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The Week in Analysis

How Tumblr Became Popular for Being Obsolete

Kyle Chayka from The New Yorker writes about the unusual popularity of Automattic-owned Tumblr. Chayka says Tumblr's "status as a relic of the Internet has attracted prodigal users as well as new ones." The article is behind a paywall of sorts but readable if you create an account. Chayka covers the early days of Tumblr and the controversies that have followed it before Automattic acquired the platform in 2019. magnifying-glass
POST STATUS ANALYSIS

WordPress users probably haven’t given much thought to Tumblr and Matt Mullenweg’s plans for it. (The back end likely involves WordPress while “the front-end user experience… will evolve on its own…”) But Tumblr and its user community is a social network of sorts. I don’t think we look at Automattic as owning a social network. Especially one that acts (or doesn’t act) the way others do. As Kyle notes, “There aren’t influencers on Tumblr the way there are on Instagram and TikTok, and the experience for all users might be more pleasant as a result.”

β€” David

Joomla Mis-Discussed

Robert Jacobi explains how recent discussions in Post Status Slack have involved some faulty comparisons between WordPress and Joomla. When the idea of a WordPress app store was put forward (not for the first time) as a means of support for open source contributors, Matt Mullenweg said he is "haunted by what happened to the Joomla community when they created an official marketplace, seemed like the beginning of the end for them." Robert later responded on his site:
"Joomla has never had an app marketplace, it has had and continues to have an Extensions Directory (same as the WordPress Plugin Directory)."
Robert also believes an open-sourced WordPress.org-sponsored app store isn't the answer to supporting open source contributors, but a solid answer is sorely needed:
"We need to directly support good projects and developers by contributing directly to their livelihoods."
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POST STATUS ANALYSIS

Looking at other open-source projects for lessons to learn from and apply to WordPress is a good idea Lesley Sim and others have proposed in this ongoing dialogue. Like Robert Jacobi, a fair number of people working in the WordPress space have been (or still are) involved with Joomla, Drupal, and other projects. Their experiences and observations are worth listening to, and I hope there will be more opportunities for that kind of reflection in the near future.

The Wikipedia history of Joomla is currently written as a story of decline that squares with my memories as a freelancer using Joomla heavily (and then less and less) from 2005-12. While there was never a single “Benevolent Dictator for Life” leading the Joomla project β€” there were over two dozen co-founders! β€” there was a small core group and one co-founder in particular who stood out as first among equals. They were the closest Joomla came to having a BDFL. These individuals led Joomla in its early, very successful years. They exited the project as they came into conflict with Open Source Matters, the foundation providing legal, organizational, and financial governance for the project.

The name “Joomla” is derived from a Swahili word, “jumla,” whose meaning was thematic for the Joomla community: “all together as a whole.” But that is precisely where the project seemed to founder. Organizational rather than technical failures seem to be regarded more commonly now as having had a great deal to do with Joomla’s rapid decline.

β€” Dan Knauss

Log4j: Google and IBM Call for List of Critical Open Source Projects

— There are more details coming out after the White House meeting on open source security concerns triggered by the recent log4j vulnerabilities. Google and IBM asked for "a list of critical open source projects," which has already begun to be assembled using a "criticality score" under the auspices of the OpenSSF, which is a past recipient of $100 Million in donations from Google. Kent Walker, president of global affairs at Google and Alphabet also proposed creating an organization to serve as a marketplace for open source maintenance with the following rationale:
"Open source software is a connective tissue for much of the online world β€” it deserves the same focus and funding we give to our roads and bridges."
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POST STATUS ANALYSIS

In attendance at the White House Open Source Cybersecurity meeting: Apache, Google, Apple, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Meta, Linux, and Oracle.

Not invited: WordPress, powering 40% of the top million websites, including whitehouse.gov.

WordPress and many plugins in the WordPress ecosystem have been ranked in the top 200 most critical PHP projects, however.

Currently, WooCommerce ranks 13th out of 200 projects in criticality with a score of 0.8. Jetpack follows at 17th (0.78). Yoast SEO is #27 (0.75), WordPress is #42 (0.726), and the Google AMP plugin for WordPress is #44 (0.721).

It’s unclear if these scores and rankings are based solely on GitHub data, but in the case of WordPress, this seems to be the case β€” data from Trac is excluded from the calculated score.

The criticality score runs from 0 to 1 “and is derived from various project usage metrics in a fully automated way.” (The algorithm is explained in the OSSF score repo.) Those metrics include:

“a project’s age, number of individual contributors and organizations involved, user involvement (in terms of new issue requests and updates), and a rough estimate of its dependencies using commit mentions.”

It is also possible for open source projects to add their own internal metrics “to re-adjust a project’s criticality score for individualized prioritization needs.”

Currently, WordPress and other open-source projects, many of which belong to the WordPress ecosystem, do not have a seat at the table with the big tech companies that are determining the course of industry “self-regulation.” Clearly, that needs to change.

β€” Dan Knauss

Latest Post Status Feature

WordPress as a Commons

— Fences can protect or inhibit care of a commons. "Do not remove a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place," is a classic piece of wisdom. What are the questions we need to ask about our fences and WordPress as a commons?

Can Five for the Future Fund WordPress Research?

— How can WordPress attract and retain more contributors? How can we assess and improve contributors, leaders, governance, transparency, discourse, and diversity in this dynamic community? Jordi Cabot proposes making research into these areas as a part of WordPress.org's Five for the Future program.

News for the WordPress Professional

Dealing with Dependencies

PHP developer Brent Roose explains how he deals with dependencies that won't support the latest PHP version you're upgrading to. Start testing early, submit a pull request if you can fix the issue in PHP yourself, and reach out to the maintainers. Sometimes you need to start looking for alternatives or fork the library in question. magnifying-glass

Woo Snippet for the Week of January 17

— Big news on the WooCommerce front! For devs worldwide, there was this huge sigh of relief as Woo announced they are starting to work on an implementation of custom tables for orders. How huge is this? Huge, huge! It has been in the minds and on the radar of devs for some time. Many are applauding the efforts on Twitter and anticipating this large improvement. It's a complex update, so WooCommerce will be wanting feedback. In the meantime, Zach Stepek, Carl Alexander, and Till KrΓΌss will be taking a deep dive into the topic on the Do the Woo podcast on February 1st. In other news, WooCommerce 6.2.0 Beta 1 was released with the final release date coming up on February 8. magnifying-glass

clay.css

— If you love fun CSS libraries, clay.css certainly fits that definition. It allows you to apply "inflated fluffy 3D claymorphism styles" to elements. magnifying-glass

How To Hire For Digital Accessibility Roles

Kate Kalcevich says there are three ways to increase your digital accessibility capacity: The best option is probably the second one:
Decentralizing accessibility throughout the team is one of the most sustainable and impactful ways to increase accessibility in your digital products.
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14 Days Since Last Acquisition

January 9, 2022 - WP Experts Acquires Login Designer


πŸ‘‰ We’ve created a page for WordPress acquisitions going back to 2007. We’d also like to gather major investment data. Help us make this table more complete by adding additional deals, data, and links.

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