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.
“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. 🎁
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.
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.
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. 🙏
“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). 📝
- 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.” 🧑🏾
📹 Here are my video picks of the week:
- At a recent WordPressNYC meetup Mervin Hernandez presented on the three layers of good site maintenance: a good foundation, active monitoring, and proactive mitigation.
- Vova Feldman, Vito Peleg, Katie Keith, and others review some tactics you might be able to use if you want to scale your theme or plugin business.
- Michelle Frechette spoke with Cory Miller about Underrepresented in Tech and how we can build a more diverse workforce.
🎙️ Here are a few podcasts worth listening to that I've enjoyed lately:
- How I Built It: A talk with Hazel Quimpo and Zach Tirrell about how they pivoted their business, The Events Calendar, which started as a company of 50 people focused on software for live events.
- Audience: Matt Mederios talks with Michelle Frechette about building a community, different types of community engagement, and how to best use that engagement for the benefit of your listeners — and you.
- Hallway Chats: Tara Claeys and Liam Dempsey have a conversation with Cate and Topher DeRosia. Get some background on them, the history in the community, and learn how HeroPress will be adopting the Hallway Chats podcast in the near future.