Notes for July 23, 2021

Footnotes #456

Issue #456

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.”

Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Howdy!

Thinking about WordPress history lately in terms of business and product acquisitions, key investments and hires … it says A LOT about the energy in this community.

There’s another kind of energy too. Anyone can acquire it, but we don’t have a tracker for it. I feel it in the goodwill that exists in so many relationships in this space … young and old ones. New connections being made all the time… It’s something we should all value and want to protect.

I’ve been thinking about the role of empathy in marketing. You really have to start there… thinking about your people. The health of our community has a lot to do with being able to talk with each other… and for our regard for each other that goes beyond the surface of business and tech.

Last but not least in this newsletter are important discussions about the need for greater inclusion, the harm of predatory behavior, and the health of the planet we share. The good we have is always fragile. Knowing this feeds a sense of immense responsibility in me and the rest of us at Post Status.

We hope it does for you too.

— Cory Miller

Join me as I take a big dose of my own advice and just #ClickPublish for 30 days. Write. Click that Publish button. Today. Now! I’ve created a new Slack Channel at Post Status called #clickpublish. Come join us! 📝


📉 Is Growth in Active Installs of WordPress Plugins Declining?

Along with some other people, I have been intensely watching the active install growth charts on the WordPress.org plugin repository for a variety of plugins for the past few months. Many plugins in the WordPress.org repository have shown a significant drop in that area this year.

Our investigation indicates this is a broad trend since about May or early June 2021 when some of the most popular and well-known plugins’ active install growth (as reported by WordPress.org) began pointing generally downward. Often we see negative percentages, which seems to suggest the plugins are being removed from WordPress sites.

READ MORE →


🎙️ Post Status Excerpt (No. 17) — Acquisition Tracker, WordPress 5.8 and #ClickPublish

In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David Bisset and Cory Miller chat about how the new Post Status Acquisition Tracker is a window into significant moments and trends in WordPress history. With WordPress 5.8 released this week, it will be interesting to see how theme developers react and adapt to it in the coming months and years. It seems some people aren’t happy about a certain change to the Media Library.

Also covered in this episode: On the eve of WordFest 2021, David notes Elementor‘s fifth anniversary and how they might be installed on about 12% of all WordPress sites. Cory shares the #ClickPublish movement he’s started on Post Status Slack.

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

Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS. 🎧

LISTEN NOW →


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WordPress 5.8 “Tatum” was released as planned this past Tuesday. Matt Mullenweg was the lead on this release. There were 530 volunteers along with 320+ tickets on Trac and over 1,500 pull requests on GitHub.

Courtney Robertson has a good summary of the features in WordPress 5.8 from the perspective of those who have client websites, and it’s written in such a way that you could share it with some of those clients. Carlo Daniele also has an excellent breakdown (down to the block level). For developers, of course, the WordPress 5.8 field guide will be good to examine if you haven’t already. 📑

This release also included the launch of the pattern library, where you can save your favorite patterns to your WordPress.org account. A recent update noted, “Work is now beginning on the next milestone, which will enable patterns to be submitted by anyone, similar to the Theme and Plugin Directories.”

With the new pattern library, the new widget screen, and full site editing advancements going into 5.8, it will be a key milestone in the Gutenberg era. The impact this release will have for theme builders will be felt for years to come. Themes might not be the future of WordPress, but they still play a big part in the current economy and are still the very first step for many people choosing to go with WordPress as a solution.

How and when theme builders as a whole adapt and we reach a tipping point remains to be seen. Traditional themes work fine with 5.8, so the transition time between traditional and “full block” themes as the norm may be gradual. In any case, WordPress 5.8 will likely be the spark that many will use to prepare for the future — learning about themes.json for starters.

Change resistance can have benefits. Some non-block updates in 5.8 were quickly noticed by some users, as seen in this example of one person who was dismayed by the loss of infinite auto-scrolling images in the media library — and another commenter provided a way to get it back.

Onward and upward to WordPress 5.9! 🦸


Tammie Lister has started a lexicon to help “define and collate links” related to “themes and the new functionality in WordPress as full site editing happens.”🔖


BuddyPress 9.0 “Mico” was released a day before WordPress 5.8 with 10 new blocks. It was a short time frame development cycle, so kudos to the team for pulling it off. 🙌

I’m excited to see the block editor used in BuddyPress, which should allow for more flexible design choices.


Carolina Nymark is looking for feedback — especially from WordPress theme authors — to help improve the theme directory requirements. She asks, “What would make it easier for you to submit themes? What requirement would you like to change or remove?” 💬

Carolina also has a proposal for updated theme directory requirements.


Francesca Marano describes some proof-of-concept work being done with WordPress updates, and she’s asking for feedback. A proof of concept has been created that can be found in a draft PR. 💬


With the release of WordPress 5.8, block templates have been on the minds of some developers. Rich Tabor has a great guide to building your first block template, and it explains how to leverage template parts within block templates. 🦮

For Rich this is clearly the dawn of full site editing:

“Block templates are absolutely how most of us will interface with templated content within WordPress in the future. Having the ability to natively edit a template provided by a theme, plus maintain that template even after switching themes, is honestly a game-changer.”

It appears that WPBeginner has launched a new plugin called Comment Moderation Role. It allows you to give users admin access only to the comment moderation screen. 🔌

“Unlike the WordPress default settings, a comment moderator is not required to be able to author posts, so you can keep your content secure.”


Marcus Kazmierczak continues to dive deep into how WordPress 5.8 introduces a new and easier way to load block assets only when needed. He shares a test-block example. 👍


Version 0.8 of the GraphQL API for WordPress is now available. This is a big release with potential for “breaking changes,” so be careful if you are updating. In 0.8, the codebase was refactored to enable extensions, further satisfy the GraphQL specification, complete the GraphQL schema, and support WordPress 5.8.


🤝 WordPress Jobs: The Post Status Job Board

💼 There are currently 22 Active Job Listings on the Board. We don't have space for them all here, so be sure to check online too.

☀️ Employers: Get your job opening in front of many of the best and brightest members of the WordPress community. List your job opening with Post Status today. (Get a 20% discount as a Post Status Club Member!) »

Current Listings:


LionSher Technologies has announced the acquisition of the following plugins from Lever Technology: PDF Embedder, Google Apps Login, Google Drive Embedder, Google Apps Directory, Google Profile Avatars, and All-In-One Intranet. 🔌

LionSher has flown under the radar for a while in the WordPress community, starting with the purchase of Envira Gallery and Soliloquy from Awesome Motive and then in May 2020 purchasing Imagely, the owners of NextGEN Gallery.

Every time we reset the counter on the Post Status Acquisition Tracker, we notice how deals of all kinds and sizes are happening in the WordPress space — on almost a weekly basis these days!


Elementor celebrated its fifth birthday last month and published a blog post of milestones they’ve reached. They claim that “5% Of All Websites Are Built With Elementor” with 8 million “active installs.” 🎂

If that’s accurate it would mean Elementor is installed on 12-13% of all WordPress sites, a figure that W3Techs seems to back up with their numbers. (WooCommerce and WPBakery are the only two WordPress plugins listed with larger numbers). Achieving this within just 5 years is remarkable.


Congrats To InstaWP for hitting 1,000 websites in fewer than 15 days after launching. InstaWP lets you spin up a WordPress test site very quickly. Founder Vikas Singhal promises more features (like reserving sites and mapping domain names) in the near future. 🙌


After Automattic announced it was buying Pocket Casts last week, Joe Casabona explained why he thinks this is a great move. 🎙️

Personally, I think it’s nice to see Automattic taking ownership, and I don’t think this particular move will harm podcasters’ freedom as one might argue that Spotify is doing. It will take a while to see what happens with this acquisition, but it’s easy to imagine posting a podcast on WordPress.com and finding it published more easily on Pocket Casts.


Some Tumblr news this week: Ilya Kaminsky has been brought on board with Automattic to work on Tumblr as Director of Engineering, Ads. Automattic credits a new partnership with Hunt Club for the hire, no doubt one of several sources for talent in a competitive hiring market.

In addition, Tumblr announced Post+ which allows creators to get paid by charging a subscription for their blogs. Matt Mullenweg says he disagrees with people who say not much has been done with Tumblr since 2019. He pointed out, “[I]t’s true a lot of the work has been behind the scenes, but that gives us a great foundation for new launches now.”

It appears some in the Tumblr community aren’t taking this announcement well with Amanda Silberling stating, “It’s not a question of whether or not it’s valuable to support creators, but rather, whether Tumblr is capable of hosting such a service.” I believe it can, and more importantly, it probably must.


Nick Adams, former COO of WP Buffs, has transitioned into the role of CEO there. Joe Howard is staying on as CIO (Chief Innovation Officer) and will be handling WPMRR (the virtual summit, community, and podcast) and advancing the acquisition unit. 👏


Nandini Diagarajan explores the things you should know before taking over an online community. This advice could apply to communities formed around products, plugins, and even events in the WordPress space.

This is recommended reading for anyone taking over as community manager or acquiring a popular plugin or company. 👍


Ollie Rozdarz gets into detail about experiments performed last year with the WordPress.com onboarding flow. 🧪


📆 Upcoming Events

  • Gutenberg Full-Site Editing: Unlocking Agility for Enterprise WordPress: WordPress VIP is holding a webinar on Full Site Editing on July 29th (10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 5 PM UTC) led by Tess Needham, David Bowman, and Jameson Proctor. The goal is to demonstrate Full-Site Editing as an asset to your teams. Discover what WordPress VIP learned from implementing FSE.
  • The 2021 WPMRR Virtual Summit: An online conference (September 21-23) that's 100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business. Hosted by Joe Howard and Brian Richards. Register here.
  • WordCamp Nicaragua: Takes place from August 6-7. 🇳🇮 Register here.
  • WordCamp Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil: Convenes for two days, August 11-12. 🇧🇷 Register here.

It appears Google has stopped displaying the AMP label for AMP pages listed in the Google mobile search results. It’s not clear if this will “influence searchers” as Barry Schwartz thinks it will, but it’s an interesting move considering Google’s mobile search results had displayed variations of AMP labels since AMP launched in 2016. 🔍


Firefox 90 will no longer support the FTP protocol. I know this will make things more secure, but the old-timer in me misses when I could visit FTP sites in a browser! 👴


Vitaly Friedman explains in Smashing Magazine how to use filters properly — and why it’s important:

“[N]ever freeze the UI on a single input, provide text input fallback and never auto-scroll users on a single input.”


Greg Hunt shared in Post Status Slack that he’s released a small utility plugin that adds your defined sidebar widget areas as standard WordPress menu items which would be “mostly useful for creating mega menu style dropdown menus.” 🔌


Wordfence reports that the official SendGrid for WordPress plugin is vulnerable to authorization bypass if run in multisite. The plugin is no longer maintained and no longer downloadable from the plugin repo, but it is reported to have 100,000+ active installs. 🔓

Hat tip to Prashant Baldha who digs deeper into the vulnerability on his blog. 🎩


Kevin Powell refers to a lot of helpful CSS resources and experts in this humble post. If you are looking to further expand your CSS knowledge, this is worth a read. 👑


Justin Ferriman notes the “importance of taking care of your mental health as an entrepreneur isn’t discussed enough” as he shares how he relieves stress. 🥊

“The body and mind are connected… most of the time my mind is taking care of my body, but every so often my body has to take care of my mind to relieve that time under tension.”


Marieke van de Rakt via HeroPress writes about finding her place at Yoast. At one point, she writes, she felt she wouldn’t be taken seriously: “People outside of Yoast often assumed that I was Joost’s assistant or his secretary.” 🙋‍♀️

Marieke’s path might inspire others with the value of steady work and learning:

“In 2015, I started talking at conferences. Over time, I got more comfortable and less insecure. I was more confident that I knew what I was doing. Working hard and studying a lot pays off.”

Even after assuming the role of CEO, Marieke still had to deal with the prejudiced assumptions of people who believed she only got the job by being married to the founder. She was also the only woman on the board and management team.

Under Marieke’s leadership, Yoast has hired more women and others from underrepresented groups. Her story should inspire other companies to do the same.


Timi Wahalahti believes that the WordPress community does not talk about the climate emergency enough, which we completely agree with. Timi lists some suggestions “to start the conversation.” 🚨

Even if you don’t completely agree with these ideas, it’s worth seriously considering what we can do to reduce waste at events and also on our sites. ♻️


Meanwhile, over in Post Status Slack, Steve Burge pointed out that for PublishPress‘s YouTube channel he “found and interviewed several WordPress people [who] are really focused on environmental issues: Tim Frick, Tom Greenwood, Hannah Smith, Phil Sturgeon, Yanir Seroussi, and Johannes Benz.”

Those are really great talks, and you can find even more over at the PublishPress blog. 🌍


Video Picks

📺 Here are my video picks:

  • 5 Plugins to Make Your WordPress Site More Efficient 🔥: Scott Wyden Kivowitz from Imagely shows how to optimize a WordPress site with five helpful plugins. 🔌
  • BSL Clip: Testing the Post Template Block: In this clip from his live stream, Joe Casabona tests out the new Query (Post Template) Block.
  • Theme.json for Theme Authors or Getting started building WordPress Themes for Full-site editing.: Learn about theme.json if you're a WordPress theme author with this recorded demo from a recent live Q&A session with Daisy Olson, Tammie Lister, and Jeff Ong.

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:


Notes for July 16, 2021

Footnotes #455

📆 Upcoming Events

  • Headless webinar: What is headless and why does everyone seem to want it?: On July 20th, Joost de Valk (founder of Yoast) and Miriam Schwab (CEO and co-founder of Strattic) will be holding a free webinar focused on the future of Headless CMSs. This will be useful if you have heard about “Headless” and want to get a handle on the basics. 4 pm CEST / 10 am EDT.
  • Gutenberg Full-Site Editing: Unlocking Agility for Enterprise WordPress: WordPress VIP is holding a webinar on Full Site Editing on July 29th led by Tess Needham, David Bowman, and Jameson Proctor. The goal is to demonstrate Full-Site Editing as an asset to your teams. Discover what WordPress VIP learned from implementing FSE.
  • The 2021 WPMRR Virtual Summit: An online conference that's 100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business. Hosted by Joe Howard and Brian Richards. Register here.
  • WordCamp Nicaragua: Takes place from August 6-7. 🇳🇮 Register here.
  • WordCamp Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil: Convenes for two days, August 11-12. 🇧🇷 Register here.
  • WordFest Live: A 24-hour celebration of all that is WordPress, on July 23! 🧡 It's free to register.

WordPress 5.8 Release Candidate 4 is out with a handful of bugs fixes. The final release is still scheduled to happen this Tuesday, July 20. 📅

It looks like there’s some adjustment coming to WordPress’s core lazy-loading implementation! 💤


Felix Arntz explains how it was recently discovered that the current WordPress core implementation might regress the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric  “when hero images above the fold are being lazy-loaded.”

Felix notes the adjustments for WordPress 5.9 will likely have just the very first content image or content iframe not be lazy-loaded. (Featured images are also being considered.)

This will become the default and should result in better LCP performance for WordPress “out of the box” while leaving more granular control to theme authors so they can decide which elements should be lazy-loaded.


WordPress 5.8 brings a few new features and tweaks to the block editor API. Riad Benguella goes into some detail about them. For example, if you’re creating your own custom block patterns, there’s a new blockTypes property that will allow your patterns to show up in other contexts like the transform menu. ✨


Justin Tadlock has a good summary of the changes coming in WordPress 5.8 related to the media library.

Highlights: Infinite scroll replaced with AJAX button (which improves accessibility), “Copy URL to clipboard” button, WebP support, and image_editor_output_format (for developers who want to transform images with one mime type to another).

I noticed the infinite scroll replacement right away in my beta testing, and I got used to it rather quickly. I think WebP support will help modernize WordPress in certain circles. It’s nice to see WordPress improvements in other areas that are not the block editor. 🙂


With WordPress 5.8 launching on July 20th, Anne McCarthy has compiled a list of the most important resources that will best prepare theme authors. 📚

If you had to choose only the top 3, Anne recommends:


Rich Tabor gets deeper into the process of building and publishing block plugins to the WordPress block directory. 🤿

“Eventually, the Block Directory will become the de facto way to discover new blocks. It is on each of us to take part in envisioning, designing, building, and deploying blocks that will further empower publishing within WordPress.”


Christopher John announced his first WordPress plugin on Twitter: Wayfinder. When you’re hovering over blocks in the editor, the plugin displays the block type and class names, “making it easier to identify and select the blocks you’re trying to edit.” Looks slick! 👍


On July 13th a critical vulnerability with WooCommerce and the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin was identified. 🔓

Beau Lebens at WooCommerce says it’s not clear yet if data was compromised: “Our investigation into this vulnerability and whether data has been compromised is ongoing.”

Wordfence also has some details if you are interested. Tony Perez explains what SQL Injection (SQLi) vulnerabilities are, and in this case, he shows the exact lines of problem code in Woo that caused the problem.

For most WordPress users and site owners, it’s simple: Upgrade as soon as possible, although forced, automatic software updates are currently rolling out. Updates have rolled out for multiple branches, although it’s always recommended to be on the latest versions of WooCommerce and WooCommerce Blocks (5.5.1 at the time of this writing).

Security issues can arise anywhere, and from what I can see, WooCommerce acted pretty quickly.

This news overshadowed the 5.5.0 release a little. Although it’s a minor release, it did include new versions of Action Scheduler, it hides PayPal Standard on new installs, and IE 11 support will no longer be available.


Wordfence has a created a whitepaper aimed at developers and security researchers to share how coding flaws can introduce some of the most common and significant WordPress vulnerabilities — and how to prevent them. 🔒


Meaghan McBee from Veracode shares a few results from their State of Software Security: Open Source Edition report. I noted this stat: “79 percent of the time developers never update third-party libraries once they’re in a codebase.”

I like this take from Rey Bango on this particular statistic:

“Yep seems about right but not because developers don’t want to do the right thing. They’re just spread thin due to ongoing resource demands.”

Some developers are lazy, but in my experience, it’s more often the case they are overworked. 😫


Laura Coronado asks “why Headless WordPress is trending” and shares some articles to help one get a handle on the basics. Useful reading if you haven’t been keeping up on the past year, but I’ve heard “headless” enough to know some people are excited by it — and using it.

Right now, as a developer, I find headless WordPress to be useful and competitive in certain scenarios and just plain interesting. I don’t think it’s a fad, but I do believe it’s currently for a very small niche of websites within a larger market. Still, I believe developers should be knowledgeable, and Laura does a great job of pulling together some good sources here.

Yoast, BTW, is having a webinar on July 20th on the same subject. 📺


Joost de Valk shows how the new Algolia implementation in Yoast SEO Premium can improve site search results. 🔎


Pantheon has raised $100 million (USD) from SoftBank Vision Fund. 😮

Frederic Lardinois notes that with this round, Pantheon has reached “unicorn status” — a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value over $1 billion.

SoftBank is a big name when it comes to tech investments. It’s been involved with ByteDance, Slack, Arm, and other big, well-known companies. They have become “huge believers in this category” of WebOps, where Pantheon has been a leader for quite some time.


Tiny, the folks behind TinyMCE, has announced they acquired Setka, a no-code WYSIWYG editor.

TinyMCE powers the classic editor in WordPress and many other CMSes. ⌨️

I’m not sure I will count this primarily as a “WordPress acquisition.” Setka does have a WordPress page builder plugin, but it has <700 installs and hasn’t been updated in a few months.

However, TinyMCE has a long history with WordPress, and this acquisition is in the same general space. A bigger deal perhaps to Shopify and other CMS platforms that continue to use it. It will be interesting to see how Tiny moves forward, and if the Setka builder plugin for WordPress is supported for the long haul under the new ownership.


Yash Rana lays a finger on common mistakes and mixed messages that many product makers are unknowingly making on their pricing pages.

The list includes: not creating urgency (or overdoing it), not reducing exit points, keeping design and copy simple, clarifying the value proposition, having a monthly payment option, accepting multiple currencies, and highlighting a payment plan. Yash lists 23 points in all. 😯

“There’s no one-size-fits-all pricing page strategy, and just because something worked for one business doesn’t mean it will work for you… Testing out new techniques, analyzing the results, and taking actions based on those analytics is the essence of effective marketing.”

I agree with Yash that you simply shouldn’t be changing things without doing research and trying to get a firm grip on your customer and their journey, along with their motivations. This applies to the whole site too, not just the pricing page.


Bill Erickson shows how to use an SVG for a site favicon. This allows you to modify the favicon styling based on a dynamic color scheme, including a dark mode.


Chris Lema offers some suggestions on how you can get people to send you action-oriented emails — which eliminate the need for meetings and extended email discussions. ✉️

Chris defines an action-oriented email as one “that lets me reply quickly and easily, and allows them [my staff] to take action.”

It’s not just for hierarchical organizations or internal communication though. I think action-oriented communication translates well to other situations too. It can be applied to client work, in teams, and it’s almost a form of consultative selling. Clearly, a worthwhile skill to pick up.


Video Picks

📺 Here is my video pick this week:

  • Gio Lodi, Mobile Software Engineer, on Life at Automattic: I recently stumbled upon a video playlist from early 2020 (before the pandemic truly hit the US) of short videos “introducing” Automatic employees. The latest one of Gio Lodi is from May 2021. It makes it clear how global Automattic truly is. 🌐

Podcast Picks

🎙️Here are my podcast picks:


Notes for July 9, 2021

Footnotes #454

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.8 is available now. It's still slated for release on July 20, 2021. 🥳

For a detailed breakdown of the changes included in this release, look at Milana Cap‘s WordPress 5.8 Field Guide, especially if you are a developer. It's a great summary with links to all the in-depth details in case you missed something at Make WordPress. Carlo Daniel's guide to 5.8 on the Kinsta blog is also a good and comprehensive review.

Carolina Nymark has summarized the theme features in WordPress 5.8, including the new widget screens that are enabled for classic themes. Carolina notes that in WordPress 5.8, you can only activate block themes with Gutenberg installed. Block themes no longer need to check if Gutenberg is active.

It also looks like WordPress 5.8 will include the latest version of Twemoji, Twitter's open-source emoji library. Version 13.1.0 has a variety of new and updated emojis.

Naoko Takano has a status update on translations and reminds volunteers to make some Block Patterns available in their locale by translating them.

It also looks like WordPress 5.8 will include the latest version of Twemoji, Twitter’s open-source emoji library. Version 13.1.0 has a variety of new and updated emojis.

Naoko Takano provides a status on translations and reminds volunteers to make some Block Patterns available in their locale by translating them.


Riad Benguella shows how theme authors can use theme.json, in addition to the global styles and settings capabilities, to opt-in into the layout feature for block containers in WordPress 5.8.

A variety of things added some overhead for theme developers: traditional CSS styles to support aligning content, new alignments in blocks starting in WordPress 5.0, and users potentially able to change how their inner blocks are positioned and aligned.

“Taking all these variations into consideration has become a very difficult task for theme authors….The block-editor will automatically read this config and provide the corresponding styles in the editor.”


Gutenberg 11.0.0 is out — and with efforts focused on the release of WordPress 5.8, this is mostly a “backports and bug fixes” release. David Smith however notes two new features: editing overlay for template parts and reusable blocks as well as support for CSS shorthand properties in theme.json and block attributes. 🐞


Anne McCarthy shares some high-level feedback received from the Full Site Editor program. 💬

What caught my eye was the first section on improving the settings experience. There were “feature requests for additional options for different blocks, desire for more control over spacing… general confusion around why certain settings exist in one place and not another.”

Anne stresses these results are a “snapshot in time” since many things in Gutenberg and FSE are changing constantly, some items have yet to be tested, and some items have already been addressed in some form.


Jon Quach has created an “experimental” themes.json generator. It lets you set custom colors, add custom color presets, spacing, and typography settings. Useful for theme developers using WordPress 5.8 and beyond. 🎨


Congrats to Helen Hou-Sandi for a decade of contributing to WordPress! Helen tells the story of her first committed patch to WordPress regarding stars in the plugin install screen. Not long after that, she joined 10up.


In retrospect, Helen says, she was “fortunate to be a part of and grow with the WordPress community in the decade since” her early involvement.

Castos is a WordPress-powered podcast hosting provider with roots in the open-source community through their Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin for WordPress. They recently announced a $756K pre-seed funding round from a number of companies, including Automattic and Yoast SEO.


🎙️ Cory Miller sat down with Castos CEO Craig Hewitt on the Post Status Draft podcast to talk about this move and how Castos is eager to expand its services in the private podcasting market. Here are some of the more interesting highlights from that conversation:

  • Craig started Podcast Motor in January 2016 as a side gig while working a sales and marketing job. He used his driving time to listen to podcasts. Podcast Motor still exists as a productized service now called Castos Productions.
  • Craig started Castos in May 2018.
  • Fellow Post Status member Brad Touesnard told Craig that Seriously Simple Podcasting was available for adoption or acquisition.
  • 50% of Castos’ current customers are WordPress users, and the rest use something else or might not even have websites.
  • The current round of funding they raised has around 12 investors, two of which are Automattic and Yoast.
  • They hit $1M ARR in February 2021.
  • Craig believes the future of podcasting (and Castos) is Internal Podcasts.
  • Craig credits being a part of Tiny Seed led by Rob Walling as a key to his success and future.

Syed Balkhi announced this week that Awesome Motive is buying SearchWP from Jon Christopher for an undisclosed sum. SearchWP debuted in 2013 and has at least 30,000 active installs making it the most used WordPress search plugin on the market. 🔍

Jon explains that as a solo developer there were constraints on taking it to the next level:

“I realized that SearchWP may have in fact outgrown my Company of One.”

There were never other companies or offers to consider or explore; Jon describes Awesome Motive as a “good fit.”

Jon is exploring what comes next:

“I really like building things from scratch and seeing what resonates with the world.”

As for the plugin, Syed notes that “aside from the new ownership change, it’s business as usual” and although Jon won’t be following to join the company the rest of the SearchWP team (likely mostly support) will. “We have added more team members from Awesome Motive that will be working on the SearchWP project (including myself).”

I feel the story here is similar, but not exactly the same, to the recent acquisition of Advanced Custom Fields. One developer wanting to hand a popular WordPress plugin over to a team who would take care of it and continue its growth. For the same reasons I thought ACF being sold to Delicious Brains was a good idea, I think Awesome Motive’s ownership of SearchWP means more stable growth and not relying on one single person for development and marketing.


📆 Upcoming Events

  • Headless webinar: What is headless and why does everyone seem to want it?: On July 20th, Joost de Valk (founder of Yoast) and Miriam Schwab (CEO and co-founder of Strattic) will be holding a free webinar focused on the future of Headless CMSs. This will be useful if you have heard about “Headless” and want to get a handle on the basics. 4 pm CEST / 10 am EDT.
  • Gutenberg Full-Site Editing: Unlocking Agility for Enterprise WordPress: WordPress VIP is holding a webinar on Full Site Editing on July 29th led by Tess Needham, David Bowman, and Jameson Proctor. The goal is to demonstrate Full-Site Editing as an asset to your teams. Discover what WordPress VIP learned from implementing FSE.
  • The 2021 WPMRR Virtual Summit: An online conference that's 100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business. Hosted by Joe Howard and Brian Richards. Register here.
  • WordCamp Nicaragua: Takes place from August 6-7. 🇳🇮 Register here.
  • WordCamp Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil: Convenes for two days, August 11-12. 🇧🇷 Register here.
  • WordFest Live: A 24-hour celebration of all that is WordPress, on July 23! 🧡 It's free to register.

Rich Tabor has written a primer on Gutenberg block plugins for the WordPress Block Directory. 🔌

He explains how block plugins “will change the landscape of WordPress editing as we know it today” even if their emergence now seems slow:

“The Block Directory is relatively new — about a year old now — but I’m bummed we haven’t seen higher enthusiasm for block plugins or the Block Directory… I am positive that block plugins will have an impactful role of empowering WordPress users in the future.”

I feel the Block Directory might have opportunities worth considering, but I haven’t used it enough to have an opinion beyond that.

StudioPress this week made some pre-announced changes: ProPlus customers will get access to Genesis Blocks Pro and Genesis Custom Blocks Pro for free while the Genesis Framework and the Sample Theme will also be available for free. 🆓

However, StudioPress made themes will no longer be sold individually. Additionally, “in order to prepare for Full Site Editing themes in WordPress,” all themes outside of the “top 10” StudioPress made themes will be archived.

Eric Karkovack has an enjoyable interview with Taylor Arndt. Taylor is an accessibility consultant and also blind, “which provides her with a first-person perspective on the challenges of using a typical website.” 🦮

Taylor notes that developers often miss header structure:

“I see lots of times where headings are used as a visual formatting indicator, rather than the real use of a section indicator for a new block of content.”

WP Engine has published a recap of the Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop, which concluded last month. 🙋🏾

“Before I took the workshop, I was unable to identify other African-American/Black speakers in various areas of WordPress (Development, Design, Marketing, etc)” said Joe A. Simpson Jr. “Thanks to this workshop, I was able to make connections and encourage the next wave of storytellers of our Open Source Project and its Community.”

We need more events like this, and based on the feedback from the latest Post Status Survey, many of you think so too.

Andrea Middleton reports the WordPress community team is “removing the barrier to organizing in-person meetup events for fully-vaccinated people, in places where vaccines are freely available.” 💉

The WordPress community team is not expecting or requiring local organizers to organize in-person events for fully-vaccinated people. Andrea simply states that “we’re removing the barrier to doing so.”

Her post lists the conditions for holding an in-person meetup.

Jack Domleo has a set of useful global CSS defaults (with commented explanations) that you can consider adding to your site alongside a reset stylesheet.

🙌 Luca Tumedei, a freelance WordPress and PHP developer, has received a nomination for the Yoast Care fund from Scott Kingsley Clark:

“Luca has been a core contributor, plugin developer, WordCamp organizer and speaker, and a huge help to many people who need automated testing for WordPress-related projects. He’s changed how I write tests for the better, and there’s a ton of awesome work.”

Do you have some ideas about standardizing colors in Gutenberg block themes? If so, Rich Tabor wants you to chime in. 🎨

The problem:

“At the moment, it’s frustrating as a user that upon switching to a theme that overwrites the default color palette you lose access to the rainbow-color set that comes with core.”

Rich proposes a solution that would separate the core palette from the theme palette while making the default palette user-customizable. Also:

“Colors picked locally could automatically become part of the custom user palette so that the next time they want to pick the same color it’s present there. A user should be able to remove a custom color at any time…”


Jetpack 9.9 has been released with a revamped image carousel and improved compatibility with WordPress 5.8. 🎠

🔌 If you work with translations, Pedro Mendonça has two plugins for you:

  1. Preferred Languages allows users to choose multiple languages for WordPress. This is helpful to create a “fallback chain” if you don’t want English to be the preferred backup language.
  2. Translation Tools allows you to easily change the language of your WordPress install, and it works with Preferred Languages. In a recent announcement, Pedro Mendonça at Jot explains how Translation Tools will work with WordPress 5.8.

WP Rocket recently pointed to an updated section on their blog sharing approaches of how to remove or reduce unused CSS. 🚀

One tip: If you are choosing a WordPress theme, look for one that’s as lightweight and lean as possible while prioritizing themes and plugins with modular CSS inclusion.

If you are interested in Core Web Vitals, WP Rocket has an informative page about that as well.

If you have ever needed a complete guide for Apple displays — including all phones and watches — check out screensizes.app. It covers everything from resolution sizes to “safe area” measurements to display types. 📱

Glassmorphism is a new design trend being used by big brands. If you find yourself needing to whip up a “card design” based on it, then this free CSS generator might help you quickly design and customize something enough to get started. 🎨

If you run an online store and are thinking about offering pre-orders, read Kathryn Marr explaining the benefits and the risks. 🛒

Some good tips: create a landing page just for your pre-orders, build awareness ahead of time, and reach out to the people who ordered your products to request reviews.

It’s possible to use Yoast SEO via the REST API to retrieve data for a headless WordPress site. This new feature will be available on version 16.7 of Yoast SEO, but it can be tested right now in the release candidate.

Justin Tadlock has put together a helper class for working with Laravel Mix in WordPress themes and plugins.

Video Picks

📺 Here are my video picks:

Notes for July 2, 2021

Footnotes #453

Issue #453


Howdy!

We’re working for you!

Behind the scenes, our Post Status team has been doing some tech housekeeping and making much-needed updates to our site to help our members, with more on the way — including a redesigned home page. (Thank you so much, David and Dan!)

I’ve been working on the Get Hired project that Brian announced a couple of years ago. Specifically, a Get Hired Online podcast and a newsletter devoted exclusively to Jobs.

Sign up for our upcoming Get Hired Newsletter here.

Have a great weekend!

—Cory


WPEngine, which took ownership of Local upon the acquisition of Flywheel in June 2019, has discontinued its own local development tool, DevKit, and incorporated its features into Local. Additionally, all of Local’s tools and features are free now — “including those formerly only available with a paid Local Pro subscription.”

Addons such as Live Links Pro, Instant Reload, Link Checker, and MagicSync are all available by default in the latest version of the Local app and free to use with a Local account.


DAVID‘S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📺 Here are David's video picks:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks for this week:

  • Do the Woo: Jacob Arriola talks about the benefits and tradeoffs of headless WordPress and WooCommerce. He also explains where a Woo builder should seek guidance about headless. 🙃
  • The DE{CODE} podcast: Drew Baker, technical director of Webby award-nominated web agency Funkhaus talks about their experience deploying headless WordPress for clients with everything from WP GraphQL to Nuxt.
  • Chatting with accessibility leader Rian Rietveld: If you have a deep interest in accessibility, this is a can't-miss interview with Rian Rietveld who works as an accessibility consultant and is a trainer for the online learning platform The A11Y Collective.
  • WPMRR Podcast: Nathan Hirsch talks about how he co-founded FreeUp — a solution platform that caters to businesses in need of skilled freelancers. He also discusses how referrals draw in new clients, screening for the best freelancers, and the challenges of remote work.

Notes for June 25, 2021

Footnotes #452

Issue #452

“A rising tide doesn't raise people who don't have a boat. We have to build the boat for them. We have to give them the basic infrastructure to rise with the tide.”

— Rahul Gandhi

 


Howdy!

Summer has arrived (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), and it's nice to enjoy a relatively slow week in WordPress news…

As we approach the WordPress 5.8 release toward the end of July, be sure to take a look at what's coming — some really big, even momentous changes are in the works.

If you have not paid attention to what's going on with universal themes, block patterns, and full-site editing, take note of several of the news items on those topics below. There's some good reading on the other end of those links touching on the future of themes and WordPress itself.

A more accessible and less complex user experience will benefit everyone — from the broad base of common users to high-end developers and companies focused on delivering enterprise-class WordPress solutions.

— Cory


📆 Upcoming Events

  • The first WordCamp in Bolivia is happening now — from June 24-26. 🇧🇴
  • WordFest Live: WordFest Live is back on July 23 — a 24-hour celebration of all that is WordPress! 🧡 It's free to register.

WordPress 5.8 Beta 3 has been released for testing. 38 bugs have been fixed so far. 🐛

There are changes that affect the Block Editor and caching, bundled themes, and coding standards. The current target for the final release is still July 20.


Starting in WordPress 5.8, Greg Ziółkowski notes the block.json metadata file should be used as the canonical way to register block types. There are many benefits to this move, including (but not limited to) the WordPress Plugins Directory‘s ability to detect block.json files, highlight blocks included in plugins, and extract their metadata. 🔌


Milana Cap reviews some older default themes that are receiving some block pattern love in the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release. From the visuals she shares, these patterns add a freshness to old default themes in a way not seen before.


A feature request to allow developers to modify and extend the Site Health tabs in core has been implemented in WordPress 5.8. This allows developers to add their own interfaces to the Site Health part of the WordPress admin with accompanying tab navigation in the Site Health header. It can even extend another interface.

Marius L. J. shows off some code demonstrating all the possibilities.


Attention WordPress themers — there is a call for testing theme.json for Full Site Editing. 🧪

The theme.json file contains settings to enable or disable theme features and set default styles for a website and its blocks. It’s all done in a consolidated and canonical way.

Anne McCarthy describes theme.json as “a big part of what makes block themes so powerful as it allows for finer-grained control and introduces the first step in managing styles for future WordPress releases.”


If you haven’t heard of theme.json yet or you don’t know what it does for WordPress themes, then this post from Tammie Lister will inspire you to learn. She notes this is “the first major theme process change to core in years.”

The Block Editor Handbook has a big, beefy page devoted to theme.json that will get you up to speed. 🥩

Tammie says theme.json separates style from form (layouts) and starts us down a path where designers eventually will have all the tools they need to build themes without developers.

According to Tammie, “It’s not quite there, but eventually no-code themes will be possible.”


With the Full Site Editing project well underway, Ben Dwyer says theme developers need to be thinking about what the future holds for them — and Universal Themes might need to be on that list:

“We that know that the Site Editor is coming. Building themes [with it] will allow users to transition from classic themes to block themes when they are ready without requiring them to switch themes.”

Universal Themes could allow people to create sites using WordPress without the Site Editor enabled. Then, when the Site Editor is more mature, they could begin using it.


Kjell Reigstad has pulled together a handful of suggestions to help folks who are submitting patterns to the pattern directory. Beatriz Fialho, Mel Choyce, and Kjell are going to shift their focus to further refining and tidying up the collection for launch. 🧹


Chris Lema lays a pointed finger on what he thinks the future of WordPress will require — we’ll need to eliminate the time it takes to get started, eliminate the complexity of assembling a solution, and eliminate the blame game — “the blame we push to customers.” 😯

Tom Willmot, the CEO of Human Made, had this reply:

“Agree we need more packaged WordPress solutions that remove the complexity of cobbling all the pieces together. It’s what we are doing with Altis DXP, packaging what marketing teams need to deliver personalized digital experiences.”


🌟 Featured Partner: Sandhills Development

Sandhills Development No matter what you’re working on with your WordPress website, Sandhills Development has a tool that can help you. Sell digital products with Easy Digital Downloads. Use AffiliateWP as your affiliate marketing solution. Sugar Calendar is event management made easy. And WP Simple Pay is a lightweight Stripe payments plugin. Craft superior experiences with the ingenuity of Sandhills’ plugins.

 


Joe Howard has announced that the WPMRR Community has been soft-launched:

“This community is an extension of the WPMRR podcast… But instead of just talking to guests and giving advice about this myself, we can put all our brains together in one place and help each other be successful.”


Charts Blocks for Gutenberg is a plugin for creating interactive charts in blocks. If the demo on the Github page is any indication, this looks like a good way to get a pie chart or bar graph on your site quickly. 📊


Will Morris discusses HTTP headers — what they are and how to add five security headers to a site.


If you run a site that sends a lot of emails and is considered a third-party service, then you might want to pay some attention to Amazon SES. Matt Shaw over at Delicious Brains digs into SES as an option for WordPress mail with a great walk-through. ✉️


Ian Jenkins shares some details on how Box UK develops enterprise WordPress sites. Ian starts with Docker, Monorepo, and Dictator. They also use Twig as their templating engine. How they install plugins is interesting:

“Our preferred setup is that a plugin is listed on wpackagist, which we add as a repository to our composer.json file. It mirrors all the plugins from the official plugin directory so most of the time a plugin is indeed listed there.”

When it comes to functionality that does not belong in the theme, “almost everything is a must-use plugin (mu-plugin).” 🔌


This week WP Engine announced the launch of Premier, their enterprise WordPress platform.

Premier offers security features and other items that belong in enterprise-level hosting: staging sites, developer environments, and automatic plugin updates. They also include custom blocks for WordPress. ✨


Local Pro from WP Engine will be free, and it launches next week — according to representatives at the WPEngine Summit conference this week.


Matías Ventura shared a video on Twitter showing a UI in the block editor that allows you to pick a different header without having to choose a different theme. Matías says “This video showcases a lot of work coming to fruition.” 👍


The Brave browser has introduced a Search beta. According to sources, all results come from Brave — not Google or Bing, although there’s a fallback to them depending on search results. Brave Search is advertised as a “privacy first search engine.” 🔍

I’ve just begun poking around Brave Search, but if you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into its algorithm and appearance then I recommend Roger Montti‘s in-depth post on the beta.


At the request of Joost de Valk, I read Kevin Indig‘s take on the end of amateur writing on the web where expertise is needed. (Joost has an excellent breakdown of the post on Twitter.) 👩‍🏫

Getting experts to write your content does raise your costs, but Kevin looks at a recent Google blog post about algorithm updates and concludes the following:

“creating content has lower barriers than ever before. The result is growing competition and rising content production costs. Longer content itself doesn’t cut it; you need better-looking content and expert writers.”


It looks like PayPal is doing a massive fee increase with new rates: 3.49% + 0.49 for domestic, 5% + $1 for international currencies. Apparently, there will be other price hikes as well. All of this goes into effect on August 2.

If you use PayPal, you might want to think through the impact on your business.


Joel Bronkowski explains how to get started with Paystack — which is now the preferred payments partner for WooCommerce in Africa. 💳


Todd Jones shares the lessons he learned from writing over 400 articles at MainWP. Todd says mistakes happen, so it’s important to keep to a system while also keeping the work fun and listening to your audience.👂

He also comments that “interview articles seem to do pretty well. I think that is because we are interested in people’s stories. Never neglect the power of someone’s story.”


Lauren Sternecky explains in some detail how The Events Calendar team tackled recurring events and why they needed to overhaul their system. She shares this because many companies often find themselves in a similar scenario — trying to fix “a problem that’s been plaguing your business for months, years, or even decades—without hurting your bottom line.”

There are a few items that Lauren shared that can apply to small agencies or even individual freelancers. On larger teams, the challenge was “allowing a subset of our team to be solely dedicated to the project” even as the company had other projects moving forward.

The focus and dedication of a small team can lead to more change than you expect. Lauren advises, “Don’t be afraid to start from scratch… which required dismantling the foundation of a system we relied on for more than a decade.” 👍


If you want to drop Google in favor of a privacy-friendly web analytics solution, then this recent list from Philipp Temmel is worth your time. The alternatives mentioned are also available in an Airtable database. 🔍


Now that SEO is taking performance optimization much more seriously thanks to Google‘s Core Web Vitals, some people think a web page’s Lighthouse performance scores correlate with their Core Web Vitals score. But is this really true? Rick Viscomi dives deeper into that question.

Rick concludes it’s better to use tools like Google Search Console‘s Core Web Vitals field data report if you want more accurate and actionable data.

🎩 Hat tip to Chris Christoff for bringing this to my attention.


What should be included in the 2021 HTTP Archive Web Almanac’s chapter on CMSes? Joost de Valk would love to hear your thoughts about this — because he is authoring that chapter! The 2020 version is still available online.


Code in PHP long enough and you’ll want to keep credentials and configuration values accessible to your code. It’s bad to have these “secret values” actually embedded in your code, so Chris Cornutt explores some ways to cope — with various levels of success. 👩‍💻


Cami Kaos covers some common questions involving the Code of Conduct that is associated with the WordPress Community Team — in particular, what happens if someone “does something wrong” — and if the problem is not resolved? 🤔

Cami says this is a rare outcome:

“when a swift end is put to the situation and no harm came to anyone, that’s usually the whole story of what happens.”


Video Picks

📺 Here is my video pick for the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:


Carefully crafted for you by humans.

The Post Status Team

— #452 —


Notes for June 18, 2021

Notes for June 8, 2021

Footnotes #450

John Blackbourn released Query Monitor 3.7 which includes features related to viewing information about debugging and the performance of REST API requests. ✨


Morgan Kay and Rian Rietveld gave a presentation at WCEU about enhancing the accessibility of Gravity Forms. They shared the content of their presentation, including links to the resources they mentioned. ♿

Morgan and Rian had some lessons to share with anyone bringing more accessibility into their products:

  • Make a plan to implement;
  • Don’t break stuff for users;
  • Get everyone on the team onboard and motivated;
  • Get help from outside or appoint an a11y expert in-house.

Notes for June 4, 2021

Footnotes #449

Delicious Brains has acquired Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), and Liquid Web has acquired Iconic. Read David's take on the story.

Jetpack received a forced update. David thinks they're dangerous but needed, but so is more information about them in the WordPress community.


An excellent business-related discussion in Post Status Slack: Patrick Garman (CEO of Mindsize) asks in our #business Slack channel, “How much cash do you keep on hand in the business?” 💵

The consensus was three months, although Cory Miller always “could sleep at night” with a 6-month reserve if revenue completely stopped. Some, like Carl Hancock, take comfort in the recurring pricing model — your billing would literally have to be broken for things to suddenly stop.

It's always nice to see answers from CEOs and those in charge of some of the most popular hosting and WordPress companies. If you haven't checked out Post Status Slack yet, you're missing some good information.


What makes a typeface accessible? Gareth Ford Williams has an informative guide on that. 🦮


The Wall Street Journal reported that Stack Overflow is being sold to Prosus for $1.8 Billion (USD). 😮

I haven't heard of Prosus before, but apparently, they have stakes in two educational tech companies: Udemy and Codecademy.

I'll watch this carefully in the future. To say the Stack Overflow community is large and well-known would be an understatement. Their WordPress-tagged questions (and job listings) make up a pretty big and active part of the site.


Anne McCarthy has published a comprehensive resource guide to help people talk about the upcoming WordPress full-site editing features. 👍


The A/B Testing For WordPress plugin apparently has a new ownerJohn James Jacoby. 🔌

The plugin's creator, Gaya Kessler, said that it “didn't feel right to not do something with this plugin since I was neglecting it… I am sure it will be in more capable hands with [John].”


Jonathan Wold makes a case for an app store for WordPress, although I would direct anyone interested in this to our Post Status Comments conversation where this concept was discussed a bit. 💬

Carl Hancock chimed in with some incisive commentary about the reasons why an app store has never emerged — and probably never will.


Anne S. Katzeff shows how to wrap text around an image in the WordPress editor.


Ihtisham Zahoor presents what he feels is a learning path for “newbies” in WordPress development. In addition to this guide, he has published an illustration of the “Learning Path” as a step-by-step guide on GitHub.

I recommend this for someone just being introduced to WordPress who wants to get the “lay of the land.” 👍


WordPress support has a new IRC server on the new Libera network in response to recent news and changes at freenode. 👁️‍🗨️


Thom Krupa shares a case study of how Bejamas moved Backlinko to Headless WordPress and Next.js.

WPGraphQL was used in the new site, replacing the Advanced Custom Fields plugin it used for many years.


🔗 Rian Rietveld published a guide to creating “the perfect link.” From from using “click here”  text (or not) to image links, here's the key:

“Make sure all visitors can easily spot and use all links, know where each link will take them, and know what to expect if they do click.”


Wes Bos has published a free note and reference guide for JavaScript developers, especially for beginners. It's a great-looking resource. 👍


Brian Schrader explains why unbounded possibility is bad for productivity:

“Even if your deadlines are completely arbitrary and can be changed at will, having them is the most important thing.”

I tend to agree, at least for me.


More bad news for Google's FLoC: Joomla will be blocking it by default and Drupal is going to be blocking it in an upcoming release. 🚫


Congrats to Allie Nimmons for being a recent recipient of the Yoast Care fund. 🙌


Notes for May 28, 2021

Footnotes #448

Are you ready for “WordPress: The College Years?”

As WordPress turns 18, David takes a look at some of the lesser-known historical milestones that have stuck with him. Remember Kubrick and The Trojan Emoji? 🐴


Newly released Gutenberg 10.7 includes the first iteration of responsive menus in the navigation block and new design tools to support the existing ones in blocks. Now you can insert block patterns from the WordPress.org Pattern Directory too. ✨


Anne McCarthy has put out the seventh call for testing in the Full Site Editing Outreach Program. 🧪

Now is a great time to help on the way to the 5.8 release. Just head over to #fse-outreach-experiment in Make Slack to join in and receive future announcements and updates.


Kevin Ohashi shared the results of his latest (2021) WordPress Hosting Benchmarks — and he has hauch a new website dedicated to his annual reports. WooCommerce hosts get their own section and separate benchmarks. Plans from different hosting companies are compared based on their monthly fees, with categories ranging from <$25 to $500+ a month. 📊


BuddyPress 8.0 will introduce personalized membership invitations and a new notification email that will automatically welcome new members into your community. 🤝


Pagely introduced its Really Rich Results plugin. It generates Schema.org structured data, empowering you to take advantage of Google’s Rich Results and featured snippets. ✂️


Understrap, a WordPress theme framework, has been acquired by Howard Development & Consulting. Rob Howard, who owns the firm, shares why he made the purchase — for around $50,000 USD — and he offers some insight into his commercial plans:

“Over the next few months, we’ll be surveying the community and creating a number of cool new commercial products and services related to UnderStrap, as well as releasing a separate software-as-a-service tool for WordPress developers.”

While it's a little funny this is posted on Medium (and not a WordPress blog), this is important news to Understrap users and something to keep an eye on. 👀

Here's our previous note on Understrap's last owner putting it up for sale. 🗒️


Stripe announced its new Payment Links recently. They allow you to create a payment page without a website or much (if any) code. 🔗


🙅‍♂️ Bernhard Kau reminds us why you shouldn't put theme code in plugins:

“Running theme code in plugins (and vice versa) can very easily cause issues… which might be hard to debug, especially when they only occur in rare cases (like a core database update).”


Peter Davis writes about the results of an SEO experiment on the Kapwing site. He offers “seven different ways to identify articles that could benefit most from updates with minimal overlap and identifiable metrics for improvement.” 📏

Nicole Kohler pointed me to Peter's article and commented, “If you're not refreshing your content, you're losing users, money, clicks. Proof [is] in the pudding [of Peter's results].”


Chris Coyier shares some insights on how to tackle auto-generated social media images. One way in WordPress is with the Social Image Generator plugin, which Chris describes in detail. 🔌


Chris Johnson has designed a tool to identify ways to improve the flow of your site, which he calls “Logical Content Flow.” This describes “the natural hierarchal flow when headings are applied to HTML content correctly as per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.” 🧑‍🦯


Low Tech Magazine demonstrates the sustainability of solar-powered websites by building one. This detailed post is based on their own self-hosted, solar-powered, off-grid website that has been running for 15 months now. ☀️


CSS Hell is a blog that holds a collection of common CSS mistakes and how to fix them. Love the title font. 😈


Eric Wu open-sourced his SEO tool that bulk checks IPs to validate Googlebot IPs. 🤖 Why is this important?

“Often there are various requests by spoofed user-agents pretending to be official search engine crawlers like Googlebot. In order to have an accurate understanding of the site's crawl rate, we want to verify the IP address of the various crawlers.”


This isn't directly WordPress-related, but as a developer, I admire Pedro Duarte‘s attention to detail in coding a custom code block. 👨‍💻


Alexis Collado outlines 70 ways to get started in UX and Product Design. There are some excellent, focused suggestions for designers, but some of Alexis's tips apply to other fields too. 👍


🎬 If you've been thinking about live streaming, then read Joe Casabona thoughts on what he's learned after investing his time in some experiments:

“Pick a theme… and a time that works for you and your audience. Interact with them.”


💬 Charles Copley has a unique use for BBPress that I never considered:

“Normally I would use Google Tasks for this (as I can access it from both my Pixel and laptop), but I did update my BBPress plugin to include these in case I ever need to make my forum go live as a Discord alternative, for the sheer ease of it.”


The Designer Experience (DesignEx) team at Automattic is focused on hiring designers, onboarding new designers, and fostering the growth and development of the design team. Monika Burman wrote a great piece about their culture and community-building programs, which aren't often featured. 👩‍🎨


Notes for May 19, 2021

Notes for May 14, 2021

Footnotes #446

The lead stories this week include GiveWP‘s acquisition by Liquid Web and increasing concerns over the “bus factor” in open source projects. Thankfully WP-CLI has a major release coming up this next week, but the sustainability of this vital project was jeopardized in 2020. Finally, the future of WordPress themes with Full Site Editing made us reflect on the history of the Widget and widget-based themes.


WordPress 5.7.2 is available. It's a security release (Ram Gall talks about specifics on the WordFence blog), so make sure to update if you don't have automatic updates active on your sites. 🔒


Gutenberg 10.6 has been released — with support for Duotone filters for blocks, suggestions for Block Patterns in the placeholder area of a newly created block, enhancements to the Table Block, and further work to Full Site Editing. 📦


As a debugging tool, Lara Schenck created a code snippet you can drop in your browser console to trigger a notice in the WordPress editor. ✂️


The sixth call for testing has been issued as part of the Full Site Editing Outreach Program. This time there's a focus on landing pages. If you haven’t been able to participate yet, now is a great time to do so. Time is of the essence as we get close to a 5.8 release. ⏳


StudioPress announced some changes this week. They are making the Genesis Framework and its Sample Theme available for free. StudioPress-made themes will no longer be sold individually, and “to prepare for Full Site Editing themes,” all but the top ten StudioPress-made themes will be archived. 😮


Robert Jacobi has joined Cloudways as Director of WordPress. We've included a lot of his insights from his blog and Post Status Slack over the past few months.

Robert will be leading the WordPress business unit with “strategic partnerships, building community engagement and helping establish new channels of outreach and building brand equity.” 👍


This week the formal announcement was made that CC Search (now Openverse) is part of the WordPress open source project. You can follow along with Openverse on its own Make page at make.wordpress.org/openverse. 🪐


John James Jacoby has created a utility called Persistent Dismissible. Here's how he describes it, in his words:

“How many times have you written some WordPress code to help you with storing the state of whether-or-not a logged-in user clicked “dismiss” on an admin-area notice, promo, or banner? Yeah. Us too.”


Yoast Readability Analysis is celebrating its 5th anniversary. In just five years they have made readability analysis available in over 15 languages! 🙌

Camille Cunningham has posted an interview between CEO Marieke van de Rakt and Irene Strikkers that explains why readability is important for your content SEO. This is an excellent plain-language summary of an important issue:

“Google reads text too. Google’s algorithm tries to mimic a human. So, if Google reads texts the same way humans do, the demands of readability rise.”


Congrats to WebDevStudios which has been named a WordPressVIP Gold Agency Partner. They are one of only 14 partners in the group and the first agency in several years to be added. 🥇

Speaking of WebDevStudios, a recent interview was released from WPCity with Brad Williams which covers how the company got started and what lies ahead for them.


According to W3Techs: Nginx is now the most popular web server, edging out Apache with just over one-third of the webserver market. 📈

Apache is close but declining. The gap between the two was 6.6% a year ago. 📉


Kellen Mace explains how to use WPGraphQL with Gravity Forms to send and receive form data to/from a headless WordPress application. There's also a video based on the post. 📺


WP Rocket shared some good SEO tips and best practices to get ready for Google‘s Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals. 🔍


People of WordPress shares the story of Fike Komala from Indonesia. Fike used WordPress to create content and build a career where she can work remotely from different locations around the world. 🌏


Avi Goldman has a new project, emailresourc.es. It houses a collection of email resources to help you through your email workflow steps. 📧


🐦 Here are some worthwhile Twitter threads (including some non-WordPress material) that I wish were blog posts:

  • Emily Triplett Lentz shared her 10 best tips for improving your writing skills.
  • Eric Karkovack got a lot of replies to his question of “what commercial plugin have you purchased/subscribed to that is so valuable that you consider it a bargain?”
  • If you build landing pages, then the 17 tips Blake Emal has shared will be worth your time.
  • Check out this recent piece from Oliver Meakings on what he learned after roasting 200 startup landing pages in 12 months.

Upcoming Events 📆

  • WordSesh 2021 was announced with sessions on May 25 – 27 and workshops from May 28 – June 1. Registration is free. 🆓
  • WPCampus 2021 Online is a free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education. It is happening on September 21-22. There is a call for speakers. 👩‍🎓
  • The WordCamp Japan 2021 schedule is available, and the event is happening June 20-27. 🗾
  • The Page Builder Summit 2.0 is a free summit about WordPress page builders taking place on May 10-14. 🏗️
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾
  • WordCamp Europe 2021 has announced it will take place online, June 7-10. 🏕️
  • The World's Largest eCommerce Event is being held by Ecom World from June 28-29. 🛒

DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

  • The DE{CODE} Podcast: Matt Landers, Will Johnston, and Kellen Mace attempt to break down and evaluate the arguments presented at Jamstack Conf 2020 between Matt Mullenweg and Netlify CEO Matt Biilmann regarding WordPress and Jamstack.
  • The WP Minute: Matt Medeiros covers Liquid Web‘s acquisition of GiveWP in this episode and this interview.
  • WP Briefing: Josepha Haden is joined by Matt Mullenweg to discuss the relaunch of CC Search — now as Openverse — in WordPress.
  • Do The Woo: Bob Dunn takes a journey back over the last few months and hears how ten of his guests discovered WooCommerce.
  • WPCoffeeTalk: Prem Tiwari is featured in this recent episode. Prem contributes across several WordPress teams, and he's active in WordCamps and his local meetup in Bangalore.

Notes for May 5, 2021

Footnotes #445

WebP support seems to be in the cards for WordPress. Jonny Harris shared this Trac ticket on Twitter and added the following comment:

“Worked really hard on this one and I am proud of it. Massive props to @roundearth for landing this. Here's to making the web’s images much smaller!”

Jonny's Trac ticket adds “support for uploading, editing and saving WebP images when supported by the server.” It adds image/webp to supported mime types.

With this change, WordPress will correctly identify WebP images even when PHP does not support them. WordPress will also resize uploaded WebP files and use them for front-end markup. 🙌


Jeffrey Paul asks what's on developers' to-do lists for WordPress 5.8. Although the question is aimed at core component maintainers and feature plugin authors, you can voice your opinion in the comments. 💬


Francesca Marano has an update on the updating of the WordPress updaters! (Yep, you read that right.) Francesca outlines the desired outcomes for this featured project and provides some context:

“The WordPress Core update has proven to be generally reliable, but it doesn’t actually have many tests nor is well documented. There are also some reliability concerns around adding new files and the overall number of changed files…”

Slowly and surely WordPress inches forward with its updating agenda. Up to this point and a 41%+ market share, there have been no major disasters. We may not get to a point quickly where version numbers are a thing of the past, but it is nice to see progress in this area. 📦


Ryan Mccue open-sourced (and lightly updated for 2021) his WordPress Media Library in React proof of concept. It's humorously codenamed “Obscura,” and it might be useful for some people.


Greg Sullivan launched a theme generator called _tw that uses the popular WordPress starter theme _s as its foundation. His generator creates a starter theme optimized for development with Tailwind. He is looking for feedback. 👍


Ben Gillbanks built a new plugin called Translate Words — it's a simple and quick “change text/translate plugin” that works both on the WordPress front-end and admin area.

I like the simple UI. It appears to be good for simple use cases with not-so-many changes. There's an interesting discussion on Twitter about it and some of WordPress's limitations.


Automattic has posted an example of a plugin that uses Jetpack Connection as a dependency to establish a connection to WordPress.com. 🔌


Joe Watkins has an excellent (and potentially scary) read here on how some major aspects of the PHP project might depend on just a few people. He asks how many people does the PHP project depend on — and he says the answer is just two:

Maybe as few as two people would have to wake up this morning and decide they want to do something different with their lives in order for the PHP project to lack the expertise and resources to move it forward in its current form, and at current pace.

I'm wondering what the “bus factor” is for some elements of WordPress core! 🚍

I cannot think of any critical items that would come down to just two people, but it's certainly possible if a few people moved on or disappeared there would be some impact on the project. The question of “what if one of these people was Matt Mullenweg” has also been thrown around in hallway conversations.

Andrew Woods has a follow-up article based on Joe's post focused on how to attract developers to PHP core.


Alert Post Status member Daniel Schutzsmith noted something odd in the recently announced sale of Understrap — a WordPress theme framework based on the _s starter theme and Bootstrap 4 SASS grid framework.

New information on this sale continues to surface, but it appears Holger Könemann, who left the Understrap project two years ago, still has his name associated with it and wasn't removed even though Holger requested it. In addition, Daniel has uncovered some context for Understrap's sale, including this Github issue which in his words “pretty much sums this up.” 🤭


Nile Flores asks that WordCamp organizers — in particular ones that operate the regional events like WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe — remember “our roots.” We should make sure to cater to people who are new or just starting with WordPress. 🏕️


James Koster notes the existence of the WordPress Design Library (an archive of WordPress design assets) and talks specifically about some key features and fundamentals of the Figma tool.🎨

This is useful if you want to prototype or design elements in the WordPress block editor for an app.


Heather J. Brunner, CEO of WPEngine, announced on Twitter that “virtual will be the default day-to-day experience across the company.” Physical spaces will be upgraded “to accommodate social distancing and to make them WOW spaces that encourage collaboration, innovation, and fun.”

Many WordPress-related companies are highly remote because of the nature of the business, but hosting companies do tend to have a relatively large amount of office space to accommodate technical support and other needs. It will be interesting to see if this move by WPEngine affects their culture and facilities over time. 🏢


If you're a PHP developer using Composer, please be sure to read this new advisory on a potential supply chain attack. ☠️


Allie Nimmons shares four ways you can be more active in the WordPress community: be intentional, be welcoming, be inquisitive, and be helpful. 💁

Those are good reminders for those of us who have been active for a while too.


Cloudflare announced the beta of Cloudflare Images: a “service to store, resize, optimize, and deliver images at scale.” Image “variants” are supported along with the ability to automatically serve the most optimized version of the image.

Exact pricing is not available during the beta invite, but it seems you will pay a fixed monthly fee for every 100,000 images stored (up to 10MB per image). 🌩️


Thanks to Chris Vann Patten in Post Status Slack, I learned about the existence of BackupSheep. 🐑  It allows you to schedule backups of FTP/sFTP sites, MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL databases and cloud servers on DigitalOcean, etc. You can bring your own hosting.

It's discoveries like these that make Post Status Slack worthwhile for many members — if you haven't jumped into our Slack channels yet, you might be missing out on tidbits like these. (Not everything makes it into the newsletter.)


Addy Osmani, an engineering manager working on Google Chrome, discusses how you can use HTML image tags to improve Core Web Vitals. There is a ton of information and reading here — perfect if performance is your passion. 💨

Addy also mentions Malte Ubl’s guide to image optimization, Jake Archibald’s guide to the AVIF format, and Katie Hempenius’s excellent guidance on many subjects at web.dev. 👍


Joel Califa describes the big benefits of little changes — what he calls “Tiny Wins” — and how you can pursue them to improve your products:

“It can turn those same users into promoters, boost your NPS, and lead to organic growth. Most importantly, it’ll make your product, and the lives of your users, that much better.”


This tool for frontend developers helps you find the perfect values for your fluid heading. Control exactly how a heading scales across different viewport widths. 🛠️


Jay Hoffmann takes us on a tour of the history of debugging on the web. 🐛


A quick accessibility reminder for developers from Steve Faulkner:

“By using native HTML features, wherever practical, over custom HTML with bolt-on semantics and interaction behaviors, you will save yourselves and users a lot of grief and ensure that your User Interfaces work robustly across the largest number of devices.”

Steve lists a few easy-to-understand examples (e.g., consider using a button element, not role=button) that are handy for anyone coding HTML.


Upcoming Events 📆

  • New: WPSessions 2021 was announced with sessions on May 25 – 27 and workshops from May 28 – June 1. Registration is free. 🆓
  • WPCampus 2021 Online is a free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education. It is happening on September 21-22. There is a call for speakers. 👩‍🎓
  • The WordCamp Japan 2021 schedule is available, and the event is happening June 20-27. 🗾
  • The Page Builder Summit 2.0 is a free summit about WordPress page builders taking place on May 10-14. 🏗️
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾
  • WordCamp Europe 2021 has announced it will take place online, June 7-10. 🏕️
  • The World's Largest eCommerce Event is being held by Ecom World from June 28-29. 🛒

DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:


Notes for April 28, 2021

Footnotes #444

Hello CC0! Creative Commons Public Domain Image Search Coming to WordPress 📸

 

Matt Mullenweg announced this week that CC Search, a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) image search engine, is joining the WordPress project. Eventually, this will make over 500 million openly licensed and public domain images discoverable from over 50 sources within the WordPress Media Library interface with “audio and video soon to come.”

To make this happen, Automattic is hiring “key members of the CC Search team,” and their contributions will be sponsored as part of Automattic's Five for the Future commitment. Matt notes that “this is an important first step to provide a long-term, sustainable challenger to proprietary libraries like Unsplash.”

Matt confirms the conversation with Creative Commons didn't have anything to do with Unsplash's recent acquisition by Getty Images — and in fact, it started “WAY before that happened.”

I asked Matt how his relationship with Creative Commons started, and he thinks the spark was a conversation with their CEO, Ryan Merkley, on Twitter a few years ago when Matt made a comment about building CC into Gutenberg….

Read More at Post Status »

 

The news about CC0 sparked some discussion on Post Status Slack about the Media Library. Helen Hou-Sandí commented that she thinks “it’s time we added a core media taxonomy still leaving the UI up to plugins” and that we have “arrived at the point where people expect to be able to search by various keywords or even OCR text and find their stuff.”

It's an interesting discussion! Everyone has a slightly different take and way of thinking about UI for media, especially for an interface that powers 41%+ of the web. But the addition of CC Search appears to be a step in the right direction by adding valuable features for the end-user.

Join the Slack Thread »


Anne McCarthy covers some improvements to the block toolbar in a variety of contexts, including the Image, Cover, Paragraph, Quote, Video, and Site Logo blocks. ◽🔲


Gravity Forms got a big update this week. The top improvements for version 2.5 include a revamped form editor, drag-and-drop column control to more easily manage form layouts, accessibility, and new/improved markup and styles. 🚀

Some plugin companies that integrate with Gravity Forms are shipping updates to take advantage of the new version for their products as a result. ForGravity has published two major updates for their products: Entry Automation 3.0 and Fillable PDFs 3.0.


WP Migrate DB Pro 2.0 has been released with a nice-looking UI update, profile improvements, CLI add-on improvements, and an all-new Media Files add-on. ✨

Explaining why it took two and a half years to get this update out, Iain Poulson reveals that the most significant reason was learning React:

“We threw out all our JavaScript and planned to replace it with React, but no one on our team had much experience with React, let alone using React within the unique environment of WordPress.”


Automattic via WooCommerce has invested in PeachPay, a one-click checkout solution for WooCommerce. 🍑

Robert Jacobi estimates the investment at more than $450,000. Robert also had a chat with David Mainayar, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer of PeachPay.

David shared with us that thanks to Bob Dunn, he joined Post Status Slack, and that is where he connected with Matt Mullenweg, making the connection that eventually led to this investment and partnership.

It's really great to see that community magic working, and we're glad to be able to help it happen, however indirectly!


There is a call for people to join the WordPress 5.8 “squad.” I never noticed the requirements before, which include the following:

“Focus leads should be available for at least 5-6 hours a week to perform their tasks, with more time as milestones like Betas, Release Candidates, and General release approach. On the days of those milestones, you might need to dedicate 4-6 hours to WordPress on one day.”


Chris Wiegman explains how to create a minimal WordPress theme “in the era of Gutenberg” with three key focus points:

  • No JavaScript should be needed on the front end.
  • CSS should be limited to a single stylesheet and strive to be as minimal as possible.
  • Remove all non-essential assets such as fonts, images, and comments.

Chris also shared his own blog theme as “an accessible, sustainable, and usable base.”


Michael Beckwith reflects on lessons learned after the Custom Post Type UI plugin went beyond one million active installs. 🔌

He also talks about what might be next:

“I know of one primary “sticking” point that came up from time to time in our support requests, and that is internationalization… [but] beyond that, I’m not quite sure what I may want to have as part of a version 2.0.0 release.”

If you have any ideas, share them with Michael! ✉️


Lucero del Alba did a recent side-by-side comparison of AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure. As you can imagine, there is quite a lot to consider.

“There may be plentiful options, but you can start by focusing on what your needs are. If you need a very specific solution, or certain locations, or if you’re just a humble developer who might be better off with a smaller company, start from there.”


I've been thinking about burnout in general lately. Mario Peshev happened to reach out to me with his blog post on “9 Important Lessons About Burnout In The Workplace.” 🔥

His observations square with many of my own thoughts. One point that stood out:

“All of my burnouts and most of the cases I’ve observed were not directly related to work… more often than not, there are family troubles, sick family members, additional responsibilities or duties… always validate against external factors contributing to the rise of a burnout streak.”


Nuno Morgadinho is currently working on a book about WooCommerce that covers essentials and beyond like security, reliability, performance, usability, handling high traffic — and improving conversions in your webshop.

Nuno is looking for “beta readers” so reach out to him if you're interested. 📖


Karen Eber shares some questions to ask in a job interview that will really expose a company’s culture. Some of these are very clever. “Tell me about a time a team member changed your mind” and “Tell me about someone you are proud of” have stuck with me. ❓


Technical debt is something every developer comes to experience in some form.

Luca Rossi has a thoughtful piece on defining technical debt and agrees with its definition as “a disagreement between business needs and how the software has been written.” These are the two biggest offenders:

  • Wrong Design — what we built was wrong from the start.
  • Rapid Evolution — we built the right thing, but the landscape changed quickly and made it obsolete.

Marko Denic shows how to improve your Googling skills by using ten simple yet powerful techniques. 🔎


Andrea Middleton stresses the need for “even more tenderness, even more compassion” as some in the world are close to coming out of the global pandemic. 🧡 Very good reminders here that all of us have been through a crisis — and it's not over:

“Productivity may have to wait a while longer; goals may be delayed. Quality might have to slip in some places. We’re not back to normal yet; not even close.”


In eCommerce news: Stripe recently acquired TaxJar — a popular provider of a cloud-based suite of tax services, which can be used to automatically calculate, report, and file sales taxes. 🍯


Cat Noone, co-founder and CEO of Stark — a startup with a “mission to make the world’s software accessible” — explains how flawed data is putting people with disabilities at risk:

“Products that lack accessibility might not stop people with disabilities from leaving their homes, but they can stop them from accessing pivot points of life like quality healthcare, education and on-demand deliveries.”


If you are interested in seeing what is happening with Drupal, you might enjoy this State of Drupal presentation that came out this month. 💧


What an odd story: Linux bans the University of Minnesota for sending buggy patches in the name of research. 🐛


GoDaddy shared some new data from survey results released back in February. I thought this was interesting considering their audience of designers and developers that may not be as deeply connected to the WordPress community as some folks reading this newsletter.

“Our survey shows 95% of designers and developers believe their careers are lucrative and secure. They noted the best aspects of the job are the ability to work remotely (61%), creative aspects (54%), work environment (47%) and pay (45%).


If you're a developer who has heard of Xdebug but hasn't given it a try yet, Ian Poulson might convince you to give it a shot.

By the way, Derick Rethans is the sole developer of Xdebug, and he relies on sponsors to fund his ongoing work on maintenance and updates. 🙏


Upcoming Events 📆

  • New: WPCampus 2021 Online, a free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education, is happening September 21-22. There is a call for speakers.
  • New: The WordCamp Japan 2021 schedule is available, and the event is happening June 20-27.
  • WordCamp Venezuela is happening for the first time on May 6-7. 🇻🇪
  • The Page Builder Summit 2.0 is a free summit about WordPress page builders taking place on May 10-14.
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾
  • WordCamp Europe 2021 has announced it will take place online, June 7-10. 🏕️
  • The World's Largest eCommerce Event is being held by Ecom World from June 28-29. 🛒

Notes for April 20, 2021

Footnotes #443

Héctor Prieto shares the next steps on Full Site Editing (FSE) now that the “go” was given last week.

One of the targets for WordPress 5.8 is to make it possible for end-users “to create custom block templates for posts and pages in classic themes.” Additionally, “theme developers will be able to create block themes and provide quality feedback to iterate over these mechanisms.”

Speaking of the block editor, Matías Ventura shared on Twitter how his exploration of “free flow drawing” could work in blocks, which I think is quite interesting. ✏️


On the morning of April 19th (Monday) Automattic released a new plugin called Jetpack Boost on the WordPress.org repo. The plugin is focused on performance and SEO issues users might have with their sites. 🚀

Boost has three “performance modules:”

  1. Optimize CSS Loading generates critical CSS for your homepage, posts, and pages. This can make your content show up on the screen much faster, particularly for viewers using mobile devices.
  2. Defer Non-Essential Javascript moves some rendering tasks to happen after the page loads so important visual information can be seen sooner.
  3. Lazy Image Loading only loads the images the user can see when they can see them.

Sarah Gooding took some initial benchmarks. 📈

Dan Walmsley, one of the engineers at Automattic who worked on Boost, shared how much XWP and WordPress VIP were involved in product development:

“We relied heavily on their expertise with high-end sites to distill the most effective, bulletproof optimizations for free for regular folks. It’s very hard to make performance optimization simple, but I really think we got the formula right.”


After discussing it with several contributors, the decision has been made to officially remove IE11 support in WordPress 5.8.

The removal will be done in two phases:

  1. WordPress 5.8 (among other changes) will effectively remove IE11 support in the block editor and all generated CSS files used within the admin.
  2. WordPress 5.9 will focus on individual tickets that might be created to evaluate removing each instance of IE11 specific code.

Earlier this week there was a proposal submitted by Carike on WordPress.org to treat Google‘s cookie replacement — Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) — as a “security concern” and add a method in WordPress core to block it. ⛔

Many people weighed in on the proposal in the comments, and even mainstream tech media (incorrectly) picked up and incorrectly stated WordPress core would be blocking FLoC.

From a technical standpoint, the process isn't difficult: at least one person (Hendrik Luehrsen) has already published a WordPress plugin to opt out of FLoC.

Helen Hou-Sandi has opened a Trac ticket to monitor and discuss the issue with the ticket “milestoned for 5.8 to ensure that it remains on the radar but if information and consensus evolve rapidly we can certainly come back to shaping a proposal around minor release inclusion.”


Sabrina Zeldan notes that if you have never contributed to Gutenberg or made blocks/plugins before, you should check out a series of posts from Marcus Kazmierczak that go back to 2017. Sabrina writes,

“For me, as a complete newbie, it was super helpful. I made my first PR to Gutenberg yesterday, and it was merged!”


Tom Hirst makes a business case for headless WordPress. 💼

Tom rightly notes that a business “has to be comfortable at the bleeding edge of web technology,” but if you're not ready today, good news — “if you start with traditional WordPress, you can switch to headless WordPress at a later date.”

I'm confident headless will find its place with developers in the right situations, and another way of working with WordPress is a definite win. I can't wait to learn and share more about it.

(At the same time, I agree with this remark from Chris Lema on Twitter too.)


We have a clarification for the item we reported last week regarding accessibility issues people were having with some recent changes to WordPress.com. We linked to a post where Deborah Edwards-Onoro explained how to enable the Classic Editor for WordPress.com sites. Then we noted a communication from Automattic‘s public relations team about a blog post they had published about these changes.

What we missed is how — according to the publish dates on both Deborah's and Automattic's posts — the announcement from Automattic came a day after Deborah's post. I want to take a moment to apologize to Deborah if it seemed that the official blog post announcement existed at the time of her post. Apparently, it didn't, so she and other people reacting to the changes at WP.com didn't miss it. After closer examination, the official announcement (at least on the blog) came the following day, and this seems to have happened after the changes impacting accessibility had already gone live.

I have been told there was an announcement in the WP.com app as well, but for an announcement to go up on a blog a day after the changes it concerns had already been live would explain the confusion.

As I mentioned last week this does prove that a significant need exists for the Classic Editor, including those who need a more accessible tool than the block editor if a delay of only one day is disruptive to them.


Renato Alves explains why GraphQL and WordPress work well together:

“…to author a GraphQL API you only need a one-time effort…. and another advantage of using GraphQL is its ease of integration with multiple data sources.”

There are some downsides, however. There are some “rough-edges” (like caching), access control, and a “steep learning curve.” Migrating completely to GraphQL without understanding its risks would be a bad mistake.


🔌 Iain Poulson noted in a recent WP Trends newsletter that he has started working on a new acquisition analytics feature for Plugin Rank:

“Find a free plugin on the WordPress.org repository that has a good user base but hasn’t yet been monetized. Acquire it, improve it and add a premium offering… But the problem is finding these plugins.”


Allison Rivers reviews three Gutenberg block plugins for WooCommerce stores:

  1. ProductX‘s Gutenberg WooCommerce Blocks, which extend the basic WooCommerce block options;
  2. Toolset‘s WooCommerce Blocks, for more extensive customizations;
  3. The core blocks built into WooCommerce.

If you or your clients use Kaswara Modern WPBakery Page Builder (10k+ installations), then you might want to uninstall it when you can. Wordfence is reporting a critical zero-day vulnerability.

And if you use Elementor, make sure it's updated. A vulnerability was discovered last month, and more recently some third-party Elementor plugins received security patches too.  Collectively these vulnerabilities affect millions of websites. 🔒


Brad Touesnard shows how you can make a PDF look scanned using ImageMagick and Automator in macOS.


The team at Ellipsis Marketing explains why user personas are so beneficial, how the Ellipsis team used them, and what they learned along the way. 👱


Tom J Nowell demonstrates two methods for turning off the Block Directory in the WordPress block editor. Here's why you might want to do that:

“As great as the block directory is for me personally, it’s not good for professional sites where a client expects a streamlined or controlled environment.”


Joel Abreo has a great compilation of advice from rtCamp for people who are at the start of their careers.

One area of note is one's involvement with WordPress:

“…the code that you’ve shipped matters, but what matters more is a demonstrable ability to think through and solve a real-world problem using WordPress.”


Craig Buckler shared a number of JavaScript developer tool “secrets.”

One tip I picked up: Chrome’s Coverage panel allows you to quickly locate JavaScript (and CSS) code that has — and has not — been used. 👨‍💻


Jem Turner shares six things she does to make Gutenberg development easier. 6️⃣

These include making the editor full width, adding the Reusable Blocks to the left-hand menu, and using the breadcrumb trail and list view.

Jem includes some handy code snippets to make these interface changes.


Google has announced that it will delay the new page experience ranking signal updates until mid-June 2021:

“We'll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won't play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as if you're adding a flavoring to a food you're preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we'll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”


A tweet from Gary Pendergast reminded me that he has written a Chrome and Firefox browser extension that mimics the WordPress feature where pasting a URL onto selected text will automatically transform that text into a link. 🔗

If you like that feature in WordPress, now you can do it everywhere with those browsers. 👏


If you think there isn't room for innovation or new products in the WordPress space, I recommend a recent Chris Lema post on some tips to consider for product builders. It really comes down to niching down and knowing who your target customer is.

I loved the example he used: Nicole Evans, who is building a product called Studiocart. 🛒


Some things I learned from the “Creator Economy Market Map” over at the SignalFire blog:

  • 2 million people are making enough content (primarily through YouTube, Instagram, and Twitch) to be their full-time career.
  • “The big trend we see here is that over time, creators are becoming more diversified in their revenue streams and are being funded directly by their fans.”
  • “…with diversification comes resilience. Creators become less vulnerable to shifts in priorities of the tech giants or their algorithms by owning the direct relationship with their fans.”

It makes me wonder how WordPress might tap into the creator economy since most creators seem to want to “own their own content and brand” once they achieve a certain level of success.


There is a cool new badge that GitHub has added to the profiles of open source developers who wrote code used by Ingenuity, the first helicopter to take flight in the Martian atmosphere. 🚁


Ahmad Shadeed explains why CSS Container Queries are an improvement on Media Queries and what layouts are possible with them.

Container Queries are currently available in Chrome Canary.


Upcoming Events 📆

DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:


Notes for April 15, 2021

Footnotes #442

This week (April 14) there was a preannounced meeting with WordPress Project leaders Matt Mullenweg, Matias Ventura, Helen Hou-Sandi, and Josepha Haden Chomphosy. The purpose of the meeting was to host a “go/no go demo” to demonstrate and review the current state of Full Site Editing (FSE) in WordPress and to determine what, if anything, should be included in WordPress 5.8. (5.8 is scheduled for release in July 2021.) Some possible implementations of FSE were discussed in this meeting.

The decision was Go, but there were some suggestions to slow down and communicate more with people building sites, themes, and plugins in light of their needs. An update after the meeting says:

“The changes that Phase 2 bring to WordPress are substantial, so to avoid overwhelming users the Global Styles interface and Site Editor (managing all templates) will ship post-WordPress 5.8. This also gives more time for more theme authors, plugin developers, agencies, designers, site builders, and the like to explore and provide feedback.”

What you can expect with reasonable confidence in WordPress 5.8:

  • Improvements from Gutenberg 9.9+.
  • Introduce new blocks. (Query, Site Logo, Navigation, etc.)
  • theme.json mechanism.
  • Template Editor for Pages/Blank Template.
  • Widgets Screen and Block widgets in the Customizer.
  • Design tools: Duotone, Layout controls, padding, etc.

The post-meeting update has particulars on these points. It also includes a video of the meeting followed by a transcript. Transparency and accessibility points for that! 👍

Last night I had the chance to hear a very well-prepared talk from Anne McCarthy that outlines more deeply the plan for FSE. I highly recommend Anne's talk for Post Status readers, as it includes the overall vision as well as some details about the new blocks and the implementation of FSE.

What I took away from Anne's presentation — and the continuous updates from Core in the past few weeks — is that they are taking the lessons from Gutenberg's Phase One launch to heart and applying them now. (Remember the Gutenberg launch happened the same week as WordCamp US.)

Being careful and avoiding a “shock and awe” approach, however, might give the impression to casual observers that this isn't a fundamental change for WordPress moving forward, even if the true impact isn't felt for years. With changes on this scale, it's important that enough people in the WordPress community are aware of what's coming, and they need to be involved in testing on some level.

To that end, check out the latest call for testing which is particularly focused on the Query block. I got to see the potential of this block last night — what you will be able to do with it is impressive. 💥

A live demo along with Anne McCarthy's talk was given at the WordPress Mega Meetup last night, and here is the full video of that event. About halfway through you can see Marcus Kazmierczak show off some nifty features and answer a variety of very good questions. 📺


Deborah Edwards-Onoro explains how to enable the Classic Editor at WordPress.com.

Why Deborah felt this needed to be published in the first place is an interesting question. There's an answer: she noticed a blind WordPress.com user couldn't use the site anymore when WordPress.com launched a refreshed interface.

Deborah was surprised this could happen:

“What I don’t understand: WordPress.com chose not to announce the change on their blog. The announcement was only published in the WordPress.com forums. Which doesn’t make sense to me, given it’s a major interface change.”

I wanted to follow up on this, so I reached out to Dave Martin at Automattic. Dave is a member of the communication/PR team. He said, “The update was communicated to all customers within the app as well to everyone via our blog.”

Dave further commented: “Through our interfaces and APIs we enable many ways to post and interact with your WP site, and we're always working to improve the accessibility of every interface. People can also install plugins to enable additional ways to post.”

So there were announcements, but apparently, they were not seen by everyone. There's likely a lesson here — how major changes on any site can affect users, and how important the Classic Editor still is for significant groups of people.

I asked Dave how long WordPress.com will support the Classic Editor, but I didn't get a direct response. I take it that as long as the Classic Editor plugin exists and works with the latest WordPress version, then it's going to remain an option on WordPress.com. It will be officially supported until the end of this year.


WordPress's market share has hit an even 41% according to W3Techs.

That is a 1% gain over the past 45 days. Outside of some respectable growth from Shopify, other CMS platforms have seen relatively flat growth since the start of the year.

I agree with Andrew Woods' comment on Twitter:

“If these other platforms ever hope to catch up to WordPress and take back some market share, they need to think about what WordPress does right, and incorporate that into their products while improving upon WordPress’ weaknesses.”


Gutenberg 10.4 was released this week with features like block widgets in the Customizer, enhancements to the Site Editor, improvements to rich text placeholders, and bug fixes. 🐛


Exploit acquisition company Zerodium announced last week that it’s temporarily offering $300,000 for high-impact WordPress exploits. 💰

“The exploit must work with latest WordPress default install, no third-party plugins, no auth, no user interaction!”

This is an interesting development. Payouts are typically only $100k. Are exploits in core becoming rarer, is demand for them increasing, or both? 🤔


Felix Arntz recently published the Share Target WordPress plugin. It allows you to share content to your WordPress site directly from a device that's able to use the Web Share Target API. 🎯


WP Media — the makers of WP Rocket, Imagify, and RocketCDNannounced this week they are joining group.ONE. That's the parent company for several brands, including one.com, which is one of the largest web hosts in Scandinavia. A Q&A for users has been published.

The CEO of WP Media, Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier, says many things will stay the same for users of their products:

“We are maintaining our own identity and organization and our entire team including co-founders will stay the same.”

There will also be continued development of Imagify, WP Rocket, and RocketCDN.


Mészáros Róbert shows how to do headless form submission with the WordPress REST API.

The article shows off two WordPress form plugins' submission endpoints and offers a way to recreate the typical form-related behaviors we have taken for granted.


Chris Lema has an informative post if you’re looking for a WordPress form plugin. He tested conditional logic and form submission outcomes using the same form for each of the following plugins:

  • Fluent Forms Pro
  • Formidable Forms Pro
  • Gravity Forms
  • Happyforms
  • Ninja Forms w/ the conditional logic Premium Extension
  • WPForms
  • WS Form Pro

Chris shares his top four plugins but admits the imitations of his survey:

“the comparison highlights some nuances but I'm not sure this will sway someone from choosing an alternative to their already favorite form plugin.”


If you have ever wondered how you can let clients edit the titles of WordPress archive pages, then Mark Wilkinson has some answers (and even a plugin) for you in his recent post. 🔌


Stephanie Eckles shows off some modern CSS upgrades that improve accessibility. She covers a range of topics, including Focus Visibility, Desktop Zoom and Reflow, and Sizing Interactive Targets. She also shares some accessibility learning resources.


Picked this up on Twitter: Steve Henty notes a 70% renewal rate for GravityFlow. Steve offers a look into their support process, the challenges they've faced, and some lessons learned. 📈


If you want to get into Next.js, Greg Rickaby from WebDevStudios has started a “Hello World” tutorial that's worth a look.


I recently stumbled upon Formality, a simple WordPress form plugin.

The Formality website gives some people a headache. (At least it doesn't look like many other plugin product websites.) I'm always on the lookout for new plugins to try, especially in mature markets like forms, so this was an interesting find. 🔌


Also new to me: this plugin that automatically embeds streamed video into WordPress — or Facebook, Twitch, Vimeo, or YouTube.

The plugin is from Nathan Parikh who recently joined the Post Status club! Come and welcome him in Post Status Slack. 👍


Manuel Matuzović shares what looks like a solid HTML boilerplate, and he explains every line of it. Even if you build HTML from scratch, you will learn something you've forgotten.


Andy Stitt is the lead developer of his state's (Delaware) COVID-19 informational website (built with WordPress). Andy sat down with Eric Karkovack for an interesting interview recently:

“Initially, we worked with the governor’s office, public health, and emergency management to define the scope, information architecture, content, etc. We got approval to build a WordPress website so that non-technical people could make content edits on the fly if they needed to.”

The site is pretty impressive, and success stories like this will continue to fuel WordPress's growth and respect in the government sector. 📈


This tool from an ex-Google engineer checks and visualizes the Cumulative Layout Shift of any website.

Cumulative Layout Shift is a “Core Web Vital” metric that measures “the instability of content by summing shift scores across layout shifts that don't occur within 500ms of user input. ”

…or another way to put it:

“Have you ever visited a website and was about to click a link to an article, and then… the layout suddenly moves, an ad appears, and somehow instead of clicking on the article you wanted to read, you click on the useless ad?”


Here's a cheat sheet from Tobias Ahlin Bjerrome if you are interested in moving from jQuery to vanilla JavaScript. 🍨


Recently Github added the ability to support one-time payments to those on the site. Very useful if you want to contribute a one-time amount to an open source maintainer or book time with someone regarding their project. 💵


Upcoming Events 📆

DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:


Notes for April 9, 2021

Footnotes #441

Matt Danner announced this week that iThemes has acquired Kadence WP and the team behind Kadence Blocks, a page-builder style block package. The acquisition also includes Kadence Theme, a WordPress theme “built for performance and easy development.” 💨

Matt admits the “themes” in iThemes have been lacking, but with this move “we’re making Kadence WP the official theme platform of choice for iThemes.” They “will finally sunset iThemes Builder and … legacy themes at the beginning of 2022.” 🎨

Existing Kadence WP customers won’t notice many changes, but Toolkit and Agency Bundle members automatically get a Kadence WP membership. This includes the Pro versions of Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks, as part of their iThemes membership.

CORY'S TAKE 💥

I'm really excited about this acquisition, and not just because of iThemes, but I'm using Kadence for my mental health startup. It's a great theme and block package.”


GravityView has acquired GF Entries in Excel, a plugin that exports Gravity Forms data into Microsoft Excel:

“We see major potential in this plugin and that’s why we reached out to the original author, Doeke Norg, to see if we could take over maintenance.”

There will be a planned pro version of the plugin, and it will be included in the GravityView All Access plan. 🔌


Helen Hou-Sandí recently streamed herself testing the full site editing feature in the latest version of Gutenberg. The video is over three hours long, and most of it contains her live comments as she uses the interface. I think this is very useful for someone like me who really hasn't played that much with FSE yet. It helps a lot to see a “common user” (what Helen calls herself in the feed) trying to navigate full site editing.

Helen's take on FSE:

“I think it’s a really compelling experience with a lot of potential! It’s still iterative software, and whatever the decision is about shipping it in core this round, I think it represents where we’re going in terms of web experiences, and I’m excited about it.”

If you are involved with FSE or want a preview, bookmark this. 📑

I want to see more videos of people using software and products they haven't used much before. This is an excellent means of feedback — especially since live events are still off the table. 👍


The most discussed story of the past week is Wix‘s marketing campaign against WordPress. If you have been on Twitter or Post Status Slack, you probably know many of the details by now.

Wix appears to have selected several “high level” WordPress users and community members via Twitter DM some time ago asking for their email addresses. Recently, the people who shared mailing addresses received headphones. Reactions to these gifts ran from thanks to surprise and amusement. Some of these people assumed Wix was trying to convince them to switch or just give them exposure. 🎁

QR codes on the shipped headphones brought the recipients to an unbranded website with video ads that were later shared on Wix's Twitter account. 🎧

Sarah Gooding has a good summary if you want to learn more.

The whole episode might have come to a head when Matt Mullenweg responded to the campaign in a blog post calling Wix “a roach motel” up to “dirty tricks.” He mentioned how Wix currently has no export feature:

“So if we’re comparing website builders to abusive relationships, Wix is one that locks you in the basement and doesn’t let you leave. I’m surprised consumer protection agencies haven’t gone after them.”

I found the whole episode rather interesting from social and marketing angles.

I agree with Tammie Lister who noted this negative campaign is being talked about a lot “because it's also one of the first times an outside company has … selected who they see as ‘influencers'” inside the WordPress community. Very often I see some members of the WordPress community get “exclusive” swag like caps and hoodies from WordPress companies. Very often it's the same people who publicly thank the gift-givers on Twitter.

It was also humorous timing for Gary Pendergast who is working on a “little project” that appears to export site data from Wix. 😆

I don't believe that all marketing is good or harmless. Headphones and ads aren't cheap, and I don't think this was a clear success for Wix in the long run. But we can check back in a year and see if this made any real impact.


Last week on the Post Status Excerpt podcast I made some comments on WordPress settings based on a tweet from Brian Krogsgard.

On that topic of setting screens, Fränk Klein reached out to me on Post Status Slack this week, and he told me there is currently a drive to remove at least some “clutter” from the settings pages as part of the full-site editing project. 🙏

Fränk — whose newsletter on Gutenberg and WordPress is worth your time — showed me these comments in the Gutenberg repo. His take:

“Overall, this and other simplifications are a part of why I am so excited for full-site editing. Even if it’s still early in its current form. But there’s just so much opportunity to get rid of all that old stuff in a way that doesn’t feel like artificially removing things.”


Josepha Haden Chomphosy has a new post about some updates to the roadmap and some high-level clarifications about Full Site Editing (SE). 📝

Some Highlights:

  • Full site editing “isn’t shipping as the full, default experience for users… this merge process won’t be an on/off switch. The focus now is not on a full and nuanced user experience, but more of an open public beta within WordPress 5.8.”
  • The first “go/no go date is next week.” On April 14 the Gutenberg plugin will ship v10.4 and shortly thereafter will be “the go/no go demo.”
  • Regarding the April 14th demo, those in attendance will include Matt Mullenweg, Matias Ventura, Helen Hou-Sandi, and of course Josepha. The agenda will include Matias showing the features intended for WordPress 5.8 followed by “discussions and implementation questions.”

This post along with other recent communications about FSE is gathering some discussion in Post Stack Slack.

Anne McCarthy is spearheading the FSE Outreach Program and would love to have people testing now rather than later:

“Much of the feedback that has already come up in the program has proved to be helpful for these decision points, so please don’t hold back/wait if you are interested and have time.”

While the support for FSE is positive overall and going in the right direction, there are some concerns in the community about the rollout's potential for drama and negative reactions in the larger web community. Reactions to the Gutenberg (Phase 1) release have provided some reasons for caution.

From what I can gather, a smooth transition and welcome reception is what everyone wants. I think the communication from the project leaders (such as the above post from Josepha) truly helps.

👉 If you want to see Full Site Editing demoed live by Anne McCarthy, join the WordPress Mega Meetup next Thursday (April 15th) at 6:30pm (David Bisset co-hosts that meeting).


Lisa Sabin-Wilson on the importance of data portability:

“Your data, your code, your progress belongs to you – you have worked too hard, and, in a lot of cases, paid too much money to allow a company to own your hard earned progress. Don’t get locked in by a company who does not have your best interests at heart.”


Chris Coyier has a nice piece on what words to avoid in educational writing. I know I’ve used some of these words before, and I’ll be careful to avoid them in the future. As Chris says, “these words might detract from the material.” 🤬


Frederick O’Brien warns against disposable design — a combination of unpleasant UX that follows unhealthy design fads, broken links, and quick fixes. 🗑️

Websites should last for years, so think about what your site will look like in 2, 5, or 20 years. 👴

Frederick also recommends modular thinking and designing for accessibility to be better equipped to adapt to evolving technologies.


Joy Shaheb explains every CSS background property and illustrates them with code examples. This might be handy for front-end developers and anyone who works with CSS. 🎨


Leonardo Losoviz explores why you might want to support “CMS-agnosticism” using the GraphQL API for WordPress plugin and the 91 PHP packages it contains. 📦


DigitalOcean is offering managed databases for MySQL that integrate with the WordPress 1-Click App in their marketplace. 🌊


I love this quote — and the whole blog post — from Jason Fried:

“Excitement is a fleeting moment, not a steady state.”

Not every software or product release has to wow or beat previous players. Sometimes work is “dull,” so appreciate the upswings. Finally, it's important to set healthy expectations for yourself and your users.


Congrats to WPGraphQL for passing 10,000 active installs on the WordPress.org repository since being added in November. 🙌


Silvestar Bistrović defines what it means to “audit CSS.” Then he digs deep into Chrome DevTools, which you can use to troubleshoot and monitor a variety of different things. Even if you are familiar with Dev Tools, this is worth a read — there's likely something here you've missed.

Among the items Silvestar mentions are the Specificity Visualizer that shows the specificity of CSS selectors in the codebase, the CSS Specificity Graph Generator, CSS Stats, and Project Wallace which allows you to “see previous states of your CSS code base and see how your code changes between states.” 👍


Last week we reported Getty Images‘ acquisition of Unsplash. Om Malik‘s analysis is worth mentioning too, and I share his concerns. It will be interesting to see if a service like the old Unsplash pops up now. 📸


Taylor Arndt is a blind WordPress developer who has launched a weekly podcast that takes on tech topics — and WordPress — from an accessibility perspective. Taylor also has some Udemy courses and tutorials on YouTube.

Topics cover how to build accessible websites from scratch and why some accessibility tools might be better than others.

I listened to an episode of Taylor's WordPress Wednesdays and enjoyed it very much. I look forward to hearing more and adding them to my Podcast Picks.


HeroPress is taking over the Hallways Chats podcast — we link to the latest episode below in our Podcast picks. Congrats to Tara Claeys and Liam Dempsey for 150 episodes!

Cate DeRosia writes that HeroPress will “build on their legacy and continue to grow Hallway Chats throughout the community, and we’re grateful to Tara and Liam that they’ve entrusted it into our care.”


Topher DeRosia debunked some common myths about eCommerce with Brian Krogsgard for Commerce Journey. 💥

If you know someone starting out with an online business who isn't sure how their traditional business experience translates — or if they have none — send them here.


Joost de Valk has started a conversation about developers testing their work with other developers' plugins in Post Status Slack. Joost wants to take on what he calls an “integration problem:”

“Every integration with another plugin we [at Yoast] add forces us to test the basic features of that plugin, with our plugin running, to see if we don’t break that plugin. So we’re testing their feature set. Other plugins do the same with us… I know of WooCommerce and Jetpack doing this with us to some extent. This feels incredibly wasteful.”

If you are a developer and a Post Status member, I suggest you check out his proposal and the responses so far. This is a very interesting line of thinking about developer cooperation. 🤝


GoDaddy has acquired the .Club domain extension.


Servebolt has launched a service called Accelerated Domains that is meant to “accelerate WordPress and WooCommerce sites by targeting key metrics. One of these is a site's “carbon footprint.”

“By caching at the Accelerated Domains edge and close to the visitor the website doesn’t use CPU to deliver the same page over and over again… [we are also] powered by renewable energy which means an even larger portion of the route from the visitor to the Servebolt Cloud is guaranteed green.”

I expect more hosts to promote “green” features like this as climate change policies starts to encourage higher efficiency.


Upcoming Events 📆

  • WordCamp Europe 2021 has announced it will take place online, June 7-10. 🏕️
  • WordCamp Centroamérica will take place for the first time between April 15-17. 🌎
  • WordCamp Greece is happening online on April 16 and is free to the public. 🇬🇷
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾

Notes for April 2, 2021

Footnotes #440

Milica Mihajlija takes on CSS performance and says the most straightforward approach is to keep it small. Compressing files can significantly improve speed, but removing unused code can too. Other methods include using efficient CSS animations and avoiding invisible text during font loading.

“CSS is critical to loading pages and a delightful user experience. While we often might prioritize other assets (such as script or imagery) as more impactful, we shouldn’t forget CSS.”