Notes for November 24, 2020

Footnotes #423

We are inching closer to the December 5th release date for WordPress 5.6! ๐ŸŽ

This pending release will introduce a new user interface to make it easier to opt-in to automatic updates for major versions.

There have been some major Core auto-updates UI changes and miscellaneous developer changes to take note of as well.

The WordPress 5.6 Field Guide ๐Ÿ“– has been published ahead of the 5.6 release with everything everyone, from developers to new users, might need to know:

“As a user, youโ€™ll see automatic updates for major core releases (opt-in), external authentication to the REST API via newly introduced Application Passwords, PHP 8 support, the latest and greatest features in the block editor, and a new AAA-ready default theme. As a developer, youโ€™ll see 85 enhancements and feature requests, 201 bug fixes, and more!”

Joost de Valk has released his fourth biannual analysis of the CMS market share numbers provided by W3Techs. There are two winners: “WordPress (and WooCommerce โ€œwithinโ€ it) and Shopify.” ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†

WordPress is the #1 CMS with a 39.0% market share, 4.2% higher than November 2019. Shopify is growing in its #2 position after overtaking Joomla, but that's “only” 3.1% of the market. ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Amazingly, WordPress's growth is still accelerating through a global pandemic and politically unstable year.

Here are Joost's predictions for the top five CMSes at the end of 2021 based on current trends:

  1. WordPress โ€“ 43.5%
    Shopify โ€“ 4.6%
    Wix โ€“ 1.8%
    Joomla โ€“ 1.7%
    Drupal โ€“ 1.3%

Tom McFarlin has shared a great tutorial centered on a mu-plugin that “demonstrate[s] how to add a custom view to the WordPress All Posts page based on a specified category.” ๐Ÿ”Œ

This is part of a series Tom is doing about useful tasks with taxonomies with code he's refactoring “into an object-oriented plugin that will serve as a utility plugin for taxonomies in general.”

This article by David Gilbert of Random Wire on Japanese web design has gone around for a while and is worth a read if, like me, you haven't seen it yet. ๐Ÿ—พ

David asks why Japanese websites are so “different” compared to European and Western site design. I appreciated this feedback from Stephen Cronin when I shared the article on Post Status Slack:

“It's a very similar thing with Chinese web design. I taught IT in China back in 2006-2008 which included a little (Western) web design, but the sites the students were not so secretly browsing in class bore no resemblance to what was being taught! And they haven't changed that much since then, whereas Western web design has moved on a lot.

I think there's an element of what works in the West doesn't (and shouldn't) necessarily work elsewhere. We often map our ideas onto other cultures and think they are lacking somehow, but the more we can look at differences and try to understand them, the better!”

The RefactoringUI website has a post on learning to build your own color palette. Why would you want to do this instead of using a generator? ๐ŸŽจ

“Fancy color palette generators produce results…. This calculated and scientific approach to picking the perfect color scheme is extremely seductive, but not very useful.”

๐Ÿ˜ถ “Mainstream social media is harmful because it puts a single company in control of the human social experience and places them in the role of cultural censor.”

If this statement strikes a chord with you, then you might want to dive into Milo Trujillo‘s exploration of decentralized architecture for social networks and the social implications of network design.

Milo tweeted that he's “reading lots about SSB, Cabal, Mastodon, Keybase, etc, but resources are scattered and I wanted to gather some comparative analysis.” ๐Ÿฆ

Chris Coyier considers how one might create an old-school webring today. ๐Ÿ’

Zander Nethercutt thinks we are optimizing ourselves to death. ๐Ÿ’€

This is an interesting article that might require more focus than most non-technical writing on sociological topics, but I think Zander makes some good, albeit distressing points.

Will Millennials “remain the burnout generation,” as he thinks? ๐Ÿ˜ซ

If you had a “Yes or No” question to ask in your UI, would you use one checkbox or two radio buttons? โ˜‘๏ธ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ”˜

Sara Soueidan asked that question on Twitter and collected the responses in a blog post. She came up with a good answer to her great question: it depends! Sara reminds us,

“as with all user interfaces, nothing beats the input you can get from user testing and research. So hopefully the answers above can at least serve as a starting point in situations where you need more to make a decision.”

WP Mayor has gotten a new look with a new logo! ๐Ÿง๐ŸŽฉ

Gabriella Galea goes into the thought process behind some of the design decisions and takes a look at the main plugins used on the new site.

I organized a “mega meetup” on Zoom in the past week. Over a month in the making, it represented at least eight WordPress meetups, and over 120 people showed up when it started.

Birgit Pauli-Haack was kind enough to write a fine summary, which includes a list of plugins that a panel recommended to anyone building a new WordPress site.

Thanks to GoDaddy Pro, who sponsored the event and provided prizes for the gameshows. Virtual meetups need more gameshows, in my opinion. [DB] ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Upcoming Events

  • There is a call for speakers for WordFest Live 2021 which happens online on January 22, 2021.

    The deadline for speaker submissions is November 18 at midnight UTC. Selected speakers will be notified by December 2. ๐Ÿ“…

  • On December 10 at 19:30 UTC, Yoast partner and CTO Omar Reiss and blog team lead Willemien Hallebeek will be guests on the next Gutenberg Times Live Q&A. Omar and Willemien will take us behind the scenes of the making of the Open Source Story, a richly illustrated and interactive post about the nature of open-source software from a collaborative business point of view. Omar and Willemien will share how they built the Open Source Story with the WordPress block editor, explain their approaches, and answer attendees' questions. You can register here. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts to listen to this week:

  • WPMRR: In this episode, Joe and Christie ask if your business should get political and discuss Expensifyโ€™s political move during the recent election, why society benefits from staying out of politics, the political roots of every business, and how WordPress remains a political space.
  • PHP Internals News: This recent episode has guest Larry Garfield discussing a new RFC he's proposing related to PHP's Short Functions.

Notes for November 20, 2020

Footnotes #422

๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ Hey Post Status members! We have created a new channel in our Slack: #gigs.

The #gigs channel is for you to post projects you'd like to refer others to โ€” or projects where you need some paid assistance. If you want to tastefully advertise your particular talents and specialties, this is also the channel for that as well.

A new action wp_after_insert_post has been added to WordPress 5.6 to allow theme and plugin developers to run custom code after a post and its terms and metadata have been updated.

The 5.6 Release Candidate is available now and needs testing on its way out the door for a December 8 delivery of the final release. ๐ŸŽ

The discussion Francesca Marano started about aligning the WordPress core release cycle with the industry-standard approach still needs more voices participating. ๐Ÿ’ญ

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ You are encouraged to share your feedback by November 30 on the standards for Learn WordPress workshop content too.

The newest iteration of the Gutenberg plugin for WordPress is out, and it seems to be a “tweak and polish” release. It delivers percentage widths for button blocks, social and font size change support, and API improvements. โœจ

Helen Hou-Sandi explains the thought process behind recent advances in the way starter content is displayed in themes on the theme previewer site. Currently, these changes only affect three of the themes bundled with WordPress core.

Opening the discussion of where theme previews and demo content could go, Helen writes,

“It has long been my belief, which I think many share, that the theme previewer site in todayโ€™s context does a serious disservice to themes.”

It's true. WordPress could do so much better in this area. If you agree, give Helen's questions some thought and join the discussion. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Gatsby recently chose headless WordPress for its blog. Senior Product Marketing Manager Hashim Warren explains why:

“WordPress enables us to have unlimited users (without paying a subscription per seat). WordPress also comes with powerful role-based permissions and has free plugins from services like Auth0 to unlock flexible security and authentication options.”

โšก Speed and workflow also were factors too:

“Switching to WordPress dramatically sped up our content production time. We went from sometimes spending a full work day publishing content to just a few minutes.”

Ronald Huereca explains how to create a Gutenberg sidebar with a handy example.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has issued a decision that pre-checked boxes are not a valid way to show consent under GDPR. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš–๏ธ

Termageddon is warning that “if you use pre-checked boxes on your website's forms, make sure to un-check them now!”

Firefox 83 has introduced an “HTTPS Only Mode” that works how you would expect:

“[It] ensures that Firefox doesnโ€™t make any insecure connections without your permission. When you enable HTTPS-Only Mode, Firefox tries to establish a fully secure connection to the website you are visiting.”

It will be interesting to see if any other browsers add this feature as well. ๐Ÿ”’

Joe Casabona says virtual events are changing the WordPress event landscape. He notes some advances in virtual events this year and predicts more “mixed” (virtual and in-person) events after the pandemic is over. This is not just “virtual WordCamps” but something entirely new. ๐Ÿ•๏ธ

Joe also shares what he misses about the hallway track which is hard to duplicate online but has real value:

“…I spend most of my time talking to people I wouldnโ€™t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Hanging out in the hallway track, meeting people at booths, sitting at random tables during lunch. Itโ€™s this extrovertโ€™s dream.”

Ibis is a handy and new-to-me PHP tool that helps you write eBooks in markdown and convert to PDF. ๐Ÿ“—

There's a very interesting Twitter thread from Hassan El Mghairi on his 10 takeaways from a lecture given by Randy Pausch. Pausch was a renowned Computer Science professor who got cancer and decided to give one last lecture on time management before he passed away.

My favorite of Hassan's ten takeaways is this:

  • If it's urgent + important, do it now. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • If it's non-urgent + important, schedule a time to do it. ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ
  • If it's urgent + not important, try to delegate it. ๐Ÿ‘‰
  • If it's non-urgent + not important, ignore it. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Here's a master list of landing page best practices, focused on how to optimize your pages for increased conversion. Each tip is from a professional in the field, and one of the names you might recognize is Thomas Griffin from OptinMonster. ๐Ÿ›ฌ

If you ever wanted to know what makes up some of the markup behind WordPress revision pages and other change tracking tools, then this article at CSS Tricks by John Rhea of the Undead Institute is worth a read. ๐ŸงŸโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Nice post here on Reddit from Mark Maunder the founder and CEO of Wordfence as he replies to the question of how people come up with their startup ideas:

“So my site was hacked. I used to be a hacker in the early to mid-90s and so it really pissed me off. I also worked in operations for big banks, Coca-Cola, and other big companies, so I knew about enterprise security, high performance, redundancy etc… So Kerry (my wife) and I dropped everything in 2011 and I spent 8 months writing the first version of Wordfence.”

Sarah Gooding observes that Envato has passed $1 billion in community earnings after 14 years of being in business. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Sarah also gets into the controversy over Envato Elements, its subscription service which isn't sitting well with developers and authors who mainly sell their work on Envato Marketplace.

Has someone recreated Slack inside a shared Google Sheet? It's hard for me to tell if this is real. Regardless, check out the site as it's pretty amusing. ๐Ÿ˜†

Yoast has created a page dedicated to educating people about open source โ€” what it is and how it provides “better solutions and a more inclusive society.”

This is a seriously detailed page including bios and snippets of information, some of which predate the modern era. Reading it feels like walking through the exhibits of a large museum with many different periods represented in its wings. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

Good news: GitHub has reinstated the YouTube video downloader youtube-dl that the RIAA claimed was a piracy tool. ๐Ÿ‘

More importantly, GitHub is formalizing a policy to evaluate complaints and also establishing and donating $1 Million (USD) to an open-source developer defense fund for developers fighting “unwarranted DMCA Section 1201 takedown claims.” โš–๏ธ

There is a call for speakers for WordFest Live 2021 which happens online on January 22, 2021. ๐Ÿ“…


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts to listen to this week:

  • Women in WP: This episode features an interview with Jodie Riccelli, Director of Business Development at WebDevStudios. She has over twenty years of sales and marketing experience and is a WordCamp organizer and speaker.
  • The C2C Podcast: The latest episode has an interview with Tessa Kriesel (Head of Developer Community at Twitter) who shares what the “3 step model to building trust” process looks like and why building trust is so important in any community.
  • Kitchen Sink: In a recent episode of this WordPress podcast, Adam Silver interviewed a great member of the WordPress community, Jessi Gurr.
  • WPMRR: Learn how to get podcast sponsorships and higher audience engagement while gaining some fascinating behind-the-scenes views of audio engineering as Joe Buff sits down with Bradley Denham, founder and CEO of Record Edit Podcast.
  • PHP Internals News: Through a series of brief clips from previous interviews, Derick Rethans relates what things were proposed to be included in PHP 8.0 but didn't make it.

Notes for November 16, 2020

Footnotes #421

๐ŸŽ Our big list of Black Friday & Cyber Monday WordPress Deals is back โ€” and bigger than ever!

Check out the long list of hosting, deployment tools, SaaS, themes, and plugins. ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ


Request for Comment on Comments

Previously we've mentioned Jeremy Felt‘s ideas for how WordPress comments should work. They're really good, simple steps forward, and this is how we should be thinking about a core feature that ought to make WordPress shine.โ˜€๏ธ

Now Chris Coyier has shared his comment wishlist for WordPress, and the top items are the following:

  • a logged-in user should own (or edit) their own comment,
  • there should be a “social auth for comments” so you don't have to enter a name/email all the time,
  • an HTML tag whitelist,
  • previewable comments,
  • an overall better visual appearance,
  • and replies should show parent comment(s) by default.

I had my own recommendations for comments back in 2014. Last year I was on the hunt for a way to make live conversations well-integrated into WordPress. Think P2/O2 style setup but integrated into an existing site.

If anything, this kind of functionality has become more important to have while WordPress has drifted away from it as a former core competency. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

When John Blackbourn made a semi-tongue-in-cheek suggestion for a plugin that will email you regularly about draft posts you haven't published, David Artiss took him seriously and built a plugin that does exactly that. Draft Concluder (what a great name!) will send an email to every user who has outstanding drafts. ๐Ÿ“โœ‰๏ธ

David says his work on this plugin led him so deep into WordPress, he's probably the only person to know some of the things he learned. He is already planning his next project, to revisit one of his existing plugins and rewrite it. ๐Ÿ‘

Leonardo Losoviz has written a step-by-step guide on using Rector and GitHub Actions to downgrade a WordPress plugin by coding it with PHP 7.4 and deploying it to PHP 7.1. ๐Ÿ‘‡

The 2020 Web Almanacโ€™s Markup chapter is available now with some interesting statistics based on the analysis of over 7 million web pages. Find out what HTML elements and markup are being used the most, and which aren't. ๐Ÿ“Š

You may be surprised to learn script is #6, and there is a lot of obvious waste. Mathias Bynens points out “many bytes are being collectively wasted just by writing unnecessary HTML.”

I tend to think overall the quality of HTML is improving, although the size of web pages themselves is another matter. ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ

Google has provided a target date in May 2021 for when “Core Web Vitals” will be an official ranking factor in Google search results. ๐ŸŽฏ

They recommend doing a sitewide audit of your pages. Identify where there is room for improvement, and then use tools like Page Speed Insights and Lighthouse to help fix improve the page experience.

This is certainly an important search algorithm update, so if you rely on SEO, take a close look at this. Sarah Gooding‘s article on this at the Tavern is a good place to start. ๐Ÿป

10up has announced some updates to its ClassifAI plugin, which augments WordPress sites with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology. ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿค–

The new release adds automated text scanning of uploaded images, including screenshots, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. By storing scanned text in WordPress, content editors can search the contents of screenshots and other images to add that plain text into the main content of a post.

According to Jeff Paul at 10up, this technology might come in handy if you were affected byย  Facebook and Instagram dropping support for open embeds.

I've received a lot of pings on Post Status Slack about the Biden-Harris Transition Website. It uses WordPress and is hosted by Automattic. WPTavern noticed as well. ๐Ÿ™Œ

๐Ÿงก There is a call for speakers for WordFest Live 2021 which happens online on January 22, 2021. ๐Ÿ“…

Scott Bolinger explains the difference between WordPress options and transients, which is useful to understand if you are a WordPress developer:

“Transients expire, options donโ€™t. Use transients for a single value you only need temporarily, use options for persistent values that can change.”


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts to listen to this week:

  • Women in WP: This episode features an interview with Dee Teal, project manager with Human Made. Part of the discussion gets into how to work with large global teams. ๐ŸŒ
  • Syntax: I enjoyed this particular episode where Scott Tolinski and Wes Bos talk with Josh Comeau about coding with your voice. ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ
  • Gutenberg Changelog: Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine discuss whatโ€™s new with Gutenberg in Gutenberg 9.3. They also review the upcoming Block Editor in WordPress 5.6. ๐Ÿ“ฆ
  • Billable Hours: This episode has Peter Suhm talking with Birgit Pauli-Haack about Gutenberg and agencies โ€” how they should think about Gutenberg and what the future of the project will look like for them. ๐Ÿ”ญ

Notes for November 6, 2020

Footnotes #420

๐Ÿ“ฃ If you'd like your discount sale promotion to be included in our Black Friday and Cyber Monday WordPress Deals for 2020, please submit the details here by Nov. 11, 2020. ๐ŸŽ

WordPress 5.6 Beta 3 is available for testing. It includes newly added block patterns for the Twenty Twenty and Twenty Nineteen themes. WordPress 5.6 is still slated for release on December 8. ๐Ÿ“…

Speaking of core updates, something unusual happened last Friday. The auto-update system for WordPress updated some sites from version 5.5.2 to version 5.5.3-alpha due to an error in the Updates API caused by the 5.5.3 release preparations. Fortunately, the 5.5.3-alpha version was “functionally identical” to 5.5.2 since no development work had been started on 5.5.3.

Jake Spurlock goes into more detail about the error. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

If your site was auto-updated, the default โ€œTwentyโ€ themes and the Akismet plugin may have been installed. ๐Ÿ‘€

All current WordPress sites should be updated to the proper 5.5.3 version. โฌ†๏ธ

bbPress 2.6.6 is a minor release that's available now.

It fixes some PHP warnings and notices, “some output formatting bugs and improves a few different moderator experiences,” according to John James Jacoby. ๐Ÿ›

The URL migration is complete and should help address some “significant SEO problems.” ๐Ÿ”ง

The structure has changed from to

Some very good news from Maarten Botterman, ICANN‘s Board Chair: ICANN has voted to reject the sale of the .ORG registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital.

This is a major victory for the millions of nonprofits, civil society organizations, and individuals who use the .ORG extension for their sites. ๐Ÿ˜€

Uncanny Owl, the Toronto-based parent company for the Uncanny Automator plugin, has joined the WPBeginner Growth Fund. ๐Ÿค

Syed Balkhi details how the plugin works โ€” “Zapier for WordPress” โ€” and explains why he felt it was wise to take an investment stake and partner with the Uncanny Owl team. ๐Ÿฆ‰

What is the most effective way to reuse code within a single or multi-block plugin? Leonardo Losoviz has the answer. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Spearhead is a beautiful “blank canvas” WordPress theme that was originally developed for the Spearhead podcast. Designed by Cece Yu and others, it is the first theme on to support dark mode. ๐Ÿ•ถ๏ธ

The theme should be coming soon to ๐Ÿ‘

Suzanne Scacca offers suggestions for designers to get some value out of designs “that didn't make the cut.” Suzanne's advice:

Try putting them aside in “a dedicated folder” to use for another project. You could even “templatize your unused designs… to exponentially increase your profits by selling them over and over again.” ๐ŸŽจ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here is my video pick of the week:

  • WPMRR: Joe Howard interviewed Ahmed Khalif of Hear Me Out! โ€” a place where hearing people can learn how to connect and engage with deaf people better.ย  Joe and Ahmed discuss the level of accessibility needed for content in the deaf community and ask what makes a website more accessible. They get into the importance of alt text and descriptions in images, how to possibly improve WordCamp conferences, and the value of optimizing podcast websites with good transcripts. A podcast version is available too.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts to listen to this week:

  • React Podcast: In this episode teacher and accessibility advocate Marcy Sutton illuminates the value of accessibility on the web, describes her favorite tools and services, and explains our need to “shift left” โ€” ensuring that accessibility becomes a part of the planning phase instead of a “nice to have” item tacked onto the development phase.
  • Indie Hackers: Rob Walling and Courtland Allen discuss the state of SaaS in October 2020, and they do mention WordPress and certain plugins several times in the discussion.
  • Voices of the ElePHPant: Consultant CTO, software engineer, and community advocate Steve McDougall and Michael Lochemem are interviewed on two interesting episodes. Michael has some worthwhile takes on functional programming in PHP.
  • Billable Hours: Welcome this new podcast “for WordPress agencies and freelance shops covering business, workflow, and the tech behind it,” started by Peter Suhm. The latest episode is a talk with Joe Howard on recurring revenue and how you might be able to implement a plan to achieve regular income.

Notes for October 29, 2020

Footnotes #419

WordPress 5.6 Beta 2 is available for testing. WordPress 5.6 is still slated for release on December 8. ๐Ÿ“…

In the meantime, you will want to upgrade to WordPress 5.5.2, which was released on Thursday. It features 14 bug fixes and 10 security fixes. ๐Ÿ”’

The 2020 WordPress Annual Survey is open โ€” please take it. โ˜‘๏ธ

The results from the 2019 survey have been shared, and there's a lot to learn from them. What is striking is that very few people took the 2019 survey โ€” only about 6,000 compared to 45,000 responses to the first survey of this kind back in 2015!

6,000 people cannot possibly represent the diversity of the WordPress community, so please take the survey this year.

Allie Nimmons started a conversation about the lack of questions concerning languages, ethnicity/race, and disability. This too is disappointing and needs to change. We need more and better information about the WordPress community every year, so the questions must be broad and inclusive of all its members.

2019 Survey Highlights:

  • One big takeaway from the 2019 results is that (at least 6,000) WordPress users are working on more complex sites with greater efficiency: “The number of professionals who report providing a heavily customized experience to clients has increased substantially, while at the same time the amount of time reported on creating those sites has decreased.”
  • Just over three-quarters (76%) of Professionals use WordPress as a CMS, significantly more than in 2016 (73%).
  • Significantly fewer respondents feel WordPress is as good as or better than its competitors (76%) compared to 2016 and 2017 (82% and 83%, respectively).
  • More than three-quarters (78%) of Users say a lot of custom work has been done to their WordPress installation. Like the Professional groups, 4% say everything on the site has been customized.
  • Nearly half (49%) of the Professionals say it takes 20-60 hours to launch their typical WordPress project. The proportion of Professionals who say it takes more than 200 hours to launch has significantly declined from 6% in 2016 and 2017 to 4% in 2019.
  • Half (50%) of the Pro Freelancers and Hobbyists feel โ€œnot at all comfortableโ€ working with React.
  • A significantly higher proportion of Professionals (20%) feel โ€œvery comfortableโ€ with WordPress REST APIs compared to Pro Freelancers/Hobbyists (13%)

Omar Reiss at Yoast has assembled a “WordPress and PHP 8 compatibility report.” WordPress developers should take note, and it's also a good general resource for any PHP developer. The report covers some possible breaking changes and compatibility challenges. ๐Ÿ’”

Isn't WordPress already compatible with PHP 8? Omar advises caution:

“[My team] is highly doubtful. Itโ€™s really not possible to tell. […] [T]he sheer amount of breaking changes and the type of changes included in PHP 8, plus some added complexities in cross-version tooling, make this compatibility challenge a different beast from what weโ€™ve seen before.”

It sounds like Yoast is making progress preparing for PHP 8, and they (along with the whole community) will be keenly interested in reactions to this report.

Akismet turned 15 years old this week. ๐ŸŽ‚

500 billion spam comments and trackbacks have been blocked since October 2005!

notes, “Thatโ€™s an average of a thousand spam per second, every second, since before Twitter existed.” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

ZDNet reports job listings for entry-level PHP developer roles have increased a massive 834% since January 2020, making it the fastest-growing tech job across the industry, according to Indeed‘s data. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land explains how Google indexes passages within a page's content and what it means for your SEO.

Google recently announced its move into indexing specific sections of content on web pages. This will affect 7% of search queries across all languages when it's rolled out globally. ๐Ÿ”

Composer 2.0 was released on the 24th. This new version is reported to be faster, use less memory, and it's packed with many new features. (Note there are some possible backward compatibility breaks.) ๐ŸŽน

I enjoyed these “Ten Commandments” of navigating code reviews. They're from Angie Jones, a Senior Developer Advocate at Applitools.

“Thou shalt not take it personally” and “Thou shalt be willing to compromise” are my favorite “commandments,” but all of them are good. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš–๏ธ

Benedict Evans took a brief but deep dive into the story of eCommerce growth during the pandemic. He also looks at how traditional shopping and online advertising are changing. ๐Ÿ›’

“How do people decide what to buy online, when a shop canโ€™t show it to them? It seems to me that pretty much every part of that question is being reset this year. [….] The Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 are catalysing and accelerating all sorts of changes โ€” weโ€™re getting five years of adoption in a few quarters, and five years of inevitability in the back of the neck.”

There are great visuals and important data points here alongside some good, open questions.

The popular free software project โ€œyoutube-dlโ€ was removed from Github following a legal notice from the Recording Industry Association of America claiming it violates U.S. copyright law.

Youtube-dl is “a powerful general-purpose media tool that allows users to make local copies of media from a very broad range of sites.” Journalists in particular make use of it in their work.

While not WordPress-related, the journalism angle and the Streisand Effect of the RIAA's attempt to kill an open-source project hold a lot of fascinating lessons.

Some of the ways the code has been shared are insanely smart too. ๐Ÿค”

Here's a nifty web tool to easily create an emoji or letter-based SVG favicon.

Also clever: a tiny javascript library that makes DOM elements draggable and movable. ๐Ÿ–ฑ๏ธ

Here is some exciting information about the CSS image() function which is a new W3C spec feature.

Although it's not well-supported in browsers yet, the CSS image function will give us more control over image loading in CSS. It will even be possible to crop images via CSS and load an image type based on browser support. โœ‚๏ธ

Keanan Koppenhaver shows how GitHub Actions can help make “FTP as a deployment mechanism” both an automatic and repeatable process to make deploys go much more smoothly. ๐Ÿšš

Manos Psychogyiopoulos shares the story of how he started using WooCommerce and why:

“As a WooCommerce developer, I believe that our biggest strength is our WordPress technology and community heritage.”

There is currently a discussion unfolding about the benefits of aligning the WordPress release cycle with the “industry standard.”๐Ÿ’ญ

Francesca Marano recaps some conversations that have been happening in Slack and on blogs about the release cycle with a call for feedback. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • WordFest Live 2021 will debut onย Januaryย 22, 2021 as a 24-hour festival, celebrating all that is WordPress. Registration is now open, as well as a call for speakers and sponsors. Organized by Dan Maby, Michelle Frechette, Hauwa Abashiya, Paul Smart, and Cate DeRosia, this free event aims to raise awareness as well as funds for Big Orange Heart.ย  BOH is a UK-based charity that promotes positive well-being and mental health within remote working communities. ๐Ÿงก
  • Two upcoming WordCamps both being held online: Finland (November 12), and Mรฉxico (November 25-28). ๐ŸŒ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

    • Matt Mullenweg had a “fireside chat” with Scott McClelland at Houston NEXT. Matt shares his insights on how distributed work is good for business.
    • Steve Zehngut presented five reasons to move to headless WordPress at WordCamp Los Angeles 2020, now available on

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts to listen to this week:

  • Matt Report: Matt Medeiros talks about funding a WordPress podcast and how it's taken him eight years to get to “roughly $15-20k a year” through hisย  “side-hustle of WordPress content creation.”
  • WPCoffeeTalk: Michelle Ames interviews Caylin White, a marketer and artist who works at GoWP.
  • Techmeme Ride Home has an interview with Joshua Schachter, founder of, which back in its day was one of the first social sites. Anyone who remembers Web 1.0 fondly will appreciate this.

Notes for October 21, 2020

Footnotes #418

Gutenberg 9.2 has been released. This is the final release to make it into WordPress 5.6 Beta, which also came out this week. โœจ

Featured items in the Gutenberg release include:

  • Support for video subtitles.
  • The ability to transform multiple selected blocks into a columns block.
  • Background patterns in cover blocks.
  • Various enhancements and bug fixes.

Meanwhile, WordPress 5.6 is set to be released with a new default theme, an auto-update option for major releases, and increased support for PHP 8.

Sadly what isn't coming in 5.6 is the Widgets screen asย block-based widgets have been deferred to 5.7. Josepha Haden Chomphosy says the team โ€œwill continue working on the Widgets screen, and will keep the new screen as the default option when using the Gutenberg plugin to encourage more feedback.โ€

There is a call for testing the WordPress for iOS 16.0 app. There are numerous updates to the block editor and reader. ๐Ÿ“ฑ

Chrome 86 is hiding full URLs, and slugs are no longer visible by default โ€” they're only visible on hover. Remkus de Vries “finds it annoying as hell” (I agree!), and he shows you how you can turn this feature off. ๐Ÿ˜ 

PushEngage, the maker of push notification software with “over 10,000+ customers in 150+ countries,” has joined Awesome Motive. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Awesome Motive founder and CEO Syed Balkhi notes in the press release:

“I first started using push notifications over 3 years ago and quickly realized that the click rate, engagement, and opt-in rate is significantly higher than my email newsletter or any other engagement channel.”

There is a free plan for PushEngage, and Syed hints at integration with other Awesome Motive products: “you can expect to see easier workflows to set up highly personalized push notifications campaigns.”

Eric Karkovack‘s list of WordPress plugin pet peeves made my neck sore from nodding in agreement so much! Eric, you had me at “an endless barrage of notifications.” ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿคฏ

I enjoyed this recent interview with Hichame Assi, the new CEO of Envato who is replacing co-founder Collis Taโ€™eed.

Hichame was CEO of HotelsCombined for 10 years and is a prior ThemeForest customer. ๐Ÿจ

Daniel Lee has published a quick and straightforward guide to setting up WordPress in Docker. ๐Ÿณ

Here's a great primer from Ido Shamun for developers on the different types of browser storage. It includes details on the localStorage API, IndexedDB API, cache, and URL storage. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Some brief takes from Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz, on emerging SEO industry trends cover five โ€œunder-rated yet crucial parameters.โ€ ๐Ÿ“

Marketers should monitor all five to make sure their brand has positively influenced their customers: keywords, external links, differentiation, omnichannel communication, and outcome alignment.

A recent interview with Patrick Pulvermรผller, the president of Partners Business at GoDaddy, explains GoDaddy's relationship with WordPress and how WordPress professionals can build lucrative careers. ๐Ÿ’ธ

Em Lazer-Walker has an interesting post suggesting how game design could be used to make virtual events more social. ๐ŸŽฎ

New to me: PlacePress is a WordPress plugin described as an โ€œelegant mapping solution for public historians, urbanists, and other humanities researchers.โ€ ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

Frรคnk Klein has a new online video course about WordPress Unit Testing. It's described as a โ€œstep by step roadmap for learning WordPress unit testing in a weekend, starting from scratch.โ€

I plan on diving into this over the holidays, and other developers may want to as well. ๐Ÿคฟ

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • WordFest Live 2021 is a 24-hour festival, celebrating all that is WordPress. Registration is now open, as well as a call for speakers and sponsors. Organized by Dan Maby, Michelle Frechette, Hauwa Abashiya, Paul Smart, and Cate DeRosia, this free event aims to raise awareness as well as funds for Big Orange Heart.ย  BOH is a UK-based charity that promotes positive well-being and mental health within remote working communities. ๐Ÿงก
  • There are upcoming WordCamps, all being held online, for Bulgaria (October 24), Finland (November 12), and Mรฉxico (November 25-28). ๐ŸŒ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts for this week:

  • Distributed: in episode #25, Matt Mullenweg chats with Davit Baghdasaryant on the science of sound. Davit is CEO of Krisp, a company that makes an AI-powered noise cancellation app. (If you prefer to read this interview, there's a transcript.) ๐ŸŽง
  • Women in WP: Megan Rose takes the spotlight and shares how she got to be a WordCamp speaker and organizer. We get her origin story making websites for her Neopets as a kid. ๐Ÿ˜ธ
  • Hallway Chats: I've been on a streak with this podcast lately and really enjoyed the latest episode with Chris Ford. Chris is a hybrid project manager and designer at Reaktiv, a WordPress VIP partner. (If you prefer to read this interview, there's a transcript.) ๐Ÿ‘
  • Do The Woo: Bob interviewed Igor Benic, a developer at Grow Development. ๐ŸŒฑ
  • Delicious Brain Waves: This is a new podcast from Delicious Brains with an excellent first episode with host Brad Touesnard talking with Pete Tasker, the lead developer of WP Migrate DB Pro, about rebuilding the UI for that plugin in React. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Notes for October 16, 2020

Might as well go for the gusto?

WordPress Executive Directorย Josepha Haden Chomphosy has submitted a ticket to make a change on the WordPress hosting page:

I would like to update the final sentence in the second paragraph.

If you donโ€™t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on

should be updated to read

If you need expert support, and a powerful hosting platform that grows with you, is the easiest way to create a free website or blog.

What Josepha proposes is factually correct, but it is a significant shift to call a host when it certainly does not offer the full capacity of traditional WordPress hosts and a self-hosted WordPress site. Also, this verbiage appears on the .org side of things. The hosting page has a history of a lot of drama, but I think this wording is both interesting and perhaps worthy of further conversation.

Footnotes #417

โš ๏ธ Starting on October 24th, you will no longer be able to automatically embed Facebook and Instagram content in WordPress using the default methods due to a breaking change in the Facebook API. ๐Ÿ’ฅ

This post from WPBeginner explains how you may be able to resolve the problems this situation creates. To say this is a pain in the butt for many people (whether they use WordPress or not) is probably an understatement. โ˜น๏ธ

๐Ÿงช Helen Hou-Sandi announced that WordPress core is now running automated tests using GitHub Actions as a runner, in addition to the existing Travis CI and Appveyor runs.

Helen explains where this testing is headed next and shares how people contributing to core will benefit:

“By switching to Github Actions, we are able to take advantage of a unified interface, inline annotations for linting issues in pull requests, the broader open source ecosystem building and using Actions including existing work in Gutenberg, and free availability for public repositories.”

If you have a product or service company and are thinking about promoting a Black Friday deal, Alex Denning has some good advice.

Alex suggests focusing “on putting together a great sale package, rather than a headline discount.” It's best to communicate your sale clearly and early to take advantage of โ€œThe Craze,โ€ and that means you should begin your sale the week before Black Friday. ๐Ÿฆƒ๐ŸŽ„

Yoast has entered a partnership with SEMrush. SEMrush is a large provider of SEO tools and powers some features that are already found in Yoast SEO 15.1. ๐Ÿค

I spotted this tweet from Joost de Valk sharing research from a post by eMarketer where they found signs eCommerce is “jumping ahead by two years” because of COVID. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

๐Ÿฌ The article is worth a read, but I'm also noting Joost's thoughts on what he thinks this growth means:

“more [brick and mortar] stores will go bankrupt, commerce will change, and city centers along with it. It also means that if you want to keep your local stores, you have to buy from them NOW, either online or offline.”

Lainey Feingold makes the case that the proposed Online Accessibility Act legislation working through the US Congress is bad for digital inclusion.

Right now disabled people can now file lawsuits about websites and apps that aren't accessible to them, but the new law would require people with disabilities to go through the US Department of Justice first, before any private legal action. โš–๏ธ

As Lainey explains, this would slow down progress toward a remedy and probably result in sites and apps that don't get fixed. Instead of pretending it is about accessibility, the proposed law “should be called a bill to limit web accessibility coverage and lawsuits.” ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Joe Casabona shares his landing page checklist which includes the essentials: headline + text, 2 CTAs, a bio + photo, trust logos, testimonials, long-form text, an email subscription form (or special content in exchange for an email address), and FAQs. ๐Ÿ›ฌ

Here is a nice plugin from Kailey Lampert that checks for the existence of “do not publish” in the post title and stops the post from being published if that text is found. ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๏ธ

Neale Van Fleet shows off a nice trick for making a realistic motion blur in CSS in between transitions.

Sucuri has found some malware that can disable security plugins to avoid detection. ๐Ÿ˜จ

This is really devious! Luke Leal explains:

“If a user tries to reactivate one of the disabled security plugins, [the Malware] will momentarily appear to activate only for the malware to immediately disable it again. This behavior will prevail until the malware is fully removed from the compromised environment.”

Roel Magdaleno has created his first npm CLI command for getting statistics about plugins and themes at ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Great Twitter thread here from Chris Herd on lessons learned from speaking to over 1,000 companies over the past 6 months about their plans for remote work. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Just one sample: “Headquarters are finished: companies will cut their commercial office space by 40-60%.” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

If you have ever had a problem with dates and MySQL, then you might have had a WTF MySQL moment. ๐Ÿคฏ

Salvatore Sanfilippo has a brief but insightful take on “the open source paradox,” which is “the proportionality between the money people give you for coding something, and the level of demand for the quality they can claim to have about your work.”

On the one hand, “[t]he real right you have, and often donโ€™t exploit, is that you are the only one that can decide about the design of your software.” You don't have to take every contribution and pull request.

On the other hand, if someone shows you a defect, don't make the mistake “of reducing the interaction to a vile matter of money. You are doing work for free, they are risking their asses deploying what you wrote, you both care about quality.” ๐Ÿค—

Leonardo Losoviz has shared his discovery of Rector and transpiling in PHP. ๐Ÿ˜

A transpiler is โ€œa type of translator that takes the source code of a program written in a programming language as its input and produces an equivalent source code in the same or a different programming language.โ€

Leonardo notes that “by transpiling, we can use modern PHP features (such as union types, typed properties, and arrow functions) in themes and plugins, and release them for PHP 7.1.”

This week the Google Search On event took place, and several improvements and changes to search were presented by the company. Edwin Toonen has a summary here. Speaking of search, you can now hum a tune to search for a song. That's nuts. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽค ๐ŸŽต

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • WooSesh took place this week on October 13 and 14th. The videos will be available soon for WPSession members.
  • WP Agency Summit also happened this week from October 12 to 16th. Videos are available until the 18th, after which you have to pay to access them.


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

If you want to build WordPress communities, two new videos on are essential viewing:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts for this week:

  • Distributed: in episode #24, Matt Mullenweg chats with Reena Merchant about user experience and trusting ourselves.
  • Hallway Chats: I enjoyed this interview with Emily Hunkler who is director of growth at GoWP. Emily talks about her $20/day travel blog and some other interesting life stories. (If you prefer to read this interview, there's a transcript.)
  • Sucuri Sit-Down: Justin Channell sits down with Sucuri analyst Antony Garand to talk about cross-site scripting and WordPress plugin vulnerabilities.

Notes for October 9, 2020

Footnotes #416

Cloudflare has implemented an Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress. It includes improvements in speed for sites that might be slowed down a bit by plugins or hosting limitations effectively creating a “zero-config edge HTML caching solution.” Garrett Galow explains:

“Our testing … showed a 72% reduction in Time to First Byte (TTFB), 23% reduction to First Contentful Paint, and 13% reduction in Speed Index for desktop users at the 90th percentile, by serving nearly all of your websiteโ€™s content from Cloudflareโ€™s network.”

There is a more technical post that goes into more detail.

This optimization costs $5/month for customers on the Free plan and is included, at no additional cost, in the Professional, Business, and Enterprise plans. It will work both with and without the Cloudflare for WordPress plugin. ๐ŸŒฉ๏ธ

iThemes has announced its acquisition of WPComplete, an easy-to-use, interactive course completion plugin for WordPress. ๐Ÿ‘

Bob Dunn has announced the launch of, a website to connect the WooCommerce builder community:

“I believe that there is a need for a central location to help connect those who build WooCommerce sites, products and services. These people are the ones that drive the community and can benefit from being connected through insights, perspectives and communication.”

The Do the Woo podcast will continue to run as it has. ๐Ÿค˜

Helen Hou-Sandi revisits “starter content” which had its beginnings in WordPress 4.7:

“We will want to strike a balance between showing users what they can do and adding too many individual pieces of content that have to be tracked down and removed if they donโ€™t want it…For a future release, we should start exploring what it might look like to opt into importing starter content into EXISTING sites.”

Demo content importers exist for many commercial themes, but outside of a good experience with BuddyBoss (which helps you easily remove the demo content), the demo content is usually hard to configure and harder to remove. I would welcome a stabilization of sorts from WordPress Core for themes.

A long-standing goal of the WordPress project is to be compatible with new versions of PHP on release day. There's a call right now for both manual and automated testing to ensure the core codebase is ready for PHP 8.0. ๐Ÿค™

Even though WordPress 5.6 will add support for PHP 8.0, “no changes will be made to the minimum required version of PHP at this time.”

Chris Coyier has a new and lengthy but highly consumable essay on the subject of “The Widening Responsibility for Front-End Developers.” Chris touches on the increasing burdens of the role as well as its joys:

“Being a front-end developer puts us on the front lines between the thing weโ€™re building and the people weโ€™re building it for, and thatโ€™s a place some of us really enjoy being.”

Ali Spittel acknowledges writing blog posts can be “pretty tricky” and has shared what I think is some great advice for writing posts. Ali covers everything from finding a topic, writing a first draft, revisions, visuals, and publishing. โœ๏ธ

Ali includes some encouraging words if you are holding yourself back from writing. Maybe you don't think of yourself as an “authority.” Ali says go right ahead:

“If you have a blog post that contains mostly correct information, or at least your interpretation of the topic, then you're experienced enough.”

Timi Wahalahti has created a plugin that lets back end users choose a post from any site in a WordPress Multisite network through an ACF field. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Sami Keijonen shows how to use WordPress and Eleventy together with the block editor “as usual” on the back end but with the front end served by Eleventy. ๐Ÿ’ก

The main reasons for doing this, according to Sami, are “Security. Scale. Performance.” He also notes, “I have been playing around with WordPress for a long time. It saves me back-end developing time. Iโ€™ve been pretty happy about block editor myself.”

So if you're getting comfortable with Gutenberg and want a fast front end, this is an option.

Jean-Baptiste Audras released a small WordPress plugin called Image Licensing Schema that allows WordPress site administrators to enjoy the benefits of a new Google Images feature. The plugin gives “you an easy way to manage your structured data for Google Images.” ๐Ÿ“ท

GitHub is changing the default branch name on all new repositories from master to main. Mike McBride shows how to update some (or all) of your existing repositories to use “main” (or another term of your choice) as well.

Dลvy Paukstys' Redux interface framework recently surpassed one million active installations. ๐Ÿ‘

Redux is one of the first popular Gutenberg-related WordPress plugins that added a library of blocks and block templates to WordPress.

Joe Casabona‘s WPYearInReview project has met its crowdfunding goal. ๐Ÿฅณ This content project will feature a video tutorial series, an interview series with WordCamp speakers, and an eBook that goes over how WordPress and its ecosystem has changed in the last year.

Congrats to Joe for coming up with this idea and executing on it, as well as everyone in the community who backed it. Looking forward to seeing the results! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Application Passwords are scheduled to be shipped along with WordPress 5.6, and if you have any input to offer, now's the time to add your two cents.

Application Passwords make it easy to revoke any individual application password or completely void all of a userโ€™s application passwords. It's also an easier way to request API credentials and allow for an “interactive authentication flow” with 2FA or reCAPTCHA protecting your users' accounts. ๐Ÿ”’

According to Sourcegraph, a company specializing in universal code search, developers are managing 100x more code now than they did in 2010. ๐Ÿคญ

Josh Comeau demonstrates what he calls “an elegant solution to a tricky modern layout” โ€” a full-bleed layout using CSS Grid.

Call a Vulnerability a Vulnerability

Roger Montii reporting for SEJ looks at an Authenticated Stored XSS vulnerability in the WPBakery Page Builder plugin. The vulnerability was discovered by Wordfence and fixed through their collaboration with WPBakery in a recent update. ๐Ÿฐ

Vulnerabilities happen โ€” all the time, and in major plugins. Having them discovered by the good guys and handled this well is how open source is supposed to work โ€” the code and the community. So I think in this case the story is being a little overblown, and the real issue is what Roger notes at the end of his article:

Unfortunately, WPBakeryโ€™s changelog does not reflect the urgency of the update because it does not explicitly say that it is patching a vulnerability. The changelog refers to the vulnerability patches as improvements.

Donโ€™t hide security and bug fixes in your changelogs, and be responsible by letting your customers know about the problem โ€” and the solution.๐Ÿ”’

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • Join Virtual CFO Jeff Meziere and his partner, Cory Miller, on October 13th as they talk about a framework to better forecast your business cashflow. This webinar is especially timely and relevant for agencies looking to ensure they have cashflow for their business in the peaks and valleys of the pandemic. You can RSVP for this event here.
  • WooSesh will be back again on October 13 and 14th. Chris Lema, Greta Galubauskaitฤ—, Luke Cavanaugh, and Christie Chirinos are among the many great speakers taking the stage.
  • WP Agency Summit is taking place from October 12 to 16th. It's a free virtual conference that will share “strategies for lead generation, sales, project delivery and a lot more that helps you grow your WordPress agency or freelance business.”


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

  • PublishPress has a great interview with Zack Katz of GravityView about values-driven WordPress businesses. ๐Ÿ‘
  • If you missed the Jamstack Conf “Fireside Chat” with Chris Coyier, Matt Mullenweg, and Matt Biilmann โ€” who coined the term”Jamstack” and is the CEO of Netlify โ€” then you missed a hot, fiery debate. ๐Ÿ”ฅย  “In reality, the Jamstack by default is performance first,” Matt B. said. Then he made a case for Jamstack as a better security and performance approach than LAMP. Matt M. bragged about WordPress's market share and rejected Matt B's comparison. He went as far as saying, โ€œJamStack is not intellectually honest in its marketing.” No matter your position, this is worth a watch and should be up on the JamStack Conf YouTube feed any day now. Richard McManus has a good writeup you can read in the meantime.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are two podcasts for another crazy week:

  • Women in WP: This latest episode welcomed guest Maja Loncar, a GoDaddy employee with over 15 years of overseas experience in communications, marketing, branding, and events management. The group discussed ethics, contributing, and community.
  • Hallway Chats: Here's a great interview with Winstina Hughes who is a speaker, a WordPress Meetup co-organizer, and the past organizer of WordCamp NYC 2018. I hope to hear from Winstina on more podcasts! Her story shows how WordPress and its community can be tremendously positive. (If you prefer to read this interview, there's a transcript.)

Notes for October 2, 2020

Decisions have consequences

Sarah Gooding has reported at WPTavern that the W3C and the agency it selected to redesign its website, Studio 24, dropped WordPress from consideration in a selection process that has ended with Craft CMS as the winner.

First off, kudos to Craft CMS. I haven't had a chance to give it a try yet, but I've heard good things about it. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to have the flexibility and ecosystem of WordPress, but it does have strengths inaccessibility. Craft describes itself as “commercial open source,” which means it isn't open source, although its core code is available on Github.

I'm fine with the “right tool for the job” approach to projects like this, even if it means using non-open source technology. What concerns me most is Marie Manandise‘s statement for Studio 24:

“In this case, we felt working with a smaller CMS development team would be a more effective way to tackle specific accessibility concerns as we could have a direct conversation with the developers who set out the development roadmap of their CMS.”

This made me stop and think. Is the development roadmap for WordPress (or more specifically Gutenberg and the editor) and the way decisions are being made in those areas โ€” for example, the sudden decision to make editing editor pages full-screen by default โ€” having unintended consequences? Like repelling developers, agencies, and their clients who might otherwise prefer WordPress?

We should take note: decision-makers were considering WordPress with the Classic Editor in this case, but they “didnโ€™t want to be left relying on [it because] there is a real risk [it] will be unmaintained in the near future,” according to the selection report.

One project or one customer, even a well-known one, doesn't spell doom or imply WordPress hasn't made great leaps of progress in areas such as accessibility โ€” it has. However, negative perceptions of the decision-making processes in any open source project are a warning sign that shouldn't be ignored.

Notes for October 1, 2020

Footnotes #415

Congrats to Francesca Marano who is now the WordPress core team lead at Yoast! In her new role, Francesca expects to

“…contribute all my time to WordPress, a platform that gave me a lot, personally and professionally, and do it with some of the best minds in the community.”

This is a tremendous gain for all of us. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Joost de Valk has proposed a font enqueue API for WordPress core. ๐Ÿ”ก

Explaining why we should implement .wp_enqueue_font, Joost writes:

“Building this so that fonts are always loaded the same way allows us to continuously improve the way we load fonts as the standards evolve.”

Speaking of fonts, the WordPress Themes Team has built an easy-to-use implementation of locally hosted webfonts that themes can start using now:

“Google fonts have been used as a way for themes to provide more appealing typography options. They are widely used and though there were always privacy and tracking concerns, we could not remove the exception until we had a viable alternative for theme-authors.”

Leonardo Losoviz explains how you can show documentation to the user directly in the WordPress editor using Markdown. He claims that using Markdown instead of HTML is easier, and there are other benefits.

Stressing that “localization for documentation is mandatory,” Leonardo also shows how you can translate documentation into your users' languages while using Markdown. โฌ‡๏ธ

If you live in the EU, you might know about Googleโ€™s current search preference menu auction. It appears to have been dropped recently from DuckDuckGo. ๐Ÿฆ†

DuckDuckGo has explained why this move โ€” and the whole idea of the search preference menu โ€” is a problem.

Cory Miller shares his sympathy for people “starting new projects or businesses,” which he compares to “rolling a snowball uphill.” It's hard work to maintain patience and focus in a “grind” or struggle state without seeing big results. โ„๏ธ

“We know the tipping point, the catalytic moments will come, just not when,” so we just have to “keep pushing.”

This is a good reminder for business owners and entrepreneurs right now.

Thereโ€™s a new version of the WooCommerce Blocks plugin available now. Version 3.5.0 is mostly a bug fix release with some enhancements for payment methods. ๐Ÿ›’

I sometimes find general tech sector articles worthwhile reading, but this one raised my eyebrows.๐Ÿคจ

While I always take survey data with a grain of salt, I don't think it's unreasonable to predict the majority of businesses expect IT budgets to grow or remain steady in 2021, driven by a big increase in remote workers. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Joe Casabona has a new book out for those just starting on the path to learning HTML and CSS. He talks about what it was like “re-learning” them:

“There are a lot of colloquialisms in web development. I didnโ€™t realize it until my copy and tech editors pointed out that terms I thought were common make no sense to beginners.”

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • The Page Builder Summit is happening on October 9th. It's a free summit about WordPress Page Builders with Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux hosting. The event will include a variety of names from inside and outside the WordPress space. The summit aims to help streamline page-building processes and improve client relationships.
  • WooSesh will be back again on October 13 and 14th. Chris Lema, Greta Galubauskaitฤ—, Luke Cavanaugh, and Christie Chirinos are among many speakers taking the stage.
  • WP Agency Summit is taking place from October 12 to 16th. It's a free virtual conference that will share “strategies for lead generation, sales, project delivery and a lot more that helps you grow your WordPress agency or freelance business.”


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here is my video pick of the week:

  • WordCamp Asheville 2020: Miriam Goldman and AmyJune Hineline demonstrate how to perform a site audit on their own websites, which can help you anticipate potential problems and discover new opportunities to add features.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are two podcasts I can recommend in what has been a hectic week for me:

  • How I Built It: Emily Hunkler is featured in this episode which focuses on how webinars can grow your audience. Emily hosts webinars and virtual meetups for GoWP.
  • WPMMR Podcast: This is a great roundup of guests and high points from previous podcasts focused on women and minorities in the WordPress community. If you don't usually listen to WPMRR, this one is worth your time.

Notes for September 25, 2020

Footnotes #414

๐Ÿ›’ Commerce Journey

Black Friday is just 65ย days away. Cyber Monday is 68ย days away. It's a great time to start your journey in online sales.

Be sure to subscribe to the Commerce Journey newsletter for our latest content and a roundup of the best eCommerce reading from around the web. ๐Ÿ“š

Mel Choyce-Dwan has given us a preview of the Twenty Twenty One theme, which will appear in the upcoming WordPress 5.6 release.

Twenty Twenty One is “designed to be a blank canvas for the block editor” and uses a modified version of the Seedlet theme as its base. It “will come packaged with a bunch of unique patterns” designed for it in an “opinionated” way, but “the themeโ€™s overall design is simple.” ๐ŸŽจ

Jeremy Felt shared his checklist for how he would like comments to work in WordPress. Jeremy mentions webmention support, and I agree it is way overdue. I like the ideas of commenters being able to be notified of comment interactions, along with private comments.

I don't know how much attention these days are going into comments, but I would love to see more progress in this area too. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

๐Ÿ˜ซ Developers can easily experience overload, so I enjoyed this post from Tom McFarlin about what's critical to our skillsets as WordPress developers:

“If youโ€™re worried that itโ€™s too hard to keep up with the various parts of WordPress, donโ€™t. Instead, focus on the parts with which you enjoy working and then focus much of your time and effort on becoming the best possible developer you can for that area.”

Here are some tips from SpinUpWP on how to debug and fix the WordPress “White Screen of Death.” โ˜ ๏ธ

News for Firefox and Mozilla doesn't seem to be getting better these days, which saddens people like me who currently use Firefox as their primary browser. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Cal Paterson says “Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay going up 400%” and then explains three measures that show what is wrong: overhead, ethics, and results.

Roben Kleene recently published an interesting article that shows the popularity of Visual Studio Code. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

I know WordPress developers use other IDEs (PHPStorm, etc.), but in my observations, the developer community has rallied behind this Microsoft product,ย  and Roben's data backs that up.

Jeff Starr has published a very nice guide to using code snippets that allow you to customize WordPress Sitemaps, the functionality introduced in WordPress 5.5.

According to Jeff, some good reasons to customize your sitemaps are it increases SEO, tightens security, and minimizes redundancy “to keep things as focused as possible.” ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

Carl Alexander has an update about Ymir, the serverless DevOps platform he is building for WordPress. In the process, he explains how to create a WP-CLI command. ๐Ÿ‘

A proposal has been published on the Make WordPress blog that asks for feedback on the idea of licensing Gutenberg under the GNU General Public License, v2 (GPL v2) and the Mozilla Public License v2.0 (MPL v2.0).

Matt Mullenweg notes that allowing people to embed Gutenberg under the MPL might increase its usage outside of WordPress:

“Right now itโ€™s easy to distribute Gutenberg with web apps that arenโ€™t GPL, due to the way browsers link and bundle things, but embedding Gutenberg inside a native app on desktop, iOS, Android, or beyond is not possible unless the entire application is also GPL.”

Speaking of proposals, here is another one that focuses on REST API Authentication. Written by George Stephanis, it proposes to integrate Application Passwords into Core. ๐Ÿ”’

Along with some other benefits, “Application Passwords makes it easy to revoke any individual application password, or wholesale void all of a userโ€™s application passwords.”

Chris Coyier stops to think about the power usage of websites and whether good performance maps to lower energy usage. ๐Ÿ”‹

Chris links to a number of good articles and experiments on this subject. At the end of the day though, “The less across the network, the less electricity. The less your browser has to do, the less electricity.” ๐ŸŒฉ๏ธ

๐ŸŒฒ Pinegrow โ€” a new, commercial “web editor” and “website builder”ย  for Windows, MacOS, and Linux โ€” has an extra add-on feature for building WordPress themes. You can assign “WordPress actions to individual elements on the page” and export your work as “standard PHP WordPress” theme files.

There's a free trial, and the screenshots are very enticing, so I'll probably be giving this a try soon.

Mark Seemann makes the case for why the developer community needs both young and old programmers. ๐Ÿ‘ด

Jane Tracy writes an excellent guide on the vanilla JavaScript basics to know before learning React. ๐Ÿจ

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • If you are looking for a WordCamp this weekend, check out WordCamp Philadelphia which will be hosting speakers such as Joost de Valk, Marieke van de Rakt, Topher DeRosia, William Jackson, Bianca Ross, and Jackson Young.
  • The WPMRR Virtual Summit has concluded, but its videos should available for the public soon. The focus of the conference was “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€
  • WooSesh is back again – happening October 13 and 14th. Chris Lema, Greta Galubauskaitฤ—, Luke Cavanaugh, and Christie Chirinos are among many speakers taking the stage.
  • WP Agency Summit is going on from October 12 to 16th. A free virtual conference that shares “strategies for lead generation, sales, project delivery and a lot more that helps you grow your WordPress agency or freelance business.”

Thinking about starting a podcast? Watch Cory's webinar with Matt Medeiros, Getting Your Podcast Started. ๐Ÿ†“


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here is my video pick of the week:

If you are in the mood to have a WordPress meetup play in the background, I would recommend this recent “Mega Meetup” โ€” a collection of a few WordPress meetups into one event.

Michelle Schulp and I hosted this even, answering questions and talking about the block editor. Allie Nimmons kicked it off with “Maximizing Revenue Through Supercharged Maintenance Packages.” Because it was live, there were prizes and giveaways.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts I recommend this week:

  • How I Built It: David Sparks is featured in this episode. David hosts a few podcasts, but he also has written several popular guides which he talks about here.
  • Voices Of The ElePHPant: Here's a nice interview with Sherri Wheeler that revolves around her blog post about “being a developer dinosaur.”
  • Women in WP: I enjoyed this episode that hosted Brittney Oddo. Brittney talks about being a woman of color in the WordPress community. Her business, According to Brittney, is an award-winning content and social media agency.

Notes for September 21, 2020

SkyVerge & GoDaddy

The team at SkyVerge is joining GoDaddy in a full company acquisition. All SkyVerge extensions and Jilt will go under the GoDaddy umbrella. In the announcement from SkyVerge, they gave a hint as to what is next: “While weโ€™ll be building something new at GoDaddy, everything weโ€™ve already built is a big part of that.”

So, it looks like we should expect a new offering from GoDaddy in the coming months. SkyVerge was making about $350k per month at the end of 2019, and likely had an increase in revenue due to COVID, like many WordPress product businesses did. I do not know the purchase price, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't at minimum $10m, and I would easily believe a number as high as 4-5x annual revenue.

They are bringing on the single largest independent WooCommerce focused company with a broad portfolio of popular extensions, an independently valuable product in Jilt for automated eCommerce email, and a bunch of talented people.

GoDaddy will be able to leverage those existing extensions in their eCommerce hosting packages without having to worry about the underlying licensing fees. Jilt, or perhaps some underlying engineering, could be catered to GoDaddy customers in certain tier packages. And who knows what they are working on, but I'm sure it will be a huge value add for GoDaddy eCommerce customers.

To date, there is still no real fully hosted WooCommerce option. With the right spin, I still consider this a highly valuable market if it can be offered for the right price.

I contracted with the SkyVerge team for about a year and enjoyed doing so. This is one of the best-run small businesses in the industry. I think there are folks at SkyVerge who could easily be groomed into important managerial roles at GoDaddy.

I'm really, really happy for SkyVerge, and GoDaddy is smart to acquire them. At the last Pressnomics, I sat and listened to a handful of GoDaddy folks digging for as much info as they could get out of the team under an Arizona sunset. It was all just casual conversation, but I could tell GoDaddy was very interested and knew just how valuable SkyVerge could be as part of their portfolio. Now, here we are.

Notes for September 16, 2020

Footnotes #413

Entrepreneurship and mental health may have a lot of overlap. Dr. Sherry Walling is working with Dr. Michael Freeman to understand the mental health needs of entrepreneurs in a new research project you can help them with. ๐Ÿงก

They have put together a 4-minute anonymous survey and are trying to get it in front of as many people as possible. Ultimately, they need 1,000 entrepreneurs to respond. Please share it and take a minute to complete it. ๐Ÿ™

The Gutenberg 9.0 release is out with a focus on navigation screen improvements. It has a new look and supports drag and drop inside the list view now. The query block has gained search, filtering by author and support for tags. ๐Ÿ†•

BuddyPress 6.3.0 is out with some bug fixes, so make sure you are updated. According to the latest dev chat notes, we might see a 7.0 release in October. ๐Ÿ‚

Thierry Muller has a proposal to opt-in to large image previews by default when the โ€œSearch Engine Visibilityโ€ setting is turned on in WordPress.

That would allow search engine results “to display large images resulting in an enhanced user experience and CTR (click-through rate).” ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ

As noted by M Asif Rahman, the WordPress Plugin Directory now has a release confirmation mechanism for new commits. Following a commit that updates a plugin's stable tag value, the committer receives an email with a link they must click to confirm the release. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Ryan Welcher announced in Post Status Slack the launch of the GoodFirstBugs Twitter bot that finds issues tagged as “Good First Issue” in Gutenberg as well as Core Trac tickets. It's a pretty great concept, and I would love to see more people spread the word about it. ๐Ÿ›

HeroPress has some insightful lessons learned by Tijana Andrejic as she breaks down the five things that helped her start a freelance career. Some good advice for beginners: question your motives, develop your WordPress skills, and plan ahead.

Tijana also shares some tactics that helped land her first freelancing job, but in a twist of sorts she decided to pursue a completely different path:

“Itโ€™s just important to stay focused on your goals and to be open to new opportunities… If you were wondering why Iโ€™m not a freelancer anymore, this is where the answer lies. By constantly being interested in different opportunities, I realized that freelancing is not the only way to achieve my goals.”

Never assume your current goal is your ultimate destination. ๐Ÿฅพ

Dave Rupert writes about the value of browser diversity and narrows down his feelings about it to two major value propositions:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Browser diversity keeps the web slow deliberately.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Browser diversity fosters consensus and cooperation over corporate rule.

While the slowness has downsides, it also has benefits. Dave concludes:

“If we do see a major reduction in browser diversity, I think we lose the intentional slowness and the cooperation mechanisms we have in place. Who knows what will happen, but my hope is that just like iron can sharpen iron, maybe chromium can sharpen chromium.”

Lars Wikman shows how you can use CSS to track users that have JS disabled, and asks if this is “evil.” ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

“The ugly side is that there are things that you can do to indicate every single link your users hover, even if they are blocking all JS. You can absolutely use this to do things I consider somewhat of an overstep that are probably just table stakes in the analytics space.”

Iain Poulson walks through development environment setups for WordPress โ€” how to install WordPress locally, wrangle the database, and start debugging. It's nice a comprehensive guide for anyone starting out or retooling. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Now that Restrict Content Pro has been sold to iThemes, the transition team that will be working on it has been introduced by AJ Morris. ๐Ÿ‘

Github CLI 1.0 is now available. With it, you can “run your entire GitHub workflow from the terminal, from issues through releases.” ๐Ÿ”ง

After years in the making with funding by the Google News Initiative, The Membership Guide has been released by The Membership Puzzle Project and The Lenfest Institute. ๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ

The Membership Guide offers best practices, case studies, and practical advice for creating and maintaining relationships and memberships with readers. While this material is geared toward online journalism that engages its audience as a community of supporting members, it has a lot of clear relevance to open source communities, writers and publishers, as well as digital product owners.

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • The first rounds of speakers for the first WP Accessibility Day have been announced. This conference is a 24-hour global online event that will begin on Friday, October 2, 2020. The organizers are looking for volunteers and sponsors. ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ
  • The FemTechConf is an event “for empowering women in the tech world” that is expecting 30,000+ attendees on September 25th. Mary Job might have a few free tickets available if you are a woman and interested in attending. ๐Ÿ’ช
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ WPMRR Virtual Summit (September 23rd and 24th.) Free, online. The focus will be “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€ Scroll down the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! ๐Ÿ’ธ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts I recommend this week:

  • Women in WP: I enjoyed this interview with Milana Cap who has a background in opera and โ€” more familiar to my own experience โ€” some websites that are “Frankenstein monsters.” ๐ŸงŸ
  • Syntax FM: Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski explain how you can improve your CSS.
  • The Matt Report: David Darke is featured in this episode. He talks about his process for connecting with clients at Atomic Smash, especially in a COVID-affected world.
  • Think Like A Hacker: New to me, this is a weekly podcast about WordPress, security, and innovation that covers recent news stories. Episode #86 covers the File Manager plugin zero-day vulnerability discovered about a week ago.
  • WP Hacker Cast: I highly recommend this great talk with WordPress lead contributor Helen Hou-Sandi. According to Jonathan Bossenger, Helen is “the reason this whole podcast exists.”

Notes for September 10, 2020

Footnotes #412

The Gutenberg plugin is out with a new update. In version 8.9, the block-based widgets screen is enabled by default and replaces the default WordPress widgets screen.

Other enhancements include adding a character count to the info panel. You can add links to featured images now too. ๐Ÿ”—

Birgit Pauli-Haack published a resource list useful to anyone creating small or big block patterns. This is a good starting point for learning how to make block patterns available in your themes or plugins. ๐Ÿ™

This made me smile ๐Ÿ˜„ โ€” something a bit different for virtual WordCamps: WordCamp Austin 2020 has put out a call for musicians along with its call for speakers. ๐ŸŽถ

Austin Ginder recently launched Stackable โ€” which soon was rebranded as WP Freighter. The product offers “fast duplicate copies of your WordPress site with no need to wait to deploy to separate environments.”

Upon returning from a sabbatical, Josepha Haden wrote about some skills and leadership lessons she picked up from tending to her garden. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ

Two clear and simple lessons: Plant today what you need tomorrow and give them space to grow, or create space later. ๐ŸŒฟ

At the end of the day though you are leading and managing flawed human beings:

“The plants are not picture perfect… and shouldnโ€™t that be true for those we lead, too? That perfection shouldnโ€™t be measured on what we wish someone could do, but rather on what they were built to do.”

Troy Hunt explains what “hashing” means for passwords, and what site owners mean if they say they “didn't encrypt your password but hashed it.”

It's a lot to digest, but Troy makes it easy to understand what password hashing is and why you are asked to change your password when hashes are exposed. ๐Ÿ‘

Ben Kuhn offers an excellent reminder that attention is your scarcest resource. Programmers and managers both make key decisions about when to devote energy and focus on a problem or project. Sometimes it's best to take a break or tackle it another time. ๐Ÿ˜ซ

One of Ben's tips is to have a “bullshit timebox.” ๐Ÿ’ฉ Like Ben, maybe you “somehow always end up with a bunch of minor chores to doโ€”responding to emails, deflecting secondary obligations, etc.” Well that BS can all be shoveled into “a one-hour period a few times a week” devoted to “all the things life is too short” to waste more time on than this!

Ben also tries to trim down his “open loops,” which are “projects or processes” you've started and not finished. โ˜‘๏ธ

Lisa Charlotte Rost offers some helpful tips on how to pick more beautiful colors for your data visualizations. ๐ŸŽจ

The depth of this post makes it worth a bookmark even if you aren't building a visualization. I found it helpful in how I look at other areas of design too.

Antonio Villegas ponders whether WordPress has a “bright future.” While the WordPress market share is currently on the rise, “the future of blogging (and its platforms) is today more threatened than ever.” โŒ›

Antonio points to two areas we should be concerned about. The first comes from yours truly, David Bisset, about our youth involvement youth in the WordPress community. The second concern comes from Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Morten's “Blogging is dead. Long live ephemerality” post from a few months back is referenced, and as we said then, it's a good read. Antonio comments, “I find it very difficult for my parents to start writing in WordPress. But they do use WhatsApp to share everything they want… we have a lot of work ahead of us to make WordPress attractive again.” ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Mack Male details how he transferred his self-hosted WordPress blog to with WordPress Premium to start.

Normally (at least in my world) you hear of the transfer from to self-hosted, so it was a new experience to hear about it happening the other way around. It's pretty straightforward, but Mack explains a few potential pitfalls that are helpful to plan for in advance. ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ

Mark Krynsky shares his experience of trying to replace the OceanWP theme and Elementor on a with Astra Pro and the block editor on an existing site. Mark looks at the cost factor, simplicity vs. complexity, and performance considerations.

Mark concludes he will stick with the block editor for simple sites, but he also warns us to “take careful consideration as to what your requirements are and then select the best tools as necessary.”

Matt Zeunert from DebugBear attempts to answer the question, “Is the web is getting slower?” Starting by interpreting the HTTP Archive data, Matt looks at how devices and the web have changed over the past 10 years and what those changes have meant for web performance. :

He doesn't think the web is truly slower overall but, our software is nowhere near optimal efficiency:

“On the one hand, the web is slowly getting faster. On the other hand, the improvements in networks and devices represent a missed opportunity for more significant performance improvements.”

Michal Bugno writes about the hidden cost of constantly shipping new things, using his experience in launching a company called Pulse. ๐Ÿ’—

Michal shares some lessons he learned, like “no matter how much time you put into your product design, iterate again.” He also makes some good points about technical debt and voicing concerns earlier rather than later.

Ohad Eder-Pressman recently wrote an “open letter” to Matt Mullenweg on the subject of JamStack. This seems to come in response to Matt's comments in an email exchange with Richard MacManus in which Matt didn't find favor with the technology at this time.

There are several people in the WordPress community who have had an enjoyable experience with JamStack technologies. It is a trendy technology right now that is not without its pitfalls and challenges โ€” some of which are being handled by for-profit and non-profit organizations.

I tend to side with Matt in his view that the technology isn't there yet, and I am not convinced it would replace WordPress and non-JamStack technologies in terms of market share. But I do want to see the technology move forward, and I think there are some in the WordPress community doing great things with it in conjunction with WordPress and without it. ๐Ÿฅž

I recently stumbled uponย Jamhur Mustafayev‘s curated list of private businesses publicly sharing their expenses. This is a good place to see the tools used by startups and small private companies and what they cost.

Jamhur's curating goes pretty deep. Some of the list items link to archived pages because the posts or sites are gone or have been removed. ๐Ÿ‘

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • The FemTechConf is an event “for empowering women in the tech world” that is expecting 30,000+ attendees on September 25th. Mary Job might have a few free tickets available if you are a woman and interested in attending.
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ WPMRR Virtual Summit (September 23rd and 24th.) Free, online. The focus will be “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€ Scroll down the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! ๐Ÿ’ธ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here's the video pick of the week:

  • This isn't a single video, but a list of videos I found on YouTube focused on general programming and development. Nothing specific to WordPress here, but it's quite the rabbit hole if you like learning through videos.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts I recommend this week:

Notes for September 4, 2020

Footnotes #411

WordPress 5.5 was released last week and quickly followed by 5.5.1 on September 1st. ๐Ÿ’จ

In 5.5 several global JavaScript objects were removed without being deprecated. WordPress 5.5.1 adds a backfill for these globals so they no longer cause errors.

If you are a developer, take note that the new WordPress environment types introduced in 5.5 will no longer be possible to override. This brings the number of types down to four: production, staging, development, and local.

It appears that Yoast founder Joost de Valk and Yoastโ€™s current CEO Marieke van de Rakt have a stake in WordProof, which is building a Timestamp Ecosystem that will support multiple blockchains to verify online content.

Wordproof explains the SEO angle: “timestamping content on the internet combined with search engine optimization” creates “opportunities to fight fake news and fraud on the internet.” โ˜‘๏ธ

A discussion has been started about support for commercial users on the WordPress forums as the support team looks for “a good baseline for how to distinguish between what is considered commercial support, and also be more transparent about the process that occurs when commercial support is discovered.”

The WordPress forums are effectively a free service run by volunteers. Paid support in this location might hurt developers of paid plugins as well. These are real pain points, so I'm glad to see this discussion in the open. ๐Ÿ‘

If you're using the popular File Manager plugin (700k+ installations), be sure it's upgraded to the latest version. A recently discovered vulnerability allows “unauthenticated users to execute commands and upload malicious files on a target site.” ๐ŸŽฏ

A patch was released this morning on September 1, 2020. Some WordPress managed hosting companies are scanning sites and contacting customers.

Jamie Tanna has some good thoughts about the dangers for developers using online tooling sites (like and online JSON validators.

I agree โ€” using an online tool always runs the risk that critical information might be stored or intercepted, so you should avoid using these tools with sensitive data like passwords. Best to run tools locally if possible. ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

Dave Lynam reveals the steps he took and the lessons he learned from a side project that pulled in $1k/month a year ago and has become his full-time gig now. The project is Bookmark OS, an online desktop for managing your bookmarks. ๐Ÿ“‘

There are always more than a few developers and individuals in the Post Status and WordPress community thinking of starting a side project to bring in additional revenue โ€” or they already have one. Dave's experiences could easily apply if you're on a similar path.

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • The FemTechConf is an event “for empowering women in the tech world” that is expecting 30,000+ attendees on September 25th. Mary Job might have a few free tickets available if you are a woman and interested in attending.
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ WPMRR Virtual Summit (September 23rd and 24th.) Free, online. The focus will be “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€ Scroll down the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! ๐Ÿ’ธ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here's the video pick of the week:

  • Allie Nimmons interviewed Hans Skillrud from Termageddon about the basics of sales. Allie hosts a regular “WP AMA,” so you can subscribe to her channel for more interviews with folks from our industry.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Sadly due to an injury, I haven't had the chance to listen to many podcasts this past week. But here is one I enjoyed:

  • Doo The Woo: Bob Dunn interviewed Shanon Shaffer and got her thoughts on WooCommerce as a woman who runs a ten-person agency specializing in membership sites.

Notes for August 28, 2020

Footnotes #410

Appropos of Nothing

Matt Mullenweg posted on Twitter on August 21st that updates to the WordPress mobile app have “been absent” because “we were locked by App Store.” The reason: Apple wanted in-app purchases to be available, although the app itself does not sell anything. ๐Ÿคท

Matt told The Verge and commented on Twitter that he “wasn't going to fight it anymore” and would add brand-new in-app purchases for WordPress.comโ€™s paid tiers, which include domain names, within 30 days.

Fast forward to the next day, and Apple was backing off. The company provided a rare on-the-record apology. Hereโ€™s Appleโ€™s full statement:

We believe the issue with the WordPress app has been resolved. Since the developer removed the display of their service payment options from the app, it is now a free stand-alone app and does not have to offer in-app purchases. We have informed the developer and apologize for any confusion that we have caused.

Apparently, this was news to Matt who posted his surprise on Twitter:

I am very grateful that folks at Apple re-reviewed @WordPressiOS and have let us know we do not need to implement in-app purchases to be able to continue to update the app. Bad news travels faster than good, usually, so please consider sharing that they reversed course.

There have been some other conversations asking if in-app purchases were intended all along or if very recent changes to the mobile codebase sparked confusion on Apple's part.

It was a brief yet wild ride… and it comes at a bad time for Apple as they are dealing with potential investigations into anti-trust violations and activity regarding their mobile app store along with legal action from Epic Games. โš–๏ธ

On August 25th Dave Rodenbaugh completed the sale of two WordPress plugins: Business Directory Plugin and Another Classified WordPress Plugin. The buyers belong to Strategy11 โ€” Stephanie Wells and Syed Balkhi. Strategy11 is part of WPBeginner Growth Accelerator companies. ๐Ÿค

If you would like more background on the sale, check out the podcast recommendations below. ๐Ÿ‘‡

With the sale of his plugins, Dave is now free to “focus more” on his SaaS, which helps store owners on many eCommerce platforms bring customers back to abandoned carts. Dave says “is still experiencing strong growth and has massive potential to become a strong 6 or 7 figure business.” ๐Ÿ›’

According to this recent update, a WordPress 5.5.1 short-cycle maintenance release may appear on September 1st to deal with some “particularly inconvenient” bugs. ๐Ÿ›

StudioPress recently announced it is rebranding the popular Atomic Blocks plugin it acquired from Mike McAlister in 2018 as Genesis Blocks. There is a free version still, and the pro version of Genesis Blocks is available in the Genesis Pro package. โš›๏ธ

Carolina Nymark notes that she has updated the WordPress block pattern guide and added new tips and a resource page at This is a tremendous resource; check it out!

Piotr Gaczkowski has offered a crash course on the bare essentials in command line developer tools for developers who want to get more comfortable in them. He also recommends checking the Awesome Shell curated list of some of the best command-line tools available. ๐Ÿงฐ

Several WordPress companies continue to offer paid positions for those wanting to work on WordPress core fulltime. Recently Syed Balkhi and WPBeginner announced their search for a qualified developer to take on this role. ๐Ÿ‘

Collis Ta'eed has announced he is stepping down as CEO of Envato after 14 years.

A replacement hasn't been announced yet, but Collis notes, “I think weโ€™ve found someone really great, with just the right mix of global outlook, community ethos, marketing at scale background, and humility to take it further than I can.”

Collis will still be involved with Envato and is staying on as Chairperson of the Board. ๐Ÿช‘

FooEvents recently hit a milestone of 1 million attendee check-ins. โœ”๏ธ

It seems the pandemic this year played a big part:

“Check-ins that were performed using our apps have increased by more than 50% this year and account for close to a third of the total check-ins ever performed using the apps.”

Joe Casabona is working on a fantastic content project called WordPress: Year in Review “to help put out more WordPress content in lieu of WordCamp talks.”๐Ÿ•๏ธ

The whole Year in Review package will include “an eBook that goes over how WordPress and the WordPress Ecosystem has changed in the last year” as well as “an interview series with WordCamp speakers on the How I Built It podcast.”ย  Finally, there will be “a video tutorial series focused on things you can do with WordPress thanks to changes made in 2020.”

Joe is looking for some help via a generously priced crowdfunding campaign you won't want to miss. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

I learned a lot from this post by Chris Weigman on how he went back to WordPress after a year with Hugo. Other technologies may be attractive, but WordPress still pays the bills.

Chris also mentions that “the block editor has come a long way in the past year.” When he switched to Hugo he “found it almost unusable.” Now, he sees it as “a solid tool for writing and blogging.”

I tend to agree with that statement โ€” Gutenberg is still rough around some of its edges, but it's vastly improved and improving all the time.

Marius Jensen offers an introduction to updating jQuery code in an unmaintained WordPress plugin or theme. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Marius covers jQuery functions that are deprecated and the most common problems that have emerged after the upgrade to WordPress 5.5, which dropped support for jQuery Migrate.

๐ŸŽ‚ Congrats to Linux which turns 29 this month, or in October, depending on how you look at it:

ย “Not everyone in the Linux community is celebrating Linuxโ€™s birthday on August 25th, as some believe we should celebrate it on October 5th, when the first public release was made, but Linus Torvalds thinks both of them are valid.”

Here's an interesting read about a Google Chrome feature that is nice to have, but it's creating enormous load on global root DNS servers. ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ

Tom MacWright makes a case for a “clean start for the web,” spurred at least in part by the monoculture in browser engines and Mozilla's recent layoffs. ๐Ÿงผ

What made me think and look more deeply into his proposals (which you'll have to read for yourself) was this setup:

“Not only is it nearly impossible to build a new browser from scratch, once you have one the ongoing cost of keeping up with standards requires a full team of experts.”

At the same time, for creators, “The web has gotten much harder to develop for.” ๐Ÿ˜–

Justin Sainton explains in this case study how to power BuddyPress with WebDevStudiosAlgolia search-as-a-service engine. He shares a bootstrap file, walks through several code snippets, and offers a video at the end.

In addition to BuddyPress and the Algolia, Justin credits “the expert partnership of the good folks at Mission Lab and Sales Hacker” for making it possible to build a “super-charged social network.”

Alain Schlesser documents the best ways of setting up exceptions and using them in PHP โ€” and “how to avoid creating a mess while doing so.” ๐Ÿ‘Œ

๐Ÿ†• Commerce Journey ๐Ÿ›’

Learn how to choose the right domain name and get your WooCommerce store set up by listening toย Cory and GoDaddy Proโ€™s Justin Neely at Commerce Journey! ๐Ÿ›’

๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • Google Open Source Live is a new monthly recurring event โ€œfocused on different open source technologies.” The kickoff event theme is “The new open source: Leadership, contributions and sustainability.”
  • WordSesh is happening on September 2nd. Registration is free! Take a close look at the schedule โ€” it might start very early if you live in North America. This time around there will be thirteen sessions that touch on topics like plugin development, static WordPress, business development, and leveraging WordPress for growth. ๐Ÿ“ˆ
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ WPMRR Virtual Summit (September 23rd and 24th.) Free, online. The focus will be “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€ Scroll down the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! ๐Ÿ’ธ


Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here's the video pick of the week:

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some good podcasts I've enjoyed this week: