WordPress Planet

January 22, 2022

Gutenberg Times: 42 Block Themes, Developer Hours and Plugins for the block editor — Weekend Edition #200

Well, who would have thunk when I started the newsletter in 2018, that I will still be doing it four years later. Welcome to the 200th edition! A huge “Thank you” to you, dear reader, for browsing and reading it week after week.

I am also deeply grateful for the contributors working on the block editor and the theme and plugin developers building on top of it. I am an absolute fan and love to be a scribe of your work and art. And there are others in the community who write, test, and build sites with it. All your encouragement, tips, news and conversations, make working on this newsletter an absolute pleasure.

Besides the weekend editions, we also publish other articles. There might be more in the future, too. Let me point you to two here.

Don’t miss Anne McCarthy’s article How 5.9 creates a strong foundation for the future. She wrote about the various features the developers are working on and how to participate in the process.

As a reminder, I list here the WordPress 5.9 Reading list for FSE and Block Themes.

And now I get out of the way to the rest of the Gutenberg news. Have a great weekend,

Yours, 💕
Birgit

PS: Last Monday, I was having great fun with the members at the WordPress Meetup in Boulder on a panel with Brian Gardner and Courtney Robertson. discussing various aspects of the upcoming WordPress 5.9 Release. The video and the document with questions and links are now available. Huge Thank you to Angela Bowman for the invitation. She is a wiz with excellent moderating and live demoing skills and she was doing both at the same time.

WordPress Project updates

Tonya Mork, release coordinator for WordPress 5.9 invites you to join the team for the WordPress 5.9 Release Party 🙌 on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022 at 11 am ET / 16:00 UTC. You bring your favorite beverage and cookies, as it all will happen in the #core channel on WordPress Slack. You would need to have an account there.


The BuddyPress Team released the 10.0 version. In his release post Mathieu Viet wrote: “We’ve adjusted our BP Theme Compatibility API so that you can enjoy this amazing feature, making sure that BuddyPress-generated content integrates optimally within themes supporting it.”. Take a look at the rest of the post as the team added some neat features to the social networks plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites.

In a separate note, Viet also announced that the new version won’t load legacy widget by default anymore. Details in this separate note by

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

Gutenberg 12.4

Alex Lende published the release notes for this week’s release: What’s new in Gutenberg 12.4 (19 January )

The highlighted features and enhancements

In a new section he also give kudos to first time contributors for their first merged PRs in this release.


For the 59th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, my co-host, Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I were delighted to have Fabian Kägy as our guest on the show. We discussed Gutenberg 12.4, Developer Hours, how to best implement extensibility of the block editor and much more.

Recording the Gutenberg Changelog #59: Fabian Kägy, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski.

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On the WPTavern, Justin Tadlock, took the new Gutenberg release for a spin. Gutenberg 12.4 Includes Accessibility Improvements, Categories Reminder, and a Tag Cloud Outline Style

Developing for the block editor and building blocks.

Check out Fabian Kägy’s project: Gutenberg Playgrond enables a way to embed a browser-based coding experience of example code within a post. This allows the reader to modify that code on the fly and see the changes, without a build steps or setting up a local dev environment. The project is in its infancy and was inspired by the beta of ReactJS new documentation site. We spoke with Kägy about that project on the Gutenberg Changelog #59


For February and March, we plan a series of Developer Hours, for theme, plugin, freelance, or agency developers to get their burning questions about building blocks, and other feature for the block editor answered. Expert panelist, developers from the Community will be available to discuss code problems, different approaches to solve a problem or just bounce of ideas for future development. You can read more about the details in this Proposal on the Make Blog.

The first event will take place on February 8th, 2022 at 11 am ET / 16:00 UTC with Tammie Lister, Fabian Kägy and Nick Diego. You can register via the WordPress Social Learning space on Meetup.


Marie Comet has to convert content created with the Classic Block to Block and found that tables carefully created, would to be so beautiful when converted to a table block. Her plugin Gutenberg-Convert-Table-Classic, taps into the conversion script and keeps tables in Custom HTML blocks instead. If you ran into a similar problem, modify your plugin as you see fit.

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

GitHub all releases

Using the Block editor and building sites #nocode

Joe Dolson who works as an accessibility consultant and is part of the WordPress Accessibility team posted an answer to those who mocked the WordPress project for hundreds of open accessibility issues on the GitHub repository. It’s rather a sign of increased focus on accessibility. But read for yourself Don’t judge progress by the number of open issues.


For the Torque Magazine, Nick Diego, developer advocate at WPEngine, wrote about Guide to Explorie Block Patterns and answers questions as the Why used them, where to find them and how to use block patterns.


Ask the Bartender: Are There Any Compact and Personal Block Themes?By “compact and personal,” I think of something like a small room cramped with all your belongings, photos, postcards, etc., giving it a cozy feeling (Tumblr themes kind of fit this). ” wrote the person asking the question. Justin Tadlock has some suggestions for her. “Right now, I only know of one block theme that fits into the compact-and-cozy category, and that is Kubrick2. I covered it in detail last month in a review. It is now live on WordPress.org.” Tadlock wrote.


Anne McCarthy is chipping way on the long list of End-user Documentation for WordPress 5.9 and just published the Dimension Controls.

Screenshot on the location of the Dimension Controls for Post Title, Cover and Buttons blocks.

A list of more new documentation pages is available in this post WordPress 5.9 Reading List on Block Themes and Full Site Editing

Plugins extending the block editor

Todo plugin by David Towoju

“Your todo checkboxes will appear both on the frontend and backend. It will even keep the current state of the checkbox when shown on the frontend.” Towoju wrote.

Here is Justin Tadlock’s review on the WPTavern: Create Todo and Checklists in the WordPress Editor With New Plugin


Newsletter Glue by Lesley Sim and Ahmed Fouad

In her post, Newsletter Glue released 2.0, Lesley Sim Informs their users about the the brand-new admin settings user interface for the premium version of the plugin. I have been using this plugin since Dec. 2020, and I would not go back to any other newsletter tool.


Social Sharing Block by Nick Diego

“A simple little block that allows you to add social share icons to the Block Editor. Choose from 10+ of the most popular social channels.” Diego wrote

Justin Tadlock took it for a spin and shared his thought in his article, Nick Diego Forks Core WordPress Block, Creates Social Sharing Plugin.


 Wicked Block Builder by Wicked Plugins

“Create your own custom blocks with Wicked Block Builder! ”

Seems to land in the same space as Genesis Custom Blocks (former Block Labs), Lazy Blocks, ACF Blocks.

You can learn more in from Justin Tadlock on the WPTavern. Wicked Plugins Launches UI-Based WordPress Block Builder


Block Theme development

In his tutorial, An Introduction to WordPress Block Themes, Eric Karkovack takes you on a tour of the different components that make a Block Theme: Template files, folder structure, using theme.json for styling and creating templates. The article is a quick overview with a comprehensive list of resources to learn more.


Theme team member, Ganga Kafle started a Twitter Thread with this question:

Why are you not submitting block themes in WordPress as you submit classic themes on a regular basis? What are the reasons behind it? Please comment below.

Ganga Kafle on Twitter

Sarah Gooding picked up the answers and put them into bigger context. “Why Aren’t More WordPress Theme Authors Creating Block Themes?”.

When I saw the tweet, I thought, WordPress 5.9 hasn’t been released yes, how can there be an expectation that there is a mass submission of block themes happening? Some theme developers did anyway. Ahead of Tuesday’s release, 42 Block Themes built for Fullsite Editing are already available in the WordPress Themes directory.

WordPress Social Learning Events (and Meetups)

January 23, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
WordPress: the Next Generation with Sallie Goetsch via The East Bay WordPress Meetup Group

January 24, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
What Will WordPress 5.9 Mean for You? with Ray and Peter Ingersoll via WordPress Hartford, CT

January 26 , 2022, 1 pm ET / 18:00 UTC
Zero to Block Theme Series #2: theme.json with Daisy Olsen via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 26, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
Intro to Templates and Template Parts (Full Site Editing) with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 28, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Demo: Build Your Homepage Using Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 4, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Beginner’s Guide to Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 7, 2022, 12pm (noon) ET / 17:00 UTC
Taking Control Over the Editor for Client Builds with Fabian Kägy via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 8th, 2022 11 am / 16:00 UTC
Developer Hours with Birgit Pauli-Haack and expert panel via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 9th, 2022 5pm ET / 22:00 UTC
Using Block Patterns with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 11, 2022 – 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Breaking it Down: Blocks, Patterns, And Templates with Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 14, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
Exploring Theme Blocks with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 22, 2022 10:21 PM under Weekend Edition

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #59 – Gutenberg 12.4, Developer Hours, Extensibility of the Block Editor and more

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss with their guest, Fabian Kägy Gutenberg 12.4, Developer Hours, and how to best implement extensibility of the block editor

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

Developer HoursRegister for Feb 8th, 2022 at 11 am ET / 16:00 UTC via Meetup

Community Contributions

Gutenberg Playground project by Fabian Kägy

Gutenberg Playground website

GitHub repo

Official Storybook website

What’s released?

WordPress 5.9 Release Day Process and Party!

What’s new in Gutenberg 12.4 ( 19 January )

WPTavern: Gutenberg 12.4 Includes Accessibility Improvements, Categories Reminder, and a Tag Cloud Outline Style

What’s in active development or discussed

Proposal for opening the editor interface to more extensibility GitHub Discussion started by Fabian Kägy

Query Loop: Add support for custom taxonomies filtering

Query Loop: Add multiple authors support

Allow switching global styles variations

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Transcript is in the works…

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 22, 2022 07:46 PM under Gutenberg

WPTavern: WP Career Summit Opens Registration, Calls for Speakers and Sponsors

WP Career Summit is a new event hosted by the Post Status community that will take place on April 8, 2022. The summit is the first of its kind in the WordPress space – an event entirely focused on job seekers and employers.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with each other, check out job postings, visit live virtual sponsor tables, and connect with companies that are actively hiring.

“Back in 2020 I saw companies posting jobs and I saw friends posting a need for jobs, and I thought we needed to find a way to match those people with companies,” WP Career Summit organizer Michelle Frechette said. “So I built wpcareerpages.com and started tweeting a job thread every Wednesday.”

After awhile of regularly tweeting the Wednesday job thread, Frechette found that it started to take off. Depending on the week, her threads would get anywhere from 2k-18k impressions.

“Clearly, there is a need,” she said. “I’ve had people tell me they’ve found their new job through those tweets. As a result of that project and conversations with Allie Nimmons around underrepresentation, underrepresentedintech.com was born, and projects and people started getting paired up through that site.”

Frechette said when she first joined the team at Post Status, she was tasked with writing about underrepresentation and job-related content, topics for which she has a passion. She pitched the idea of a career conference to Cory Miller, the club’s new owner, and he loved it.

“My hope is that this summit is the start of even bigger conversations in the WordPress community about connecting talent with opportunity, especially for those graduating from training and education and starting their careers,” Frechette said. “If we can get younger talent into WordPress, in my opinion, we should see even more growth in our ecosystem.”

The call for speakers and sponsors is now open. Jonathan Wold is managing the sponsorship aspect of the event and Post Status has hired Dan Maby from Big Orange Heart to run the tech part of the conference using the platform he developed and uses for WordFest.

Organizers are looking for speakers who are particularly adept at job hunting or who are knowledgeable about how to recruit and hire talent. Selected speakers will share their expertise in 30-minute recorded presentations and will receive a $200 stipend for participating. WP Career Summit will be a virtual event but will have 15 minutes of live Q&A time immediately following each session.

Registration is now open and is free, thanks to the event’s sponsors. Attendees will be emailed information about how to log in and participate closer to the event.

by Sarah Gooding at January 22, 2022 02:50 AM under WP Career Summit

January 21, 2022

WPTavern: BlackPress Meetup To Host Meet and Greet Mixer on January 27

Established this year by Destiny Fox Kanno and Joe A. Simpson, Jr, the BlackPress Meetup group will host its first event next week. It will be a meet-and-greet social hour for attendees. The session will run from 7pm to 8pm CST on Thursday, January 27.

There is also a BlackPress Slack group they want to raise awareness about and bring more people in. It can be handy for members to asynchronously communicate about the event, discuss broader topics, and talk with others.

“Our goal is to both bring more creators of Black African descent into the WordPress Community and also provide a Community space for those already there to connect, learn from, and support each other,” responded the organizers on the reason for the Meetup. “This Meetup was also created to raise awareness about WordPress, recruit organizers and volunteers, and eventually lead to a WordCamp-style event on an HBCU campus.”

Kanno is an Automattic-sponsored Developer Relations Advocate from the San Francisco Bay area. She helps global WordPress contributors get the most out of available tools and resources to create products and sites for and with globally-diverse online communities.

Simpson is a Digital Communications Administrator at Metro Los Angeles and a team rep for the WordPress Accessibility Team. He is also a Community Deputy, leading three WordCamps and two WordPress-related Meetups in Santa Clarita, California.

The format of the event is an open video chat. There will be a central room where anyone can chime in at any time. However, there will also be some time in breakout rooms if there is a large enough turnout. This would allow more intimate discussions and attendees to speak directly with others.

Currently, the co-organizers are not yet shooting for weekly meetings. “We would love to have a regular schedule like that, but since this group has just started, we are targeting monthly Meetups for now while we build our network and momentum,” they responded. “Once we have regular membership, we will most definitely try to accommodate not only more regular meetings but more meetings in other time zones as well.”

This also plays into how they will run future events and their content. The goal for the first Meetup is to identify the community’s needs. Some example questions they posed were:

  • Do we have a large number of folks who are creating themes and plugins or are working on design, accessibility, or marketing, etc.?
  • Are folks mostly freelancers or working for larger businesses?

“Once we get a better understanding of this, we would like to create more targeted events and spaces for folks to knowledge share and collaborate with their peers,” they said.

They are also looking for speakers to present at future events. Anyone interested should let the co-organizers know if they can contribute.

“We definitely have ambitions to have our next Meetup event include a speaker for a certain topic — potentially a look ahead for the 6.0 WordPress release,” they said. “We are also hopeful to have a Mega Meetup event as this is a globally-focused group and an end-of-year release holiday party event.”

Meet and Greet Mixer

Thursday, January 27, 2022
7pm – 8pm CST

Description: Please join us for BlackPress’s first meetup event focused on networking with fellow community members. During this first social hour, we’d like to also talk about what you’d like to see from this meetup group! Do you have a speaker you’d like to invite or a discussion topic for our next meetup? We’re all ears!

Looking forward to connecting with you all!

by Justin Tadlock at January 21, 2022 10:40 PM under News

Post Status: WordPress as a Commons

Open source governance and WordPress as a commons have been a hot topic this past couple of weeks. Having both watched the discussion and shared my informal thoughts on Twitter as well as the Post Status Slack group, I was invited to write a lengthier article about the subject.

To begin, here’s a summary of my current thoughts:

As WordPress matures, I believe more open discussion needs to be had about:

  • How the various WordPress and Automattic entities are inextricably linked
  • Potential conflicts of interest
  • Who officially speaks for the WordPress open source project internally and externally
  • Transparency and formalization around governance

WordPress: Where we are now and why it’s worth writing about

I agreed to write this article as I’ve long been interested in this topic. It was the excuse I needed to dive headfirst into the multitude of posts, research, and books that I knew existed but didn’t previously have time for.

As it turns out, this article was very difficult to write because the more I learned, the more my views and writing evolved.

I’m writing this to bring awareness and not blind criticism to these issues. I want to ignite curiosity and conversation around them as I believe they are worth discussing.

Where I’ve landed is a place of empathy, respect, and curiosity. To get to where we are, WordPress’ leaders had to get so much right. It’s impressive, and I’m so glad to be a part of this community.

And yet, there’s so much more to be done.

What follows are my thoughts and explorations on this subject. I’m writing them not because I believe I’m smart and/or right, but because:

  • I believe more transparency and research are needed around the subjects of governance and WordPress as a commons.
  • I believe this is something that should be actively discussed so that good ideas might emerge from bad ones; and that, with every new person and perspective that joins, previously hidden research and successful case studies might be unearthed so we might learn from them.
  • I believe this is a very complex issue that benefits from more eyes, brains, voices, and, most importantly, sunlight. Without bringing the history and consequences of past choices to light, we risk wrongly calling for reform and failing the Chesterton’s Fence heuristic.

In short, I’m writing this to bring awareness and not blind criticism to these issues. I want to ignite curiosity and conversation around them as I believe they are worth discussing.

The convoluted current state of affairs

There’s a lack of clarity and distinction around the roles and responsibilities of Automattic, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and the WordPress Foundation.

As a result, it’s not clear who external and internal parties should turn to for guidance, governance, and more.

As an example, here’s some of the confusing overlap between leadership roles at WordPress:

Matt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic, the organization that runs WordPress.com: a hosting company. He is also the Director of the WordPress Foundation, a charitable organization he founded. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy is an employee of Automattic and the lead for their open source division. She is also the Executive Director of the WordPress Project. As far as I can tell, Josepha has no direct ties to the WordPress Foundation despite the significant overlap in its mission and her job scope.

If all this sounds quite confusing, it’s because it is. Personally, I didn’t even know the WordPress Foundation existed until I did the research for this article.

In fact, Matt and Josepha, themselves, have difficulty delineating where Automattic begins and WordPress.org starts. Here’s an excerpt from Episode 8: The Commons of Images at the WP Briefing, a podcast hosted by Josepha. This episode features Matt talking about Automattic’s acquisition of CC Search, now renamed Openverse:

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  15:47

I’ve been asked a few times, and I think you have been asked a few times whether this is an actual acquisition. And If yes, then what entity is it under? Is it under the WordPress Foundation? Is it under Automattic?

Matt Mullenweg  16:10

It’s a little complicated because, as you know, WordPress.org is not part of the Foundation. So basically, Automattic paid Creative Commons, the nonprofit. They will essentially redirect the old URL, so old links to Creative Commons Search won’t break. And we ended up hiring some of the people that they were parting ways with into Automattic. And then we put that open source code, and we’ll run the service on WordPress.org, and then those we hired, Automattic hired, will contribute to WordPress.org and the open source projects that power what we’re calling Openverse now.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  16:54

I am.

Matt Mullenweg  16:56

That’s kind of an acquisition, but also from a nonprofit, and then going into something, which is not a nonprofit, but is open source and sort of freely available, which is WordPress.org, the website.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  17:06

Yeah, that has been hard for me to answer because you’re right, it’s not like it was donated to WordPress or something. But everything that we’re doing is being donated back to the project, and of course, hopefully, really living into that WordPress ethos that we have of giving back to, to the project, something that made your work and your life better. So there’s some, some finger-crossing going on in there.

Episode 8: The Commons of Images at the WP Briefing.

As you can see, the blurred lines can lead to some very interesting organizational relationships. Many of which are difficult, if not impossible, to untangle.

To be fair, this isn't just criticism. I believe the blurred lines are a large reason why the WordPress open source project has been so successful. It’s much easier to advance an open source project from the CEO seat of a multi-billion dollar corporation than it is as the Director of a charitable organization with donations amounting to $10k in 2020.

This benefit is huge and why it’s hard to confidently say the current state of affairs is untenable. This is also why I'm calling for discussion rather than a call to action.

Next, let's look at the internal and external implications of this entanglement.

Looking Outward: The Wider Ecosystem 

WordPress doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s built on the backs of other open source projects, like PHP. Additionally, there are many other open source CMSes that exist, like Drupal. Finally, millions of sites are built on WordPress, like whitehouse.gov. This is the ecosystem within which WordPress exists.

Open source projects like PHP and Drupal have foundations and associations that are the faces of the software projects and their communities. When things go wrong, stakeholders need to have somewhere to find guidance and seek help. Through these organizations, each project has the leadership to guide and defend it. In contrast, WordPress’ foundation seems more like a side project than a governing body.

WordPress professionals often throw around the 40% market share figure WordPress commands. A number that spiked in the pandemic and has only continued to grow.

But as adoption increases, so do the risks. Having a small hamstrung foundation is an interesting experiment if WordPress was simply a quaint, albeit popular, way to blog. It becomes an issue when the American government calls the next Open Source Summit and 40% of the web is not adequately represented.

Questions worth asking about WordPress and its wider ecosystem

As I mentioned at the beginning, the point of this post isn’t to provide answers. It’s to ignite curiosity and conversation. Here are some questions worth asking:

Questions about WordPress and the wider ecosystem

  • Who officially speaks for WordPress, the open source project?

Questions about The WordPress Foundation

  • Is there a constitution, mandate or goals? Who wrote and approved them?
  • Who does the Foundation represent?
  • Who are its members? And how does one become a member?
  • Who are its leaders? And how does one become a leader?
  • What are the responsibilities of the various roles?
  • How are decisions made and issues tabled?

Questions about potential conflicts of interest

  • Where does Automattic end and the Foundation start?
  • As an employee of Automattic, is Josepha Haden Champosy’s responsibility first and foremost to the company or the WordPress open source project?
  • Are there examples of past conflicts of interest? How were they resolved?
  • What are some advantages of the current way of doing things? What would we be foregoing if the Foundation had more power? Are the trade-offs worth it?

Looking Inward: The WordPress Community

Internally, there are two key issues that surface time and again in varying forms within the WordPress community. They are:

  1. Insufficient repercussions for bad actors. Lots of people abuse the system and sanctions are applied haphazardly or not at all.
  2. Onboarding more contributors. It’s hard to get the number of contributors we need and onboard them at scale.

At the face of it, these issues don’t seem related to governance or the lack of clarity and formalization around leadership and systems. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see how they’re linked. For example, the lack of formalization around WordPress’ governance makes enforceability difficult as enforcers don’t have much of a mandate. It also makes it hard to lobby for more resources when you don’t know to whom you should lobby or how.

Let’s explore these concerns with more specificity below.

1. Insufficient repercussions for bad actors

Bad actors are inevitable in a project as large and diverse as WordPress. Eliminating them would be as impossible as eliminating crime in a country. This isn’t a discussion about that. 

Instead, what matters is the lack of disincentives for bad actors. Rules are notoriously implemented on an ad hoc basis, and people who have been banned can simply reappear with new email addresses. Furthermore, there are no repercussions for poor or inconsistent enforcement. Nor are there formal processes to report poor enforcement or review how the rules are being applied. If no one is watching the watchers, how do we know if they’re doing a good job?

Questions worth asking about rules, enforcement, and oversight

  • Who enforces the rules?
  • How are they chosen?
  • Who ensures the enforcers are doing a good job? And what can be done if they’re not?
  • Who writes the rules?
  • Who decides if the rules should be changed?
  • What is the process for deciding if the rules should be changed?

2. Onboarding more contributors

As WordPress grows, the number of contributors needs to grow too. To understand the mindset of a potential contributor, we can use a simple equation proposed by Aldo Cortesi that’s inspired by Elinor Ostrom’s original equation governing physical commons.

BC > BN + C

BC is the benefit of contributing, which has to outweigh the cost of contributing (C) plus the benefit of not contributing (BN).

Let’s first explore BC: the benefits of contributing

BC (benefit of contributing) can also be called Incentives.

Currently, most major contribution efforts are from full-time employees of some of the biggest companies in the ecosystem. Their remuneration is their main incentive for doing the work. This is pretty clear-cut.

Let’s make it even simpler: You want to introduce FOMO for non-contributors.

The long tail of work is contributed out of personal interest and wanting to give back to the community aka a “helping the commons” mentality.

A basket of incentives

People are often quick to equate incentives with money, but money is just one of many incentives, and I believe it’s the least compelling.

While money is a critical and necessary part of any incentive structure, it’s never just about the money for most people. If it were, people would optimize solely to make it. They wouldn’t be contributing to an open source project, they’d be trading NFTs, mining minerals, financing M&A; or whatever it is that brings in the most money these days.

Prominent open source maintainer Jeff Geerling explains in a helpful blog post on the burdens of an open source maintainer, “The truth is, money won't prevent the next Log4J vulnerability or prevent maintainer burnout (leading to the next colors and faker fiasco). It helps, and it's necessary to try to fund developers better—but you can't just say “Microsoft should pay developer X $80,000/year and that will prevent another Shellshock.”

In practice, money can only solve money problems, like rent, medical bills, and debt. But beyond that, additional incentives are needed to ensure meaningful contributions are made to maintain a healthy commons.

BN: Benefits of not contributing

The goal is to have as low a BN as possible.

The weird “benefit that you want to reduce” phrasing is tricky to understand. Here’s how you can look at it:

All improvements made to the WordPress commons are shared by all. When this happens, people benefit even when they don’t contribute. In order to reduce the benefit of not contributing, you want to create some benefits that are only accessible to people who do contribute.

Let’s make it even simpler: You want to introduce FOMO for non-contributors. (Fear of Missing Out)

Got it? Great.

Cost: Lowering cost/barriers to contribution

One need only turn to Twitter to feel the frustrations of the high costs of contributing. As WordPress developer, Dan Cameron, shared in his tweet, “the major problem, from my experience, is that a valid contribution can be ignored — for years. The only way to “contribute” is to be directed by a release lead, and most of those experiences can be very exhausting/frustrating.”

I imagine many others have similar experiences. It has been my experience too. In the past couple of years, I’ve made tiny contributions in the form of FSE testing, reporting a bug, and most recently, proofreading posts for Learn WP.

In all three cases, I needed at least 10-20 mins of help each from Anne McCarthy, Tonya Mork, Israel Barragan, and Courtney Robertson. They helpfully explained the steps I needed to take to contribute. They helped me get set up, gave me context, and set expectations so I was able to contribute correctly and in the WordPress way.

I need to make it clear that the 3 tasks I did were very simple things. The amount of time it took for them to help me was far more than the time I took to contribute.

Now imagine scaling this up and you can quickly see the bottleneck.

Questions worth asking about onboarding more contributors

General questions

  • Who are the people responsible for improving the contributor experience? How were they chosen? What are their roles and mandates? How are they paid/incentivized?
  • What’s currently being done to make it easier to onboard contributors?
  • What would a world look like if contributions were normalized?
  • What is the “between the cracks” work of contributions that needs to be done?
  • What are the minimum requirements of a contributor and where can I find them?

Questions about benefits of contributing (BC)

  • How can we increase the benefits of contributing, in ways that aren’t solely financial?
  • How can we celebrate contributors?

Questions about benefits of not contributing (BN)

  • How can we increase FOMO for non-contributors?
  • How can we make it less intimidating to contribute?

Questions about costs of contributing

  • What are the current costs of contributing?
  • Should we decrease the cost of contributing? In what way are the current costs necessary?
  • How can we decrease the cost of contributing?
  • If I don’t want to speak with anybody in the process, are there still ways for me to contribute?
  • What informal, social cues exist for contributors that ought to be formalized and documented? Which should persist?
  • In what ways is contributing frustrating? Intimidating? How can we reduce this?
  • How can we encourage contributions from people for whom English is not their first language, beyond just polyglot work?
  • How can we give money to contributors to reduce the opportunity cost of contributing?

WordPress as a commons

If you made it this far, you might have noticed I mentioned ‘WordPress as a commons’ multiple times. Indeed, that’s the title of this post!

So before I wrap up, let’s explore this concept a little bit more and see why it matters.

What is the tragedy of the commons?

The term tragedy of the commons was conceived of by Garrett Hardin in 1968.

To understand what it means, let’s refer to an explanation by the International Association for the Study of the Commons:

When people share a resource they will over-harvest it because it is in their individual interest to take as much from the resource as possible; depletion of the commons could, according to Hardin, only be prevented via private property rights and governmental regulation. The term ‘tragedy’ referred to the argument that people are not able to self-govern common resources.

Matt Mullenweg loves talking about WordPress as a commons. In fact, he recently spoke at length about it in the State of the Word 2021. Here’s an excerpt:

In the digital world, at least, I think it’s possible to have an abundance of the commons. So the more people that use a program the better. It gets [better] in so many ways — more bugs get reported, more translations happening,… more plugins get developed, more themes get developed. And so the more people that use WordPress, WordPress doesn’t get any worse for any of you. In fact, the more people that use it, the better it gets.

But part of that is some percentage of the people who essentially directly benefit from WordPress, putting something back into the comments, fertilizing the soil, planting some more grass…

Excerpt taken from The WP Minute’s transcription of the talk.

Avoiding the tragedy of the commons

Since learning about the tragedy of the commons in university, I always believed the tragedy was inevitable and every commons was bound to either fail or become privatized. And all one could do was put off the inevitable for as long as possible.

Imagine my delight when I found out researchers across multiple fields have found many real-world examples of self-sustaining commons that neither ended in tragedy nor needed the installation of private property rights or government regulation.

The most notable of these researchers is Nobel Laureate, Elinor Ostrom.

Most famously, she derived 8 principles necessary for successful self-governance. They are:

  1. The common pool resource has clearly-defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external unentitled parties)
  2. There is congruence between the resource environment and its governance structure or rules
  3. Decisions are made through collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate
  4. Rules are enforced through effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators
  5. Violations are punished with graduated sanctions
  6. Conflicts and issues are addressed with low-cost and easy-to-access conflict resolution mechanisms
  7. Higher-level authorities recognize the right of the resource appropriators to self-govern
  8. In the case of larger common-pool resources: rules are organized and enforced through multiple layers of nested enterprises

The tragedy of not talking about Elinor Ostrom

Given how often Matt talks about it, I’ve always found it curious that he never mentions Ostrom or that this problem has already been demonstrably solved many times or that principles exist to solve it.

However, I thought to bring it up because so many of her principles map to the issues raised in this article.

Questions worth asking about successful self-governance

  • Do all of Ostrom’s 8 principles apply to WordPress?
  • How can Ostrom’s 8 principles be applied to WordPress?
  • In what ways are Ostrom’s 8 principles already successfully applied in WordPress?
  • Are there any articles of successfully self-governed open source projects written about how their governance maps to Ostrom’s principles?
  • What are Matt and Josepha’s views on Ostrom?

Further discussion

As I said at the beginning, I don’t profess to have any answers. The purpose of this post was to further discussion around a variety of topics because I believe they are important ones for the community.

As such, I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post. So it’s only fitting that I end it with even more!

Here are a bunch of bird’s eye view questions to further the discussion:

  • The WordPress open source project is inextricably linked to Automattic. How is this a good thing? How is this a bad thing? 
  • What are the conflicts of interest?
  • At this point, the WordPress Foundation doesn’t do much or have much power. Should it be given more? Why? Why not?
  • How can we better regulate our community and enforce rules?
  • In what way is the current lack of formalization good?
  • In what way are the current obstacles to contributing good?
  • How can we make it easier for contributors to contribute?
  • What can we learn from other large open source projects?
  • How can we use Ostrom’s principles to become a better self-governing community?

Resources and further reading

Acknowledgments and final thoughts

I want to thank Dan Knauss for helping edit this monster of a piece and encouraging me to write it in the first place. Blame me for all the bad stuff, and thank him for all the good! Big thanks also to Aurooba Ahmed for providing a final sanity check and round of edits.

Finally, I’d like to reiterate that WordPress is a gigantic project and while this post is wide-ranging, it doesn’t begin to cover all the facets and considerations out there. I know I’ve failed to highlight many important facts and perspectives. That’s inevitable.

Rather than attempt to do it all myself, I heartily encourage you to join the conversation and write a blog post of your own!

Thanks for reading. I hope I sparked your interest in these topics, and I can’t wait to see where your curiosity takes you.

Lesley Sim

Lesley Sim has been a government employee, an ad agency suit, and a freediving instructor… and then she found WordPress. She built sites on WordPress as part of her digital marketing agency and moved on to building plugins last year. Now, she focuses on Newsletter Glue, a plugin that connects your email service provider to WordPress and turns the block editor into a newsletter builder so you can build and send newsletters directly from WordPress.

by Dan Knauss at January 21, 2022 06:00 PM under Community Questions

Post Status: Can Five for the Future Fund WordPress Research?

Many of the big companies in tech have a practice of issuing annual Calls for Proposals for research into key questions relevant to their industry and the toughest challenges they face. Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Amazon all sponsor research awards and academic programs. 

Why not WordPress?

Context: Why We Need Research to Answer Our Hardest Questions

Most open-source software (OSS) projects suffer from sustainability issues that could affect their long-term future survival and/or impact many other projects that are built on top of them. 

As with any shared resource, OSS has a participation-inequality problem where participants can benefit from others’ contributions even if they do not contribute themselves, but if nobody cooperates the community loses as a whole. This “volunteer’s dilemma” is similar to the well-known concept of the tragedy of the commons.

Following a Community-wide Call for Proposals that generates many well-defined, actionable research ideas, we could pursue the resources needed to make the research studies a reality.

The more critical the project, the more we should all be concerned about its future. Today, WordPress and a number of well-known WordPress plugins are indeed critical projects in a global context where big Tech companies and national governments are taking a deeper interest in their security.

Thanks to initiatives like Five for the Future, WordPress (core) has a significant number of paid contributors so it is in a better situation than many other projects, but this doesn’t mean we are safe or that we could not advance faster if we were able to attract (and retain!) more contributors in the WordPress ecosystem.

There are many strategies we could borrow from other communities, but each community is different we cannot just copy and paste their solutions. No single solution has had spectacular success on its own anyway; in fact, OSS sustainability is an important ongoing research area because there are no definitive solutions. 

We need to first agree on what (sub)challenges we consider the most relevant one/s, what resources are available to address those challenges, and how we want to allocate these resources. 

Call for Proposals: What Are the Most Important Questions to Ask?

Let’s look at some (overlapping) topics I’d like to see discussed/analyzed in the coming year and beyond. The questions below target different dimensions of the WordPress community, and many of them are inspired by some of the research I’ve seen or done in software analytics conferences and journals like OSS, MSR, or EMSE

  • Scope: What should we be most concerned about?  
    • Only with WordPress itself?
    • The WordPress ecosystem of plugins, themes, blocks, etc.?
    • The libraries that WordPress uses internally?
  • Onboarding New Members: How can we attract more contributors?
    • Would moving development to GitHub lower the barrier to entry? (Especially for occasional contributors who will not install Subversion just to make a small contribution.)
    • Are we able to attract JavaScript people? (We are probably better at attracting PHP people.)
    • How can we best attract non-coding contributors? (Who are clearly important in any OSS project.)
    • What is the best strategy to help people who would be interested in contributing? (E.g., mentoring, “first-bug” labels, bug bounties, reaching out to specific communities where we think there could be interested people.)
  • Contributors: How can we keep new members and help them grow?
    • How to turn new members into regular contributors? 
    • Why do some leave?
    • What benefits can we give regular contributors (e.g. visibility) for contributing?
    • How do we reward contributors? (For sure, not based on the number of commits. We should investigate more complex models using tools like SourceCred.)
    • How do we redirect contributors to the areas that require more work? (I can tell you this will not happen naturally, so we need to gently push people to work where we need them.)
    • Could bots be a useful tool to help contributors focus on the important and creative tasks?
  • Community Analysis
    • Volunteers and Paid Contributors: We need clear numbers informing the ratio between paid and unpaid volunteers, and where those “paid” ones come from if we want to make sure the companies sponsoring the work get also the credit.
    • Leader Identification: Who are the unsung heroes of each WordPress component, i.e. those who are always commenting on threads regarding that component and whose opinion is usually accepted? If we identify them, we could somehow use them as leaders in that area.
    • Governance Model: How do we manage the contributions? Is it fair? Is it fast? Is it encouraging people to contribute more? Less? “Who decides what and when” is an important influence (or barrier) for potential new contributors.
    • Transparency: Is the governance model explicit enough? Do only those “inside” really know “how things work?”
    • Toxicity/Quality of Conversations: Are our discussions threads friendly enough? Are new opinions heard or immediately shut down? Is the code of conduct enforced?
    • Diversity Analysis: Is our community diverse enough?
    • Temporal Analysis: We cannot rely on a static picture of dynamic community processes; many of the questions above need to be analyzed over time to detect trends.

Resources and Allocation: How Would Proposals Be Funded and Executed?

Following a Community-wide Call for Proposals that generates many well-defined, actionable research ideas, we could pursue the resources needed to make the research studies a reality.

For example:

  • Research contributions could be part of the Five for the Future program so companies can decide to contribute by sponsoring researchers alongside other types of contributions.
  • We could start with a simpler process where either companies themselves choose and sponsor a research team, or a new “WordPress research committee” channels funding to a specific research team. (This would be the same as existing company-sponsored individual contributors.)
  • If we see a WordPress research initiative grow, we could move to a more “formal” model (under the WordPress foundation perhaps) where we ask teams to submit proposals (that fit in the challenges we choose for that year) — and then we choose projects based on a number of standard criteria for evaluating scientific proposals.

We Want Your Feedback!

Do you have ideas for a WordPress research project? Do you have the capacity to fund or perform research?

We'd like your considered response to this proposal in Post Status Slack, if you're a Post Status member. You can also get in touch with Jordi there and through his contact information below.

If you'd like to get in touch with the Post Status team with a proposal of your own for the WordPress community, we welcome all thoughtful submissions.

Jordi Cabot

Jordi Cabot is currently an ICREA Research Professor at the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3), a research center of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona where he leads the SOM research team for “Systems, Software and Models.”

Jordi can be reached in Post Status Slack or at jordicabot.com and jordi.cabot@icrea.cat.

by Dan Knauss at January 21, 2022 02:45 PM under Community Questions

Post Status: Front-End Performance in WordPress

Front-end performance in WordPress is all about first impressions and using those first impressions to create a positive experience for your website visitors. In this webinar, Mike Crantea and Sabrina Zeidan from XWP unpack how to think about front-end performance and where to focus your efforts to create positive experiences for your site's visitors.

This webinar is focused on guiding business owners on how to think about performance in WordPress. You will learn the general principles behind front end performance. Then you'll get an introduction to some standard tools for monitoring site performance followed by some tactics for improving your website's performance. 

Guests:

  • Mike Crantea, Principal Engineer at XWP and Performance Advocate 
  • Sabrina Zeidan, Performance Engineer at XWP

Host: Jonathan Wold, Post Status Partnerships

Topics:

  • How to think about front-end performance in WordPress. 🤔
  • Tools available to you. 🔧
  • Practical tips and recommendations. 💁‍♀️

Our Guests:

Mike Crantea

Principal Engineer at XWP

Principal Engineer at XWP and Performance Advocate.

Passionate for Frontend Architecture and Web Performance, writing about it.

Follow Mike on Twitter and GitHub.

Sabrina Zeidan

Performance Engineer at XWP

Performance Engineer at XWP.

All-things WordPress performance, and talking about it. 

One of the many whose lives have been changed by the WordPress Community.

Content Team Lead at WordCamp Europe 2022.

Follow Sabrina on Twitter.

Your Host:

Jonathan Wold is the Strategist for Post Status. He joined the WordPress community in 2004, fell in love with WordPress, and has been all in ever since. Jonathan thinks about WordPress as an Operating System for creating on the Open Web and invests his time and energy into growing the WordPress ecosystem. He leads partnership efforts at Post Status and stirs up trouble wherever he can.

Every week Post Status Live will brief you on important WordPress news — in about 15 minutes or less! Learn what's new in WordPress in a flash. ⚡

You can listen to past episodes of Post Status Live, browse all our podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or by RSS. 🎧

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

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by Olivia Bisset at January 21, 2022 04:53 AM under Everyone

WPTavern: BuddyPress 10.0.0 Released, Introduces Site Membership Requests and Visual Improvements to Activity Logs

BuddyPress 10.0.0 “La Pino’z” was released today, named for a popular pizza chain in India with more than 350 restaurants.

This major release introduces a Site Membership Requests feature, which can be enabled in the Options screen of the BuddyPress settings menu in the admin. When active, it changes the registration process so that visitors can submit a membership request, which must be manually approved by a site administrator.

Site Membership Requests Form

Pending accounts can be managed in the admin on the Users screen. Check out the BuddyPress codex for screenshots of every step in the site membership requests workflow.

Version 10.0.0 brings major visual improvements to the activity logs, designed to make them more engaging. Activity items like changed profile pictures, new friends, new group creation, and other updates will now be displayed with images.

“The new update also saves your avatar change timeline,” BuddyPress developer Varun Dubey said in the feature’s dev note. “For example, when a user uploads a new avatar, the previously uploaded one is moved inside a history subdirectory of the user’s avatar directory. This avatar’s history is then available for the new_avatar activities to display the avatar the user had when these were published.”

Users will also notice a new “Recycle” tab inside the change profile photo UI that lets them manage and delete previously uploaded avatars.

Other notable additions include updates to the BuddyPress administration UI, with screens that match the layout WordPress uses for its tabbed screens like Site Health or Privacy.

Version 10.0.0 introduces a new BuddyPress Add-Ons tab on the “Add Plugins” admin screen where users can find stable BP Components or BP Blocks that are maintained by the BuddyPress development team. These are features they have decided to keep independent from core but want to make more widely available in the plugin directory. The BP Search Block is the first to be displayed on this screen.

BuddyPress Add-Ons

This release updates the BP Theme Compatibility API so that BuddyPress content is compatible with FSE in WordPress 5.9. It also adds companion stylesheets to the BP Nouveau Template Pack for compatibility with the new Twenty Twenty-Two default theme.

For a full rundown of everything new in 10.0.0, including more than 70 changes and performance improvements, check out the release notes.

by Sarah Gooding at January 21, 2022 03:48 AM under News

Gutenberg Times: How 5.9 creates a strong foundation for the future

Photo by Rodolfo Quirós from Pexels

With attention on WordPress 5.9 set to launch January 25th, 2022, this post seeks to paint a picture of the future that this strong foundation of this upcoming WordPress release provides. In many ways, what you’ll find in 5.9 is just the beginning of various pieces of functionality and, by the end of the post, you too should see why.

For now, keep in mind two things: it’s impossible to estimate when the following items will be implemented and these are just a few of many exciting things being explored.

Robust block theme switching

While 5.9 marks the exciting introduction of block themes, the power of this new approach to themes doesn’t stop there, especially when you think about what will be possible across different block themes. For example, imagine a world where one could seamlessly take patterns from one theme, styling from another, and templates from yet another to create a site. Or imagine being able to switch themes while retaining your favorite palette of colors and typography. This is all being explored! To learn more, check out this wonderful design dive from a Core contributor on the design team. 

Switch between built in style variations with block themes

Right now, each block theme comes with one set of styles and settings bundled in a theme.json file. In the future, block themes can be bundled with multiple Style options, allowing you to switch between vastly different looks without changing themes. In the future, after finding one you like, you could then customize your site further using the Styles system in place from 5.9! This could radically change the experience of exploring and using themes, perhaps allowing you to use Styles from one theme in a different one or allowing theme authors to ship new Style variations as updates to their theme. All of this begs the question of how the theme directory can be reimagined to highlight how there are almost multiple themes built into each block theme thanks to these different variations. There’s both a ton to be figured out here and to look forward to.

You can see this concept demonstrated in the following video pulled from the Introducing Twenty Twenty-Two post:

To stay on top of this work, check out this PR currently underway

Create more types of templates

While WordPress 5.9 allows you to add some types of templates, there are numerous others that folks are keen to build. For example, what if you wanted a custom template for a specific category of posts or for a custom post type? These are all different types of templates to explore adding to the site editor! To see what types of templates are being explored, check out this GitHub issue on the topic

Updated color picker experience

With more color options coming to WordPress, the color panel is getting a makeover to ensure it’s even easier to customize for all the various blocks that make use of this functionality. 

Current design

Current color picker experience showing only one color option rather than all.

Upcoming design 

Upcoming color picker experience, showing a panel off to the side and each color listed clearly in the sidebar.

As you can see, with this new experience, it makes better use of the sidebar and it allows you to see the current choices at a glance. To stay up to date with this work, check out this overview GitHub tracking issue

Save and schedule changes in the site editor

In the Customizer, you could save and schedule changes you wanted to make to your site’s design. Currently, in the site editor, this isn’t yet possible but is being planned. To stay up to date with this work, check out this issue.

Find patterns in more places

Block Patterns are a powerful way to quickly build beautiful content. While patterns can be bundled with themes and there’s a new modal for exploring patterns, lots of work remains to have patterns appear right when you need them. For a sampling of enhancements to look forward to, check out the following:

To connect some dots, if all of these were implemented today, you could do things like create a new template and be presented with patterns built into the experience that include blocks you’re likely to use like a navigation block, site title, and site logo put together in various options to pick from. Don’t like what you see? You could then use the transform menu to pick something else. All of this should streamline site creation.

More controls for more customization

While WordPress 5.9 includes a ton more customization options for blocks, there are even more to come. You can learn more about what’s planned in this overview issue. With each added control to each block comes an infinite number of possible combinations. Here’s just a brief taste of what you’ll be able to do with 5.9 to help give you a sense of what will be possible going forward too: 

Expanded locking capabilities to offer more curated experiences

While more options lead to excitement for some folks, questions of locking down the experience come up for others. WordPress 5.9 introduces a new block level locking mechanism to work alongside template locking that helps set this foundation but know that there’s more to come. Imagine creating a custom pattern for a client and ensuring it’s locked in a way so that the content can be edited and the entire pattern can be moved around but the blocks within it can’t be removed. Or imagine you help set up a site for a client and you want to ensure some key information about their business (like opening hours) both can’t be removed or moved but can be updated as needed. This is the sort of functionality this work allows. It also ties directly into Phase 3 of the roadmap (collaborative editing) so expect much of this work to be explored and aligned as Phase 3 gets underway.

For a practical example of what’s possible today, check out this awesome tweet from Matías Ventura. As for what will be possible tomorrow? Stay tuned and check out this overview issue.


If reading this got you excited about what’s to come and curious to learn more, I recommend joining the FSE Outreach Program where these sorts of early explorations are regularly shared and discussed, often with feedback from the program incorporated into the future of WordPress.

by Anne McCarthy at January 21, 2022 02:17 AM under WordPress Themes

WPTavern: Create Todo and Checklists in the WordPress Editor With New Plugin

Todo lists. Checklists. While there are differences in their purposes, their output is essentially the same. They are lists of items with boxes to tick off, and a plugin like David Towoju’s Todo Block allows users to create them.

I first downloaded and installed the plugin two weeks ago, but it had a problem. It did not seem to add any blocks at all. This was likely some mistake with porting the plugin over from its development repository. I have been testing it since its update a few days ago and like where it is headed.

Technically, the plugin has two blocks. One exists for the outer list container and the other for the inner list items.

Adding a todo list.

It works similarly to the standard List block. Once users insert the Todo block into the post, they can add tasks. Hitting the Enter key creates a new item.

Users can customize the typography and colors for individual Todo Item blocks. The latter is a welcome option for people who categorize items or tasks by color.

Color coding items by category.

However, there are no such options on the outer Todo List block. More often than not, users might want to customize everything at once.

Each item can also be set to “Read Only” or “Disabled.” Since this plugin does not send data through a form on the front end, the differences between the two are subtle. Site visitors cannot check a read-only field, but they can focus on them via mouse or keyboard. They can do neither for disabled items.

If it seems like I was touting a similar plugin not that long ago, it is because I was. In July 2021, Rich Tabor released the Todo List Block plugin. The primary difference between them is that Tabor’s is an editor-only plugin. He built the block as a tool for his publishing flow.

There is also a checklist block feature request in the Gutenberg repository. However, there has been no indication of work on it since 2019. Matias Ventura shared a concept via video in April of that year. Ella van Durpe followed up with a pull request in October. Since then, only a few people have commented. The concept may be too niche to ever land in WordPress, despite my desire for it.

One of the reasons I want to see such a block in core WordPress is because it would be handy for various patterns. I have already built several for recipe and food bloggers, and I used the Todo Block plugin to test the concept.

Recipe ingredients list using the Todo Block plugin.

There are two features really missing in the plugin. The first is a <label> element wrapping the checkbox and text. Adding this would allow checking the box on the front end by clicking the text or the checkbox itself.

The second is crossing out each item as it is checked. Some systems also gray out tasks as they are finished. A “task complete” indicator is a relatively standard feature for todo list apps.

Other than that, Todo Block is a plugin that I could see myself using for some projects. At the very least, I could handle the crossed-out style through my theme’s stylesheet.


A question to our readers: I am trying something different with this post. Some of you may have noticed the WordPress.org plugin embed/card at the top. Would you like to see similar treatments for plugins or themes in the future? Does it get in the way of the article or feel too promotional? Alternatively, I considered putting this at the bottom under a “Plugins Mentioned in This Post” section.

by Justin Tadlock at January 21, 2022 12:49 AM under Reviews

January 20, 2022

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 10.0.0 “La Pino’z”

“La Pino’z” is our first major release of 2022, and it’s version 10 of BuddyPress! It all started for us in 2009, 2 years before Sanam Kapoor opened his very first pizzeria in his hometown of Chandigarh, India. Known for its delicious and rich traditional Italian pizza, “La Pino’z” soon became one of the most famous foods shared in the Indian community. From that very moment to 350 plus restaurants over India today and soon elsewhere in the world, Sanam and his team have unquestionably come a very long and successful way. La Pino’z is also the only pizza chain in India equipped with giant pizza machines producing the 24” inch monster pizza 😜

Valentine's Day specific pizza cooked by La Pino'z Pizza Indore restaurant

With love,

the BP Team.

Photo credits knoksense.com

You can get it clicking on the above button, downloading it from the WordPress.org plugin directory or checking it out from our Subversion repository.

 If you’re upgrading from a previous version of BuddyPress, it’s always a good idea to back up your WordPress database and files ahead of time.

You can review all of the changes in this 10.0.0 release in the release notes. Please note that BuddyPress 10.0.0 requires WordPress 5.4.

That being said, let’s talk about the new delicious features we believe you are going to enjoy a lot!

Site membership requests

The pending accounts administration screen

Take control of your site’s membership! With site membership requests, administrators can significantly reduce the number of spam users trolling their sites.

When requests are enabled, visitors may submit a membership request, which must be manually approved by a site administrator. Read more about this feature.

More engaging logging activities

These simple activities about specific user interactions or events (for example, you and me are now friends) are more visually attractive to improve user engagement in your community.

The most impressive new activity is that which is generated when a user updates her profile photo: it will include the profile photo that spurred the creation of the activity item, even if it has been changed since. Learn more about it by reading this developer note.

Administration: improved BuddyPress management experience

As shown in the image above, the BuddyPress administration screens are now using the layout WordPress uses for its tabbed administration screens such as the Site-Health or Privacy screens.

Knowing the WordPress pages BuddyPress uses for its front-end directory screens is simpler with special status information displayed beside all BuddyPress pages.

A new area to discover our current and future BuddyPress Add-ons

BuddyPress Add-ons are experimental plugins, beta features packaged as plugins, that will be made available into the official WordPress.org plugins directory so that it’s easier for you to test them and give the development team your feedback.

The more we are to get involved into the future of our open source project, the brighter it will be and the faster we’ll be able to include great new features!

BuddyPress Add-ons are also stable complementary BP Components or BP Blocks, which we have decided to keep independent from the core of BuddyPress, leaving you the choice whether to use the feature or not. The BP Search Block is the first example of this second category of add-ons. Give it a try; you can easily install it from your BuddyPress Add-ons administration screen.

Ready for Twenty Twenty-Two!

WordPress 5.9 will introduce Full Site Editing featuring the new default theme Twenty Twenty-Two.

We’ve adjusted our BP Theme Compatibility API so that you can enjoy this amazing feature, making sure that BuddyPress-generated content integrates optimally within themes supporting it.

➕ The BP Nouveau Template Pack also includes a companion stylesheet to maximize BP pages layout within Twenty Twenty-Two.

Under the hood

10.0.0 comes with more than 70 changes including performance improvements to the BP Notifications, BP Activity and BP Signups APIs; Date Query support for the Members, Groups and Sites loops; new BP Avatar UI Recycle tab, improved inline documentation/translators comments and code formatting. Have a look to the release notes to discover them all!

Many thanks to the 39 contributors who helped us build & translate BuddyPress 10.0.0

Achilles4400, Adil Öztaşer (oztaser), Boone B Gorges (boonebgorges), Brajesh Singh (sbrajesh), Christian Wach (needle), comminski, Dan Caragea (dancaragea), David Cavins (dcavins), Dhaval Kasavala (dhavalkasvala), Dion Hulse (dd32), durdenx, ellucinda, Evan Stein (vanpop), Gary Jones (garyj), Hasanuzzaman (hasanuzzamanshamim), jakubrak, Jean-David Daviet (Jean-David), Jennifer Burnett (jenfraggle) John James Jacoby (johnjamesjacoby), josett225, Ketan Chawda (ketan_chawda), konnektiv, Laurens Offereins (Offereins), magland, mandro, marioshtika, Mark Robson (markscottrobson), Mathieu Viet (imath), Nifty (niftythree), nunks, oddev56, Paul Gibbs (DJPaul), r-a-y, Renato Alves (espellcaste), rigsbyx, thomaslhotta, Varun Dubey (vapvarun), venutius, yesbutmaybeno.

Your feedback

Receiving your feedback and suggestions for future versions of BuddyPress genuinely motivates and encourages our contributors. Please share it 🙏

by Mathieu Viet at January 20, 2022 06:49 PM under releases

Akismet: The Best Anti-spam Plugins for WordPress (2022 Review)

Nobody likes spam. Well, except for the spammers.

But spam plagues every single website, no matter its size. It shows up in comments, contact form submissions, and user registrations. And not only is it annoying and time-consuming to deal with, it can be damaging for your reputation and your website.

So how do you prevent it? Let’s take a closer look at spam, learn why a plugin is your best solution, and compare the best anti-spam plugins for WordPress.

What is spam and why does it matter?

In its simplest form, spam is unwanted commercial communication. Typically, for you as a website owner, spam looks like irrelevant, strange comments on posts, pages, products, or form submissions. Not only is it annoying, but it also makes you look unprofessional, negatively affects your search engine rankings, and can even direct site visitors and customers to malware and phishing sites. You want to prevent it as much as possible to protect both your reputation and your site visitors.

How can anti-spam plugins prevent spam?

You can, of course, manually moderate each comment and delete any and all spam. However, spammers can leave dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of spam comments each day on a single website. That can be very time-consuming and also leaves a lot of room for error. You have better things to spend your time on!

That’s why WordPress anti-spam plugins are so helpful and why we’ve covered the best WordPress anti-spam solutions in the industry. They automatically filter through each and every one of your comments (and sometimes form submissions) and delete spam for you. You don’t waste any time, but you know that this critical task is taken care of.

How do they do this? Well, spammers aren’t typically very clever. They leave valuable clues in their comments, such as misspellings, strange links, and sales pitches. Anti-spam plugins have a database of this information and use it to identify and get rid of spam without you having to lift a finger. 

Important features of anti-spam plugins

There are a variety of anti-spam plugins out there. How do you know which one is the right fit for your website? 

Here are some important features of anti-spam plugins:

1. Prevents both comment and contact form spam

Spam doesn’t just happen in the comment section of your site. Spambots can take advantage of contact forms and use them to send out spam emails to your email list or customers. Plus, tons of spam contact form submissions in your inbox every day is frustrating.

So, make sure that your anti-spam plugin protects both your comment forms and contact forms.

2. Integrates with the other tools you use

If you’re adding an anti-spam plugin to an existing WordPress site, it’s especially important that it works well with the plugins you already have installed. This might include contact form plugins (like Jetpack, Contact Form 7, or WPForms), forum plugins like bbPress, or eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce.

3. Has a powerful database of spam information and identifiers

In order to correctly identify spam, plugins need to have lots of information. They need to have observed spam on lots and lots of sites for a long time so they can identify common characteristics. After all, you want real comments to stick around, but the bad ones to disappear. 

4. Doesn’t require a CAPTCHA or other form of validation

You’re probably familiar with CAPTCHAs — tools that make you check a box or select all the photos with stop signs to prove you’re not a robot. While they’re relatively easy to use, they’re just one extra step that someone has to take in order to reach out to you or engage with your content. And every single step makes it more likely that they’ll get frustrated or distracted and give up.

So, ideally, you’ll want to go with a solution that doesn’t require CAPTCHAs to make the user experience as seamless as possible.

5. Allows you to moderate alongside it

While a high-quality anti-spam plugin is extremely accurate, it’s not perfect. There may be times that it incorrectly identifies a valid comment as spam or misses a spam comment. So, if comments are extra valuable to your website, you may want to be able to override the decisions your anti-spam tool makes.

6. Doesn’t require you to do much work

At the same time, though, you shouldn’t have to put any effort into spam prevention. Once you set up the plugin, you should be able to sit back, relax, and know that spam is taken care of.

7. Is easy to set up

Installing and setting up the plugin should be super simple, even if you don’t have much tech experience. 

8. Doesn’t weigh down your site

You don’t want a plugin that adds a lot of extra weight to your server, slowing things down. That’ll only make things more difficult for site visitors and hurt your SEO rankings. Make sure that the plugin you choose keeps things speedy. Typically, an anti-spam plugin does this by running all operations on its own server, rather than on your site.

The best anti-spam plugins for WordPress

1. Akismet

Akismet is the anti-spam plugin created specifically for WordPress by the team behind WordPress.com. It’s blocked billions of spam comments to date and integrates seamlessly with top WordPress contact form plugins. It’s trusted and reliable, can be set up in minutes, and offers reasonably-priced plans for personal sites and businesses.

Features:

  • Automatically filters spam
  • Allows you to manually approve or delete comments 
  • Protects both comment forms and contact forms
  • Integrates with contact form plugins like Jetpack, Gravity Forms, and Contact Form 7

Pros:

  • It’s cloud-based, so it runs operations on its own servers and doesn’t slow down your site.
  • It has more than five million installations, so its spam database is large and thorough. This ensures that its spam filters are extremely accurate.
  • It doesn’t require a CAPTCHA, which is great for your conversion rates.

Cons:

  • Free plans are only available for personal, non-commercial sites.

Ease of use:

Akismet is super easy to set up, requiring no server access or development experience. All you have to do is go to Plugins → Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Search for Akismet, then click Install Now → Activate. From there, simply choose the plan you’d like, set up an account, copy and paste your API key in Akismet settings, and you’re up and running!

Pricing:

  • The Personal plan is for personal blogs and is free.
  • The Plus plan includes 10K to 40K API calls/mo and starts at $8.33 per month.
  • The Enterprise plan includes 60K API calls/mo and is $41.67 per month.
  • The Enterprise Plus plan is for unlimited business sites, includes custom API limits, and starts at $208.33 per month.

Note that an API call is an individual request to Akismet servers. So each comment and form submission is one API call. 

2. Antispam Bee

Antispam Bee is a straightforward, free anti-spam plugin available directly from the WordPress plugin library. It automatically blocks spam comments, pingbacks, and trackbacks.

Features:

  • Automatically filters spam and deletes spam comments after a certain number of days
  • Allows you to set spam rules to automatically block comments based on things like location and language 

Pros:

  • It’s very simple and straightforward due to its basic functionality.
  • It’s completely free for all users.
  • It doesn’t require a CAPTCHA.

Cons:

  • It only protects comment forms, not contact forms or user registrations. 
  • It has basic functionality that may not provide what larger sites or stores need.
  • It’s server-based, so can slow down your website.

Ease of use:

Antispam Bee is very easy to set up. Just install and activate the plugin from the WordPress dashboard — that’s it! If you want to customize settings, you can visit Settings → Antispam Bee.

Pricing:

Antispam Bee is free for all users.

3. Titan Antispam and Security

Titan Antispam and Security is exactly what its name implies — a security and anti-spam plugin for WordPress. The anti-spam feature first checks for known spam comments. Then, it checks any remaining comments a second time using a smart system that’s constantly learning how to identify unwanted messages. 

Features:

  • Automatically prevents spam in comment and registration forms
  • Checks existing comments and users for spam
  • Includes additional security features that help protect your site, like a firewall and security scanner
  • Offers detailed stats about spam prevention on your site

Pros:

  • It doesn’t require a CAPTCHA to block spam.
  • It includes extra security features — like a firewall and malware scanner — all in one plugin. 

Cons:

  • It just protects comment and registration forms, not contact forms.
  • It’s unclear whether processes take place on your server or off-site. 

Ease of use:

Titan Antispam is very easy to set up — just install and activate the plugin. Then, choose the settings you’d like to enable.

Pricing:

  • The Free plan includes basic, automatic spam filtering and costs nothing.
  • The Premium plan for one site adds 24/7 support and advanced protection for $55 per year.
  • The Premium plan for three sites is $159 per year.
  • The Premium plan for six sites is $319 per year.

4. WordPress Zero Spam

WordPress Zero Spam is a free anti-spam plugin available in the WordPress plugin repository. It uses the power of AI combined with databases of known spam IPs to protect sites against malicious comments, registrations, and form submissions.

Features:

  • Automatically blocks spam from comments, registration forms, some contact forms, and login pages
  • Automatically and manually blocks malicious IP addresses
  • Blocks offenders based on countries, regions, ZIP codes, and cities

Pros:

  • It doesn’t require the use of a CAPTCHA.
  • It integrates with additional tools like MemberPress, Mailchimp, GiveWP, WPForms, and Contact Form 7.

Cons:

  • It can slow down your website — caching is recommended to prevent this.

Ease of use:

Setup of WordPress Zero Spam is simple and quick. Simply install and activate the plugin, then visit its settings page to configure functionality however you’d like.

Pricing:

WordPress Zero Spam is free for all users and doesn’t have any paid features.

5. CleanTalk Spam Protection

CleanTalk Spam Protection is a premium tool that blocks spam from a variety of sources, including comments and contact forms. It’s a cloud-based service that uses an advanced database of information to validate comments.

Features:

  • Automatically prevents spam in comments, orders, registrations, bookings, contact forms, and more
  • Checks and filters existing comments for spam
  • Checks the email address of spam submissions in real-time
  • Blocks spam based on country, words used, language, and more
  • Logs all spam comments and requests

Pros:

  • A CAPTCHA is not required.
  • It’s cloud-based, so it won’t slow down your site.

Cons:

  • It wasn’t created specifically for WordPress and works with a variety of platforms. This may mean that it doesn’t integrate as seamlessly as other WordPress-specific tools.

Ease of use:

CleanTalk is also straightforward and simple. Install and activate the plugin, set up an account and get an access key, then test the setup using a dummy comment.

Pricing:

CleanTalk offers a free trial, then is $8 per year.

6. reCaptcha by BestWebSoft

The reCaptcha plugin adds a CAPTCHA to login, registration, password recovery, comment, and contact forms. This requires site visitors to prove they’re not a robot before submitting the form. 

Features:

  • Works with registration, login, comment, and contact forms
  • Allows you to hide the CAPTCHA for certain IP addresses

Pros:

  • It’s compatible with a variety of WordPress contact form plugins like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and WPForms (only with the Pro version) 

Cons:

  • This plugin solely offers CAPTCHA functionality, which can complicate the form submission process and decrease conversions. 

Ease of use:

reCaptcha is a bit harder to set up as it requires finding and creating API keys with Google. If you’re not familiar with this process, it can be confusing.

Pricing:

  • The Free version includes all major functionality, but does not integrate with tools like WooCommerce and many contact form plugins. This version has no cost.
  • The Annual version is $20.99 per year and includes additional integrations.
  • The Lifetime version is $211 one-time payment.
AkismetAntispam BeeTitan Antispam and SecurityWordPress Zero SpamCleanTalk Spam ProtectionreCaptcha by BestWebSoft
Prevents comment spamYesYesYesYesYesYes
Prevents contact form spamYesNoNoYesYesYes
Prevents user registration spamNoNoYesYesYesYes
Integrations with contact form pluginsJetpack, Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and moreNoneNoneContact Form 7, WPForms, and moreWPForms, Jetpack, Contact Form 7, and moreContact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and more
Requires CAPTCHANoNoNoNoNoYes
PriceFree to $208/mo (for enterprise users)FreeFree to $319/yrFreeFree trial, then $8/yrFree to $211 one time

Choosing the best anti-spam plugin for WordPress

While there are several different high-quality options to choose from, it’s important that you consider the functionality and pricing that best fits your unique scenario.

For most WordPress sites, Akismet is the best WordPress anti-spam solution. It was built by the same people behind WordPress.com, so it has the most extensive spam database and integrates seamlessly with major form plugins. And since it’s cloud-based, it won’t slow down your website like many of the other tools on this list. Plus, it’s completely free for personal sites and offers very affordable paid tiers for businesses. That’s exactly why it already has more than five million installations!

However, if you need a completely free tool, you might want to consider Antispam Bee. And if you’re looking specifically for a CAPTCHA, the reCaptcha by BestWebSoft plugin is a great solution.

FAQs about spam

How do spam bots work?

Spam bots are automated tools used to leave spam comments on posts, products, and more. They’re programmed to fill out any required fields and can even be taught to look like legitimate users. Then, they search the web for sites that meet certain requirements and leave as many spam comments as they can.

How can I identify a spam comment?

Here are some typical qualities of spam comments:

  • They’re generic. They can apply to any site or any piece of content. E.G. “Nice post!”
  • They’re irrelevant. They often have nothing to do with the post they’re on.
  • They have fake names. The name might be something like “cheap designer handbags” rather than a real person’s name.
  • They’re poorly written. They may contain a lot of grammatical and spelling errors or be a jumble of words.
  • They link to suspicious websites. You can hover over any embedded links to view the URL without clicking on it.
  • They contain inappropriate words. This may include profanity or offensive language.

What default WordPress settings can help with spam?

There are a variety of WordPress settings that help prevent spam. If you take all of the steps below, you’ll maximize spam prevention. However, not all of these settings will be right for every website.

Start by going to Settings → Discussion in your WordPress dashboard. Then:

  • Check the box next to “Comment author must fill out name and email”
  • Check the box next to “Users must be registered and logged in to comment”
  • Check the box next to “Comment must be manually approved”
  • Under “Comment moderation”, add “1” to the box in the sentence “Hold a comment in the queue if it contains ___ or more links”

Then, if you start to see common phrases, URLS, emails, etc. in your spam comments, add them to the box under “Comment moderation”. This will block any comments that include those characteristics.

Can I manually moderate spam in WordPress?

Yes, absolutely. By default, WordPress allows you to go through each comment and decide to mark it as spam or approve it. However, it can take a lot of time to go through comments on a daily or weekly basis — time better spent invested in your blog or business!

Should I enable comments on my site?

This completely depends on your site and goals. In many cases, comments can be an excellent way to answer questions, encourage discussion, and engage with your site visitors. They can even be used to create a community around your brand.

However, this may not be right for every website. If you do choose to disable comments, you can do so in your WordPress Discussion settings.

What is the goal of spammers?

Here are some reasons people leave spam comments:

  • To generate backlinks that improve search engine rankings. Their hope is that links to their own site will show Google that they’re valuable and legitimate. However, this strategy typically doesn’t work.
  • To direct visitors to malicious websites. A lot of spam comments will link to suspicious sites designed to capture information for nefarious purposes. 
  • To increase traffic or sales on another site. Spam comments may link to perfectly legitimate websites, with the goal of increasing ad views (and revenue) or generating more product sales.

How can I disable comments on individual posts?

There may be times that you want to turn off comments for one particular post rather than all of the posts or pages on your site. All you have to do is go to Posts → All Posts in your WordPress dashboard and click on the one you want to edit. Then, click the gear icon at the top right of the page and expand the Discussion section. Uncheck the box next to Allow Comments, then save your post. 

How do I find comments that are in moderation in WordPress?

Your comment moderation queue lists all of the comments that need your approval before they go live on your site. This is your chance to either mark them as spam, publish them on your site, or delete them entirely. 

To find the WordPress comment moderation section, click on Comments in your WordPress dashboard. All unmoderated comments will appear with a yellow background and red bar on the left. Underneath each comment, you can choose to approve, reply, edit, trash, or mark the comment as spam.

by Simon Keating at January 20, 2022 11:05 AM under Spam

WPTavern: Gutenberg 12.4 Includes Accessibility Improvements, Categories Reminder, and a Tag Cloud Outline Style

Gutenberg 12.4 landed in the WordPress plugin directory earlier today. With the push to get WordPress 5.9 out the door next week, it can be easy to forget all the development behind the scenes, waiting to make its appearance in future versions of WordPress.

The latest release focuses more on polishing existing features and introducing a few nice-to-haves. Accessibility improvements are always a welcome sight. The update adds an always-available close button in the block inserter for screen readers. And, when closing the list view, the focus state moves to its button.

Some theme-related blocks have also been relocated within the inserter. Post Template, Pagination, Next Page, Previous Page, and Page Numbers were previously housed under the Design category. Now, they are appropriately under Theme.

Broken Site Editor When Opening Block Inserter

Scrollbars gone wrong in site editor.

Gutenberg 12.4 seems to introduce a new bug inside of the site editor. When opening the block inserter, its scrollbar does not appear. This creates a long list of blocks down the side of the page. The canvas area gets set to a fixed height with its own scrollbar.

This issue does not prevent inserting blocks. Nor does it make the site editor unusable. It is more of an annoyance than anything.

This creates a big usability issue. If you try to insert a block after scrolling beyond the height of the content canvas, you cannot see where it gets added until scrolling back up the page.

There are also other scrollbar-related issues. The Site Logo and Image blocks have them in the site editor, and the problem is the same for patterns in the inserter.

Thanks to Anne McCarthy for being a second set of eyes, confirming this issue, and reporting it.

Categories Added to the Pre-Publish Checklist

Assigning a category before publishing.

Categories now have their own section in the pre-publish panel for posts. If the user has not selected one, a new tab will appear that reads, “Suggestion: Assign a category.” The user can then open it and check any they want to add to the post.

I am a fan of this addition. Even as someone who writes daily, I must routinely remind myself to select a category for my posts. Meta information like this is something I always leave to the end of the writing process, and it is nice to have a reminder. I would also welcome a featured image check.

Post Excerpt and Content Block Transforms

Transforming Post Content block to Post Excerpt.

This is one of my favorite enhancements in the Gutenberg 12.4 release. Users can now transform Post Content to the Post Excerpt block and vice versa.

One of my complaints with Automattic’s recent Livro theme was that it shows the full post content instead of excerpts on its blog and archive pages. I had to remove the Post Content block and insert Post Excerpt to change it.

This is relatively easy for someone as familiar with the site editor as me. However, some users could unintentionally put the replacement block in the wrong place and mess up their entire layout. With the ability to transform the blocks, they can do it with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Outline Style for Tag Cloud Block

Outline block style.

The latest release adds a new Outline style for the Tag Cloud block. I have said it multiple times, but it might be worth repeating. I dislike Gutenberg adding in too many new block styles. It feels like theme territory. The core system should focus on the foundational features, and themers should extend it with custom options.

It is not that I dislike the outline design for tags. It was the first custom style I added for the Tag Cloud block when designing my own theme. However, every new block style adds some potential burden to theme authors.

One of those issues is that themes need to support it. For example, the padding used for the Tag Cloud links is too large for some theme designs. It is a hardcoded value, so designers must explicitly overwrite it to tone it down. Alternatively, they must deregister the block style if they do not want to make it available.

We need to leave some fun things for third-party developers to implement. Otherwise, themes become less and less relevant.

Paragraph Font Family Support Removed

After happily reporting font-family support for the Paragraph block in Gutenberg 12.3, it is disheartening to lose it in a mere two-week span. Developers reverted the recent change.

Andy Peatling cited a few reasons behind the decision in another ticket:

  • We should keep font family as an option if it exists, but it should not be the default for any blocks.
  • We don’t yet have a good way to add custom fonts, so it’s quite limited.
  • Once we have a better fonts API we can surface this more in blocks that are more likely to need font family changes (site title being an obvious one).

The web fonts API was slated to land in WordPress 5.9, but it was punted to a future version in November 2021. Work on the project is now ongoing within the Gutenberg repository. Until it is complete, font-family options for any new blocks will likely stall until the new API is in place.

by Justin Tadlock at January 20, 2022 02:20 AM under gutenberg

January 19, 2022

WPTavern: Why Aren’t More WordPress Theme Authors Creating Block Themes?

Block themes are trickling into the official WordPress Themes Directory at a slow rate ahead of full-site editing’s debut in WordPress 5.9. There are now 39 themes that support site editing features, up from 28 in December 2021, when Matt Mullenweg commented on it during the State of the Word address.

“That needs to be 5,000,” Mullenweg said. Later during the presentation he said he hopes that WordPress will “have 300 or ideally 3,000 of these block themes” before entering the Collaboration phase of the Gutenberg project.

Why the strong push towards kickstarting the block theme market? The upcoming 5.9 release is set to deliver a solid set of groundbreaking design tools in core that will change WordPress website building in a major way. These include editing page layouts with a drag-and-drop interface and a new Global Styles interface for changing typography, colors, sizes, layouts, padding, and other aspects of design.

Users cannot take advantage of all these new features without a block theme. That’s why WordPress 5.9 is introducing a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, that will make it easy for anyone to get started using a block theme. But with just 39 block themes available right now, early adopters haven’t found a lot of variety.

For whatever reason, more than 5 million WordPress users have still not transitioned to the block editor and are using the Classic Editor plugin. This experience is a shadow of what WordPress has become since the block editor made its debut in 5.0 more than three years ago. Even among users who have embraced the block editor, FSE early adopters are few and far between.

Why aren’t theme authors creating block themes to have their products become some of the first on the market? WordPress Themes Team Representative Ganga Kafle jumped into this topic yesterday, asking why theme authors continue to make classic themes instead of getting on the block theme train.

Responses showed that theme developers have a variety of different motivations for holding out on building block themes.

“I asked some local agencies here in Cape Town, and some of them indicated workflow – in that they were extremely efficient at creating sites with ‘their’ theme, and making a new block theme would eat into profits,” Automattic Theme Development Team Lead Jeffrey Pearce said. “They are waiting to see block themes ‘mature.'”

Once 5.9 is released and FSE themes are officially supported, agencies will likely become more motivated to update their workflows to develop block themes more efficiently. During this in-between time, it’s easier to maintain the status quo, but now is the time to get prepared to hit the ground running. Once users know there is more to WordPress, they won’t want to be limited by a classic theme.

For some theme developers, it’s a matter of not having the skills yet.

“There is a learning curve but I expect more and more people will start building and submitting block themes,” WordPress consultant Krasen Slavov said. “I am personally eager to experiment and learn, but since it is a totally new way of building themes and we all need first to pay the bills, this should be in my spare time.”

WordPress developer Sallie Goetsch, who said she builds themes for clients and not for the WordPress directory, is also eager to make the jump into FSE but has the same learning needs.

“While I definitely plan to switch to FSE, there’s a lot for me to learn and experiment with before I’m confident enough to use it in production,” Goetsch said.

Other theme developers cited difficulties keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of FSE theme development.

“We can’t keep up with the changes,” CSS Igniter co-founder Gerasimos Tsiamalos said. “It’s miles away from offering something other than dead simple themes. [There are] too many inconsistencies to streamline.”

Due to the nature of their day-to-day work load, some theme developers do not perceive early adoption of FSE themes as a practical move at this time.

“We’re very happy using blocks for posts, but block enabled themes don’t give us the flexibility we need to build pages at the speed required,” Designs43 agency responded. “And there are too many changes to keep up with also. We tend to use a fairly basic theme and put customizations into the child.”

“I guess the missing flexibility is a killer feature for theme authors,” WordPress theme developer Jessica Lyschik said. “It‘s very easy to bump into things that just don‘t work at all or yet.”

The demand for block themes is not easy to measure. A conservative estimate of active installs of FSE themes hosted on WordPress.org is ~3,000 sites, based on the stats for the small number available. Once the world is introduced to WordPress 5.9 next week, that number is likely to shoot up overnight.

“We have a few free FSE themes and working on a premium one,” WordPress Theme shop owner Ana Segota said. “I love themes are more design now and they are easier to use but it’s still a long way. We need to find a way to educate users about the new way of building websites and also it’s hard to follow all the changes.”

Although block theme development is still in its infancy, there are a few educational resources for authors who are ready to take the plunge.

Marcus Kazmierczak published a brief introduction to building block themes, which links to helpful resources from the Block Editor Handbook. Most notably, these include an overview of block themes, how to create a block theme, and a guide to Global Settings and Styles (theme.json). Carolina Nymark has also published a quick guide to creating block themes on fullsiteediting.com. If you’re looking for a starter for building block themes, Justin Tadlock has a few recommendations in one of his recent Ask The Bartender posts.

by Sarah Gooding at January 19, 2022 09:07 PM under Block Themes

Post Status: Post Status Excerpt (No. 42) — What’s Coming Up in 2022 For Post Status

“They don't talk about being at the summit until you're at the top, so [getting ahead] is a process.” — Michelle Frechette

In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David sits down with Michelle Frechette to talk about what Post Status is planning for its community and the WordPress crowd as a whole in the first half of 2022. They cover three new events: the Weekly WordPress Job Chat on Twitter Spaces, WP Career Summit, and the first-ever Post Status Twitter Conference. (The conference theme is “Give. Grow. Together.”)

Why This Is Important: Post Status is listening to members and watching what discussions are happening in the WordPress community. Michelle points out why each of these events is important to certain sections of the community — each event will touch the lives of many WordPress professionals in some way.

Every week Post Status Excerpt will brief you on important WordPress news — in about 15 minutes or less! Learn what's new in WordPress in a flash. ⚡

You can listen to past episodes of The Excerpt, browse all our podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or by RSS. 🎧

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🙏 Sponsor: Bluehost

Everything your website needs — from start-up to success story — is at Bluehost. Whether you're looking to create a website, blog, or online store, Bluehost will get you started with an all-in-one website platform tailored to your specific needs. Get a free domain name in your first year, free 24/7 lifetime support, and total design freedom with WordPress at Bluehost.

Transcript

Episode 43

David Bisset: [00:00:00] Yeah, I'm surprised people haven't hunted me down yet. Thanks to, um, whenever a lot of the podcasts that I'm doing now, it's like, forget to turn off slack and they get that one slack notification. I go, oh crap. All six people that listen to me, whatever how many people it is. They'll they'll just go did I just get a slack notification while I was out running and listening to this podcast?

Michelle Frechette: Exactly. It's like, I, I always check and see if I just got the notification, but no, it was in the, it was in the podcast, somebody else's.

David Bisset: So the reason why Michelle, you and I are talking here today and has nothing to do with blackmail. It has more to do though with what we want to share with our Post Status listeners.

You know, everybody's doing these posts or visions of what's coming in 2022. And with Post Status, we've got a good pulse. On the community, what they're hoping to see what they are doing and what they probably will be looking for in 2022. I think you and I are in a good position. To talk about some of these things that post that is, is particularly planning to help out the [00:01:00] WordPress community in particular, the WordPress professionals.

So I thought that was a good way to kind of get the year started so people can mark these on their calendar. Although if you go to poststatus.com/events, it's there to. But let's, let's say, where do you want to start in terms of what we're planning for Post Status in 22? Yeah.

Michelle Frechette: So what are the things? So when I joined Post Status, uh, last, was it fall, I guess October-ish, uh, you know, Corey and I had talked about some different things in ways for me to be involved.

And part of that was writing about, um, the job situation, whether it's about helping people with resumes or, you know, a lot of the, you can see a lot of the posts that I've put together. Um, the Post Status.com site. About hiring and also about getting hired. We also have a great, um, you know, podcasts. We've got a whole season out there from get hired.

I with Courtney and Corey about, um, getting hired in, in WordPress and, you know, Courtney does a lot of our training and things like that. And some of the ideas that I had coming in were not just writing about [00:02:00] underrepresented, underrepresented topics and job topics, but like, Hey, let's take this kind of thing to the next level.

Let's actually do some event. That we can get the, they, uh, not only the Post Status community involved with, with the whole WordPress community as well. And some of those things are, the WP career summit that we've been talking about, which I'm building the website. I promise it's getting done this week.

Um,

David Bisset: it's a summit, Michelle. I mean, these things take time.

Michelle Frechette: I know, but like, I should have a landing page at least. Right. So that's what I'm working on, um, is WP career summit.com by the time this airs, it should be out there. So go to WP career summit.com and you can learn about what we're planning to do.

It is the first ever summit or conference about working in WordPress specifically. And the goal is two tracks. We'll have two tracks, it'll run, uh, through the course of the day. One for employers and how to do better, hiring how to do better at evaluate, [00:03:00] evaluating applicants, how to do better recruiting, how to recruit for, you know, inclusion and . Diversity, how to do things without tokenization.

For example, how to evaluate, um, international. Applicants and those kinds of things. So we're working on getting together some really good speakers that will speak to employers, but the other track is for job seekers. So if you are looking for a job in WordPress or tech, what are some things that will be helpful to you, understanding how to build a resume for technology, understanding how to put together your GitHub repo, to make sure that people can see the work that you're doing.

How do you build a portfolio? what social media should you be involved in? How do you make sure that you have a good LinkedIn profile?

David Bisset: Not looking for a job and I feel like I got to go off and do that now.

Michelle Frechette: Talk to me later, I'll help you, but having a career summit like that, where not only do we have those two tracks, but we will have 12 sponsors, uh, [00:04:00] working with us that day, who will have tables.

Um, similar, if you've been to WordPress, we're going to actually use the word Fest setup. We've hired out, uh, Dan maybe, and his crew to create that same environment for us to use for the WP career summit. So you'll have the tracks, you'll be able to watch the videos as they're, as they are, do live Q and A's.

But then you'll also be able to go to this open space and meet up with the different employers who are sponsoring to learn more about their companies and maybe even, you know, give them your resume and set up a time to do an interview. We'll also have an online career fair at the same time. So any company that wants to sponsor at a smaller level will be able to have, um, their career page, their recruiting page, specifically linked on our job fair sites so that they have a better opportunity to recruit anybody who's in attendance at the WP career summit.

The goal behind the career summit is to really bring together employers and potential employees and to [00:05:00] educate the whole WordPress space and best practices for hiring and best practices for getting hired and really start those conversations. There's not a lot of conversations. There's a ton of people posting jobs.

There's a ton of people saying I need a job. It's the idea of bringing all those things together and helping the people who are hiring of the people who are looking to get together in the same space, um, and hopefully fill each other's needs by getting some great employees into those, into those offices.

David Bisset: I think one of the advantages of this will be, and maybe this is just a tip from somebody who's looked for jobs before.

If you're aware of a summit, usually it was in the context of a physical conference, but regardless if it's physical or, or remote or virtual. If, you know, in advance, who's going to be there. Um, it's also, if, if you're serious baby, maybe it's, um, maybe it's maybe you are, have a particular company in mind, or maybe you heard this company's really, really good to work for, or they have exciting projects or they [00:06:00] get good PR or whatever, whatever floats your boat in terms of stuff.

We have there's this opportunity, especially through Post Status slack to reach out to them prior to. To the summit and say, listen, I would love to talk to you at this summit about this. I just want to make sure that, you know, do an initial contact, nothing fancy in my opinion. But if you really think that you have a good shot at getting, if you want to be noticed, like.

Um, it is one of those tips where in this situation, where if, if someone remembers your resume and they're comparing that with other people for position, somebody says, well, what w you know, which one of these was most eager? If that question ever came up, you would, it would be at least an advantage to say, this person reached out to me prior, even before coming to the summit.

They wanted to speak to us. And they were very interested who knows that could be the edge and there's nothing, there's no rule that says you can't talk to these people. Until you get to the summit. I think the summits, the best [00:07:00] place to have properly a deep conversation, but just like these days, it's whatever it takes sometimes to get noticed.

So I think, I think your summit is going to be set up very, very well for that.

Michelle Frechette: Cool. I mean, do you think about when, when you're mountain climbing, they talk about somebody like you're climbing Everest, for example, they don't talk about. Being at the summit until you're actually at the top. Right? So it's a process you're climbing, you're getting to that point.

And so there's plenty of opportunity to do that both on your way up and after the summit as well. So, um, the summit should be that focal point where everything kind of comes together, but there's lots that you can do in advance. And there's lots that you can do as follow up afterwards, for sure.

David Bisset: You can't really relate to the closest thing.

I can relate to that as I got on top one time of a big pile of leaves in my yard and I was out of breath. So I, if it's the same thing as that, I can definitely.

Michelle Frechette: Well, don't you work in your basement. I mean, you got to climb the stairs, right?

David Bisset: Well, yeah. Yes. I'm not up to that. I'm not, I don't have one of those elevator sit in a [00:08:00] chair and it takes me up things yet.

Although my wife that is that is, could potential 20th anniversary gift. I'll just slip that to my wife. I'm in the DMS. I

Michelle Frechette: dunno. I just saw Gremlin's again, recently rewatched around the holidays. And that thing was pretty scary, how I shot that we're going to right out the windows. So it just,

David Bisset: if only it could go that fast, that would be awesome.

But yeah, there are a lot of people I get constant emails or pings on slack or something that says, Hey, we're going to put this out there on Twitter. We know you're going to retweet it. Or do you happen to know a recommend someone for this? It was a lot of background chatter going around and I'm, I'm getting these requests, not just.

Other employee, I'm getting these requests from like, um, head people in head WordPress agencies that ping me just because we know each other. So there is, there, there is a lot of improvement and efficiency still, I think. And I think the summits kind of help with that. And if, even if you're not maybe looking forward to.

Michelle Frechette: Yeah, absolutely. And it's [00:09:00] free to attend. It's free to attend the summit. We're not charging anything to be there. Um, the worst thing I think that you can do is when somebody is looking for a job is to say, Hey, pay to come learn about how to do better at getting jobs. So the sponsorship is going to cover all of the costs of it.

And so we want everybody who wants to be there. You don't have to say you're looking for a job or not, but you're welcome to kind of come in and observe either track and bounce back and forth. If you want to and learn best practices on either side of things. Uh it's uh, it's just there for edification for anybody who wants to learn.

David Bisset: Gotcha.

Alright. Job summit. Yeah.

Michelle Frechette: So the other thing along that same lines though, is, um, starting, uh, so starting on January 12th. So this is, I think this is where Eric next week. So it'll have been a last week already. I'm going to be doing weekly Twitter chats. About what's happening in, uh, jobs in WordPress.

So most people are aware that every Wednesday [00:10:00] or I should say most Wednesdays, I tweet out a list of job openings that I'm aware of in the WordPress space. And some of that comes, I've created a site called WP career pages.com. Um, that was one of my, my pandemic projects during their initial lockdown.

Back in 2020 was to create a site where people could just go and look at. For jobs and this pin up any of the career pages that are there and see what's available. So on Wednesdays, I go through, I pull, you know, 10 or 15 of those and I set up, send out a tweet saying, there's all these jobs. If you're interested in applying, you might want to apply for this job here.

That's that's up there. And I was approached by Daniel Schutzsmith asking if I thought that would be fun to do as a Twitter space. And so I piloted it just to see what would happen back in December, before the holidays and everything else. And we had quite a few people actually show up to hear what I had to say.

And so. I start doing that on a weekly basis. It may be five minutes. It may be half an [00:11:00] hour. It depends on who joins me and what kinds of questions they have. But I will, at that point, talk through some of the openings that I've seen and answer any questions that people have about getting hired and about resumes and anything else that they have to ask.

So we've kind of an open space on Twitter every Wednesday at 1:00 PM Eastern time, uh, as, for however long it lasts, but no more than a half an hour. Cause I do have a day job too. And we'll see how it goes. For sure. Um, but you'll be able to get to that, uh, through, uh, by, by looking at that events page that you mentioned, cause they're going to be listed there, but also just going to the post status, Twitter on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM.

Excellent. Join that Twitter space.

David Bisset: Yeah. Twitter space seems to be like, if you want a casual conversation, not so much formal, but yeah, I think that works out well. I've had some experience with that as well. I would,

Michelle Frechette: if I'm working from home, I might add pajamas, but you'll never know because it's audio only, right.[00:12:00]

David Bisset: Everybody goes to Dave's on audio. Thank God. All right. If David's audio only, only I'll go talk to him. I'll go see what Dave's doing. Sure. Why not? I'm sure they'll work out. Fantastic. Yes. And again, if you go. I'm going to put the link to the career pages. And I remember when you started doing this, um, the career pages, um, thing, and then on the Twitter every Wednesday.

And, um, we'll probably share link for one of the later last ones she did for that as well. That, to me, it's always great to have something consistent like that. I've seen your stuff for Wednesday, for Wednesday after Wednesday after Wednesday. And I think if something ever drastically happened to my job situation, I would look and see when the next available Wednesday was.

It's like, okay, well I know on Wednesday, I'm going to, yeah, well, I won't even have to think about it because it's all, it's all. It's, you're, you're very consistent on that and kudos, kudos to you for that. So I'll share the link for the career pages. The one of the law, one of the latter ones you did on Wednesday.

Uh, into the show notes too. Yeah,

Michelle Frechette: what's [00:13:00] interesting is, I mean, we can't see each other's Twitter analytics. Of course, you know, you can only see your own, uh, but I get anywhere from 3000 to 20,000 impressions on those Wednesday tweet threads, depending on who sees it, what's going on in the day. If there's a ton of, you know, other activities happening in the world, et cetera.

Um, and whoever's on Twitter and happens to retweet it, but. Uh, but yeah, we've got as many as 20,000 impressions on those. So clearly they're hitting the mark and people are interested in seeing what's happening out there. And in the career field

David Bisset: these days, your situation can change at a moment's notice.

So I think having a constant beacon every week, even if. This week, you're fine. Next week, who knows? Oh, or you could, or you could suddenly have inspiration to look for something better or different, you know,

Michelle Frechette: exactly. No judgment. There's no judgment,

David Bisset: no judgment here.

Michelle Frechette: They've just been here. And then I had an interesting idea to do yet glutton for punishment.

I put out as many conferences and things [00:14:00] I'm on. Um, I'm on the team for work camp Europe. I am on the word Fest team. Um, and I do a lot. The seller is seller WP, as far as, um, attending conference word camps and conferences. But I had an idea for another one. Which is, um, the people behind, Hey, Presto conference actually reached out to me and said, just want you to know, I know that you've participated in the past.

We're not going to continue with the, Hey Presto, Twitter conferences anymore. They're just decided to go in a different direction. They're not going to do that. I said, Hey, would you mind if I picked up the reins and. Carried on doing something very similar and not necessarily the same exact thing that they were doing, but, um, along those lines, and they're like with our blessing.

And so May 24th, we will have the first ever, uh, online. Post status Twitter conference. And that will be May 24th. And it's going to run from 9:00 AM until I think, I can't remember 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM or something like that Eastern time. And I get central and Eastern. I [00:15:00] can't remember what I've scheduled when I'm, but just go to the website.

It's there. We have it all there

David Bisset: All I know is it's bright outside therefore I'm narrowing down what the time is. Right.

Michelle Frechette: But what it is is it's going to be an opportunity for people to present at a conference. Ha by creating a series of 15 tweets, you'll be assigned a particular point of time. During that day, every half hour, there will be a new presenter.

The first 15 minutes, they'll present a tweet a minute. And the second, 15 minutes of their half hour be Q and A and opportunity to have conversation. Uh, I'm using the conference hashtag and then whatever, um, you know, um, mentioning the, uh, the particular presenter. I keep saying speaker, but you're not technically speaking.

You're just presenting. Um, again, this is something you could do in your pajamas too, because it's Twitter do whatever you'd like. So, but, but we will be organizing it as a conference and have official. You know, schedule of presenters during that day. And so we [00:16:00] have people already applying to speak, uh, sorry, present.

See, it's not easy to say. I have that

Should have a big word just printed across the screen. So I don't mess it up, but we have people already applying to present on different topics. Our, um, and I know you've talked about this before, but as post status. Um, tenant for this year is give, grow together.

And so that is also the theme of the Twitter conference. And so we're hoping that people will incorporate that into the topics that they apply to present so that we can make sure that we're all moving together forward giving and growing together.

David Bisset: You . What does that mean to you personally?

Michelle Frechette: Um, I mean,

David Bisset: I think to me it seems to be a lot of what I already do, so I

demonstrated you give a lot.

Yeah.

Michelle Frechette: But I try to do it not in avoid. Right. So [00:17:00] I try to work with other people. That's why I've joined Post Status. And that's why I'm here. With everybody here. It's why I am the president of big Barnhart, because I like to do things with other people and to move the community forward and to be somebody who is hopefully a catalyst for good and for more, uh, people working with one another and to build better community and a more inclusive community.

For sure. And so to me, give, grow together. Is about each of us giving what we can to grow the community and help each other grow individually and obviously doing it together so that we can, um, as one build the community to be as good as it possibly can be.

David Bisset: Right. Looking for the, looking for the good in others and looking for the good in ourselves that we can share.

That means a positive influence on as many people as possible because. Uh, in an upbuilding way too, because obviously for the past couple of years, people sorely need uplifting, positive [00:18:00] momentum. And I mean, you know, have a great tech talk. That's fine. I, but you know, I get a feeling when word camps are fully, fully back.

Yeah, there's going to be so many of these, um, touchy, feely, emotional dogs, where they were working at Miami. We always would sprinkle them out, you know, in, in various parts and get people motivated and stuff. Um, but now I think we need that. We need that motivation. We need that togetherness. Where we can get it, right?

It's not, we're not waiting for this point in the year where we're either travel or don't, or watch it virtually or something. We need it where we can get it. Some people even need it on a daily basis sometimes to survive mentally. So I think this, I, I think it's something that, that, that should feel if there's any gap in somebody's wondering if they need to contribute or be on the receiving end to.[00:19:00]

Of that pro and give. Go ahead and check out the conference. And the best part is, are using Twitter. So, I mean, you can, you can, you can leak and look at the celebrity gossip. And then there was a tweet from this conference. And then, you know,

Michelle Frechette: You dont even have to register because like what we can't gatekeeper Twitter.

There's there's, there's no ticket selling Twitter

David Bisset: already has its claws in you. We're not asking for anything.

Michelle Frechette: We're just saying, go pay attention to this hashtag. And we will be turning each, um, each presentation, each presenter into Twitter moments so that we'll be able to have all of their, um, presentation in one space so that you'll be able to consume that at a later date, too.

Uh, but you know, considering it live while it happens is even better because you could engage with the presenter and ask any questions that you have, um, which helps you at home.

David Bisset: Plus also, it also stops that nagging question that usually people ask ever after all the other conferences, what's your Twitter handle.

[00:20:00] If I had a dime, I can say it a bunch of times. Well, that sounds fantastic. So let's see if I got this straight. We have the career summit. We have the, uh, live spaces. Um, I should say Twitter spaces for the, um, for the weekly WordPress jobs. And then we have the Twitter, um, conference happening. Remind me again, that what the date was May 24th, May 24th, right?

Um, at 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Currently as the time of this recording, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern time on there. And that's what we have. That's what we have to willing to share right now to the public. Um, and right now, but if you want to S if you're listening to this and you want to see maybe the latest. Um, cause we're going to be adding to this.

I mean, there's more coming down the road. You just can't tell me about it on a recording. That's fine.

Michelle Frechette: I actually had a conversation this morning about something that's probably coming up pretty soon that we're working on. So [00:21:00] that's all I'm going to say.

David Bisset: Stop teasing me! stop teasing me

Michelle Frechette: I'll DM you later, but yes, there definitely will be more.

And if there are things that you, dear, dear reader, dear listener.

David Bisset: You say speaker and we always have to constant

Michelle Frechette: gentle listener, whatever whoever's listening to us right now. If there are things that you think that we can be doing and doing better and ways that we can be meeting the needs of our community at plus status and the greater community, we want to hear about it.

If you've got ideas, as a matter of fact, the idea that I was kicking around this morning with some of our. Post status people was brought to me by a post status member. And so we definitely are listening to the things that you think would be edifying for our community. And if there's some, if it's something we can move forward with and help facilitate, we were very interested in doing that.

So we are absolutely open to ideas. The whole idea of together is an us sitting at post status, [00:22:00] handing down all of these events. But certainly doing it together with you. And we want to make sure that we're just not guessing what might be good events, but also I'm listening to you and your needs. And so bring us your ideas.

David Bisset: Fantastic. So again, uh, once again, post-test dot com slash offense. And if you want the, like Michelle said, reach out to us with some of your ideas, uh, best way to do that is just to reach out to us via our contact, um, form. Well share let's let's just get this on the record. What are the ways people can reach out to, to, to learn more or to.

Michelle Frechette: Yep. So I'm on Twitter at, @michelleames or you can, I also could, uh, can get into the, @post_status so you can message us either place there. If you are on slack, you can find me on the post status lack. I I'm very easy to find and I'm, I guess, ubiquitous I'm everywhere

David Bisset: right now. Follow the rainbow of smiles and you will find it.

You'll find Michelle. Michelle is probably one of the best people. Um, but that [00:23:00] doesn't, that I don't owe money to. She's a great focal point. So I encourage you. If you have some feedback on the stuff that we were talking about or something new or need that you see in the WordPress community. I mean, we're not the eye of Sauron here.

We can't see everything. I'm not even sure if that's the correct reference. I got to go through,

Michelle Frechette: go back to the books, had the word

David Bisset: that's good. So thank you very much, Michelle, for covering all of this and, um, getting the word out about this and I'm looking forward to. One of your first, um, Wednesday Twitter spaces.

In addition to all the addition to all the other things we've been talking about here. So thanks again. Super excited.

Michelle Frechette: It's my pleasure. Thanks.

by David Bisset at January 19, 2022 04:45 AM under The Excerpt

Post Status: Post Status Comments (No. 6) — The State of the WordPress News European Edition

“I totally rely on [the community] now… it’s like an extended family… it means a lot to me and I’m glad that everybody’s hanging on in there with me.” —Nathan Wrigley

After the first Post Status WordPress News Draft went so well, we decided to do a more European timezone-friendly version. The group of news “avengers” that assembled in this episode are Winstina Hughes, Tammie Lister, Nathan Wrigley, Amber Hinds, Yvette Sonneveld, and Malcom Peralty — with David Bisset hosting. In three rounds of draft picks, this group assembled new and interesting picks of the most noteworthy or influential WordPress news stories of 2021.

Also: Video recordings of some of our members' single biggest news picks were included in this episode.

Post Status Comments 💬 is a stage for WordPress professionals to exchange ideas and talk about recent topics and trends.

Browse past episodes and subscribe to our podcasts on  Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or get them by RSS. 🎙

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

Amber Hinds

  1. WP Tavern: ACF Solicits Lifetime License Holders for Contributions, Urging Them to Purchase Annual Subscriptions.
  2. Sheri Byrne-Haber's Blog: The ADA Lawsuit Settlement Involving an Accessibility Overlay. (Murphy v. Eyebobs)
  3. WP Tavern: WordPress Classic Editor Support Extended for at Least Another Year.
  4. WP Tavern: Wix Takes a Jab at WordPress with Bewildering New marketing Campaign and Wix’s Negative Advertising Campaign Falls Flat with WordPress Developers and Professionals.

Yvette Sonneveld

  1. WP Tavern: WordPress Community Team Proposes Using a Decision Checklist to Restart Local Events.
  2. Joost.blog: WordPress Market Share Growth Slows Down.
  3. Rian Rietveld: Accessibility Overlays: Common Sense and Nonsense.
  4. WIRED: An Open Source License that Requires Users to Do No Harm.
  5. The Guardian: Online Forums Provide Safe Haven for People Who Suffer from Mental Health Challenges During COVID.

Tammie Lister

  1. Make.WordPress.org: Pattern directory update.
  2. Matias Ventura: Theme.json horizon.
  3. Kjellr.com: Experimenting .
  4. Aino: Theme Update Guide.

Winstina Hughes

Nathan Wrigley

Malcolm Peralty

Additional Contributions via ZipMesssage:

Follow Our Panelists (and Post Status) on Twitter:

🙏 Sponsor: Bluehost

Everything your website needs — from start-up to success story — is at Bluehost. Whether you're looking to create a website, blog, or online store, Bluehost will get you started with an all-in-one website platform tailored to your specific needs. Get a free domain name in your first year, free 24/7 lifetime support, and total design freedom with WordPress at Bluehost.

PSC Episode 6

David Bisset: Welcome to the second episode of the WordPress draft. I call this the European edition because we had a people saying, why don't you make one for the other time zones, let's go around and introduce our players slash panelists. Let's start off with Tammie.

Tammie Lister: Hi, I am Tammie. I work with design at SVP, amongst other things and drug was being,

David Bisset: yeah.

So, okay. On our next, on our list, Malcolm, you're up next.

Malcolm Perotti: Hi, I'm Malcolm Perotti. I'm the co-founder of PressTitan and a product owner at Canberra creative.

David Bisset: Yes. You also do a podcast with Jeff Chandler.

Malcolm Perotti: Yeah. Co-host the WP mainline podcast.

David Bisset: Yes. Feel free to guilt Jeff for not being here by the way

Malcolm Perotti: . I will definitely

David Bisset: not too much. It's out of his control. Up next is Amber

Amber Hinds: I'm Amber Hinds. I'm the founder of equalize digital, which is an accessibility company. And I also organize the WordPress accessibility meetup.

David Bisset: Our next panelist, wasn't able to meet with us in person, but the panel lie, but she be prerecorded her introduction and her news picks Winstina Hughes, please introduce yourself.

Winstina: Hi. I'm Winstina Hughes. I'm a core contributor and the community contributor. You know, me as part of the WordPress nearest to the meetup community, I'm to be an organizer that works with the Maryland department of transportation state highway administration. I started as an assistant regional planner, and I'm currently working as a customer in government relations manager.

David Bisset: after her

comes the almighty Nathan,

Nathan: um Nathan Wrigley from the web builds podcast and the WP Tavern jukebox podcast,

David Bisset: which means he's a better, more professional speaker slash podcaster than me, ladies and gentlemen finally is your Yvette.

Yvette: Thank you. Oh my all those podcasts, we've had some failed. I work as a team lead community for Yoast, pretty active in the WordPress community, but speaking and in the marketing team and very excited to be here.

David Bisset: Just had some news yesterday about, um,

Yvette: Shopify

David Bisset: I was going to say Spotify. Um, I'm not even going to edit this out. I'm not even good at this out. I talked to taco yesterday. I said, congratulations on Spotify. And he says, everybody does that for the first month.

Yvette: I do it all the time too. So don't worry about it. And other than that,

David Bisset: all right, so let's get things started here.

We're here to share our favorite or the biggest, most influential news stories of 2021 related to WordPress that meant the most to us. And if you are new to this concept at listener, we are going to link in the show notes for the first edition. We did have this a couple of weeks ago. There was no need to listen to that episode first.

This is brand new people with probably a lot of interesting picks. The order has been selected by random.org, Tammie, your first, what is your first news pick for us?

Tammie Lister: Oh, my first one is going to be the pattern directory and that's the launch of it. So the first bit of it, um, existing, I guess, uh, there, there was a post when it was stolen on the make matter.

And that was kind of like- it had kind of been happening. We could be an adding to it. And over the year more of that's happened. I wanted to kind of put a focus on that because it's something more relatable to pretty much use it, then blocks it. And it shown that you can really rapidly build a patterns and from, and maybe I'm slipping into the default theme with patterns, but honestly it feels like a theme that's kind of running here, but I go that the panel directory is a great news story to kind of start us off

David Bisset: And you may have said so-

Tammie Lister: April, April was the sort of things were happening before, but there was a post on the 28th of April on make matter.

David Bisset: So it was April and man, it seems like we've been talking about this for a long time. We're recording this in 2022 also is not helping much, even if it's the 5th of January, anytime there's a new directory and let's be honest.

What other new directories as WordPress had. I mean, even the concept of a new directory blows a lot of people's minds because I can't remember when the theme and plugin directories came into being, but it's kinda like, yeah, it's been a

Tammie Lister: while. And I mean, this is the 2022 news, but now it's opening up the patent actually.

So it's a whole year span, pretty much from existing to having submission to now being open up for people to start adding. Um, but it's just really exciting.

David Bisset: All right. Well, good, good, good. Will anybody who had that scratch that off your list. Good. Good job. Good first pick there, Tammie. Thank you very much.

Um, Malcolm, you're up next? What is your, um, first round pick?

Malcolm Perotti: My first round pick is actually going to be the gravity forums. 2.5 update that happened in April as well of 2021. That overhauled UI, uh, changed how I use gravity forms that helped a lot of people kind of, um, use gravity forms more efficiently.

Uh, it had a focus on accessibility. I mean, I don't, from my perspective, I don't know how much the accessibility changes really help people. For me like gravity forms is like one of the first plugins I install in pretty much every WordPress install, this, this UI update just made it so much easier to lay out pretty forms.

It made it so much easier just to interact with it. It made it feel more like, you know, day-to-day WordPress. And I think it was one of the most impactful changes that they could have made. And, uh, because it's the plugin, my go-to plugin for collecting user data for like anything. Um, it was just kind of a really important thing for me and the users and clients that we have.

So that, that huge overhaul that they did for gravity forms, 2.5, um, would be my top story.

David Bisset: That was the first commercial plug-in I ever purchased, uh, or I had a license for. And that was you're talking like maybe 12, 13 years ago maybe. And their design was definitely the most radical that I've seen throughout it.

I think they obviously went for a more block based approach, but it really was. All that different to me. So have you been using gravity forms for awhile? It wasn't too radical.

Malcolm Perotti: Yeah. And I think the, the big advantage that it gave you as the ability to start really, truly laying out your forms, um, the original format or from version 2.4 and below was really about like a, um, vertical structure form where you could kind of do a little bit more horizontal stuff and put things next to each other and split the form in half and kind of do a little bit more design-related stuff.

I think one of the things that has always held people back from using gravity forms, especially over the last year or two as other competitors have really moved very well in that space is the design aspect of the forms. And so to see them start taking that a little bit more seriously was, was a good change.

David Bisset: So

Nathan: is that, is that

David Bisset: allowed? Oh yeah, this is a discussion. Oh, okay. I'll privately shame you in zoom, zoom chat, but otherwise,

Nathan: Don Malcolm, do you, do you feel that they were kind of behind the curve a little bit? Do you think their update came a couple of years too

Malcolm Perotti: late? For sure. I think that, you know, in terms of the ability to, as a developer to work with gravity forms, they've always been kind of ahead of the curve there, in my perspective, their hooks and, and things like that have been very generous.

And how much control you have the ability to build your own? Add-ons very easily was always very, um, powerful. but in terms of the, the design language of forums and the control of forums, I think they kind of leaned too much on their community to kind of fill that gap and it let them kind of near right lag behind a lot of other competitors in the space.

And I still to this day feel that they're a little bit behind some of their other competitors in the. Um, true design control and you still kind of have to use some third-party ad-ons to really do really beautify gravity forms without knowing how to develop a code. Um, but I think it's come a long way and I look forward to seeing them continue to push that.

Amber Hinds: I mean, it's nice not to have to explain CSS classes to clients, right. That's how you had to do it before. This is how you put things in columns.

David Bisset: Uh, speaking of now, Amber, now that you've spoken up, it just so happens. You're next? Thank you very much, Malcolm for that one, Amber, what's your first round pick.

Amber Hinds: Yeah, so I will say that one was not my first round, but it was on my list. So my first round, I think the thing that really got the most attention was, uh ACF asking lifetime users to buy a subscription. I see. It's interesting because I am a lifetime. Like, I mean, I bought a lifetime license. I don't know what, in 2011, it was long time ago, but.

Yeah, I also have, and I, and we put it on every website. We built literally every single website, right. So I have more than gotten my money's worth. We don't really ask for support, but that said like, you know, we can probably pay more. And, and it is interesting too, because a lot of people were getting really upset about it.

And, you know, I think maybe the way they went about it could have been a little better, but having recently entered the, I sell commercial plug-in space myself in the past 12 months. It kinda, you know, for me, I also see it from the business side. And, you know, and also from the side of, well, if they went away, I use this on every website I built now I have to come up with a different tool.

I feel like it got a lot of one-sided press and maybe not as much.

David Bisset: Was it the concept or how they asked or both or neither? I

Amber Hinds: mean, maybe it was because they didn't like during black Friday, which is when people are expecting to not pay for things or they're expecting to pay a 50%.

David Bisset: Yeah. That's kind of like going up to my parents and saying, it's like my parents' anniversary party where I go up to them and says, by the way you owe me 20 bucks, that's kind of an awkward conversation.

Amber Hinds: Yeah at Christmas, I think, I think they probably could have done a lot more to communicate why pay, you know, what are the costs of this plugin? How many, and I know we've seen some that in the past, like the support requests on it are exponential, right? And it's got a huge free user base that are referring support as well, but maybe outlining some of the numbers on that might have made it more understandable to people, as opposed to just being like, Hey, want to help us out buy a subscription when you've already paid for this thing.

David Bisset: When I was thinking about that story and emphasize to me the importance of lifetime subscriptions, um, if you are someone who's acquiring another company and I'm sure thought went into that. Um, in fact there was, there was discussion even before that notice went out about lifetime subscriptions. But with any business that you're acquiring that lifetime subscription chunk is obviously something you need to, to pay close attention to. And I think they did, but I think the messaging was probably, like you said, partly mistimed, if you are able to give some additional incentives to people with lifetime subscriptions. Great. If I was starting a new plug-in service today would be one of those very careful decisions you have to make about like, like short-term lifetime subscriptions could be great for your business, but further down the road.

Amber Hinds: Yeah. I mean, like that was something we decided, right. We were like, all right, let's offer lifetime licenses as like a Kickstarter. Right. So we did it for maybe six months. Never going to do it again. It's like a small amount. It's enough people that it's manageable. It brought in extra revenue that we wouldn't have had if we didn't do that.

But it's not, I think for, from a plugin developer standpoint, you can't think of that as like. Primary way of selling your product

David Bisset: or you do something really evil and you only offer lifetime subscriptions to very, very old people. That's the only, that's the only way I can see what we're working around that, but that would be cool.

Nathan: I was just going to interject here and say, this was the, I think for me, this was the only story that kept coming back in the air. I think it, the, the story itself was June, maybe July, something like that, but that it was acquired from Elliot Condon and, uh, went under the stewardship of delicious brains.

But then, then there was a couple of occasions subsequently where Ernie, I think it was Twitter. Um, the. You might characterize it as a misstep on Twitter, you know, and a poorly thought out phrase, essentially kind of asking, uh, what, what people's thoughts would be about the, the restructuring of the pricing model and, and the inevitable storm that that happened.

Then most of the WordPress news from the, for this year just sort of happened and went away. This one happened, went away, came back, went away, came back. And then here we are still talking about this six months later,

Winstina: it's this a maturity, right? We can't maybe use such wide terms as like forever and lifetime.

We have to be a bit more true to what, what things mean, right. Because lifetime's a long time and it's sort of that kind of trust, you know, additional product has had the same trusses and you don't have in physical products, those kinds of perceptions or those things. And we have to kind of change it's the growing up of our ecosystem and that kind of changing.

So I think it's a sign of a positive sign about ecosystem.

David Bisset: All right next up is Winstina Hughes, please heal us. Your first round news picks.

Winstina: I cannot believe that y'all are missing this number one acquisition use melt choice. And how long have you Sandy had been acquired outside of the word prosperity?

All this is talent acquisition, Mel and Helen. I'm a silent admire. Y'all know I'm my own little corner. I want you to know that you will be missed. You are two incredible contributors. Um, Mel, I want to give you prompts for what touches my world really directly. I know that you were part of a 4.8 team, um, core team.

And one of the contributions that you were a part of was that widget and dashboard by let's, you know, users know about upcoming. So I want you to know that that work that you did, this is really important directly impacts me the stats that you guys gave 30% increase in meetups. Um, that's pretty special for us.

So thank you for that, Helen. You're a boss. I just love how full people are. Um, and I, you know, um, just listened to your commitment to Tena, you know, um, you and I spoke really briefly about it. Just really giving them, you know, so much of your, your time, right? And, um, like your, your contribution, um, to building that company and also to making improvements in core is really phenomenal, uh, directly.

That you've impacted, um, me and our New York city meetup group, uh, is your being part of that panel of women in 2017, you know, discussing, uh, just the needs of women than the WordPress community are women of WordPress. And so they made up series as a direct result of that panel discussion. And so, you know, thank you for that.

Um, so to take in the fact that, you know, these like really two incredible sources of talent have been acquired beyond the WordPress space.

David Bisset: Yeah. We don't really think a lot about talent sometimes, especially when it leaves the WordPress computer. Although we, we do, I think we clarified a little bit that, um, Mel hasn't left WordPress itself.

Um, Tammie, where did you say she was going?

Tammie Lister: I know she just released a post saying that she went to ATF in her review something. Oh, so we can link to that. She did a annual summary and she said where she was going in that.

Amber Hinds: Yeah. I mean, 18 S is the digital services for the government in the United States.

Right. So she's probably going to do some WordPress there. Maybe not because it's not explicitly. I mean, it's focuses a lot on accessibility too, which is kind of cool. That's probably a footnote right. In the last one, someone mentioned Pippin leaving right after the acquisition of Sandhills. And he's like, I'm not going to do WordPress at all.

Like, it is an interesting thing, right? It, it changes the community when people like that leave.

David Bisset: It does a lot of the original tech players, like the people who started Google, the people who started obviously apple. Um, there are people that started, um, uh, Amazon, all of the big, big people that started those companies are no longer there. They've retired. They moved on. So it's almost happening. The same thing in the WordPress space with acquisitions and people retiring or moving onto, uh, Nathan, uh, what is your first round?

Nathan: So my first round pick is the, is the ACF news, but that's been stolen from on-demand.

So I'm going to get it to my, yeah, that's right. I'm going to go to my pick number two, which is open verse the, uh, the fabulous open verse, which you can find at wordpress.org forward slash open verse. If you've not come across this before, it's basically CC search, which kind of appears to have lost its way.

I don't really know if that was financial or, uh, bodies on the ground working on it, but it's come under the stewardship of wordpress.org and it's, um, it's a way that you can go and search currently for, well, it says 500 million images, most of which are CC zero. So you'll be able to use these images and not worry about having to get a lawyer involved in a couple of months time, because Getty come after you because you've inadvertently put something on your website, which is copyrighted and the, the most exciting thing isn't really, for me, that, that exists under the stewardship of wordpress.org. It's really how this is going to be integrated in the future with the block editor. Just the idea that hopefully at some point in the future, if you upload something to your media library, that there's talk about the fact that you may be able to just tick a box and that the simple ticking of that box will therefore make your media available to everybody in the same way that you can get other people's media at the moment.

So imagine how many, how many media libraries contain, how many images throughout the WordPress universe. And it must be tens of millions. And if by simply ticking a box, you could make that available for everybody. That would be fabulous. And that as well, we'll end up with this, um, talking on a podcast episode with some people that are working on the project, you never know, you might be able to upload your block patterns for, um, various other things like that.

So the scope is much bigger. It could be PDFs, it could be images, it could be audio, it could be video, but also the idea that design, uh, templates, so block patterns. And so on that that you could make those freely available is just fine.

David Bisset: I would love to have a discussion about that. I think it's, it's nothing that's probably going to it's we're talking like, like a year, long years, long project, there were

Nathan: several, several years

David Bisset: away, but there that I think fits really well into.

If you listen to Matt state of word, his overall goal is not just about WordPress, but Gutenberg being bigger than WordPress and all of these acquisitions automatic has done through the years about acquiring this piece of open-source. the, You know, this messaging app, this journaling app, tumbler, all of these things, he seems to be collecting one of every type of different corner of the web in and through automatic.

Cause that's probably where it probably makes financial Lawyerist sense to probably do that. But, but if you want an open web, which has been really pushed for the past year, I think even as much as the Gutenberg has been pushed, this, this CC, um, this creative comments acquire, uh, I think fits well into that strategy.

And I'd love to talk about more about that. I think Nathan, you just, I think I just had a, um, thought explosion in my head, um,

Winstina: talk about democratizing design publishing, but it's kind of a democratizing of design and the leveling up and access of design for everybody which were part of the work that is happening with the editor is about, you know, enabling everyone to have a base line of design and the boundary, because if you give too many tools to do that, you're setting people up for failure by having, you know, patterns is one of them, but also templates and having, this knowledge that was kind of locked and told and ancient tools and all those kinds of things, it shouldn't be, it should be access.

Yes. There's always going to be a need for craft. And there's always going to need to be a need for design systems designer, but there still should be access to that information. And I won't have a design sense and I won't you think to ask it because I have to experience it. So, you know, it's part of that.

Just as we try to have coding standards, having design standards before we create as well, I think it's so, so important.

David Bisset: It has been removed from the board. And I must say that was a pick that somebody had in our last episode to it. So it was a very, very popular, very bird about nines. Yes. But you, you actually brought a whole new angle to it.

So thank you for that, Yvette, what do you got for us?

Yvette: One on my list and it hasn't the workers, community, uh, announcement that the team was proposing a decision checklist to restart local events, which initially really excited me. And then as the world progresses, whereas I could jump into an event tomorrow or my heart would love to because connecting with the people that I love and that I resonate with and that hanging out with all those brilliant minds can't happen soon enough, but safe.

So now every time something pops up around in-person events I Get excited. And then I won't allow myself to get excited because well, safety. Um, but I think the fact that the checklist is there to help prepare events safely is really a good thing.

Amber Hinds: I think it was hard after state of the word. Like I was like, oh, Hey, there, there is a first example of an in-person event.

It was small. And then I heard like a bunch of people got COVID. Right. So, so that it's like,

David Bisset: and there's work camps starting, I think next month, um, in, in the U S and in other locations as well. So yeah, but not to, not to put words in your mouth, but the checklist being the top story for you is getting some order and procedures in place.

So regardless of when and how these things start, there's at least some order to it. Right.

Yvette: I think it's really helpful that they were there and I can wait. Uh, for events to get started.

David Bisset: Normally I would go next, but I already went, I already shared my news is in another episode. So I'm actually sharing now a real quick one here from, I'm going to say, I'm going to Butch, sorry.

If I butcher your name LA lax. It's Lax Mariappan. And he's going to tell us from our zip message, what his new story picked for 2021 was,

Lax Mariappan: um, I'm lax. I'm a backend engineer at WebDevStudios. Uh, for me personally, I like themed dot Jason or like the full site editing experience. Uh, it's kind of a game changer, but I would say, uh, as I started in 2010 and where you have to, uh, create templates and other stuff, you know, you know, it takes time to do that.

Now it's all in a single file. Great.

David Bisset: Well, short and sweet and I love that. So if you had themed Jason, the introduction of which on your list, feel free to remove that. It's something that's. It's still kind of developing, but if you can create customizers, people are creating customizers in the web like web forms to be able to customize your theme dot Jason.

Um, I'll put a link to the introduction of theme, dive Jason from the wordpress.org associated with that pick into, into the show notes for that good pick Lex. Thank you, lacks. I should say thank you very much, Tammie. You are up. We're going to, we're doing a second round here, which is second news pick.

Winstina: I am going to tangent on to that, looking at the theme Jason horizon.

And so Makiah slowed the pace back in August about the ingest of horizon and this isn't necessarily a news post. This is a thought post. And I kind of think it's really interesting to balance in these posts posts because, um, those are how we kind of start thinking about things a little bit. And this post really was about.

The now and the future of theme, Jason. Um, so theme Jason was a previous year this year and the future year thing. It spanned multiple years really. Um, and in that it really dare to dream about thinking about design structure and portability and thinking about native apps and how it could even control ads, maybe in the future events super-wide in this post.

And I think it's really interesting to start thinking about, um, there was a term used in it about coded recipe if they have a site looks and feels. And I think starting to not just think of like this little bit of script, which is what we're kind of focusing on with the, and Jason, but as a mechanism of where it could become how it can ease things like accessibility, just make design more accessible to everybody to understand, and then bring in kind of apps and maybe even a more medical admin space.

So it's, it's one of one. Bloodsport pieces, I guess, too. It's one of those posts that I think sometimes we have all these, like opposition is on the stupid side and stuff, and sometimes posts like this kind of like really quietly. Um, and I think it's really important to kind of go back to them and kind of digest them.

It's about that. That was back in August. And it's a post I've gone back to a few times.

David Bisset: Yeah. The sheer readability of dot Jason and its flexibility as loud already. Like I mentioned before, a couple of people creating tools for its customization. That's the kind of innovation maybe it's been because of the last couple of years, for me personally, about listening to people, discuss how difficult it is to customize blocks without, and then, you know, ACF and PHP and all of that.

But you know, in the beginning, you know, you know, you have to learn react. You have to learn this in order to do the two blocks and so forth. There was, there was definitely a learning curve there and there still is. And there's other tools that are helping with that, but just the theme, Jason, right off the bat is human readable.

Winstina: Yeah. I said it needs to be things, but it's also the mechanism and what it for tolls. And I think that's the interesting part about this post and the interesting kind of change. Like we've, we've got the mechanisms and now are they, where can that go and start into that's something like damning to dream.

And I, that's kind of what I liked about one candidate for, to dream about the, what ifs in it as well. So yeah, I think that that is something we should do more of. So for me, it was.

David Bisset: And before I dare to dream, I'm going to first next dare to ask Malcolm what his second round draft newspaper.

Malcolm Perotti: Yes. So my second round is actually going to be a story from way back in January of 2021. And basically I want to put it under the umbrella umbrella of like good WordPress search gets harder.

Um, so elasticpress.io, um, was trying to figure out what the heck they were going to do next. After the elastic search project abandoned their open source licensing in, in the general sense of WordPress search is not talked about much other than to say. Basic built-in WordPress search kinda sucks. Um, and this was an opportunity to kind of improve that.

And now there's been some step backs away from that due to, you know, some licensing issues. Um, you know, there's, uh, open search, which is a fork of elastic search and there's a lot of different things kind of happening in that space. Um, I really think that the elastic press service from TenUp is, is a great, easy kind of entry point for a lot of people to get good search on WordPress.

Um, and I'll be interested to see kind of how they deal with these continuing issues. I don't know that they've announced any change yet. I think the conversation was maybe that they would use open search instead of elastic search, um, for elastic press. And I don't know if that means they'll change it to.

Open press.io instead of elastic press that AOR or however they're going to deal with that, that kind of issue. But, um, I think that, you know, as a WordPress community, we still need to kind of fight for better search in WordPress. Um, it's one of the two main issues that I see in WordPress currently agree.

That's what we do. Right. We drop back to Google, which is not ideal, well,

David Bisset: that's not the open web that, um, yeah, I think if performance, wasn't such a distracting factor in terms of WordPress, in terms of like teams to put together, I'd love to put a search team together. Performance effects, all WordPress sites.

Search is huge, but it doesn't affect everybody right now, I guess, because not everybody searches through a site, but they just had an article. Um, I earlier this year about how young people, these days don't know what a file or folder system. I don't I'll have I'll share the link. I don't have time to explain it now because

Amber Hinds: I don't have any frame of reference because vanilla folder stuck in a

David Bisset: drawer, but what do they know?

But what do they know search, right. But what if there was like a little, uh, there's a, plug-in like this that already kind of exists where you hit a key command on, on your WordPress site. And like a little window shows up, like on a Mac that you have the, um, Alfred or something, and you can type in a few words, but it's not the UI that it's the, it's the effectiveness of the search built in.

Right. So I think Malcolm knew regardless, and I think, uh, please feel free to include any, uh, extra link in there for some of the things that you mentioned. If, if it's not covered. I definitely think search has been one of those long time neglected. Oh, I'll just use something else to get by and search WP, which by the way is also an awesome thing as well.

But it's kind of a slightly, it's a slightly different tool. Um, I think, but built in better built in WordPress or. Whatever can get us there or thinking more about it, I think is fantastic. So Malcolm hats off to you, because I didn't even think about that until now. Shame on me. Must be the coffee talk.

It's the coffee talking. Speaking of coffee, talking, Amber, what is your second round pick? My coffee wants to know.

Amber Hinds: So my second round pick, I don't think got a ton of traction in WordPress, but it has huge implications for all websites, WordPress websites. Um, and that was, um, the eyebobs versus Murphy settlement, which was a lawsuit against a website that used the accessibility accessibility overlay, and they had it already and they got sued.

And then. Karl groves who was of tenon and is now of level access. People may have heard of him because he did a lot of the initial accessibility audits for Gutenberg. And he actually was an expert witness in that case. And the, the whole, I mean, it's fascinating. I'll give you a link to the PDF of the case because there's a 50 page attachment that talks about how.

Excessively actually adds accessibility problems to websites. And so that was the original piece, which was, they got sued even though they had it. But this year, the big news that really went around the accessibility community was that they settled, they removed the overlay. And as part of the settlement agreement, they agreed that they had to make their, um, excessive, their website accessible the real way, not using an overlay.

And so that really. I wish it had gotten more traction in the WordPress space or with web developers or designers. Um, you know, it's harder for small businesses, but I feel like even a lot of web developers don't pay enough attention to this. And, and a lot of them are kind of just being like, oh, I just put an overlay on the site, you know, excessively or, uh, what is it a user way is a really big one in WordPress that probably, I think that one has the most active installed.

Um, and, and this case was pretty much like that will not help your clients. They will get sued. You might get sued too. So for me, that was a huge one.

Yvette: To accessibility experts from the Netherlands actually wrote quite a really good article about that. And you sniped me with the story, but it would be nice maybe to include the link in, in what you were saying, because I think it's yeah.

Uh, accessibility. It's just so, so important. And the overlays.

David Bisset: Don't do don't do shortcuts like that bad idea. Um, Winstina you're up, give us your second newspaper, please.

Winstina: My second job pick comes from the post status extra archives, number 37. And, uh, I am pulling from it, Mary job's suggestion that we have a WordCamp Africa. I love it. I love the idea of having a word camp Africa.

You know, this is a reflection of my, my African pride. I am I'm west African, and so is Mary Job and, and they think that there is definitely an African massive within the WordPress community. And this massive has so much to offer. And you know, this massive, you know, is, is, has like a large diaspora, um, and let's put together work camp Africa we have, who were in camp US.

Which I wrap heart. Um, we have a WordCamp, Europe. We have a WordCamp Asia. Um, it's time, it's time for WordCamp Africa. You, um, have a lead organized already. Mary's stepped up and said that this is something that she wants. And, I think that we definitely have the resources and we have the capacity to make it happen, whether or not this is a combination of remote, um, you know, having something that's online and also in person, maybe it's an online word camp and then like an in-person, contributor day.

I don't know. Um, I don't know the logistics of it. I'm in the U S I'm not part of the west African, um, community, uh, you know, that's, that's on the continent. I can't speak to what the needs are. I can only advocate for, for us and say, you know, it's, it's time, it's time where.

David Bisset: Put that on. I was going to say bumper sticker, but that doesn't, that doesn't even cover it. That should be, it should be a full-fledged t-shirt and clothing line. I'm actually going to point for her pick. I'm going to point to the news link for the post status episode. She's actually referring to, to summarize that as best I can, from that conversation with Mary, there is such an explosion of.

Things that are happening in Africa right now, dealing with WordPress and the communities, and they're doing a fair share of it on their own. And I, and I don't know if that was the, it's the best way to describe it, but they've started, I think WP, africa.org, they are running with these various kinds of meetups, I think 10 years ago where the WordPress community was in the America and Europe.

They're, you know, they're, they're kind of running their own show. They don't really have a, they only have a few WordCamps now in Africa, but they don't have anything globally yet tied together. And I think now that they're starting to get the kind of, kind of getting that mass, that mass point where they could have some sort of, you know, continental type of movement they're, um, they're, they're becoming more and more unified in their networks and structures.

So I think that's a excellent link, new suggestion for just making sure that we're aware of all of the continents and spaces on the globe.

Amber Hinds: Well, I think too, what comes in with that is like, is there a possibility for having more. WordCamps or talks that end up on wordpress.tv that are not in English, because I really feel like that would make a huge difference in allowing more people access to learning WordPress.

And, you know, I don't know if it's all of Africa, maybe it is going to be an English word camp. Maybe don't, I don't know. Maybe we'll be French, but, um, like that is an interesting thought, like, could there be a lot of different languages that come out of that?

David Bisset: So, yeah, we'll see. I mean, obviously COVID is putting some stints in the plans Africa right now is obviously not doing very well with, COVID just like other parts of the world as well, but I think we should just pay more attention, pay more attention to places other than the us and Europe, sometimes a lot of other stuff happening in the rest of the world.

So if you haven't checked out. My discussion with Mary and the, or at least the links in the show notes for that episode, please feel free to do so. All right, good pick, uh, Nathan, uh, what I, what's your number two,

Nathan: my number two really doesn't have a URL associated with it, but, um, it is the fact that we are still as a community.

Hanging in there had a couple of years where yeah, but what, what I'm meaning is, you know, this could literally have fallen to pieces over the last couple of years. You know, we relied a great deal on in-person events. We have gone through an awful lot and yet I see people all over the place. Making incredible commitments to making sure that we're still able to do things like this.

So here we are. And David, thank you. There's six of us on the screen at the moment.

David Bisset: I'm thinking don't thank me. I'm just trying to get away from my family,

Nathan: but I'm thinking of events. One that Springs to mind, uh, is WordFest, uh, an event which is completely free to attend, um, has built a platform to make that event possible, um, loads and loads of people volunteering to, to be involved.

And so that really is, is on what I'm talking about it's the sort of the maturation of the community, the maturation of online events, the fact that we've managed to keep going, we're patting ourselves on the back. We, we were hoping for events to come around next year, going back to the vet's point from the first round.

Maybe that's not going to happen, but for reasons that I can't quite explain, we're still managing to hang in there and on the whole, we're not falling out with each other and. Mirror that across different industries and just see how that falls out. And my prediction is it won't be quite as rosy as our little community has been.

Winstina: Okay. And my press one, I think we're adapting to be more robust. So I think in the future, remembering that some people won't be able to travel. Some people aren't ever going to want a chapel that some people have changed and people have adapted deadlines and that's totally cool. And the spec in that going forward, maybe we rely too much on impassive, maybe relied too much on different things and finding these new kids so healthy and it sets us up for stronger and it makes us more global and it helps us.

Be more inclusive if we want to have longevity and we want the habits, it's part of that doing it. It's hard to do, right? Because they are easier. Wasn't easier getting on planes and doing things. It just felt easier because it was what we may be new. But yeah, it's super exciting to see how we can be more inclusive in different ways.

Yvette: So many of our people, people of our community have relied on each other to get through these periods where, um, not everyone in your physical circles was. Comfy with zoom and, and all the tools that we use that we already use to connect. So we had, uh, I've, I've been part of a group that played, um, uh, Dungeons and dragons, sir, for a year, like every other, every two, three weeks.

Just to have that moment where you're not just among your family or on the phone with other family and friends and do something entirely different. And for me personally, I think for the other people in that group too, it made such a difference. Um, not falling out, like you say, Nathan, and, uh, even strengthening friendships.

Nathan: Yeah. I think really, I was just trying to congratulate us as a whole on. You know, if anybody put on an event, if anybody contributed anything or committed anything, anybody showed up and gave 20 minutes here, there, and everywhere to make a thing happen that wouldn't have otherwise happened. Uh, all of these little paper cots add up to a great big injury, what a terrible analogy.

Um, you get the point. Yeah. But you get the point, you know, lots and lots of little things happening largely in, in many cases on, on song, on accounted for, you know, if it'll probably never be acknowledged and written about in blog posts or on podcasts, but people hanging in keeping the community together.

And I, for one totally rely on it now, you know, it's like it is an extended family and it means a lot to me. And I'm glad that everybody's hanging on in there with me.

Amber Hinds: The zoom meet ups, I would tend to in the past, like two years, I've attended all these WordPress meetup. Across the U S and Canada, like once I would never go to, and I've gotten to hear other people talk that I would never normally hear speak.

Um, and I've been able to speak at some that I would, you know, like you, you're not going to fly somewhere to speak out a WordPress meetup. Right. Uh, and, and I just feel like I've actually strengthened some of my connections with people because of all of the four switch to digital that we maybe didn't have.

No, it's a bummer local meetup. We're not doing the zoom stuff. Cause it feels too hard. But, uh, but there are definitely a lot that are, and I think that's, it's, it's been nice.

Winstina: I know, I would add that. I think it's, there's a personal choice there as well, which I think is really nice. So I've probably done less meat-ups, but that's also a personal choice, which I think.

We have that now. And we have the more options that people can do. And I guess that's kind of an, I am so grateful for all the people, giving all the options for those of us that maybe didn't have the bandwidth for different people have had to do different things during this time. And different people are going to do different things as a process during this time.

And this is a time which wasn't just the time that you experienced it, it's the time that you processed after it because we're all humans and you need to do that. Right. Um, so we're going to need to sit so that I even need to take the burden for the people that have the Baton and did all this sauce and stuff for me, you know, that's that's community by picking up something and taking it.

Um, and I knew I could stay connected with the community, but I could step back and I could do that because my community was there. Being informed by things that post status and other things. And I could do my creative thing, but that had that information that we didn't have a few years ago. We didn't have that kind of thing.

I didn't need to attend things. Um, so it's just been able to like turn the volume up or down as you need to still remain connected with the community, but still feel a sense of belonging and still having people check on you. It's beautiful. Plus one with the beauty and the heart and the group's hugs, but just the choice having career option choices and personal choices in how you do your path in this community is, is a huge part of this now.

David Bisset: All right. Speaking of love, let's give some love to you vet. Uh, what is your second round pick here? My second

Yvette: one has to do with, uh, with the growth rate of WordPress, and the fact that that's actually slowing down and while we're so like humongous in the CMS space. Um, we're not growing as fast as we used to be.

Now, part of that has to do with the growth of e-commerce because COVID forced everyone to move to online, shopping, maybe a bit faster than they were comfortable with. Um, but it's also something that we do need to be aware of. And as some people already have been warning us for, for more than a year, we are losing terrain when it comes to organic traffic.

Um, for people's searching for things like starting a website, uh, starting a web shop. Um, and there is talk about this. Um, but I think it needs more.

David Bisset: There is going to be discussion more discussion. I think this year about what market share really means. I think we've been looking at the percentage numbers and by the way, the, those percentage numbers are, might be going away.

We might not have that statistic by mid-year because Alexa, not that Alexa, the other Alexa, Alexa, that's been twice. Yes. I know if I say it a third time, she comes through the window or the mirror. Um, but, but that, that, that, um, way of getting in that market share that 43% where it is right now. That's no longer going to be a source for w three texts, um, coming to, so I think going along with your point and again, feel free to link the provost appropriate news article to that, um, market share slowing down, but in overall, like what market share should we be paying attention to what statute we paying attention to?

And I think your pick fits perfectly along with that, you're fixated on one number. What happens regardless of how legitimate the number is, what happens when that. Stop slow us down. What does it do? I mean, if it, if it's, if it's my blood pressure, then that's great. But when it comes to WordPress market share maybe, maybe not so much.

Right.

Yvette: I know among the WordPress marketing team, I mean, this is a team that has been growing with ups and downs and all sorts of twists and twirls. Um, but years ago we already asked for things like KPIs and growth and access to analytics, um, And we're really happy that we have some more sponsor contributors on our team now.

So hopefully this will also spark that fire of where do we want to go? What do our target audiences look like? Um, how do we really convert them from hearing about word press when you're doing that first research about, um, getting a website up and running to how flexible is this and how am I going to get locked in with, with this or with closed source, et cetera.

There's so I, one of my pet peeves is teaching this new selling, and that really, uh, is something that we could be better at, within the WordPress community. Um, like entry-level content for people that doing that first research winter building.

David Bisset: Absolutely. Wow. That was a great two rounds. I love the fact that we've got so many different perspectives here.

So what we're going to go through next for the next, maybe 10 minutes is like a, you're going to go through the rest of your picks that you brought with you. And if you may feel free to mention a snipe, just briefly mentioned the pic. Um, you don't have to go into detail. In fact, we don't have the time to go into details on them, but before.

So I'm going to give you a minute to kind of look over the rest of your list and decide what to share as we go through one last time. While I do that, though, I'm going to play responses, things that the community has been sharing, but I just felt like we should share at least one, one is from Mr. Strebel.

Strebel: I think the biggest story of 2021 in WordPress was Jason St. Anne's full site editing post. That was a meat and potatoes deep dive into the current state of the editor, which as it continues to evolve will be the experience for tens and tens of millions of site.

Um,

I think that got my most, the most attention out of me.

And I'm a little bias. Pepsi was mentioned.

David Bisset: Well, it, it's not a struggle video without a Pagely mention. So check that box, but I think I, I can't help, but think that's a good post to have when you're viewing, when you need some good absorption on the subject. So kudos to struggle for that. Let me share with you mats real quick here member Doris had said, well, it's Matt from our report media and the WP minute.com.

Matt Medeiros: I think the biggest story,

David Bisset: I just want to say, just look how you people are listening to this all linked to this and listen, listening just looks so professional. Usually has that jacket on that makes him look like he's recording from Antarctica. Like if you ever seen him like that, if not, I'll share it with you later, but I just wanted to say a map before we even hear you.

Great professional job, sending us your, a video here. Here we go

Matt Medeiros: from airport media and the WP minute.com. I think the biggest story of 2021 are all of the new faces in the WordPress community. Showing up on my timeline. I'm hearing them in podcasts. I'm seeing them on YouTube and it's fantastic to see a whole new cohort of people supporting the community and bringing in fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.

So I applaud everyone really stepping it up, uh, in WordPress as my number one news item for 2021. And Hey, by the way, David Short form community contributed content. This is a fantastic. Idea.

David Bisset: Okay. A compliment will not get past the point that you didn't give a specific news item mat. So, you know, minus one point for you.

But I do will have to acknowledge that. Um, and this may be Tyson to Nathan's a bit, a little bit. We are, we're surviving together as a community and still taking in new people. We're seeing, we're definitely seeing new people present their voices. Here's one more from, um, Mr. Bob, Don here. Hey

Bob Dunn: Bob, Do The Woo. So I think that's a big news. You're here. I'm here. Yes, we it's almost the end of the year. We'll be here in 2022. So daycare B-cell man,ource. This is WordPress. I mean any open source community and the tool has its ups and downs. And Hey, I'd say there's a lot more ups than downs and Hey… yeah, I've talked to new people. I've talked to people who've been in space.I love seeing who is out there and who is doing with WordPress. So I think that's a big news. You're here. I'm here. Yes, we it's almost the end of the year. We'll be here in 2022. So take care be well man.

David Bisset: I think, I think it's because it's just, you know, year two, a pandemic, everybody's kind of just thankful that we're all here together.

Right? We actually have two more videos. One from Michelle Fran yet,

Michelle Frechette: For me the biggest WordPress news story of this year was acquisitions, but it was specifically the acquisition of give WP into liquid web because it affected me personally. I was the director of customer success that give WP at the time and give WP joined the liquid web family and was under, became under the umbrella of our software.

Which is stellar WP. I was the director of customer success, forgive, and I am the director of community engagement

for stellar WP. I get to do lots of fun things with that, including the

work that I do at post status, um, and being on the team, they're contributing in many ways

and, uh, what I do in big orange heart, et cetera.

So that was pretty big news for me. And it opened up a whole new world of possibilities and allowed me to do many things like attending the state of the word. So, yeah, that's what I would say.

David Bisset: And we have a video here from Rob Carnes

Rob Carnes: Everybody Rob Carnes here. I wanted to talk about what I thought was the most important word, press story the year.

And I think it will shock a lot of people, but it won't, and that's our community. Our community has had a really rough go with this year between Gutenberg, mergers and acquisitions. And the fractioning in our community to do the other issues, or do you usual wordpress.com versus where press.org and depending on who you talk to, the belief that automatic cause doing the right thing or wrong thing, I think we have a lot of work to do within our own community.

And I think this is the whole future of WordPress and there's the whole future of open source. And it's why it's the number one issue we face today. And that's the problems in our own community. And it seems the issue has never changed and nobody ever looks at the people causing the issues instead of realizing.

That we need to keep building the community. And one of those reasons, and it's been hard to do without word camps in the pandemic is to keep building our online communities towards our door on Twitter, with Iran, Facebook, whether it's the new WordPress product community I'm involved with in LinkedIn, we need to keep building those communities and we need to work really hard at it.

And that is the biggest story. And that's the future of WordPress. To some degree. I do agree that there is some disagreement in the WordPress community. I don't think it's something we haven't faced in the past, though. If you are interested in the WordPress community, there is an excellent episode, upcoming of post status excerpt, where I talked to Bob Dunn about the community.

David Bisset: I suggest you check out. Like I promised let's bring out quickly are the picks that we didn't get a chance to share. Nathan, since you have to step out real quick, let's take you first.

Nathan: I want to mention, now this, this project may have been going for a little while, but I'm just really impressed with a particular individual and a community that has grown up around a product that he's released.

And it's a page builder actually, and it's called bricks. I don't know if you've come across this page builder in the past, but it seems to be gaining a lot of attention. You can find it at bricks, builder.io. I confess I have not really used it, but I've kind of been looking in their group and I'm just extraordinarily amazed at what this guy Thomas has been able to pull off seemingly.

All by himself in the space of, well, I'm going to say it's about 18 months, but really kind of came around the beginning portion of last year and, um, and in their community and in various other communities that there's always the contrast. There's always the people drawing the contrast between the, the, the pace of change on the WordPress Gutenberg side and the fact that people an individual in this case, or a small team in the case of other page builders can manage to pivot and iterate so very, very quickly.

And I just wanted to give a shout out to Thomas for all the work that he's doing. He's managed to gather himself a nice sizeable Facebook group of devoted followers. So just kudos to

David Bisset: him. Well, good. That's another thing I can look forward to exploring, cause I haven't had a chance to, to explore that yet.

All right. Um, so Tammie, what's what, uh, real quick here, what is anything left in your truck? Yeah,

Tammie Lister: I have two things. One is the release, uh, Alibaba from, uh, announced the release of eight either. I am O uh, theme. Um, I, it's an amazing theme, um, that lots of started blood-based themes and happening, but this one was really pivotal for me.

This is kind of was in August. It was very all the way through, uh, it's got incredible paddle library and also commerce support. And I think that that is kind of essential kind of things. Approach is really one of that systematic approach to design and is a combination. So I think the work that is happening with her and her partner in the studio is really, really crucial for this space.

And the other one is, um, experimentations, I mean, excited about genuinely people experimenting. Um, and how did a. Kind of presentation about that for us. And then he posted that on his blog, his presentation, um, about how by experimenting, using existing features and pushing the boundaries of them. So he did it with block styles.

Uh, we start to know the boundaries, but also what could become. So I think that that shows that, you know, um, we only get to know really where we're going to go as a project that starting to experiment. And we only get to know how to use these things by experimenting. So those are the two picks that no one picked.

So I'm kind of excited that no one picked my pigs.

David Bisset: That's that's a good thing. It shows you're you're you've you been a worthy, worthy adversary? Um, Malcolm what's quickly. What's your anything?

Malcolm Perotti: Yeah. So I was interested in talking about the whole delicious sprains ACF thing, but that we kind of covered that.

Um, the other two things that I had was the GoDaddy plain text password issue. I think it kind of, you know, we have to really continue to think about security, not just in WordPress, but the partners that we use to, um, you know, manage and grow our sites. And then the other thing that I wanted to talk about was, uh, you know, on WP mainline, Jeff posted about his issue with trying to transform two paragraph blocks in an ordered list into a quote block.

Um, I think we need to continue to work on Gutenberg and those, those abilities that we had, um, before with the editor to be able to kind of have that publishing experience be just as good or better with the block editor. I think there's still these edge cases that are missing that support. So those, the only ones I had left

David Bisset: Jeff seems to hit a lot of those.

I think it'd be, he needs to continue writing. Yeah, let's see. Um, Amber what's. Yeah.

Amber Hinds: So that was a great segway into classic editor support continues for at least a year block editor, Ben wagon pretty early. I mean, we did it from the beginning. We still have some clients, especially like universities or government, like things that really need a lot of control that are like, they are classic editor all the way, you know?

And so, so I think that's a big deal that that's continuing. And I know they said for a year, I'm certain that we'll get another year extension next year. Um,

David Bisset: the other thing kind of like my taxes, but yes,

Amber Hinds: the other thing that kinda stood out for me this year was the weird Wix versus WordPress battle,

right.

With sending everyone the headphones and Matt writing a pretty. Snarky dab, field blog posts at them. And you know, it's, it's weird. Cause it is, it is an interesting, like, okay, we are a competitor, right. Obviously massively competitor, but at the same time for me, I'm a little bit like. Okay, this feels childish.

Let's all just move on. Like, what does this say about us? You know, so

David Bisset: I agree. And then Matt mentioned them at the state of the word and that kind of just fell apart

Amber Hinds: very intentionally. Right. And I, and I like some of them, I was just like, okay, come

David Bisset: on. No, but, but no, I forgot about that marketing campaign, the weirdest marketing campaign, guerrilla style.

And then you had the ads with the, with the weird people in the ads, or at least it was weird to me. So it's the headphones. It was the weird ad campaign. And then there was the public back and forth. So that's yeah. Let's yeah.

Amber Hinds: The footnote on that ad campaign too was it's it was a little bit interesting to see who Wix thought was a WordPress influencer.

There were some people that were like, okay. Yes, of course it makes sense that they would, and then there were other people that were like weird. I got, I had friends from Wix and.

David Bisset: Some people got, and I bet you some people's feelings got hurt when they didn't get their headphones.

I'm sorry. I had something in my phone, but okay. Yes. Great. Never forget a Wix 2021. Never forget. Um, that I think this is we're down to you now. Is there anything quickly you want to just touch base before we close out here?

Yvette: Absolutely. I had some broad match, uh, topics on my list.

David Bisset: Keep it short, keep it short because I got eventually feed my kids.

Okay. Yeah,

Yvette: I will totally do that. Uh, one was an article, uh, about an open source license that requires you to do no harm. And while that's probably not tying in with GPL, really just like that, I thought it brought up some philosophical things about good versus bad and inclusive versus protecting your community from.

Eagles influences evil being a little bit too strong of a word, but you're probably get the

David Bisset: Evil spirits.

Yvette: Um, yeah, so I thought I was really interesting and maybe something for conversations down the road, what do we want, what do we not want within our community? Then there was an article about how people who could not attend group therapy physically really turned to open, uh, to, to online, uh, platforms.

And that made me feel really thankful for the fact that we basically have her own mental health blood from inner community where people can connect with people that they're already have some things in common with, which makes building those friendships and helping each other out really, really, um, so much easier.

Uh, and there's one really not news, but a thread on Twitter that just really worked my heart. And it was Michelle Frechette offering people in anyone basically who tied in to that or asked for it, uh, To create, um, haikus or limericks or a compliment for them. And I think that was just, well, it was really hard to.

David Bisset: Wow. That's yeah, let's not forget too much quote, the technical stuff, but yeah, let's not forget to the, uh, the heartwarming stuff too. I wanted to share one last one. Last thing, I think it was from Joe. Hey everybody, Joe. Casabona here from the, how I built it. Podcasts and WP review. And I think the biggest story in WordPress in 2021 was the delay of the release of WordPress 5.9, I think since 5.0, we've seen, uh, seemingly arbitrary deadlines get pushed.

Even when features haven't been fully ready. We've seen features get put into release candidates, even though there should be a feature freeze then. And I feel like 5.9 is a turning point where we don't push out the release until the core features. The main headline features are ready, and that is good for the development team.

And it's good for the end user, which is ultimately. We've had some things before in previous releases that maybe weren't ready or were pushed or something. And we have this thing about deadlines, but, uh, I'm not sure if this is sends a huge trend because I, because I know that there's four releases may be being planned next year.

You know, we're squeezing them in like little sausages, but I'm sure everything will work out fine. I'm sure everything is, but this does give you an example of saying, Hey, listen, something wasn't ready. And I realized there was a big, we, I have a episode with Anne McCarthy on this. Like everything was spaghetti, like everything was tied to everything else.

So you couldn't really, it was very, very difficult to push just a part of the release out. Um, think I'm going to summarize, I think that's a decent way of summarizing that. So I think it was a great idea not to wait and pushing out at the end of January, but it does give you at least some precedent to say, Hey, listen, we pay attention to these things.

And if something needs to be moved, it's moved. So that kind of gives you hope for the future.

Winstina: Uh, so it's a Bita inevitably. So it's a difference for two reasons.

David Bisset: I wanted to thank everybody here for participating in this. I thought this was a great, um, great diversity. I think we only repeated like maybe one or two news posts from the previous episode, which shows you like how much there happened in 2021, but also a lot of things that I don't think I even gave that much consideration to.

And I think when people listen to this podcast, I think they're going to be able to appreciate the same things I did so quickly around the table. Let's just say farewell and just remind us where we can find you on social it start with Tammie.

Tammie Lister: Uh, you can find me in common ties and own things and thank you so much.

And I hope everyone has just a calm and the year that they really need.

David Bisset: Yes. Yes. I think my coffee's kicking in now. So I think, I think I got all that in Malcolm. Um, share with us where we can find you.

Malcolm Perotti: Uh, the best place to find me is on Twitter, uh, at find purpose and, uh, always check me out on the WP mainline podcasts at WP mainline.

David Bisset: And thanks for coming Malcolm. I greatly appreciate it. And don't forget to rub it in to a Jeff Amber. Thank you for coming. You've been a real joy.

Amber Hinds: Oh, thank you for having me. So the best social media for me is on Twitter and I really got to update my handle, but it's, uh, at a core blog, which is a U C O E U R blog.

And otherwise, if it's easier, you can just go to equalize digital.com and get to me that way.

David Bisset: And I'm most of you are probably on post status as well. I think, um, at least if, if not shame on you, Nathan, where can we find.

Oh, Nathan and Nathan, I think you're muted. Otherwise you're there you go.

Nathan: Sorry. Enormous. PhotoPass sorry about that. WP belts.com or on Twitter. It's just WP builds

David Bisset: and thank you for coming, Nathan. I greatly appreciate it. You probably didn't know what you were getting into. And I think this is the first time you and I have talked.

And for all I know,

Nathan: it's very nice to meet you all

David Bisset: It could be the last too for if I didn't do my job right. Um, and finally, Yvette, it was nice to see your face. And I think this is the first time we've met as well. Can you tell people where to find you?

Yvette: Yes. Thank you. You'll find me at, uh, with, uh, at, if had some failed, um, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, um, WordPress slack, and I'll, I am on post status.

David Bisset: Okay. Great. That's awesome. Um, why am I whispering? Thank you Yvette. Very much for that. I greatly appreciate it. I, and I appreciate everyone here. This was meant for the European time zone, but some of you were awesome. You woke up in the morning on an Eastern time zone. Thank you very much for all. And, um, we'll talk in the future and, um, we'll see this episode soon on post status.

Goodbye, everybody.

by Olivia Bisset at January 19, 2022 04:15 AM under Post Status Podcasts

WPTavern: Ask the Bartender: Are There Any Compact and Personal Block Themes?

All the block themes seem to have something similar in how they look. Although unique in their own ways, being generally wide, spacy, and modular instantly make them look like they came from the same mold. This is not to say they’re bad though… I’m just not really fond of such design. I prefer something more compact and personal.

By “compact and personal,” I think of something like a small room cramped with all your belongings, photos, postcards, etc., giving it a cozy feeling (Tumblr themes kind of fit this). The block themes I’ve seen are all just so airy and professional-looking that using them is like taking cautious first steps in a big fancy office, where you’re afraid of making too much sound.

What do you think of this design trend in block themes? And do you happen to know of any “compact and personal”-looking block themes?

Isabel

I love that description of the type of theme you are looking for. It reminds me of my college years where my roommates and I had our own cramped bedrooms. I would always decorate my walls with drawings and other things I had created. I piled my favorite books on the shelves of an old TV entertainment unit that my grandpa had built. Across the top, I lined trinkets and other keepsakes from adventures I had been on.

It was my own little paradise, my world in about 120 square feet. If you walked into that room, it would not take long for you to get to know the person behind it.

That is what I love about personal websites. They can be like college dorm rooms, giving us a glimpse into the unique personalities behind them.

Far too often, it feels like WordPress themers have moved away from the core audience that played at least some part in the platform’s initial popularity. Today, everything seems to be catered to business, eCommerce, portfolios, and minimalist blogging.

To answer your first question, I am a fan of open-canvas designs. The space gives me room to focus on my content.

However, like you, I am not seeing enough variety. This is not necessarily specific to block themes. You will find similar trends for classic WordPress.

With that said, the block system does play a part in what designers are creating. We are still in the infancy of block themes. Technically, they are not supported by WordPress yet. However, they will be when version 5.9 launches next week. Many designers will be timid at first, not really pushing the boundaries of what is possible. It is similar to taking that first step in a pool’s shallow end. You are acquainting yourself with the water, getting a feel for the temp, before you wade farther in.

I expect that we will see more variety over the coming months as more theme authors begin learning the new system. I hope that includes more designs like what you are asking for.

When I first read your question, a Carrd site that I have had bookmarked for a while immediately came to mind. I came across it when venturing down the rabbit hole of anime-related fan sites around the web. The design does not fit my personal brand, but I have been fascinated by it for months.

Page from a Carrd site.

The site screams personal and cozy. It reminds me of some of my early days on the web when every other blog I visited seemed to have its own brand of quirkiness. You can still find a lot of that if you really dive into the various brands of fandom that are out there.

Every now and then, I come back to this site for design inspiration. I envision building something like this on top of WordPress. The community is sorely missing out on the fun side of the web.

Many Carrd sites like the one shown above have a bit of this, but they are not full-blown websites. They are essentially personal landing pages.

Tumblr is the king when it comes to themes with personality. Where else can I possibly consider switching over to a design dedicated to Taylor Swift?

Testing a Taylor Swift theme for my Tumblog.

You will be hard-pressed to find anything like that in the WordPress theme directory.

Right now, I only know of one block theme that fits into the compact-and-cozy category, and that is Kubrick2. I covered it in detail last month in a review. It is now live on WordPress.org.

Customizing Kubrick2 from the site editor.

Kubrick was one of the early default WordPress themes, and Kubrick2 is a recreation of it using blocks. It has that compact layout that seems to fit the description you provided. But, the design is a bit outdated.

Fortunately, it is customizable via the site editor. It is also one of the least complex block themes out there. In mere minutes, you could modify its design with little effort.

Until we see more themes, Kubrick2 is likely your best option.

by Justin Tadlock at January 19, 2022 12:52 AM under Ask the Bartender

January 18, 2022

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.9 RC3

The third Release Candidate (RC3) for WordPress 5.9 is here!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far toward testing and filing bugs to help make WordPress 5.9 a great release. WordPress 5.9 is slated to land in just one week—on January 25, 2022. You still have time to help! Since RC2 arrived last week, testers have found and fixed two bugs, 14 fixes from Gutenberg. There has been one additional Gutenberg fix today.

Testing the release

You can test the WordPress 5.9 release candidate in three ways:

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

Option 2: Download the beta version here (zip).

Option 3: When using WP-CLI to upgrade from Beta 1, 2, 3, 4, RC1, or RC2 on a case-insensitive filesystem, please use the following command sequence:

Command One:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC3

Command Two:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC3 --force

Your help to test the third Release Candidate is vital: the more testing that happens, the more stable the release, and the better the experience for users, developers, and the WordPress community.

Thank you to all contributors who tested the RC2 release and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and is a great way to contribute to WordPress.

How to help

Help test WordPress 5.9 features – this post provides a guide to set up your testing environment, a list of testable features, and information about how to submit feedback you find as you go.

Skilled in languages other than English? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! Thanks to every locale that is working on translations.

Developers and those interested in more background to the features can find more in the Field Guide. You can also follow the 5.9 development cycle and timeline.

If you have found a bug, you can post the details to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.

If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also check the issue against a list of known bugs.

For their help in compiling this post, props to @cbringmann, @webcommsat, @psykro,@marybaum, @chanthaboune, @davidbaumwald, and @hellofromtonya.

by Chloe Bringmann at January 18, 2022 10:28 PM under Releases

WPTavern: WooCommerce Aims to Produce MVP of Custom Tables for Orders by Q3, 2022

The WooCommerce development team announced today that they have started working on an implementation of custom tables for orders, a long-awaited improvement that promises significant performance gains for stores.

Adding custom tables for orders is a complex undertaking that will impact the entire ecosystem, so the team is soliciting feedback from the developer community as they proceed with the project.

When working with WooCommerce data, developers have been encouraged to use CRUD objects since they were introduced in version 3.0, as an alternative to directly updating metadata or using WordPress post objects.

“We still utilize wp_post and wp_postmeta table structures to store this information for WooCommerce stores even with the CRUD layer,” WooCommerce core developer Vedanshu Jain said.

“While these WordPress-provided APIs and tables have served us well over the years, we now want to take a step further with a rock-solid and easy-to-understand database structure that is intentionally designed for commerce needs.”

WooCommerce core developers have three primary objectives for introducing custom order tables – to improve scalability, simplicity, and reliability. They anticipate it will lessen the need for merchants to seek developer support when scaling their stores. Having orders in custom tables should also allow WooCommerce developers to extend core more easily, as well as create and restore data backups.

The WooCommerce development team is tracking the project on GitHub and is aiming to have an initial implementation ready  by early Q3 2022. They have published the first draft of the database schema they are proposing for building out the custom tables and feedback is welcome on the post.

“For this project, we expect that some work may be required by extensions and custom code developers to take full benefit of the new table structure,” Vedanshu Jain said. “As we go further along in the implementation, we plan to publish upgrade guides to support the adoption of custom order tables.

“During the rollout, we aim to keep this feature strictly opt-in in the beginning, giving everyone enough time to make their shops compatible.”

by Sarah Gooding at January 18, 2022 03:23 AM under News

WPTavern: Nick Diego Forks Core WordPress Block, Creates Social Sharing Plugin

Raise your hand if you have seen this before. Yet another social sharing plugin. But, with the block system, all things are new again. Some things simply need to be ported over from their former PHP-based equivalents. Others are fresh takes on old ideas, and a few may set the standard for years to come.

Nick Diego forked the core Social Icons block to create Social Sharing Block. Everything about it looks and feels like it is supposed to be in WordPress, so much so that he thinks it could be a candidate for inclusion.

“I tried to replicate the Gutenberg file structure as much as possible,” he said. “It’s close, but they are doing some webpack wizardry. I would love to see this ultimately get included in the core in some form, but may be too niche. I am going to put together a draft PR at some point though after 5.9 is out and I am sure the plugin is 100% solid.”

While it may not ever land in WordPress, it will likely be a go-to solution as more and more users begin to use block themes. Currently, the plugin requires either WordPress 5.9 or the latest version of Gutenberg. It uses some newer components, but it does not make sense to make it backward compatible with earlier versions anyway. The block works best when coupled with the site editor, which requires a block theme.

Examples of different block design options.

The plugin deviates from the core block in one necessary way. Instead of users typing in the URL to their social profiles, the Social Sharing block automatically outputs the proper “sharer” URL for whichever service is selected.

It even handles email and print links. Outside of that, it currently supports 10 social networks:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Pocket
  • Reddit
  • Skype
  • Telegram
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp

Diego said via Twitter that he plans to support more services in future iterations.

Social Sharing Block is a prime example of the promise of the block system. In classic WordPress, users were limited to whatever design the developer made possible. Often, plugins would output sharing links automatically, and users would need to configure options via a settings page entirely detached from what it would look like on the front end.

With this block, users have flexibility. They have control over every aspect of how their social sharing links are output, at least within the limits of the site editor. Everything from the label to the colors to the preceding “share this” text is at their fingertips.

This is also one of the reasons I am already a fan of this young plugin. It does not try to do too much. It does not concern itself with design aspects outside of the social sharing list that it outputs.

It is a simple thing. However, it represents the control that users have rarely seen. For example, I wanted to add the text “Share Via” before the social share buttons. This is not configurable via the block itself. Instead, I get to decide its layout through the site editor.

Editor View Single Post View

I hopped over to the site editor and opened the single post template to build that layout. I scrolled down to the post meta area and inserted a Row block. From that point, it was a matter of adding my custom text via a paragraph before inserting the social sharing links.

As I said, it is such a simple thing. However, the control over how this appears on the front end cannot be understated.

Not all third-party blocks are built like this. Far too often, they try to control the entire experience, creating what should be patterns instead. When developers treat blocks as self-contained components that do one thing well, it adds flexibility for users.

It also helps theme authors when deciding which plugins to support. It would be a no-brainer for themers to build custom patterns and block styles around Social Sharing Block.

It also has one extra option that the WordPress Social Icons block does not. Users can enable the text label alongside each icon. During our conversation, I hinted that this was something sorely needed for core’s Social Icons block and that there was already an open ticket for it. Diego seems interested in creating a patch to address it.

by Justin Tadlock at January 18, 2022 12:33 AM under Plugins

January 17, 2022

WordCamp Central: WP Y’all has been Postponed until the Spring

The WordCamp Birmingham Organizing Team has unanimously decided to postpone WP Y’all until a future date in April or May when we can safely hold the event for our attendees.

See our full announcement on our site.

by Ryan Marks at January 17, 2022 12:35 PM under WordCamps

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 23: A letter from WordPress’ Executive Director

As we greet a new year, WordPress’ Executive Director writes a letter to the project and community that speaks to the hopes of the year ahead.

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

Credits

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

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

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

Yesterday marked three years since the WordPress project welcomed me as their executive director. As I start my fourth year, I’ve spent a bit of time considering what the next five years will bring us. WordPress will turn 19 this year, which means that we will soon be a whopping 20 years old; for some of the people who have been with the project since the beginning, that can represent two-thirds of their whole life. And even if you were not that young when you got here, two decades as an open source project is really a cause for celebration. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:10

I am not in that group that has been here forever. I showed up for the first time in 2009, as a community organizer, self-sponsored, and I learned so much about myself as a person and as a leader while I was doing that. So when I arrived as a sponsored contributor in 2015, I already knew exactly what made this work so fulfilling for me was these three things: 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:34

First, the ability to lend a hand in those moments where I wish someone had lent a hand. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:40

Second is the delight of seeing people’s first successes and the joy of watching them grow over time. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:48

And the third was a chance to be part of something great, which turned out to be something greater; greater than me or you or a CMS. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:58

This list is still at the heart of what I feel I get out of the WordPress project. But it has also grown substantially in my seven years as a sponsored contributor. I now also love how we as a community of contributors get to foster a better way to lead and a better way to collaborate. And through those things help people find a way to have a better life. Not just through WordPress, the CMS, but through WordPress, the people, and WordPress, the project. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:25

And so when I think of what I want for WordPress in its 19th year, so that we can head with confidence and dignity into our 20th year, it is this: 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:35

I want you to remember that you are not alone here. People come together in the world often because of a shared location. But WordPress fosters this beautiful experience of bringing us together because of what we care about. Whether you care about PHP standards, diversity in technology, helping people with their first big wins, making WordPress more secure. I mean, if what you care about is being able to write the most arcane and complex apps on top of WordPress that the world has ever seen. Then there are others out there who want to do that with you, too. We have so many things to connect about. And fortunately, we support a great piece of software for getting our thoughts out in the world. Take some time to see who else shares your thoughts and potentially learn a bit about the view from the other side. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:26

And speaking of the other side, I also want us to approach our discussions as the US versus the Problem TM. WordPress may be 20 years old, and we may stand on the shoulders of giants, but right now, the people who are here you, you are explorers and creators and guides toward the best possible future for WordPress. The tension that we witness between teams is always about the best possible answers for the people who use our software. It is about securing the freedoms of the open web for everyone who comes after us whether they know they need those freedoms or not. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:04

And finally, I want us to expand our reasons for doing this at all. If you are a member of the community of contributors, We frequently talk about how we give back because WordPress gave to us. Or if you are part of a Five for the Future group. You have heard that companies who have experienced success because of WordPress should commit 5% of their resources back to the project to ensure WordPress’ long-term success. But the reason that I keep doing this, and hopefully a new reason for you to keep doing this is that we can take part in securing opportunities for future users of WordPress. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:42

Yes, I want WordPress to be the best CMS. Yes, I want this community to be vibrant and engaged. Yes, I want WordPress to be a shining beacon of how to work remotely. And I want all of that because I know it is our careful and tireless stewardship of this project that lets us continue to lend a hand in those moments where people wish for someone to lend a hand. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:11

Those are my hopes for WordPress in 2022 to move us forward into WordPress of the future. I hope you all will come with me and we can continue our journey together. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:23

Thanks again for listening. I’m Josepha Haden and this is the WP Briefing. See you again in a couple of weeks.

by Chloe Bringmann at January 17, 2022 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

January 15, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Level Up with Query Block, FSE for Classic Themes and more – Weekend edition #199

Howdy,

Yes, I am so happy to be back in Florida, and I enjoy the warmth of the sun, and the palm trees. ☀️ ⛱️ 🌴. Earlier this week, I was sitting outside chatting with my girlfriendsin Naples, FL, squinting into the setting sun. After sunset all we needed was a normal sweater to keep us comfortable as opposed to the 15 pounds of clothes, I had to put on in Whistler to spend five minutes outside.

Alas, the break is over. It’s down to the wire. We are a little over a week away from the WordPress 5.9 release on January 25th, 2022. If you haven’t caught up with all the new features, the Field Guide is now available on WordPress.org. Last week, I also published a reading list on block themes and full site editing for End-users, site builders and theme developers/designers.

The training team around Learn.WordPress released a ton of additional Social Learning events, that should make it easier for users to learn more about the Site editor, the Theme Blocks and the Styles interface. You’ll find the list of 12 upcoming event at the end of the newsletter. Big Thank you to Destiny Fox Kanno, for researching and compiling the list!

With that I leave you to the rest of the news around the Block editor.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

PS: Join us on Monday night at the virtual WordPress Meetup Boulder event about What’s new in WordPress 5.9 and a panel discussion with Brian Garnder, Courtney Robertson and yours truly.

Table of Contents

General Information on WordPress’ Block Editor

The founders of WPExperts.io, Saad Iqbal and Ahmed Salah, put on their magic hats and explained in their post “How Gutenberg will revolutionize the WordPress industry in 2022“.


Anne McCarthy joined DocPop and Nick Diego on the Torque Social Hour. They discussed WordPress 5.9 delay of the release, about accessibility, locking Blocks and also how the customizer is to work for with block themes or not.


On the WPTavern, Justin Tadlock gave an overview of What Are Block Themes? What You Need To Know Before WordPress 5.9 for those WordPress users, who only heard recently about Block Themes and Full site editing. It’s a great post to share with your clients, and users, that are just now getting interested in the WordPress 5.9 features.

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

Tools for Site Builders and Content Creators

Justin Tadlock at WPTavern reviewed Automattic’s Livro Is a Minimal Block Theme for Writers. Is a minmalistic block theme. It also is a bit opinionated on certain features and designs, but nothing that wasn’t possible to fix within the new site editor.


Jamie Marsland was a guest at the latest Do The Woo Podcast and discussed with Anne Maria Radu and Bob Dunn BobWP Woo Product Pages wtih Blocks and Full Site Editing customizations


Also, in Customizer Will Disappear for Some Block Theme Users With WordPress 5.9, Tadlock outlines how the Customizer is not going to go away.
Only when you activate a Block Theme. And only if you don’t have plugins installed that tap into the Customizer for additional feature settings. If you don’t change your theme, all your customization will stay in place and you won’t loose any Custom CSS code.


The first FSE course is live on Lean.WordPress.org: Simple Site Design with Full Site Editing. “This course will review the interconnected features that make up full site editing (FSE) and how they are going to help you create beautiful site designs without needing to use any code.” Check it out!


In her post What to expect in WordPress 5.9 from Gutenberg, Tammie Lister gives you a high-level overview of the features that make up Full Site Editing and will arrive at a WordPress instance near you, provided you activate a Block Theme.


In this video WooCommerce and Full Site Editing Jamie Marsland gives you a first look at what the team at PootlePress has been working on for the past two months. You get a sneak peak of the Single Product template that comes with the WooCommerce Blocks plugin.


Extendify launched a new pattern library plugin by the same name. It’s theme agnostic and includes a “library of reusable website patterns and full page layouts can be assembled to rapidly build beautiful websites.” You can read a longer review on the WPTavern site


Claire Brotherton published post Gutentor: A Popular and Powerful WordPress Page Builder Plugin. She reviewed building full page layouts with this plugin for various purposes and explains their screens. You can try the plugin yourself for free and install it directly from the WordPress plugins repository.


Between the holidays, Anne McCarthy expanded her Connecting the Dot YouTube Series with the video Level up with Query Loop block. This video focuses on how using the Query Loop block can both help you level up your content and streamline your workflows, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. “In this case, I recreated a page from a site I run letslifechat.com/lifechat-starters/ and showed off some of the neat things you can do to customize what I created further. ” McCarthy wrote.


Justin Tadlock reviewed in his post Creating Speech Balloons With the WordPress Block Editor the Liquid Speech Balloon plugin available in the WordPress repository. Its feature help you create conversations or quotes mimicking the text message interfaces. It’s a neat little add-in to the block editor. Tadlock offers a lot of detail and use cases. Check out his review

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

GitHub all releases

Theme building for Full Site Editing.

The recording of the first session Creating a block-based theme with Daisy Olsen and Ryan Welcher is now up on YouTube.

Topics covered:

  • Theme.json – 00:10:58
  • Parts/Templates/Patterns – 00:13:00
  • Starting the theme + theme.json – 00:23:00
  • Creating our first template + custom page template – 00:29:30
  • Defining a color palette, available fonts, Default font – 01:02:39
  • Finding CSS variables defined by theme.json – 01:15:50
  • Setting the site background color + primary text color- 01:18:30
  • Styling elements – 01:26:08
  • Talking about the Query Block – 0:1:29:43

Bookmark the playlist, session 2 and 3 follow.


Dave Smith gave a technical overview for the new Navigation block, that will be released with WordPress 5.9. Specifically he covered how the block saves its data and how decoupling this from the block’s presentation helps to make the block more powerful. You’ll find full details in the DevNote, also composed by Dave Smith.


Carolina Nymark updated her post on how to add full site editing features to classic themes with the latest information and tools. “The only two features not available to classic themes are the site editor and the global styles interface. You can add template editing to the theme and keep widgets and the customizer.” she wrote.

Extending the Block editor and building Custom Blocks

Fabian Kägy, developer with 10up, core contributor and friend of the Gutenberg Times, published a proposal on GitHub Discussions Proposal for opening the editor interface to more extensibility and asked for our input ideas and insights. Kägy list examples for suitable extensions, like allowing Posts without titles, allowing for semantic settings next to core settings or greater controls for the placement of panels in the sidebar of the editor. I learned quite a bit from Riad Benguella’s comment, especially about the fact that any extensibility feature built now also has to promised backwards compatibility for the future and that might hold the current development and explorations of the editor back.

If you are a plugin developer, it would be great if you could chime in on the GitHub discussion especially if you haven’t found a way to tap into the code base of the block editor as you used to with the Classic Editor.


Jason Bahl walks you through the latest update of his work on supporting Gutenberg Blocks in WPGraphQL and demos in his video the Query on post and block data. The code for the new WPGraphQL Block Editor integration can be found on GitHub. As Bahl mentiones in his video, this integration is in very early stages but he will explore some more to support Gutenberg blocks for Headless WordPress.


A long-standing request for an API that allows for locking blocks and patterns is now coming to WordPress 5.9. Read more from Sarah Gooding in here post WordPress 5.9 to Introduce New API for Locking Blocks with links to DevNote and documentation.


In the post React For WordPress Developers, Lax Mariappan recounts his story learning ReactJS, the Why of the investment of time and about the resources that are available.

12 WordPress Social Learning Events (and Meetups)

January 17, 2022 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Advanced Layouts with the Block Editor with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 17, 2022 8 pm ET / 1:00 UTC
What’s coming in WordPress 5.9 Panel discussion with Brian Gardner, Courtney Robertson, and Birgit Pauli-Haack via WordPress Meetup Boulder, Co

January 19, 2022 3:00 PM ET / 20:00 UTC
Zero to Block Theme Series #2: theme.json with Daisy Olsen and Sarah Snow via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 20, 2022 – 7 pm ET / 00:00 UTC
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: Block Patterns, WordPress 5.9
South Florida WordPress Meetup Group

January 21, 2022 – 7 pm ET / 00:00 UTC
Breaking it Down: Blocks, Patterns, And Templates with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 23, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
WordPress: the Next Generation with Sallie Goetsch via The East Bay WordPress Meetup Group

January 24, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
What Will WordPress 5.9 Mean for You? with Ray and Peter Ingersoll via WordPress Hartford, CT

January 26, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
Intro to Templates and Template Parts (Full Site Editing) with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 28, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Demo: Build Your Homepage Using Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 4, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Beginner’s Guide to Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 11, 2022 – 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Breaking it Down: Blocks, Patterns, And Templates with Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 14, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
Exploring Theme Blocks with Wes Thoren via WordPress Social Learning Spaces


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 15, 2022 02:47 AM under News

WPTavern: WordCamp Birmingham Postponed Due to Rising Local COVID-19 Infection Rates

WordCamp Birmingham’s organizers announced today that the in-person event planned for the first week in February is now postponed until April or May. Organizers had been planning the event since August 2021 and had just announced the last group of speakers a week ago.

“In the last 30 days, our local COVID-19 numbers have risen dramatically as a result of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant,” lead organizer Ryan Marks said in the announcement.

“The WordPress community is bigger than any single WordCamp. We cannot in good conscience continue forward with our event, given the current risk, since this decision could negatively impact other in-person WordCamps currently in the planning stages.”

Marks said all attendees will be automatically refunded within the next few days. WordPress Community Support administrator Angela Jin has prepared an official letter for those who need proof of cancellation for getting travel refunded.

WordCamp Birmingham organizers are looking at dates in April or May, 2022, but said that rescheduling will depend on local infection rates and venue availability. Their contract with the Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema allowed organizers to cancel without any loss of deposit as long as they gave more than seven days notice.

The event’s COVID-19 safety protocols, which were written before Omicron was spreading in the area, came under greater scrutiny a week ago. Shortly thereafter, organizers updated the guidelines to have a more rigid masking requirement, but some attendees and sponsors had already decided not to attend due to current conditions.

While WordCamp Birmingham organizers worked to update the COVID-19 safety protocols, more concerned community members condemned the gathering as “irresponsible” at a time when hospitals have been pushed to the brink.

Organizers continued to monitor the situation, hoping for the opportunity to hold a safe event. After assessing the timing of the event and the level of community spread, they unanimously decided to that it was necessary to postpone. They had also reached the point where some of their payments would have been nonrefundable and needed to act in stewardship of their funds.

“We knew that being the first in-person US WordCamp was both a risk and a responsibility,” lead organizer Ryan Marks said. “If we could do it safely, other WordCamps in the US could do the same. If lots of people got sick, we’d set back US WordCamps such as Montclair, NJ, and Buffalo, NY, and possibly the global program as a whole from moving toward having safe in-person WordCamps. 

“We saw news reports and estimates indicating Omicron cases would be peaking right as we were hosting WordCamp. That was sufficient for our organizing team to make the call to postpone. Pushing the event a couple months could mean a much safer event for everyone.”

Alabama has the second lowest percentage of vaccinated residents in the US, with just 48.1% fully vaccinated. The state currently has an average positive test rate of 37.4%. More than 25% of Alabama students have shifted to remote learning as more school systems have had to close due to record-breaking COVID rates.

“Our problem is we just don’t have enough adults to safely and effectively operate the school…in some cases, now we’re seeing up to 35% of the faculty report that they have COVID, or they’re close contact,” Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey told AL.com. The local mitigation efforts are not working to slow the spread of Omicron in the Birmingham area right now.

Many attendees communicated their disappointment about the postponed WordCamp on social media but were supportive of the organizers’ decision.

When WordCamp Birmingham’s organizers began planning in August, they had no idea that a new more transmissible variant would be making its way across the world just as the in-person event was set to kick off. The timing is unfortunate, and the stakes are too high to risk pushing forward.

WordCamp Birmingham’s previously selected speakers will be invited to speak at the rescheduled event, pandemic conditions permitting. The 200 people who signed up to attend will need to buy their tickets again and reschedule their accomodations.

“Our goal is to have the same great event we have currently planned, just a bit later,” Marks said.

by Sarah Gooding at January 15, 2022 01:32 AM under wordcamp

WPTavern: Wicked Plugins Launches UI-Based WordPress Block Builder

Last week, Wicked Plugins launched version 1.0 of its Wicked Block Builder. I have kept my eye on this plugin since its November 2021 beta release. The project promised that developers would be able to “effortlessly build custom blocks,” and I was finally ready to put that to the test.

In the past two months, I have activated the plugin every so often. I knew a review of it would take me a while, and I would deactivate it before diving in. I kept feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it — there are tons of settings to configure. The holiday season did not help either. I wanted to sit down with a clear head and decide whether this plugin was something developers in the WP Tavern audience should put in their toolbox.

The short answer: yes.

Or, at least you should give it a spin to see how it compares to similar plugins. This is a version 1.x project, so there are still some missing pieces. However, it will make client builds easier to put together without writing anything more than CSS for custom blocks.

When I first began using the plugin, I seemed to hit issue after issue. Like always, I was trying to run before I could walk. I like to test new plugins at full speed and often forget to stop and RTFM. With complex projects like Wicked Block Builder, I must remind myself that it is OK to seek help from the docs.

The plugin has a bit of a learning curve if you want to do anything advanced. My suggestion is to do the opposite of what I did. Start with a simple use case.

Fortunately, the plugin development team has a tutorial video that will have you building custom blocks in less than five minutes. I recommend following along when creating your first.

Once I hopped over that initial hurdle, using the plugin was a breeze.

The plugin allows developers to add blocks, block categories, patterns, and pattern categories. I primarily focused on block creation. The plugin worked in much the same way as other pattern builders.

Following along with the tutorial video, I created a Resource Card block. It included an image, title, summary, and button.

Building the editor view for a custom block.

There are multiple tabs for developers to build out their blocks. Aside from the primary Settings tab, most of the work will happen under Attributes and Editor View. The Front-end View is only necessary if the block’s output does not match what it looks like in the editor. The screen also has a Styles panel for adding custom CSS, which is loaded for the editor and front-end.

The UI seems mostly straightforward when following along with the tutorial. However, there are tons of options, and it is easy to get lost once you start digging into them all.

Once I pieced together my custom block, it correctly appeared in the inserter. I also tested a slash command for /resource card to ensure it worked.

Inserting custom block into the editor.

A couple of missing features I immediately noticed once inserting my block was a custom icon and example/preview. Both are relatively simple to add when creating a block type from code, so I hope they are on the agenda for a future version.

While searching for the custom block type via the inserter worked, I would also welcome an option to create custom keywords.

I filled in the details of the Resource Card block and saved it.

Block content customized.

To my surprise, I did not break anything. I began wondering, Could creating blocks be this easy?

I ran through a few other simple block ideas, and the experience was enjoyable. While I no longer work with clients, I could see how this could save hours. Pairing it with template locking would also be a routine use case so that clients would only need to plug in their content and publish.

There are some block-supported features that I would like to see added. The plugin currently allows devs to enable alignment and wide alignment. However, others like spacing, typography, and color would be easy wins.

I tested the free version of the Wicked Block Builder. For simple blocks, it worked well. For more complex use cases, developers will need to upgrade to the pro version. It runs between $49 and $299 per year, depending on the number of supported sites.

While I have not tested the pro version, it does offer post and term selects, repeater fields, conditional logic, and inner-block support. After exhausting the basics, these will likely be necessary on some projects. However, the free version can still get you pretty far.

by Justin Tadlock at January 15, 2022 12:42 AM under Reviews

January 14, 2022

WPTavern: Creating Speech Balloons With the WordPress Block Editor

I do not know how I overlooked LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON. The plugin is less than a month shy of being three years old, and I follow block-related projects religiously. This one slipped through the cracks, at least until I haphazardly stumbled upon it when searching for something else entirely.

It is also relatively popular for a single-block plugin. There are not that many with more than 10,000 active installs. I had to know what it was doing to draw such a crowd.

In the comments on yesterday’s post about Automattic’s Livro theme, Nick Hamze wanted to know where all the fun theme designs were. Perhaps it was fortuitous timing that I also happened to be playing around with a plugin that might fit the bill. Sure, it is not a theme, but it can definitely be used to spruce up an otherwise boring or plain design.

So, I spun up a few Speech Balloon blocks and just had fun creating a chat with a some cartoon animals:

Inserting and customizing multiple Speech Balloon blocks.

I tend to gravitate toward clean, open-canvas themes because they allow me to add all the fun elements via the post content. That is why I love finding plugins like LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON. They add that visual flair to pages that can sometimes be boring.

Using the plugin’s Speech Balloon block is straightforward. It presents users with a single section for inserting rich text content.

Default Speech Balloon block.

In the block options sidebar, users can choose an avatar. They can also make several design adjustments, including background and text colors.

The block is falling slightly behind the times, though. Since the plugin’s release nearly three years ago, WordPress has added several new design components that could be used to make its block even better, such as padding, border, and typography controls.

The plugin can also be used for testimonials or other types of reviews. It works well enough for more business-friendly layouts if that is the sort of thing you are after.

Creating testimonials with the Speech Balloon block.

The plugin’s biggest failure is in how it handles avatars. It is also why it does not make for the best option for testimonials. Users cannot add avatars directly via the block. Instead, they must register them via an entirely separate admin screen. Then, they can select from their saved avatars list within the block.

Under the Settings > LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON page, the plugin presents users with several rows of fields. They can add a name and image URL for each avatar.

Plugin’s avatar settings.

This is where the user experience falls apart a bit. There is no way to upload avatars on this screen. Instead, users must upload them via their media library, copy the URL, and paste it into the image URL field.

The plugin provides the necessary documentation and links to work through this process. The overall experience is simply lackluster.

However, if users only need a limited number of avatars, the system works well enough once everything is uploaded. The images are always available whenever inserting the Speech Bubble block — no need to search through the media library or upload a new one.

I am not sure if this will go in my plugin toolbox. Outside of a few stylistic elements, such as the speech bubble’s tail, users could readily recreate something similar with a few blocks, as shown in the following screenshot:

Custom speech bubbles pattern.

Within a few minutes, I created this with what is already available in core WordPress, and I actually had several more design choices by doing so. I could see keeping a block pattern on hand for such a layout in the future.

For those who want a quick and easy solution without all the fuss of mixing and matching blocks, LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON would be the better option.

by Justin Tadlock at January 14, 2022 02:22 AM under Reviews

January 13, 2022

WPTavern: Automattic’s Livro Is a Minimal Block Theme for Writers

Sometimes the sweetest things in life are the simplest. Automattic’s latest block theme landed in the review queue yesterday, and I had to give it a spin. What I found was a minimally-elegant design that I fell in love with.

Really. I even dedicated an entire demo post on my install to it:

Single post with gallery and pull-quote.

Well, that and Valentine’s Day is a mere month away. It felt like the right time to mix up my install’s test content anyway.

Let me preface the rest of this review by saying that I hate dark themes with a fiery passion. However, every now and again, one comes along that makes me rethink my position. Livro is one such theme. I may dislike it in a week, but I have genuinely loved using it for two days.

The theme’s most impressive feat was using a single font family, Newsreader, across the entire design. It never felt like it needed anything else to separate body copy, secondary text, and headings.

Livro will not meet everyone’s needs — not by a long shot. However, it is the sort of theme that will appeal to those who do not like any bells and whistles whatsoever. The type where content reigns supreme, where a few words and pictures are all that is necessary to make a point.

I did not immediately hop on this whirlwind affair with Livro at first sight. Things started a bit rocky. The theme managed to implement my top three pet-peeves:

  1. It displays post content instead of excerpts on blog/archive pages.
  2. It shows the featured image at the top of the page on single posts, creating duplicate image output when that same image is used in the content.
  3. Its navigation menu lists all of my site’s pages by default. All 90+ of them.

One extra issue I noticed with the post content on the blog and archive pages was that wide and full-aligned blocks were the same width as normal content. I do not know if that is a WordPress or theme-specific issue. Since I planned on switching to excerpts, I did not look too deeply into the code.

The Navigation block issue is, in part, a problem with WordPress itself. It will fall back to the core Page List block in specific scenarios. However, theme authors can also address this via the block_core_navigation_render_fallback hook, introduced in Gutenberg 12.1.

Fortunately, all of these issues are dead simple to correct in the world of block themes. The site editor is just a click away, and users are no longer bound to the oddities of otherwise solid theme designs. In moments, I was able to customize how things looked.

Removing featured image from single posts via site editor.

The theme bundles 15 block patterns in total. Eight of them are for headers, and five are for footers. Most of these are variations on the same concept, primarily changing the position of the default elements.

I was a little disappointed to not see more variety for page or general-use patterns. The theme ships one for an About page and another for a Contact page. They both use an offset-column design that I hope one day gets dropped into the black hole where other web design trends go to die.

The nav menu’s “x” close button is on the far right edge of the screen, but the open icon is on the far left. This is more of a problem with WordPress’s handling of the Navigation block than the theme. Nevertheless, it is still irritating trying to find the close button. Ideally, the open and close buttons would always be in the same place.

One way to mitigate this issue is to use the “Header with site title on left and button on right” pattern — yes, all the short names were taken on header-pattern naming day.

Using a pattern to change the header design.

Users can switch it by modifying the Header template in the site editor. It puts the nav menu open button on the right side of the page. The close button will still be slightly off, but it is a better experience than the default.

For a theme that I claim to love, I did focus on its downsides in this review. Part of that is to show that such issues need not always be the reason to overlook a block-based theme. If they are relatively minor problems, it does not take a programmer to make those adjustments. All of the design elements that I enjoyed about the theme were already there. It just needed some coaxing to make it perfect for me.

I would still like to see the Automattic Theme Team add a few patterns to the mix. Livro’s clean canvas seems to invite a mashup of media and text blocks.

by Justin Tadlock at January 13, 2022 01:46 AM under Reviews

January 12, 2022

WPTavern: Extendify Launches New Pattern Library Plugin

Extendify has simplified access to its pattern library with a new plugin that offers patterns and full-page layouts for WordPress sites using Gutenberg-friendly themes. The company has high expectations for the product, publishing it under the name “Extendify” as its flagship free plugin in the official directory.

Although a different version of the pattern library is included in Extendify’s popular Gutenberg Template Library & Redux Framework plugin, which has more than a million active installs, this new plugin is focused simply on site design tools.

“If you’ve tried out the Extendify Library previously, then you’ll find this new version is completely refreshed,” Extendify’s Head of Product Rich Tabor said. “We rebuilt the library, and all our patterns/layouts, from the ground up — with a focus on augmenting the editing experience of both existing and new themes.”

Extendify functions as a SaaS connector plugin that uses a custom API to fetch block patterns and page layouts from the company’s servers. Once installed, the plugin has no separate settings page. Extendify adds a “Library” button at the top of the editor to launch a modal with patterns and layouts.

If you haven’t selected a “Site Type” in the sidebar of the modal, all the patterns and layouts will be black and white. Selecting a Site Type will update the previews to show insert industry-specific copy and pictures with color.

If you find a page layout that you like, it’s easy to get a beautifully designed page in a matter of seconds. However, the way it is set up at the moment, free users only have access to five imports. Subscribers can get unlimited imports for $49.50/year for one site.

Users who are not planning to upgrade must be judicious about the patterns and layouts they choose to preview on the page. The plugin will warn free users about the remaining number of imports before proceeding. This mode of limitation may slow the plugin’s adoption, because users have to be careful about trying too many patterns and layouts on their sites. The plugin’s FAQs state that “Each user receives a limited number of imports completely free” but users would be better served by knowing that it’s a total of five imports before installing.

One of the good things about the plugin is that it is theme-agnostic and the patterns and layouts should still work nicely, even if you decide to change themes.

“All our patterns and layouts are built completely with core blocks, infused with a clever utility design system (which lets us have neat patterns like this one and are built to be Full Site Editing / Block Theme first – although we support most themes that support Gutenberg properly),” Tabor said.

Previously, Extendify’s pattern library was only available as an SDK inside the company’s other related Gutenberg projects. This plugin makes it more accessible for site builders who only need the pattern/layout capabilities.

“This effort was geared towards lowering that barrier and bringing the best of what we have to offer to anyone interested in building sites with the block editor,” Tabor said. “The new Extendify plugin is really the first big push in this direction, but we’re also leaning in on other ways to augment the editing experience to better empower both small business owners and site builders alike.

“Block themes are where the future is and we’re aiming for the pole position with this newest effort.”

by Sarah Gooding at January 12, 2022 11:16 PM under patterns

Post Status: Impossibly Knotted Together: Meditations on the WordPress Community

What might “WordPress Community 4.0” look like?

This article is part of a conversation we'd like you to join.

What were the good and bad features of the first three versions of the WordPress community? What were the major bugs? What should the Post Status community look like in 2022 — and beyond? What should leadership in this space look like? What are the principles that should drive it? What are your own questions and What Ifs?

You can leave a comment here or get in touch on any Post Status channel, on or off the record. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Write for us. Help start this needed conversation.

WordPress Friends

I first meet J as she’s staffing a table at a WordCamp. We talk about what brought us there, what we did before being involved in the WordPress community, what we hope to get from the day. There’s a problem she’s working through and I mention someone who has been through something similar, in case it helps. She tells me about a resource I hadn’t heard of, and I’m excited to check it out.

Over the years that follow, J and I remain WordPress friends. At various times we encounter each other at events, in elevators, at receptions, across hallways, during meals, in Slack. The conversation picks back up where it left off. “How’d that thing go?” “You did an awesome job navigating that conflict!” “How’s your new team at work?” “Congrats on that cool thing you launched!” Being a part of the WordPress community gives J and me an anchor point, a foundation, and we build on it from there.

There are many WordPress friends. I may not encounter them for months or years, and the connections may not always be as wide or deep as other friendships, but they have a special place in my heart. I smile when I notice them, online or in person. I celebrate their successes. I cherish our shared experience of building something together.

Elders

We have to talk more about the role of elders in our community. Definitely not elder as in “old entitled men” but elder as in “someone with life experience and wisdom who can be looked to for guidance as the community evolves.” We are old enough as a community to have elders, whether we see them as such or not.

As communities go through transitions and face challenges, it’s often the elders who ground us and guide us. Not by wielding their power to keep order or fighting for the status quo, but by helping us weave the stories of our origins and past into our dreams for the future. This can happen in code, in community conversations, in documentation, or anywhere else. 

Elders can help us build relationships and connections across different parts of the community, promoting mutual respect and welcoming newcomers. Elders can pass down knowledge, teaching, and modeling cultural traditions and beliefs. Elders can deal with discrimination and oppression, using their standing to call out problematic behavior. Elders can help build sustainable infrastructure, making sure there are tools and services in place for the challenges we will face. Elders can help protect our identity while also helping us to adapt and evolve.

How do WordPress community elders see themselves and their role? If they aren’t being celebrated for committing the latest hotness to an upcoming release or giving an exciting WordCamp talk, do we let them just fade into the background? If they branch out into other interests beyond WordPress, do we still find ways to harness their experiences and wisdom? Do we take care of them as they take care of us?

Do our elders even know they are elders? Are you a WordPress community elder?

A Recipe for Community

Small enough that you can make a difference
Big enough that you can grow
Comfortable enough that you feel supported
Challenging enough that you stay flexible
Filled with people who want the best for you
Intentional places and spaces for celebrating
Just enough certainty to create a sense of purpose
Just enough uncertainty to keep us humble
Norms, ground rules and accountability
Patience and respect built on safety and care
Creative, kind and loving acts at the heart
When people get a taste, they wonder
Who created this, and how can I be a part of it? 

The Matt Factor

I was a WordPress user and developer for 10 years before I knew who Matt Mullenweg is. I’d bet that most WordPress users still don’t know who he is. And yet conversations about what Matt wants, what Matt thinks, what Matt is going to do sometimes play an outsized role in our community. People can worry when they think a thing they love or depend on is too much in the hands of forces they don’t know or understand. Nobody wants a broken heart.

For a time I ended up working for Matt, reporting to Matt. I discovered that he has a superpower: he can see around corners and beyond horizons in ways that few other people can. I’d suspect time travel is involved if I didn’t know better. Sometimes he has trouble bringing the rest of us along, like trying to show a 19th-century carpenter the schematics for a space station. Other times, I think it’s just too many hearts and hopes and dreams for one person to carry gently. But on the whole, Matt is responsible for leading us to some amazing milestones.

When things go well, Matt usually credits people in the community. When things aren’t going well, Matt usually gets or takes the blame. When we challenge him thoughtfully, he usually welcomes the growth and learning that goes with it. But Matt knows that WordPress and the WordPress community are bigger than him. I think he’s happy to be a part of building a thing that will outlive him, and probably all of us. He’s made it his life’s work. We can honor and celebrate that legacy without reservation.

As a community, we can also build for a future that does not depend on any one person. We can make sure there’s a plan for maintaining our “commons.” There are other superpowers out there; I bet you have at least one to contribute. If we do it right, a shared vision for our community’s future will come from everyone who loves or benefits from WordPress in some way.

Resilience

When intentional communities form in the real world, their members think about the characteristics that will make their community resilient, sustainable, and able to thrive. These characteristics might include:

  • Human scale
  • Control, influence, trust
  • Connection
  • Shared purpose
  • Continuity
  • Diversity
  • Collaboration
  • Welcoming and supportive
  • Clear decision-making processes
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Respect and pride
  • Safety
  • Good communication
  • Cooperative

We can’t always choose our fellow community members and software that powers a huge chunk of the web is hard to make small and local again. But what can we learn from intentional communities? When you examine the physical places and spaces in your world that feel most welcoming, thriving, and sustainable, what do you notice?

Do we want to create community experiences that are not so small as to preclude diversity, space, and freedom, but small enough to be accessible and not overwhelming? How can we make the daily experience of being in the WordPress community more personal, meaningful, and accessible?

If real-world communities have a distinct center, defined boundaries, smaller sub-centers of activity, and open areas flowing all around, what does that look like for the WordPress community? How can we make sure our community spaces evolve to support interactive and supportive social structures?

As pandemics and climate crises and polarization and uncertainty circle around us, what would it mean to feel grounded and safe in a resilient WordPress community?

Adapted in part from Chapter 4 of Norwood and Smith’s “Rebuilding Community in America” (1995).

We Are at the Beginning

Even with its wonderful diversity and global reach, I don’t think we’ve even begun to explore the WordPress community niches that exist out there. 

You could probably have a gathering for Canadian WordPress developers under 40 who specialize in funeral home websites and get a solid showing.

There could be an entire weekly newsletter devoted to tips for pet adoption and rescue organizations who use WordPress to help animals find their forever homes, and someone would still suggest it needs to come out daily.

The trials and tribulations of the Restaurants On WordPress scene are waiting to be chopped apart, lightly sauteed and served up with a side of Food Blogger Business Models.

There are WordPress sub-communities and sub-cultures and niches and nooks and crannies that would take a lifetime to begin uncovering and exploring. There are so many stories to tell, and so many of them are nothing like our own. If we are to appreciate the beauty of the WordPress community as a whole, we have to seek them out.

Beware anyone who tells you that they fully understand the WordPress community, or that they have their finger on the pulse of all things WordPress. Some of us have made more stops than others, but we are all travelers in a wonderful vastness that has no end.

by Dan Knauss at January 12, 2022 11:00 PM under Community Questions

Akismet: How to Stop Comment Spam in WordPress

Comment sections can be goldmines for engaging with your audience. Yet unmoderated comments can quickly descend into chaos. If you don’t keep an eye out for spam, it may overrun every comment section on your website. These messages can scare real readers away, and prevent them from interacting with other users (and with you).

In most cases, spam is easy to recognize. Users or guests will leave links to other websites without explaining why, or start talking about products and services that have nothing to do with your content. If you put measures in place to stop these messages, you can keep your comment sections protected and valuable to your audience.

In this article, we’re going to take a good look at how spam appears in a comment section. We’ll show you how to identify spam comments on your WordPress websites, and talk about how they negatively affect your website. Finally, we’ll show you eight ways to prevent comment spam in WordPress. Let’s get to it!

What is comment spam?

If you use the internet, you’re already familiar with spam. You probably get dozens of emails per week advertising fraudulent products and offers. But spam messages don’t just come in the shape of emails — they’re everywhere on the web.

Spammers tend to gravitate towards comment sections because they offer the opportunity to target a broad audience. On popular blogs, it’s not uncommon to have comment sections with dozens of users engaging in discussion. A single spam comment pointing to another website can easily get a few clicks, and even more so if it blends into the conversation.

Generally speaking, comment spam is any content with the sole purpose of pointing visitors towards other websites. Spam commenters may be trying to get people to buy or sign up for something, phish sensitive information from visitors, or install malware on their device. Occasionally you’ll see legitimate comments that point readers towards third-party websites, but these links have to make sense in the context of the discussion.

It can be tempting to simply ignore comment spam, but that can have a negative impact on your website. If you visit a site and you see that its comment sections are overrun with spam messages, you might not trust its content or the business that owns it. We’ll touch on other ways that spam can affect your site, but first let’s talk about how to spot this type of comment.

How to identify comment spam

Spam comments tend to be very easy to spot. In a lot of cases, bots — not actual people — are behind them. These bots are programmed to target comment sections that don’t require any type of verification and post messages that will lead readers to third-party websites.

If you’re ever on the fence about whether a comment is spam or not, there are several signs that you can check for. Signs of comment spam include:

  • The comment comes from a guest account or one with a generic name
  • The user doesn’t have an avatar
  • The comment includes links to third-party websites
  • There are mentions of products, services, and benefits to readers
  • The comment has little or nothing to do with the discussion at hand

Trolls vs spam

Sometimes, you might get comments in poor taste or that don’t add anything to the discussion. Those commenters may be genuine in their opinions and honestly think that they’re contributing to the community, or they may be trolling. But those comments are not necessarily spam.

There are a couple of key differences between trolls and spam. Trolls are real people and spam is most often spread by bots. Also, a troll’s main goal is to disrupt discussion, sow division, and elicit emotional responses from other individuals. The main goal of spam is usually some kind of financial gain, whether it’s an unethical (but genuine) marketing tactic, or an attempt to scam people.

Why are comment spam bots targeting your website?

If you’re working on your first WordPress website, you may think that spam bots have it out for you. Unfortunately, comment spam is something that almost every website has to deal with (unless you turn comments off entirely). 

Bots crawl the web looking for comment sections that they can target. They don’t differentiate between sites that are and are not relevant to the websites, products, and services that they’re promoting. For spammers, it’s all a matter of numbers. If they leave thousands of comments across many different websites, at least some readers will take the bait.

Some of those users will go on to share personal information or even payment details that spammers can steal. In some cases, spammers might benefit directly from making sales to users who aren’t aware of their underhanded practices.

Comment sections can be an incredible source for engaging discussions and ideas within your website. They can encourage users to look out for new posts and build relationships with other commenters. On the other hand, the price that you pay for having a comment section is needing to deal with spam.

Luckily, WordPress empowers you with several tools and features that make dealing with spam comments that much easier. We’ll explore those in a second, but for now let’s talk about the rest of the ways that spam comments can affect your website.

Four ways that spam comments negatively affect your website

1. Spam comments diminish trust 

If you come across a website that looks credible, but it’s full to the brim with spam comments, you might believe that the site is abandoned. At the very least, you’ll tell yourself that its owners might not care about cleaning up their comment sections, or that they don’t pay attention to comments at all.

The more obvious the spam is, the more negatively it will impact your website’s image.

Tech-savvy users might not judge you too harshly for having spam on your website, since they understand where it comes from. But not all of your audience will know that they should ignore spam comments.

Some users will see spam and think that since it’s on your website, you’re endorsing it or promoting the offers the comments include. If that translates to them making a scam purchase or sharing personal information online, it will diminish their trust in you.

If you have a website with a comment section, it’s your responsibility to keep it clean, and not just so that your site looks better. You have to consider that some of your audience doesn’t have the technical know-how to differentiate spam offers from real content, and it’s your job to ‘protect’ them while they’re on your site.

2. Real comments can get lost among spam entries

If you’re a user trying to have a real discussion in a comment section, navigating spam can be frustrating. Genuine replies to the topic at hand can easily get lost as bots overrun the comment section.

That frustration can lead to users deciding that commenting on your content is simply not worth it. Comments can be a great source for critical discussion about your posts, questions that can lead to new content, and even users simply thanking you for your efforts.

If you allow spam to run unchecked on your website, you lose out on a lot of the value that comment sections can provide. At that point, you might be better off disabling comments altogether.

3. Spam can impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)

Getting a website to rank well on search engines takes a lot of time and effort. Often, it can take months or even years to grow a website to the point where it’s getting decent traffic from search results. That process involves dozens of SEO tasks, tweaking your pages and posts so they’re well-optimized, and publishing better content than your competitors.

Unfortunately, spam comments can negatively impact your SEO if you leave them unchecked. Most spam includes links to external websites, and search engines can’t differentiate between those links and the ones that you include within your content.

From the search engine’s perspective, all they see is that your website suddenly includes a lot of ‘low-value’ links. Since links are one of the many signals that search engines use to determine rankings, spam comments can cause your site to plummet in the results. 

Considering how critical search engine traffic is to most websites’ growth, you can’t allow spam comments to linger on your site. That’s why you need to put measures in place to prevent spam, and to weed it out if it makes it past your defenses.

4. Spam can slow down your website

If you’re getting a lot of spam bots attempting to submit comments, these requests can affect your website’s performance. If your site is having to handle thousands of spam submissions a day, that can use up a lot of your site’s resources — especially if you’re on a budget hosting plan. Additionally, if you let spam comments pile up, you may end up with some serious database bloat, further slowing your site’s load times. 

If your readers have to wait a long time for your pages to render, they’re less likely to stick around to read your content, let alone leave a comment (unless it’s to complain about how slow your site is).

How to prevent comment spam in WordPress

At this point, we wouldn’t blame you if you’re very concerned. Spam causes a lot of problems, and it’s almost guaranteed that bots will try and post these types of messages on your site. So what can you do about it?

The good news is that WordPress offers a variety of ways in which you can prevent and filter spam comments from your WordPress website. In this section, we’ll explore all of the approaches that you can take to prevent spam and protect your comment sections.

1. Use a plugin to filter spam comments

The best way to deal with spam is to use a plugin that can automatically detect which comments are legitimate and which ones aren’t. That’s a lot to ask from a plugin, but it’s precisely what Akismet does.

When you use Akismet, the plugin analyzes each comment that visitors submit on your website. It accesses Akismet’s global database and checks to see if the comments match other known spam entries and sources.

All of that happens in the background, in a matter of seconds. If Akismet marks a comment as spam, it’s flagged and it doesn’t get published. Fortunately, you can also review these comments manually, to double-check that no real entries get flagged by mistake.

If you want to approve a comment, you can mark it for publication and it will show up on your website. But you save a lot of time by focusing only on the comments that Akismet flags versus reviewing every comment submission manually.

There is a free version of the plugin, which is perfect for most websites. On the other hand, if you’re running a commercial site or get a large volume of traffic, you’ll want to look into premium plans.

2. Disable WordPress comments altogether

If you want to stop spam altogether, you can disable comments throughout your website. This is an extreme approach, so we only recommend that you disable comments if you’re certain that they won’t contribute anything to your site.

To disable comments in WordPress, access your dashboard and go to Settings  Discussion. Look for the section that reads Default post settings at the top of the screen, and uncheck the Allow people to submit comments on new posts option:

That setting will disable comments for every post that you publish from now on. But comments will remain active for old posts and pages. To disable those comment sections, go into the Posts or Pages tab. Select a post or page, and click on Quick edit below its name. You’ll see an option that reads Allow Comments.

If that option is checked, disable it. Repeat this process for every page and post where you want to disable comments.

Depending on the type of website you’re running, disabling comments altogether might cost you some user engagement. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce spam.

3. Force users to register before they can comment

One of the best ways to reduce comment spam in WordPress is to make it more difficult for bots to make submissions. Forcing bots to register and log in before they can comment can go a long way towards reducing spam entries on your posts and pages.

WordPress enables you to do that by checking a single setting on your website. Go to Settings Discussion and scroll down to the Other comment settings section. Tick the box for the setting that reads Users must be registered and logged in to comment.

By enabling that setting, you force spammers and bots to go through the registration process if they want to submit anything on your website. In a lot of cases, that can be enough to deter spammers. But since spam user registration does happen, you may have to implement a few more preventative measures.

4. Hold comments for approval before publishing them

By default, WordPress publishes comments as soon as users submit them. It also comes with a moderation queue where you can review comments and approve or reject them before they go live.

You can configure WordPress so that your website requires you to approve every comment manually. To do so, go to Settings Discussion and scroll down to the Before a comment appears section. Enable the setting that reads Comment must be manually approved.

There’s also another setting that tells WordPress it can automatically publish comments if you’ve already approved submissions from the same user. That setting can save you a lot of time, as you’ll only have to review submissions from each user once.

To access pending comments, click on the chat box icon in the top menu within the dashboard. That icon should display a number to its right, which shows the number of pending comments in the queue.

From this screen, you can review comments one by one and approve those that aren’t spam. If you see a spam comment, you can delete it permanently.

Generally speaking, there aren’t many situations where it makes sense for legitimate comments to include links. Your readers might want to point each other towards relevant content, but usually, comments that include links tend to fall into the spam category.

WordPress offers an elegant solution to that problem by enabling you to configure how many links a comment can include before it gets flagged as spam. You can find that setting on the Settings Discussion page under the Comment Moderation section.

By default, WordPress will flag any comment that includes two or more links within its body. If you want to play it safe, you can reduce that number to one link. This means any comments that include links will go into the moderation queue to await your approval.

This section also enables you to set keywords that WordPress will use to flag comments. If it detects those words within new comments, WordPress will hold them in the moderation queue. Some common keywords that you can set include:

  • Buy/sell
  • Make/earn money
  • Offer
  • Stock and shipment

All of those keywords are pretty good indicators of spam comments. You can be as aggressive as you want when it comes to choosing what terms to filter, but keep in mind that this means you’ll need to spend more time approving comments manually.

Rather than deciding what keywords to ‘blocklist’ on your own, you can also benefit from the collective experience of the WordPress community. For example, you might download the recommended Comment Blacklist for WordPress that’s featured on GitHub.

6. Add a CAPTCHA to your comment sections

You may have noticed that a lot of comment sections force you to solve a CAPTCHA before you can submit an entry. CAPTCHAs are simple tests designed to stop bots from posting and ensure that you’re a human. 

WordPress doesn’t include CAPTCHA functionality out of the box. The good news is that you can easily add this feature using a plugin like reCaptcha.

This plugin enables you to add CAPTCHAs to multiple elements within your website. You can add them to comment sections, registration and login forms, contact forms, and more.

If visitors (or bots) can’t solve the CAPTCHAs, they won’t be able to submit comments. But CAPTCHAs don’t always catch every spam comment. Bots become smarter each day and often find ways around even the trickiest of puzzles.  

7. Use a third-party comment system

The WordPress comment system works seamlessly and includes a lot of features to make your life easier. Yet it lacks things like social media integration and the ability for visitors to reply using images or GIFs, emoticons, and other options.

If you want to give your audience access to that type of functionality, you can replace the default WordPress comment system with a different one altogether. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that enhance your comment section:

  1. wpDiscuz: This plugin extends the native WordPress comment system and adds new options like custom layouts, live notifications, responsive comment sections, and more. 
  2. WP Social Comments: With this plugin, visitors will be able to use their Facebook account to leave comments on your website.
  3. Super Socializer: This plugin enables you to use the Facebook commenting system in WordPress and lets users log in with their social media accounts.
  4. Jetpack Comments: Visitors can log in using their social media accounts, like other people’s comments, and receive a notification when another user replies.

Comment plugins that include social media components offer a fantastic way to reduce spam in WordPress. By forcing users to log in through social media to comment, you make it harder for spammers to submit fake entries on your website.

8. Set up a web application firewall (WAF)

Using a WAF can help you prevent attackers from accessing your website. WAFs enable you to configure rules that govern who can use your site. That means you can block IP addresses, visitors from specific regions, bots that try to access your site repeatedly in short amounts of time, and more.

If you’ve ever run into a website that uses Cloudflare or Sucuri, then you’ve already seen WAFs in action. Most content delivery networks (CDNs) offer WAF functionality, since it helps them protect their users against malicious traffic.

Using a CDN will also help you improve load times throughout your website. Depending on which service you use, you might also get access to features like automatic image optimization, denial of service (DDoS) protection, and more.

Some CDNs will help protect your website against known bots and spammers. Simply enabling the CDN will block those known agents from accessing your website and being able to leave comments.

Spam is unavoidable, but it can be defeated

If you have comment sections on your website, you’re going to be faced with spam. Spam bots are everywhere, and if you ignore them, they can quickly overrun your comment sections with links to other websites and offers that will scare some of your real visitors away.

Fortunately, WordPress offers a number of ways to deal with comment spam. You can use built-in settings to make it harder for spammers to submit responses to your posts and pages. You can also use plugins that automatically filter out easily recognizable WordPress comment spam, add CAPTCHAs to your comment sections, or require visitors to log in using their social media accounts.

If you want a simple but effective solution, you can begin by setting up Akismet. This plugin will automatically filter spam comments on your WordPress website, so you don’t have to spend time going over your entire moderation queue manually. Akismet also integrates with some of WordPress’ most popular plugins like Jetpack, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, and others.

by Simon Keating at January 12, 2022 10:09 AM under Spam

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Last updated:

January 23, 2022 08:45 PM
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