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August 17, 2018

WPTavern: My Gutenberg Experience: Part Three

It’s been about four months since the last time I shared my experience with Gutenberg. In that time, there have been sixteen releases. The more I use Gutenberg, the more nuances I encounter.

Disruptive Writing Flow

When writing a post, I press the enter key at the end of a paragraph. This creates a new paragraph block automatically. Sometimes however, I want the next block to be an Image block. The paragraph block does not have an option to be converted into another block.

No Option to Convert to Another Block

I end up having to remove the paragraph block, look for the add block icon, and add the image block. This process of rearranging blocks disrupts the flow of writing.

There are a few ways to get around this issue. The first is to not press enter at the end of a paragraph so I can add the block that I want.

The second is to type /image inside the paragraph block which will automatically convert it to an image block. This is convenient but it’s a power user shortcut that’s difficult to discover without someone telling you about it. It’s weird that using a shortcut can convert a paragraph block to an image block but the user interface option to convert it doesn’t exist.

Icons Not Associated With a Block Floating in Empty Space

In the image below is a CloudUp embed block that has a video and below it are three icons. I sometimes think these icons are related to the block above it but instead, these icons are part of the add block placeholder UI.

Block Icons Look Like They’re For Another Block

Granted, a list, image, and quote icon has nothing to do with embedding videos. At-a-glance, seeing these icons can lead to a bit of confusion. I don’t want to see those icons floating in empty space when I’m working on a block they’re not attached too.

Losing Content Due to Autosave Disconnecting

While writing a post working remotely, I noticed the Autosave button in Gutenberg was continuously flashing. I’ve experienced something similar in the classic editor and suspected that a connection issue must have happened although I was browsing the internet without a problem.

I finished writing the post, added meta data, and a featured image. I copied all of the content on the post, refreshed the page, and confirmed I wanted to leave the page. It turns out, my suspicion was right.

At some point, the autosave process stopped working and I lost half the post, including the meta data. I was able to paste the lost content into the editor and go about my day.

The current editor has fail-safes in place to prevent the loss of content, such as using a browser’s local storage. I’m unsure if Gutenberg has the same fail-safes in place. So far, this has been the only time where I’ve lost content in Gutenberg due to autosave not working correctly.

Digging Through the Junk Drawer

In the classic editor, the tool bar stays in constant view. In Gutenberg, there are multiple areas on the screen where UI elements appear and disappear depending on where the cursor is.

If you want to see the code version of the editor, you need to click the ellipsis on the top right corner and select it from a drop-down menu. To add a new block, you have to click the + symbol and either search or select from a menu.

The combination of visiting different parts of the editor, browsing through menus, and selecting from multiple things sometimes feels like I’m going through the junk drawer in the kitchen looking for a utensil. This feeling occurs multiple times depending on the length of a post.

There’s Still a Ways to Go

I’ve been able to get used to the block concept and actually prefer it over the classic editor. However, there are certain tasks that are easier and faster to accomplish in the classic editor versus Gutenberg.

For example, if you want to create a heading using existing text in Gutenberg, you have to select the text, click the Paragraph icon, select the heading block, and choose which heading you want. In the Classic editor, you select the text, click the preferred heading from an always visible drop-down menu and continue writing.

These nuances to the writing flow, the user interface, and the experience of looking around for things is where I believe Gutenberg needs the most improvement. The bar has been set by the Classic editor but it has more than 10 years of iteration behind it. Hopefully, Gutenberg can reach or exceed that bar before it’s merged into core.

by Jeff Chandler at August 17, 2018 10:32 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: Gutenberg 3.6 Adds New Icons for All Core Blocks

Gutenberg 3.6 was released today, featuring a design overhaul for the core icons in the block inserter. The blocks now use Material icons, which offer more options than the Dashicons. This update also improves the icons for the core embeds, which now display the corresponding icon for each embed service.

Gutenberg testers logged an issue regarding the limitations of Dashicons last year, citing the small number available, the inadequacy of their size, and the generic substitutions for embed service icons. The Gutenberg team closed the ticket, saying there was no sign in testing that showed the icons to be a problem and that potential contributors would need to “revisit with evidence” if they wanted to re-open the issue.

It’s not clear whether the team received the evidence or testing required to make this change but the icons become problematic in other ways. As the community started extending Gutenberg, block icon duplication became a problem, due to the limited number of Dashicons available.

“We really need block icons to move away from using dashicons as soon as possible,” Gutenberg technical lead Matías Ventura said in another discussion on a proposed solution. “We are already seeing plugins adding blocks where the icon overlap is very high just because of the limited icons set, which reduces clarity for users very drastically.”

Switching to Material icons solves this problem, ensuring there are unique icons for each block. The inserter design has also been updated as part of this overhaul. Previously, icons appeared with a grey background, as seen below:

The old design suddenly looks rather dated in comparison to Gutenberg’s 3.6 update, which allows for more whitespace around the icons:

The new embed icons are also greatly improved from previous versions of the plugin:

“The new icons aim to encourage people creating their own blocks to supply their own SVG,” Ventura said. “The hope is to make sure we can avoid multiple cases of duplicated icons diminishing the overall ability to quickly scan blocks.”

Ventura said Gutenberg will retain the ability to specify a Dashicon slug in the Block API but he encourages developers to “supply custom SVGs (or draw from the material icon pool) as much as possible.”

Gutenberg 3.6 also adds several new keyboard shortcuts, including inserting a new block before/after the current block, toggling the inspector settings, removing a block, and displaying a new modal help menu. The modal can be launched from the Settings button at the top of the editor and users can scroll through all available shortcuts.

This release also fixes many bugs that users have reported. Gutenberg will now open a new preview window if the prior window has been closed. It will also bring the preview tab to the front when clicking the preview button. Version 3.6 fixes several usability issues that testers found with the permalink UI. Check out the release post for the full list of all the fixes and changes included in 3.6.

by Sarah Gooding at August 17, 2018 09:31 PM under gutenberg

Donncha: WP Super Cache 1.6.3

WP Super Cache is a full page caching plugin for WordPress. When a page is cached almost all of WordPress is skipped and the page is sent to the browser with the minimum amount of code executed. This makes the page load much faster.

1.6.3 is the latest release and is mostly a bugfix release but it also adds some new features.

  • Added cookie helper functions (#580)
  • Added plugin helper functions (#574)
  • Added actions to modify cookie and plugin lists. (#582)
  • Really disable garbage collection when timeout = 0 (#571)
  • Added warnings about DISABLE_WP_CRON (#575)
  • Don’t clean expired cache files after preload if garbage collection is disabled (#572)
  • On preload, if deleting a post don’t delete the sub directories if it’s the homepage. (#573)
  • Fix generation of semaphores when using WP CLI (#576)
  • Fix deleting from the admin bar (#578)
  • Avoid a strpos() warning. (#579)
  • Improve deleting of cache in edit/delete/publish actions (#577)
  • Fixes to headers code (#496)

This release makes it much easier for plugin developers to interact with WP Super Cache. In the past a file had to be placed in the “WP Super Cache plugins directory” so that it would be loaded correctly but in this release I’ve added new actions that will allow you to load code from other directories too.

Use the wpsc_add_plugin action to add your plugin to a list loaded by WP Super Cache. Use it like this:

do_action( 'wpsc_add_plugin', WP_PLUGIN_DIR . '/wpsc.php' )

You can give it the full path, with or without ABSPATH. Use it after “init”. It only needs to be called once, but duplicates will not be stored.

In a similar fashion, use wpsc_delete_plugin to remove a plugin.

The release also makes it much simpler to modify the cookies used by WP Super Cache to identify “known users”. This is useful to identify particular types of pages such as translated pages that should only be shown to certain users. For example, visitors who have the English cookie will be shown cached pages in English. The German cookie will fetch German cached pages. The action wpsc_add_cookie makes this possible.

do_action( 'wpsc_add_cookie', 'language' );

Execute that in your plugin and WP Super Cache will watch out for the language cookie. The plugin will use the cookie name and value in determining what cached page to display. So “language = irish” will show a different page to “language = french”.

Use wpsc_delete_cookie to remove a cookie. Cache files won’t be deleted. It’s doubtful they’d be served however because of the hashed key used to name the filenames.

do_action( 'wpsc_delete_cookie', 'language' );

If you’re going to use either of the plugin or cookie actions here I recommend using Simple Caching. While the plugin will attempt to update mod_rewrite rules, it is much simpler to have PHP serve the files. Apart from that, any plugins loaded by WP Super Cache will be completely skipped if Expert mode is enabled.

Related Posts

Source

by Donncha at August 17, 2018 04:36 PM under wp-super-cache

August 16, 2018

WPTavern: WordPress for iOS 10.6 Adds A Detailed Site Activity Log

In the past few months, the WordPress mobile application for iOS has quietly received a steady round of improvements. Version 10.5 increased its compatibility with Gutenberg. Earlier this year, Gutenberg and the iOS app didn’t get along particularly well.

About a month ago in 10.4, an activity log was added that allows users to see a detailed list of activities on their sites. In 10.6, the most recent version, the activity log is now available for free WordPress.com sites and those connected with Jetpack.

WordPress for iOS Activity Log

As you can see in the screenshot above, comment activity, post and page activity, and generally all site activity shows up in the log.

Selecting an activity displays detailed information such as who performed the action, their role, IP address, and other information depending on the activity. The log displays the last 20 activities performed on the site.

It’s unclear exactly what data the activity log monitors, where or if it’s saved, how it’s generated, and how users can turn it off. Browsing around the mobile app, I was unable to find a way to disable the activity log.

The WordPress Mobile Team is Quiet But Busy

If it weren’t for the change logs on the iTunes Store, it would be difficult for users to know what’s going on with the app. The project’s GitHub page is buzzing with activity, but more public facing means of communication are not.

The WordPress for iOS app Twitter account has been dormant since May. The WordPress Mobile apps blog hasn’t published a new post since 2016 and some of the posts that highlight new features are on the official WordPress.com blog.

Sure, not every release requires a full-featured post, but the activity log is a feature that I think warrants one. An explanation of why it was created, how it works, and how users not interested in it can disable it.

The WordPress for iOS app is open source and available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store. You can also find links to the Android and Desktop apps on the WordPress.com Apps site.

*Update*

After this article was published, I was given a link to a support document on the Jetpack website that explains the activity log feature in more detail. The document links to a list of activities along with their retention periods which vary based on the plan attached to the user’s WordPress.com account.

Only the most recent 1,000 events are displayed in the log. As noted at the end of the article, once the retention period ends for activity data, it’s moved to long-term storage where it is retained indefinitely. Data held in long-term storage is removed from the activity log.

According to the document, there is no way to deactivate this feature.

by Jeff Chandler at August 16, 2018 10:12 PM under WordPress for iOS

WPTavern: WordPress.com Boots Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory Sites, Bans Malicious Publication of Unauthorized Images of Minors

WordPress.com came under fire this week for hosting a site with conspiracy theories claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. The New York Times published an article titled “This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web,” setting off a hailstorm of angry posts on social media that demanded Automattic take action.

“Posting conspiracy theories or untrue content is not banned from WordPress.com, and unfortunately this is one of those situations,” Automattic told the New York Times in a statement. “It is a truly awful situation, and we are sympathetic to the Pozner family.”

Leonard Pozner, father of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victim Noah Pozner, claims that images of his son were being misused on a WordPress.com-hosted site where the author denied the tragedy and called his son a crisis actor. He filed copyright infringement claims on the images used on the conspiracy site in an attempt to get the content removed.

Automattic examined the images and determined that there was nothing illegal about their use on the site. The company sent Pozner a reply that said, “because we believe this to be fair use of the material, we will not be removing it at this time.”

In the New York Times article, Automattic admits its insensitivity in handling the situation, apologizing to the family, but said the posts in question “are not violating any current user guidelines, or copyright law.”

“The pain that the family has suffered is very real and if tied to the contents of sites we host, we want to have policies to address that,” Automattic told the New York Times.

WordPress.com Updates it Privacy Policy, Banning Malicious Publication of Unauthorized, Identifying Images of Minors

After consulting with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, it appears WordPress.com has quietly updated its privacy policy, which now includes unauthorized images of minors on the list of things the platform considers private information. The previous policy appears below:

The updated policy adds “the malicious publication of unauthorized, identifying images of minors” to that list.

Searching Twitter for discussion surrounding Sandy Hook conspiracy sites turns up a slew of tweets calling on people to boycott WordPress.com and other Automattic products. However, there are also responses on the other end of the spectrum, with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist supporters retweeting a user who claims that WordPress.com has shut down his site.

The site in question (fellowshipofminds.com) appears to have been removed, along with an interim site the author created following the first suspension. A number of other related sites have also recently been removed. These events are outlined in a post on memoryholeblog.org, a site maintained by James F. Tracy, a former professor of journalism and media who became known for his research questioning the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and Boston Marathon bombing. Tracy’s blog was also removed from WordPress.com in 2016 for violation of Automattic’s Terms of Service.

Automattic did not detail specific infractions in either case of removal. It’s not clear whether the site referenced in the New York Times article was removed for a new offense or a previous one. The removals seem to have coincided with WordPress.com’s updated privacy policy, but Automattic’s PR department has not responded to a request for comment on the matter.

“As with Automattic’s treatment of MHB, FOTM’s disappearance strongly suggests how WordPress.com’s policies are being tailored to placate outside parties whose foremost interest is in stifling political speech on potential high crimes, and how in this instance such poorly-founded grounds for censorship have triumphed over free speech,” Tracy said.

Historically, Automattic has been a stalwart defender of free speech on the web. It’s outlined as part of the WordPress.com’s User Guidelines:

WordPress.com strongly believes in freedom of speech. We have a vast audience spread across many cultures, countries and backgrounds with varying values and our service is designed to let users freely express any ideas and opinions without us censoring or endorsing them.

It’s not clear whether Automattic changed its policy in response to this situation or whether this situation revealed holes in it that the company wanted to improve. In either case, the policy change seems to have enabled Automattic to do what outraged onlookers wanted them to do, except outside of the emotional mandate issued by the New York Times.

Without the new privacy policy in place, removal of a site based on offensive material constitutes censorship. Automattic had already determined that the post using the child’s image, while distasteful and offensive, was fair use for the material. The image had likely already been used thousands of times by news organizations with a different narrative attached to it that is more in alignment with the majority’s view of the tragedy.

As it is a private company, Automattic’s terms of service do not have to reflect the full freedom of speech allowed by the law. However, the company has always upheld its reputation in the past as an uncompromising defender of its users when presented with requests for censorship.

In a recent post on Techdirt, Automattic general counsel Paul Sieminski and Holly Hogan detail how WordPress.com handles its role in managing intermediary liability when the company receives complaints regarding defamatory content:

Making online hosts and other intermediaries like WordPress.com liable for the allegedly defamatory content posted by users is often criticized for burdening hosts and stifling innovation. But intermediary liability isn’t just bad for online hosts. It’s also terrible for online speech. The looming possibility of writing a large check incentivizes hosts like Automattic to do one thing when we first receive a complaint about content: Remove it. That decision may legally protect the host, but it doesn’t protect users or their online speech.

That article explains the level of nuance involved in handling complaints and the costs associated with protecting its users’ freedom of speech. Automattic’s counsel concludes with an observation that “leaving such important decisions to the discretion of Internet hosts is misplaced and tilts the balance in favor of silencing often legitimate voices.”

WordPress.com is a Host for Websites, Not a Social Media Silo

WordPress.com’s platform is distinct from social networks in that it is not a social media silo. It acts more as a host and cannot have one-off shutdowns of sites anytime there is a public outcry.

“WordPress.com is much closer to being a common carrier than Facebook and other social media,” Dan Kennedy, associate professor at Northeastern University’s school of Journalism, said in response to the NYT article. “That difference really doesn’t get highlighted here.”

Self-hosted WordPress (.org) user and data journalist Matt Stiles also commented on the distinction, and followed up with me privately, identifying WordPress.com as “a free-speech sidewalk for the Internet.”

“WordPress.com needs to make clear to the public that it’s a host, not a place that controls — through algorithms or other curation, and revenue — content,” Stiles said. “I am NOT a supporter of sites like this. I just want WordPress to thrive as an open-source tool and as an important paid host for web sites. I’m also worried about WordPress.com having to make arbitrary decisions about content. It’s tough to define hate speech. We know it when we see it, but I worry about censorship on private platforms.”

Dave Winer also commented that the article failed to capture the distinction of WordPress.com as a host for websites:

WordPress.com isn’t like the others, it isn’t a silo, so banning him from that service will not necessarily have any affect on the presence of his site. He will be able to export his site, set up his own server, point the DNS entry at that server, and proceed on the open web and it will appear to outside viewers as if nothing happened. This will be the end of the discussion, unless the anti-speech advocates try to exert pressure on the open web. There they will find there is no CEO, no corporate headquarters, no shareholders afraid of losing value, none of the usual pressure points.

This particular situation regarding the Sandy Hook conspiracy site seems to have hit a nerve due to the fact that there are children involved. Despite WordPress.com’s quick privacy policy change in this instance, Automattic is still a rare outlier among publishing companies when it comes to support of free speech on the web. Media outlets and tech companies are increasingly clamoring for offensive content to be removed, instead of taking a principled stand against censorship.

Today more than 200 newspapers, including the New York Times, are coordinating to publish editorials calling out President Trump’s characterization of the press as the “enemy of the people.” Corporate-owned news media is ready to decry attacks on free speech, but do they really believe in it when it counts? That freedom isn’t predicated on whether the speech is true or unoffensive to readers.

Calling out a free speech platform like WordPress.com, without any distinction for its vital role in enabling journalists across the globe, is a coercive attempt to exact a desired result. What WordPress.com has done is groundbreaking in democratizing publishing and enabling bloggers to break news on their own sites.

The New York Times raking WordPress.com over the coals for its refusal to censor its users is an egregious double standard. A publication cannot call for free speech for itself while eating up the rights of everyone else they don’t agree with. Principles aren’t principles if they only serve you when they are convenient.

Forcing the censorship of offensive speech may feel like swift justice in the short term, but it weakens the fabric of a free society. Let discerning readers make up their own minds when they come across sites disseminating conspiracy theories. Although it may be an unpopular stance, the tragic nature of this particular offense cannot bypass the principles that underpin our basic freedoms.

by Sarah Gooding at August 16, 2018 04:58 PM under wordpress.com

August 15, 2018

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 327 – Truth, Misinformation, and Good Ideas

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss what’s new in the world of WordPress. First, we talk about Syed Balkhi’s growth accelerator fund and learn that Jacoby pitched a similar idea to Balkhi at WordCamp Miami 2017.

We discuss the new feedback surrounding Gutenberg thanks to the call out in WordPress 4.9.8. Near the end of the show, we have a thoughtful conversation around misinformation, truth, and the fine line of allowing freedom of speech on private platforms.

I apologize for the audio quality in this episode. During the Live hangout, there were no issues detected. However, once the video was encoded by YouTube, audio issues were present, the video was choppy, and the length of the show was shortened.

Unfortunately, I’ve been complacent with Google Hangouts’ reliability and have not been recording my audio locally. Beginning next week, Jacoby and I will record our audio locally so if this issue happens again, we’ll be able to combine the audio tracks. Although there are parts of this episode that are difficult to listen too, I believe there is enough good audio in the show to warrant its publication.

Stories Discussed:

Syed Balkhi Launches A WordPress-focused Growth Accelerator Fund
Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers
Mythic: A WordPress Starter Theme by Justin Tadlock Now in Open Beta
Advanced Custom Fields to Add Gutenberg Compatibility in Version 5.0, Slated for September
Ephox, Creators of TinyMCE, Rebrand to Tiny Technologies Inc.
This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, August 22nd 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #327:

by Jeff Chandler at August 15, 2018 11:07 PM under wpbeginner

HeroPress: India and HeroPress

Pull Quote: Nothing is better than a girl who writes code.

It’s no secret that HeroPress was greatly helped in its early days by people from India. Jeet, Saurabh, Aditya, Alexander, and many others gave deep and meaningful advice on how I, as a white American male, should approach the task I had set before me. This is one of the reasons it makes me so happy when I hear stories of how WordPress changes lives there, especially for women.

This week’s HeroPress replay is from Juhi Patel, from Gujarat, in northwestern India. As I recall, hers was also the very first HeroPress essay to be multi-lingual, something I’ve always wanted.

Juhi’s culture isn’t too keen on women doing Professional work, a problem not all that uncommon throughout the world. Not only did she have the courage to move against that belief system, WordPress gave her the tools to practically make it happen, and thereby be an example to other women around her. There are still good things happening in the world, and Juhi is helping to make them happen.

Check out her essay here:

Is WordPress Good for Indian Women?

The post India and HeroPress appeared first on HeroPress.

August 15, 2018 11:00 AM under Replay

WPTavern: Yoast SEO 8.0 Introduces Gutenberg Sidebar Integration, Revamps Classic Editor Meta Box

Yoast SEO 8.0, featuring the plugin’s first pass at integrating with the Gutenberg interface. This major update also revamps the classic editor’s meta box for those who do not have the Gutenberg plugin installed.

In the past, the Yoast SEO meta box was displayed below the post editor. In the Gutenberg UI, the meta box has been redesigned to fit in the sidebar. Those testing Gutenberg will also temporarily find an additional meta box below the post, as the Yoast team has not yet added all optimizations to both yet. In the future, users will have the option to choose between the two.

The updated design displays individual optimizations in collapsible panels with colored smiley face indicators for feedback at a glance. The snippet preview and social previews feature can still be found in the meta box below the post editor. They will be integrated more tightly into the Gutenberg UI in a future round of updates.

image credit: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO 8.0 also brings some of the meta box UI improvements to the one displayed in the classic editor. It organizes all of the Yoast SEO tools into collapsible panels for a look that is cleaner than the tabs found in the previous UI.

Version 8.0 is the first step towards Gutenberg integration. The Yoast SEO team is working on using modals to display previews for snippets and social posts from the sidebar so the interface isn’t split across two meta boxes. Users will eventually have the option to toggle either meta box display option into view, including those who are using the classic editor. The team is also working on allowing users to create blocks with the correct structured data automatically attached for things like books, recipes, products, and other specific content types.

WordPress.org has a handful of popular SEO plugins and Yoast SEO is currently leading the pack when it comes to integration with the Gutenberg UI. In a recent support thread, All in One SEO Pack creator Michael Torbert said his plugin is “compatible with Gutenberg and will be getting new features to work with it in time.” Torbert doesn’t have full Gutenberg integration assigned to a milestone on GitHub yet.

The SEO Framework, another SEO plugin growing in popularity, appears to be in the same boat if GitHub activity is any indication. The plugin’s author, Sybre Waaijer, has discussed the possibility of inserting the meta box into the Gutenberg sidebar, similar to the Yoast implementation.

by Sarah Gooding at August 15, 2018 04:19 AM under yoast seo

WPTavern: Syed Balkhi Launches A WordPress-focused Growth Accelerator Fund

Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, has announced a growth accelerator fund aimed at helping companies focused on WordPress prosper.

The fund will provide between $100K-500K to a small group of selected companies. In addition to the funding, selected companies will be able to take advantage of Awesome Motive’s media presence, network of business associates, and receive guidance.

“The problem is that the WordPress market is not very well understood by investors,” Balkhi said. “And frankly, the majority of WordPress businesses are not large enough to meet their criteria.

“But this doesn’t mean that WordPress businesses don’t have the potential. It’s quite the opposite – they have a lot of potential. There are tons of opportunities to grow in the WordPress ecosystem with the right playbook, and I want to help prove that.”

Founders will be given a lot of advice although they won’t be required to act upon it. Backers of the growth fund will also maintain a hands-off approach, interfering as little as possible with day-to-day operations.

Five companies will be hand-selected to receive funding. To be eligible for investments, WordPress-focused companies must be at least six months old. To apply, founders need to fill out the following form.

The WPBeginner growth accelerator fund could be the jump start that gives a handful of companies the opportunity to take things to the next level.

by Jeff Chandler at August 15, 2018 12:15 AM under wpbeginner

August 13, 2018

WPTavern: Sami Keijonen’s Foxland Themes and Plugins are Now Available for Free

WordPress theme designer and developer Sami Keijonen has made all of his theme and plugin products at Foxland available for free. Keijonen’s WordPress.org-hosted themes are active on more than 10,000 websites.

During the past three years he began taking on more client work, which gave him less time for theme building and maintenance. Last month he accepted a front-end engineer position at 10up that is keeping him busy.

Fans might remember Keijonen’s Mina Olen Free WordPress Theme Experiment when he made the theme available for free on GitHub to see if potential customers would be inspired to purchase after being able to test drive the theme on their own sites. At that time he said he struggled to support his theme shop, because the business aspect of it wasn’t one of his strengths.

It’s easy to get lost in all the competition in the WordPress theme industry, especially when major players have more money to drop on advertising and support staff. The days of building a beautiful theme and selling it without any kind of marketing are long gone. Prospective theme developers have to be ready to embrace the challenges of competing in a much wider market in 2018.

“Foxland isn’t a gold mine,” Keijonen said in his announcement. “Foxland brings about 3,000 to 4,000 Euros per year, which is OK but my goal was 10,000 euros.”

Customers appreciated Keijonen’s attention to detail, accessibility, and performance. Respected WordPress theme author Tung Do said Keijonen’s themes are “great examples of best practices.” Many of them also include support for popular plugins.

For example, Checathlon, one of his best works, is active on foxland.fi. It offers built-in styles for Easy Digital Downloads (including product and account pages), Custom Content Portfolio, and Jetpack (testimonials, portfolio, and email subscription widget).

The Foxland collection includes several beautiful minimalist free themes with previously-pro versions that enable additional Customizer settings, page templates, and widgets. All of Keijonen’s custom plugins (created to accompany the themes) are also available for free.

The Foxland shop has cancelled all the recurring subscriptions but will continue to support existing purchases up to a year from the purchase date. Keijonen said he will maintain most of the old themes and plugins with small updates coming in the future but plans to deprecate some as well.

The landscape of WordPress theming is about to change quite a bit when Gutenberg is merged into core. Keijonen said he plans to embrace these changes by creating new free themes with Gutenberg support, built on more modern code.

by Sarah Gooding at August 13, 2018 11:46 PM under free wordpress themes

WPTavern: New BackYourStack Tool Drives Financial Support for Open Source Projects

Open Collective launched in 2017 as a new organization that helps groups raise funds and manage them transparently. The service is now widely used by many open source projects. Webpack, one of the first major Open Collective success stories, was able to fund its first full-time developer through the service and is now operating on an estimated annual budget of $331,471. The San Francisco WordPress meetup (WPSFO) is one example of a WordPress group that successfully uses the service to receive sponsorships that help cover expenses for events.

Open Collective has launched a new tool called BackYourStack that helps people and organizations become aware of projects they use that need funding. The tool scans GitHub accounts (for individuals and organizations) and identifies projects that have already set up accounts on Open Collective. The tool shows all detected dependencies and the repositories where they are used.

Here are a few sample results you get from scanning the WordPress GitHub account:

The results display where project is used, the number of full-time maintainers, progress to reach the next goal, and a few organizations that are already backing the project. Open Collective also allows backers to support multiple dependences in bulk via a lump sum as an alternative to backing each project individually.

Not every open source project listed on Open Collective will have the need to fund salaries and events, but even a small yearly budget can reduce out-of-pocket costs for open source maintainers for things like hosting and promotional costs. Many widely used open source projects go without funding because users are not aware of their needs. BackYourStack helps people and organizations make a direct connection to the projects they depend on.

by Sarah Gooding at August 13, 2018 05:38 PM under open source

August 10, 2018

WPTavern: Gutenberg 3.5.0 Released

Gutenberg 3.5.0 is available for download and polishes existing features. This release adds an edit button to embed blocks that allows users to edit the source URL.

Edit URL Button on Embed Blocks

The contrast has been increased for input fields and check boxes have visually more distinct states as the following video shows.

More Distinct States for Check boxes

One notable change is the addition of a warning that displays if Cloudflare blocks REST API requests. This issue was reported last September and it turns out that the PUT request is sometimes blocked by Cloudflare.

Gary Pendergast reached out to Cloudflare and the company deployed a fix earlier this week.

To see a full list of changes in this release, check out the changelog.

by Jeff Chandler at August 10, 2018 09:16 PM under releases

August 09, 2018

WPTavern: Ephox, Creators of TinyMCE, Rebrand to Tiny Technologies Inc.

Ephox, the creators of the TinyMCE editor library that’s been used by WordPress for more than 10 years, has changed its company name to Tiny Technologies Incorporated.

The new name provides an at-a-glance view of what the company does and establishes a tighter relationship with its flagship product.

To make it easier for you to understand who we are and what we are working on, we have decided to put all of our efforts behind the Tiny brand. Renaming our company to Tiny Technologies Inc. demonstrates the efforts we are making to have TinyMCE the best choice for online rich text editing.

Andrew Roberts, CEO and Co-founder of Tiny

In addition to the name change, the company has migrated its web presence to a new domain, tiny.cloud. The Cloud top-level domain is managed by Aruba PEC SpA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aruba S.p.A., one of the largest webhosting providers in Europe.

According to Andrew Roberts, CEO and Co-founder of Tiny, existing customers and vendors of Ephox Corporation don’t need to do anything different since the company is registered to do business under both names.

Roberts also shared insight into the work being done on Textbox.io, the company’s mobile-first text editor. “We continue to support and release updates to our mobile-first online rich text editor, Textbox.io,” he said. “By the end of 2019, we do see both TinyMCE and Textbox.io coming together but for now, they are independent projects.”

TinyMCE is an open source project that is licensed under LGPL 2.1.

by Jeff Chandler at August 09, 2018 11:07 PM under tinymce

WPTavern: Yoast SEO Team is Testing Gutenberg Integration Coming in Version 8.0 Next Week

Joost de Valk tweeted a sneak peek of the Gutenberg integration the Yoast SEO team is currently testing. The plugin has more than 5 million active installations and is one that packs a lot into its wide meta box. Users have been curious about what compatibility with the new editor will look like for Yoast SEO. de Valk tweeted a preview of the plugin working inside the Gutenberg UI:

For the past several months the team has been making progress on the plugin’s Gutenberg integration roadmap. Yoast SEO 8.0 is coming next week with the first round of compatibility in place.

“8.0 is coming on Tuesday with most of it, some bits are relying on the integration of an annotations API in Gutenberg, which is not entirely under our control,” de Valk said. “We need that to do markings like we do in the classic editor to highlight where your errors are. Feature complete is quite a while off – we want to do a LOT. Gutenberg is opening a whole new playing field for us in terms of more in context, actionable feedback.”

Future versions of Yoast SEO will offer more features inline, instead of housing them in a single meta box.

“We started by breaking down all our features, and seeing where we could integrate them into Gutenberg,” de Valk said in a post outlining Yoast SEO’s planned approach back in October 2017. “We don’t think holding on to a single, massive box below the editor will best serve our customers. We’d much rather integrate right where the action happens, and Gutenberg offers us that chance.”

For example, readability analysis can be shown on a per-block basis to provide more fine-grained feedback:

image credit: Yoast SEO

“You’ll get actionable feedback in context,” de Valk said. “You don’t have to scroll down to a meta box to see the advice and scroll up again to the place where you should implement it. If we give feedback per block, you will get a better understanding of all the factors that influence SEO.”

The Yoast SEO team has been enthusiastic about what the Gutenberg era will bring to WordPress. In a recent Twitter thread, de Valk summarized his thoughts on the project and described the direction the Yoast SEO plugin is headed:

[I’ve] been thinking about Gutenberg more lately, as discussion about it is growing now that it’s near to WordPress core inclusion. What is most important in what we’re doing is something I think most people don’t see yet: The new ‘blocks’ that Gutenberg introduces allow us to, much more easily, make content items instead of web pages the smallest particle of the web.

Questions and answers, how to’s, recipes, suddenly all of them can much more easily have metadata, and be reused. This is particularly important to SEOs: the search engines, driven by voice search requirements, are searching for answers, more than for ‘just’ URLs to send traffic to, and blocks allow us to give them those answers, in a format both they and users can understand. While doing this, it allows us to keep the separation of content and design, something we definitely need to think more about.

With Gutenberg compatibility on its way from widely-used plugins like ACF and Yoast SEO, users can have confidence more plugins they depend on will follow suit. These major players are the first cracks in the ice across the ecosystem that will soon make Gutenberg-support the standard for any product that wants to compete.

de Valk encouraged users to look at the advent of Gutenberg as a door to new opportunities during this transition time.

“Gutenberg is not ‘done,'” de Valk said. “I think it’s ready to ship, but I also think it opens up a world of new opportunities and discussions. It’s not all ‘right’ yet either, so there will have to be changes as more people use it and get used to it. I do realize this is a drastic change in some ways. But it’s also not half as bad as people think it is. I have seen people use it for the first time, most people get used to it very quickly. Last but not least: you don’t have to switch now. The classic editor plugin exists for a reason. You can put off your switch for a year, or even two. But eventually I think everyone will see the power of the new editor and will switch.”

by Sarah Gooding at August 09, 2018 09:54 PM under yoast seo

WPTavern: Advanced Custom Fields to Add Gutenberg Compatibility in Version 5.0, Slated for September

The Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) team published an announcement today, assuring users that Gutenberg compatibility is in the works and will be available in version 5.0 of the free version in September 2018. The plugin, created by Elliot Condon, makes it easy for developers to add custom fields to WordPress edit screens, including posts, users, taxonomy terms, and media.

ACF is widely used with more than a million active installations. Developers have been concerned about whether or not their custom fields would continue to work on their clients’ websites after the new editor makes its debut in WordPress 5.0.

Gutenberg treats legacy metaboxes as second class citizens in the interface, stuffed at the bottom of the new edit screen. Metaboxes should, however, continue to work as expected. The ACF announcement lets developers know what to expect for how their metaboxes will appear inside Gutenberg:

By default, our beloved metaboxes are pushed all the way to the bottom of the screen in an awkward attempt to retain compatibility. This placement feels very much like an afterthought from the Gutenberg developers and creates a disjointed editing experience for those of us (1+ million awesome ACF users) who extend the edit screens with extra fields.

While this setup isn’t ideal, we will continue to work within the system to ensure that ACF is integrated into the Gutenberg UI to the fullest extent possible.

The free version of ACF will introduce Gutenberg compatibility in its version 5 release, which is slated for early September 2018. The compatibility update will only apply to version 5 and later, so the ACF team urges developers to running 4.x to upgrade to 5 as soon as it becomes available. Developers can also elect to upgrade early by turning on ACF’s Early Access feature.

The most surprising news is that ACF is introducing its own “ACF Blocks,” an acf_register_block() function that allows developers to register their own custom blocks without having to learn JavaScript.

One of the big selling points of Gutenberg is the ability for developers to create custom blocks. The challenge is that the process is very JavaScript-intensive and not so friendly to PHP developers. But never fear, because ACF Blocks is here to turn that narrative upside down!

We have been hard at work building a PHP friendly game-changer for you to quickly create new block types using ACF fields to power PHP templates!

ACF Blocks may be an unexpected development for those using the plugin, as the ACF team’s recent tweets have frequently communicated their disappointment with Gutenberg.

The availability of the ACF Blocks function is a strategic move that continues to make ACF indispensable for users who may not have made the time to improve their technical skills with regards to extending Gutenberg.

“Using ACF to make custom blocks was something I thought could happen, but not necessarily would happen,” WordPress developer Roy Sivan said. “They proved me wrong, and its a big deal.”

The news should come as a relief for developers who have used ACF liberally on client sites and feel under the gun with Gutenberg’s proposed time frame for inclusion in core. The ACF team is working to make sure developers’ customizations continue to work as seamlessly as possible when WordPress 5.0 is released.

by Sarah Gooding at August 09, 2018 04:57 AM under gutenberg

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 326 – Long Live the Fields API Project

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Scott Kingsley Clark, lead developer of the Pods framework. Clark describes what it was like to lead the Fields API project, the difficulties of working hard on a project and not getting core buy-in, and why building the Fields API into core first would have made the transition to Gutenberg easier for users and developers.

He looks back and describes what he possibly could have done differently and provides an update on Pods Framework’s compatibility with Gutenberg. To wrap up the show, Clark played us a song on his electric ukulele. To hear more tunes from Clark, check out his channel on SoundCloud.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress Core Fields API Project is Seeking New Leadership

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, August 15th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

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Listen To Episode #326:

by Jeff Chandler at August 09, 2018 02:34 AM under pods

WPTavern: Mythic: A WordPress Starter Theme by Justin Tadlock Now in Open Beta

Justin Tadlock, founder of Theme Hybrid, has released Mythic, a starter theme that provides modern tools to get theme developers started on the right foot.

Theming in 2018 is much different than theming in 2008. Without the right tools, it can be overwhelming to simply get started building even the most basic theme.

Justin Tadlock

While starter themes are nothing new in the WordPress space, Mythic and WP Rig take things to the next level and relatively share the same goal of providing a modern foundation to develop on top of.

Part of the inspiration to build Mythic began two years ago. In trying to revamp the News theme, Tadlock became frustrated with how difficult it was to use old coding methods and dropped the project.
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“In a lot of ways, it was the catalyst that started me down this road toward Mythic,” Tadlock said. “I didn’t realize it at the time. But, that’s where some of my frustration began with modern theme building.”

Mythic supports PHP 5.6+ although Tadlock is strongly pushing developers towards PHP 7+. “Anything earlier than 5.6 means for clunky code that’s just a headache to maintain,” he said. “WordPress, as a community, needs to be pushing people to update.”

Support for SASS, LESS, CSS, and Stylus are built-in and developers can choose which language they prefer for builds. ES6+ was chosen for JavaScript and is commonly used for building Gutenberg blocks.

Mythic comes with BEM or Block-Element-Modifier. BEM is a methodology that enables developers to create reusable elements and sharing code in front-end environments.

“BEM is a popular solution because it goes hand-in-hand with modern CSS pre-processors,” Tadlock said. “It also allows you to keep your styles flat and not get lost in specificity hell. This means smaller, faster stylesheets that are easier to override when you, a child theme author, or user need to do something custom.” The starter theme uses Webpack in combination with Laravel Mix to manage assets and modules.

Mythic has an extended View class that allows theme authors to use their preferred folder structure. Theme authors can also add custom data to theme templates. According to Tadlock, both features are not part of WordPress’ native templating system.

In addition to Mythic, Tadlock has continued to work on the Hybrid Core framework. Hybrid Core is a required dependency that is added via Composer.

Using Mythic with Hybrid Core exposes developers to features of the framework that they otherwise may not discover. “I rewrote nearly all of HC5 from scratch,” he said. “As a result, it’s leaner, more organized, and more cohesive.” The starter theme is also Gutenberg-ready.

Tadlock Experiments with Sponsorship Pricing Model

Mythic is in open beta and available for free via GitHub. The pricing model is an honor system experiment. Tadlock is asking those who build projects for clients and generating a profit, to make a $99 sponsorship purchase. For commercially-sold themes, he is asking for $199. Both packages come with one year of support and access to the company’s Slack channel.

“I’m still taking feedback on the payment system,” Tadlock said. “It could change. There have been a few suggestions more of a lifetime/flat fee. I’d prefer to just get some generous sponsors and keep it all $free. We’ll see where that goes in this next month of the beta process.”

Mythic’s beta ends on September 3rd in which he’ll release version 1.0. Until then, he is trying to get as much feedback as possible from developers. To file issues, submit feedback, and contribute, visit the project’s GitHub page.

by Jeff Chandler at August 09, 2018 12:40 AM under wprig

August 08, 2018

WPTavern: Watch the Top 10 Sessions from WordCamp Europe 2018

photo credit: Val Vesa

The results of the WCEU 2018 Attendee Survey are in: 98% of the 566 respondents from 49 countries said they would recommend WCEU to a friend and 90% are very likely to attend the next event in Berlin. Of those who participated in the survey, 49% were attending WCEU for the first time and 37% of them were attending their first WordCamp. Overall, attendees reported overwhelmingly positive experiences, which is a big affirmation of the organizing team that continues to lift the bar higher for WordCamps around the world.

If you missed out on the WordCamp, the good news is that you can catch all of the sessions on WordPress.tv. The top 10 sessions have been curated by attendees who responded to the survey. These sessions cover some of the most important topics for WordPress professionals in 2018 and beyond:

  1. Keynote and Q&A – Matt Mullenweg
  2. Technical SEO to grow your WordPress business – Joost de Valk
  3. The Ethics of Web Design – Morten Rand-Hendriksen
  4. Beyond Gutenberg – Matías Ventura
  5. Progressive WordPress Themes – Alberto Medina, Thierry Muller
  6. WordPress in 2019 – Noel Tock
  7. Accessible Design – Maja Benke
  8. JavaScript APIs in WordPress – Adam Silverstein
  9. WordPress and Inclusive Design – John Maeda
  10. Anatomy of a block: Gutenberg design patterns – Tammie Lister

Attendees were also big fans of the workshops introduced at this event. 78% of respondents said they would like to see them again next year. A couple of the workshop recordings have yet to make it to WordPress.tv but may be available at a later time. The three most popular workshops attendees identified were all related to Gutenberg:

  • (Gutenberg) Block Development with React – Zac Gordon, Julien Melissas
  • Let’s Build a Gutenberg Block – Lara Schenck
  • Roundtable with the Gutenberg team – The Gutenberg Team

WordCamp Europe 2019 organizers are working on providing a more efficient registration process for workshops, as well as a greater capacity for attendees.

by Sarah Gooding at August 08, 2018 06:33 PM under WordCamp Europe

August 07, 2018

WPTavern: First Look at Live Demo of the Gutenberg Content Editor for Drupal 8

Drupal Europe has just announced its program for the upcoming event in Darmstadt, Germany, September 10-14. The conference will host more than 1,600 Drupal professionals and enthusiasts for 162 hours of sessions and 9 in-depth workshops.

Automattic is sponsoring the Open Web Lounge networking space and Matt Mullenweg will be joining Dries Buytaert and Barb Palser on a panel discussing the future of the open web and open source.

One interesting WordPress-related session on the program is titled Introducing the Gutenberg content editor for Drupal 8. This new module ports WordPress’ Gutenberg editor over to Drupal. It was created by Per André Rønsen and his team Frontkom, a digital services agency based in Norway.

The Drupal Gutenberg project aims to provide a new publishing experience based on WordPress’ Gutenberg editor. The live demo on the site currently provides a frontend interactive implementation of Gutenberg inside Drupal, similar to WordPress’ “Frontenberg” demo on wordpress.org/gutenberg. The latest implementation of the module will appear there but Rønsen said it is currently being revamped, as lots of things have happened with Gutenberg in the past few weeks.

How the Drupal Gutenberg Project was Born

Rønsen told us he first saw Gutenberg in 2017 and was inspired to use it for one of Frontkom’s media clients.

“The thought of forking it came mid-2017, as we explored using Gutenberg as a lib for making a front page builder sponsored by the Google Digital News Initiative,” Rønsen said. “We ended up using it, and the Drupal module is a natural spin off.”

Frontkom tailored the Gutenberg-based page builder for the media industry. It adds extra functionality to Gutenberg that allows users to position and tweak articles for the front page of an online newspaper. Rønsen said the project went well and his team plans to open source it but it’s too early to share anything right now.

Following this successful experience using Gutenberg for a client, Frontkom began work on the Drupal Gutenberg project in early January 2018.

“The main part of the work was to make Gutenberg more CMS agnostic,” Rønsen said. “First we forked it and maintained a fork. Later we started using Gutenberg as a dependency, testing a more maintainable approach.”

Rønsen opened a ticket on GitHub, requesting that the Gutenberg team consider structuring the project to be more CMS-agnostic. The ticket was closed fairly soon with the explanation that it “doesn’t relate directly to the work going on with the project and its goals.”

“We have very little, if any, upstream commits so far, as the WP core interest has been to just cater to WP needs so far,” Rønsen said. “But that just changed.”

Gutenberg is moving towards making it easier to use outside of WordPress. The team is working on publishing all the React modules as npm packages. Rønsen said he anticipates that decreasing the number of globals needed to make Gutenberg work will be a huge help for other CMSs.

So far the Drupal Gutenberg project has not been shared widely but Rønsen said his team has seen a lot of interest from the Drupal tech community.

“We have a blog post coming in English with more detail; we kind of saved it for after holidays,” Rønsen said. “But then it blew up, and devs keep contacting us wanting to help out.”

Frontkom has been involved in the Drupal community for more than 10 years and WordPress for the past three years. Rønsen and his team believe that Gutenberg fills a gap in the Drupal space.

“Drupal doesn’t have all those fancy WordPress page builders,” he said. “So that is really more interesting than just a new post edit UI – we want a unified way to build complex layouts.”

Drupal already has an initiative for revamping its admin UI using React, and Rønsen said he thinks Gutenberg might contribute to how this can happen in Drupal core. In an ideal world, many open source projects could greatly benefit from a CMS-agnostic Gutenberg, with all of them contributing together towards its improvement.

“To us as a company, it is extremely interesting to build out front-ends that can easily be moved between CMSs,” Rønsen said. “For open source CMSs in general, I think there will be a lot to learn from the implementation process. For example, D8 has the concept of ‘everything is a block.’ This has made it easy for us to make Drupal core blocks available in Gutenberg – we just need to do some magic to expose block settings.”

The Frontkom team are not only enthusiastic fans of Gutenberg’s interface, but also appreciate the way the project is run. Rønsen hasn’t been following the community reaction to the latest round of Gutenberg testing but said he thinks WordPress users will love it long term, since “most of the page builders out there have issues.”

“Drupal can learn a lot from WordPress, the way they actually built the Gutenberg project – a transparent design process, lots of collaboration, and still highly efficient,” Rønsen said. “So, WordPress is definitely ahead of Drupal with regards to their admin UI/JS work. Since there is already a lot of interest in the Drupal community to do something similar, it is very refreshing to see someone go through it and succeed (hopefully).”

Steve Persch, lead developer advocate at Pantheon, spoke at DrupalCon in Nashville 2018 about what’s possible with WordPress 5.0 and also gave a session at Twin Cities Drupal Camp titled “Everything is a Block: How WordPress Rewrote the WYSIWYG.” In response to buzz on Twitter about the Drupal Gutenberg session, Persch said Drupal needs an editorial UX improvement to stay competitive, but not necessarily by adopting Gutenberg.

“We have in-progress initiatives toward that end,” Persch said. “Gutenberg itself could turn into a distraction from that work. In both [presentations] I also mentioned that Paragraphs or Layout Builder could be better data model starting points for Gutenberg-like functionality. Delivering exactly the same thing as WordPress would be self-defeating. Structured content is the heart of Drupal. I see Gutenberg (or something like it) as a better UI for the corner of the data model (the Paragraphs part) that Drupal sites have had for years.”

It will be interesting to see how different open source communities approach Gutenberg and how more diverse feedback from outside of WordPress could impact the project.

The Drupal Gutenberg module can be downloaded from the project page. It’s currently marked as an experimental module and is recommended for developer use only. The live demo for the project will soon be revamped to reflect the latest updates with Gutenberg. You can also follow the project’s development on GitHub.

by Sarah Gooding at August 07, 2018 10:28 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers

photo credit: KaylaKandzorra i miss you grampa.(license)

WordPress 4.9.8 was released as an automatic update last week, featuring the “Try Gutenberg” callout. The goal of the prompt is to get more users testing the new editor and to raise awareness. Within the first 72 hours of the prompt going into user dashboards, sites with Gutenberg installed have shot up to more than 80,000, a 300% increase. The plugin has been downloaded more than 147,000 times in the past week.

Gutenberg feedback is pouring in from a wave of new testers, most of whom are finding out about the new editor for the first time. Reactions have varied widely across multiple social networks. The announcement on WordPress’ official Facebook account attracted many drive-by style comments that included negative reactions, confusion, and questions, with a few positive comments peppered in between.

Blocks aren’t doing it for me. Will classic continue to be available permanently? If I want a block visual editor I promise I will install one voluntarily.

I’m hoping gutenberg will be totally optional.

I see only few users who are exited from Gutenberg. The rest is for leaving as it is. Why the guys from WP still want to implement it in the core? Make it a plugin. Why not a plugin whyyyyyy?

Twitter users trying Gutenberg for the first time were more enthusiastic about the potential of the new editor.

While some testers are quietly reporting issues on GitHub, others have written long missives in the plugin’s reviews, begging WordPress not to force the new editor on users. Gutenberg reviews are currently at a 2.4-star average, slipping from the 2.7-star average it held prior to the 4.9.8 release. Those who have written reviews tend to have reactions at both ends of the spectrum.

At this point in the testing phase, the reviews in the official directory paint a grim picture of WordPress dragging its users kicking and screaming into the Gutenberg era. However, there are many reasons why a tester might be motivated to write a negative review. Some may have ignored the advice not to use it in production, some may be testing it with incompatible plugins, some may not want any changes to their established workflow, and some may simply not like the interface.

While it may seem that the plugin has been widely panned by new testers, those who are the most critical tend to be more motivated to write a review. Those who are pleasantly surprised at something that works for them don’t tend to comment publicly. Reviews cannot possibly tell the whole tale, but they are important to monitor for feedback that could help Gutenberg succeed.

“Try Gutenberg” Callout Succeeds at Bringing More Testers and Feedback

WordPress 4.9.8’s “Gutenprompt” is doing exactly what it was intended to do – bring out more testers. The invitation has already succeeded at pulling out some quality feedback if you can sort through all the casual, angry one-liners.

Steven Peters opened a lengthy review with the following observations about the more cumbersome and unintuitive aspects of Gutenberg’s interface:

The interface is not cohesive in its design. For example, To place a block of a paragraph, a heading, a subheading, a bullet list and every other block, the user must click the + sign every single time, making it that much harder to ‘go with the flow’ of writing, and is cumbersome and time-consuming. Time-consuming: a click for each block instead of just writing. More clicks equal wasted time.

In a review titled “Lots of potential but too soon for core,” Mark Wilkinson details several specific usability issues:

The interface I find confusing – I think it is because it is too minimal. I found that it was all too easy to add a block by mistake and then not knowing what the block was or why it was there.

There is too much reliance on hover effects, with things appearing and disappearing all the time. I also find it hard to know where the focus is on the screen as it just uses a faint grey border.

Several reviewers were candid about their distaste for the concept of putting content into blocks. The Gutenberg team has readily communicated its vision for the block-based editor, but this tends to speak more to developers.

“Why does every little thing have to be in a separate block?” one reviewer asked before describing multiple usability issues with current block behavior. “That is a feature I think I actually detest. I do not want 50 zillion little fussy blocks on a page. I had entire blocks just disappear on me and a lot of the time, I was initially unsure of exactly what I did to make them disappear. This is bad. Some of the time it was placing a block, like an image block, and then deleting the image … the entire block went, which meant I had to go through the motions to add the block, then add an image block again, and then add my image again. Lame.”

Multiple reviewers commented that previously simple tasks are much more complicated in Gutenberg. Others said after reading official replies to reviews, they felt that leaving specific feedback was a waste of time. Canned responses from the Gutenberg team gave some the impression that their feedback wasn’t heard or valued.

My feeling while reading the WordPress developer responses is that that they have no intention of either stopping or postponing Gutenberg no matter what bug or problem is given to their attention. – @lauritasita

I have read all the reviews (and also the Gutenberg-lovers’ replies) and it seems that it is not really a discussion. The question on what is missing in this editor is useless if people simply do not want such a feature in their install. All you do is trying to convince people that it would only take time to get used to a modern technology. In my eyes this is bullshit. I myself love new features – if they are useful. – @peg20

Based on the responses to reviews, it isn’t clear to testers whether the Gutenberg team is willing to make major changes to re-design features that are not easy to use or whether they are simply combing the reviews for feedback on bugs with the existing interface.

Classic Editor Plugin Installations are on the Rise as Users Prepare for WordPress 5.0

In the days following WordPress 4.9.8’s release, active installations of the Classic Editor plugin have jumped from 7,000 to 60,000, a 757% increase. However, none of these figures in isolation can tell the whole story of users’ experience with the new editor.

In response to criticism on the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, Gutenberg contributor Gary Pendergast said he doesn’t see users installing the Classic Editor plugin as a negative reaction. “People ensuring that their site is ready for WordPress 5.0 is absolutely a good thing,” Pendergast said. “For a lot of sites, that means sticking with their current workflows for now.”

Pendergast also said the growing number of Classic Editor installs is a good indication that WordPress users are “proactively maintaining their sites, and a reasonable indication that they intend to upgrade to WordPress 5.0.”

“People certainly have strong feelings about it, and ‘fear of change’ is absolutely a legitimate feeling: we need to provide the right tools to empower everyone who uses WordPress,” Pendergast said. “Some people will jump right into the brave new block-based world, some people will prefer to use the Classic Editor plugin as a way to keep their existing workflows. When WordPress 5.0 lands, neither way should be seen as the ‘correct’ way – they’re both entirely legitimate.”

One major theme in both positive and negative reviews of the plugin is the desire for Gutenberg to be opt-in for WordPress 5.0, instead of having it auto-enabled for all users.

Developers and agencies are expected to control that experience for their clients by installing the Classic Editor or Gutenberg Ramp for installations that may have compatibility issues. For millions of other WordPress users without their own developers or engineering teams, discovering Gutenberg auto-enabled after updating to WordPress 5.0 will be a moment of reckoning. On the other hand, phasing the new editor in over time may severely limit adoption and extinguish the ecosystem’s impetus to offer Gutenberg-compatible products.

The development community, along with thousands of WordPress users who now have Gutenberg on their radar, will be watching to see how the team evaluates feedback from this new wave of testing. Up until this point, only the most curious and motivated WordPress users have taken Gutenberg for a spin. Widespread testing has just begun and we’re not yet seeing a complete picture of how well the new editor will be received.

My initial impression, after first trying it a year ago, was that Gutenberg is the most exciting thing to happen to WordPress in a long time. After reading hundreds of negative reviews, I still believe in the block concept but am convinced that Gutenberg needs to deliver a beautiful writing experience in order to win people over.

If WordPress is my home for writing on the web, I want to feel at home in the interface. I don’t want to have to hunt for actions buried two-clicks deep. When I use the editor I want to have the feeling of “I love writing here.” Gutenberg doesn’t deliver that yet.

WordPress has an opportunity to provide the best writing experience on the web, instead of relegating it to the myriad of dedicated writing apps that don’t have publishing capabilities. A supremely well-designed editor for writing posts, in recognition of the platform’s blogging roots, would be the promise that hooks users to willingly sign on for years of dealing with Gutenberg’s shortcomings as it matures into a full-fledged site builder.

by Sarah Gooding at August 07, 2018 03:23 AM under gutenberg

August 06, 2018

WPTavern: WordCamp Ann Arbor Cancelled, Organizers Set Sights on 2019 Event

WordCamp Ann Arbor MI, is an annual Fall tradition that takes place each October. This year however, the event won’t be taking place. In an email sent out August 3rd, organizers explained why they cancelled this year’s event.

Why did we decide to cancel WordCamp Ann Arbor this year? It’s a long story. The most significant factors involve issues with our venues. Then eventually finding ourselves with too little time to put together an event meeting the standards we strive for. None of us were interested in throwing together a last minute, half-baked event. So we made the call early and turned our attention to 2019.

Kyle Maurer – Co-organizer of WordCamp Ann Arbor

Organizers are already in the planning stages for WordCamp Ann Arbor 2019. Jackson, MI, about 45 minutes west of Ann Arbor is hosting a WordCamp this weekend. Tickets are $20 each with 35 remaining.

For a detailed look into what it’s like to organize WordCamp Ann Arbor, check out Maurer’s post from 2016.

by Jeff Chandler at August 06, 2018 09:01 PM under wordcamps

August 03, 2018

Post Status: Considerations for eCommerce merchants, with Andrew Youderian of eCommerce Fuel

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

In this episode, I bring on Andrew Youderian. Andrew runs eCommerce Fuel — a great website geared toward eCommerce store owners, specifically those making high six figures or seven figures in revenue per year.

Andrew keeps his ear low to the ground in the eCommerce landscape and carries no specific WordPress bias. If anything his experience is in other platforms — making a discussion with him both on platforms and also just eCommerce in general particularly valuable to me.

Episode Links

Sponsor: SiteGround

Engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. SiteGround offers feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, and is officially recommended by WordPress.org. Thanks to SiteGround for being a Post Status partner.

by Brian Krogsgard at August 03, 2018 09:17 PM under Planet

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9.8 Released

WordPress 4.9.8 is available for download and is a maintenance release. Headlining this version is the “Try Gutenberg” callout. Note that not everyone will see the callout. Its visibility is determined based on certain criteria.

Gutenberg Callout in WordPress 4.9.8

WordPress 4.9.8 continues to improve the foundation set forth by the privacy improvements that went into core earlier this year. For example, the type of request that is being confirmed is now included in the subject line for privacy confirmation emails.

In total, this release has 46 bug fixes from more than 50 contributors. It was lead by Paul Biron and Joshua Wold. Since 4.9.8 is a maintenance release, sites that are able will update automatically. To see a full list of changes, check out the detailed changelog.

by Jeff Chandler at August 03, 2018 12:12 AM under releases

August 02, 2018

WPTavern: WordPress.com Partners with Pexels to Offer Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library

image credit: Christina Morillo from Pexels

WordPress.com has partnered with Pexels, a popular stock photo library, to offer convenient access to stock photos inside the post editor. Hundreds of high quality free stock photo sites have cropped up on the web over the past few years, but Pexels is differentiating itself with a commitment to hosting diversity-focused images and videos that represent a wide range of experiences. WordPress.com is working with them and other partners to make more diverse images available to users:

Stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, and often excluded photos of people of color, people with disabilities, or non-binary individuals. Pexels is working to change that, and since partnering with them we’ve helped incorporate diversity-focused libraries to their collection. Ultimately, we believe it’s on us to help find a solution to this problem, and avoid generic stock images that often perpetuate stereotypes.

WordPress.com users can access the images via the Add Media button. Self-hosted site owners with Jetpack-enabled sites can also access the library when composing new posts on WordPress.com. Automattic happiness engineer Anne McCarthy posted a demo of where to find the new images:

Media

More than 1,000 developers and companies are using the Pexels API. The site regularly hosts diversity-focused photo challenges with prizes for the best submissions. Photographers who are inspired to contribute can submit their work to the library but should be aware of its open license.

“I like the idea, and, as a photoblogger, I’m open to sharing my images,” one reader commented on the announcement. “But I [think] the license rules are too open (for me). I’m happy to share, attribution would be nice (not necessary), but editing of my photos seems a step too far.”

Feedback on the library has been overwhelmingly positive so far and WordPress.com users have already downloaded more than 1 million images since the free stock image library was introduced.

by Sarah Gooding at August 02, 2018 11:45 PM under wordpress.com

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.9.8 Maintenance Release

We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.9.8.  This maintenance release fixes 46 bugs, enhancements and blessed tasks, including updating the Twenty Seventeen bundled theme.

Following are the highlights of what is now available.

“Try Gutenberg” callout

Most users will now be presented with a notice in their WordPress dashboard. This “Try Gutenberg” is an opportunity for users to use the Gutenberg block editor before it is released in WordPress 5.0.

In WordPress 4.9.8, the callout will be shown to the following users:

  • If Gutenberg is not installed or activated, the callout will be shown to Admin users on single sites, and Super Admin users on multisites.
  • If Gutenberg is installed and activated, the callout will be shown to Contributor users and above.
  • If the Classic Editor plugin is installed and activated, the callout will be hidden for all users.

You can learn more by reading  “Try Gutenberg” Callout in WordPress 4.9.8.

Privacy fixes/enhancements

This release includes 18 Privacy fixes focused on ensuring consistency and flexibility in the new personal data tools that were added in 4.9.6, including:

  • The type of request being confirmed is now included in the subject line for all privacy confirmation emails.
  • Improved consistency with site name being used for privacy emails in multisite.
  • Pagination for Privacy request admin screens can now be adjusted.
  • Increased the test coverage for several core privacy functions.

This post has more information about all of the issues fixed in 4.9.8 if you’d like to learn more.

Download WordPress 4.9.8 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update automatically.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.9.8:

1naveengiri, Aaron D. Campbell, Aaron Jorbin, Abdullah Ramzan, alejandroxlopez, Allen Snook, Andrea Fercia, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Taylor, Arun, Ayesh Karunaratne, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), Birgit Pauli-Haack, BjornW, Boone Gorges, Brandon Kraft, Burhan Nasir, Chetan Prajapati, Chris Lema, Corey McKrill, Daniel Bachhuber, Daniel James, David Herrera, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling (ocean90), dontstealmyfish, dyrer, Felipe Elia, Felix Arntz, Fernando Claussen, Gareth, Garrett Hyder, Gary Pendergast, Gennady Kovshenin, GM_Alex, Heather Burns, Ian Dunn, ibelanger, imath, Jb Audras, Jeremy Pry, JJJ, Joe McGill, Joen Asmussen, John Blackbourn, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, Josepha, JoshuaWold, Joy, jrf, K. Adam White, khaihong, kjellr, Konstantinos Xenos, laurelfulford, lbenicio, Leander Iversen, leemon, macbookandrew, Marius L. J., Matias Ventura, Mel Choyce, mensmaximus, mermel, metalandcoffee, michelleweber, Milan Dinić, Muhammad Kashif, Naoko Takano, Nathan Johnson, Ov3rfly, palmiak, Paul Biron, Prashant Baldha, PressTigers, programmin, Rafsun Chowdhury, redcastor, Robin Cornett, Sergey Biryukov, Simon Prosser, skoldin, spyderbytes, Subrata Sarkar, Sébastien SERRE, Tammie Lister, tharsheblows, Thomas Patrick Levy, timbowesohft, Timothy Jacobs, Tobias Zimpel, Tor-Bjorn Fjellner, Towhidul Islam, Usman Khalid, warmlaundry, William Earnhardt, Yui, and YuriV.

by Paul Biron at August 02, 2018 09:25 PM under Releases

WPTavern: Official Gutenberg Information Site Updated with Interactive Frontend Demo

The official Gutenberg information site has been updated to feature an interactive demo that can be manipulated on the frontend. It is based on Frontenberg, a site created by Tom Nowell, VIP Wrangler at Automattic. It loads an instance of WordPress with Gutenberg on the frontend so visitors don’t have to login or create a test site to try it.

Gutenberg’s new demo replaces the walls of text that were there previously, which described the vision and approach for the new editor and explained blocks in depth with screenshots. Instead, the updated page features shorter, more succinct explanations of the new editor as an interactive part of demo.

The demo is also live on all Rosetta sites, like fr.wordpress.org/gutenberg, so WordPress users from around the world can view it in their own languages.

WordPress contributors are feverishly working to prepare for the “Try Gutenberg” callout that will ship with WordPress 4.9.8, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 2nd. It will be many users’ first exposure to the new editor and the demo gives them a chance to experience it in a hands-on way before making a decision about installing it. Instead of dismissing Gutenberg out of hand based on a quick glance at the screenshots and text, users have the opportunity to test drive it without breaking anything.

by Sarah Gooding at August 02, 2018 05:01 AM under gutenberg

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 325 – A Different Facebook for Everyone

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss what’s new in Gutenberg 3.4 and share our recent experiences with the editor. We talk about Facebook’s decision to shut down its API for apps to publish to user’s profiles on their behalf. This leads to a side rant of our user experience with Facebook and the history between it and Twitter.

We talk about what’s new in WordPress 4.9.8 RC 3 and when you can expect a final release. Last but not least, we discuss Slack’s acquisition of HipChat and share our reasons for joining Twitter.

Stories Discussed:

Gutenberg 3.4 Adds New Warning to Classic Editor When Editing Posts Containing Blocks

WordPress 4.9.8 RC 3 Released, Limits ‘Try Gutenberg’ Callout Visibility

Facebook Shuts Down API for Publishing to User Timelines, Impacts Jetpack’s Publicize Feature

WordPress Coding Standards 1.0.0 Released

WooSesh Virtual WooCommerce Conference to be Held October 18-19

Slack Acquires HipChat, Moves Blog from Medium to WordPress

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, August 8th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #325:

by Jeff Chandler at August 02, 2018 02:02 AM under woosesh

WPTavern: Easy Digital Downloads Substantially Reduces Prices for Extension Passes

Pippin Williamson, founder of Easy Digital Downloads, published an apology on the company’s blog today admitting that it made a mistake in its pricing model for extension passes.

In mid-June, the company introduced a new set of pricing options or passes. The passes come with a single license that provide access to a group of extensions. The prices for each pass were as follows:

  • Personal Pass: $199
  • Extended Pass: $399
  • Professional Pass: $699
  • All Access Pass: $899

After six weeks, Williamson noticed that customers were continuing to purchase individual extensions instead of the passes.

“Our expectation and intent in creating the passes was for store owners to be able to purchase access to multiple individual extensions in a more economical way, but that’s not what happened,” he said.

“Instead, store owners continued to purchase only the individual extensions they needed because the price tags of the passes were still too high. It is clear that we made a mistake in our pass pricing, and so today we’d like to apologize for that and announce new, lower prices.”

After two weeks of testing, the prices of each pass have been significantly reduced to the following amounts:

  • Personal Pass: $99
  • Extended Pass: $199
  • Professional Pass: $299
  • All Access Pass: $499

In addition to the pricing changes, customers who purchased a pass between June 1st and August 1st are eligible for a refund. The refund is equal to the difference of the purchased price and the new price. Customers have until August 15th, to request a refund.

Customers who purchased passes before the reduction will have their renewal amounts automatically changed to the lower price.

Pricing WordPress products and services is tough and requires experimentation. There are numerous WordCamp sessions, articles, and in-depth guides on the subject but there’s not one answer that’s best for every business.

Publicly admitting to a pricing mistake is one thing, but offering refunds to try to get customers on equal footing is going the extra mile.

The company could have handled things in a way that’s not as beneficial to customers, but they chose what I think is a commendable way. Williamson’s closing statement speaks about the way he leads his company and how he makes these types of decisions.

While we are far from perfect, as this pricing mistake clearly indicates, we are dedicated to doing right by our customers. To each of you, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks for sticking with us as we work through these changes

Pippin Williamson

It’s a luxury to have business owners like Williamson in the WordPress economy.

by Jeff Chandler at August 02, 2018 01:00 AM under edd

August 01, 2018

WPTavern: Gutenberg 3.4 Adds New Warning to Classic Editor When Editing Posts Containing Blocks

Gutenberg 3.4 was released yesterday with fixes intended to prepare the plugin for converting existing content to blocks. A wave of new users will soon be testing the new plugin as the result of the “Try Gutenberg” prompt in WordPress 4.9.8. The release date has been pushed back to Thursday, August 2nd.

In early July, the Gutenberg team froze new features on the plugin and shifted to focus on bugs, enhancements, compatibility, and API stability. An overview of the major functionality shipping in Gutenberg is available as a list on GitHub. Gutenberg 3.4 continues refinements on these features.

In preparation for users switching back and forth between the new and old editors, this release adds a warning in the classic editor when users attempt to edit posts that contain blocks.

Shared blocks have been renamed to “Reusable blocks” to better convey their function.

Theme developers can now configure font sizes that show in the editor.

This release also adds other little enhancements, including an edit button for embed blocks, the ability to create a video block by dropping a video on an insertion point, RTL CSS, and accessibility improvements.

Check out the release post for a full list of all the enhancements and bugs fixes in Gutenberg 3.4.

by Sarah Gooding at August 01, 2018 04:46 PM under gutenberg

Dev Blog: The Month in WordPress: July 2018

With WordPress 5.0 coming closer, there’s lots of work going on all across the project. Read on to learn about how we progressed in July.


Release of WordPress 4.9.7

On July 5, WordPress 4.9.7 was released,  fixing one security issue and 17 other bugs across the platform.

While this is a minor release, incremental fixes are essential to keep WordPress running smoothly. Everyone is encouraged to update as soon as possible and to make sure that automatic updates are switched on.

Would you like to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

The New WordPress Editor

In the upcoming minor release of WordPress, 4.9.8, a new section in the dashboard will feature Gutenberg, the upcoming content editor for WordPress.

While the official release of Gutenberg is scheduled for the coming months, you can already install it as a plugin to test it out right now. Additionally, a brand new demo page is now available — play around with the many features the editor has to offer, without installing it on your own site.

Would you like to help build or test Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Page Design Updates on WordPress.org

Bit by bit we’re refreshing the design of WordPress.org. The latest pages to get a new treatment have been the Download page and user profiles.

The Meta and Design teams worked hard to make these new designs a reality, with notable contributions from @melchoyce, @obenland, @mapk, and @kjellr. The new designs enhance the overall look of the site and provide more relevant information to those searching.

Would you like to get involved in the design refresh? Follow the Meta and Design team blogs and join the #meta and #design channels in the Making WordPress Slack group.

The First WP-CLI Hack Day

On Friday July 20, the WP-CLI team held their first hack day — a global event encouraging people to contribute to the official command line tool for WordPress.

Run by @schlessera, the event  was a great success. Twelve pull requests were  merged and another 13 submitted. It also included a video chat to give all contributors a space to meet each other and connect directly.

Would  you like to get involved in contributing to WP-CLI? Follow the team blog and join the #cli channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.

by Hugh Lashbrooke at August 01, 2018 09:11 AM under Month in WordPress

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August 19, 2018 09:00 AM
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