WordPress Planet

April 16, 2024

Do The Woo Community: From a Full Stack Developer to a Product Developer with Alexander Gilmanov

Alexander Gilmanov shares insights into his journey in the WordPress and WooCommerce space, growing a plugin business and the importance of community and events.

by BobWP at April 16, 2024 09:59 AM under Uncategorized

April 15, 2024

WordPress.org blog: How WordPress Is Creating a Faster Web

Today, WordPress powers more than 40% of the web. That’s a massive reach—one that comes with a similarly large responsibility. With so many people using the CMS, the WordPress community should always consider strategies for improving the visitor experience. This is where website performance plays a crucial role.

How fast a web page loads, how quickly a page reacts when you click a button, or how smoothly it scrolls can all significantly impact the end-user experience. A more performant site can lead to higher reader engagement and more conversions. Thankfully, over the past few years, the WordPress project has made major performance improvements across the board for the core platform, plugins, and themes.

Many enhancements are available out of the box, with no configuration required. They improve the website frontend’s performance—the part visitors see—and various parts of the administrative experience, such as the editor.

Here’s a partial list of performance upgrades from the past year:

In addition to the Core enhancements listed above, the WordPress project continues to work on several efforts that indirectly benefit the ecosystem’s performance.

For instance, WordPress Core leverages automated tooling for continuously monitoring its performance, covering every product update. This helps measure new features’ performance improvements and enables contributors to detect potential performance problems during the development of a new feature or release so any issues can be proactively addressed long before end users are affected. A project is currently underway to make the same tooling used by WordPress Core developers available to plugin and theme authors as well.

Additionally, the new WordPress plugin checker allows checking any plugin for performance best practices, among other requirements and recommendations. The plugin checker should lead to more performance awareness in plugin authors and, eventually, faster plugins. If you develop plugins, consider integrating this tool into your development and testing workflow.

Last but not least, WordPress 6.5 introduced the Interactivity API, which is a technical foundation that facilitates more performant user interactions. This new infrastructure drastically simplifies the implementation of interactive website features and can even centrally control certain aspects of performance, keeping multiple independent plugins operating efficiently.

These performance updates result from a collaborative effort from all corners of the community, including the WordPress Performance Team. This team, founded in 2021, underscores the WordPress project’s commitment to performance. And the results are substantial: Compared to a year ago, 8% more WordPress sites deliver good load time performance at scale—significantly better than the overall web’s 5.5% load time improvement. The web is getting more performant, and WordPress is leading the way.

WordPress contributors are determined to continue this trend by working on further performance iterations. Whether you’re a WordPress end user, administrator, site builder, or developer, you can contribute to this effort. Anyone can test the performance features before being released in Core through individual feature plugins. Each feature can be tested via the Performance Lab plugin, so please try them! Testing features early helps the team assess their impact and collect valuable feedback.

Are you eager for more WordPress performance news and updates? Then check out the 2024 performance roadmap. Thanks to the entire community for your hard work. Not only does it ensure WordPress’ continued improvement and growth, but it benefits the entire open web.

Thank you to @annezazu @clarkeemily @tweetythierry @swissspidy @westonruter @adamsilverstein @joemcgill for content review and @provenself @dansoschin for editorial review.

by Felix Arntz at April 15, 2024 02:00 PM under Updates

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 77: Let’s Talk About Data Liberation

Explore the WordPress Data Liberation project in this exclusive behind-the-scenes episode discussing WordPress migrations. Joining us is WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy, along with special guest and sponsored contributor Jordan Gillman. Together, they’ll look at how the project is expanding opportunities to benefit from the freedom and flexibility WordPress offers. Don’t miss this enlightening discussion!

Credits

Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Guest: Jordan Gillman
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry and Nicholas Garofalo
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes

Transcript

[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks.

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go! 

[00:00:28] (Intro Music) 

[00:00:40] Josepha: Today, I want to talk about the Data Liberation project that we first introduced at State of the Word. It’s a very big project with a lot of philosophical underpinning. So today, I have with me Jordan Gillman, who’s going to help us dig in a little bit deeper.

Jordan, welcome to the show. It’s so great to have you here.

[00:00:57] Jordan: Thank you. It’s lovely to be here.

[00:00:59] Josepha: Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? Like what parts of the WordPress project you contribute to, and how long you’ve been hanging around in open source?

[00:01:09] Jordan: Yeah, beautiful. I would love to. My name is Jordan. I live on the east coast of Australia, about an hour out of Sydney—about 10 minutes from the beach, which is a pretty great place to live. My relationship with WordPress began 19 or 18 years ago, I guess. I was tinkering with Movable Type, and they changed their license.

And I went, I need to find something that’s free. And at that point, I had no idea what open source was. I just knew that I could use this WordPress platform for free to you know, tinker around and build websites. At the time, I was a graphic designer and, so web stuff was just fun. But gradually, that kind of took over, and I ended up doing a lot of front-end development and eventually freelancing for about ten years, building WordPress sites for churches and schools and kind of non-profit organizations like that. And through that, I’ve also then ended up doing some support for WordPress and landed being lucky enough now to be sponsored to contribute full-time into the WordPress project. I do a lot of work with the support team, so working in the public forums, particularly on core WordPress plugins and themes like Gutenberg and bundled themes, Twenty Twenty-Four.

[00:02:15] Jordan: But also working with the team itself, trying to make sure the forums are a nice place for people to hang out and answer questions and get their questions answered. And I also help out with a few other things around the place. I have an eye on the work the plugins team’s doing, working with the WordPress Foundation on a few different things. I’m lucky to have my fingers in a few pies but the biggest pie at the moment I have is the Data Liberation project.

[00:02:36] Josepha: Yeah. So let’s talk about that. We’re going to give everyone a quick like starting line. If, for some reason, you have not read or seen anything about the WordPress project plans so far in the last four months, you may not know what the Data Liberation project is, and that’s fine, too. Because Jordan and I are here to help you understand what it is. But, the Data Liberation project is something that Matt introduced to the project at State of the Word last year in December. And you, Jordan, are the one who are really helping us to take this project into a space where we have everything that we need, all the kind of tools and guides that users will need in order to do what exactly? Like, let’s go through what this Data Liberation project is from your standpoint and what made you excited to work on it.

[00:03:27] Jordan: Thank you. Yeah, so the general idea of the Data Liberation project is it should be super duper easy for anyone to bring their site to WordPress. That’s the first main part of it, is that regardless of the platform you are on currently, be it something that’s pretty open, be it something that’s really kind of walls and closed, be it a social media platform, another web building platform, it should be really easy to bring your content over to a WordPress site, because once it’s in a WordPress site, it’s essentially free. You can then take it and do what you want with it once it’s in WordPress, but we want to make it as easy as possible to get it here, basically. 

[00:04:03] Josepha: Free as in liberated, not free as in like, now the stuff that was in your mind has no value.

[00:04:10] Jordan: Yeah, free as in liberated, free as in you own it and can do what you want with it. So that’s a big part of it. It’s, let’s get, make it easier for people to come to WordPress. I think it’s also important that if we’re talking about Data Liberation and freedom of content and democratizing publishing, that also means we make it easier for people to take their content from WordPress and use it somewhere else if that’s the decision that they make. And there’s some moves we can make to make that easier and nicer for people as well.

[00:04:37] Josepha: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, recently, we just finished up an outreach period where we were making sure that we were talking to, like, folks in the community and anyone, anyone who uses WordPress that wanted to talk to us about what they needed, what they were hoping for, what issues, what pain points they’ve had when they were looking at site migrations.

So, what, to the best of your knowledge at the moment, like what are the big themes that you got out of that feedback loop? Out of that outreach?

[00:05:08] Jordan: Yeah, thank you. That was really enjoyable, actually. I was lucky enough to, I got to speak to a bunch of people in person at WordCamp Asia, which was great. We’d done some, some online, did a hallway hangout, and we’ve had a survey out for a while to folks predominantly kind of in the hosting agency freelancer space. So, folks who are working with end users who are often the ones doing migrations. We got a lot of feedback about WordPress to WordPress migration and the challenges of different hosting platforms and access from users and a bunch of information, which is useful and interesting but not immediately relevant to the comparison to migrating to WordPress from another platform entirely.

But at the same time, talking to particularly agencies who do a lot of big-scale migrations, there’s a lot of challenges just when it comes to, for starters, getting the content out of the platform. Some platforms are kind of helpful, and they’ll even provide a WordPress formatted export. For every one of those, there are…

[00:06:03] Josepha: That’s very helpful.

[00:06:05] Jordan: Yeah, those are super helpful. For every one of those there are probably two or three who aren’t as helpful, and you start to resort to tricks with, you know, manually exporting databases or getting RSS feeds and trying to convert them, or a lot of agencies said, “You know what? Often, we end up just copying and pasting page by page from the source site into a brand-new WordPress site.”

[00:06:27] Jordan: So, there’s challenges about the access to the content. There’s lots of challenges around getting the content from the shape of one platform into WordPress. What constitutes a page? What constitutes a post? How do we handle all of the extra metadata of images and dates and taxonomies, and anything else that might be associated with a blob of content in one platform?

How do we translate that into the way WordPress likes to handle those things? And particularly taking that to another level, even just bringing it into the Block Editor? It was great to hear how many people are just migrating straight to the Block Editor like they want the content in blocks, which is wonderful to hear.

[00:07:05] Josepha: Yay!

[00:07:05] Jordan: But there are challenges. I know it’s great. But there are some, there are challenges with that and getting it to kind of format the way they expect, when it comes in particularly because there’s some kind of functional challenges with that in validating the way the content comes in because it all happens client side in the browser. 

It’s hard to do that in big batches. So, there was some really great feedback around all of those kinds of places. It was really interesting to see how much of it centers around that getting the content and then getting the content, and yeah, for the agencies I spoke to, they do a lot of trial and error of, you know, custom scripts, and let’s try it. Oh, that did this. Let’s try again with a few tweaks. So I’m excited to see how we can kind of make that easier for them and, you know, maybe get it happening first time. 

[00:07:49] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. It has been a long time since I migrated any sites personally, but I remember the first time that I tried to migrate a site. So, I was on Xanga before Xanga was on WordPress, and I remember that when I was like, I can’t figure out this WordPress thing, but I think I need some stuff in it so that, like, I know what it’s going to look like.

[00:08:11] Josepha: I know what to move around cause I didn’t know the names for anything in, in CSS or HTML. Like I didn’t know what to look for in the code, but if I had a piece of content in it, I could be like, find the content in the code and then move that. And so I was like, I’m going to export everything because there was an export option in Xanga. And move it into WordPress, and WordPress was like if you can manage to get it out of Xanga, super easy to get it in. But it was actually really difficult to figure out how to get it out. And fortunately, I’d only been writing on it for like four years, three, four years at that point. So there wasn’t like, a huge amount of content, but also, I was a pretty prolific writer. I was a bad writer, but the only way to get better at things you’re bad at is to do it a lot. So, I did a lot of bad writing for three or four years. And I think that in the end, I did, like, just pay some service to scrape everything that was public on it, and then go through and get the private things and pull it out later.

[00:09:08] Josepha: I think later on down the road, I did an actual like full migration when it was easier to get it done and got all the content out, including like drafts and private posts and things. So that’s good. But yeah, it was really difficult then. And then, like, we have the blocks now that are supposed to help get a little bit more consistency in the way that you can move content in and out of a WordPress site.

And is that something that we are then focusing on with the Data Liberation project? Is that something that’s being done in concert with our Gutenberg plugin, or like how are we accounting for that?

[00:09:46] Jordan: That is a great question. The way things are looking at the moment, having come out of this feedback and the way we’re looking at going forward that, that work on getting content coming into blocks is going to be a really, really major part of Data Liberation. And it kind of sits in the middle of things to my mind.

[00:10:01] Jordan: The improvements that we can make with handling the way content is transformed into blocks gives us the potential of wins in a lot of places. So, as long as we can get to the content, this work on HTML to blocks for a better, lack of a better way of putting it, gives us wins with importing from another platform because we can take the content in whatever form it is, turn it into blocks in the post editor.

It gives us wins with migrating from classic editor because, similarly, we can take the HTML of the classic editor generates and turn it into blocks. That already kind of happens, but there’s definitely some work that we can do to keep improving that. It gives us potential wins around the spaces of moving from between proprietary builders and block libraries and things. Because if we start to have a better-standardized set of ways to handle HTML into blocks.

Then, you can essentially move from whatever form your content is in into, you know, core native blocks in the editor. So, I think work there is going to be really important because it gives us a foundation to aim for from whatever the migration is happening from.

[00:11:09] Jordan: So, there’ll be some work there. There’s already work happening on the HTML API. Like, ongoingly and regularly and so we’ll be talking to those folks. There’s obviously going to be a lot of overlap with the work within Gutenberg as well, which is doing you know, parsing of content into blocks. So, it’s going to take a lot of collaboration and a lot of work from everyone, but I’m really excited because if we can get that foundational platform of transforming HTML into blocks really, really smooth, then what we can do is we can, you know, activate contributors in the community say, we’ve got this part figured out. If you can get it to here, it’s going to come in beautifully. So what we want your help with is to say, how do I get out of this platform to a format that we can do the rest? So, hopefully, we’re getting a common flow for a big part of that important migration process. And then we can throw it open to others to say, “You’ve got expertise with this platform. That’s excellent. Can you get us to here? And we’ll take it from there.” And maybe we’ll get some wins by doing that work in parallel, and we’ll really start to see some movement.

[00:12:13] Josepha: And speaking of the, we’ll take it from there. I know that also, in addition to the work that you are doing with Data Liberation and that is happening on the Gutenberg side and WordPress core in general, we also have a little bit of work happening on the after you get it to here point.

So, the folks over at Playground have been doing a bit of research about how to use the guides and tools that are in the Data Liberation repo. To run all of that through Playground so that you can not only like import it, but you can put it into Playground and check it before you launch it in someplace else, which I think is a great user-facing, like, super important thing for an everyday user to be able to have at their fingertips that way.

But then also the tour plugin that was built, I think specifically for the Polyglots team, is where we are looking at using, and I can’t remember which little project we’re doing some research on to make this possible, but we’re looking at taking that tour plugin and making it so that anyone can build a tour on anyone’s version of something in a browser so that you can just say, okay, so I did these things. I got it to here as you requested. I’m moving it to here. But now that I have got it into WordPress, what are the literal buttons I have to press in order to make sure it’s live? What do I literally have to press in order to make sure that I’m in the right time zone? Like, things like that. And we tested it on Wix, and it was able to work.

[00:13:40] Josepha: Not that we’re trying to get anyone to Wix. But on the subject of, like, getting things out of WordPress and into someone else, that sounds counterintuitive for folks, like, you’re here listening to a WordPress podcast, and we’re talking about how and why we want to make it easier for people to get their content to us, of course, but then also, if needed, get it out of a version of WordPress and either into a different version of WordPress with a new host or, whatever.

Or if this is not your long-term destination, which we think it will be once you figure us out, but like, if it’s not, like, how to get out of it, too. So, from your perspective, how does that fit with the basic philosophies of open source or of WordPress in general?

[00:14:24] Jordan: Yeah, thank you. If I may, there’s a couple of things I wanted to touch on from what you’ve said. First of all the other work that is going on in the project at the moment that you mentioned, the tour guide and the Playground, I think both of those are going to be super important to the approach we take to Data Liberation.

I wanted to elaborate just a little bit on the Playground because I’m particularly excited about the potential that gives for two particular scenarios two particular use cases for migration. One is, where I’ve already set up a WordPress site, I’ve got the theme that I’d like, and I’ve got some, you know, some plugins, maybe I’ve got a little bit there, but I want to import content, but I want to check how it is the potential for the Playground to make essentially a staging copy of my site and migrate the content into that staging copy so I can see how it lands in my chosen theme and check everything out and then go, yep, that looks great. And apply it. That’s great for it’s safe. You can check how it looks before it’s, you know, committed. So that’s brilliant. I’m excited about that. I’m also excited about the potential it has for people who don’t know WordPress, or don’t have a WordPress site, or they don’t have a host, they don’t have anything.

[00:15:30] Jordan: But if they can say, I want to see how this would go in WordPress. Playground, through some platform, somewhere, will allow them to just have an immediate in-browser preview of what their site would look like on WordPress. And if they like it, we then move them. We help them find a host. We help them export that in a way that they can use, but it helps the people who already have sites.

But I think, more importantly, it helps those who don’t have a site yet. And they don’t have to set up an empty WordPress install in order to start migrating. They can just get into it. 

[00:16:01] Josepha: And also, you don’t have to, like know who your host needs to be before you can take a look at the back end of a WordPress site and see if it makes sense to you. Like I think that that is a huge, huge win on behalf of users, current users, and future users of WordPress.

It’s the try before you buy. Come kick our tires without having to find a server. If you all don’t know what we’re talking about, if you have not heard of Playground yet, you can go to playground.WordPress.net and give it a try. It’s a one-click, serverless local version of WordPress that you can test out themes on and plugins, and just like put all your data into all your content into, and pretty soon also be able to export or just load directly onto the host of your choice. It’s really, really cool.

[00:16:44] Jordan: It’s, it’s pretty much magic, I think. 

[00:16:47] Josepha: Yes, I remember the first hackathon where we took it because we took it basically on a hackathon roadshow for six months. I remember the first one we took it to. Routinely, we could get developers, not me, routinely, Adam Zieliński could get a developer to do the thing, and they’d be like, I can do it if you’re next to me telling me what to do, but it’s literal magic. I don’t know what’s happening. And he was like, okay, I’ll come explain it to you. And like, he was using English, but also I was like, that is still magic. I’m so glad someone understands it. It’s brilliant.

[00:17:18] Jordan: Yeah, so the Playground I’m super excited by. I think it’s going to be really important. The tour stuff the tour functionality is going to be really important as well. Because on some level, We’re going to have to wrap all of this work on improving HTML to blocks, the process of taking an export file and importing it into WordPress, the process of telling people how to get the content, all that’s going to have to be ideally wrapped up in a nice user-friendly way so that users aren’t having to, you know, read plain text articles and then going and installing a plugin and all of those kinds of things.

I think the potential for the tours is we may have some kind of wrapper plugin or something which will detect the platform of your existing site if you put the URL in, and it will start walking you through the steps. So, part of that might be action you need to take on your existing platform, and we have some of that information already in the guides on the Data Liberation site at WordPress.org/data-liberation. That information is already there, but I’m hoping that we can start pulling those guides into the WP Admin so you just get walked through it while you’re there. And we can start using the tour functionality to really specifically pinpoint: you need to go here, now you can do this, go and click this, and just walk users through that migration process a little bit more neatly.

[00:18:37] Jordan: I’m really excited that we’re going to be able to utilize a lot of these existing projects that are exciting and happening at the moment. And I think, ideally, they’re all going to make it much easier for users to not have to jump through so many hoops. And the hoops that they do have to jump through, we can hold their hand while they do it.

[00:18:54] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. Create safe scaffolding for fun, I used to say.

[00:18:59] Jordan: So those are the two projects existing that are happening at the moment that I’m excited about rolling into and working with for the Data Liberation work.

[00:19:07] Jordan: You also asked about the getting content back out, which is something that I’m particularly passionate about, I suppose. Which may be ironic when a lot of the aim of this project is to get people into WordPress. But I’m a really firm believer that if our mission is to democratize publishing, then that doesn’t mean just get everyone onto WordPress and go, yes, now you’re trapped. It’s like the Hotel California, you can never leave. If we’re going to be, you know, fully all in on democratizing publishing, then that means giving folks the freedom to take their content to do with it, whatever they want. It’s fair to say at the moment that that is possible.

So you can export your content from WordPress. We don’t hang onto it. We don’t lock it down. You can take it. At the moment, the format that you get that content in has some limitations. It’s fair to say it doesn’t handle bringing the media of your site particularly well unless you’re turning it into another WordPress site somewhere else.

So, the export functionality is very, very focused at the moment on migration to another host, or to a local site, or to another WordPress installation, basically. But if you want to use that content for something else, maybe another platform. Maybe you just want to have a copy of your blog posts that you can. 

[00:20:17] Josepha: Print it into a book.

[00:20:18] Jordan: Yeah, to put into a book. Maybe you want to put it on a thumb drive and put it in a lockbox somewhere. Maybe you want some kind of hundred-year archive of your intellectual property that you’ve written and created. And so I think we’ve got some room to make improvements there. Not only to the way we provide content for other platforms to pick up and bring in but also just in the ways that we provide content to users who just really want to have a physical, digital copy of what they’ve created. 

There are some challenges at the moment when you get an export, if you’ve got shortcodes in your content, if you’ve got content that’s generated by plugins, all kinds of dynamic content that is great when it’s a website, and WordPress is wonderful. And there’s all of these options, but if you take an export, you have references to those functions, and you have references to those shortcodes, which aren’t actually fully realized. So I think there’s some room for us to investigate what does a better export for other platforms look like and what does a better export for “I want to print it out or turn it into a book or just have a static version of that” content look like. And so I’m particularly excited about that, even though it’s kind of, bring it in, and we want to let them get it out. But that’s part of the whole liberation of data, I suppose, is, you know, the freedom to do with it what you want.

[00:21:40] Josepha: Yes, absolutely. And everything that increases freedom on the open web, I think we are in favor of. So, I don’t know if you follow many, like WordPress futurists, our people who are out there saying, if only WordPress had these additional 2,500 hours worth of work, then we could do this with it. Like, I don’t know if you follow a lot of them. 

[00:22:02] Josepha: But, a lot of them look at that thing that Matt said, like, I want to say, five years ago about WordPress becoming the operating system of the web and putting some thought into what would be required to make that possible. And when we look at composable CMSs, like the option to have something that is a framework and a core of what you are doing in your digital experience of the web. And making it possible to add anything to it required. 

I think that also the work that we’re doing with Data Liberation to provide a little bit more consistency and just standardization of the way that content comes in and out, I think, can only help with that potential future implementation of WordPress as the operating system for the web so that you have this basic place where you hold and manage all your content and also not only does WordPress cooperate nicely with all these other tools and applications that you can put on top of it but also all of the content has standard conversational touch points and so everything moves quickly in and out including the dynamic content that is maybe being created inside your WordPress core itself. I think that is also a really important not primary focus, but certainly future-like, if only we could get to that state kind of focus. 

[00:23:31] Josepha: I’m really interested. I think that the Data Liberation project is big, and I know that we expected primarily only new contributors to work on it, but honestly, we know that’s not the case. It’s you’re working on old WordPress in here and so not necessarily new contributors. But I think that you’re right that the place for new contributors to help us is saying like we can get the content to here, we can get the data to here, and then we need help getting it into WordPress or help getting it into something else.

So, as like a last question here, or if you have things to add to that, and then I can do last question.

[00:24:04] Jordan: Okay, so to loop back to your conversation about futurists and moving content and stuff, I am really excited about this idea that the open web at the moment, I think, is really, really exciting. I just started mucking around with federating my content in the fediverse. Again, recently, I tried it a little while ago and really struggled, but I’ve just started again, and it’s sitting really comfortably with me, and it’s, it’s feeling like it’s a great time for posting and owning your content, and then syndicating it elsewhere. I have seen a couple of really interesting conversations about what you were saying about, like I’ve seen the conversations in the past about, you know, operating system of the web, but also some talk and ideas recently about what would it look like if we stored all of our data in a WordPress instance?

What if all of my photos aren’t on Instagram? They are on my WordPress site. What if I pull in my Fitbit or my Strava information and just store it in WordPress so that I can do with it what I want once it’s there? What if I, I don’t know, what if I pull in kind of all of my different sources of data and I, and I house them in WordPress and then I can do with them what they want, would do with them what I want.

[00:25:08] Jordan: And that is when the Data Liberation stuff becomes especially important because if it’s your everything, you want to take your everything somewhere else. But I’m really excited for kind of all of that kind of space at the moment and giving people the freedom to own that data and when they create stuff.

In actual fact, this is one of the things that you said in your talk at WordCamp Asia, which has really stuck with me was, and I can’t remember the exact phrase, but you said if you’re going to do all of this work of creating something, you may as well do it somewhere where you own it and can keep it. And that, for me, is just such a strong driver for getting people onto WordPress. Particularly from, at the moment, social media platforms. I’ve got two young daughters who are just getting to the age where they’re creating videos at home, which aren’t being published anywhere, but they’re starting to. They’ve got friends who are doing YouTube channels, and they’ve got friends on Instagram.

And I’m looking at all of that going, I get the urge to create, and I get the urge to publish, but I want them to have an alternative to do all of that so that in five years’ time, ten years time, whatever it is, when they go, wow, I did all of this stuff. I don’t want that owned by someone else. I’ve created all this, and I’m excited by the possibility of having that become a simpler, more user-friendly, accessible option to folks, where it becomes just as easy to have a WordPress site, which is your Instagram feed or a WordPress site, which is your YouTube channel or something like that, where you own it, and you just create it, and it exists. And Data Liberation means you want to take a copy of all that stuff, go for it, download an archive, you know, print out the photos, do whatever you want, but they’re yours. You have them. And so, it’s really feeling like all of that is coalescing together a little bit at the moment. I think it’s a really exciting time. 

[00:26:52] Josepha: And also, like, since we’re just meandering around in philosophical spaces, two philosophical thoughts. One, I really, really feel like it’s important and valuable for people to document their lives. I have a pretty private social media presence; mostly, if you’re following me on social media, it’s because, like, you have literally been in my living room or you’re looking for WordPress news. Like that’s it. But I am constantly am documenting my life just for myself, like the folks who are listening, which is everybody, because we don’t do video, will not know that I have back behind me a shelf that is nothing but journals from my leadership journey, like from the moment that I realized that like leadership was something that was a skill and could change people’s lives like I’ve done nothing but document like I ran into this problem. This is the research that I did to figure out what was happening and not, and just like it’s really mundane things in my work now. But the work and the process of documenting, like, what’s happening for you and with you in your life and how you’re interacting with it, like, it’s just important for your mental health and for your understanding of the passage of time.

[00:28:05] Josepha: But then also you were talking about, like, having a hundred-year archive of your thoughts and things, like, there will be a point at which digital information being ephemeral because it’s just electricity wandering around between screens, like, it’s prone to getting lost in the same way that physical things are prone to getting lost, but the loss is less acute in the moment.

And so you can accidentally lose it. And I think that that’s a real long-term not problem for society necessarily, but I think it is something from a societal standpoint where we’re gonna, at some point in the near future, realize that some of us have huge missing gaps where we, like just got rid of everything that we ever documented because we had a moment on social media or because it seemed like the only way to reclaim our content or our data or our privacy or whatever it was. And so I have a yeah. I love it. I love everything that we’re talking about, about the speculative future and WordPress. And so yes, now, well, now everybody knows all my thoughts on speculative WordPress. 

[00:29:06] Jordan: There’s an interesting philosophical conversation which we’re like coming towards of what’s the equivalent in a hundred years, in 200 years of now, of the Library of Congress for philosophical and powerful writing. There is so much great stuff that is written on the web, and it just exists there.

In a hundred years, when people are writing about the early work of an artist or a politician or, you know, a notable figure, we don’t, we’re not going to have handwritten letters. We’re not going to have correspondence. But we’ll have tweets. We could have blog posts. Like, it interests me to think, like, the stuff that we take for granted of historical creation is happening digitally now. And so, equivalently, in the future, how, how is that gonna get retained? How much amazing knowledge and thinking is gonna just, you know, have their hosting account expire and get removed? And it’s an, it’s it’s a big conversation, but it’s an interesting one.

[00:30:09] Josepha: Yeah. Oh, what a fascinating discussion we’ve had today. So, by way of wrapping up our discussion here, why don’t you give us a sense for, like, if you are a user of WordPress and you were like, this sounds really interesting, I want to learn more, where can they go? But also, if you are someone who wants to learn how to contribute to WordPress and this sounds like a good opportunity for you to get started with that. Where can people find more about this project, about how to get started, how to contribute, all that stuff? 

[00:30:38] Jordan: If you are someone who is hearing about this for the first time and coming to it pretty fresh and haven’t been working in the WordPress community much before. The best place to go will be WordPress.org/data-liberation, that will give you not only access to the tools and guides that exist but also some information on where the development and discussion is happening.

That’s the easiest pathway to find your way into those conversations as well. For folks who already have a little bit of experience and, it may be contributed code or a part of discussions already. The place to go to would be github.com/WordPress/data-liberation. That’s where there’s a lot of discussion. That’s where the existing tools and guides are being managed and worked on. So, if you really want to dive in. Please come and join us there. There are discussions to be had. There are ideas to be floated. That’s where all of the boots-on-the-ground work is going to be happening.

[00:31:25] Jordan: The other great place is within the Make WordPress Slack organization. And we have a Data Liberation channel in there. That is primarily where we have higher-level conversations, and we chat about stuff, and I’m hoping that becomes a real hub for work-adjacent discussion. So GitHub is going to be for all of this is where all the work’s happening, but the Slack channel is where people can share their thoughts on what’s possible, and big picture ideas, and that kind of stuff. So those will be the three best places. WordPress.org/data-liberation for the overview, github.com/WordPress/data-liberation for where the work’s actually happening, and WordPress Slack in the Data Liberation channel. If you want to come and chat more about the possibilities and, you know, helping get the future of the open web happening.

[00:32:17] Josepha: I mean, that is an enticing call to action. We’ll have links to all of the, all three of those in the show notes, as well as links to everything that we kind of mentioned over the course of our conversation. But Jordan, thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:32:32] Jordan: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been great.

[00:32:34] (Music interlude) 

[00:32:41] Josepha: And now it’s time for our small list of big things. I’ve got three things for you this week. 

The first thing on the list is that WordCamp US tickets are now on sale. So that event is happening from September 17th through the 20th in Portland, Oregon. There are general admission tickets and micro sponsor tickets available. And if you have seen the cost of the ticket but had not quite noted the length of the event, I just want to assure you that the cost per day is the same now as it was and has been for years. It’s still that same 25-dollar-a-day ticket that you’ve got; it’s just that it’s four days long this time. We’ll have a link to the tickets in the show notes, but then also you can always wander over to us.wordcamp.org, and it’ll take you right there. 

The second thing on our list is that WordPress 6.5 is here. It is named Regina. If you listened to our show last week, you know that it was a huge release and kind of has something for everyone. So, if you have not yet downloaded it to take a look at it, do that. If you have not updated your sites yet, run a backup because you should always do a backup and then get that on your site and start testing everything out.

And the third thing on our big list, our small list of big things, is actually that we’re looking at dropping support for PHP 7. 0 and 7. 1 in upcoming releases of WordPress this year. It should not be too disruptive a change. However, it is going to take a lot of people to test it and make sure that everything’s working as we want it to work and as we need it to work. And so while we head toward that, I want to make sure you’ve got the resources that you need to know what’s happening, where it’s happening, how it’s going to affect you. I’ll leave some resources in the show notes for that as well. 

[00:34:27] Josepha: And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. If you liked what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser, or if you had questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at WPBriefing@WordPress.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:34:54] (Music outro) 

by Brett McSherry at April 15, 2024 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

Do The Woo Community: All Things WordPress 6.5 with Anne McCarthy and Bud Kraus

In the latest episode of The WordPress Way, host Abha and guests Anne McCarthy and Bud Kraus deep-dive into the details of the recent WordPress 6.5 release. They discuss the new font library feature, enhancements in revisions, plugin dependencies, and the significance of data views plus a lot more

by BobWP at April 15, 2024 10:00 AM under Uncategorized

April 14, 2024

HeroPress: WCEU, Overcoming Limits, A Visit To Torino

Bicycles in Piazza San Carlo - Turin WCEU, Overcoming Limits, A Visit To Torino

CC0 licensed photo by elisascagnetti from the WordPress Photo Directory.

HeroPress Network Updates For April 14, 2024


WordCamp Europe 2024 In Torino Italy!

WCEU Latest Updates

This week the WCEU crew announced the schedule for the event. Someone recently mentioned to me that we seem to have moved forward quite a bit regarding diversity, and I agree.

Contributor day registration is also open. If you’ve never been to a contributor day at a big WordCamp I highly recommend it. It’s quite different from a small camp.

Lastly, Visa invitation letters are now available, so if you need that to get to Italy I recommend starting that process as quickly as possible.


HeroPress.comThe Time I Left My Island – Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola

Matteo Enna
Matteo Enna

Matteo Enna was born and raised on an island, Sardinia in the Mediterranean. The sea protected him from people, the world, and everything.

My story begins here, with a strong introversion orchestrating my life, a passion for computer science, PHP which had been accompanying me for about 5 years, and some small attempts to overcome my shyness.

Mattero’s’s essay is available on HeroPress.com.


WP Podcasts

Pocket Casts image

There were thirty-six WordPress podcast episodes released this week! Also, Underrepresented in Tech has a new cohost! I’ve known Samah Nasr for a couple years now, and she’s a fantastic pick!

FURTHERMORE, The WordPress Podcast has added a fifth translation to their arsenal! Check out the Deutch version!

There are new episodes every single day, so be sure to stop by WPPodcasts.com and search for things that interest you!


WP Photos

Here are some of the great photos submitted to the WPPhotos project this week!

Scottish highland cow walking in the heathCC0 licensed photo by Rámon van Raaij from the WordPress Photo Directory. A tiny spider of 1mm in size (cricket-bat orbweaver) touching and feeling two threads of it’s web, patiently waiting for it’s next meal.CC0 licensed photo by Rámon van Raaij from the WordPress Photo Directory. A black-orange bug (Cercopis vulnerata, en: Black-and-red Froghopper, dt: Blutzikade) on the tip of a green fern frondCC0 licensed photo by werkform from the WordPress Photo Directory. Brown longhaired cows with a calf in pasture with a river in the backgroundCC0 licensed photo by Rámon van Raaij from the WordPress Photo Directory. A close-up of a tabby cat with green eyes, slightly open mouth showing teeth, standing on a wooden floor.CC0 licensed photo by Bigul Malayi from the WordPress Photo Directory. Statue of lord Krishna and Arjun representing the Mahabharat battle of Hindu religion.CC0 licensed photo by KafleG from the WordPress Photo Directory.

Be sure to check out the hundreds of other great photos!

The banner at the top of this post is a CC0 licensed photo by elisascagnetti from the WordPress Photo Directory.

That’s it for this week! If you want to be SUPER AWESOME, get other people to sign up too!

That’s it for this week! If you’d like to get this post in your email every week, make sure you sign up!

The post WCEU, Overcoming Limits, A Visit To Torino appeared first on HeroPress.

April 14, 2024 05:40 PM under Newsletter

April 13, 2024

Gutenberg Times: Grid Layouts are coming, Playground for preview, Interactivity API in the wild — Weekend Edition 291

Howdy,

Don’t forget to save the date for the Hallway Hangout: Let’s chat about what’s next in Gutenberg on April 24 at 11 pm UTC / 7pm EDT / 4 pm PDT / 1 am CEST

Rob Cairns and I chatted on his podcast about WordPress 6.5 and beyond.

Spring is back in Munich and it’s beautiful. We are really pushing getting out and walking around town, along the river or in our big park, with 5,000 other individualists.

Have a splendid weekend ahead!

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Justin Tadlock, and others collected for you What’s new for developers? (April 2024) around WordPress 6.5, Core track and Gutenberg plugin. The table of contents listed 21 separate updates separated for Plugins developer and theme builders.

Separate Color Style variations in sidebar.

On April 9th, Aaron Jorbin and the merry band of Core contributors published the WordPress 6.5.2 Maintenance and Security Release. “Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. Backports are also available for other major WordPress releases, 6.1 and later.” Jorbin emphasized. Go and update if you haven’t yet. This can wait.

Release lead, Ramon Dodd, published Gutenberg plugin version 18.1 and highlighted in his post What’s new in Gutenberg 18.1? (10 April):

Sidewide background image

Anne McCarthy demo’d in this video WordPress Playground: the ultimate learning, testing, & teaching tool for WordPress. WordPress Playground is an open-source project that makes makes WordPress instantly accessible for users, learners, extenders, and contributors. Thanks to the easy creation of instant, temporary WordPress sites in your browser, you don’t need a server or a test site or local environment. “At a high level, watching this video will give you a glimpse of what it is, what it does, and how you can use it today. I highly recommend getting comfortable using it, especially as we look to the future of WordPress.” McCarthy wrote.


Estela Rueda invites designers and theme builders to provide feedback The new grid experience. The grid aims to enhance the visual layout capabilities within WordPress by making it more flexible and easier to use for various design needs. To gather a wide range of opinions and suggestions, the team is reaching out and encouraging people to participate in the feedback process. By visiting the provided link, users can learn more about the new grid experience and contribute their input to help shape this upcoming feature.


Joen Asmussen highlighted in his Design Share: Mar 25-Apr 5 the design team’s work for the last two weeks, mostly about refinements of the data views.

  • Site Editor animation refinements
  • Badge fields
  • Explore UX around customizing bundled data views
  • Bulk actions toolbar
  • WP.org Homepage Updates
  • Block Naming & Connections
Bundled data views
About WordPress 6.5 – all in one list on blocks and site editor
This week, WordPress 6.5 certainly dominated the WordPress news cycle. Articles, Videos, Threads on X, and workshops are plenty available for every type of WordPress user. This list of resources…

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

Anne McCarthy highlighted the features of the Create-block Theme plugin on Automattic’s Design blog: DIY Block Theme and invites you to “learn to use the Create Block Theme plugin, like our designers do, to build your own block theme


Nathan Wrigley and Anchen Le Roux announced that this year’s Page Builder Summit 7.0 is scheduled for May 20 through May 24, 2024. A stable for the last seven years, the Page builder Summit brings a large variety of experts together to help veteran and new site builders to get better at their craft. They provide insights into technology, business, and the design for freelancers building sites for others. The list of confirmed speakers is like the who-is-who of the business!


Jamie Marsland shows you on YouTube how to Master the Grid Layouts. Most great-looking websites utilize some sort of grid pattern in their page layout. But while many designers accomplish this using CSS Grid, new WordPress blocks let you do it right in the editor. Marsland shows you how to use Grid and Grid Layout blocks to create a beautiful, functional WordPress site.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

In his article “Adding some Colors to the Block Theme“, Bernhard Kau discusses how to best add various color options to a block theme. It’s a deep dive into the process, starting with selecting a naming convention and how they appear in theme.json as well as in the site editor’s color picker. Then Kau describes how to apply colors to various sections of the site via the color picker to maintain brand recognition.


 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2024” 
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. 2024 on. Updated by yours truly. The previous years are also available: 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Magdalena Paciorek took a A first look at the Interactivity API, and walks you through an examples code for a Donation Calculator. It’s a great way to take a first deep dive into the Interactivity API with a great instructor from Poland. Paciorek is also a speaker at WordCamp Europe 2024.


Iain Poulson, Advanced Custom Fields, mentioned in their release post for ACF 6.2.8v, that the team started adding support for Block Bindings API and Interactivity API. “From Block Bindings to the Interactivity API, WordPress 6.5 brings new opportunities to use ACF data in core WordPress blocks, and new interactivity experiences to ACF Blocks. Some of these changes features require ACF to add compatibility, and this release begins that work.” Paulson wrote.


Scott Kingsley Clark mentioned in his release post for Pods 3.2v update that the framework supports the new WordPress 6.5 Block Bindings API. “Specify your source as pods/bindings-field and then just pass the same arguments you would pass for a normal [pods] Shortcode or block. This will bind that dynamic output to the block you are working with. ” he wrote.


The recording of this week’s Developer Hours: Building custom blocks with the Interactivity API is available on YouTube. Damon Cook from WP Engine demonstrates how he built a form submission block that leverages the API. This example will teach you how to kick-start a custom interactive block using the Create Block package, use directives to assign critical attributes to your HTML markup, create the store, and hook up the client-side JavaScript. The final plugin is also available on GitHub

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.

Now also available via WordPress Playground. There is no need for a test site locally or on a server. Have you been using it? Email me with your experience

GitHub all releases

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


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


Featured Image: City with giant WordPress logo AI generated via Noel Tock


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

We hate spam, too, and won’t give your email address to anyone
except Mailchimp to send out our Weekend Edition

Thanks for subscribing.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at April 13, 2024 04:44 AM under Weekend Edition

April 12, 2024

Gravatar: Maximize Your Instagram Bio: The Top Tools to Consider

On Instagram, there are two places where you can put permanent and clickable links – your bio and your stories, which can become permanent highlights. Until April 2023, you could only put one link in your bio, but since then, Instagram has increased that number to five. 

However, even with that change, the author bio is still quite restrictive and doesn’t allow you to customize your profile fully or add other elements. 

The solution to that is to put a “transition” link – one that will open a new webpage filled with all the links your heart desires, whether it’s your blog, store, portfolio, or other relevant social media pages. 

Instagram doesn’t come with this feature, so in order to get the multifunctional “link in bio,” you need a specialized tool for the job. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to 10 excellent tools for breaking free from Instagram’s limitations and expanding your online presence effectively.

Let’s start! 

1. Gravatar 

Gravatar homepage

Instagram is just one platform, and if you want to create a permanent space on the internet, you need to think about your online presence beyond social media. 

One way to do that is by creating a universal profile – an online identity that travels with you no matter where you go. Gravatar by Automattic is a free tool that can do that and much more. While not exclusively a “link in bio” tool, Gravatar still brings a lot of useful features that you can use to expand your Instagram bio section. 

Here is what you can do with it! 

Personalize your “About” section

It’s hard to describe yourself in a captivating way with just 150 characters, but that’s all Instagram gives you. With Gravatar, however, you have the opportunity to craft an “About” section brimming with personality. When users click on the Gravatar link, they’ll be redirected to your Gravatar profile which will look more or less like this. 

Gravatar profile bio section

It’s a space where you can tell your story, sharing not just a basic bio but also details, such as your name, pronunciation, and location. 

List your verified accounts

Linking and showing your verified accounts is important as it gives you more brand credibility, whether you’re an influencer, CEO, author, academic speaker, and so on. As a result, people who open your Gravatar profile will be more inclined to follow you on different platforms beyond Instagram, and they’ll know where to go.

With Gravatar, you can add multiple popular platforms, including WordPress, X/Twitter, Tumblr, TikTok, GitHub, Twitch, and more. 

Gravatar’s verified accounts list

Add important links

Confined by Instagram’s solo link policy? Gravatar can help! Accentuate your profile with curated links pointing to your latest blog posts, eCommerce stores, or other important profiles and pages. 

Gravatar links feature

The way you display your links matters! To increase their visibility, put your most important links at the top of your profile. 

Share payment links and cryptocurrency wallet addresses

Besides normal links, with Gravatar you can also create a versatile and personalized wallet, adding payment links and cryptocurrency wallets. This allows you to add another way of monetizing your online presence, as well as gather money for charity and important causes. 

Adding payment links to your Gravatar profile

Connect with websites like PayPal, Patreon, Venmo, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin in seconds! And the best part is that adding wallets will not clutter your “About” section. Instead, a new button will appear called “Pay” that people will be able to click and choose the best payment option. 

The “Pay” button in Gravatar’s “About” section

Add your contact information

With Gravatar, you can centralize your contact information and save users from the hunt and peck of tracking down your email or phone number. 

Gravatar contact information

Include only what you’re comfortable sharing publicly, striking a balance between transparency and privacy. Similar to the payment options section, instead of putting everything in the same profile area, a new “Contact” button appears, containing all your contact information. 

Add photos

Curate a selection of images that enhance your profile’s narrative. For photographers, this is a great place to put some of your work. If you’re a thought-leadership expert, put some pictures from conferences or lectures that you’ve done. 

Gravatar uploading photos to the profile

Customize your profile design

Your Gravatar extends the reach of your Instagram bio, so it’s very important to customize your profile to mirror your brand identity. With control over design elements such as background colors and imagery, you can align your digital profile across all social media platforms, ensuring a consistent brand journey throughout. 

Gravatar custom color background

Gravatar custom background image

2. w.link

w.link homepage

w.link is a WordPress tool for creating a “link in bio” page that allows users to deeply personalize the presentation of their links. It works the same way as a WordPress site, which means that you need a domain to launch it and know how the Gutenberg editor works to get the most out of its features and customization options. 

Its main features include: 

  • Customization with CSS. 
  • Free themes and patterns. 
  • Unlimited pages and users. 
  • Built-in newsletter and RSS. 
  • Brute force protection. 
  • 1 GB of storage (this can be upgraded if you opt for a paid plan).

w.link has a free version, meaning you don’t pay for the tool, but you’ll still have to pay for a custom domain. It also has four pricing tiers, starting at $4/ month paid annually and going up to $45/month, all of which include a free domain for 1 year. 

3. Linktree

Linktree homepage

As one of the pioneers in bio-link tools, Linktree remains a strong contender in the market and comes with a free plan that offers a decent number of options. Still, its most important features, such as enhanced customization, priority links, and advanced analytics, such as click-through rates and audience demographics, are only included in the premium tiers. 

Other features include: 

  • Ability to add QR code. 
  • Unlimited links. 
  • Tip jar and “Buy Me a Gift” option. 
  • Button and font styles – only in paid plans. 
  • Custom background images – only in paid plans.

There are three pricing options: Starter, $5/ month; Pro, $9/ month; and Premium, $24/month. 

4. Lnk.bio

Lnk.bio homepage

Lnk.bio is a tool specially designed to fit Instagram’s UI, making it easy for everyone to customize their link page and use the tool. 

Other interesting features include: 

  • Instagram API. 
  • Unlimited links and a personal URL. 
  • Option to embed music tracks and videos. 
  • Customizable profile pictures and image backgrounds (only available in the highest tier).
  • Reports that track link clicks and patterns in audience interactions over time (this is only for the paid plans).

Their pricing structure is slightly different. You can use the free version, subscribe monthly for $0.99/month, or buy a lifetime subscription to the tool for $9.99 or $24.99, depending on the features you want. 

5. Link in Profile

Link in Profile homepage

The unique proposition of Link in Profile lies in its ability to use Instagram posts as direct transactional opportunities for eCommerce businesses. 

Its main features include: 

  • Any URL mentioned in the post comments is sent directly to the landing page, transforming your Instagram feed into a marketplace. 
  • High levels of automation it provides so that when new posts are created, new links are added without extra effort from the user. 
  • Branded landing page with the Instagram profile picture and Instagram name. 
  • Easy integration with major websites and shopping platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify

Link in Profile is a tool that mostly targets businesses and individuals who are looking for a good Return on Investment (ROI) and are focused on using Instagram to sell their products and services. 

There is no free version, but there is a free trial to their one plan, which is $9.99/month. 

6. Campsite

Campsite homepage

Campsite is a versatile tool suitable for independent creators, agencies, organizations, and small businesses. Its paid plans come with detailed analytics that go beyond basic tracking to include metrics like bounce rate and visitor behavior, crucial for understanding the efficiency of your online content. 

Other features include: 

  • User-friendly interface and easy navigation menus.
  • Bulk link editing. 
  • Option to add images to links. 
  • Pre-made themes and high customization. 
  • SEO settings, UTM parameters, Google Analytics, and more marketing features for paid plans. 

You can choose between a personal account or an organization, both with two paid tiers – Pro and Pro+, starting from $7/month for a personal and $14 for organizations with two member profiles. 

7. Beacons.ai

Beacons.ai homepage

Beacons.ai is an all-in-one creator platform with multiple apps and services, such as an Audience Manager, Media Kit, Email Marketing, W-9 Generator, and Link-in Bio

Its main features include: 

  • Fully customizable landing page. 
  • Option to collect contact information from fans. 
  • Ability to sell digital products with 1-tap checkout. 
  • Traffic analytics. 
  • Access to all Beacon tools. 

Beacons.ai is a dynamic social commerce tool that offers a lot, even in its free version. Still, for those wanting to upgrade, there are two options: A marketing bundle for $30/month and a VIP package starting at $100/month. The VIP plan comes with everything in the lower plan, a personal advisor to help you set up everything and a physical NFC business card for US and Canada users. 

8. Milkshake

Milkshake homepage

Milkshake is an interesting tool that allows its users to create an “Insta website” with its card-style layout, which adds a layer of interactivity. Each card represents a different page – an about section, testimonials, or showcase of work – offering a full-fledged website experience. 

Other features include: 

  • Easy customization from your smartphone. 
  • Analytics similar to the Story Analytics page on Instagram. 
  • Option to create multiple Milkshake websites for different Instagram accounts. 
  • Integration with other social media platforms. 

Milkshake is a free mobile application. 

9. Shor.by

Shor.by product page

Shor.by is most popular for its dynamic feeds, which can auto-populate with content from blogs or online shops, making it a decent option for content creators and small business owners alike. 

Other features include:

  • Messenger links that allow direct communication with followers and customers. 
  • Integration with popular services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
  • Block editor with an option to add images, videos, texts, products, RSS, and songs. 

Shor.by plans start from $15/month up to $99/month for agencies. 

10. Tap Bio

Tap Bio homepage

Tap Bio is another tool that uses card-based profiles to engage audiences. 

Its main features include: 

  • Accessible interface with a gradual learning process for those new to digital storyboarding. 
  • Option to put additional cards and Instagram accounts. 
  • Statistics and analytics. 

There is a free Basic plan and two paid tiers for $5/month and $12/month. You can also opt for an annual payment of $36 and $96, respectively. 

Take the next step: Advance your Instagram bio with Gravatar

Whether you’re an independent creator, an agency, or a business, you don’t have to be confined to the restrictive nature of Instagram bios. Expand into a rich hub that fully represents you, your work, and your services. 

There are many great options for a “link in bio” tool, but Gravatar truly stands out as one of the best options. Not only is it completely free, but it also comes with a lot of important features, such as linking your other verified profiles, adding payment links and images, and customizing your profile to fit your brand fully. 

Ready to transform your Instagram bio into a dynamic portal? Step into a broader digital footprint with Gravatar and define your universal online profile.

by Ronnie Burt at April 12, 2024 06:22 PM under Guides

Do The Woo Community: Reimagining Affiliate Programs for Your Woo Biz with Alex Standiford

This episode discusses affiliate programs in depth, emphasizing the need for personalized, collaborative relationships and exploring potential drawbacks of traditional affiliate links.

by BobWP at April 12, 2024 09:07 AM under Uncategorized

April 11, 2024

Do The Woo Community: CRM Insights and the Future of WordPress with Adrian Tobey

In today's episode of Woo BizChat, Adrian Tobey from Groundhogg emphasizes the importance of CRM for businesses and the early adoption of CRM for WooCommerce shops. He also discusses potential barriers to CRM success and contemplates the future of content consumption.

by BobWP at April 11, 2024 09:55 AM under Uncategorized

April 10, 2024

Gravatar: Roadmap to a Killer Personal Brand: Essential Digital Tools

Whether you’re a content creator, influencer, CEO, academic, artist, or entrepreneur, building your personal brand is essential. Your brand is a mark of your unique value, so giving it more visibility helps you stand out, gives more credibility to your professional resume, and opens up a world of opportunities. 

You might already be thinking about your brand in your daily life, from the way you interact with your peers to the way you present yourself at networking events. But as we know, for a brand to be truly successful, it has to exist on the internet. 

But how do you even start building your personal brand in an online space where everyone is trying to do the same? The answer lies in choosing the right digital tools and platforms that help you hit your branding goals. There are thousands of tools, and not all of them will be right for your needs, which can be daunting. 

That’s why, to help you in your branding efforts, we gathered the best online tools to streamline this process, ensuring your personal brand reflects your true Unique Value Proposition (USP) and gets the visibility it deserves.

Website creation tools

Your website is the cornerstone of your brand. This is a given if you offer services or have an eCommerce platform, but if your brand centers around your online persona, you might be wondering whether you even need a website if you’re maintaining your social media profiles. 

Social media is powerful for building an audience – there’s no doubt about that. But in reality, a website is still the granddaddy of online presence because of its dynamic and highly customizable nature. 

Social media platforms will confine you to work within their limitations, which means you will need to adapt your content style to what works best for their algorithms. It can be hard to present a proper biography, an overview of your work, and evergreen content on such platforms. 

On the other hand, a website can be whatever you want it to be – you are in full control of the way it looks and functions, and what content is posted. 

Whether showcasing a portfolio, hosting a blog, or highlighting services, your site is where long-lasting impressions are made, and an essential part of creating an effective website lies in picking the right tools.

Build your website on WordPress.com

WordPress.com homepage

WordPress.org is the most popular Content Management System (CMS), and it’s used by brands like Slack, Disney, CNN, and Meta. If you want to build a site with WordPress, we recommend choosing WordPress.com as your trusted hosting provider, as it comes with built-in security and analytics tools and automatic updates. 

With all the technicalities taken care of, you’ll have the time and opportunity to build a great site that fully reflects your personal brand and professional goals. 

There are several tiers to WordPress.com, but the Creator plan is the best option for professionals as it allows you to add unlimited plugins and themes. On the other hand, the integration with Jetpack gives you essential tools to track engagement, monitor traffic sources, and understand your target audience’s demographics. 

WordPress.com pricing

With the Creator plan, it is very easy to get started, and if you’re serious about personal branding, having unlimited access to plugins and themes will be extremely helpful. Customize to your heart’s content with design options that resonate with your personal aesthetic, or extend functionality with plugins that offer everything from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to social media integration. 

With its automatic updates, scheduling abilities, and built-in analytics, WordPress.com lets you spend more time creating brand-centric content instead of worrying about admin tasks. 

Add eCommerce functionality with WooCommerce

WooCommerce homepage

One of the beautiful things about WordPress is that you can easily turn your website into an online store thanks to WooCommerce – the eCommerce platform used by more than 4 million websites worldwide to effectively sell their products and services online! 

This interactive commercial platform comes with many useful features, such as the option to add customer reviews to your product, build beautiful and categorized product galleries, upsell and cross-sell products and services, and fully customize product and checkout pages. 

If you want to branch out to eCommerce, we recommend opting for the Entrepreneur plan on WordPress.com, as it’s specially developed for people who want a full-fledged online store. 

WordPress.com pricing plans

Build a newsletter

Email marketing is powerful and still very popular among digital marketers. In fact, this marketing strategy is one of the most profitable, with a mind-boggling ROI of $36 for every dollar spent

Email gives you a direct line of communication with your audience and builds a longer-lasting relationship, which is especially true with newsletters. A periodic newsletter filled with interesting how-to guides, industry insights, or inspiring success stories not only provides immense value but also bolsters engagement with your brand. 

WordPress.com includes a newsletter feature with every plan, and you can easily include one anywhere on your website by adding a “subscribe” block. 

WordPress subscribe block

The placement is very important, so we recommend putting this form above the fold on your homepage or as a call to action at the end of a compelling blog post to boost subscription rates. 

Example of placing a subscribe option above the fold

This functionality allows you to convert your blog updates into rich, engaging newsletters. With no cap on the number of emails you can send, WordPress.com hands you the reins to grow your subscriber base unconstrained, unlike other platforms that may restrict your reach. 

Besides that, it also allows you to create gated content which is a strategy where exclusive content is provided to subscribers. The only thing you need to do is click on “Set up a paid plan” and a new window will pop up, allowing you to fully customize your paid newsletter. 

Creating a paid newsletter with WordPress

This feature on WordPress.com helps you reward and retain your most loyal followers, cementing a strong community around your personal brand.

Unify your digital presence across all platforms with Gravatar

Gravatar homepage

When building your personal brand, you need to think of your online identity as a whole, not as different pieces independent of each other. Build your social media presence and blog as a cohesive online existence, which means syncing your information across platforms. 

Gravatar is an efficient tool that centralizes and streamlines your online identity across the web, powered by your email address. 

Getting started with Gravatar is quick and user-friendly. With just a few steps, you’ll have a unique avatar that follows you from site to site, attaching a familiar face to your online commentary and interactions. 

Example of a Gravatar profile 

Instead of adjusting your profile for each platform, you’ll have a consistent identity everywhere, including important and up-to-date details such as contact information and events. 

A single digital signature allows you to build a consistent online identity, making your personal brand more memorable and credible. By unifying your digital presence, Gravatar alleviates the hassle of managing multiple logins and profiles. This convenience is not only a time-saver but ensures your online identity is uniform and professional. 

When you create your profile, you can fully customize it to fit your needs. Here are some of the great things you can do with Gravatar’s profile editor: 

  • Finetune your profile background with custom colors and images. 

Adding a custom background image to your Gravatar profile

  • Connect your verified social media accounts and other profiles. 

Linking verified accounts to your Gravatar profile

  • Add customized links to promote blog posts, featured articles, upcoming events, and products. 

Adding different links to your Gravatar profile

  • Add your contact information so that people can easily get in touch. 

Adding contact information to your Gravatar profile

  • There is a QR code feature so you can quickly share your profile during networking events or put it on your physical business card. 

QR code options for Gravatar profiles

Besides the QR code, you can also generate a short link to put on your social media accounts, serving as a versatile “Link in bio” landing page. 

Leverage the social media platforms that make sense for your brand

We won’t go into too much detail about the different social media platforms, as you’re probably already aware of the most popular ones. But we do want to highlight two very important rules: 

  1. Don’t worry about being everywhere. Instead, go where your target audience is. If you’re building your personal brand as an eCommerce leadership expert, chances are your most loyal audience is on LinkedIn rather than TikTok or Instagram. On the other hand, if you’re a creative personality, like an artist or a musician, then social media platforms with a younger demographic would be a better place
  2. Be consistent in your posting. This is a universal rule among social media – you won’t be successful if you’re inconsistent with your posting schedule. What helps here is to create a social media calendar and plan out your content for the next month or two. 

Another thing you should remember if you use various platforms is that you want to retain some level of consistency in terms of how you present yourself, and furthermore, it should be easy for people to recognize your personal profile across different profiles

Gravatar can help you maintain this consistency by giving users a constantly updated overview of your professional identity, including a list of verified social media profiles like X/Twitter (the official one, not the fish one), TikTok, Tumblr, Instagram, Bluesky, as well as your personal WordPress website, adding even more credibility. 

Other tools for content creation and sharing

Consistently creating great content is hard! Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to help you out at all stages of the content development process, like the organization and planning, ideation, creation, optimization, and promotion of the final product. With the right tools, you can create a workflow that is tailored to your needs and individual processes, allowing you to be consistent with your production.

Tools for organization and content mapping

Notion and Asana are great for content planning, each offering unique benefits that can result in a more polished and professional brand persona. 

Notion and Asana integration

Notion’s all-encompassing workspace allows for meticulous planning, crafting, and cataloging of ideas, ensuring a brand’s narrative unfolds with precision. Asana guides the creative process with its strong project management tools, improving the content production and delivery process.

It’s worth noting, however, that the richness of features in Notion and Asana comes with a moderate learning curve, but there are many useful resources by brands and other users, especially on YouTube, to help you get used to the tools. 

Thankfully, if you’re already familiar with the Gutenberg WordPress Editor, you shouldn’t have any issues with Notion, as their interfaces are very similar. 

Google Trends for ideation

Google Trends homepage

Diving into Google Trends‘ ocean of insights reveals a highly valuable tool that offers a glimpse into the collective consciousness. By leveraging such data, brands can adjust their content to match audience interests. 

Interpreting the peaks and valleys of trending topics leads to informed decisions that anchor a content strategy in the present. For instance, a digital marketer might spot an emerging trend in sustainable living and weave this theme into their blog articles, social media posts, and podcasts.

Image and video editor tools

According to a study by the US Chambers of Commerce, 55% of first impressions of brands are visual, which is another proof of how important your visual representation is. It needs to be engaging, unique, and, most importantly, represent your personal values and best qualities. 

Not everyone is a designer but thankfully, there are tools to help every single professional to create a consistent visual brand. One of the most prominent platforms to do that is Canva, which offers a library of templates, photos, and illustrations that can be customized to align with your personal brand’s visual theme. 

Canva design tool homepage

Canva Pro, the premium version, extends these capabilities with additional features like brand kits and background removal, providing an even more tailored design experience. 

For people looking to enhance their video editing skills, Adobe Premiere Rush is a free mobile and desktop app that offers various features to help your brand grow. Its built-in camera, for example, allows for high-quality video capture, while intuitive editing tools help edit and share from anywhere, ensuring your visual narrative remains cohesive. 

Adobe Premiere Rush homepage

For budding personal brands, this tool simplifies the creation of professional-looking content that can resonate with audiences across various platforms.

URL Shorteners

URLs can be very long which makes the process of integrating them troublesome and not aesthetically pleasing. To resolve this, you can use a URL shortener. These are smart tools that allow you to create custom links with your brand name and can also track engagement. 

A great URL-shortening tool is Rebrandly – an AI platform with more than 100 popular integrations. 

Rebrandly homepage

It works by selecting a relevant domain name related to your brand and using it as a consistent base for all your short links. This practice not only reinforces brand visibility but also offers detailed analytics insights to evaluate the effectiveness of your shared content. 

Using these analytics can transform raw data into strategic action. By examining click patterns and traffic sources, you can fine-tune your content scheduling and distribution strategies to better capture your audience’s attention.

Monitor and refine your results with analytics tools

Building a personal brand is a continuous process, and analytical tools can provide you with helpful performance indicators. These tools clarify which areas of your personal branding strategy are thriving and which require refinement. 

For those just starting out on their personal branding journey, focusing on key analytics like engagement rate, follower growth over time, and website conversions can be incredibly insightful.

Most social media platforms come with their own analytics dashboards that show metrics such as engagement rates, best-performing content by reach, and follower demographics. These data points highlight which content truly resonates with your audience, informing not only what you create but also how you can create deeper connections. You can then use these insights by experimenting with content types and posting times, and then measure the changes in engagement for continuous improvement. 

For example, when open rates for your newsletter seem low, consider A/B testing with different subject lines or content structures. Track the subsequent open and click-through rates to identify the most engaging approach, thus maintaining a dynamic and relevant correspondence with your audience. 

When it comes to website analytics, Google Analytics is the industry standard. However, for WordPress users, Jetpack offers an accessible alternative and it’s included in both the Creator and Entrepreneur plans with WordPress.com. It provides intuitive metrics such as daily visitors, page views, and top-performing pages, all critical in gauging the traction of your online content without the daunting complexity of Google’s service.

Jetpack homepage

Conclude each analysis session with a commitment to apply what you’ve learned. Set regular intervals for review – be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly – to ensure your personal brand remains vibrant and effective. Remember, consistent analysis is a foundational practice that nurtures a strong and resonant personal brand, keeping you one step ahead in the exciting world of online branding.

Create a personal brand that stands out with Gravatar 

Creating and maintaining your personal brand is a lot of work, but don’t be discouraged! With the right tools, patience, and consistency, you can craft a professional brand that makes you proud and opens up a world of possibilities. 

One of the tools that will be with you every step of the way is Gravatar – your trusted online identity that travels with you no matter where you go. 

Gravatar is not just another addition to your digital toolset but a fundamental component that connects the dots between your various online activities. With Gravatar, you receive a unique advantage – a consistent identity that travels with you everywhere and allows you to be easily recognized by your audience. 

Why wait to consolidate your digital brand? Sign up for Gravatar for free and take the first step towards a unified identity. It’s time to align your online presence with your professional aspirations.

by Ronnie Burt at April 10, 2024 09:27 PM under Guides

WPTavern: #115 – Jamie Marsland on Turning Technical Know-How Into Popular Content

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast, which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, turning technical know-how into popular content.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to wptavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcasts players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head to wptavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Jamie Marsland.

Jamie has a varied background in technical corporate leadership, and has been guiding Pootlepress for over a decade. Initially a training service, Pootlepress has become a product focused company known for its WordPress plugins. Jamie’s depth of experience in the industry is increasingly overshadowed by his visibility as a YouTuber, where, as you’ll hear, much of his attention is now focused.

In this episode, we’ll cover some new ground. We talk about a critical issue facing WordPress today, the fierce competition from platforms like Canva and Wix, and the marketing hurdles that WordPress must navigate to maintain its market share.

We also explore Jamie’s unconventional path to becoming a content creator, discussing how he went from teaching tennis to teaching tech, and how he’s leveraged YouTube to grow his audience and business. His perspective is that it’s important to make technical concepts accessible and easy to understand.

Making his content is a lot of work, most of which happens behind the scenes. We get into this a little more deeply, and Jamie shares his strategies for effective video creation, from planning to execution, along with his thoughts on sponsored content and its place in the YouTube ecosystem.

If you’re curious about the future of WordPress, content creation, or the dynamics of digital learning this episode is for you.

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

And so without further delay, I bring you Jamie Marsland.

I am joined on the podcast by Jamie Marsland. Hi Jamie.

[00:03:08] Jamie Marsland: Hey there. How are you?

[00:03:10] Nathan Wrigley: Very good. Thank you for joining me today. If you haven’t checked out what Jamie’s been doing, Jamie has had a really interesting career in the WordPress space. We’re going to talk about that. We’ll talk about his YouTube channel, and how he’s managed to grow that over the last couple of years. Before we do that Jamie, I wonder if you could introduce yourself, give us your quick WordPress bio.

[00:03:29] Jamie Marsland: So quick WordPress bio. I’ve been running this business, Pootlepress for 14 years. Prior to that though, I had a corporate career in technical, both public businesses and private businesses, running businesses. But always in publishing, and in software publishing. I always say that because people just see me as a YouTuber these days, so I want people to understand there’s a bit more background to it.

And then the last 14 years, I’ve been running Pootlepress. And we started off as a training business, and then we morphed into a product business. Built some plugins, which we still provide. And then over the last three years, I’ve been committing to creating content, primarily over YouTube.

[00:04:04] Nathan Wrigley: Tell us a little bit about Pootlepress. What were the bits and pieces that you got yourself involved in? And are you a coder? Do you write the code, or did you write the code yourself? Do any of those projects still have a life, or have they been shelved for now?

[00:04:16] Jamie Marsland: As I said, it started off as a training business, which was literally, I left my previous job. I’d introduced WordPress into that business, and we had a very expensive development team. We were running a different CMS, which nobody would’ve heard of, it was called Ektron. But it was about $5,000 per site, per year, so it was, you know, in terms of WordPress. But that was at the very low end of the CMS market. But in terms of WordPress, which is obviously free, it was much more expensive.

And I introduced WordPress into that business. I could sort of see the market was shaking out a bit. And I looked at the WordPress market from that job, and seeing what was going on. And there were people running training courses in WordPress, but they were charging £500 a day for a WordPress training course, and selling them out.

And I thought, that’s quite interesting. But they were going after the sort of corporate market. When I left that business, they gave me a chunk of money, and so I had some time. So I thought, well, I could start a WordPress training business. And so I took out a Google ad, and I launched a WordPress training course, because I knew WordPress really well, because I’d been using it personally for a long time.

And I pitched a course, I think it was £99, or something like that. And within half a day I got my first order. I thought, well that’s interesting, there’s a market here. And then I ended up running 2 courses a week, with about 15 people in, traveling around the country. I ran them in London, where I’m based in Chatham. Ended up in Scotland, also Wales.

So all around the country, running these face-to-face training courses, with people in a room, training people on WordPress. And there’s nothing quite like seeing face-to-face people using WordPress to understand, I’m going to talk about the product business in a minute, but understand some of the issues people have with WordPress, when you’re actually training them.

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and personally trained thousands of people now on WordPress, which is just an incredible experience to have, which you don’t actually realise until you’ve sort of gone through it.

And then, from that, we built some plugins, and we’re going back a while now. So we built some plugins around Woo, as they were, Woo Themes. And, yeah, those plugins are still going, and we still have customers, and they’re actively supported. And the plugins now we’re releasing are Gutenberg based, I guess you’d say. So block based plugins.

And we were there right at the start of that. So we have a free plugin called Caxton, which nobody understands, but it’s named after William Caxton. If you’re English, you probably know that. He was a, the equivalent of Gutenberg but English. And that was launched in Nashville, which Matt Mullenweg demoed actually, as part of his presentation of the launch of Gutenberg. So we were right there, right at the start of Gutenberg. So I’ve always understood that Gutenberg was going to be a big driver in the space.

[00:06:38] Nathan Wrigley: It sounds like there’s a common thread running through quite a bit of that, which is educator basically. Do you have a sort of traditional background in education, or is it just something you find yourself drawn towards and capable of doing?

[00:06:50] Jamie Marsland: Well, I was a tennis coach when I was 19 to 23, to help fund uni education, partly. So played a lot of tennis. And I loved coaching, I loved teaching. And looking back on that experience, that was like, okay, that’s quite an interesting thing. So I’m thinking of redoing my, they lapse tennis coaching qualifications, I’m thinking of retaking them, and going back to it at some point. Because I absolutely love teaching. You realise this as you go through this career, but I love the teaching bit of it, so yeah.

[00:07:18] Nathan Wrigley: Do you find there’s any, the same level of love for the online teaching? Because when you described your WordPress teaching, it sounded like you were in the room with the people. And so you obviously get that immediate feedback and, you know, it’s not done via an email saying, thank you, I enjoyed your course, or whatever. You’re actually seeing people’s faces light up and what have you.

But with the YouTube content, and all of the other bits and pieces, I just wonder if there’s any connection between your end users, your students, if you like. Do you get that same warm and fuzzy feeling?

[00:07:45] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, definitely is, because the videos on YouTube get tons of comments these days, and I get loads of personal emails, and it’s the same with teaching people in a room. You know, you teach people in a room and you literally, it sounds a bit overblown, but people do email you and say, this is, you know, I’ve built a business out of this teaching, thank you. And it’s changed the direction of my life.

And you definitely get that, it’s different on YouTube, but you definitely get that. Comments are fantastic, and the likes are fantastic as well. So yeah, I mean you do get that sense of fulfillment with it. And I think there’s, part of it is, tennis coaching is a really, you can teach people to play tennis properly very quickly. You see a lot of people, what I’m getting to is, I think there’s lots of ways to teach people well, which I think is a real interest of mine.

You know, how you can take a subject, and simplify it down to core elements, so they get the basics and start flying very quickly. With tennis, there’s like three things you can teach any beginner, to get them playing decent tennis within half an hour, no problem. But you see a lot of coaches will overcomplicate things and people won’t have the same improvement so quickly.

And I think that’s the real challenge in WordPress education as well. So I put a huge amount of thought into how I structure my videos in terms of, so people are going to be able to understand them, and do things more easily than just, this is this, this is this, this and this.

So in terms of my videos, huge amount goes into the preparation of planning how to lay them out, to try and get the best possible outcome for the end user. Whilst at the same time, with YouTube, you have to make them engaging enough that they’re going to click on the thing in the first place to watch it.

So there’s a lot. There’s kind of multidimensional, creating YouTube videos. You want to be educational, but if you just do a tutorial video, nobody’s going to potentially watch it, because it’s going to be boring as heck. So there’s multi-layers to doing YouTube education stuff.

[00:09:23] Nathan Wrigley: But you don’t have like a traditional, I don’t know, pedagogy. You haven’t got a, like a teacher training qualification, or anything like that? You’ve just learned over time the process of creating something that is what you wish to create. And obviously, now that you’ve got this huge uptick in your subscriber count on the YouTube channel, you’ve obviously hit on some formula which is working.

[00:09:40] Jamie Marsland: And I actually don’t think the traditional approach works on YouTube anyway. I don’t think you can take, you can try, but I don’t think if you take a traditional teaching approach, and stick it on YouTube, it’s not going to work. So I wouldn’t, you know, if I was putting a video on the Learn WordPress website, I wouldn’t put that same video on YouTube, because it’s a completely different context that people are consuming that information.

[00:10:00] Nathan Wrigley: So back in the day when you stumbled across WordPress in the business that you were working with, you probably had no intuition that it was going to work out quite so well, in terms of WordPress’s ascendancy in the CMS market. How do you feel about that?

We’re obviously at this pivotal point, where it feels that there’s maybe a little bit of slowdown in adoption. We keep talking about this number, this 43% of the internet. I can’t quite work out what that means, but it’s a big number. You know, it’s a giant proportion of the internet. Do you have any intuitions as to whether or not that’s going to keep going? Would it bother you in any way if it didn’t keep rising?

[00:10:33] Jamie Marsland: A few things there, one is, when I was just starting off in WordPress, I could see it was going to fly, because it was starting to gain momentum. But I had all the same, you know, my developers were .net developers that were working for me. They were object orientated focused. They looked at PHP as some sort of dirt in the road, and they thought WordPress was terrible. So they’re very sneering about it.

That has led a lot of the, I guess, teaching I do as well. You know, there’s a lot of, people will dismiss WordPress still, for not being, what I’m trying to say is, WordPress has never won out because it’s been the best CMS. It’s won out because of the ecosystem, and the other market drivers that were driving it. Like there were CMSs that had amazing workflows, editorial workflows, back in the day, and WordPress didn’t have any of that stuff.

But WordPress won out because of the huge ecosystem, and the fact it was open source, and all these other drivers that were driving it. So I could sort of see that it was going to work back then.

In terms of where we are now, it’s not so much the market size that’s important to me. There was a slide shared by Noel Tock, as part of his keynote at WordCamp Asia. It was a fascinating slide actually, and it talked about market share, which we know is about 43%, and leveling off a little bit.

But then he overlaid that slide with search interest. So he looked at how many people were searching. And actually had a really interesting Twitter dialogue with Alex Denning about this as well. And that was basically showing how it grew in 2014, and then now its dived down quite steeply over the last, I think four years, in terms of search interest. So people aren’t searching for it so much. And then he also overlaid that with number of sites that are being built, which has also gone down a lot.

Now that, for me, is probably the most important metric, yeah. So that has gone down significantly as well, from where we were at the peak. And then he also overlaid that with another metric, which was maturity of sector. So in terms of how many people are actually engaged in building WordPress sites, or producing WordPress products. And that was kind of still going up.

So what we’ve potentially got here is the confluence of a declining market, which we’re not seeing quite yet. This is the kind of worst case scenario, with over suppliers. So if that is the case, if we do start to see some of that over the next few years, that’s going to cause a lot of pain to people, because we’re going to have a declining market, in terms of number sites being built. But we’ve got lots and lots of suppliers, lots of product people in that sector. So essentially not enough business for everyone.

Who knows, that’s conjecture. But my spidey senses are telling me, this is possibly where we’re potentially at. And I think, if you look at the strategy, there’s a few other things that play into my mind for this as well. One is, I was at Cloudfest last week in Germany, and a lot of the hosting companies now are pitching towards, deliberately, strategically, pitching towards the agency developer market. That’s where they’re going. And there’s two reasons for that, potential reasons for that.

One is, that’s where people spend the most money. The second reason for that is, they’re seeing a contraction of the DIY market, which would be my guess as well. So they’re seeing their overall market go down, in terms of revenue, my guess. But they’re seeing everyone trying to go after the agency developer market. Everyone that I speak to.

I had a conversation with Wix this week, because I’ve had a demo of their product. They are deliberately going after the agency market as well. So I don’t think it’s just WordPress that are seeing this pinch at the moment, because I think there’s some recessional pressure on that stuff.

But I do think it’s potentially an issue for WordPress, that we’re, it’s a question of what is the canary in the mine? And I’m seeing some of those signals. So yeah, I’ve got some trepidation of where the market is going to head over the next few years.

[00:13:57] Nathan Wrigley: Can I plumb a little bit further into that, and ask you what the signals are, if you’re willing to share them? The signals that you’ve said that you were able to see. Just moments ago, you said that you had this, whatever the canary in the mine was. And you had a few little signals that you thought were illustrative of the general argument that you were making. Can you share those?

[00:14:13] Jamie Marsland: Well, it was just those really. It just the fact that I’m seeing all the hosting companies that I’m talking to, because I talk to a lot of hosting companies, and we’ll probably come on to talk about wordpress.com. But everyone seems to have a strategy of going after the developer agency market.

Everyone I speak to, that’s their strategy. Which makes sense, but it’s kind of interesting that it seems like that’s the direction of travel right now. And I don’t have insider information, in terms of the numbers for hosting companies. That’s just my view from the outside.

[00:14:42] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, there’s been a lot of talk recently. Well, certainly over the last three or four years, from various different quarters, all about the sort of shattering of the community. And I think it was, maybe it was Joost, the person, as opposed to Yoast the company. Or maybe it was Marieke, I can’t remember.

But the idea that the community is sort of heading in two different directions. You’ve got this philanthropic side of the community, who pour lots and lots of their personal free time into the project, and wish it to grow in that way. And then you’ve got the other side, which is driven more by profit, and about how these two sides, in their estimation at least anyway, are getting further and further apart.

And so they’re having to shout across this void. And the void gets further and further, so that the shouting has to be done louder and louder. The takeaway from that, I guess is that, if you’ve got a community which isn’t working, those two sides are not working in tandem, that’s also a problem I think.

[00:15:30] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, absolutely. It was also interesting, because at Cloudfest, lots of hosting companies were there, because Joost was there actually. I was chatting to him and he was saying, actually one of the interesting things is that they need WordPress to succeed. If these like Wix, and Squarespace, and Shopify, if those guys start winning out, that’s going to affect the hosting company’s revenue as well. Because those are closed systems, that don’t host on their systems. There’s a lot at play in making WordPress work really, at the moment.

[00:15:54] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. He wrote a piece just the other day on the Post Status blog, all about how the hosting companies are, well, in many cases they’ve got their own onboarding system, and they’ve got their own page builder, or something adjacent to a page builder. And I think his central argument was, would it be a good idea if, rather than having these sort of rival system, so if you go with hosting company x, you’re tied in because you’ve bought into their package, and you understand their tooling and what have you. And if you go with hosting company y, you’re locked in over there.

And I think his central argument was, we need WordPress to succeed, not the proprietary bits and pieces within your own systems. And in order to do that, would it be a good idea to spend less on your proprietary things, and put that investment back into, I don’t know, Five for the Future or something.

[00:16:34] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, I think that’s a fair point. The onboarding of WordPress has been mooted a few times in the last few weeks as well. And it’s one of the big, when you train people, you realise there’s many hurdles of friction in terms of WordPress, which it’d be great to have solved, like domain names and hosting.

I mean, you go to a hosting page, and that’s the first hurdle. You’re like, you get the average person and. Well, you compare the experience of setting up a website on Canva, and setting up a website through any WordPress host. And Canva, it’s five minutes and they, my cats could do it frankly, it’s so easy. Whereas WordPress, you have pricing tables with all sorts of things in, which are like object cash and, oh, what was that? Do I need some of that?

There’s a world of difference in terms of the friction between WordPress and some of these no-code solutions out there. And I know historically, WordPress has always batted these things off. My worry is that might not last forever, I guess.

That’s probably where it needs to be. That’s the competition. I had this conversation with the head of Influencer Marketing at Wix. They’ve got 500 people in marketing at Wix. I think they’ve got 200 on the influencer, no, that can’t be right. But they’ve signed up about 400 influencers.

[00:17:37] Jamie Marsland: And I know we always talk about Wix, and the fact that they put huge amounts of money into marketing. But you compare that to WordPress, who historically have been development companies, with the odd marketing person appended on the side of it. And they’re really serious. They’re really serious, and they’ve got this, quite a cool product that’s aimed at agency market.

So I do think that the opposition is lining up their ducks really well at the moment. If you were doing a competitor analysis, you look at, you know, I think Canva is a competitor to the brochure market. I’ve been saying this for a long time.

They’ve got a website builder. If they want to, they can go after a lot of the brochure market, which is a lot of WordPress business. Wix, doing some really cool stuff with their Wix Studio stuff. It’s really slick. Obviously Shopify, going great guns. And then you compare this to WordPress at the moment. I worry how quickly WordPress can react.

Let’s say I was watching your WP Builds chat today, and you were saying, what happens if it goes down to 40 and then 35? Let’s say, that did happen. Is WordPress match fit to react to that? And my worry is, at the moment, we are not, because we haven’t had to be.

[00:18:43] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that’s a really interesting point, isn’t it? We literally haven’t had to be. It’s been growth, upon growth, upon growth, year on year. And obviously these rival platforms, Wix et al, they’ve obviously also had growth year, on year, on year. It hasn’t been of the same magnitude, but in terms of finance, and the bottom line, it has been.

And if they can employ a sophisticated marketing team, that can put adverts, you know, in the Super Bowl and things like that, then that’s going to be a very difficult hurdle to overcome. Because if people do stop Googling for WordPress, or it just, you know, the mind share just disappears, and whenever somebody thinks about a website, that little three letter word pops out of everybody’s mouth. Oh yeah, Wix, I’ve heard of that. That’s going to be hard to compete with. And I think you’re right, interesting.

[00:19:31] Jamie Marsland: If you compare brand searches, I mean, Canva is the big one. Canva completely dwarfs. You know, I think actually, if I was Wix, I’d be scared silly of Canva, frankly. I think Canva is such a behemoth in terms of it’s got, I think it’s got 165 million monthly users now. Generating cash, always been profitable, and people have grown up with it, people are using it. So, you know, my kids know how to build a website, because they’ve used Canva. And it’s the same interface, so there’s no learning curve. So, personally, I think Canva, if they wanted to, they could go and eat a lot of the Squarespace, and a lot of the Wix market, and a lot of the WordPress brochure market, if they wanted to.

Canva have got an event coming up. The Canva Create event, which is titled Changing Work, or something like that. So we’ll see if they, because they have a, like a one page website builder in Canva at the moment. Pretty slick. You can only build a one page website, so it’s very limited. If they extend that, then that’s going to be a really interesting thing to see.

[00:20:26] Nathan Wrigley: You clearly are fairly optimistic. Well, I say you are, obviously we’ve just had the conversation that we’ve just had. But, given the content that you are creating, I suppose there must be a part of you which is optimistic about WordPress’s future as well. Because your YouTube channel, and we will link to everything that we mention in the show notes, so you can check that out on the WP Tavern website. We’ll link to all of Jamie’s bits and pieces, properties and what have you.

But you’ve been creating a YouTube channel. I don’t know quite how far that goes back. But I think it’s fair to say that, at the moment, you’ve got lots of heads turning in your direction. The subscriber count is on a fairly rapid rise. So bravo, well done for that.

But the content, that I’ve seen at least anyway, is very much aligned with kind of Core WordPress. What can WordPress out the box do, without needing to bundle a bunch of plugins? So given that you are doing that, you must have some confidence in its capacity to challenge the likes of Wix and Squarespace, or maybe not.

[00:21:22] Jamie Marsland: I mean it’s miles ahead of those things at the moment. It is important to say that, in terms of how many people are using it, and market share. I was just talking about where I look at it from a, if we were starting today, where we’re at in terms of just the marketing.

I think WordPress is in a place where it needs to step up a gear, which it’s doing. And that’s partly why I’m optimistic about it. So, you know, my videos, a lot of them are like, I do some website recreations where I take a famous website, and I show you how to rebuild it using just Core WordPress.

So I’m hugely optimistic about it. It’s got some hurdles to get over. But the core, imagine if we didn’t have Gutenberg right now. Imagine where we’d be if we didn’t have Gutenberg. I know there’s lots of people that don’t like Gutenberg, but imagine that situation.

And actually also, interestingly, WordPress has doubled, and I’m not saying this is down to Gutenberg, but it’s doubled its market share since Gutenberg was released. So at the very least, it hasn’t harmed the growth of WordPress.

[00:22:12] Nathan Wrigley: So the content that you are creating is around the block editor, and what have you. I’d love to get into the process of that, because your videos, and again, pause this, go and watch some of Jamie’s content. You’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as you’ve got three minutes into it.

You obviously put a real value on quality. I’m imagining there’s quite a lot of editing and retakes, and all of that. You’ve mentioned before that you spend a long time planning everything out. Why are you doing this? What is the point of having a YouTube channel? What do you get out of it, aside from the pleasure that you may derive? What’s your north star with that project?

[00:22:44] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, well, originally it was just to create some content that kind of countered the narrative that you couldn’t do stuff in the block editor, I think, probably. So I just started producing some content just with, I guess a slight experiment, I suppose. And then it started to get some traction and feedback, so I carried on. I just carried on.

And it was actually a post by Chris Lema, that talked about trying to become a content machine. I think it was something like that. Which kind of inspired me to really start committing towards it. And I could just sense that there was something happening in terms of creating the content.

And now it’s got to the point where it’s generating revenue. It’s generating more revenue than the other bits of the business, which wasn’t the plan. But then people start emailing you and saying, well, we’d like to sponsor this. We’d like to put our name to this content.

And the last two contracts I’ve signed, in terms of the description of what it was, one had talent in quotes at the top, which is bizarre. And the other had influencer, which is really bizarre. And now that’s driving revenue. It’s driving revenue back to the product business, and it’s driving revenue back to the training business. That was not the intention of why I started it.

[00:23:48] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, that’s really fascinating. So it was just done out of a desire to put content out there. It transformed itself into something that was getting the eyeballs. And then I presume, off the back of that, yeah, the sponsorship, emails start arriving and what have you.

A difficult decision must have been had, or a difficult decision must have been, had to have been made at some point. How much time does Jamie put into this in the future, you know? Okay, it’s successful now. Will it continue to grow? Should I be concentrating on the business? Should I be concentrating on the videos? Yeah, I guess you’ve got to sit the family down and have that conversation.

[00:24:21] Jamie Marsland: Well it’s a bit strange to say, you know, when you’re 50, what do you do for a living? And you have to say, I’m a YouTuber. It was hard enough to explain to my mother what I did in WordPress, and now it’s, she just looks at me blankly like I’m crazy. But I think the other thing is, I absolutely love it. So it wasn’t like I was drawn to the challenge of creating interesting creative content, and that was the prime thing that got me to create lots of video content. I absolutely love the creative process, and challenge of creating video content. So it was like, oh okay, this is maybe what I should have been doing a while back.

[00:24:53] Nathan Wrigley: Does the sponsorship bring with it a different approach to creating content? What I mean by that is, when you were just doing the content because you enjoyed doing the content, you could put things out on any schedule, I guess. You know, miss a month, it doesn’t matter, it was just a bit of fun. But then as soon as the sponsorships start to come in, I guess you’ve got to be a bit more methodical about it, bit more timely about it, and they’re going to want a return on that investment. So has it changed your opinion of it, as a thing that you do?

[00:25:21] Jamie Marsland: Not yet, but I’m quite early into it, so ask me maybe in a couple of years time. And I think the thing with the sponsorship, all the sponsored content I’m doing so far is stuff that I’ve pitched it to them actually, a lot of it. Even though people will email me a lot these days, and ask for sponsored content. I’ll often have ideas of an interesting piece of content, and then, because I know most people in the WordPress market now.

And having a YouTube channel is a great way to network, by the way. So you know, for example, a good example is with the guys over at Stellar. I’ve done a few pieces with them. But I had the idea, wouldn’t it be great fun to do a piece of content which was, I think we’re going to call it, I hired an ethical hacker to break into my website and here’s what happened. You know, which is like a really interesting idea as a piece of content.

So I’ve actually found an ethical hacker, he’s based in Malaga, and I’m going to go and see him, and that’ll be part of the video as well. The interesting thing about the sponsorship is how you take an idea and make it interesting, and compelling for people watching the content, so they still want to watch it. That’s a really creative challenge as well. But in terms of, it hasn’t changed my opinion yet, but I’m very early to the financial bit of it.

[00:26:21] Nathan Wrigley: Well let’s hope you still maintain the enthusiasm. What does the process look like then? You mentioned that you’ve come up with some innovative titles, and you’re obviously telephoning people up, and trying to find hackers here, there, and everywhere. But what is the process, to put out a half an hour, an hour long piece of content? Just give us an insight.

Because I think everybody has the impression that, oh, YouTube, it’s easy. There, he’s staring at the camera, he’s talking, he’s making it up as he goes along. And I’m sure it’s not like that. I’m sure there must be hours, and hours, and hours. What does it take to put out one of your videos?

[00:26:49] Jamie Marsland: As an example, I’ve got a video coming out today with wordpress.com. It’s a five minute video and it probably took two days. That sort of magnitude. There’s like the initial idea, and then I always, always now, get the title and thumbnail sorted first. If anyone’s going to do this stuff, you’ve got to do that first with YouTube. It sounds a bit crass, but you’ve just got to do it. So get the packaging right. And I think only once you’ve got that right do you know the video’s going to fly. So that’s a really good process to go through.

And then it’s just around, planning is everything, and the creative idea behind the flow of the video. I’ve developed a blueprint now, which I use on a lot of my videos, which is about having a hook, and then adding loops into the video, so you keep people engaged throughout the video. So it’s almost like this layer that you layer on top of a video. So when you’re seeing the video, you’re seeing somebody talk about something, but actually there’s hopefully a blueprint behind it.

[00:27:36] Nathan Wrigley: There’s a story in there somewhere. There’s a methodology behind it all.

[00:27:39] Jamie Marsland: That is getting natural to me now. So when I’m planning videos, I understand, I don’t have to think. When you first start doing YouTube, you have to think about everything like that, because it’s not natural. It is to some people, but it’s wasn’t to me. So you’ve got to plan it, in terms of that blueprint. How to structure it. Hook people at the start, keep them engaged throughout, plus educate them along the journey. So there’s quite a lot going on.

[00:27:58] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Do you do sponsor bits inside the video? What I mean is, is the sponsorship clearly defined in the content that you do? So there’s an ad for hosting company x, or whatever it may be. And then you get back to being in the video, it’s Jamie talking to the camera and what have you. Or are you open to creating sponsored videos about particular product or company?

[00:28:17] Jamie Marsland: So both really. So at the moment I’ve got pre-rolls that go on the front of all my videos, which is, at the moment, InstaWP are sponsoring that space. But I’ve also done videos where I do website recreation, with certain tools. So I’ve done one with Kadence and GiveWP, where I recreated the Charity Water website using their tools.

So they give me a challenge, and I try and rebuild it using Kadence and their tools. And I did one with Spectra One as well. So that’s kind of how that works. The one I’m doing with Stellar and SolidWP will be, it’ll be sponsored by them and it’s going to be, this is the challenge, but this is what happens when we try and hack into a website without any security, this is what happens when we try and hack into a website with some security. It kind of varies in a way.

[00:28:57] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so you’ve got a, you can, approach Jamie if you want to make content.

[00:29:01] Jamie Marsland: And I’ve also got, if you go to my YouTube sponsorship page, I’ve also got this series of videos going on at the moment where we give my daughters a challenge with a product. We’ve got five people lined up actually, who have signed up. And the first one we did was Kadence AI. So, can Meg and Lily build a website in 10 minutes, using Kadence AI?

And that’s another sponsorship opportunity as well. And that’s them using the Kadence tools to try and do a task, and we just film them doing the task. And I think that’s really interesting from a content point of view, but it’s also really interesting from a product point of view. Because they’re beginners, they’re not web pros, how beginners use their plugins.

[00:29:35] Nathan Wrigley: That’s really fascinating, and you get your family involved as well.

[00:29:37] Jamie Marsland: Well they get the money actually with that one as well, because they’re both at universities now. I’ve got another daughter called Hetty who wants in on the action, she hasn’t done it yet. But yeah, the money goes to them to fund their accommodation at uni, which is really helpful.

[00:29:50] Nathan Wrigley: That is so nice. That’s so great. One thing that we should mention is, of course, and you did mention it before. But you know you’re doing something right. Well, you didn’t mention this bit before, but you know you’re doing something right when people such as Matt Mullenweg drop your name in the State of the Word. And off the back of, I guess being seen by Matt, you’re now creating content, or you’re about to create content.

[00:30:11] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, we’ve done three, fourth one going out today.

[00:30:14] Nathan Wrigley: So this is wordpress.com. You’re making videos in that space. How’s that process going? Are you enjoying that?

[00:30:19] Jamie Marsland: Yeah, it’s great. Basically it’s a series of videos called Build and Beyond. So I’m partnering with them for a series of videos, kind of aimed at the sort of developer agency market again, which is interesting. Because there’s lots of stuff going on in wordpress.com that people don’t know about. So it’s trying to show some of that stuff, but also just kind of speak to the broader market about the cool stuff you can do with WordPress actually.

And obviously I’ve got resources of some amazing people in wordpress.com to lean on, in creating content. It’s kind of like a fabulous thing to happen. And obviously it’s great from my point of view, because it gets my name on wordpress.com, I’m on their blog.

And hopefully it’s adding value to their brand, which is the idea. Part of my plan with that is to kind of shine a light on some of the cool stuff happening in WordPress, in the broader community. So hopefully a video’s going out in a few hours, which talks about some of the developers you should follow in the WordPress ecosystem. It’s trying to shine a light on the cool stuff that’s happening out there as well.

[00:31:12] Nathan Wrigley: I don’t quite know how to phrase this question. I’ll ask it, and maybe I’ll change the wording of it. Do you think there’s something different about you. Do you think the route to success, in the way that you are doing it with WordPress content, do you think that’s something you were born with, if you know what I mean? Do you have that capacity? Were you always able to be a raconteur? Can you control the room? Have you always had the ability to talk? Do you understand kind of where I’m going? Do you believe that this is something that anybody could do with a little bit of hard work and patience, or is there something a bit special about you?

[00:31:39] Jamie Marsland: There’s nothing special about me, but there’s definitely, a lot of my roles in, especially before Pootlepress, were being the communicator between the technical people, and the commercial people. I was that person that could take technical ideas, and then translate them to non-technical people, so they could understand from a business point of view why they were important to do. So I’ve definitely enjoyed being in that spot, taking really complex ideas, and make simple for people to understand.

[00:32:05] Nathan Wrigley: I think it also takes a certain amount courage to push through with something like this. Because the idea of putting things out, and thinking, well, I’ve made it, people will watch it. That takes a certain level of courage I think, because it’s easy to think that people will watch it, feel great disappointment if they don’t. But in your case, it didn’t turn out that way.

[00:32:22] Jamie Marsland: No. We have this running joke with my wife, which is, there’s three types of people in the world. People that think they’re worse than they actually are. People think they’re about right, in terms of their opinion of themself, and people that think they’re better than they actually are. My wife thinks she’s slightly worse than, she’s got far more talent than she thinks she has. I think I’m probably slightly above, which I think helps in this space.

[00:32:44] Nathan Wrigley: I think that’s great. Thank you for joining me today, Jamie. It’s been a real pleasure. It’s been an absolute delight watching your videos, and watching your popularity grow. Let’s hope that if we were to have the same conversation in 2, 3, 4, 5 years time, it would still be on an upward spike. Let’s hope that’s the case. Jamie, thank you for joining me today.

[00:33:02] Jamie Marsland: Thanks very much.

On the podcast today we have Jamie Marsland.

Jamie has a varied background in technical corporate leadership, and has been guiding Pootlepress for over a decade. Initially a training service, Pootlepress has become a product-focused company known for its WordPress plugins. Jamie’s depth of experience in the industry is increasingly overshadowed by his visibility as a YouTuber, where, as you’ll hear, much of his attention is now focussed.

In this episode we cover some new ground. We talk about a critical issue facing WordPress today, the fierce competition from platforms like Canva and Wix, and the marketing hurdles that WordPress must navigate to maintain its market share.

We also explore Jamie’s unconventional path to becoming a content creator, discussing how he went from teaching tennis to teaching tech, and how he’s leveraged YouTube to grow his audience and business. His perspective is that it’s important to make technical concepts accessible and easy to understand. Making his content is a lot of work, most of which happens behind the scenes.

We get into this a little more deeply and Jamie shares his strategies for effective video creation, from planning to execution, along with his thoughts on sponsored content and its place in the YouTube ecosystem.

If you’re curious about the future of WordPress, content creation, or the dynamics of digital learning, this episode is for you.

Useful links

Pootlepress

Caxton

State of the Word 2023

Jamie’s YouTube channel

Noel Tock at WordCamp Asia

Marieke van de Rakt on Uniting the WordPress Community for a Stronger Future

The future is open-source

Canva Create

by Nathan Wrigley at April 10, 2024 02:00 PM under youtube

Akismet: reCAPTCHA V2 vs V3: Key Differences (And the Best Alternative)

Every website needs spam protection. If you’re part of an enterprise‑level team, you know the shocking number of resources companies actually have to devote to this. Without some kind of software that helps filter out spam and bot activity, teams might spend more time dealing with fake activity than real visitors.

reCAPTCHA is one of the most popular options for organizations that want to protect their websites from spam. It’s relatively easy to implement on most websites — you just need to know which version is best for your site. 

However, it can disrupt the user experience and provide less‑than‑perfect results. That’s why anti‑spam solutions like Akismet (which works completely in the background with AI technology) are quickly becoming the preferred option for organizations looking to streamline the UX and maximize the effectiveness of their online presence. We’ll discuss that option a bit later.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to reCAPTCHA and help you pick the right version for your organization’s needs. We’ll also show you to Akismet, the best reCAPTCHA alternative on the market. 

What is reCAPTCHA?

You’re probably familiar with a CAPTCHA, even if you don’t know it by name. CAPTCHA stands for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart’.

reCAPTCHA homepage with information about the tool

That name is a mouthful, but it describes precisely what a CAPTCHA does. It’s a system you can implement alongside forms to ensure that only humans can use them. Created at the turn of the 21st century, a basic CAPTCHA simply distorted letters and asked the user to identify them. The technology has continued to evolve over the years and is now known as reCAPTCHA. That’s what we’re looking at today. Google purchased this technology in 2009 and continually works to improve upon it. 

As a website admin, if there’s a submission that can’t pass a reCAPTCHA test, then you may be dealing with a bot.

Or a human. 

Unfortunately, as reCAPTCHA has evolved to stay ahead of the ever‑increasing sophistication of bots, the tests have become so complicated that, in many cases, real humans are prevented from using forms.

Despite the potential drawbacks, systems like this are essential in today’s digital landscape. Any popular website deals with huge numbers of spam attacks, including unwelcome comments, fake registrations, and login attempts.

Quality reCAPTCHA systems are capable of filtering out many bot submissions. You’ll still need to deal with spam, but in much smaller numbers.

Though not originally invented by the organization, reCAPTCHA is now a free service (with some limitations for enterprises) that Google provides, and that you can implement for any website or web application. You even get to choose between different versions, depending on the type of protection you want to implement.

reCAPTCHA v3 vs reCAPTCHA v2

These versions offer very different experiences and reCAPTCHA implementations. In the next section, we’ll explore what those differences are, and discuss the evolution from the first version of reCAPTCHA to the current model.

The evolution of reCAPTCHA from V1 to V3

reCAPTCHA has evolved fairly dramatically since its inception. The changes in how the reCAPTCHA system works reflect new developments in the technology used to combat bots and spam. Let’s take a look at the three major versions.

reCAPTCHA V1

The first version of reCAPTCHA launched in 2007, and it displayed images with distorted textual characters. You can still see this type of CAPTCHA in many places on the web. You’re unable to copy the text, and the letters are heavily distorted to deter programs that might try to analyze the image’s contents.

CAPTCHA with instructions on entering two words

This type of CAPTCHA also fulfilled a secondary purpose. A lot of the images of text were taken from digitized books. If you resolved this type of CAPTCHA, you not only proved that you’re human, but you also helped software better recognize the language in digitized books.

Overall, this is the most straightforward type of reCAPTCHA you can implement for your organization. It’s relatively easy for most people to solve (as CAPTCHAs should be). However, it’s also become outdated over time.

These days, there’s plenty of software and bots that are sophisticated enough to recognize the letters that images contain. That means reCAPTCHA V1 is no longer an effective option.

reCAPTCHA V2

reCAPTCHA V2 is where Google stepped in. They acquired the software in 2009 and launched V2 in 2014. 

This version of reCAPTCHA offered a very different experience from anything else on the market. Instead of having visitors solve a puzzle to prove they’re human, reCAPTCHA V2 shows a simple checkbox that says, “I am not a robot”.

reCAPTCHA with a checkbox for I am not a robot

As an end user, all you have to do is click on the checkbox. reCAPTCHA V2 analyzes the user behavior during that process, and only presents further challenges if the system suspects it’s dealing with a bot.

Those subsequent challenges typically involve image recognition tasks. reCAPTCHA V2 might ask you to select all the images that contain a specific element, like vehicles or stairs.

grid of images to review

The goal of these changes was to make CAPTCHAs more user‑friendly. reCAPTCHA V1 is often frustrating for visitors, since it’s easy to mistake some of the characters shown in the images.

In other words, visitors often needed multiple tries to resolve a V1 reCAPTCHA. With V2, some visitors will still need to solve rote verification challenges, but most can just check a box and proceed.

reCAPTCHA V3

V3 is the latest version of reCAPTCHA and the current industry standard. It launched in 2018, and it offers human verification that works entirely in the background of a website.

With reCAPTCHA V3, visitors don’t need to solve any challenges or tick any verification boxes. The software analyzes user behavior and gives each visitor a score. Depending on the score, it can determine whether a visitor is a human or a bot.

As the administrator, you can lower or raise the threshold for human verification with reCAPTCHA V3. The software gives you control over how strict it is, and whether it should completely block traffic it deems to be from bots.

Overall, reCAPTCHA V3 is better from a user‑experience standpoint. Instead of forcing visitors to interact with a CAPTCHA system or solve random challenges, V3 simply analyzes their behavior behind the scenes. A human visitor may be locked out if they are incorrectly determined to be a bot, but this should be rare (depending on your chosen settings).

Understanding reCAPTCHA V2

These days, it doesn’t make sense to use reCAPTCHA V1, whether it’s for a small business or an enterprise‑level website. That version of the software is deprecated, which means your choice will be between V2 and V3 (or a completely different alternative).

reCAPTCHA V2 aims to minimize the number of visitors who need to solve challenges to prove they’re human. With V2, most visitors will only see a simple checkbox they need to tick to prove that they’re not bots.

This can seem like a rudimentary approach, but it works because V2 also analyzes user behavior in the background. If it sees suspicious activity, it will also ask visitors to resolve visual challenges.

In practice, only a small number of human visitors should be presented with those additional challenges. This can be a safer approach than using a CAPTCHA system that works fully in the background because it provides a second chance for humans falsely labeled as robots. Plus, it doesn’t allow the site admin to reduce the level of strictness, as is the case for V3.

The downside of reCAPTCHA V2 is that it will inconvenience visitors in some cases. However, presenting challenges can also help to keep your organization’s website safer. 

Aside from the occasional annoyance for visitors, versions of reCAPTCHA that rely on visual challenges can present accessibility issues. reCAPTCHA offers audio versions of its challenges for visitors with visual impairments, but the system is not perfect.

Google provides support for implementing reCAPTCHA V2 on your website using JavaScript. It’s worth noting that while the service is free, it only supports up to one million assessments per month. 

If you do require additional assessments, you’ll need to budget for a reCAPTCHA Enterprise plan.

Understanding reCAPTCHA V3

reCAPTCHA V3 is the latest version of the CAPTCHA software. It does away with human verification challenges, and instead uses a score system that works entirely in the background.

When you implement reCAPTCHA V3 to protect a form, it automatically analyzes the behavior of any user who tries to access it. The software uses an algorithm to determine if a visitor is a human or a bot, by scoring them using specific criteria.

The approach of V3 is completely different from previous versions of the software. You can calibrate the scoring system for your site to decide what is an acceptable threshold for determining ‘human behavior’, and block traffic the system thinks is suspicious.

This version of the software offers the most user‑friendly implementation of CAPTCHA. That’s because visitors don’t need to deal with challenges or interact with any elements to prove that they’re human.

The downside of this approach is that it can lead to more false negatives. No bot detection system is perfect, and without challenges, your organization might end up dealing with more spam submissions.

In terms of integration, you can implement reCAPTCHA V3 on your website using JavaScript. The code is different from V2, and you get a lot of control over how the implementation works and how sensitive it is when it comes to scoring user behavior.

Choosing between reCAPTCHA V2 and V3

Any organization with a significant online presence needs some sort of protection against spam and bot activity. reCAPTCHA V2 and V3 are among the most popular options because they’re relatively easy to implement, and they have generous free plans.

Using V3 might seem like the logical option, since it’s the latest version of the reCAPTCHA software. In practice, though, V2 continues to be an incredibly popular version of the software.

Both V2 and V3 provide comprehensive protection from spam for your website, but they do it using two different approaches. Despite being older, V2 offers a more secure experience, since it still implements a challenge system for suspicious visitors.

V3, on the other hand, can be more prone to false positives/negatives. Since you can configure what the software does if it detects suspicious activity, there’s more room for potential human error during the implementation process.

Overall, reCAPTCHA V2 offers a more secure experience that is ideal for sensitive forms. If you have forms dealing with sensitive user data, having the option to present challenges can help you avoid problems like fake ecommerce orders.

reCAPTCHA V3 can be incredibly effective, but it prioritizes user experience over higher levels of security. This makes it a better option for less sensitive forms and user submissions, such as comments sections.

You can configure reCAPTCHA V3 to be more strict in detecting bot activity. The downside of this approach is that it can increase the rate of false positives. If you use reCAPTCHA to block bot traffic, and it mistakes a human visitor for a fake one, they’re unlikely to be happy with the experience.

Ultimately, there is no single best version of reCAPTCHA. You’ll need to consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of each one to determine which is most appropriate for your website. (There are also alternative tools you can use, which we’ll discuss shortly.)

When it comes time to implement one of these systems, Google provides plenty of useful documentation for both reCAPTCHA V2 and V3. Your organization can set either one up manually, or via plugins if you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

Both versions of reCAPTCHA are free for up to one million validations per month.

Exploring the alternatives to reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA is not the only option at your disposal. If you’re not happy with the approach that either V2 or V3 uses, then it’s smart to consider alternatives to CAPTCHA technology for your spam protection.

While there are a variety of anti‑spam solutions available, Akismet is the only one that rivals reCAPTCHA in terms of how easy it is to implement and its success rate. With Akismet, you get bot protection with 99.99% accuracy.

stats about Akismet's success

More importantly, Akismet doesn’t rely on challenges to separate humans from bots. It offers a solution that works in the background to protect your website from spam, and it provides a fully free plan for personal websites and blogs.

For professional websites, there’s flexible pricing. Small businesses can get the protection they need via the Pro plan for just $9.95 per month (when billed yearly). For enterprise‑level spam protection, organizations can get plans and pricing that’s customized around their specific needs.

Akismet: The leader in spam protection

No matter which spam protection solution you choose for your organization, it needs to fulfill two key criteria. The first is to protect you against as much spam and bot activity as possible, with the fewest false positives along the way. The second is to protect a strong user experience.

The importance of that user experience can’t be discounted. Some CAPTCHA solutions, like reCAPTCHA V2, are aggressive when it comes to presenting challenges after they detect suspicious activity. In some cases, reCAPTCHA V2 can force visitors to solve multiple challenges before giving them the green light.

That aggressive approach to spam detection can keep your website safe. The downside is that it can scare visitors away because solving multiple CAPTCHAs is not an enjoyable experience.

Akismet solves this problem by providing behind‑the‑scenes detection based on machine learning. It analyzes data from real spam on over 100 million websites to provide the most accurate detection possible.

Aksimet page with the text

Akismet provides simple integration with all kinds of websites, and it’s particularly easy to implement if you’re using WordPress. Your website administrator can install the Akismet plugin, activate it, and start filtering spam right away.

Akismet plugin listing

Although Akismet filters spam and bot activity in the background, you can also check to make sure it doesn’t flag any real submissions as spam. This is rare, but it sometimes happens, and Akismet learns from these situations to avoid flagging similar activity in the future.

Frequently asked questions

If you still have any questions about spam protection and what solutions to consider, this section will aim to answer them. Let’s start by recapping the key elements of reCAPTCHA.

What is reCAPTCHA?

reCAPTCHA is a CAPTCHA solution offered by Google. You can choose from reCAPTCHA V2 or V3 for your website, and implement either option using JavaScript.

Both versions of the software offer unique approaches to how they protect your website from spam. You can use either version for free for up to one million validations per month.

What is the primary goal of reCAPTCHA in website security?

The primary goal of reCAPTCHA is to stop spam form submissions. That includes spam comments, brute‑force attacks through login screens, fake payment information, and other types of attacks.

The software does this by helping to distinguish between real interactions on a website and bots. Different versions of reCAPTCHA use unique approaches to achieve this protection.

How have CAPTCHA mechanisms evolved over the years, leading up to reCAPTCHA V2 and V3?

Over time, CAPTCHA mechanisms have evolved to rely less on challenges and more on behind‑the‑scenes analysis. With reCAPTCHA V1, visitors were forced to solve challenges to prove they were human. Whereas the newest version of the software (V3) analyzes behavior without any input required from visitors.

Can bots still bypass reCAPTCHA systems? And if so, how do newer versions mitigate this?

CAPTCHA systems are always in a race to stay ahead of newer, stronger bots. There’s a community of malicious actors who work to bypass reCAPTCHA protections, as well as other similar systems. This is because spambots and automated attacks can be incredibly lucrative, and there’s significant interest in programs that can bypass well‑known CAPTCHAs.

Newer versions mitigate this risk through continued development. Any CAPTCHA solution you choose needs to get regular updates to both the core software and its spam database, in order to stay ahead of attackers. If the solution you’re using doesn’t do this, it will quickly become outdated.

Can I use reCAPTCHA V2 and V3 simultaneously for added security?

Yes, you can use reCAPTCHA V2 and V3 on the same website to protect different pages and assets. Google includes information on how to implement both versions of reCAPTCHA in its developer handbook.

What is the best alternative to reCAPTCHA?

Akismet offers the best alternative to reCAPTCHA for both small business websites and enterprise‑level projects. You can easily implement Akismet on any type of website, but it’s particularly easy to do so if your organization uses WordPress.

How does Akismet’s approach to spam protection differ from traditional CAPTCHA methods?

Akismet uses machine learning to analyze spam from the millions of websites that use it. This gives it access to one of the largest databases in the world for spam and bot activity, which means fewer false positives.

With Akismet, visitors also don’t need to solve challenges to prove they’re human. The software can analyze their submissions and use its training to determine what’s spam and what isn’t.

Akismet: The most trusted solution for spam protection

If you’re looking for the easiest solution to implement with the most accurate results and absolutely zero interference for your visitors, your best choice is Akismet. It’s blocked over 500 billion instances of spam and is used on over 100 million sites. 

reCAPTCHA offers some additional customization, but also comes with risks like false positives that lock out real users and an annoying experience that could reduce your conversions. You can integrate Akismet with any system via an open API, or take advantage of its popular, pre‑built plugin for WordPress sites.

Many website owners can use Akismet absolutely free. Explore Akismet plans

by Jen Swisher at April 10, 2024 01:00 PM under Spam

Do The Woo Community: Leveraging WooCommerce for Wyrmwood Gaming with Douglas Costello

The Woo team and Douglas discuss Wyrmwood's journey, Kickstarter success, challenges of growth, and multi-channel commerce.

by BobWP at April 10, 2024 09:49 AM under Uncategorized

Donncha: Speculating on what to load next

The Speculative Loading plugin for WordPress is a plugin you should probably try out on your site, especially if you use WP Super Cache or Jetpack Boost to cache things. It uses the new speculation API that Chrome/Edge supports to load pages in the background if you even hover over a link.

It will dynamically prefetch or prerender pages before they’re requested by the visitor on your site, which means that the page will show instantly when the visitor actually clicks the link.

It doesn’t work in Firefox yet, but it won’t hurt either, as the browser will just ignore the extra bits and pieces added to the page.

The default “moderate” eagerness works fine for me. The “eager” setting appeared to load links if the cursor got anywhere near them, which was a little too aggressive.

You won’t notice your browser loading the page in the Network tab of the webdev tools, but if you tail your access_log, you’ll see the requests go through when you hover over the links.

Browse around this site, or take a look at my photoblog for a feel of what it does.

There’s more info in the make blog post about it, and this insightful comment about the wastefulness of loading pages that might not be used, especially for visitors on limited data plans, or low powered devices. That’s definitely something to think about before using this plugin. I may yet remove it later, and I’ll update this post if I do.

by Donncha at April 10, 2024 09:43 AM under speculative loading

Matt: Beeper & Texts

It’s such a delight when a plan comes together and unfolds, especially when it’s something you’ve been working on for many years. Today the announcement went out that we’re combining the best technology from Beeper and Texts to create a great private, secure, and open source messaging client for people to have control of their communications. We’re going to use the Beeper brand, because it’s fun. This is not unlike how browsers have evolved, where solid tech and encryption on top of an open ecosystem has created untold value for humanity. Eric Migicovsky has written well about the plan going forward.

A lot of people are asking about iMessage on Android… I have zero interest in fighting with Apple, I think instead it’s best to focus on messaging networks that want more engagement from power-user clients. This is an area I’m excited to work on when I return from my sabbatical next month.

by Matt at April 10, 2024 12:00 AM under Asides

April 09, 2024

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.5.2 Maintenance and Security Release

Note: Due to an issue with the initial package, WordPress 6.5.1 was not released. 6.5.2 is the first minor release for WordPress 6.5.

This security and maintenance release features 2 bug fixes on Core, 12 bug fixes for the Block Editor, and 1 security fix.

Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. Backports are also available for other major WordPress releases, 6.0 and later.

You can download WordPress 6.5.2 from WordPress.org, or visit your WordPress Dashboard, click “Updates”, and then click “Update Now”. If you have sites that support automatic background updates, the update process will begin automatically.

WordPress 6.5.2 is a short-cycle release. The next major release will be version 6.6 and is currently planned for 16 July 2024.

Security updates included in this release

The security team would like to thank the following people for responsibly reporting vulnerabilities, and allowing them to be fixed in this release:

  • A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability affecting the Avatar block type; reported by John Blackbourn of the WordPress security team. Many thanks to Mat Rollings for assisting with the research.

Thank you to these WordPress contributors

This release was led by John Blackbourn, Isabel Brison, and Aaron Jorbin.

WordPress 6.5.2 would not have been possible without the contributions of the following people. Their asynchronous coordination to deliver maintenance and security fixes into a stable release is a testament to the power and capability of the WordPress community.

Aaron Jorbin, Aki Hamano, Andrei Draganescu, Artemio Morales, Caleb Burks, colind, Daniel Richards, Dominik Schilling, Fabian Kägy, George Mamadashvili, Greg Ziółkowski, Isabel Brison, Jb Audras, Joe McGill, John Blackbourn, Jonathan Desrosiers, Lovekesh Kumar, Matias Benedetto, Mukesh Panchal, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, Sean Fisher, Sergey Biryukov, Scott Reilly

How to contribute

To get involved in WordPress core development, head over to Trac, pick a ticket, and join the conversation in the #core channel. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook.

Thanks to John Blackbourn, Ehtisham S., Jb Audras, and Angela Jin for proofreading.

by Aaron Jorbin at April 09, 2024 10:00 PM under Security

Do The Woo Community: Simplifying Crypto Payments for WooCommerce with Stijn Paumen

The conversation with Stijn Paumen, CEO of Helio, explores cryptocurrency, stable coins, and their impact on merchants.

by BobWP at April 09, 2024 09:02 AM under Uncategorized

April 08, 2024

Do The Woo Community: Increase Your Woo Product Sales Using Admin Demos with Vikas Singhal

Vikas Singhal from InstaWP shares insights on the significance of admin demos in the WordPress and WooCommerce ecosystem.

by BobWP at April 08, 2024 08:23 AM under Uncategorized

April 06, 2024

Gutenberg Times: WordPress 6.5, register Font collections, working with templates, or playground — Weekend Edition 290

Howdy,

This week, WordPress 6.5 certainly dominated the WordPress news cycle. Articles, Videos, Threads on X, and workshops are plenty available for every type of WordPress user. I compiled a separate list for your perusal or to point people to wandering about.

As a reader of this newsletter, you have kept up with all the changes, for sure.  😍 The newsletter is a little shorter today, so enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

PS: I am experimenting with AI summaries, I slightly edited, mostly for brevity. The two pieces are marked. Please reach out to me, how you think about it…

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

With the release, core contributors are starting to work on WordPress 6.6. Anne McCarthy invites you to a Hallway Hangout: Let’s chat about what’s next in Gutenberg. The discussion/demos will cover Dataviews, synced pattern overrides, Zoomed out view, Grid layout, Pattern styles and Style inheritance. The virtual meeting will take place on April 24 at 23:00 UTC / 7 pm EDT / 4pm PDT.

About WordPress 6.5 – all in one list on blocks and site editor
This week, WordPress 6.5 certainly dominated the WordPress news cycle. Articles, Videos, Threads on X, and workshops are plenty available for every type of WordPress user. This list of resources… Read more.

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

Wes Theron, contributor to the training team, published a series of videos on how to work with templates on YouTube

In his video, WordPress Block Themes in 250 seconds, Jamie Marsland provides a concise but comprehensive overview of Block Themes in WordPress. He covers the basics of how Block Themes work, demonstrates their flexibility and ease of use, and explains how they differ from traditional WordPress themes by enabling users to have more control over their site’s design without needing to write code. Jamie also gives a quick tour of the WordPress editor with a Block Theme enabled, highlighting its features and capabilities. (AI, slightly edited)

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Now the Font Library is part of WordPress, Justin Tadlock’s latest tutorial is on How to register custom font collections for the Font Library with the built-in API. “By default, WordPress ships with a single collection that lets you install fonts from the Google Fonts library. But as a developer, you can offer a more curated experience by building custom collections.” he wrote.


In WP Jukebox podcast episode titled Tammie Lister on the Journey Through Design and Theming, Tammie Lister discusses with Nathan Wrigley her experiences and the evolution of her career in design and WordPress theming. The conversation sheds light on the changing landscape of WordPress design, the introduction of new technologies, and how these shifts have influenced the approach to creating engaging and effective themes. Throughout the episode, Lister offers insights into her process and reflections on the future of design in the WordPress ecosystem. (AI summary slightly edited for brevity)

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2024” 
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. 2024 on. Updated by yours truly. The previous years are also available: 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Jeremy Holcombe wrote a tutorial on How to parse Gutenberg content for headless WordPress and explained how to parse Gutenberg content as HTML using the WordPress REST API in a Next.js static site.


Artur Piszek shared a quick tip: Writing serialized Gutenberg blocks in PHP on using the get_comment_delimited_block_content function.


WordPress Playground is so much bigger than Blocks. It’s a fascinating, if not mind blowing tool for developers and product companies. Ronny Shani wrote an Introduction to Playground: running WordPress in the browser. She covers the basic some built-in features and how to create a blueprint. She also has plenty of examples and links to learn more for you.

You can use Playground to test the Gutenberg Nightly.


In his live stream, Ryan Welcher worked on a playground blueprint to for a live preview of his plugin Advanced Query Loop. He used various methods, to add content to a Playground site: Using Playground to preview plugins | Gutenberg 18.0 Review

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.

Now also available via WordPress Playground. There is no need for a test site locally or on a server. Have you been using it? Email me with your experience

GitHub all releases

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


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


Featured Image: Elephant-cement-blocks by Pooja Derashri, found on WordPress Photos


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

We hate spam, too, and won’t give your email address to anyone
except Mailchimp to send out our Weekend Edition

Thanks for subscribing.

by Justin Tadlock at April 06, 2024 11:30 AM under Weekend Edition

April 05, 2024

Gutenberg Times: About WordPress 6.5 – all in one list on blocks and site editor

This week, WordPress 6.5 certainly dominated the WordPress news cycle. Articles, Videos, Threads on X, and workshops are plenty available for every type of WordPress user.

This list of resources if for all who need to dive deeper into certain aspects or have to field questions about the new release. I didn’t aim for completeness, I might have missed past publications for sure. If I did, feel free to email a link to pauli@gutenbergtimes.com. If you are seeking information not posted here, Anne McCarthy has you covered:

📗 Anne McCarthy published the ultimate WordPress 6.5 Source of Truth for you. In this over 10,000-word opus, you’ll find the updates tagged for each group of WordPress users. They would be relevant to end users, theme or plugin authors, developers, site admins, and enterprises. For selective reading, you could use your browser’s “Find on page” feature and search for these tags. McCarthy lists 15 priority items, with an array of 26 sub-items, and then another 23 additional items, and closes with information about items that didn’t make it into the release for one reason or another.

Table of Contents

  1. General Information
  2. Design Tools
  3. Font Library
  4. Block Bindings API
  5. Block Hooks API
  6. Interactivity API

General Information

🎉 WordPress 6.5 “Regina” Official Release Post

🛬 WordPress 6.5 Landing page Check out the new WordPress 6.5 page to learn more about the numerous enhancements and features of this release—including short demos of highlighted features.

📗 Leonardo Nurugha, documentation co-lead of the release, posted: WordPress 6.5 “Regina” Is Here – Key Features and Changes

📗 Carlos Daniele took a deep dive into the most important features for the Kinsta Blog: What’s new in WordPress 6.5: Font Library, DataViews, Block Bindings, Interactivity API, and much more!

📗 Courtney Robertson published a What’s new in WordPress 6.5 walk-through and separated the updates for site builders and users from those relevant for developers.

🧵 Rich Tabor created an 18-message Twitter thread listing the main highlights of the release together with mini-videos. The list is also available on his blog

📘 Matt Medeiros has some sound advice for WordPress users around 6.5 in his video Watch BEFORE You Update to WordPress 6.5 “Regina”

📽️ Learn.WordPress contributor, Wes Theron, posted a walk -through the WordPress 6.5 version on YouTube. He covered:

  • Improvements to the Cover block
  • Renaming blocks and improved drag and drop functionality
  • Box shadow support
  • New powerful views in the Site Editor
  • Robust revisions
  • Using the Font Library
  • General UX improvements

 📽️ Jamie Marsland explains WordPress 6.5 in 250 seconds.

Design Tools

📽️ Dave Smith published a video to show off these tiny link editing changes that just made WordPress 6.5 so much better.

📙 Drop Shadow updates in WordPress 6.5 – WordPress 6.5 brings drop shadow options to the end user. This post summarizes how to use the controls for various blocks, and how to remove core presets.

Font Library

📙 How to register custom font collections for the Font Library – WordPress 6.5 will ship with the Font Library. Learn how to use a built-in API for registering custom font collections. (WordPress Developer Blog)

📽️ Anne McCarthy posted a new video: No Code, All Fonts thanks to the Font Library in WordPress 6.5. She wrote in the description:

  • The Font Library operates globally, similar to the Media Library, allowing you to easily install, remove, and activate fonts across your entire site.
  • Whether a font is installed by you or provided by your theme or plugin, the Font Library provides seamless selection across your editing experience.
  • Google Fonts is integrated into the Font Library experience, offering various typography options and quick uploads.
  • This new ability empowers you to control a foundational aspect of your site’s design without the need for coding.
  • Extenders can provide their font collections and manage permissions, including turning the feature off.

Block Bindings API

Block Bindings and Custom Fields – an (almost) no-code example
This article received two updates today, March 13, 2024: Link to second part of the Introducing Block Bindings article series. Screenshot of the visual indicator for single block With the…

📙 Introducing Block Bindings, part 1: connecting custom fields – The first tutorial in a two-part series that introduces the Block Bindings API in WordPress 6.5. Part 1 focuses on custom fields. (WordPress Developer Blog)

📙 Introducing Block Bindings, part 2: Working with custom binding sources – The second tutorial in a two-part series that introduces the Block Bindings API in WordPress 6.5. Part 2 focuses on registering and using custom binding sources.(WordPress Developer Blog)

🗞️ Brian Coords reported for the WPTavern on The Block Bindings API Brings Dynamic Data to Blocks. “As the block editor continues to evolve its content management capabilities, the lack of support for custom fields has been one of the key roadblocks for users and developers. While custom fields in WordPress are still widely used, in the block editor they’ve been relegated to a drawer at the bottom of the screen, and haven’t been as deeply integrated as many would like. With the coming Block Bindings API, things are about to change in a very good way.” he wrote.

📽️ In his latest video on YouTube, Brian Coords shows you how he uses Block Variations with the Block Bindings API and how you can offer a “no-code” experience for your users with Block Variations. Coords shared his code via GitHub

Block Hooks API

📽️ Bernie Reiter and Nick Diego took participants of the Developer Hours on the journey exploring Block Hooks in WordPress 6.5. In addition to covering the basics, they looked at practical examples that you can implement in your projects.

📙 Exploring the Block Hooks API in WordPress 6.5 – The Block Hooks API is an extensibility mechanism that allows you to dynamically insert blocks into block themes. Learn how to use the API in your projects in this comprehensive overview. (WordPress Developer Blog)

Interactivity API

🎙️ If you don’t have a lot of time, but are curious about the Interactivity API, you and listen to Mario SantosRyan Welcher and Josepha Haden Chomphosy on the 73rd episode of the WP Briefing discussing the Interactivity API. “a new foundational tool that helps developers create memorable interactive front-end experiences.” and the show notes lists a ton of resources.

Cover image of the podcast episode in Interactivity API

🗞️ On the WPTavern site, James Giroux reported on Interactivity API Prepares for its Official Debut in WordPress 6.5. “The Interactivity API and how it uses WordPress could be a pivotal moment in the Project’s history. It could create a new way of working with WordPress. ” he wrote. And he might be right. It’s definitely exciting, and I am excited about all the tutorials and case studies that will be written in the upcoming months.

📙 An introduction to block-based mega menus – In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to build a Mega Menu block that integrates with the Core Navigation block using new features coming in WordPress 6.5. (WordPress Developer Blog)

📗 Jonathan Bossenger experimented with the Interactivity API and used WordPress as a game development platform. It’s a fun game, where the logos of other web development platform chase after the WordPress logo. I lasted 25 seconds. How long did you last?

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at April 05, 2024 03:46 PM under News

Do The Woo Community: Introducing Groundbreaker, Empowering Women in Tech in Uganda

During CloudFest 2024, BobWP met with Groundbreaker, a nonprofit empowering young women in Uganda for tech careers through scholarships. Find more on groundbreaker.org.

by BobWP at April 05, 2024 08:59 AM under Uncategorized

April 04, 2024

Do The Woo Community: Accessibility Comes to Do the Woo with Anne and Taeke

Anne and Taeke discuss the expansive realm of web accessibility, covering its intersection with profitability, society, and legal compliance. They invite listener engagement and promise a diverse range of topics in future episodes.

by BobWP at April 04, 2024 08:48 AM under Uncategorized

April 03, 2024

WPTavern: #114 – Tammie Lister on the Journey Through Design and Theming

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, design and the future of theming in WordPress.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice. Or by going to WP Tavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL in to most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head to WP Tavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Tammie Lister. Tammie is a product creator focusing on WordPress. She has a hybrid background across product, design, psychology and development. She contributes to WordPress and is passionate about open source and the community. If you’ve been in the WordPress space for awhile, Tammie’s name is likely a familiar one. She’s an 18 year veteran of the project. A talented designer, developer and a key contributor to the project. Her journey has made her wear a variety of hats in both agency, life and product development.

Today, Tammie shares insights that span from the practical, to the philosophical within the open source landscape. We get to hear Tammie’s perspective on this crucial experimentation phase in WordPress theme development. The balance she seeks between minimalist design and functional complexity, and active roles, including the default theme task force.

Our discussion takes us into the evolving WordPress editor experience, user roles and interface design. We discussed the future of WordPress UI and UX, touching on visual configurations and how the Gutenberg site editor continues to shape our digital toolkit.

For those inspired by themes, Tammie reveals her passion for them from preserving the essence of classic themes, to ways that the project might break new ground.

She also introduces us to some of our own projects, such as Composition Themes and discusses her Classic to Block Themes project as well.

Tammie shares some of the resources that she recommends for both beginners and seasoned developers alike, bringing to light the many pathways that you can now choose to learn about WordPress.

Looking over the horizon of collaborative editing and design systems, Tammie’s excitement for what’s next is palpable.

So, whether you’re a developer, a designer or a WordPress aficionado this episode is for you.

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

A quick note, before we begin, this episode was recorded live at WordCamp Asia. There was quite a lot of background noise to contend with, and I’ve done my best to make the audio as easy to listen to as possible.

And so without further delay, I bring you Tammie Lister.

I am joined on the podcast by Tammie Lister. Hello Tammie.

[00:03:44] Tammie Lister: Hello. How are you?

[00:03:45] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, good. Thank you for joining me today. We are at WordCamp Asia. I actually don’t know the name of the venue, but we are at WordCamp Asia. And Tammie’s giving us a presentation during the event. But before she tells us about that, just give us a little bit of a background. Give us your potted biography. Tell us who you are, where you’ve been, whatever you like.

[00:04:04] Tammie Lister: Ah, yeah. So my name is Tammie Lister. I have been involved in project, oh, I think 18 years or so now, a little while. I have been pretty much, designer, developer, worn most hats around the project. I’ve been a full-time contributor, I’ve worked on phase one of Gutenberg, and I’ve also worked in agencies. And currently, I am working a kind of hybrid function, working with products, and also doing some sponsored contribution.

[00:04:32] Nathan Wrigley: You’ve been around the houses, haven’t you, basically? You’ve been there, done that. What’s your talk about? It’s called The Elements of WordPress, but I’ve got it written down in front of me, so I know what it’s about. But you want to, just for the sake of the audience, maybe somebody listening to this will be able to watch it on WordPress TV. Tell us what you’re intending to say.

[00:04:48] Tammie Lister: Yeah. So my talk is specifically looking at the elements of WordPress, going up from blocks, to patterns, to template parts, to templates, and then styling. And looking at how they all come together. So everything on the front end of the site, but also the hidden design system as well.

[00:05:03] Nathan Wrigley: So that’s the talk. You haven’t done it yet, have you?

[00:05:06] Tammie Lister: Yes.

[00:05:06] Nathan Wrigley: You have. And how did it go?

[00:05:08] Tammie Lister: It went really well. I was really pleased to be able to deliver it and, as of all these talks, I think it’s a good idea to kind of deliver it. I always like writing blog posts, so I’m hoping to write a blog post about it, and then iterate on it. And some of the conversations are really interesting afterwards as well.

[00:05:22] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. A little bit off piste, but how do you manage the nerves for things like that?

[00:05:26] Tammie Lister: I am atrocious with nerves. I am not one of those people that ever doesn’t have nerves. I would probably worry if I didn’t have nerves.

[00:05:33] Nathan Wrigley: Well, it’s something that I couldn’t do, so bravo. Thank you for doing that. So I’ve got a list of questions here, and I’ll go through them, and we’ll tackle them one at a time. So my first question to you, and because I know of the history that you’ve had, this question seems like on message, but we’ll see.

I’ve written down, over the last 10 years let’s say, WordPress, well, let’s maybe go for 5 years. WordPress has changed a lot. Tell us what you make of everything that’s happened since your involvement, you know, phase one, and all of that. What sticks out as the most important moments?

[00:06:02] Tammie Lister: The word at the moment that I’m focusing on is patterns. I love patterns because they, and I kind of said this in my talk, because when people think of a site, they don’t think of blocks, they think of patterns. If you shut your eyes and you think of a site. So that, to me, is really significant because it’s starting to deal with the science and deal with the interface as people see it.

A lot of the work that we’ve done, is dealing with it as people see it, because a lot of phase one, and a lot of all that work was foundational. I kind of use the term iceberg. And it was all that kind of groundwork, or that big foundational pieces. And you don’t see that, and you don’t recognise that.

The work now is refinements on top of that, and it can seem bigger, but it’s making all of that hidden work visible. So I really like that. I like it when something that I made is changed, I get great delight in that. I like it when the language is firmed, both visually and also that we start having solid names for things, and the name stick, rather than the names changing.

[00:07:03] Nathan Wrigley: We’ve had a a lot of changing of names, haven’t we?

[00:07:05] Tammie Lister: Yeah. I really like that we are using proper things, so we’ll get examples, reusable blocks, and then patterns, and syncing, and all those kind of things. That we’re also making things in response to how they’re being used, is really important as well.

Initially, you’re going to make the best bet that you can be. So phase one was very much a, well, we know we need the editor, we know we need this, the block kind of needs it, this is how an editor kind of should work, rough bet, you know, throw something.

But then you only know when people are using it how to refine it. And then, even more so when site editor, the site editor and block editor are very different. So all of that kind of information refines and changes it as well.

[00:07:44] Nathan Wrigley: You mentioned an iceberg, and whilst I don’t want to sort of open up Pandora’s box a little bit, how well do you feel the whole of the Gutenberg project, from phase one, was communicated? Because it feels, right now, 2024, it feels like a lot of things are beginning to land, and are beginning to be understood. I’ve got the intuition that, for the last five years or so there was, just maybe the communication wasn’t what it could have been, or something like that. So it was difficult for people to understand, and that leads to all sorts of interesting conversations.

[00:08:13] Tammie Lister: I think communication is a conversation, and conversations need to happen between two, both ways. That’s where I come back to. I think everyone has learned in this, you know, we didn’t even really have a concept of developer relations. You know, we were asking the people who were building it to do developer relations, who weren’t doing developer relations, who didn’t know how to do developer relations, right? Or we were asking people to build it, whilst also advocating for it.

You know, all these kind of different things. And we’ve learned over time, and how to do an awful lot in this project. And we’ve had to learn a lot of, we have things like hallway hangouts, now and we have all these amazing, like the developer blog, and we have all these amazing resources that we didn’t have in phase one.

We had, just had some like user feedback sessions, and we didn’t have the FSE program, the outreach. That kind of didn’t happen, that started happening later. We didn’t have specific people who were specifically focused on things. That was the people who were building it as well.

So I think we’ve learned from having those conversations and refining it. But also, it’s really hard to communicate what you don’t know yet, whilst you are learning how to do it. So if you’re like, I need to experiment and I need to explore this thing, but you need to give me time to experiment and explore this thing, that’s a completely different conversation.

[00:09:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I was having, a chat with somebody yesterday, and sort of explaining that if WordPress was a, I don’t know, a blue chip company, and it was a for-profit entity, and you had a hierarchy with the CEO at the top, you could communicate everything down with just a memo. But the nature of the WordPress project, given that there’s loads of volunteer hours, and contributor hours, and people are in different time zones, I think that’s a really difficult thing to manage.

[00:09:51] Tammie Lister: Well you couldn’t say like, hey, can everyone just go into experimentation mode for like four years, and just everyone not judge anything that’s going to be produced. That’s a whole different conversation. And then who’s going to get the memo that we’re actually all in experimentation. And then if Bob in the corner, and then Mary in the other corner doesn’t get that memo, they’re going to be judging something. Bob and Mary are super awesome people, but they’re not going to have that knowledge to make those judgements on different things.

[00:10:15] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I have no intuition as to whether anything’s changed in the background, but it sounds, from everything that you’ve said and the messaging that I’m receiving, that that message has been understood, in the places where it needs to be understood. That getting the message out, getting buy-in from people who are using it, communicating it, setting up things like the FSE program as you mentioned, and the Learn WordPress, and the mentor sponsorship.

[00:10:37] Tammie Lister: It’s maturing of the project as well, and maturing of concepts and learning, like we all learn. I think that’s one of the things in the open source projects, you learn by doing. And it’s as safe a place as you can have as any to learn from, and as gentle a place.

But we all need to be very gentle with allowing that learning, and just give that consideration of, we’re all learning together, we’re all reflecting on what we do. That ability to experiment, if we can kind of replicate that and keep that, I think that’s going to serve us well in the future as well.

[00:11:10] Nathan Wrigley: I haven’t been in the WordPress ecosystem since day one, probably more like 12 years or something like that. So long enough to know a bit, but not long enough to know everything. But it does feel like when phase one began, that was probably the moment where WordPress changed beyond all recognition, in a way that it had never done before. So there may was no need to communicate on such a deep level.

[00:11:33] Tammie Lister: I think there’s always been pivotal changes. They’ve just sometimes not, if it’s not impacting your area, impacted so many areas, I think if it impacts your area, it may have impacted a smaller area, so it would’ve felt huge in that smaller area, to that group of people.

Because it impacted so many people, it’s the editor, right? The editor is where you go to write things. You want to impact a big area of WordPress, impact the editor. It’s pretty much impacting the heart, right? In a beautiful way.

It really is important to think about, there’s been, you know, from plugins, to themes, to different things. There’s been so many areas that have had pivotal changes from day one that, I’m sure different people would have this on this day, and this time. This was this change that shook me, right? And I can think of many little kerfuffles, that kind of people would’ve felt, or little blips that people felt.

But we kind of have learned along the way to have those, and learn from those. And each one you learn from, and each one as a community. I think one of the big things to do is think, okay, how do we then progress? How do we then take those learnings? How do we then get better? And I do think we have some strong learnings from this project.

[00:12:49] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I also feel the footprint is important, because back 12 years ago, let’s just use that number. I don’t know what the percentage was, but it wasn’t 43 that this number, this percentage of the internet’s being used. So obviously the impact.

[00:13:00] Tammie Lister: The footprint and the businesses that are established on it, and the livelihoods, and the families, and the people that depend on it, you know? And the children, and the partners, and there’s passion, and there’s the depth and the roots, and the people that have been on it for decades, or whatever. That leaves a lot of change. You know, trying to change things when someone has been very used to something for 15, whatever years, is quite a change.

[00:13:26] Nathan Wrigley: How confusing do you think the editing experience is at the moment? So I’m in WordPress all the time, I have this subset of things that I need to achieve. And so for me to do that is really straightforward, because I’ve spent the time to understand the things that I need to do.

But if I was somebody brand new coming to WordPress, what’s your intuition about how finished it is as an editing experience? Do you think we’ve got a way to go? Are you happy? Of anybody that I’ve met, you’ve probably put as much thought into this as anybody. And so I’m just curious what you think.

[00:13:57] Tammie Lister: So I don’t think it’s baked yet, seeing it as a cake, because I think it’s getting there. One of the things with core is it’s always going to be the middle ground. And I think we often forget that when we’re looking at the interface, or we’re looking at the product, that it’s the middle that it’s going for.

And I would always encourage people to think about how, yes, you can use it out of the box, you can use the middle, but maybe, what do you want to turn on or off? There are options that you can turn, settings as well. I would like to have more configurations to be able to be done, so that you can have less or more, depending on that.

One of the big things from an agency perspective, is more control from user locking, and user roles, and user capacities. I’m also probably a big critic as well. I think those people that have been involved in the project, are probably way more critical than those who are outside.

I always find that interesting. Like, you’re always going to be more critical of the things that you’ve ever touched, than anyone else’s going to be critical. If you know how the cake’s made, you’re going to be more critical about the cake.

I think, for me, I have a personal taste, and then I have a work taste. And so I can share both of those. My personal taste is super minimal, so I would actually like to see, how less distilled can it be. But I also know, for most jobs to be done, that’s also not going to be the case at all. So I don’t want to see that to be the default of the interface.

What I maybe want from a design perspective is absolutely not what should be the default case. And that is always the challenge as a creator of interfaces. But I would definitely like to see different types. I would like to see more visual configuration of that. And I would like to see the ability to, just be able to change the experience a lot more, and style it.

[00:15:37] Nathan Wrigley: Do you feel that the project is heading in the right direction with the UI, the UX that we’ve got at the moment? Where patterns seem to be taking a bit more of a leading role, and also we’ve got FSE. I mean, goodness me, we could spend, honestly we could do two hours on FSE. But, is this the direction you want to see it go in? Some like really visual way of just, okay, I want to put that little pattern in that row.

[00:15:57] Tammie Lister: So I love using the site editor’s Dreamweaver. And I go back, like super dates me. But it is right. Like, for me, that’s how I make themes now. I love Figma, but Figma, I really use, I don’t know if you know the concept of style tiles, which is basically just like, you pick your colors, you pick your fonts, and then you just make a little tile basically.

That’s kind of what I do. And then I put that into a theme json, and then I load it up, using create block theme, the plugin. I always get those words muddled round. And then I go straight into the editor, and then I start mixing stuff around, and I make my patterns, and I do export. So I’m basically using it like Dreamweaver, that’s what I’m doing, because I find it incredibly effective.

I strongly recommend people do that, because you are then in it and, would you release it like that? No, probably not, because then you don’t get translatable, all of those things. But I find it a really effective tool, and it’s become not just a way to do it, it’s a way to create. It’s almost like a coding tool that way.

Patterns being central, I think is way more important. We do put too much emphasis on blocks, because patterns to me are way more important. One of the things I want with patterns is, I want pattern variations. I really would love to see that.

[00:17:08] Nathan Wrigley: Just tell us more about that, because I think that could easily get missed.

[00:17:11] Tammie Lister: Yeah, so as we have, you know, we have block styles or pattern styles, maybe we call it. Being able to attach different styling to different patterns that you can change. I don’t know how that happens, but I think that that would be really nice, to be able to switch that in the interface somehow. No idea how that happens.

The other thing I would love is easier sharing styling. In fact, I’ve had a couple of conversations at this WordCamp of people just being like, I just want to port. People are going back to CSS Zen Garden. It’s got a place in everyone’s heart, right? And what if, bear with me, I’ve had more than one person say this to me in the past couple of days. What if you could go on the site, and you could grab a load of code, and no matter what theme you had, you could put it in, and then your site would look like that.

[00:17:56] Nathan Wrigley: Neat. Neat. Really neat.

[00:17:59] Tammie Lister: That is kind of what we want. And if it’s just styling, I mean, it’s going to be more or less, right? Because of the patterns and everything. But if you are grabbing that and getting the styles, that’s kind of where we probably should be heading, I think, personally. Very opinions on my own.

But for me, that’s true independence of styling. And that’s what I really want, because I love ephemeral styling. That creative freedom. I think it opens up, not just to developers. It allows front end developers to really polish their fine art. They can boost their skills. They can do even more CSS on top of it, if they want to.

And they can do even more amazing animation. It opens all these things up to more designers to be able to do it without having to know to code. So at both ends, more capable as well. So it doesn’t limit anyone.

[00:18:48] Nathan Wrigley: Some of the steps that you mentioned, I don’t exactly know the level of every listener to this podcast, but some of them will be very technical, and would’ve understood everything that you’ve said. But then you may have said something like theme json, and then some people are glazing over and thinking, what? What’s your intuition as to where being able to create themes and patterns, what level of expertise would you ideally like to see that? Would it be ideal to allow anybody?

[00:19:12] Tammie Lister: I would literally love you to be able to, you know, the Pattern Directory, or the Museum of Block Art. Maybe we can literal just go, pattern directory. I would love a style directory. Where you could literally go and grab a style, grab it, and then you can put it.

[00:19:23] Nathan Wrigley: So no knowledge required, you just need to be able to just go through the directory, copy and paste.

[00:19:27] Tammie Lister: I would love that. WordPress Zen Garden.

[00:19:30] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, Zen Garden takes me right back.

[00:19:32] Tammie Lister: WordPress Zengarden. How amazing would that be, right?

[00:19:34] Nathan Wrigley: But I guess even that step for some people, I know it seems almost ridiculous on a WordPress podcast, to say even that step might be a of a leap.

[00:19:41] Tammie Lister: But if you had it in the interface.

[00:19:43] Nathan Wrigley: In the interface. Okay, so it’s not like a separate Zen Garden site.

[00:19:46] Tammie Lister: The pattern directory is in the interface. So if you had the style interface in there somehow, and you could browse it, and you could be like, I want a whatever. I have this rather peculiar analogy I’m going to share for theming, which is, at the moment, themeing should be super easy to change. But at the moment, changing a theme is like removing your head, rather than changing your clothes. Changing your jumpers should be easy, right?

And it should just be super simple to change styling. And themes are great and amazing, but they’re a package, that’s what they are. And we need to just go back to having that beautiful freedom. And then we can have these creative freedoms.

Themes to me are, we talk about design. Design and art are very, very different. But art is where meets WordPress in theming, to me. And art is part of my background. And there is potential for us to have some beautiful art in themes again. If we just have that freedom, and we stop themes having to have all this weight in them as well, and be tied down.

[00:20:47] Nathan Wrigley: I get the feeling that an ideal place for you to land with this would be that, most people can do most of what they need to do when they want to style their own website. But there’s always still going to be an area for a professional.

[00:20:59] Tammie Lister: If you think of it like fashion, is good example. So you can go and have custom fashion, you can go and have high-end, haute couture. You can always go and have custom tailoring. You can go and have all of that. Or you can go to high street, and go get something off the rack. And I think that’s a really good model for us to kind of think of it as well, right?

[00:21:16] Nathan Wrigley: Nobody’s used that on me before. That actually sums it up perfectly. That’s nice, yeah.

[00:21:20] Tammie Lister: Yeah. And that isn’t belittling anything. That’s totally fine, you know. And that still allows us to have theme shops, fashion shops, right? That still allows us to have very functional, you know, we have very functional clothing, we have functional themes as well.

And I think it’s really important to think about the site works, the site has to do something. Some fashion is very frivolous. Some themes are going to be incredibly frivolous as well. And I actually adore frivolous themes. I don’t think we have enough of them.

But some are going to have to just be functional, and jobs to be done as well, because absolutely. And some are going to be frameworks, and some are going to be whatevers, you know. But it’s having those options. You know, you’re looking at high street, you have the options to be able to wear different clothing as well.

And some people are going to be super dependent on a brand, and super passionate about only wearing that brand as well, you know, all those kind of things.

[00:22:13] Nathan Wrigley: So you can peel back the curtain a little bit on this, because of your experience inside the project, trying to drive this change. How does it happen? Are there certain people that we should be, you know, if we’re strongly into themes, and we’re opinionated about that, and we want to make the change, where do we go? Do we start talking directly to people like you? Are there other people that we need to be banging on the door and saying, this is what we want?

[00:22:36] Tammie Lister: So I’m not a full-time contributor, so I’m just like anybody else in that sense. I mean, I have the knowledge, I’ve been in the project, but there’s many people who’ve been in the project and have that knowledge.

My biggest thing is use the things, start experimenting, start creating if you can. And I’m well aware, I’m suggesting that most people have a time machine to do that, because you are trying to do your job as well as you’re doing that. But if you can, in your projects, start using them. As you start using new things, you’re going to find bugs, because the universe.

And then you can start reporting those issues, and then you can start saying, these things need to change, when you’re changing classic themes to block themes, that’s one of the big things at the moment. So you can help with those things.

And just find the area that you want to help with. Reporting one issue, which is a few minutes, is an incredibly big help. Having one conversation is incredibly helpful. Watching one hallway hangout, which is an hour, is a big help. Watching a video, going to a talk. But then scaling it up, going to a triage session.

It’s really finding where you are. Experiment, have a pattern in the Museum of Block Art. Have a pattern in the Pattern Directory. Find where you want to join in. But by using these things, you start to contribute, is the biggest thing, because you start then knowing how they fit.

To dive in straight away and say, these things should be this way, without having used them in their current state, is a little bit, you might not be knowing how they are utilised. I would also always encourage people to search to see that something’s not coming up. So if you’re going to log something as an issue, just have a little quick search, and see whether it’s coming up to be fixed, before you log it in the GitHub repo. That’s always a really good kind of tip as well.

There’s the channels in Slack, but Slack can also be quite a lot for a lot of people. So just, yeah, just using it, and just figure out where your happy is. But just start experimenting and using is the biggest one.

[00:24:33] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, joining in, we could probably sum it up, couldn’t we? That’s nice. Where would you go? There was a nice little segue there, because you were talking about ways to learn, and you mentioned a couple of things.

But, where do you find to be the best places to send somebody who’s, well, let’s just say a novice? Let’s go with that. Where are the online resources, the places to hang out?

[00:24:51] Tammie Lister: So there’s a couple of different ones. We are very lucky, we have a developer blog now, which is incredible good resources. But all the Hallway Hangouts, amazing to watch back. Learn WordPress is also a really good resource. And between all of those, you’ve just got your good start then.

And then there’s quite a few people in between those that start doing. So Ryan has been doing some through develop blog, has also been doing some live streams. So just doing things like that.

The problem with a lot of these things are, maybe a live stream is like an hour watching. That might be quite a lot of time for you. So that’s why maybe following like a quick little tutorial, that maybe has a GitHub repo that you can do quickly. Again it’s, how much time have you got?

I find pointing people to the Museum of Block Art’s quite good, because they can just go there, they can see the code, they can drop it in. And then they can learn, oh, this is what a pattern is. And some of those are quite fun. Or go to the Pattern Directory, and then they can be like, oh okay, well, this is what a pattern is, and this is how it forms. Yeah, so those kind of things as well.

WordPress.tv is also really, really good, because, if you’ve got some time, type in whatever you want to follow, and just start learning that way. You can learn some really diverse things that way. Following along some State of the Words, the kind of pivotal points, you are going to find out the points of the project that way as well, is a good milestone as well.

[00:26:11] Nathan Wrigley: I will make sure that there is a link to everything that Tammie just said. So if you go to wptavern.com/podcast, and you search for Tammie’s episode and you find it, there will be all of the links in there.

Lets pivot a little bit. It’s not apropos of themes at all but, what do you think about this current phase that we’re in of Gutenberg? Which is called phase three. But the highlight item for me, I mean there’s absolutely loads to be honest, but I’m just going to talk about collaborative editing. What do you make about that? And especially related to themes and sites more generally, not just the content, but editing collaboratively, just the way the whole site looks, so the theme.

[00:26:47] Tammie Lister: I think it hasn’t been worked out yet, how it’s going to work on the theme. I don’t know if it means you are creating the theme collaboratively.

[00:26:54] Nathan Wrigley: It’s to imagine actually.

[00:26:56] Tammie Lister: Well, it definitely means you’re creating, so if you think of the site editor as the builder of the theme, which it kind of is, then technically, if you are creating content, which is the theme, you are creating that collaboratively, so yes. Collaborative editing at enterprise scale is something that happens quite often anyway.

[00:27:17] Nathan Wrigley: So tools like Figma, you can do all of that collaborative editing is my understanding.

[00:27:20] Tammie Lister: Yeah. So I’m very, if I put my design hat on, very used to, in Figma, like comments and, or even like in Google Docs, people are very used to like leaving messages and whatever. So I just think being very aware of those kind of workflows, is kind of interesting.

One of the things we might find is, someone would just set up a template, and it’d be like, add something here, and something here later. So adding comments to your templates, might be curious and interesting.

A different aspect might be people using different themes in the backend. That kind of comes to mind, from accessibility reasons. That is also something that I’ve always thought about is, could people want to have different editor experiences depending on their accessibility. Which you might do as well. So collaborative editor experiences, or different editor experiences. Which is slightly a sidetrack of this, but it’s something to consider.

But phase three is collaborative editing, and plus, plus, plus. Which also the design system, finally, kind of flow. And that kind of, to me, is more Lego pieces to play with. And that’s the bit that I am incredibly excited about. Because a lot of the stuff that’s been hidden, we’ve had a design system all along. It’s really good.

People, when they talk about the work that’s recently done, they’re pointing just to like the editor. Yes, but it’s not going to just be the editor. It’s going to be coming into the settings, into the admin, and to everything, because it needs to. There’s areas of WordPress that haven’t been touched for a very long time. And by bringing these components, and being this unification through, it’s better user experience. But it’s one user experience.

Again, that point of, it’s a middle road. If it’s, the way that it’s being done, means you then will be able to have the same level of customisation, the same level of extensibility, the same level of styling on top of it. So you’ll be able to then, for your end users, customise it how you want to. So you have that flexibility still, yeah.

[00:29:17] Nathan Wrigley: I think it’s fabulous that somebody who’s been around in the projects as long as you have, and I’m sure you’ve had your ups and downs, I’m sure that, you know, some days it’s like, oh, WordPress. It sounds like you are very, very, genuinely excited about what’s coming. That’s amazing.

[00:29:30] Tammie Lister: And I’m excited about who’s doing it.

[00:29:32] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, okay. Yeah.

[00:29:33] Tammie Lister: It’s exciting the new, I love when you have fresher people have fresher eyes on it. I love when older people have fresh eyes on it as well, and different energy. I love when, as I’ve mentioned previously, when someone re-does work that I’ve done, I’m so excited. I’m like, yes, that’s gone.

But it’s exciting to see areas that haven’t been touched for such a long time. We shouldn’t have areas that haven’t been for 10 years, because that’s how many years. That’s like dog years.

[00:30:02] Nathan Wrigley: Tell us a little bit about your stuff. We’ve heard about your relationship with WordPress. Let’s just get into what you are doing at the minute. I think you said you had four hats or something. Is it four hats?

[00:30:11] Tammie Lister: Yeah, I go with lots of hats.

[00:30:12] Nathan Wrigley: What are the four hats? What’s keeping Tammie busy at the minute?

[00:30:14] Tammie Lister: So I’m working on a project called Gildenberg. I’m working with Luke and Jonathan. What we’re doing is, we’re working on a guild of product creators, and we’re working to support them through that as well. That’s really exciting. So I’m doing that a little bit.

I’m also creating my own, looking to create my own products. I’m working out what that means. Spoilers, going to start with theming. I’m also collaborating with some, doing some agency work as well. And I’ve been collab’ing some awesome plugins, doing some classic block based work. Which I actually really enjoy.

There’s something about converting classic themes to block. One, because I’m learning where the friction points are. I’m also really lucky to be sponsored by Automattic, to be doing two days a week on the default theme task force.

[00:30:59] Nathan Wrigley: Go on, tell us more about that. That sounds fun.

[00:31:00] Tammie Lister: Yeah, I am really excited about that. It’s 400 odd tickets on the default themes. So the idea is, eventually, it came from the community summit. There’s actually a post up by Jonathan Desrosiers. Rather than scorch earthing, and removing all the default themes, it’s what if we actually fixed them? Which is a beautiful and wonderful concept.

So what we’re doing is, we’re going through each ticket, and we are going to analyse, does it need fixing? Some of those tickets have been sat there for four, five years. They haven’t had attention.

So we’re going to look at it, we’re going to see if it even stands in this time. If it does, great, let’s ship it, let’s get that patch in. If it doesn’t, it’s got a new patch. If it needs closing, let’s close it. And then we’ll able to see the lay of the land, once we don’t have this amount of tickets. Then we can decide where we go from this, on block based theme.

[00:31:48] Nathan Wrigley: Kind of a nice project, that you can see that 400 dropping.

[00:31:51] Tammie Lister: Oh goodness, yeah. We’ve already done some at contribution day.

[00:31:53] Nathan Wrigley: Oh nice. Lovely.

[00:31:55] Tammie Lister: And it is. I got to be part of some of the default themes. You know, one of my first roles within WordPress, you know, I kind of came in through theming. Theming has been a theme throughout my whole history of WordPress, throughout everything. And my heart is strongly there.

And default themes, yes, some of them are classic, and we could be like, oh, just forget it. I don’t believe that. I think it’s history. It’s like denying that we have a history, right? And I love block themes. I think they’re amazing and they’re fantastic, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget that we have these themes.

I think we should look at how we can bring the essence of those, if we want to bring them. Or we should look at how can we support the people that are still using them and how can we have that respect. So, if someone’s using 2011, how can we still respect that they’re using 2011?

[00:32:50] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:32:51] Tammie Lister: As well.

[00:32:52] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that’s a lovely project. You very quickly glossed over, there was one there where you are going to be looking at doing your own projects, but you didn’t dive into that. Maybe it’s because you haven’t distilled it quite yet.

[00:33:03] Tammie Lister: I haven’t yet fully.

[00:33:04] Nathan Wrigley: What’s, the kind of intuition that that you’re going to tackle.

[00:33:08] Tammie Lister: I really want to start creating my own themes again, that’s one of the things. And I also want to start exploring maybe some plugins as well. I don’t have an idea yet, but the idea that I can start. I’m going to use the word playing, but playing to an end. I have so many ideas, and that’s awesome, but I need to work out which idea I’m going to work on.

[00:33:30] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so maybe we should do this conversation again in 2025, and see where you are?

[00:33:34] Tammie Lister: I have a theme site, Composition Themes, and I want to, I want to start making themes that have one purpose and, both that are beautiful, but also that have one purpose for types as well. That’s where I want to be themeing. But I also really like the idea of doing similar for plugins.

Maybe it’s blocks, but maybe it’s also companion experience plugins. Going back to that idea of experience. I love the idea of maybe making the experience lesser for the editor or maybe exploring different things around that.

[00:34:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. 2025 is the date. We’ll have you back and we’ll see. What was it again?

[00:34:08] Tammie Lister: Composition Themes.

[00:34:10] Nathan Wrigley: Composition Themes.

[00:34:10] Tammie Lister: Yeah. I also have Classic to Block Themes as well.

[00:34:13] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, nice. Okay, we’ll put both of those in the show notes. Great. Well, Tammie Lister, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:34:21] Tammie Lister: Thank you.

[00:34:21] Nathan Wrigley: You are very welcome.

On the podcast today we have Tammie Lister.

Tammie is a product creator focusing on WordPress. She has a hybrid background across product, design, psychology and development. She contributes to WordPress and is passionate about open source, and the community.

If you’ve been in the WordPress space for a while, Tammie’s name is likely a familiar one. She’s an 18-year veteran of the project, a talented designer, developer, and a key contributor to the project. Her journey has made her wear a variety of hats in both agency life and product development.

Today, Tammie shares insights that span from the practical to the philosophical within the open-source landscape. We get to hear Tammie’s perspective on this crucial experimentation phase in WordPress theme development, the balance she seeks between minimalist design and functional complexity, and her active roles, including the default theme task force.

Our discussion takes us into the evolving WordPress editor experience, user roles, and interface design. We discuss the future of WordPress UI / UX, touching on visual configurations and how the Gutenberg site editor continues to shape our digital toolkit.

For those inspired by themes, Tammie reveals her passion for them. From preserving the essence of classic themes to ways that the project might break new ground.

She also introduces us to some of her own projects, such as Composition Themes, and discusses her Classic to Block Themes project as well.

Tammie shares some of the resources that she recommends for both beginners and seasoned developers alike, bringing to light the many pathways that you can now choose to learn about WordPress.

Looking over the horizon of collaborative editing and design systems, Tammie’s excitement for what’s next is palpable. So, whether you’re a developer, a designer, or a WordPress aficionado, this episode is for you.

Useful links

WordCamp Asia

Create Block Theme plugin

CSS Zen Garden

Pattern Directory

Museum of Block Art

Developer blog

Hallway Hangouts

Learn WordPress

WordPress.tv

State of the Word from 2024

Gildenberg

Jonathan Desrosiers’ post “Proposal: Default Theme Task Force for 2024”

Composition Themes

Classic to Block Themes

by Nathan Wrigley at April 03, 2024 02:00 PM under theming

Do The Woo Community: You Don’t Need to be a Developer to Join a Hackathon

Patricia, a non-developer and WordPress contributor, shares her experience and the value of having diverse skills at CloudFest Hackathon.

by BobWP at April 03, 2024 09:02 AM under Uncategorized

HeroPress: The Time I Left My Island – Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola

Pull Quote: The sea has never been a limit, now that I know the way, I can cross it whenever I want. - Il mare non è mai stato un limite, ora che conosco la strada, posso attraversarlo tutte le volte che voglio.

The Time I Left My Island – Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola

The Time I Left My Island – Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola

Essay Contributor

Matteo Enna

Matteo Enna

Questo saggio è disponibile anche in italiano.

Perfect, I have my blank sheet, notes on what I need to express, and I’m ready to write this essay. I have my hot coffee on the desk and my compilation of Bob Dylan playing in my ears, but we’re on the tenth song and I haven’t written a word yet, in fact, I’ve written and then deleted many. Do you know what happens? I’m not a writer, I spend my life in PHP, why should I completely detach from what is my daily routine? Okay, here we go! I’ll open my code editor, coffee, and Dylan at this hour are constants, let’s see if the words flow now.

My Island

I’m Sardinian, I come from an island in the Mediterranean envied for its sea, climate, food, and the warmth of its people. Let’s talk about an island, and sometimes the sea is a boundary, it’s a beautiful blue wall that separates you from the rest of the world, often it’s difficult to feel Italian, let alone European.

My story begins here, with a strong introversion orchestrating my life, a passion for computer science, PHP which had been accompanying me for about 5 years, and some small attempts to overcome my shyness. Not to mention the years of studying English at school, which remained theoretical and never put into practice. To help me overcome shyness, I had started speaking at small events about Free Software, and there had been some small improvements. Meanwhile, I was beginning to get to know a CMS called WordPress, required by several companies; at that time, I didn’t know what it would give me.

I had left my small town and moved to Cagliari, the city, on my island and facing the sea. Imagine, in 10 minutes with public transport, I was at the nearest beach, and in 30 minutes, I was at those beaches you see in screensavers. I felt in my place, at least geographically. But sometimes an island doesn’t offer you much from a work perspective, and remote work wasn’t yet so widespread. But my move to Cagliari was just a first step, like when you dip your foot in the water to see if it’s cold, before taking a run and diving in.

Let’s change the song, but also the city and life.

I packed my bags, took a flight, and changed regions to pursue a job. I was leaving the place that De Andrè, a famous Italian singer-songwriter, described: “Life in Sardinia is perhaps the best a man can wish for: twenty-four thousand kilometers of forests, countryside, coasts immersed in a miraculous sea should coincide with what I would recommend to God to give us as Paradise.” And I arrived in what another famous Italian singer, Ligabue, describes as “This city is a hell disguised as paradise, where every dream is at risk of burning.”

The city called me, and now I’m here. There are proposals, there are opportunities, there are hopes, and there are dreams, all within reach, my reach. The city is ready to give me everything but it needs me, my time, and my hard work. I just had to change, the island had to become a city, shyness must disappear here and change pace. Walking following that frenetic rhythm, which I didn’t understand, but which was ready to give me more and more.

If you walk fast, in a place you don’t know, you risk coming across a street you don’t know and you could find yourself in a situation you never want to relive. You could walk on asphalt, on the sidewalk, or on a lawn, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to stumble upon something, and from a panic attack, it’s not always easy to get back up, from two, worse.

During the same period, I found myself on a fairly intense WordPress-based project, and between one check and another, my eye fell on a type of event I didn’t know, called WordCamp Torino, just over an hour by train from where I was.

Early wake-up call, coffee, and off to the station, the train departs and slowly the city fades away. I participate in a contributor day and a day of talks. A nice event, I took thousands of notes but experienced only as much as my shyness allowed me to.

I knew that this event was much more beautiful than what I had experienced, so I started paying more and more attention to that part of the site until I found two tickets, Zurich and Verona. I bought the ticket to Verona immediately, but Zurich was two weeks earlier and the choice wasn’t so easy.

Zurich is part of German-speaking Switzerland, okay that the WordCamp was organized in two languages, but my English had been stagnant for almost 12 years, plus it was a trip to be done alone.

Verona was a great WordCamp, I began to understand how these events work and to meet some members of the city’s MeetUp.

Honestly, I remember Zurich less and less, it was a beautiful WordCamp, but I learned more things about myself there than about WordPress. I just wonder if there are Swiss people who believe that my surname is “sorry my English is terrible”, because when I’m a bit nervous, I speak faster and to introduce myself I would say “My name is Matteo sorry my English is terrible, nice to meet you”. The thing I remember best is that I filled out the application to be a speaker and volunteer during the return trip. Let’s talk about WordCamp Milano.

But it’s just a tool, how can it do all this?

I was preparing my slides, comparing WordPress development with another CMS, starting from the latter. After finishing the first section where I had to talk about WordPress, I had to create a separation slide. Somewhat sarcastically, I wrote “But we’re at a WordCamp so let’s go home!” Ajo is a word widely used in Sardinia, taking it away from a Sardinian is like preventing a Roman from saying daje, it’s the equivalent of an English “let’s go”.

It wasn’t my first time in front of an audience, but I was used to a maximum of 20/30 people. I found myself facing a university class with a lot of people, I was extremely excited and super tense. But at my “ajo” moment, amidst some laughter and some smiles, I felt at home again, in my island but at the same time in Milan, what a strange feeling.

But it’s just a CMS, a work tool, how can it do all this? A stupid question if the person asking it has books like “Just for Fun” by Linus Torvalds, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric Steven Raymond, and “Free Software, Free Society” by Richard Stallman in their library. So the term “community” in those texts was true and WordPress was the best example I could come across.

In the span of a few months, I also attended events in Dublin and volunteered in Glasgow, English wasn’t a limitation for me, just something I had to work on.

Glasgow was at the beginning of 2020, the last memory of a WordCamp before a year of closure, a year where there were online events, but the energy was different. A period in which I changed two jobs.

It was a period halfway between the city and the island until the end of 2021, when I saw “WordCamp Geneva”, I proposed to tell my story at WordCamps, how they helped me, but they still do, both with language confidence and shyness. It was accepted and that became both my first talk in English, but also the non-technical one. A talk that involved a higher intimacy never experienced before, which will always remain a source of pride for me.

From that moment on, WordCamp after WordCamp, each stop began to give me more and more emotions and more and more lessons, especially about myself, but not about who I am, but about what I could and wanted to be.

From WordCamp Italy where I first became an organizer to Turin and Verona as a speaker.

In all three, I decided to participate both days, also attending contribution days and gladly joining the polyglots team, a group I have never abandoned.

To infinity and beyond

Then they announced WordCamp Europe in Turin, the city where it all started, I applied as an organizer, which was accepted. Now I find myself talking to many new people in English almost twice a week. Every time is a challenge to my shyness, but by now I’ve learned to accept them.

Sometimes I find myself comparing my first and last WordCamp. From a silent Contribution Day to one where I shared my experience, from being an attendee to a speaker with many listeners, from a day in silence to being someone trying to integrate the newcomers, from a person who leaves early to the last person leaving the after-party.

But WordPress is just a tool, the end goal is always something else, in my story it’s not a website but understanding a part of myself and stopping suffocating my true identity and starting to behave in my own way. Making me understand that my island side shouldn’t be suppressed but valued, it was always me. Like in the code, with oneself too, there are best practices, they are needed to look back and live in harmony with oneself. In my case, WordCamp after WordCamp, I added one more brick to my self-esteem and I understood something more about my shyness.

In the end, living the WordPress community, getting to know many different people guided me towards rediscovering myself until I realized that I had never left my island, maybe it was the city’s fog that made me perceive it as farther away, it had always been here. The sea has never been a limit, now that I know the way, I can cross it whenever I want. My island was me and now I’ve learned to accept it.

Yes, I’d say I did well to use the dark editor! Let’s contribute!

Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola

Perfetto, ho il mio foglio bianco, gli appunti su quello che devo esprimere e sono pronto a scrivere questo saggio. Ho il mio caffè caldo sulla scrivania e la mia compilation di Bob Dylan alle orecchie, ma siamo alla decima canzone e non ho ancora scritto una parola, anzi, ne ho scritte e poi cancellate tante. Sai che succede? Non sono uno scrittore, passo la mia vita in PHP, perché dovrei estraniarmi completamente da ciò che è la mia quotidianità? Ok, ci sono! Apro il mio editor di codice, il caffè e Dylan a quest’ora sono una costante, vediamo se ora le parole escono.

La mia isola

Sono sardo, vengo da un’isola del mediterraneo invidiata per il mare, il clima, il cibo ed il cuore delle persone. Parliamo di un isola, e il mare a volte è un limite, è un bellissimo muro blu che ti separa dal resto del mondo, spesso si ha la difficoltà di sentirsi italiani, figurati europei.

La mia storia inizia qua, con una forte introversione che orchestrava la mia vita, la passione per l’informatica, il PHP che da circa 5 anni mi accompagnava e qualche piccolo tentativo di superare la mia timidezza. Senza dimenticare gli anni di studio dell’inglese a scuola, che sono rimasti teorici e mai messi in pratica. Per aiutarmi a sconfiggere la timidezza avevo iniziato a fare lo speaker in piccoli eventi sul Software Libero e qualche piccolo miglioramento c’era stato. Intanto iniziavo a conoscere un CMS chiamato WordPress richiesto da diverse aziende, in quel periodo non sapevo quello che mi avrebbe dato.

Avevo lasciato il mio paesino e trasferito a Cagliari, la città, nella mia isola e davanti al mare. Pensate, in 10 minuti con i mezzi cittadini ero nella spiaggia più vicina e in 30 minuti ero in quelle spiagge che si vedono nei screensaver. Mi sentivo nel mio posto, almeno geograficamente. Ma un’isola a volte, non ti offre tantissimo da un punto di vista lavorativo e il lavoro da remoto non era ancora così diffuso. Ma il mio trasferimento a Cagliari era solo un primo passo, come quando metti il piede in acqua per sapere se è fredda, prima di prendere la rincorsa e tuffarsi.

Cambiamo canzone, ma anche città e vita

Avevo riempito le valigie, preso un volo e cambiato regione per seguire un lavoro. Lasciavo il luogo che De Andrè, un famoso cantautore italiano, descriveva: “La vita in Sardegna è forse la migliore che un uomo possa augurarsi: ventiquattromila chilometri di foreste, di campagne, di coste immerse in un mare miracoloso dovrebbero coincidere con quello che io consiglierei al buon Dio di regalarci come Paradiso” e arrivavo in quella che un altro famoso cantante italiano, Ligabue, descrive come “Questa città è un inferno travestito da paradiso, dove ogni sogno è a rischio di bruciarsi”.

La città mi ha chiamato, ed ora sono qua. Ci sono proposte, ci sono occasioni, ci sono speranze e ci sono sogni e tutte a portata di mano, la mia mano. La città è pronta a darmi tutto ma ha bisogno di me, del mio tempo e del mio duro lavoro. Dovevo solo cambiare, l’isola doveva diventare città, la timidezza deve sparire qua e cambiare passo. Camminare seguendo quel ritmo frenetico, che non capivo, ma che era pronto a darmi sempre di più.

Se cammini veloce, in un posto che non conosci, rischi di imbatterti in una strada che non conosci e potresti trovarti in una situazione che mai vorresti rivivere. Potresti camminare sull’asfalto, sul marciapiede o su un prato, e se non si sta attenti è facile inciampare su qualcosa e da un attacco di panico non sempre è facile rialzarsi, da due peggio.

Nello stesso periodo mi sono ritrovato su un progetto basato su WordPress abbastanza intenso e tra un controllo e l’altro mi è caduto l’occhio su una tipologia di evento, che non conoscevo, chiamato WordCamp Torino a poco più di un ora di treno da dove stavo. 

Sveglia presto, caffè e di corsa in stazione, il treno parte e pian piano la città si allontana. Partecipo ad un giorno di contributor day e ad una giornata di talk. Un bel evento, preso migliaia di appunti ma vissuto come solo la mia timidezza mi permetteva di essere. 

Sapevo che questo evento era molto più bello di quello che avevo vissuto, quindi inizio a prestare sempre più attenzione a quella parte del sito sino a che non trovai due biglietti, Zurigo e Verona. Il biglietto di Verona lo presi subito, ma Zurigo era due settimane prima e la scelta non era così facile. 

Zurigo fa parte della Svizzera tedesca, ok che il WordCamp era organizzato in due lingue, ma il mio inglese era rimasto fermo da quasi 12 anni, in più era un viaggio da fare da solo.

Verona fu un ottimo WordCamp, iniziai a capire il funzionamento di questi eventi e conoscere alcuni componenti dei MeetUp della città.

Zurigo sinceramente lo ricordo sempre meno, è stato un bellissimo WordCamp, ma ho imparato lì più cose su me stesso che su WordPress. Mi chiedo solamente se ci sono svizzeri che credono che il mio cognome sia “sorry my English is terrible”, perchè quando sono un po’ nervoso, parlo più veloce e per presentarmi dicevo “My name is Matteo sorry my English is terrible, nice to meet you”. La cosa che ricordo meglio è che ho compilato la domanda per fare da speaker e volontario durante il viaggio di ritorno. 

Parliamo di WordCamp Milano.

Ma è solo uno strumento, come può fare tutto questo?

Preparo le mie slide, confrontavo lo sviluppo su WordPress con un altro CMS, partendo da quest’ultimo. Finito il primo pezzo dovevo parlare di WordPress, dovevo creare una slide di separazione, un po’ sarcasticamente scrissi “Ma siamo in un WordCamp quindi ajo a casa!”. Ajo è una parola molto usata in Sardegna, toglierla a un sardo è come impedire ad un romano di dire daje, è l’equivalente di un “let’s go” inglese. 

Non era la prima volta davanti ad un pubblico, ma ero abituato a un massimo di 20/30 persone, mi trovai davanti una classe universitaria con tantissime persone, ero emozionatissimo e super teso. Ma al mio momento del “ajo”, tra qualche risata e qualche sorriso mi sentii nuovamente a casa, nella mia isola ma allo stesso tempo a Milano, che strana emozione. 

Ma si tratta di un CMS, uno strumento di lavoro, come può fare tutto questo? Una domanda stupida se chi la fa ha nella sua libreria libri come “Rivoluzionario per caso” di Linus Torvald, “La cattedrale e il bazaar” di Eric Steven Raymond e “software libero, pensiero libero” di Richard Stallman. Quindi il termine “comunità” in quei testi era vero e WordPress era il miglior esempio in cui potevo capitare.

Nel giro di pochi mesi, partecipai anche a Dublino e feci da volontario a Glasgow, l’inglese non era un mio limite, ma solo qualcosa su cui dovevo lavorare. 

Glasgow fu ad inizio 2020, l’ultimo ricordo di un WordCamp prima di un anno di chiusura, un anno in cui c’erano gli eventi online, ma l’energia era diversa. Un periodo in cui cambia due lavori.
Fu un periodo a metà tra la città e l’isola fino alla fine del 2021, quando vidi “WordCamp Ginevra”, proposi di raccontare la mia storia nei WordCamp, come mi aiutarono, ma lo fanno tutt’ora, sia con la sicurezza nella lingua che con la timidezza. Fu accettato e quello per me diventò sia il mio primo talk in inglese, ma anche quello non tecnico. Un talk che prevedeva un’intimità più alta mai sperimentata, che rimarrà per sempre un mio orgoglio.

Da quel momento in poi, WordCamp dopo WordCamp, ogni tappa iniziò a regalarmi sempre più emozioni e sempre più lezioni, soprattutto su me stesso, ma non su come sono, ma su quello che potevo e volevo essere. 

Da WordCamp Italia in cui feci per la prima volta l’organizer a Torino e Verona da speaker.

In tutti e tre decisi di partecipare entrambi i giorni, partecipando anche alle giornate di contribuzione e portandomi con piacere nel team polyglots, gruppo che non ho mai più abbandonato.

Verso l’infinito ed oltre

Poi annunciarono WordCamp Europe a Torino, la città dove tutto è iniziato, feci domanda come organizer, che fu accettata. Ora mi ritrovo a parlare con tantissime persone nuove in inglese quasi due volte alla settimana. Ogni volta è una sfida alla mia timidezza, ma ormai ho imparato ad accettarle.

A volte mi capita di confrontare il mio primo ed ultimo WordCamp. Da un Contribution Day silenzioso ad uno in cui raccontavo la mia esperienza, solo attendee a speaker con tantissimi ascoltatori, da una giornata in silenzio a persona che cercava di far integrare i nuovi, da persona che rientra presto all’ultima persona che esce dall’after party.

Ma WordPress è solo uno strumento, il fine è sempre un altro, nella mia storia non è un sito internet ma riuscire a capire una parte di me e smettere di soffocare la mia vera identità ed iniziare a comportarsi a modo mio. Facendomi capire che la mia parte isola non andava soffocata ma valorizzata, ero sempre io. Come nel codice, anche con se stessi, ci sono delle best practice, servono per riguardarsi e vivere in armonia con se stessi. Nel mio caso, WordCamp dopo WordCamp ho messo un mattoncino in più alla mia autostima e ho capito qualcosa in più sulla mia timidezza.

Alla fine vivere la community di WordPress, conoscere tante persone diverse mi ha guidato verso la riscoperta di me stesso sino ad accorgermi che non avevo mai lasciato la mia isola, forse era la nebbia della città che me la faceva percepire più lontana, era sempre stata qui. Il mare non è mai stato un limite, ora che conosco la strada, posso attraversarlo tutte le volte che voglio. La mia isola ero io e ora ho imparato ad accettarlo.

Si, direi che ho fatto bene ad usare l’editor scuro! Ajo a contribuire!

The post The Time I Left My Island – Quella volta che sono uscito dalla mia isola appeared first on HeroPress.

by Matteo Enna at April 03, 2024 07:00 AM

April 02, 2024

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 76: A WordPress 6.5 Sneak Peek

Join WordPress Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, as she offers an exclusive preview of the upcoming WordPress 6.5 release, accompanied by special guest Dave Smith, one of the Editor Tech leads for this release. Don’t miss this opportunity for an insider’s look!

Credits

Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Guest: Dave Smith
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry and Nicholas Garofalo
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes

Transcript

[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks.

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go! 

[00:00:28] (Intro Music) 

[00:00:39] Josepha: Dave, I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Welcome.

[00:00:42] Dave: Thank you. I’m really excited to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me on.

[00:00:46] Josepha: Yeah. So before we get much further, how about you tell us a little bit about what you do on the WordPress project? And if I recall correctly, that you have a role on the release squad. So just let us know a bit about what that role is and what that looks like.

[00:01:00] Dave: Sure. Absolutely. Well, obviously said I’m Dave Smith. I’m from England in the United Kingdom, and I am full-time contributor to WordPress. I’ve focused primarily on the Block Editor during that time. And I’ve been doing it for about three years now. And fortunately for me, I am sponsored by Automattic, so that allows me to contribute full-time to the project, which is fantastic.

But my history of WordPress goes back a fair way longer than that, and I used to work in agency land, and so I used WordPress for making things for a living before I worked in WordPress if you see what I mean. 

[00:01:35] Josepha: I, no, I definitely understand. I also was agency before WordPress. 

[00:01:40] Dave: I think it’s a common origin story, if you see what I mean. And yes, you’re absolutely right. I’ve been fortunate enough in this release, WordPress 6.5, to be the Co-editor Tech Lead. Obviously alongside my colleague which is Riad Benguella. Some of you may know him. He is the lead architect of Gutenberg. So yeah, it’s been fantastic to work alongside him.

[00:02:00] Josepha: Yeah, excellent. One of these days, I’m going to get Riad on here. I think I’ve never had him on.

[00:02:05] Dave: Oh, you should definitely. 

[00:02:06] Josepha: He’s so kind and reasonable. And I was just gonna tell a personal anecdote about Riad, and I don’t know that it makes any sense, but I’m gonna do it anyway. I’m gonna do it anyway. I saw him at an event like right after he came back from his most recent sabbatical, and he was like, it was great being away, but also like, I had forgotten what kind of energy events like this really bring in.

And he has always struck me as an introvert, but I think maybe he’s like an outgoing introvert or something. Cause normally, like, introvert introverts are not like, this gives me so much energy. They’re like, I know that this is important work, and I’m here. And so that’s my personal anecdote about Riad, I am, gonna get him on here someday, but be that as it may, we’re delighted to have you.

So, 6.5 is coming out are you excited, number one?

[00:02:54] Dave: I am very excited. Yeah, it’s been a long road into this release. As you may know, well, as you do know, it’s, it was delayed by one week. That was actually, I think was, was a good decision. We’ve had a lot of work needing to go into the Font Library feature. I’ve seen a few posts saying there were bugs.

[00:03:09] Dave: I think mainly it was a decision about where to upload fonts to, which seems quite amazing when you think about it. I was talking to my wife about it the other day, and she said, really, you’re delaying a release because of where to upload things. But, yeah, this is software that runs a considerable part of the web.

So when we make these decisions about where things uploaded, we’ve got to be really confident that they are the right decisions. And so, yeah, that decision to delay the release has been good. And we’ve had an opportunity to make sure the release is fully robust and ready to go out. So yeah, I’m super excited to see it land.

[00:03:40] Josepha: Yeah. I have some follow up questions about just like, how doing all of that work in public feels. But probably, we should get through the bulk of the sorts of things that people tune into this episode for, so like, let’s talk about some of the big features that are going into 6.5 so that folks have a sense for that.

And then we’ll take a look at just like things that you’re excited to get in, things that I’m excited to get in. And maybe like if there’s a hidden surprise for users, things that will be really beneficial to users, but they don’t quite see it yet. We can maybe cover that too, but like, what are the big things going into this release from your perspective?

[00:04:17] Dave: Sure. There’s some highlights, I think that the key highlights, and we should probably cover them. So the first one we’ve already touched on it is the Fonts Library. And this has been brewing for a while now, and it’s finally come to fruition. And it basically allows you to manage, install, and upload custom fonts for use on your website. And it’s really, really powerful. It’s, I think it’s going to really change the way people create themes and create their websites. It is unlocking a lot of power for users.

[00:04:46] Josepha: And for folks who’ve been listening to this podcast for a long time, you have heard me say for, I think, like a year, basically every release podcast where we’re looking at what’s coming up. I’m like, and this time it’s fonts. I’m so excited. And so I’m saying it again this time, ’cause it’s really happening this time.

[00:05:03] Dave: It’s finally here. Yeah, it’s a great feature. There’s a lot of work gone into it. It’s really, really good.

[00:05:07] Josepha: So much work. We’ve been working on it for like two or three years. And it’s at the point where like getting it out in front of people is the only way to figure out where the remaining problems will be. And it is the most scary part of any software release, I assume, the things where you’re like, this is time for people to tell us how it’s broken. Please look at it and break it for a while.

[00:05:29] Dave: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been working on resolving any bugs that we could find, but there’s always going to be things we haven’t noticed. So yeah, we can’t wait for users to get their hands on it. Exactly. Other than fonts, we’ve also got revisions that are now in place in the Site Editor. And this is more than just undo, redo that people may be already familiar with in the editor.

It actually gives you the ability to fully revert your site back to any state that you previously had it. So you could make some changes in the editor. You could completely close down your computer, go away for a week, come back. And you’ve still got the opportunity to say, “Ah, do you know what? I don’t like the way that looks. I’m just gonna; I’m gonna roll that back.” And there’s a nice UI that shows you what it will affect. And you can even roll back styles, you know, like style changes. So it’s, it’s super, super powerful. And it’s just something we’ve been waiting for for such a long time. Just, it’s fantastic to see it land.

[00:06:17] Josepha: I’m really excited about this one personally because I have been to so many meetup events with like new users being taught how to do things with WordPress. And invariably, in the last two or three years, the people who are presenting to new users are saying consistently like, “You can do any experimental thing that you feel like you need to do with your sites because there’s an undo button. WordPress wouldn’t let you do things that fully break your site.”

Like there is a lot of trust in our kind of like time machine, roll-it-back kind of implementations. And so I’m really excited about this one. I think that for all of our new and mid-level users. Who like, have a little bit of fear, but mostly joy around it. Like, this will only increase that and so I’m super excited for this one to go in there.

[00:07:09] Dave: Yeah, it’s really nice. Other than that, the two things I wanted to touch on as well, which is we’ve got these new views now for key objects in WordPress. So things like pages, patterns, templates, and template parts in the Site Editor. You can now view these in a sort of a table layout or in a grid layout. So it gives you a much easier way to sort them, find them, filter them. And I think it points us forward to the possibilities we’ve got in the future for the editor sort of taking some parts of WP Admin and making them more accessible without having to leave the Site Editor. And it’s extremely powerful; you can search in real-time, find things very, very quickly, do all the things you’re used to from the post listing screen, but all within the Site Editor. And it’s for these key objects that you use quite a lot of the time. So I think it’s going to be really, a really great thing for users to get hold of.

[00:07:55] Josepha: Is this related to the Data Views work that we’ve been doing in the first part of the year here?

[00:08:00] Dave: Exactly that exactly. The Data Views work has been a major feed into this, and this is where we see the fruits of all that work coming to the fore for the first time. And I expect to see more of that in future releases as well.

[00:08:12] Josepha: Yeah. For folks who are really, really watching, like, our administrative side of things, you probably are aware that we, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that we paused the phase three roadmap for this, but I do think that we made a clear choice to get this Data Views work done first so that we could, in parallel with phase three, do a bit of work on the WP Admin redesign, the dashboard redesign, which we all know, like, we love this dashboard, but also this dashboard, it needs a sprucing up, it needs a little bit of, of polish and a little bit of 2024 style I was going to say design. I don’t know if the design folks would love if I just was like, it needs to be modernized that way, but also like it, it does, right?

[00:09:00] Dave: Yeah, and I mean, you know, we all know that the Site Editor is being used more and more. If you’ve got a Block theme, you’re using the Site Editor increasingly, and you’re spending less and less time sort of going between screens in WP Admin. So it makes sense that, you know, these things are accessible within that one interface of the Site Editor. So, yeah, it’s only going to be a good thing for users going forward.

[00:09:20] Josepha: Yeah, absolutely. I probably should have like a whole episode about Data Views and what it’s intending to do, what it’s actually doing, what it’s going to look like as it goes because that’s such a big project. And so many things rely on it. And so, note to self and all listeners, that’s the thing that you should keep an eye out for. We’re going to get it done. But you said you had a final thing also.

[00:09:40] Dave: Yeah, I’ve got one more which is this is for our users of classic themes. We haven’t forgotten about you. Basically, we now have support for appearance tools. So in prior releases, the Block themes have got these really cool design tools like ability to set border colors, border radius, link colors, you name it. We’ve got all these tools, but they haven’t been always available to classic themes. And classic themes can use the Block Editor; they may not be using the Site Editor in the same way, but they can use the Block Editor. And we’ve not made those things available in the same way, but there’s been work going into this release to allow that to happen.

[00:10:11] Dave: So now you can opt into those if you so wish. And it is an opt-in basis. So none your themes will break out of the box if you’ve got classic theme or classic site. But it is a powerful tool to those people who are using classic themes, and that’s completely legitimate.

[00:10:26] Josepha: And so is the opt in like something that you can do for yourself or something that your developer needs to do?

[00:10:32] Dave: You would need to do it in your theme code. So you’d need to do that with PHP. So, your theme developer, if they choose to update their theme and provide support for these things. Then, they would obviously need to test their theme works with those new tools, make sure it’s ready, and then they would ship that update.

And so maybe after 6.5 is released, you may see some themes incrementally adding support. My understanding at the moment is that the core themes, the Block themes, will not automatically add those straight away. I think they need more time to allow them to bed in and more time to get them ready for prime time if you see what I mean, but you know the fact that they’re there and ready means that the wider theme audience and theme developers can start taking advantage of them.

[00:11:15] Josepha: Nice, nice. I have been wondering lately, this is only marginally related, but I’m gonna wonder it out loud anyway. I’ve been wondering lately if like, our classic themes, our most favorite, our most loved classic themes do need a little bit of help moving into a Block theme future. And I think that this will help. I think, on the one hand this will help, and on the other hand, like, what would it take for us to just say, and you’re not the theme person I know, but like, what would it take for us to just say, “These are our top five most favorite, most used, classic themes that we’ve got in WordPress. Let’s rebuild it in blocks and just ship the block version of it and help the classic themes users that love the design, love the look, love the features get introduced to this new block territory so that they can see that not only do they have the look, the feel, the features, but also the flexibility that comes with that and a little bit more feeling of safety as they wander around modifying themes.”

[00:12:18] Josepha: I have no fear of any code changes and didn’t when I started working with WordPress, as opposed to working in WordPress, but I think that that’s not the way that that works right now. Like there’s a whole lot of like, I need to get it right-ish with folks who are using our software. And so I just wonder if that will help everybody feel a little more confident in what they’re doing, knowing they’re not going to break things because we’ve built it so you can’t.

[00:12:45] Dave: It could do, it could do. And I was just thinking as you were talking, like, do we have any themes that already do that? And, of course, we do have 2021. If you can think back that far into the mists of time, we had 2021 classic, which is that it’s called 2021, but we also 2021 blocks, which is doing very much what you’ve just described.

[00:13:03] Dave: So we haven’t pursued that for the new default themes or block themes, but, you know, it might be something to look at for onboarding if there are any of classic themes from the more distant past, you know, maybe some of those could do with a block theme equivalent just to let people on board to that experience and just feel comfortable. Yeah, interesting, interesting. You should definitely talk to the theme people about that.

[00:13:23] Josepha: I’m going to. They’re going to love it. They’re going to be like, Yay! Of course! Of course! I don’t know, actually. I don’t know if anyone ever loves the things that I suggest, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to get suggested. I have all these ideas, and they got to come out somewhere. Okay. So do you have something that you worked on that’s not in this big list of features or that you helped people to really shepherd into the release that you think is really cool? Like, maybe it’s not going to be super visible or something, but like that you’ve personally felt was like a cool feature, excited for it to get into the release.

[00:13:53] Dave: Yeah, there are a couple of things, a couple of things at the top of mind. One of them is user-facing and one of them is more developer-facing features. So, I’ll start with the developer feature first. And this one is a change to an API. Now, that API is always a slightly intimidating word, I think, but it just means a set of tools, a standardized set of tools that developers can use to do something. And in this case, it’s the allowed blocks API. 

[00:14:20] Josepha: Sounds so fun. 

[00:14:21] Dave: Yeah, I know it’s riveting, isn’t it? But trust me, it does come with some benefits. So the Navigation block is a good example. It’s a block that acts as a container and it’s got child blocks. Okay. But you can only insert certain blocks. You can insert links, you can insert social icons, you can insert search. But if you want to insert, I don’t know, an Icon block, for example. You can’t do that, but you can with WordPress 6.5 because of the change to the allow box API. And what it allows you to do is say, “I want to additionally allow the following blocks to be inserted as well.”

So as a developer, you can hook into this filter and change those blocks. Now, okay, so far, so good. “What’s the big deal?” you might say, well, it’s open the door, is open the door to some very, very interesting explorations. Some of which I’ve no doubt that you and your listeners would have already encountered. And one is by a colleague of mine called Nick Diego. And I think it’s on the WordPress Developer blog right now. I think he’s done a fantastic inspiration into mega menus in the navigation block. I’m someone who’s worked on the Navigation block extensively in the past, and I’m very aware of how much users want mega menus to be a part of the Navigation block.

[00:15:30] Dave: I was never convinced it was going to be something we were going to do in core, because it requires so many different things. But Nick has actually managed with this allow blocks API and some other tweaks as well to build a mega menu as a plugin for WordPress using the standard Navigation block.

And I think that’s just one example of the utility of this API. But for example, I mentioned that you could add icons to your Navigation block and you can’t really do that at the moment. It’s pretty powerful. It’s kind of hidden away. It’s in the release notes, but it’s not massively clear, but it does open some pretty big doors. And I think if you’re a developer or a theme author, indeed, you should you should definitely be looking into that and see what it enables for you.

[00:16:06] Josepha: Yeah, we’ll put a link to Nick’s post in the show notes, and we’ll share it around the social spaces. So like, I hear you saying it’s buried, it’s hard to see, it won’t necessarily be exciting now, but will be exciting later, but like mega menus and sliders, those are the most contested things that people want to put on sites all the time. Like from my agency days, like when I was thinking in the mindset of a strategist, a data person, that’s what I was doing. Like, I never wanted sliders. I never wanted mega menus because it just implied that we didn’t have a decision about the sites we were making, like we had not decided the primary purpose, and also it was just hard to track, but it was always literally every single time people are like well if Amazon has it why can’t we have it? You’re like, yeah, I know, but they’re Amazon. They’re not the same like mega menus sliders. I know that from a project perspective that we’re like, that should be a theme thing. That should be in theme territory. But I think it makes sense to have in core because so many people want to be able to do it.

[00:17:14] Josepha: And just because like someone like me feels like it’s not the right call for your business doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to make that decision for yourself, you know, I think that’s a, I think that’s a great, a great feature to call out.

[00:17:28] Dave: Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree. I can look for my agency days. I can exactly imagine that sort of thing. We have a lot of people, a problem that a lot of people are facing. So it’s really important that we provide the tools to allow people to do that now. And we can always look at if it’s valid to include it in core later, then we can look at that as well.

Yeah. So that’s, that’s the first one I had. The second one is a little bit more user-facing. I would say it’s hidden away. But I’m not 100 percent sure it is. I mean, Josepha, how often do you create links when you’re working with WordPress?

[00:17:58] Josepha: Like every time that I’m in WordPress.

[00:18:00] Dave: Yeah, exactly. Same here. I do it all the time, right? And a lot of people do. And for a long while, contributors to the editor have been sort of collecting and collating the feedback that’s come in from people about their frustrations with the built in link interface in the Block Editor. So if you’re creating a hyperlink to, you know, hyperlink to another page or, you know, you’re going to link to Nick’s mega menu article, you’re going to be doing that a lot, right?

That’s something that people do when they’re creating content in WordPress. And so we worked a lot to refine that with a contributor who, who you may know, Rich Tabor. Who’s also, I think, on the release squad as well. An influencer in the WordPress space as well. He spent a lot of time looking at the UX and myself and a number of other contributors have spent a lot of time in this release refining that. And I think it’s surprisingly difficult to get right, but I think we’ve, I think we’ve made some nice improvements to that will be nice quality of life for people who, to do this sort of content creation quite a lot.

So there’s things like now when you create the link for the first time, it remains open on the initial creation of the link. So that means you can quickly then easily adjust the link. I mean, it seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yeah, but it’s not happening. It just used to just automatically close, and the people are like, “Hey, I wanted to make more adjustments. “

[00:19:08] Josepha: I wasn’t done yet. 

[00:19:10] Dave: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. We’ve, we’ve streamlined the UI. We’ve removed a lot of clutter, but we’ve also added some useful tools, like ability to copy a link and remove the link directly from the control itself. And lastly along with lots of other accessibility changes in this release. We have worked a lot on refining the implementation.

So that is discoverable for, for users of assistive tech because we spent a lot of time talking to core accessibility team and other people, and they were finding it very hard to perceive that the UI was there because of the way that keyboard interactions work and you’ve got the block toolbar in the way and things like that.

We think we’ve nailed on a really good solution now that works for, not only uses assistive tech, but actually provides benefits for sighted users as well. It’s kind of difficult to talk about. I mean, I have got a video covering this on my YouTube channel, which kind of shows it in a bit more detail, but we’re happy it’s in a much better place.

[00:20:02] Dave: And yeah if people have got feedback about it, and when, when 6.5 comes out, we’re always happy to hear that. And you can go to the WordPress GitHub repository and raise an issue. And one of us will jump on it and see what we can do.

[00:20:13] Josepha: And we can include a link to that video also. So like, for folks where this sounded intriguing, but they don’t quite get the concept, like video content all day, let’s pop it into our show notes. And everybody can take a look at it there. I think that’s a great idea.

[00:20:28] Dave: Great. Yeah, I appreciate that.

[00:20:30] Josepha: So final question, maybe, maybe final question, final planned question. Is there anything from a user-facing perspective again that you feel has not really gotten the airtime that it needs so far? 

[00:20:44] Dave: I think there’s a lot of technical changes that have happened in this release. So it’s easy to look at those. I mean, we’ve covered quite a lot of the key ones that will be user-facing in terms of Font Library and Revisions. We’ve got things that are going to this release that enable things a lot for people to experience in the future, I think, so underlying changes like the Interactivity API becoming public. Now that’s public, plugin developers can start to make sites much more interactive on the front of the site rather than just in the editor. So I think that once 6.5 has gone in, and people have started to explore the Interactivity API in more detail, we might see more plugins offering sort of interactivity on the fronts of their sites. An example is obviously the lightbox you’ve got with images in core, but I can; there’s way more stuff that you can do with that. So we’re going to see more of that. 

[00:21:28] Dave: We’ve got Block Hooks that have landed in 6.5, and this is going to open for things like ecommerce plugins and to be able to add, you know, cart blocks or log in, log out blocks to things like navigation, for example, or you might want a ability to like all your comments, and you can do that with Block Hooks and then a plugin developer can just, you know, when the plugin is enabled, they can just make it so that those things just appear on your site, but you still got control over the design.

So there’s a lot of like hidden things I think are going to uncover new features for users over time as a result of the community getting involved and changing their plugins and themes to do these take advantage of these new tools. 

[00:22:07] Josepha: Yeah, so the Interactivity API, obviously it has “API” on it. And so no one’s thinking, well, this is a user-facing thing. And while the API is not a user facing thing, like, I think that you’re right. That what it enables absolutely is going to be really useful and hopefully really engaging for like end-to-end users, like the users that are not listening to this podcast and they don’t know we exist, like they don’t know that WordPress has a community building it, they’re just like, it exists, there’s a software that came out of nowhere, like, I’m really excited to see how our developers in the community start to use that in their plugins and themes and get that out to end users. I’m really, really excited to see how creative they get with it.

Did you have a final thing?

[00:22:51] Dave: There’s a lot of design changes, I think. I mean, we can’t cover them all, obviously, in verbal form in this podcast, but some things that are just standing out to me if we look at the source of truth for, for WordPress 6.5, it is, it is big. There’s a lot in this release. But there’s some very cool things for, I don’t know, quality. I like to see them as like quality of life design design changes. Things like, if you drop an image, as a background image of a cover block, it automatically sets the overlay color for that cover block to match the most prominent color of the background image. Like things like that, they seem small, but over time, they just, you just drop that thing, and it just does it. And it’s like, this is nice. And it feels like a nice tool to use that just is intuitive. And I think there’s, we’ll see a lot of those things landing in this release that can just make the experience of working with WordPress and working in the Site Editor much, much nicer.

[00:23:41] Josepha: Yeah. I remember when I first ran into that particular thing, it was on the Showcase, our most recent redesign of it. We’re using that functionality in there before it was available in core. Obviously, I know, but it was really fascinating. I’m not great with color combinations. Like, I don’t have a sense for, like, oh, that’s the primary thing. That’s not. And so having that being done kind of automatically so that my stuff looks good anyway, despite what my color sense said to do or not. I thought it was great. Makes you look good as somebody who’s running a business. You don’t have to know how things work in order to have excellently functional, really beautiful things.

[00:24:21] Josepha: And I think that’s a great thing about all of our releases. Obviously, everything is supposed to work that way, but like this one has a lot of really cool things like that available. I think those are really the questions that I had. Is there anything you want to make sure to share before we kind of give last thoughts and head out?

[00:24:39] Dave: Yeah, I was, I was thinking a lot about, you know, the community we’ve got with WordPress, and I think that people outside of WordPress may not really understand that how amazing this community is that we’ve got here, but I wanted to say to people like don’t shy away from contributing to WordPress. I get that, you know, people like myself are fortunate enough to be sponsored to do it. But there’s always something that people can do, even if that’s just spending like 30 minutes testing a release or donating some of your time to run one of the meetings. It can really make a difference overall. Even just filing a bug report for something you see in WordPress 6.5 or testing 6.5 before it goes out, those little things do make a big difference. And if you’re not sure where to go, then we can signpost you with links, no doubt in this, in the podcast description with where where’s to go. But yeah, I just want to encourage people to get involved, basically.

[00:25:27] Josepha: Yeah. And it’s all working out in public, like we’ve got developers, designers, marketing folks, community folks like all doing this work out where everybody can see it. And so that, I know, can look really kind of overwhelming. But I want to just highlight, like, you don’t have to know everything about what’s happening in the project in order to get involved in the project. Like every small bit of contribution toward like finding a new bug or confirming that a bug happens across other devices, other setups, things like that, like those all help make things better and keep things moving as quickly as we are able to make them move. And so, yeah, I’ll second that every little thing that you think like that won’t make a difference. It does. We can’t tell that things are broken or things are working or things are in need of some care unless you highlight those for us. And this is the best way to do it is to show up and give 30 minutes to send out a group testing invite to your meetup group or whatever it is that you all have been thinking you should do, like, this is your sign. You can do it.

[00:26:34] Dave: Everyone should get involved if they can.

[00:26:37] Josepha: I agree. I agree. Dave, this has been such an excellent conversation. Thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:26:42] Dave: Oh, thank you very much. It’s a pleasure.

[00:26:43] (Music interlude) 

[00:26:49] Josepha: What an interesting release we’ve got coming out this week. I’m so glad you all made it this far in the pod, and now it’s time for our small list of big things.

[00:27:00] Josepha: First up, following up on the WordPress meetup reactivation project that we had in 2022, we aim to revive some meetup groups in big cities that are inactive or help the local WordPress community that are not yet part of our meetup chapter program to join our program. There is a post out on the community P2 on the community site. That is titled Asia Meetup Revival Project 2024. I’ll leave a link to that in the show notes if you want to read more about that and figure out how to get involved.

And speaking of getting involved, we have roughly a million meetings. Because it’s a new month, we’re in April now. New month, new opportunities. There are a lot of things happening in April. We will be coming out of a major release, obviously, and so there will be some minor release follow up to do. There will be a lot of discussion about what’s coming next, what’s in trunk, what’s not in trunk. But also a lot of work being done around our next big major events, our next big major training initiatives. There’s just so much happening. Spring is a time when we are looking at stuff that’s new, what we want to invest in, what we want to grow. And so if you have not attended one in a while or even at all if you’ve never attended a meeting in the community, then this is a great time to start and join your fellow community members trying to make WordPress better every day.

[00:28:23] Josepha: And then the final thing on our small list of big things is I am looking at helping to shift the focus of our WordPress marketing community. We’ve had a bit of a struggle over the years to figure out what our primary focus and our primary impact can be. So there’s a post up called ‘Making a WordPress Media Corps’. It’s gotten quite a bit of attention, and I do really think that it has a lot of potential for solving some of the issues that we have and kind of getting some quick wins into our recent history of that team so that we can move forward confidently together. So pop on over, give it a read, share your thoughts. And if you are one of these qualified media partners, also let us know. 

[00:29:08] Josepha: That, my friends, is your small list of big things.

Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. And if you liked what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser, or if you had questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at WPBriefing@WordPress.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

by Brett McSherry at April 02, 2024 08:18 PM under wp-briefing

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.5 “Regina”

WordPress 6.5

Say hello to WordPress 6.5 “Regina,” inspired by the dynamic versatility of renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter. An award-winning artist and storied jazz educator known for transcending genre, Regina’s technical foundations in classical music and deep understanding of jazz have earned her the reputation of boldly going beyond what’s possible with the violin. 

Let the stunning twists and subtle turns of Regina’s genre-bending sound surprise you as you explore everything 6.5 offers.

This latest version of WordPress puts more power into the details. It offers new and improved ways to fine-tune and enhance your site-building experience, letting you take control in ways that make it your own. You’ll find new ways to manage your site’s typography, more comprehensive revisions available in more places, and a collection of Site Editor updates paired with impressive performance gains to help you get things done smoother and faster.

“Regina” also marks the introduction of some breakthrough developer tools that will start transforming how you use and extend blocks to craft engaging experiences. The Interactivity API opens up a world of creative front-end possibilities, while the Block Bindings API makes dynamic connections between blocks and data seamless. These, among other developer-focused improvements and updates, are ready to help you evolve how you build with WordPress.

What’s inside 6.5

Add and manage fonts across your site

The new Font Library puts you in control of an essential piece of your site’s design—typography—without coding or extra steps. Effortlessly install, remove, and activate local and Google Fonts across your site for any Block theme. The ability to include custom typography collections gives site creators and publishers more options when it comes to styling content.

Get more from your revisions—including revisions for templates and template parts

Work through creative projects with a more comprehensive picture of what’s been done—and what you can fall back on. Get details like time stamps, quick summaries, and a paginated list of all revisions. View revisions from the Style Book to see how changes impact every block. Revisions are also now available for templates and template parts.

Play with enhanced background and shadow tools

  • Control the size, repeat, and focal point options for background images in Group blocks so you can explore subtle or splashy ways to add visual interest to layouts. 
  • Set aspect ratios for Cover block images and easily add color overlays that automatically source color from your chosen image. 
  • Add box shadow support to more block types and create layouts with visual depth, or throw a little personality into your design.

Discover new Data Views

Every piece of your site comes with a library of information and data—now, you can find what you need quickly and organize it however you like. Data views for pages, templates, patterns, and template parts let you see data in a table or grid view, with the option to toggle fields and make bulk changes.

Smoother drag-and-drop

Feel the difference when you move things around, with helpful visual cues like displaced items in List View or frictionless dragging to anywhere in your workspace—from beginning to end.

Improved link controls

Create and manage links easily with a more intuitive link-building experience, like a streamlined UI and a shortcut for copying links.

What’s fresh for developers in 6.5

Bring interactions to blocks with the Interactivity API

The Interactivity API offers developers a standardized method for building interactive front-end experiences with blocks. It simplifies the process, with fewer dependencies on external tooling, while maintaining optimal performance. Use it to create memorable user experiences, like fetching search results instantly or letting visitors interact with content in real time.

Connect blocks to custom fields or other dynamic content

Link core block attributes to custom fields and use the value of custom fields without creating custom blocks. Powered by the Block Bindings API, developers can extend this capability further to connect blocks to any dynamic content—even beyond custom fields. If there’s data stored elsewhere, easily point blocks to that new source with only a few lines of code.

Add appearance tools to Classic themes

Give designers and creators using Classic themes access to an upgraded design experience. Opt in to support for spacing, border, typography, and color options, even without using theme.json. Once support is enabled, more tools will be automatically added as they become available.

Explore improvements to the plugin experience

There’s now an easier way to manage plugin dependencies. Plugin authors can supply a new Requires Plugins header with a comma-separated list of required plugin slugs, presenting users with links to install and activate those plugins first.

From fast to faster: Performance updates

This release includes 110+ performance updates, resulting in an impressive increase in speed and efficiency across the Post Editor and Site Editor. Loading is over two times faster than in 6.4, with input processing speed up to five times faster than the previous release.

 Translated sites see up to 25% improvement in load time for this release courtesy of Performant Translations. Additional performance highlights include AVIF image support and improvements for registering block variations with callbacks.

A tradition of inclusion

This release includes more than 65 accessibility improvements across the platform, making it more accessible than ever. It contains an important fix that unblocks access to the admin submenus for screen reader users and others who navigate by keyboard. This release also adds fixes to color contrast in admin focus states, positioning of elements, and cursor focus, among many others, that help improve the WordPress experience for everyone.

Learn more about WordPress 6.5

Check out the new WordPress 6.5 page to learn more about the numerous enhancements and features of this release—including short demos of some of the highlighted features.

Explore Learn WordPress for quick how-to videos, online workshops, and other free resources to level up your WordPress knowledge and skills.

Check out the WordPress 6.5 Field Guide for detailed technical information and developer notes to help you build with WordPress and get the most out of this release. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Developer Blog for developer updates, feature tutorials, and other helpful WordPress content from a developer perspective.

For more information about installation, file changes, fixes, and other updates, read the 6.5 release notes.

The 6.5 release squad

Every release has many moving parts with its own triumphs and challenges. It takes a dedicated team of enthusiastic contributors to help keep things on track and moving smoothly. 6.5 is made possible by a cross-functional group of contributors, always ready to champion ideas, remove blockers, and resolve issues.

Thank you, contributors

WordPress believes in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source. Supporting this idea is a global and diverse community of people collaborating to strengthen the software. 

WordPress 6.5 reflects the countless efforts and passion of around 700 contributors in at least 57 countries. This release also welcomed over 150 first-time contributors!

Their collaboration delivered more than 2,500 enhancements and fixes, ensuring a stable release for all—a testament to the power and capability of the WordPress open source community.

!Benni · _ck_ · Aaron Jorbin · Aaron Robertshaw · Abdullah Mamun · Abha Thakor · Abhishek Deshpande · abletec · acosmin · Adam Pickering · Adam Silverstein · Adarsh Akshat · admcfajn · Ahmed Chaion · Ahmed Saeed · Ajith R N · Akash Muchandikar · Aki Hamano · Akira Tachibana · akmelias · Akramul Hasan · Akshaya Rane · Alain Schlesser · Alan Fuller · Alex · Alex Concha · Alex King · Alex Kirk · Alex Lende · Alex Mills · Alex Stine · Alexandre Buffet · AlexKole · Amber Hinds · Amy Hendrix (sabreuse) · Amy Kamala · Anand Upadhyay · Anders Norén · Andrea Fercia · Andrei Draganescu · Andrei Lupu · Andrew Hayward · Andrew Hutchings · Andrew Nacin · Andrew Norcross · Andrew Ozz · Andrew Serong · andrewleap · Andrii Balashov · André Maneiro · Andy Fragen · Andy Peatling · Aneesh Devasthale · Ankit K Gupta · Ankit Panchal · Anne McCarthy · Anthony Burchell · Antoine · Anton Lukin · Anton Timmermans · Anton Vlasenko · Antonella · Antonio D. · Antonis Lilis · arena94 · Ari Stathopoulos · Arslan Kalwar · Artemio Morales · Arthur Chu · Arun Chaitanya Jami · Arun Sharma · Arunas Liuiza · Asad Polash · Ashish Kumar (Ashfame) · Asish Chandra Mohon · audunmb · Aurooba Ahmed · Austin Matzko · axwax · Ayesh Karunaratne · Béryl de La Grandière · bahia0019 · Balu B · bangank36 · Barry · Barry · Bart Kalisz · bartkleinreesink · Beatriz Fialho · Beau Lebens · Beda · ben · Ben Dwyer · Ben Hansen · Ben Huson · Ben Lobaugh (blobaugh) · Ben Ritner - Kadence WP · Ben Word · Benjamin Gosset · Benjamin Zekavica · benjaminknox · Benoit Chantre · benoitfouc · Bernhard Reiter · bernhard-reiter · billseymour · Biplav · Birgit Pauli-Haack · bobbingwide · Boone Gorges · born2webdesign · Brad Jorsch · Brad Parbs · Brad Williams · Brandon Kraft · Brandon Lavigne · Brian Alexander · Brian Coords · Brian Fischer · Brian Gardner · Brian Haas · Brian Henry · Brooke · burnuser · Caleb Burks · camya · Carlo Cannas · Carlos Bravo · Carlos G. 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Kinney · Greg Ziółkowski · gregbenz · Guido Scialfa · gvgvgvijayan · H.M. Mushfiqur Rahman · hanneslsm · Hanzala Taifun · Hardik Raval · Hareesh S · Harsh Gajipara · Harsh Patel · Hasanuzzaman Shamim · Heather Wilkins · Heiko Lübbe · Helen Hou-Sandi · HelgaTheViking · Hemant Tejwani · Hidekazu Ishikawa · Himani Panchal · Hit Bhalodia · Hitesh Talpada · Hossein · Howdy_McGee · Hridoy Mozumder · Hrithik Dalal · Hugh Lashbrooke · Hugo Chinchilla · hugod · huubl · Huzaifa Al Mesbah · Héctor Prieto · Ian Belanger · Ian Dunn · idad5 · Ignacio Cruz Moreno · ignatiusjeroe · Ihtisham Zahoor · Ilya Zolotov · Isabel Brison · iseulde · IT Path Solutions · itecrs · Ivan Zhuck · Jacob Cassidy · jadpm · James Collins · James Koster · James Roberts · Jamie Blomerus · Jamie Perrelet · Jan Thiel · jane · Janis Elsts · jansan · Japh · Jarda Snajdr · jarednova · Jason Adams · Jason Cosper · Jason Crist · Jason Crouse · Jason Johnston · Jason LeMahieu (MadtownLems) · Javier Casares · Jayadevan k · jbobich · Jean-Baptiste Audras · Jeff Ong · Jeffrey de Wit · Jeffrey Paul · Jenny Dupuy · Jeremy Felt · Jeremy Herve · jeryj · Jesús Amieiro · Jessica Lyschik · jghazally · Jip Moors · jivygraphics · jltallon · Joan · Joe · Joe Dolson · Joe Hoyle · Joe McGill · Joel James · Joen Asmussen · John Blackbourn · John James Jacoby · johnciacia · Jon Brown · Jon Cave · Jon Surrell · Jonathan Bossenger · Jonathan Brinley · Jonathan Desrosiers · Jonny Harris · joppuyo · jordesign · Jorge Costa · Jorge Vilchez · jornp · Joseph Fusco · Josepha · joshcanhelp · joshuatf · Joy · JR Tashjian · JS Morisset · Juan Aldasoro · JuanMa Garrido · Juhi Saxena · Juliette Reinders Folmer · Justin Tadlock · K M Ashikur Rahman · K. Adam White · KafleG · Kai Hao · Kamrul Hasan · Kari Anderson · Karlijn Bok · Karol Manijak · Karthik Thayyil · Katka · kawsaralameven · Kelly Choyce-Dwan · Kevin Batdorf · Kevin Coleman · Kevin Taron · Kharis Sulistiyono · Kira Schroder · Kishan Jasani · kitchin · Kjell Reigstad · kkmuffme · Knut Sparhell · Koen Reus · Koesper · Konstantin Obenland · Krupa Nanda · Krupal Panchal · Kurt Payne · Kushang Tailor · Kylen Downs · lau@mindproducts.com.au · Laura Adamonis · Lauren Stein · Laurent MILLET · Lax Mariappan · Lena Morita · Leo Muniz · Leonardus Nugraha · Liam Gladdy · LiamMcArthur · Linkon Miyan · liviopv · lkraav · logikal16 · Lovekesh Kumar · luboslives · lucasbustamante · Luis Felipe Zaguini · Luis Herranz · Lukas Pawlik · Lukasz · Luke Cavanagh · Maarten · Madhu Dollu · Madhu Dollu · Maggie Cabrera · Mahbub Hasan Imon · mahnewr · Mahrokh · Malae · manfcarlo · manyourisms · Marc_J · Marcelo de Moraes Serpa · Marco Ciampini · Marcoevich · margolisj · Marie Comet · Marin Atanasov · Mario Santos · Marius L. J. · Mark Howells-Mead · Mark Jaquith · Marko Heijnen · Marko Ivanovic · Markus · martin.krcho · Mary Baum · mathewemoore · Matias Benedetto · Matias Ventura · matiasrecondo77 · Matt Mullenweg · Matteo Enna · Max Lyuchin · Maxime Pertici · Mayur Prajapati · Md Hossain Shohel · Md HR Shahin · Meg Phillips · megane9988 · Meher Bala · Mel Choyce-Dwan · melcarthus · meta4 · metropolis_john · mevolkan · Micah Wood · Michael Showes · Michal Czaplinski · Michalooki · Miguel Fonseca · miguelsansegundo · Miikka · Mike Bijon · Mike Jolley (a11n) · Mike Schinkel · Mike Schroder · Mikin Chauhan · Milen Petrinski - Gonzo · mimi · mkismy · mnydigital · Mohammad Jangda · Monique Dubbelman · Monzur Alam · Morteza Geransayeh · mreishus · mrwweb · Muhammad Usman Iqbal · Muhibul Haque · mujuonly · Mukesh Panchal · Mumtahina Faguni · Musarrat Anjum Chowdhury · Nahid Khan · Naoki Ohashi · Naresh Bheda · Nate Allen · Navjot Singh · Nazmul Hasan Robin · neffff · Neil Hainsworth · nendeb · NerdPress · Nick Diego · Nick Halsey · Nick Martianov · nickpagz · Nico · Nicole Furlan · Nicole Paschen Caylor · nidhidhandhukiya · Niels Lange · Nihar Ranjan Das · Nik Tsekouras · Nikita · nikmeyer · Nilambar Sharma · Nilo Velez · Niluthpal Purkayastha · Nirav Sherasiya · Nithin John · Nithin SreeRaj · Noah Allen · nosilver4u · Nowell VanHoesen · Nudge Themes · nwjames · obliviousharmony · ockham · oguzkocer · okat · Old account · olegfuture · Olga Gleckler · Paal Joachim Romdahl · Pablo Honey · Pacicio · pannelars · partyfrikadelle · Pascal Birchler · Patricia BT · Patrick Lumumba · Paul Bearne · Paul Biron · Paul de Wouters · Paul Kevan · Paul Wong-Gibbs · pavelevap · Peter Baylies · Peter Rubin · Peter Westwood · Peter Wilson · petitphp · Philipp Bammes · Philipp15b · Phill · Pieterjan Deneys · Pippin Williamson · Pitam Dey · pmeenan · Pooja Derashri · Pooja N Muchandikar · pooja9712 · pouicpouic · Prashant Baldha · Pratik Kumar · Pratik Londhe · Prem Tiwari · Presskopp · presstoke · prionkor · Rafiq · Rajin Sharwar · Ramon Ahnert · Ramon Corrales · Ramon James · Rashi Gupta · Ratnesh Sonar · rawrly · rcain · rebasaurus · Remy Perona · Renatho (a11n) · Rene Hermenau · retrofox · Riad Benguella · Rich Collier · Rich Tabor · Rishi Mehta · Rishi Shah · Robert Anderson · Rolf Allard van Hagen · room34 · Ryan Boren · Ryan McCue · Ryan Welcher · Ryann Micua · Ryo · Sé Reed · Sébastien SERRE · Sabbir Hasan · Sachyya · Sadi Mohammad Zaman · sadpencil · Sahil · Saiduzzaman Tohin · Sakib MD Nazmush · Sal Ferrarello · samba45 · Sampat Viral · Samuel Rüegger · Samuel Sidler · Samuel Wood (Otto) · Santiago Cerro López · Sarah Norris · Sarath AR · Satish Prajapati · Satyam Vishwakarma (Satya) · Saxon Fletcher · Saxon Fletcher · Sayful Islam · Scott Kingsley Clark · Scott Reilly · Scott Taylor · scribu · Sean Fisher · Sergey Biryukov · Sergio de Falco · Seth Rubenstein · Shaharia Azam · Shail Mehta · ShaneF · Shannon Smith · shaunandrews · Shawn Hooper · shidouhikari · Shipon Karmakar · Shreyash Srivastava · Shubham Sedani · siddharth ravikumar · Siobhan · Sirajum Mahdi · sjregan · Soren Wrede · SourceView · sruthi89 · stacimc · Stefano Minoia · Stephen Bernhardt · Stephen Cronin · Stephen Edgar · Stephen Harris · Steven Lin · strarsis · Subrata Sarkar · Sumi Subedi · Sumit Bagthariya · Sumit Singh · SunilPrajapati · Svitlana Sukhoveiko · syamraj24 · Sybre Waaijer · Syed Balkhi · Syed Nuhel · Synchro · Takashi Irie · Takashi Kitajima · Tammie Lister · Tapan Kumer Das · Tara King · Taylor · Taylor Dewey · Taylor Gorman · tazotodua · Teddy Patriarca · Tellyworth · Thakor Darshil · them.es · thinkluke · Thomas Griffin · Thomas Kräftner · threadi · Tim Nolte · timbroddin · Timothée Brosille · Timothy Jacobs · tmatsuur · TobiasBg · tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner) · Tom · Tom Cafferkey · Tom Finley · Tom J Nowell · tomluckies · Tomoki Shimomura · tomsommer · tomxygen · Toni Viemerö · Tony G · Tonya Mork · Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe) · torres126 · Torsten Landsiedel · Toru Miki · toscho · Travis Smith · tropicalista · Trupti Kanzariya · Ugyen Dorji · upadalavipul · Utsav Patel · Utsav tilava · Uttam Kumar Dash · Vagelis · valerogarte · Vicente Canales · vikram6 · viliamkopecky · Vipul Ghori · vivekawsm · vladimiraus · vortfu · Vraja Das · Wasiur Rahman · welaunchio · Weston Ruter · WHSajid · WP Corner · xlthlx · Yan Sern · Yannis Guyon · Yui · Yuliyan Slavchev · Yuvrajsinh Sisodiya · Zack Tollman · Zane Matthew · Zeba Afia Shama · zieladam · Zunaid Amin · Česlav Przywara

Over 70 locales have translated 90 percent or more of WordPress 6.5 into their language. Community translators are working hard to ensure more translations are on their way. Thank you to everyone who helps make WordPress available in 200 languages.

Last but not least, thanks to the volunteers who contribute to the support forums by answering questions from WordPress users worldwide.

Get involved and contribute

Participation in WordPress is not limited to coding. If contributing appeals to you, learning more and getting involved is easy. Discover the teams that come together to Make WordPress, and use this interactive tool to help you decide which is right for you.

One more haiku

6.5 is here!
Play, interact, build better,
Stronger and faster.

by Matt Mullenweg at April 02, 2024 06:42 PM under releases

Do The Woo Community: Day Two Updates from the CloudFest Hackathon 2024

A diverse group at the CloudFest Hackathon worked on innovative projects, from database integration to accessibility plugins, showcasing dedication and collaboration.

by BobWP at April 02, 2024 09:25 AM under Uncategorized

March 30, 2024

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #98 – WordPress 6.5, Gutenberg 18.0 Community Theme Project and the Contributor Mentorship Program

In this episode, Maggie Cabrera and Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss WordPress 6.5, Gutenberg 18.0, Community Theme Project and the Contributor Mentorship Program.

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes

Maggie Cabrera

Announcements

Developer Blog updates

What’s new in Gutenberg 18.0? (27 March).

Story Dataviews Component

Design Share: Mar 11-Mar 22

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 98th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about WordPress 6.5 briefly, Gutenberg 18.0, the community mentorship program, and some other things that are in the works. And I’m your host, Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and full-time Core contributor for the WordPress open-source project sponsored by Automattic’s Five for the Future Program. That is a mouthful, and we’re going to repeat it again. I am thrilled to have with me Maggie Cabrera, also Core contributor, also sponsored by Automattic. She was also the co-lead for the Twenty Twenty Four theme development, and she does so much more in the community as well, and we will talk about those things. Thank you for joining me on the show, Maggie. Welcome. How are you today?

Maggie Cabrera: Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m doing really good. How are you?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m good, I’m good. I’m excited. Yeah, it’s kind of Easter weekend, and we get a few additional days.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, short week. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Short week, yes.

Maggie Cabrera: I’m really excited to be here with you.

Announcements

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So we have a couple of announcements that we want to kind of let our listeners know, and so one is, although contributors work really hard, the release team decided to delay the release of WordPress 6.5 for a week to get some more bugs fixed that are gravely impacting the user experience, and make the change to the default fonts directory. There was a discussion back and forth, and there was in Core, on the Core blog, you can certainly read up about it. I think the most important information is that it releases on April 2nd, just after the Easter holidays in Europe, so…

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. Yeah, I think it wouldn’t have, the holidays here, it would’ve been just a two-day release delay, or something like that, but I think it makes sense to take it out a little longer, and make sure that everything’s ironed out, and the change with the forms directory, it’s been a constant discussion, but it feels like there’s a solid decision now, so that it feels like it’s, 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a solid decision to get a release out, yes.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, it wasn’t easy, apparently. Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t a clear solution there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. No, and it’s kind of architectural versus practical, and all those kinds of different aspects of it, yeah. Would host work with it? How plugin devices work with it, and how users will find it. So I think it’s a decision, and we will see how it works out when WordPress 6.5 kind of hits your WordPress instance next week. 

Community Contributions

There are a few community contributions that I wanted to point out. The developer blog, we had a great publishing two weeks on the developer blog. Sometimes, we barely get one post out a week, but this time, we had two posts per week, so that is really cool, and in a very broad spectrum. So the first one was how to register block variations of PHP, and I think it was one of the most-read posts on that, and what we saw on Twitter was also the comments was, “Oh, finally, something for PHP developers who are not that comfortable with JavaScript,” and I’m glad we kind of, yeah, picked them up as well. Yeah, and another one that was well-received was the pattern design tips and tricks for developers and designers.

Maggie Cabrera: Oh, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, by Beatriz Fialho.

Maggie Cabrera: Yes, I love that one.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. She did an awesome job with the dos and don’ts, and kind of make it also visually very attractive.

Maggie Cabrera: Yes. I need to link that one to the Community Themes project, because it’s really relevant, so that’s really good that I have the link there for me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So the Meta team asked me if we could add some of the dos and don’ts to the pattern directory guidelines as well, because that would probably also change a little bit how people kind of approach it. Well, you mentioned the Community Theme project. Do you want to tell me about it, or our listeners about it?

Maggie Cabrera: Oh, yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah?

Community Theme Project

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, sure. Absolutely. Yeah, the Community Themes project is this really small thing that it’s… I hope it will attract more new contributors to the WordPress project. So, basically, it started after contributing to some of the previous default themes, I think it was Twenty Twenty One or Twenty Twenty Two. It was such a good experience for me to work with the community, and all the contributors, all together on a default thing, that it felt really sad that it only lasted a few months, and after that development was done, everyone went their own ways, and that was it. So I felt shouldn’t we just keep making blog themes together, and keep this momentum going? And so yeah, we just opened a repo, and started building some community themes that, they are block themes. It’s like this space where you can get with other contributors with different degrees of experience that can help you build block themes following the best code practices, and learn how to do that together. Now, we are using that project to also onboard new contributors via the mentorship program, which I think you’re going to talk about in a bit. So the new contributors will join that repo and help build the themes with some other more-seasoned contributors helping them out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, so was it Twenty Twenty Two that had the call for style variations?

Maggie Cabrera: I think it was Twenty Twenty Three.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Twenty Twenty Three? Oh, yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And that was the community project that you are kind of working on, where you had about 38 people submitting style variations, and made it into the default theme. So that was really cool, and it was also interesting to see how different designers approach it, yeah, and was it one or two themes that the Community Theme project released? 

Maggie Cabrera: So, right now, there’s two that are already finished, but we’re working on four more. They’re still in different degrees of done, but we’re not in a rush, which is the nice thing, because a default theme has a deadline, but community themes don’t really, so we just go at the pace of the contributors, and hopefully there will be, like those four, will make it sometime in the future in the directory. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So where can people read up about it? Is a GitHub repo, or a GitHub space, or is a channel?

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, it is a GitHub repo under the WordPress namespace. I think there’s an old post on the Make blog on the themes team, and it’s also part of the mentorship program. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, we definitely need to bring this out more, and amplify some of that work that you’re doing.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, whenever I go to WordCamps, and during contributor day, we usually work on that, on the themes table. So if you’re around in WordCamp EU, I will probably do more of that. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Excellent. So yeah, there are some more developer blog posts that I wanted to point out. The next one was drop shadow updates for WordPress 6.5. That kind of covers that drop shadows were only available for buttons, and only through the theme JSON file, so now, they’re available with a user interface under the Border and Shadows section in the styles, and come with five presets from Core. And you can add through the theme JSON additional ones, and they’re now available for images and column both, and the button block. Yeah, so those four blocks can now have drop shadows, have support for drop shadows. Yeah, it’s quite interesting to see how drop shadows make a revival design-wise, because they add a little bit of a dimension to a site, especially. Oh, and well, we talk about it when we cover Gutenberg 18.0 is, it now also came to featured image, but it will not be in 6.5. Yeah, and then Nick Diego published an Exploring the Block Hooks API in WordPress 6.5. You need, really, a big cup of coffee for it when you want to read it. It’s about 5,000 words, but it has 4 examples, how you can use this API to add blocks to various actions, and various other blocks, and also change content.

Maggie Cabrera: More PHP for the PHP lovers.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Say it again?

Maggie Cabrera: More PHP for the PHP-lovers.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s both, actually.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, true.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, you need to tell the block what to do. So that’s probably in JavaScript some more. Yeah. But yeah, that definitely, yeah, and then the last one was just published yesterday is how to use the WordPress React components for plugin pages, and so you can use the components that are pre-configured, pre-designed. You don’t have to make those decisions, but you can use them to also create your settings pages, your additional pages on the plugins, and it kind of goes into the next phase of things, when admin changes over to a few additional pages and all that, so… 

Mentorship Program

Well, you mentioned it before, the second cohort of the mentorship program is almost finished. It has really taken off. Almost 50 contributors were paired with mentors, and the program ran for six weeks. Mentees came from a lot of different countries, from Spain, from Egypt, from India, from Brazil, Italy. That’s just what I can kind of, at a first glance, see. So you have been part of it as a mentor, Maggie. So thank you for raising your hand and stepping up to that plate, and so what was your experience in working with a mentee in the whole program?

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, it’s been really good. Our particular project has nine people working on building the community themes that I mentioned before. Of those mentees, they all have varying degrees of experience in blog theme development, and I was really happy to see that some of them were designers, which is something that slowly, we’re moving towards, which I’m really excited about.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s cool. That designers are going to now do themes. Yeah, absolutely.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. Before, it was just developers, and then we’re getting more and more designers, because they don’t really need to actually know any kind of coding skills to do this. So I encourage any designers to join us, if they want to. I had the privilege to meet a few of them during WordCamp Contributor Day on the themes table. We were working on some community themes, along with other contributors that just joined our org, and I think this is the second instance of the mentorship program, which was successful, they did the first time around, and there’s been way more people this time, all over other teams of the project. I’m only talking about teams because it’s the one that I’m working on, but there’s a community, there’s Core, there’s tests, there’s documentation. All of the teams, I think, are represented. So everyone’s welcome. So yeah, I encourage, from here, anyone who’s interested in being a contributor to join it for the next one, and keep an eye on that. I think it’s the community Make blog where they are announcing when this mentorship is taking place, and it’s really nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. That will be make.wordpress.org/community. So the program managers are Hari Shanker and Naoko Takano?

Maggie Cabrera: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And they’re both very experienced community members.

Maggie Cabrera: Yes, they are.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and yes, the first cohort was in July last year. It started in July last year. It’s an experiment, yeah, and, obviously, the feedback was really great in how it all went, both from mentees and mentors. So they were able to expand this. I think they had 75 applicants. So there is an application embedding process for both mentees and mentors.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. There’s also been, this time around, there’s been a grant for LGBTQ+ people, so some of them are actually sponsored to join the mentorship program, which I hope will happen again. So yeah, I’m really excited about that, too.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s one of the many, actually, efforts to bring underrepresented minorities also to the contributor team, and I really love that there is a sponsorship there, because many women, I say, were non-binaries, have so much requests on their times, that apart from having a profession, or a job to do, they’re also caretakers of their families, their kids, their elderly, and so they are not as free, most of the time, in our society, not as free to take on extra time, and we can’t change that, but we can help offset some of the financial burdens that are there. All right, so yeah, I’m glad we talked about the mentorship program there. Thank you so much. 

Data Liberation

So there’s another initiative out there since the State of the Word in 2023. That was in Madrid. Matt Mullenweg talked about the data liberation, that anybody should be able to take their data and move either into WordPress, from WordPress to another WordPress, or from a third-party system, and the Data Liberation Project Initiative has invited developers and product owners to a hallway hangout, which is an informal discussion, to discuss and brainstorm around that project, and it’s on April 3rd at 7:00 PM, 1900 UTC, which is 1500 Europe or Germany, and 1900 is 1700. Well, time zones. Yeah, it’s 1900 UTC. Let’s do it that way.

Maggie Cabrera: We’re close to daylight savings, so you just let those people figure it out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s going to change on Sunday. So today is the 10th, and it will be on April 3rd. So yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: For some people.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For some people.

Maggie Cabrera: For some people.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s okay. Only for some people.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, if you miss it, because either time zones or daylight savings time, there, likely, will be a recording, and the topics that will become discussions is kind of the challenging of migrating from third-party platforms to WordPress, the good, the bad, and the ugly of exporting WordPress content. So the potential interoperability between block libraries, and page builders, and what work will make data liberation, and who should work on it. So that’s quite an interesting discussion to have with those people that are interested in the project on April 3rd. Okay, yeah, every time when I was working in an agency, it was always a little bit hard to move people away from hosting that is bad, or from page-builder that was bad, and all of that. So I’m glad that there is a project now where all the community can put together their scripts, and their ideas, and their work that they have already done, and share it with the rest of the community.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. I know more and more people who want to move out of those walled gardens, and own their own content, so I think that’s going to be a great initiative, for sure.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, the flexibility.

Maggie Cabrera: To keep an eye on it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The interoperability is just unmatched there that WordPress has with other systems, and the more a website grows up, the more needs there are, for sure. 

Developer Hours

Speaking of events, this week was a developer hour covering the block hooks API, and Nick Diego, and Ryan, or, no, Justin, went through four examples, Justin Tadlock, four examples of adding a like block to a page, and moving it from the comments to the top, or something like that, and then the Getting Started Guide in the Block Editor Handbook has a example of a copyright block. This developer API event kind of took that, and see what you could do with the block hooks, and get it into a footer, or get it into a template. And then the third example is to add a Back to Top link to a paragraph, or to the next heading, before the next heading, or something like that. Yeah, and then, last, but not least, how to add a login/logout block automatically to the navigation of a site in the template. So, right now, you can’t use the block hooks API, all the blocks. We should get rid of the name blocks, and just call it hooks.

Right now, it’s only for templates; you cannot do it for pages or posts, but that certainly is the next iteration of it. The recording will be linked in the show notes, so you can catch up on it, and they use the developer blog post on the block hooks API as a guide, and how they talked about it. Yeah. The next Developer Block Hour… God. There’s an erroneous block added to it, the Developer Block hours. No, it’s the Developer Hours, and it will take place on April 9th with Damon Cook and Nick Diego, and they will showcase examples on how to use the interactivity API and enhance your block-building experience for you and your users. So save the date, April 9th at 1400 UTC. You’ll figure out when that is for you, but I will link to register in the show notes, and it’s a link to meet up, and they do a good job in translating the times to the local times of your browser. All right, that’s about that, and I think it’s time that we start with the Gutenberg 18.0 release. Maggie, do you want to be honest and get us into the groove of things?

What’s Released – Gutenberg 18.0

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. The 18.0 Gutenberg plugin release has 206 closed PRs by 59 contributors. It has a record setting of 17 first-time contributors, which is amazing.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, amazing. Yeah. The last time, I think, was Gutenberg 13 point-something. Yeah, it was 13, but, normally, we have 4 or 5 first-time contributors.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m thinking that the successful Contributor Day in WordCamp Asia had something to do with it, but it’s just a theory.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, or the mentorship. Maybe the mentorship, too.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, mentorship, too, yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: I don’t know.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. Everything counts, yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Everything counts. Yes, of course. Yeah, every contribution is worth it.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. If you look, you’ll find, in the release, the result of additional data view works, improvements on feature image in all the blocks, and a ton of bug fixes, and about 35 PRs just for the contribution updates.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s amazing.

Maggie Cabrera: So let’s have a look at some of them.

Enhancements

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So DataViews is the prototype for the new admin design. Not a lot of people realize that, but if you’re in the blog edit and the site editor, the list views that you see there, the list of templates, and the list of pages, and the list of template parts, they’re all powered by the new data views, and this release brings with the multiple selection of filters. So if you were in a template view, you can say, “Okay, I want to combine the filter from the author with a theme,” or something like that. Yeah, or, “In a page, I want the ones that are published and pending for review, but not the draft ones,” or, “I want the ones published by a certain author.” So these, in the list here, I don’t think that’s actually available in the admin section now. I’m not quite sure. Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Not as complex as this filter looks like in this PR. It feels like it’s going a step ahead, and what I think is very powerful is how this can be used, not just where it’s being used right now, but in any other place that a plugin author may want to implement it, or in the future, we’re going to see it in other places in the admin panel. So yeah, I think it’s really powerful, and they’re working really hard on making this something that can be used in many ways. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and in the pages state of view, they added some quick actions. The quick bulk actions. I think bulk actions is the one from the admin where you can say, “Okay, I want this page, and this page, and this page,” and then delete them all, or change something, or something like that. Yeah, and now, that’s also in the new ones. And the last one from the data view, there are tons of changes in the data views. Some were incremental changes, but one is that the updates…

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, the story.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, so I wanted to talk about the index page for the templates, because it now shows three different views of it. So you could have a table. So the templates are your archive pages, your single post template, and all that, and you can see them all in a list, or you use the toggle for the layout, and you can see a grid view, and the grid view gives you a little small preview of the template, so you know exactly what it will show with a featured image with where the content is, and all that, or you can have a list, but then, there’s another pane that gives you a preview of the full page, full template, where you can also edit it, so that, from table, to grid view, to list view, those are the different prototypes for the admin designs, and it’s really smooth how they move, and with all the animations, yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. I’ve been looking at the PRs, and the contributors take a lot of care into the performance aspect of the changes. They are keeping close tabs into what the performance looks like. So these improvements, they’re going to be very important when this goes all over the admin. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So the next item on my list was in the site editor, the featured image is now, or in the site editor that we can look at, the post editor, the featured image section is now moved up to the top of the inspector control, which is….

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, I’m very excited about that. It feels like it’s such a small change, but it’s something that you want to be up top there, so I’m really excited that that finally made it. That’s the kind of thing that it’s like, “Why is it that hidden?” And it’s also something that it’s toggled, so you need to click it before you see it. So now, it’s up there, right where you need all the info for your photos.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the web pages become more and more just also visually, need to be visually attractive. You need to have a featured image for the social posts. Yeah, so it’s such a strong piece of your design that it should be more in the forefront, as it is now. Yeah. Yeah, speaking of featured image, you can now use the featured image in a media and text block, which I find exciting, because you don’t need to use complicated columns. Yeah, you can just use a media and text block for your featured image, and the title of your post, and then it kind of shows up in a great way, and you don’t have it as a background, or as a cover, or something like that; it’s just the picture has its own right, actually, in your header of your post, or in your archive pages. Yeah, so I really like it. Have you seen any designs for that yet?

Maggie Cabrera: No. You’ve seen that particular block, but I can think of a few things that I’ve worked on that try to replicate the same thing with columns, and I’m glad that now, we can do it with the media and text block, which is probably simpler than those solutions that we built. So yeah, I’m excited to have another tool for the theme developers to get those featured images in your posts. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, media and text block is actually quite versatile in how you can use it, and also, the expanding of the picture when the text goes bigger, and yeah, it’s all some automation in there. That was very intriguing.

Maggie Cabrera: And the responsive controls, yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was very intriguing to me, yeah, when I first kind of encountered it, and we mentioned it before, for the featured image, now, you can attach a box shadow or a drop shadow around it. It has support for that now. So you could have borders that are rounded plus a drop shadow on your featured image in the single post. It’s really cool. Yeah, I like it.

Maggie Cabrera: Yep.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the layout changes are part of the grid layout experiments? Have you experimented with those grid layouts that are coming to WordPress, or to the Gutenberg Times?

Maggie Cabrera: I have tested some of the PRs. This is not yet on Core, right? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, it’s on 18.

Maggie Cabrera: Okay. Yeah, so that’s the reason why I haven’t used it in a production-ready theme, but I’m really excited. I’m following it, because I think it’s great. It’s the future of layout in WordPress. So I’m super stoked about how fast it’s moving, because grid is so complicated, and thinking about a UI for grid, that it’s both complex enough to give you all the tools that you need for those complicated layouts, while are still being friendly for users who don’t know how grid works in CSS, it’s an incredible difficult accomplishment. So I’m really excited to see it advance, and it’s looking really, really promising. I really think it’s the future for theme layout. So I’m really looking really closely into those features.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So right now, you can only experience it when you enable the grid layouts in the experiments section of the Gutenberg plugin, but it’s really eye-opening how it all works, and there are two new features in there, that one is to have start row, and column start and row start controls in the grid so inside the grid, so you can drag and drop around blocks, and use the drag and drop, which is, visually, much easier to accomplish than trying to figure out which column to put where, something wherever, and another one is that you can group blocks in a grid, so you have six paragraphs, and then you highlight them all, and you click the grid button, and then it arranges them in whatever grid you say, three by three, three by two, four by two, kind of… Yeah, it’s actually really magic. Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: It’s magic. It’s magic, yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah, and it’s just so amazing that this is possible in WordPress, where you never had any layout tools before. Yeah, so yeah, we are really happy about that. The next thing is that, also, in the site editor, when you look at styles, up until now, you have just the style variations, but now, you also have access to the color and the typography presets in the same page or same column. So you can say, “Okay, I want this style variation, but I want it in a different color, and I want a different font for that.” So that informs your whole site as well. You don’t have to do it for every block, and every template, or something like that. Yeah, so this is really powerful to kind of bring the global styles, not only to the style variations, but also to color and typography presets. Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, sometimes you really like everything about a style variation, but the colors or the typography, and now, you can mix and match however you like, which is nice having the extra option, and I think it’s also a stepping stone for more changes, in that vein, that will come. So yeah, I’m excited about that, too.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and it’s also visually pleasing. So if you try that out, then when you use the Gutenberg plugin, you have some great visual representation of what the presets would be like, and also, when you click on it, you have a preview on the right-hand side, so you know what you get yourself into. So it’s really good. 

APIs

There’s a new API for developers, and that is the plugin document settings panel. So in the document settings, you can have, now, a slot fill, where you, as a plugin developer, you can have put additional fields in there, additional information, and additional controls, and it’s now available, also, for the site editor. You could do this on the post editor, but now, it’s also available for the site editor. So there’s this matching-up with post editor and site editor kind of becoming the same.

Maggie Cabrera: Yes. Yeah, that’s important.

Bug Fixes

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah. There’s one bug fix that I really love, and that’s the code bug. Finally. So yeah, especially for the developer blog, yeah, we had a few code examples.

Maggie Cabrera: I see why you highlighted it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … where we had to kind of spend hours, no, not hours, but at least a half an hour, very tedious work, to remove the breaks, and kind of have new lines in there in code view. So, now, that’s finally solved, and yeah, we can now start writing again.

Maggie Cabrera: Focus your time on what’s important, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s actually very soothing. It’s almost meditative doing that, but you need to be in the mindset for that.

Maggie Cabrera: Oh, yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Put on some music.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, put on some music. Yeah.

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, I get it.

Documentation

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think I wanted to highlight one of the documentation things. So, if you, as plugin developer, or agency developer, are interested in the data views, there is a… Well, all the components are in a storybook kind of site that gives you a representation outside of context of a component, and you can see all the attributes for it, and you can try it out, and they just updated the story for the data views component, and so it’s easier for if you want to kind of experiment with it, or, in your research, you can definitely use it now, and get a better handle on how the data views would maybe work for you in your plugin, and give us your more complicated custom post types that you might have. I will link the story to this DataViews component into the show notes so you don’t have to hunt it down.

I think that was it. That’s all from the Gutenberg plugin 18.0. Of course, if you’re interested in any of the other 209 PRs, the release post will be on makeblog/core later, after we’ve finished recording, but way before this podcast is published, so we’ll have it there for you in the show notes. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

Now, we’re at the section of what’s in active development or discussed, and I wanted to point out for you, dear listeners, what’s coming with the admin design. We know we see a few things already in the site editor, and as kind of a prototype of Saxon Fletcher from the design team showed in the video how the next version of DataViews, the admin pages, could work, and it’s an insightful 18-minute video shared in the design channel, and he summarizes the most recent thinking, particularly about layout and transitions in and out of the editor, and walks us through some of the Figma views and prototypes. It also goes into details about some of the Core paradigms, and if you’re not part of the WP Slack, you can also watch it via the latest design share on the Make design blog. So, Maggie, did you watch it? What was the most intriguing for you, or what was it from it?

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah, we talked about the DataViews earlier, and I think it’s really exciting to see how it’s shaping up. I think one of the comments that he makes is probably what some of the people have mentioned, about how the drilldown on the sidebar looks like, and how you’ve got to kind of click too many times to get where you want, and if you want to go back, you got to get taken back again, and it’s nice that they’re looking into that, and see if they’re going to iterate on that design. I think it’s really important for extenders, and even just regular users, to look into those design explorations, and give them feedback, because there’s only so many things that the design team can take into account, even though they make a great job at trying to figure out all use cases, and all probable ways of using the WordPress admin, but if you have feedback, I think this is the key moment to give it. So go ahead and look at the video. It’s really exciting. I think it looks really good, and I’m super stoked to see it actually live, and maybe even work on it. I really enjoyed, particularly, the color stuff, so I’ll delve into that, if I can chime in on that, but yeah, absolutely 100% look into it and give feedback, because now is the moment. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, what struck me as really interesting to see was how the new layout, we talked about the layout being on the left-hand side, being the menu, and then you get a list view, and then a preview, that has also been explored to use with more complicated custom postings, like a product, for instance, that has a few additional settings that you need to enter it, and he showed, very nicely, how that can be done in that content area in the middle of it, and then you could either switch to settings of the product, and have additional tabs, and additional fields and forms, or you could go and edit the product in an editor view. So I think there’s some great explorations there, in terms of more complicated custom post types, and to see those in a more modern interface is, really, it’s quite exciting for me. Yeah, and I can see how, because the admin designs are all extensible right now, and that accessibility needs to come back. So yes, so…

Maggie Cabrera: Yeah. WordPress needs plugins to live. Plugins are the soul of WordPress, so having them be more consistent with the general admin field is going to make WordPress, in general, a better experience for any users, whatever the plugins are. So that’s really good.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, in the Figma space section, it also showed some of the standard colors, and how the variables for primary, secondary, and tertiary could work out, but he also had a section in there where he changed a whole palette from light to dark, and then every screen would also follow suit, and how that is already thought through about it because admin themes are, I think on Core, we have six or seven admin themes, and plugins add additional ones there, so that needs to be taken care of as well. And with the Figma place, where all the standards are, it’s probably easier for the plugin developers to make decisions, and to come forward to going to production much faster than before, because they don’t have to invent the wheel over and over again. Yeah, so that’s an active discussion on the design team, and I have a link for you in the show notes, and, with that, we are at the end of the show. 

Maggie, it has been a great pleasure to chat with you, and I hope you’ll come back in a few months for another Gutenberg Changelog episode.

Maggie Cabrera: Absolutely. Yeah, I would be really happy to. It’s been a pleasure for me. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you, Maggie.

Maggie Cabrera: Thank you so much for inviting me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely, and the pleasure was all mine. So, before we end the show, I want to remind everyone, April 9th, next Developer Hours on the Interactivity API at 1400 UTC. I think it’s 8:00 AM Eastern, but don’t hold me to that. 

As always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is episode 98, and if you have questions, or suggestions, or news you want us to include, send them to Changelog@GutenbergTimes.com. That’s Changelog@GutenbergTimes.com, and if you want to write a review about our podcast, I think our last reviews were from 2021. I also have asked that much for it, and I have the experience that when you ask for it, people will step up to the plate and write a review. So if you want to do that, that would be really helpful, because it helps with discovery for new people. All right, that’s it. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.

Maggie Cabrera: Goodbye.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Until the next time. See you.

Maggie Cabrera: See you.

by Gutenberg Changelog at March 30, 2024 07:57 PM under Gutenberg

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg 18.0, Playground, Pattern, and Form plugins and so much more — Weekend Edition 289

Happy Easter if you celebrate it! 🐰 🐣  The Easter weekend has a total different vibe in Munich as it had in Naples. In Naples, it was just a normal weekend, and you could get groceries over the weekend, and other shopping done. Here it is a four-day weekend with Good Friday and Easter Monday as bank holidays and except for Saturday, almost all shops are closed.

On Thursday, everyone was out grocery shopping for the long weekend. We went to our weekly neighborhood market and were surprised by the long queue in front of every stand. People weren’t deterred by the pouring rain. It took us twice as long to make our purchases then in a normal week. I bet the lines would have been even longer without the rain.

We bought the first white asparagus already, some fish salad and graved lachsforelle from the local trout farmer, vegetable from the local farmers and butter and eggs from the local dairy farmers. At each stand, during the cash payment process you have a little chat with the merchant. I cherish these moments in the non-online, the analog world, that hasn’t changed for centuries. Interpersonal connections are so much richer than anything that can happen online, writes she who has been building websites for 28 years. Anyway. What are your favorite offline every day interactions, you cherish?

Now back to the world of blocks, themes, and plugins.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

This week we expected WordPress 6.5 to land. After further deliberation evaluating late bug fixes, the release team decided to move the release date until after Easter and so committers have enough time to review the code and add some testing. The WordPress 6.5 Release Candidate 4 is now available for testing.


Gutenberg 18.0 plugin version was released. You can read everything about it in the release post What’s new in Gutenberg 18.0? (27 March). As highlight, I pointed out: the newly added sitewide color and typography presets you find in Site Editor > Styles section, you can now use the feature image in a Media + Text block and features images now have support for drop shadows. Furthermore, the Grid layout experiments showed some great progress


Core Contributor, Maggie Cabrera and I chatted about the updates in Gutenberg 18.0, the Community Theme project and the Contributor mentorship program in our recording of the 98th Gutenberg changelog episode. As always, it will arrive at your favorite podcast app over the weekend.

Maggie Cabrera and Birgit Pauli-Haack recording Gutenberg changelog episode 98.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to any of these services and apps:
Apple Podcasts | CastBox | Google Podcasts | PocketCasts |  Podbean  
Podchaser | RSS | Spotify


In his latest, Design Share: Mar 11-Mar 22, Joen Asmussen lists the work of the WordPress Design Team. In this post, you also find the links of design resources for WordPress Figma and GitHub spaces in one place. Asmussen shared about the progress of the Grid layout work, Template vs. page content refinements, Template part and proximity selection, color generation and an 18-minute video with Admin updates with Saxon Fletcher.

In addition,

  • progress on synced pattern overrides, a feature that didn’t make into WordPress 6.5,
  • contentOnly improvements
  • Top bar organization exploration
  • Save & publish
  • Openverse dark mode
  • Blocks page v2 (https://wordpress.org/blocks)
Design explorations for Block page version 2

Data-liberation initiative invites developers and product owners to a Hallway Hangout: Data Liberation Discussion and Brainstorm on April 3 at 7 PM UTC don’t worry if you miss it, there will likely be a recording. The topics that might come up are around 

  • Challenges of migrating from third-party platforms to WordPress
  • The good, bad, and ugly of exporting WordPress content
  • The potential of interoperability between Block libraries and page builders
  • What work will make data liberation, and who should work on it

Upcoming events

April 2, 2024 14:00 UTC WordPress developer live stream: Testing WP Playground Jonathan Bossenger will dive deeply into WordPress Playground and all its different permutations, to see what they are capable of, and whether he could replace his custom local development environment with a version of WordPress Playground.


Learn.WordPress and Bud Kraus will present “What’s New In WordPress 6.5?” via Zoom on Tuesday, April 9 at 19:00 UTC*. He will demonstrate the new features coming to WordPress 6.5, such as Font Management Revisions for Styles and templates, and the new data view screens coming to the Site Editor.


Also, April 9, 2024, at 14:00 UTC*1, Nick Diego and Damon Cook invite you to the next Developer Hours: Building custom blocks with the Interactivity API. Damon Cook from WP Engine will demonstrate how he built a form submission block that leverages the API. This example will teach you how to kick-start a custom interactive block using the Create Block package, use directives to assign critical attributes to your HTML markup, create the store, and hook up the client-side JavaScript.

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

If you are looking for a block-based way to create form, Matthias Kittsteiner has the solution as the Form Block plugin. It comes with a Form creation Wizard, you can use unlimited fields and various field types, comes with honeypot implementation, client and server-side validation and built on consent check. A pro-version is also available at Form Block Pro


Yay Commerce, a long-time WooCommerce extender company, just published a set of blocks as Brandy Blocks in the WordPress Repository, primarily a testimonial block and a 3-column pricing table block.


Rafal Tomal reflected in his post Why I’m Excited About WordPress Again on his journey to Webflow as a site building tool and back and his experience with the Site editor and building the new premium block theme Rockbase. “The full site editor aligns with the contemporary approach to web design, moving away from viewing websites as static, brochure-like pages. Instead, websites are envisioned as dynamic design systems, and the modern WordPress theme embodies this system.” Tomal wrote.


David Artiss, customer success lead for WordPress VIP, is using the new Footnotes block and migrated earlier content. And he shared how he did it: Adding Footnotes in the WordPress block editor


Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Theme shop Blockify released a Pattern Manager in the WordPress plugin repository. It helps “you create and edit patterns for WordPress block themes. It automatically exports patterns on save as PHP files to the active themes patterns directory.”


In the #outreach channel, Anne McCarthy posted a question for theme developer and users:

:thinking_face: Share your thoughts on what the block theme tag should be in the theme repo :thinking_face:

In this trac issue https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/7524 , it’s proposed to update the  full site editing tag for block themes. What makes the most sense to you all to include? If folks can take some time to chime in, I’d appreciate it. I flagged twice now for #core-themes, and I am hoping to get more voices in the mix.

Anne McCarty #outreach

Via the WP Slack #outreach channel, theme builders were invited to discuss their workflows and their challenges in a Hallway Hangout. Here the Recap Hallway Hangout: Using Site editor in production for client sites. Hot topics, Navigation Block, Theme.json editor and the implementation of patterns, templates and Global styles between database and file system.


In his blog post, Composing with Patterns, Rich Tabor how patterns are pre-made designs that you can add to your website’s posts and pages. He explains that patterns make it quicker to build nice-looking pages. They also help keep the look of the website the same all over, which is good for people visiting your site. Rich thinks that as people use patterns more and tell WordPress what they like, patterns will get even better and make WordPress easier to use.


 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2024” 
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. 2024 on. Updated by yours truly. The previous years are also available: 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Bernie Reiter and Nick Diego took participants of the Developer Hours on the journey exploring Block Hooks in WordPress 6.5. In addition to covering the basics, they looked at practical examples that you can implement in your projects.


Brian Coords shows you in his latest video on YouTube how he uses Block Variations with the Block Bindings API and how you can offer a “no-code” experience for your users with Block Variations. Coords share his code via GitHub


In his latest live stream, Ryan Welcher explored Using Playground to preview plugins, and building a blueprint to show off some features of his Advanced Query Loop plugin. He walks through the process of how to set up a blueprint for the WordPress plugin repository, and then how to create demo content and integrate them into a blueprint as well.


Jonathan Bossenger explains the difference between Static and Dynamic Blocks, for the series of Introduction to Block development. In this video, Bossenger looks at what the difference is between static and dynamic blocks, how to determine which is right for your needs, and the different approaches for development.

If you rather learn by reading than by watching, Joni Halabi, published an article covering a similar topic: Static vs. dynamic blocks: What’s the difference? on the WordPress Developer Blog.


🗞️ Speaking of Developer Blog: This week saw three new articles published;

Exploring the Block Hooks API in WordPress 6.5 by Nick Diego. The Block Hooks API is an extensibility mechanism that allows you to dynamically insert blocks into block themes. Learn how to use the API in your projects in this comprehensive overview.

How to use WordPress React components for plugin pages by Robert Mészáros. Learn how to create a settings page with multiple controls using WordPress React components for a plugin that displays an announcement bar on the front end.

How to work effectively with the useSelect hook by Jarda Snajdr. This article is about the useSelect React hook from the @wordpress/data library. It offers several tips and tricks on how to use it in the most efficient way possible, and answers many subtle questions about how it really works.

If you don’t want to miss any new posts on the Developer blog, head on over there and subscribe via email.

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.

Now also available via WordPress Playground. There is no need for a test site locally or on a server. Have you been using it? Email me with your experience

GitHub all releases

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


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


Featured Image: Scooters at the Festival of Lights, Taipei, Taiwan by Birgit Pauli-Haack


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at March 30, 2024 07:59 AM under Weekend Edition

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Last updated:

April 16, 2024 10:45 PM
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