expert Skills Won’t Cut It

Successful clients look for professional skills. They have real problems that can’t be solved with yet another plugin, and they are smart enough to know that.

If you are in the business of configuring themes and installing a few plugins for clients, that won’t do it for successful customers. You need to specialize in code, design, user experience, marketing, or something else that brings real value to them.

Large clients are looking for state of the art designs, performant and secure code, brilliant marketing skills, and growth hacking strategy. Large clients are successful because they are outstanding at what they do, the services they offer, and they appreciate high quality.

Context-Specific WordPress Solutions

Large organizations take their marketing presence and technical stack seriously. They carefully delegate based on multiple factors. Being in a meeting with a large client typically means discussing a use case together with several people such as, a creative director, VP of marketing, network engineer, and project manager.

In addition to being skillful in your niche and ready to provide value, you have to learn the business processes of your target client. Your idea of a solution may be applicable for small sites, but it may very well be a bad fit based on the company policy or the variety of services used by the team.

As an example, a creative director may require you to prepare your theme to be ADA Section 508 compliant, which is an accessibility standard required by certain organizations. The VP of marketing may ask for a Hubspot integration with Cvent within your website for proper CRM and meeting request management.

The network engineer could outline that they need to host the solution on-site, and set up a specific set of web application firewalls and internal web server security rules restricting certain process callbacks. The project manager might share a complicated timeline based on the organization load, holiday schedule, decision maker’s availability, conferences, and various deliverables that need to be presented by different people and other third-parties.

All of the above are things that we’ve been asked for over the past few months. If you are used to working with a specific host using Apache, prepare for writing documentation and shipping to a restricted server running HHVM. If you use a framework that isn’t accessible, you will need to step back, explore the Section 508 standards, and build something compatible.

Generic solutions are often not the right fit for large clients. But if you’re determined to learn more and become a better professional, that’s the perfect challenge for you.

Solving More Complex Problems

In addition to being able to adjust to different environments, working with large clients means solving more complex problems.

If a mom and pop shop is somewhat broken or down, it’s probably not a big deal if their site receives 100 visits per month. But for a project with tens of millions of views a month and thousands of concurrent users, it is unacceptable.

Working on larger and heavy platforms often means dealing with a lot of data, complex relationships, and solid traffic. This means that every single line of your code and business decision will inevitably impact the entire system in a way visible to hundreds of thousands of people.

In order to be able to cope with these, you should study your specialty in detail and understand what the impact is of every single change. These skills increase your value and let you face similar challenges and solve problems that the majority of beginners can’t even imagine.

You will learn a lot about the entire stack, and get to know hundreds of different rules. At some point you will voluntarily violate those rules, being aware of the fact that some design patterns and best practices don’t solve specific problems. It’s better to denormalize a database or minify a compression algorithm in order to solve a business problem for a large platform.

It’s just as they say at a music college – you learn the music theory for three years, and then you throw everything away and start playing jazz. You need to know the entire architecture and strategy first in order to decide how to optimize it in the best possible manner, whether it’s using a best practice or violating one for a specific purpose.

Teaming Up

If you have worked solo or in a small team, you will eventually need to partner up or grow. Either way, large projects are time consuming and require different expertise, and it’s unthinkable for one to know it all. Therefore, you will work with other professionals from more industries, team up and solve more complex problems together, and learn more about their challenges.

If you have thought about mastering a single skill, teaming up with the right people will add a few more skills as an extra perk, which will increase the potential of your main skill as well. Working with financial analysts on a project for a bank helped me to understand the entire model of loans and mortgages, as well as the internal banking policy.

This allowed me to learn how loans and interests work in different cases and get acquainted with standardized security regulations at companies in the financial field.

Security Concerns

Hello Security Featured Imagephoto credit: Two Locks(license)

Data privacy and security are important topics that people often misjudge. Working with large clients means more responsibility and higher impact in case of a problem. In the process of building a solution or consulting a reputable organization, you will most likely have to comply with various security policies.

While some of them may seem unnecessary, there is a reason they exist. The more familiar you are with them, the better it is for you, your clients, and future endeavors. If you’re not using VPNs, SSH keys, two-factor authentication, or voice recognition IDS, this may be a good lesson for you. Why are they needed, what problems do they solve, and how can you apply them to your personal data and existing set of clients?

Organization and Accountability

BrainyQuoteBrainyQuote

In order to be helpful to large businesses as a consultant, or an agency, you need to be reliable. This may be a result of a number of testimonials, successful track record at previous companies or a good portfolio. It’s always challenging to start with large customers, so improving your skills and working hard in order to become valuable is important.

Being organized and process-oriented is essential to most reputable organizations. The majority of them are more conservative and operate slowly, since a minor mistake could cost them millions or more.

They rely on detailed specifications, scope of work documents, use case diagrams, UX mockups/wireframes, E/R diagrams, and a large list of documents. They include every single detail in their planning – from holidays for each member of their team, to different dependencies from other service providers and third-party members.

Successful clients have managed to build a process and scale it in a way that grows their revenue in a predictable way. In order to be able to handle large projects, you need to treat them as a small project that takes longer to complete.

Learn how to use a project management system and version control properly, define your pricing strategy, make sure to predict all of the delays for both communication and payments. Learn how large organizations operate and do your due diligence upfront in order to avoid surprises.

Don’t take anything for granted and don’t assume anything. The more confident you are, the higher the possibility of making a major mistake. There are always new automatic deployment strategies or a DevOps service you haven’t heard of, another massive CSS3 grid, or a growth hacking strategy that you haven’t explored.

The more challenges you face, the more you’ll learn, and be able to solve complex problems.

by Jeff Chandler at August 24, 2015 06:42 PM under guest post

August 22, 2015

Alex King: Personal WordPress Theme

I’ve forked the FavePersonal theme to release a few changes that I’ve made to it for my own site.

  1. An improved Gallery feature, including support for WordPress shortcode galleries. If you’re uploading photos directly to your gallery post, you can use drag and drop to set the order for them now.
  2. The Post Formats admin UI is now responsive and works great on mobile devices.
  3. Remove the Social plugin from the theme (requested by WP.org) – it can still be installed separately.
  4. Make tons of misc. code changes to match new coding standards vs. previous coding standards (and pass the theme check).

Gallery

I was originally hoping to have the modified theme hosted on WordPress.org but after weeks of waiting for review, they responded that features of the theme like choosing colors and post formats should be done in separate plugins instead. This makes no sense to me as these are core features of the theme, but happily there are great places like GitHub that will host the project for us.

The Personal theme is quite assuredly mobile-friendly, which makes it a great fit for the importance Google’s is placing on mobile-friendly sites lately.

You can download from the releases page on GitHub or, for you technically minded, grab the reop with git. Just make sure to also grab the submodules.

git clone git@github.com:alexkingorg/wp-personal.git
cd wp-personal
git submodule update --init --recursive

This post is part of the project: Personal Theme. View the project timeline for more context on this post.

by Alex at August 22, 2015 07:11 PM under WordPress

August 20, 2015

WPTavern: WordCampus a Conference Devoted to Using WordPress in Higher Education

Higher education is a subject that some WordCamps have tackled over the years, but what if there was an event entirely devoted to it? That’s the idea Rachel Carden is proposing with WordCampus. The idea started off as a tweet but quickly gained momentum with others in the community.

WordCampus is an event that would cover topics such as, how to manage a large-scale network of faculty blogs, abiding by FERPA regulations, or how to best implement single sign-on that integrates with Active Directory.

Carden outlines her idea in detail on Post Status and says that even though camp is in the event’s name, it doesn’t imply that it would be an official WordCamp event. She’s also open to organizing an event not affiliated with the WordPress Foundation.

If you’re interested in speaking, sponsoring, or attending WordCampus, please fill out the survey and help spread the word. The more interest Carden generates, the more likely it is that the WordPress Foundation will back the event.

by Jeff Chandler at August 20, 2015 07:40 PM under wordcampus

WPTavern: What Do You Want to See in WordPress 4.4?

Scott Taylor, who is leading the development cycle for WordPress 4.4, published a post on the Make WordPress Core site asking people what they’d like to see in WordPress 4.4. The post has generated a number of comments from the community. Some of the most popular suggestions include:

  • REST API
  • Fields API
  • Term Meta
  • Shortcake UI
  • Ticket 31467 Images should default to not linking
  • RICG Responsive Images
  • Posts 2 Posts

Most of the items suggested are at various stages of development and there’s no guarantee any of them will make it into WordPress 4.4. However, the comments provide insight into what a lot of developers want in WordPress.

If there’s a ticket, feature, or plugin you’d like to see in WordPress 4.4, please leave a comment on the post.

by Jeff Chandler at August 20, 2015 06:16 PM under wordpress 4.4

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 204 – Overview of WordPress 4.3

In this week’s episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I review WordPress 4.3. We discuss the Kim Parsell memorial scholarship and the events that led to its creation. We also discuss Nick Haskins’ rebrand of Lasso. Last but not least, we spread the news that Automattic is hiring.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 4.3 “Billie” Named After Jazz Singer Billie Holiday Is Available
The WordPress Foundation Begins Accepting Applications for the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship
Nick Haskins Rebrands Lasso to Editus
Automattic is Hiring

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

WP Remote Multisite Post allows for advanced remote posting from a WordPress master site to many WordPress client sites using XML-RPC.

FB Group Feed is a plugin to display Facebook group posts or a feed on your site in a post or a widget.

WP Webinar System allows you to run webinars within your WordPress website and customize everything around it.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, August 26th 4:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #204:

by Jeff Chandler at August 20, 2015 05:28 PM under wordpress 4.3

August 19, 2015

WPTavern: The WordPress Foundation Begins Accepting Applications for the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship

WordCamp San Francisco 2014 By Sheri BigelowWordCamp San Francisco 2014 By Sheri Bigelow

Earlier this year, the WordPress Foundation created a scholarship in memory of Kim Parsell to celebrate her life and contributions to WordPress. With the date and location secured for WordCamp US, applications for the scholarship are now being accepted by the Foundation.

Details of the scholarship are as follows:

  • It is a scholarship for a woman contributor with financial need who has never attended WordCamp San Francisco before.
  • It will cover the ticket cost, flight, and lodging.
  • It will not cover things like taxis, meals outside the official event, or airport transportation.
  • One scholarship is awarded per year.
  • It is funded by the WordPress Foundation.
  • The application deadline is September 2, 2015.
  • A decision will be made by September 16, 2015, and applicants contacted.

Because of the nature of this scholarship explained here, applicants must fulfill four requirements.

  1. A woman (this includes trans women)
  2. An active contributor to the WordPress open source project (through one of the contributor teams or as a local meetup/WordCamp organizer)
  3. Someone with financial need
  4. Someone who has never attended WordCamp San Francisco (the precursor to WCUS).

Kim was an older woman who encouraged others, especially women around the same age group to get involved with WordPress. In light of this, older women are highly encouraged to apply for the scholarship if you meet the other requirements.

Kim once told me that attending WordCamp San Francisco 2014 was one of the best experiences of her life. It was her first WordCamp San Francisco and although she was unemployed at the time, she was able to attend thanks to financial assistance received from the WordPress Foundation.

Thank you to Jen Mylo, the WordPress Foundation, and Matt Mullenweg for not only creating the scholarship, but for providing the opportunity for others to potentially have the same experience.

by Jeff Chandler at August 19, 2015 08:18 PM under wordcamp us

WPTavern: Hybrid Core 3.0 Experiments With Community-driven Documentation

Hybrid Core 3.0, developed by Justin Tadlock, is available for download. More than a year in the making, 3.0 has over 269 commits and a slew of new features.

After the release of Hybrid Core 2.0 last year, Tadlock assumed it would be at least two years before he tackled another major release, “I’d planned on doing minor and patch releases for a while, all along building themes,” he said.

“However, a lot has changed in the theming world in just the past year. WordPress has added a lot of cool features for theme authors that were previously handled by Hybrid Core,” Tadlock said.

Tadlock wants the project to feel fresh and one way to do that is to remove features that are handled natively by WordPress. Features removed from Hybrid Core include:

  • Atomic hooks functionality.
  • Random Custom Background extension.
  • Featured Header extension.
  • Cleaner Caption extension (handled in WP).
  • Loop title/description (replaced by WP).
  • Pagination (replaced by WP).

It’s clear that the customizer in WordPress is here to stay and will be an important part of the project’s future. Hybrid Core 3.0 adds a variety of enhancements that make the customizer more flexible, these include:

  • Color Palette.
  • Multiple Checkbox.
  • Dropdown Terms.
  • Layout.
  • Radio Image.
  • Select Group.
  • Multiple Select.

There’s also a few customizer setting classes:

  • Array Map.
  • Image Data.

Tadlock Experiments with Community-driven Documentation

One of the largest changes to the Hybrid project is opening up documentation to be community-driven. The Hybrid Core wiki hosted on Github is now open to contributions from the community.

Tadlock believes that this will drive adoption of the framework by more theme authors, “The more developers we have using and contributing to the project, the better,” he said.

If the community responds well to the experiment, it will allow Tadlock to focus on longer-form tutorials for club members, something he feels he’s better at doing than reference style documentation.

Hybrid Core 3.0 includes a number of features, bug fixes, and improvements. If you want to see all of the changes in 3.0, check out the lengthy changelog.

by Jeff Chandler at August 19, 2015 07:38 PM under justin tadlock

Matt: 1.6m Downloads in 23 Hours

23 hours hours ago, WordPress 4.3 was released. It’s already had 1.6 million downloads and counting. For a look at what’s new in this version you can watch the quick video above, or check out the blog post.

by Matt at August 19, 2015 06:01 PM under Asides

August 18, 2015

WPTavern: WordPress 4.3 “Billie” Named After Jazz Singer Billie Holiday Is Available for Download

After four months of development led by Konstantin Obenland, WordPress 4.3 “Billie” named after jazz singer Billie Holiday, is available for download. This release features menus in the customizer, strong passwords by default, site icons, and variety of other improvements.

Menus in the Customizer

You can now create, add, and edit menus in the customizer while previewing changes to your site in real-time. Unlike other parts of the customizer, previewing menus should be fast as it uses a new hybrid transport layer. Weston Ruter, who contributed to fast previews in the customizer explains the approach.

We also wanted to enable fast previewing of menu changes by default. So we implemented a postMessage/refresh hybrid approach which uses postMessage to sync the menus settings to the preview, and then the preview does an Ajax request to render just the contents of the menu container, and this Ajax response is then inserted into the DOM to replace the previous menu container. The technical name for this approach we have been calling ‘partial refresh’, but you can call it fast preview.

In general, previewing menus in most themes should be a fast experience.

Menu CustomizerMenu Customizer

Strong Passwords by Default

Mark Jaquith led the effort to improve the way passwords are chosen and changed in WordPress. On the account management page, clicking the Generate Password button generates a strong password by default. The password strength meter is better integrated into the password field which lets users know immediately when their password is weak.

Better Passwords in WordPressBetter Passwords in WordPress

The same interface is on the add new user screen, the password reset screen, and the WordPress install screen. While WordPress doesn’t require users to have a strong password, it does everything it can to encourage users to choose one.

In addition, WordPress no longer emails passwords and password reset links expire after 24 hours. When your password or e-mail changes, WordPress sends you an email so if someone hijacks your browser session and changes these items, you’ll be notified that it happened, and you can take action. You can disable these e-mails via the send_pass_change_email and send_email_change_email filters by setting them to false.

Site Icons

Site Icons are images that represent a website across multiple platforms. You can configure your Site Icon in the Site Identity panel within the customizer where you can upload a 512X512 sized image. This image will be used for browsers, iOS, Android, and Microsoft devices when a visitor bookmarks your site.

Site Icons in The CustomizerSite Icons in The Customizer

Text Patterns, Quick Link Toolbar, and Word Count Changes

The editor in WordPress 4.3 has undergone more improvements with text shortcuts, a quick link toolbar, and word count changes. Text patterns or text shortcuts allow you to quickly add unordered lists, ordered lists, headers, and blockquotes without having to use a mouse.

When starting a new paragraph with one of these formatting shortcuts followed by a space, the formatting will be applied automatically. Press Backspace or Escape to undo.

In the visual editor in WordPress 4.3, typing * or - and hitting the space bar will generate a bulleted list. Typing 1.  or  1) and hitting space will generate a numbered list. If you don’t want to create these lists or do so in error, clicking the undo button or hitting ctrl/cmd+z or esc will undo the text pattern.

Starting a paragraph with two to six number signs # will convert the paragraph to a heading. Similarly, the greater-than symbol > will convert the paragraph to a blockquote.

  • ## = H2
  • ### = H3
  • #### = H4
  • ##### = H5
  • ###### = H6

Quick Link Preview Toolbar

When you click a link in the WordPress 4.3 visual editor, a small inline link toolbar displays the full URL with buttons to edit or remove it. This avoids having to use the Insert/edit link modal window.

Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3

Word and character counts have also changed in WordPress 4.3. Instead of updating counts when pressing enter or return, it will refresh when you stop typing. A lot more characters that shouldn’t be counted as words are excluded. Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, WordPress core contributor, lists other notable changes.

Changes to the Admin Bar

WordPress 4.3 moves the Customize link to the top-level menu of the admin bar. This link opens the customizer, allowing you to manage menus, appearance, and widgets through the customizer interface.

WordPress 4.2 Admin BarWordPress 4.2 Admin Bar WP43AdminBarWordPress 4.3 Admin Bar

The Dashboard, Themes, Widgets, and Menus links take users to their corresponding admin pages in the backend of WordPress. This makes it clear which interface users are about to enter. The enhancement is a result of ticket #32678 where Helen Hou-Sandí and other WordPress core contributors discussed ways to improve the context of each link over the course of five weeks.

Noteworthy Changes

WordPress 4.3 is the result of hundreds of paid and non-paid volunteers working tirelessly to improve the software used on more than 24% of the web. If you experience any issues with WordPress 4.3, please report them on the support forums. Volunteers are watching support threads closely and if warranted, will create a thread listing known issues.

To enjoy the full upgrade experience, I encourage you to listen to Lady sings The Blues by Billie Holiday as you upgrade your WordPress sites.

by Jeff Chandler at August 18, 2015 07:13 PM under wordpress 4.3

Matt: Automattic is Hiring

Do you know someone who is an amazing developer or designer? Someone who is passionate about helping people? An awesome lounge manager? Or maybe that person is you. Automattic is hiring for a variety of positions, and for all except two you can live and work wherever you like in the entire planet. There are also a number of other benefits; the main downside it’s a high performance culture and expectations are extremely high. Automattic hires the best folks regardless of geography, and we are especially looking for people right now outside of US timezones.

by Matt at August 18, 2015 04:05 PM under Asides

August 17, 2015

WPTavern: Text Patterns and the Quick Link Toolbar in WordPress 4.3

Quick Link Toolbar Featured Imagephoto credit: metal chain(license)

WordPress 4.3 is on schedule to be released August 18th and contains a number of improvements. Among the enhancements to the visual editor are text patterns. Text patterns or text shortcuts allow you to quickly add unordered lists, ordered lists, headers, and blockquotes without having to use a mouse.

In the visual editor in WordPress 4.3, typing * or - and hitting the space bar will generate a bulleted list. Typing 1.  or  1) and hitting space will generate a numbered list. If you don’t want to create these lists or do so in error, clicking the undo button or hitting ctrl/cmd+z or esc will undo the text pattern.

Starting a paragraph with two to six number signs # will convert the paragraph to a heading. Similarly, the greater-than symbol > will convert the paragraph to a blockquote.

  • ## = H2
  • ### = H3
  • #### = H4
  • ##### = H5
  • ###### = H6

It took a few tries to figure out but once I got the hang of it, I discovered that I prefer using text patterns versus clicking the appropriate button in the editor.

For example, the blockquote text pattern places text into a blockquote and automatically closes it while also starting a new paragraph. Traditionally, I highlight text and click on the blockquote button in the editor. Often times, I have to visit the text editor and close the blockquote to start a new paragraph.

Ryan Boren, WordPress core lead developer, created the following video which shows the text patterns in action on a mobile device.

Quick Previews of Links

WordPress 4.2 included a subtle but convenient feature for adding links to text. Pasting the URL to highlighted text automatically turns it into a link. The problem is that there isn’t an easy way to preview the URL without opening it in a new browser tab.

When you click a link in the WordPress 4.3 visual editor, a small inline link toolbar displays the full URL with buttons to edit or remove it. This avoids having to use the Insert/edit link modal window.

Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3Preview Links in The WordPress 4.3 Visual Editor

Changes to Word and Character Counts

Word and character counts have also changed in WordPress 4.3. Instead of updating counts when pressing enter or return, it will refresh when you stop typing. A lot more characters that shouldn’t be counted as words are excluded. Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, WordPress core contributor, lists other notable changes.

  • For character count, we no longer exclude any of these characters. This means that numbers and common western punctuation are no longer excluded compared to 4.2. Emoji and other astral characters are now counted as one character instead of two.
  • We added a new type all, in addition to words and characters, that will count characters including spaces. This seemed necessary for Japanese and maybe other languages. This is now character_including_spaces and character_excluding_spaces.
  • Shortcodes and HTML comments are now excluded.

To view details and a summary of all the work that went into improving word counts, check out ticket #30966 on trac. As someone who uses the WordPress content editor for a living, I’m anxiously looking forward to utilizing these enhancements on an everyday basis.

by Jeff Chandler at August 17, 2015 10:13 PM under wordpress 4.3

Post Status: A WordPress conference for higher education: coming to a campus near you?

Editor’s Note: Thus far, there have been numerous niche WordPress conferences aiming toward for-profit initiatives and geared toward businesses, marketers, or eCommerce site owners. But Rachel Carden‘s concept for a niche, education focused, non-profit event is unique and I’d love to see it happen.

As she notes, universities have unique challenges for managing websites and are also great candidates for utilizing WordPress to its full potential. What follows is her pitch and public brainstorming session on what a higher education focused WordPress conference might look like.

This all started with a tweet.

WordCamp U.S. made a big announcement that was all over Twitter, Chris Lema tweeted what we were all thinking, and I couldn’t help but start daydreaming about the possibilities.

You see, I’m a web designer and developer with a passion for all things WordPress, especially using WordPress to build the world of higher ed web. Having spent the last 8 years working in higher education, I’m always looking for ways to utilize the power of WordPress to fulfill my campus’s needs and to help its communication grow, whether it’s using the powerful CMS to stretch limited resources or using its new API capabilities to share information, and break down silos, across campus departments.

I love attending WordCamps and other WordPress-related events, but the issues we generally encounter in higher ed are often overlooked.

Much like online businesses or blogging, higher ed is a world of its own with unique challenges, content, stakeholders, and target audiences. In our world, we don’t worry so much about which eCommerce plugin is best. Instead, we’re more concerned with things like how to manage a large-scale network of faculty blogs, making sure we’re abiding with FERPA regulations, or wondering how to best implement single sign-on that integrates with Active Directory.

That’s why I’m proposing a new event in the WordPress community: a conference focused on using WordPress in the world of higher education. I call the idea “WordCampus”. (Kind of a perfect name, right? How did nobody think of this before?)

The name “WordCampus” came to me from a tweet and does not, at this point, imply it would be an official WordCamp event. If needed, I’m open to organizing an event that is not affiliated with the WordPress Foundation. This is a detail that remains to be seen, but honestly, at this point, all details remain to be seen. A WordCamp representative has confirmed that a user group specific WordCamp is possible, but I would need to prove that it could draw a crowd. That’s why I need your help.

If a WordPress conference for higher ed is something you would be interested in (whether it’s as an attendee, speaker, planner, sponsor, or all of the above), I invite you to read a few of my thoughts, share yours in the comments, and visit wordcampus.org to show your support.

Cost and fee consideration

Much like your usual WordCamp, the goal for this event is to keep the costs and ticket price as low as possible. The point of this event is professional development and community, not profit. The phrases “big budget” and “higher ed” don’t generally appear in the same sentence anyway.

A lot of higher ed-oriented web conferences can run upwards of $500 so an inexpensive, but valuable, event would be attractive for most higher education web professionals.

Unique sponsorship opportunity

Having sponsors to help with costs would be crucial and I am open to all kinds of support, whether it’s monetary or in-kind. Sponsoring an event like WordCampus would be a unique way to get an organization’s name in front of one of the best communities outside of WordPress that uses WordPress all the time.

In the world of higher education, you often have limited resources, so there are plenty of opportunities for third party products or services like hosting, themes, plugins, custom design, accessibility consulting, and custom development, among others.

Location is a factor

The location could be a sticking point, as high travel costs might be a deal breaker for many WordCampus attendees. The beauty of local WordCamps is that they are tied to a geographical region and therefore, for most attendees, have limited travel requirements. This could be a problem for an event that is not tied to a specific region.

Venue wise, universities have beautiful facilities, so I’d love to host the event on an actual college campus and, if the hosting university could donate the space in kind, this would be a huge cost saver. The most preferable universities would also be located near a major airport to help reduce travel time.

If I’m really dreaming big, it would be great to find numerous universities that would be willing to host and, therefore, we could have regional WordCampus events spread across the country. I don’t think this is outside the realm of possibility, but would depend on interest and attendance. I’m certainly interested in hearing from anyone that may be interested in hosting WordCampus at their university.

A big target audience

There are a wide variety of WordPress users in higher ed, from the university-level WordPress developers and administrators, to the users who run WordPress for a college, to the faculty members using WordPress as a learning tool, and any students who’d love to learn a thing or two (they are our future, you know). That’s not even including content strategists, designers, social media managers, and more.

WordCampus has the potential to attract a variety of users who could inspire a multitude of topics and professional development.

A broad variety of topics, even within the education umbrella

Speaking of topics, these could also run the gamut from higher ed marketing and content strategy to infrastructure, managing multi-author blogs, and streamlining application processes. Accessibility should also be a featured topic as federally funded institutions are required by law to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.

Personally, I see the structure of higher ed as tailor-made for the open source mindset and would love to hear someone encourage collaboration and openness by comparing the ideologies of open source with the inner workings of higher education.

Event timing

As organizing something of this magnitude takes time, I’m looking at a 2016 booking. What time of the year in 2016, however, remains to be seen. There are obviously a lot of variables at play, from venue availability to which time of the year is best for our target attendees. In higher ed, you need time to clear your schedule and request funding, so I’d want to allow for that.

Usually, the middle of the semester is best for most higher ed professionals, but this can vary depending on their field. And if we’re being honest, the majority of fall might be out of the question because of football season. We’ve included a straw poll on the event landing page to help us gauge which time of year might be best for those interested in attending.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my proposal and hopefully interested parties will have a few additional thoughts for the comments. If you would like be notified of any future developments, or show your support for the project, please visit wordcampus.org to share a little bit of information. And don’t forget to tell your friends!

If you have any questions, or would like to chat, you can also find me on Twitter @bamadesigner.

by Rachel Carden at August 17, 2015 09:33 PM under Site Owners

Matt: Artisanal Water

Many of my friends know how obsessed I am with different types of water, from Badoit to Hint Water (yum) to De L’aubier. This definitely hit close to home.

by Matt at August 17, 2015 06:38 AM under Asides

August 16, 2015

Matt: SF Germ Warfare

Speaking of San Francisco, did you know for 20 years, the military secretly tested biological/bacterial agents there, delivered through the fog?

by Matt at August 16, 2015 03:04 AM under Asides

August 15, 2015

Matt: Smokestack SF BBQ

I had great BBQ in San Francisco last week at a new place called Smokestack. The brisket was on-point, and competitive with anything I’ve had in Texas. This review in the SF Chronicle covers things pretty well, if you’re hankering for some great Southern food in SF this is the place to check out.

by Matt at August 15, 2015 05:34 AM under Asides

August 14, 2015

WPTavern: WP REST API 1.2.3 Patches XSS Vulnerability

WP REST API version 1.2.3 and 2.0 Beta 4 address a security issue that affects sites running 1.2 or 2.0 beta. This release fixes a potential XSS vulnerability related to JSONP support in 1.2 and 2.0 of the API. Automatic updates are in progress for 1.2.3 but if your site hasn’t automatically updated, the team suggests updating manually as soon as possible.

In addition to the security release, 2.0 Beta 4 includes a number of enhancements, some of which break backwards compatibility. Developers and beta testers should read the detailed changelog and release notes.

by Jeff Chandler at August 14, 2015 03:22 PM under xss vulnerability

WordPress Planet

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this send an email to Matt.

Official Blog

For official WP news, check out the WordPress Dev Blog.

Subscriptions

Last updated:

August 31, 2015 03:15 PM
All times are UTC.