Notes for October 16, 2019


Quite a bit of developer information has been published on the upcoming WordPress 5.3 release this past week:

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป In WordPress 5.3, the version of Backbone bundled with WordPress will be updated from version 1.3.3 to 1.4.0 with a few noteworthy items for developers.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป A new ability now exists to filter by nested fields in the REST API.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป There is now a “show password” button on the WordPress login screen.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป WordPress 5.3 introduces a new way to manage sizeable images by detecting big images and generating a โ€œweb-optimized maximum sizeโ€ for them. Along with this feature comes a new big_image_size_threshold filter.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป The PHP 5.6 spread operator has been introduced to WordPress in several places.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป The register_meta functions (including register_post_meta) now support the object and array data types.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป New functions exist to add the UGC (user-generated content) attribute to links, and WordPress is adding it to comments. Now wp_rel_nofollow_callback() will be deprecated in favor of more generic callback function, wp_rel_callback().

Jonathan Desrosiers has a breakdown of the changes in PHP 7.4 “that plugin and theme developers need to be aware of and should accommodate in their code.” โš ๏ธ

Dave Whitley outlines a proposal to standardize a type scale for WordPress: “By including other attributes like font weight and line height, we can create a reusable set of predefined styles for design and development.”

Eric Mann notes that “WordPress nonces are, admittedly, not numbers and not used once.” Since they’re not “true nonces,” WordPress nonces “fall down horribly” and constitute a “fatal flaw” when developers use them to secure the admin. ๐Ÿ”“

Eric says we urgently need “true cryptographic operations,” and there’s a possible path to that destination, but it is “incredibly steep.” It will require “a major paradigm shift in WordPress development” โ€” and developer education.

I want to also note some comments here from Andrew Nacin on Twitter: “…we shouldnโ€™t have called them nonces. But, time-based, stateless HMAC tokens are just as valid (and commonly used) for CSRF protection. The primary point of these tokens isnโ€™t to prevent a replay attack. Its only point is to guard against CSRF, and it does that well.”

According to a recent post on Google’s official security blog, Chrome is being prepared to start blocking all mixed content. As of Chrome 79, the browser “will gradually move to block all mixed content by default.” It will auto-upgrade mixed resources to HTTPS, so sites will continue to work if their sub-resources are already available that way. ๐Ÿ”’

Chris Aniszczyk talks about open source gerrymandering by looking at a variety of different open-source and similar platforms to see how they are governed. ๐ŸŽฉ

Itโ€™s really important to note that there is a difference between open source and open governance, and you should always be skeptical of a project that claims itโ€™s truly open if only one for profit company owns all the assets and control.

Nikki Thomas shares how Modern Tribe tackles project definition with a few pointed questions. First, they ask who the users are, what their needs are, and why these needs exist. A project roadmap follows from the next two questions: “How will we build it? When will we have it done?”

Tobias Gรผnther explains some smart ways for developers to correct their mistakes in Git. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

As soon as I heard about WP FeedBack, I was wondering which hosting company would take advantage of it first. The answer came quickly as GoDaddy Pro announced a partnership with them this week. Their members can get WP Feedback for 50% off now.

Advanced Custom Fields version 5.8.5 is now available and contains a handful of bug fixes and improvements to solve various issues.

In a big win for accessibility, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Domino’s Pizza‘s petition on whether its website is accessible. The order to not hear the case keeps in place a January ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that Dominoโ€™s and other retailers must make its online services accessible.

If your website isn’t accessible (or you don’t know if it is) now is the time to start sitting up in your chair and taking some long-overdue action.

WordCamp US will have a WordPress-themed game show Saturday morning (November 2nd). If you are attending WordCamp US, join the fun and help support the young people who are hosting it. It will be fun! ๐ŸŽ‰

Douglas Kendyson shows how to add Two-Factor Authentication to WordPress with the Nexmo Verify API.

Gilbert Pellegrom takes a look behind the scenes to see how Laravel Valet works and what is going on in the background when you run Valet commands.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • If you weren’t aware, WooSesh happened for two days this week. The event was live-streamed but WPSessions members will have access to the recordings. I listened to many of the talks and the quality of the talks was again very high.
  • The History of WordPress (in four minutes) was interesting to watch. This was used as part of the opening of WordCamp para Desarrolladores Sevilla 2019.
  • If you are interested in starting a podcast, Bob Dunn has a video walk through of the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. Bob also had other great videos if you are thinking about podcasting.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • The CodePen podcast covers styles and methods of customer research โ€” and how it’s been helping influence decisions at CodePen in this episode.
  • It was good to hear from Pippin Williamson again, this time on the Product Business podcast.
  • I enjoyed listening to Chris Lema talk about entrepreneurs and relating some sales tricks and patterns (particularly those used by the resort industry) on an episode of the Pressnomics podcast. ๐ŸŒด
  • Matt Medeiros talks to Rob Walling about TinySeed, funding for your business, and his views on WordCamps and WordPress.
  • The Ladybug Podcast is back, and I enjoyed this episode about defining design systems and how they can be built. ๐Ÿž

Notes for October 10, 2019


WordPress 5.3 Beta 2 is now available with some further polishing of the block editor and Twenty Twenty, the next default theme to be shipped with WordPress. There are some accessibility bug fixes and enhancements to the interface changes introduced in 5.3 Beta 1. ๐Ÿ›

Of special note: the register_meta functions (including register_post_meta) now support the 'object' and 'array' data types. See Timothy Jacobspost for a code sample that registers a post meta field.

Also, 5.3 will introduce new functions to add the UGC (“User Generated Content”) attribute to links and implement it in user comments.

Anders Norรฉn has an update about the progress of Twenty Twenty: the Customizer can “automatically adapt all colors in the theme to maintain a high color contrast.” ๐Ÿ‘“

Anders reminds us that they “need all the help [they] can get with testing the theme in different browsers, on different devices, and in different languages.”

Yoast released its first “digital story” โ€” “Diversity, inequality, and prejudice; a sociological exploration.” Omar Reiss explains:

With these stories, we want to explore the possibilities the WordPress block editor has to offer for storytelling and creating rich interactive experiences.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Last week (September 27) was Brian Gardner‘s last day under contract with WP Engine and last day with StudioPress, but this is not a goodbye for Brian:

I hope to continue playing a role in its future and look forward to watching WP Engine and the StudioPress team as they move forward.

Automattic officially took ownership of Tumblr last week, so both communities should start looking for some changes soon. ๐Ÿ‘€

Two other investments and acquisitions in the open-source space might have caught your eye:

  • Gatsby has raised a $15M Series A funding round led by CRV “to drive the reinvention of website development.”
  • Vista Equity Partners has purchased Acquia (the commercial arm for the open-source Drupal project) “in a deal valued at $1 billion.” Dries Buytaert notes on his blog that “our deep commitment to Drupal, Mautic and Open Source will be unchanged” and “will in fact increase.”

Human Made has announced a new iteration of their “next-generation digital experience platform (DXP),” Altis 2.

Altis 2 features A/B testing, a new publication checklist workflow, enhanced privacy and GDPR compliance, cloud improvements, and more.

If you are still new to the term “DXP,” then I might suggest watching Karim Marucchi‘s talk, “What’s All The Fuss About DXPs, and Why Should I Care?” in last week’s WordSesh. The recorded video is available for members. ๐Ÿ“น

SearchWP 3.1 has been released with quoted phrase searches and “the ability to automatically suggest a revised search if the original search did not produce any results.” ๐Ÿ”

Jon Quach, a designer at Automattic, has written a proposal for creating new WordPress Style Guide resources. Jon suggests, “It might be helpful to improve the guide by building resources in a new open documentation site, one with features like instant copy/paste and code snippets where applicable.” โœ‚๏ธ

Felix Arntz has a detailed post on CSS Custom Properties and how to use them to improve UX for both website visitors and content creators. Felix is “looking forward to seeing this feature being leveraged by WordPress themes more” as “itโ€™s another important milestone for improving user experience across the web.”

Morten Rand-Hendriksen has a list of 10 trends he sees in the web community and where we are headed shortly. ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Multidots has released the Beta version of a script for converting HTML markup created in WordPress content with the “Classic” editor to Gutenberg Blocks. They are planning to add support for more HTML tags by improving the script, so “bug reports and any other contributions are welcome.”

Kjell Reigstad wrote a post for the Automattic Design blog about some of the challenges and benefits that come from working with WordPress. On the upside, Kjell reflects, “Designing in open source has been a refreshing return to that collaborative era in which I first got started.”

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • If you have an interest in design and have an hour to spare, this presentation from Luke Wroblewski might be worth a look. He focuses on user-centered design and reaching people more effectively on mobile.
  • This great video (~15 min) on why CSS is weird from Miriam Suzanne went semi-viral in the front-end circles this week.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • I have been catching up on episodes of the WPMRR WordPress Podcast. Check out Hans and Donata Skillrud talking about their Termageddon product, which auto-updates legal policies on websites. There’s also Shane Bishop on the tech behind image optimization and Brian Richards on the work and strategies that go into online conferences like WooSesh.
  • Voices of the Elephpant recently hosted some well-known names in the WordPress community: Tom McFarlin, Bob Dunn, Roy Sivan, and Olivia Bisset. Oh yeah, and this guy too.
  • Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski cover some helpful tips for developing better habits, such as focusing on one project at a time and being more efficient with your time.
  • The Pressnomic Podcast interviewed Tessa Kriesel about her public speaking experience and how she copes with impostor syndrome.

Finally, bring some humor to your weekend with a little JavaScript and honking. ๐Ÿฆ†

Notes for September 30, 2019


WordPress 5.3 Beta 1 is out, with the final release still slated for November 12, 2019. The announcement of the beta came with other news and details of interest to developers and users.

For starters, WordPress 5.3 has introduced a new screen that allows site owners to verify, change, or defer management of their current admin email address. ๐Ÿ“ง

There are also some welcome updates coming for the recently introduced Site Health feature.

Twelve releases of the Gutenberg plugin are included in the WordPress 5.3 release. Performance has been a focus, and now you should see a decrease of 1.5s in loading time for long and block-filled posts, compared to WordPress 5.2. ๐Ÿš„

Probably the most exciting thing about 5.3 is the introduction of the new Twenty Twenty default theme, which is based on Anders Norรฉn‘s Chaplin theme. I plan to take a deeper dive into it soon.

For those following accessibility developments in WordPress core, a new aria-current attribute will be included in WordPress 5.3.

The latest accessibility meeting notes here are important reading, but not for things that have to do with accessibility. Joe Dolson notes a more in-depth conversation is taking place about the difficulty they and other teams have had in making progress on tasks that “fall across other teams’ responsibilities.” ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

Among the challenges facing core teams is the fact that many contributors to the project cannot plan their time effectively due to the lack of a structured release schedule. Read the entire summary and meeting transcript for further details.

Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko details an exciting and long-awaited improvement to the Date/Time component in WordPress 5.3, which was made possible by raising the required PHP version for WordPress core to 5.6. โŒ›

Andrey explains the Date/Time component previously relied on the “WordPress timestamp,” which caused many bugs and lacked “interoperability with upstream PHP or any external systems.” ๐Ÿ›

It is “impossible” to remove WP timestamps without breaking backwards compatibility, so while their use in core is deprecated and documentation is improved, Andrey doesn’t recommend retrieving or localizing time with the WP timestamp.

Speaking of bugs, Jason Grigsby estimates that a bug in auto-complete on Chipotle‘s online order form could be costing the company $4.4 million annually. ๐Ÿ’ธ

Congratulations to WP Engine for ranking #22 on the “Great Place to Work” Best Workplaces for Women. ๐Ÿ‘

A new Theme Review Team structure has been announced. The team no longer has leads but instead has “representatives.” They will be adopting a flat team structure with loosely defined roles and responsibilities where individuals can contribute in the ways that matter most to them.

Thomas Park of Codepip explains how to query nearby locations in WordPress using geo coordinates. ๐Ÿ“

He shares some things he learned as he was developing Campus Arrival, a WordPress site that provides school-specific packing lists and now a feature to suggest nearby universities.

I was reminded recently of this WebPageTest tool that helps compare two mobile sites in a frame-by-frame manner to determine what is being loaded and how quickly (or slowly).

The cool part is that you can create a video from the filmstrip and share it! I noticed this while reading a tweet from Marcus Hellberg about a comparison between his static blog on Gatsby and his WordPress blog hosted on ๐Ÿ’จ

The second release candidate for BuddyPress 5.0.0 is now available for testing. Recent improvements include the way BP REST API Controllers are loaded inside BuddyPress component classes.

Roy Sivan briefly touches on the way Gutenberg projects fit into WebOps, which he defines as “the operations of building and maintaining a web project.” I’m noticing WebOps (and Gutenberg) being discussed more on technical blogs these days.

While it’s not directly WordPress related, I enjoyed this post from MailPoet on their “continuous delivery” approach to development with weekly releases.

According to Tautvidas Sipavicius, the benefits of continuous delivery include team happiness, better quality code, faster debugging, cheaper development, and faster time-to-market.

Iain Poulson takes us back through the events leading to the demise of Jigoshop, a WordPress eCommerce plugin created by Jigowatt back in 2011. Later that year WooThemes forked Jigoshop to build WooCommerce. ๐Ÿ›’

Sadly, some sites still use Jigoshop today. Iain notes, “If you have clients that are using Jigoshop for eCommerce, now might be a good time to reach out and let them know a change is recommended.”

Paypal will no longer be returning processing fees (2.9% + $0.30) when you refund charges to a customer. This new policy goes into effect starting October 11, 2019. For many people, it’s a deal-breaker on using PayPal. ๐Ÿ’”

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • Cory Miller has been busy since he stepped away from iThemes. His latest interview with Andrea Middleton is about community leadership lessons taken from global WordPress events like WordCamps.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Women in WP talks to Kate Toon about moving from her corporate job in the “big city” to the world of professional SEO copywriting.
  • Derek Rethans chats with Andreas Heigl about his work moving the PHP Documentation project from SVN to GIT.
  • The first episode of the Pressnomics podcast has an excellent interview with Jake Goldman and Zach Brown of 10up. Their thoughts on AI and machine learning in the WordPress space are unique and worth a listen.
  • A recent episode of How I Built It features Ajay Goel. Ajay built GMass, a Gmail extension that allows you to send mass mail merge campaigns from Gmail with automatic follow-up emails.

Notes for September 21, 2019


Automattic has announced it closed a new $300 million Series D funding round. This development puts the company at a post-round valuation of $3 billion. That is three times Automattic’s value following its last fundraising round in 2014. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Matt Mullenweg spoke to Romain Dillet at TechCrunch about this development and his vision for WordPress:

What we want to do is to become the operating system for the open web… The problem weโ€™re trying to solve is likely multigenerational. It can take the rest of our lives, and we need to pass it on to the generation that comes after to continue to work on it.

The latest Gutenberg 6.5 update brings a social links block to the editor, support for local auto-saves (handy!), captions for cover blocks, updates to the navigation block, and more. There’s also a new, experimental feature for installing non-local blocks right from the block inserter. ๐Ÿงช

This version of Gutenberg will be included in the upcoming WordPress 5.3 release in November.

The release candidate of BuddyPress 5.0.0 is available for testing. Mathieu Viet also takes time to introduce the bp.apiRequest() that helps you start using the BuddyPress REST API.

Ashley Rich compares Digital Ocean, Google Cloud, and AWS for hosting WordPress sites way you might with SpinupWP or ServerPilot and their forthcoming HostLaunch platform.

Digital Ocean won the matchup, but all three platforms were are pretty close, and the data collected is worth a look. ๐Ÿ†

If you have heard the term “serverless,” but not much else, then John Demian‘s brief guide will help you get up to speed.

John describes serverless hosting as “an event-based system for running code.” In other words, services “create business logic without caring about any servers. You’re abstracting away the infrastructure altogether.”

Static websites on S3, serverless databases like DynamoDB or Aurora Serverless, and “running code without managing servers with Lambda” are all excellent examples.

Congrats to Justin Tadlock for joining WP Tavern as a full-time writer. I am glad he’s found this great new opportunity to return to his journalistic roots. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

I owe much of my success in this space to Jason’s teaching and look forward to his future posts.

Human Made has built a “Publication Checklist” plugin that “provides a framework for building out pre-publication checks with [the] flexibility to fit your [WordPress publishing] workflows.” ๐Ÿ”Œ

Joe Watkins cuts right to the point about the importance of funding open source projects your company relies on:

Making monetary contributions or approaching your employer with a request to make monetary contributions to projects that your income or business relies upon is the right thing to do, and in some cases necessary for the ongoing health of the project.

Marc-Alexandre Montpas at posted an excellent and detailed dissection of the WordPress 5.2.3 security release on the Sucuri blog. ๐Ÿ”’

Adam Silver covers the pros and (mostly) the cons of tooltips. Adam recommends that we “do the hard work, so users donโ€™t have to.”

If you think people might need the clarification a tooltip provides, you should give them the tooltip content in a more direct way.

(Those blue tooltips in WordPress never sat well with me, TBH.)

Rachel Andrew at Smashing Magazine explores the use cases where you might encounter overflow in your web designs. Rachel explains how CSS has evolved to create better ways to manage and design around unknown amounts of content.

Since many people in the WordPress community use Github, it was interesting to note Github’s announcement that they plan to add support for a Dependency Graph for Composer-based PHP projects. ๐Ÿ“Š

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • As usual, Chris Coyier delivers an entertaining talk, this time at Front Conference Zurich, by explaining how to think like a front-end developer. Chris explores this role through his own experiences, but he also draws on many conversations with other successful frontend developers.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Rob Hope on the Yo! Podcast talks with Gilbert Pellegrom from Delicious Brains. Gilbert is the man behind the popular Nivo Slider jQuery plugin.
  • The newest episode of the Matt Report showcases James Laws sharing how Ninja Forms started and his take on the WordPress ecosystem today.
  • A reminder that a new podcast โ€” PricingWP โ€” has been launched. PricingWP is โ€” surprise! โ€” a show focused on pricing WordPress products and services. It starts off with an interview with Jonathan Stark.
  • Scott Bolinger has been publishing some great interviews! Some focus on development, and others are aimed at entrepreneurs. Some are a mix of both, like the latest with Chris Coyier. Two good ones: Derrick Reimer on validation of product ideas and Jason Lengstorf asking, “Should developers learn the newest thing?” (I like the part where they ask if you even need to know HTML and CSS anymore.)
  • Our own Brian Krogsgard makes an appearance on Do The Woo, with a review of Shopify and other aspects of eCommerce. Brian also talks about the possibility of the WooCommerce marketplace beingย  transformed into a subscription service, eventually.

Notes for September 12, 2019


Anders Norรฉn has shared some attractive mockups of the upcoming Twenty Twenty default theme. Twenty Twenty will be included in WordPress 5.3, which is due out in mid-November.

Anders notes that “Twenty Twenty is designed with flexibility at its core” and will include the typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson. Naturally, Twenty Twenty will fully support for the Block Editor, as well as matching editor styles.ย  It will be based on Anders’ popular theme, Chaplin, “to speed up development.”

Initial impressions of Anders’ theme preview in the WordPress community have been largely positive. Although all default themes have been well-built and each is best suited for a specific use-case, it has been a long time since I’ve seen so much excitement in anticipation of a core theme. ๐Ÿคฉ

Google has officially released its Native Lazyload plugin for WordPress to take advantage of the Chrome browser’s new native lazy-loading capabilities. For other browsers, there is JavaScript fallback.

Jon Henshaw explains how the plugin works, with this advice: “If the purpose of implementing lazy-loading is strictly for improving user experience, web developers may want to hold off on removing their JavaScript implementation until it’s supported by the majority of browsers that visitors use to access their site.” ๐Ÿ’ค

๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธ I think Pippin Williamson nails an important point about time on the Sandhills Development blog:

We recognize now more than ever that the single most valuable resource we each have is time. Itโ€™s not infinite and we must do whatever we can to help our team and our customers gain back more of their time.

Sophie Koonin listed “everything she googled in a week as a professional software engineer” in an attempt to dispel the idea that if you have to google things then you “aren’t a proper engineer.”

I wish some people in the WordPress space would do this too. ๐Ÿ’ก

For those who have heard of Gatsby and are looking to get started with it, you might want to add Tori Pugh‘s five-minute Getting Started Using Gatsby guide to your reading list.

If you’re still wondering why you should care about Gatsby, Delicious Brains explains “Why Gatsby Should Be on Your List of Things to Learn” in their lengthier tutorial for beginners.

Lee Butterman estimates that Let’s Encrypt now provides SSL certificates “for almost 30% of web domains,” according to his analysis of 350 million SSL connections. If this is even roughly close to the true number, it is amazing. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Itโ€™s been roughly one year since WP Engine acquired StudioPress, but according to Carrie Dils, “some people [feel] unsure about how to work with Genesis or best take advantage of new features.” Carrie shows off some the changes and how you can start using them as you customize or develop child themes.

The days of “like” counts and similar metrics for publishers might be coming to an end. Mike Allton notes this is the reality of social networking’s evolution.

I think it’s a good step in the right direction. ๐Ÿ‘

WordSesh, a great virtual conference for WordPress, is happening again on September 25, 2019. Registration is free! ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

This time around, WordSesh has been designed especially for attendees across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. ๐ŸŒ

Restrict Content Pro Version 3.2 has been released with some big changes concerning Stripe, including Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) compliance.

It was nice to hear Carole Olinger has joined the WP&UP team as the “Head To WCEU” Crew Chief. ๐Ÿ‘

Peter Suhm notes that Branch โ€”ย a continuous integration service for WordPress developers โ€” now supports WP Rig โ€” “a modern WordPress starter theme.”

Google is making additional changes to “nofollow” links by splitting it into three declarations:

  1. rel=”sponsored”
  2. rel=”ugc”
  3. rel=”nofollow”

According to Google’s Webmaster Central blog, “thereโ€™s absolutely no need to change any nofollow links that you already have,” but they do say that on March 1, 2020, nofollow becomes “merely a hint.”

There’s a new, official Creative Commons plugin for licensing your content on your WordPress site. ๐Ÿ”Œ

After a conversation with Rachel Andrew, Chris Coyier put together some excellent suggestions about technical writing in a detailed post. Some key takeaways:

  • Make content scannable with thoughtful intros and outros while being mindful of the length and tone.
  • Relate new technologies to existing/well-known ones.
  • Write whatโ€™s personal and important to you.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • Here’s a direct link to a video of the block editor “live demo prototype” from Matias Ventura. We mentioned his update in the last newsletter, but this is still my current WordPress video pick. Matias shows how block areas could be organized within the page. This may be the way WordPress content and page building will evolve in the future.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • BobWPย hosted Topher DeRosia from BigCommerce on the always lively Do The Woo podcast. In this episode, Topher shares his experiences about entering the WordPress eCommerce space.

Notes for September 11, 2019


WordPress 5.2.3 is out. It’s a security and maintenance release that includes 29 fixes and enhancements, including an update of jQuery for older versions of WordPress. โœจ

The WordPress 5.3 release team has a new batch of focus leads, including Ian Belanger as Default Theme Wrangler and Anders Norรฉn as Default Theme Designer. Anders will be designing the new Twenty Twenty theme, which will be released with 5.3 after WordCamp US in November.

This Dev Chat summary from Josepha Haden outlines the critical deadlines for keeping WordPress 5.3 development on track. โฒ๏ธ

There is a discussion unfolding at Make WordPress about the future design of the WordPress “About” page. Initial discussion points posted by Tammie Lister ask some good focusing, “what if” questions: What if the CSS system was rebuilt from the ground up using components? What if a unified style or theme for design was adopted? ๐Ÿค”

Jean-Baptiste Audras started another discussion at Make WordPress about a possible frontend forms feature, possibly as a feature plugin. This would be a mechanism for handling the Privacy Data Requests introduced in WordPress 4.9.6. The next step will be to determine if Jean-Baptiste’s existing plugin could be used as a base to build on.

If you use Twenty Nineteen or a child of it and you use custom CSS, be sure to check whether this upcoming change affects you.

Ross Wintle took a look at the positive side of tech communities. Ross says, “We need to tackle whatโ€™s bad in these communities. Thatโ€™s SUPER important. But letโ€™s also elevate, promote, shout about the good stuff.” ๐Ÿ“ฃ

If you know of anyone who wants to improve their JavaScript knowledge, Zac Gordon has a Bootcamp starting next week. He is offering monthly plans for his courses now too.

Nexcess and Liquid Web have established a “partnership.” That is an interesting word choice. What it means: “Liquid Web clients gaining access to the technology and scalability of Nexcess Cloud,” and “Nexcess clients obtaining access to Liquid Web plans and services.” ๐Ÿค

The companies will operate in a “largely separate” fashion, however. (Again, somewhat unusual wording there.)

Two projects from Bracketspace caught my eye recently. One is a custom notification plugin, and the other is โ€” “an actual WordPress dashboard loaded” in your browser so you can quickly reference its interface elements for use in your plugins. ๐Ÿ‘

If you are old enough to remember RSS readers (or old enough to appreciate RSS), then you might be interested in the “reboot” of NetNewsWire which is a free and open-source RSS reader for the Mac. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

Peter Wilson says WordPress might be making some changes soon to prevent search engines from indexing and crawling “sites with the ‘discourage search engines from indexing this site’ option enabled.” Instead, they “will display an updated robots meta tag to prevent the site from being listed in search engines.”

Pantheon appears to have been working with Peter Suhm on integration with Branch, Peter’s new Continuous Integration service.

If you missed our interview with Peter, you can learn more about him and Branch there.

Happy tenth anniversary to OSTraining! ๐ŸŽ‚

OSTraining founder Steve Burge also announced the 3.0 beta for the Multiple Authors plugin is available for testing.

Initially, Multiple Authors was an extension for PublishPress built on the base of Daniel Bachuber‘s Co-Authors Plus and Bylines, which PublishPress acquired. Now, like its predecessors, Multiple Authors is a standalone plugin. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Trust, Growth, Inclusion: A Study of Women Engineers’ Job-Search Priorities” is a whitepaper recently published by Automattic with the results of a user research study launched by their engineering hiring team. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿš€

The goal of the study was for Automattic to better understand how its approach to tech hiring resonates with women and non-binary folks who are experienced developers but may experience gender discrimination in the workplace.

A post at the Automattic Developers blog summarizes the study’s key findings about the ways technical women navigate their careers, including some unanticipated and maybe surprising results. There’s also a lot of detail given about changes Automattic has made or is making, based on what they’ve learned.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • If you have ever thought about starting a podcast, then listen to Jeff Meyerson and Courtland Allen over at the Indie Hackers podcast. This episode (#114) contains enough tips about interviewing guests and the industry itself to get you started.
  • Roy Sivan is well known in the WordPress space, and now he’s a guest on a recent episode of the Voices of the ElePHPant podcast.
  • is a new developer podcast. The first episode I listened to features a talk with Chris Ferdinandi about the damage modern “best practices” are doing to the web.
  • I always try to keep up with the Women of WP podcast, and the latest episode with Heather Acton of Helio Interactive didn’t disappoint. It covers Heather’s engineering background and how that translated into building a WordPress development business. There’s also a video of the interview on the site. (~40 mins.)

Notes for September 3, 2019


WordPress 5.2.3 is slated for a September 4th release, according to a recent developer chat.

WordPress 5.3 will follow WordCamp US with an anticipated release date of November 10th. It “will polish current interactions and make the UIs more user-friendly.” ๐ŸŒŸ

WP-CLI 2.3.0 was recently released. Alain Schlesser describes it as an “unspectacular” version because the “previous release was very taxing.” Nevertheless, I’m enjoying new features like the media fix-orientation command. Also new and useful: the ability to skip through groups of tables using wildcards (e.g., 'wp_post*') with the --skip-tables flag for search-replace.

The stable release of the WordPress AMP plugin is out, according to Pascal Birchler. ๐Ÿ”Œ

In an informative Twitter thread, Jonathan Sampson breaks down precisely what gets downloaded and what else happens when you launch Google Chrome for the first time โ€” on Windows. There’s nothing earth-shattering, but it’s good to know what browsers are doing these days.

Jonathan did the same analysis for Firefox, Opera, Brave, and other browsers.

The New York Times did a brief interview with Matt Mullenweg that’s focused on his plans for Tumblr. Matt said bringing RSS feeds back to Tumblr is “high on [his] list” of priorities.

Matt Shaw summarizes for Delicious Brains why most WordPress email plugins suck: “they simply donโ€™t do enough to alert you of potential issues and donโ€™t give you a way to rectify them.” ๐Ÿ“ง

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my latest pick for video watching:

  • If you are a freelancer, then I suggest you check out this talk from Nathan Ingram about the things he wishes he had known about freelancing when he started. The video is from WordCamp Atlanta, but Nathan delivered the same presentation this past weekend in Orlando too. It was highly recommended and well-attended at both conferences.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Kirill Zubovsky‘s Smash Notes podcast has an interview with Jason Schuller. Jason talks about about his career path from Boeing to starting his theme shop, Press75, through to its sale. There’s some fascinating historical perspective on the early days of WordPress and how-to advice about gaining community support for a business even if you don’t know anyone.
  • Olivia Bisset is a 14-year-old working in the WordPress space. She will be speaking at WordCamp US this year about the ways we can best “embrace the next generation.” Cal Evans recently interviewed Olivia on the Voices of the ElePHPant podcast, which is devoted to interviews with people in the PHP community.

Notes for August 26, 2019


๐Ÿ“† The proposed schedule for WordPress 5.3 development is currently:

  1. Beta 1: 23 September 2019
  2. Release Candidate: 15 October 2019
  3. General Release: 12 November 2019

In a recent chat summary, I discovered some interesting items that are being merged into Gutenberg. With these changes, you’re going to see a “typewriter experience” and a “help panel” when you insert blocks.

Andrey Savchenko announced that wp_timezone() is coming to WordPress core. Andrey says it’s “a game changer for the Date/Time component” in WordPress. โฑ๏ธ

Kent C. Dodds explains what JavaScript features you should be familiar with when you’re learning and using React. Kent covers array methods, promises, async/await, template literals, and more.

If you work with WooCommerce but aren’t familiar with the developer chats, you can read summaries of them at ๐Ÿ›’

Here’s a reminder that the recently launched WooCommerce 3.7ย  requires at least PHP 5.6.20 and WordPress 4.9. It also ships with Product Blocks 2.3 for the WordPress Block Editor and comes with new features for stores running WordPress 5.1 and higher.

The WooCommerce Admin plugin was updated recently and is expected to be merged into WooCommerce 3.8. You can get it from the plugin repository or GitHub if you want to try it out or provide feedback.

Storefront, a popular theme for WooCommerce, was recently updated to 2.5.3.

Sandilya Kafle added an update about the Trusted Author Program, which was “an attempt to streamline the review process for authors who are consistently able to show they can to produce high quality code and themes.” ๐ŸŒŸ

One of the program’s goals was to reduce “gaming [reviews] by the use of multiple accounts,” but Sandilya notes that authors were still seen using multiple accounts. In addition, the Trusted Author Program revealed that not all of its members “were highly familiar with the requirements.”

Sadly it looks like this experiment has come to an end, and the Trusted Author Program program has been shut down. All submitted themes will be reviewed from the top of the queue, and theme submissions with 3+ distinct issues will be rejected. The one-theme-at-a-time and only one-submission-per-month rules still stand.

Ben Gillbanks is building a lightweight plugin called “Toolbelt” that is inspired by Jetpack but designed for speed, simplicity, and privacy. ๐Ÿงฐ

If you haven’t seen the logo for WordCamp Asia, it’s an excellent example of simple branding for a conference. There’s also a good article here about the thinking and ideas that were used to come up with the logo.

With Managed MySQL now available at Digital Ocean, Erika Heidi took the opportunity to write a tutorial on how to install WordPress with a managed database and Ubuntu 18.04. ๐Ÿ’ง

An affiliate payouts service is coming soon to AffiliateWP, and Pippin Williamson says it took the “last year” to build it. He shows off the process in a recent post.

Existing tools that try to handle processing affiliate payouts have been, according to Pippin, “significantly lackluster or come with certain undesirable requirements.”

10up has made some improvements to its Distributor plugin, a solution that makes it “easy to syndicate and reuse content across WordPress-powered websites.” Helen Hou-Sandi describes some impressive performance gains and new support for “filtering the content available from external connected sites.”

StudioPress announced the release of Genesis 3.1, which requires WordPress 5.0+, PHP 5.6+, and an HTML5 Genesis child theme. You can read the full changelog, and developers can read the details about all the new features in the Genesis developer documentation.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my current recommendations for video watching:

  • Muhammad Muhsin‘s talk from the 2019 JavaScript for WordPress Conference entitled “ServerSide React for WordPressis now online.
  • I have been enjoying the recording of Zac Gordon’s live stream series where he learns Gatsby by working through the official tutorial.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here’s a recent podcast worth listening to:

  • Static websites are all the rage, but if you want a perspective from outside the WordPress community, thenย Scott Bolinger‘s conversation with Jack McDade, the CEO of Statamic, is worth a listen over at The Product Business. They touch on the pros and cons of using WordPress versus static alternatives.

Notes for August 20, 2019


Matt Mullenweg blogged about some of the reactions to the news that Automattic is acquiring Tumblr. Many commentators focused on the purchase price (now estimated to be about $3 million) and the $1.1 billion Verizon paid for it a few years ago.

Matt thinks people are missing the real story. He says he respects Verizon and appreciated their interest in “finding a new home for Tumblr instead of shutting it down.” Other companies could have outbid Automattic, but they probably would have chopped Tumblr up for parts.

Kudos to both parties for preserving and continuing to invest in Tumblr. ๐Ÿ‘

Matt Whiteley shows how to synchronize your Advanced Custom Fields color palette with your Gutenberg color palette. ๐ŸŽจ

It’s been eight months since Gutenberg’s public launch. According to Leonardo Losoviz at Smashing Magazine, “itโ€™s only a matter of time until its most outstanding issues have been dealt with, and the user experience becomes truly pleasant.”

In this article, Leonardo reviews Gutenberg’s growth since its launch and speculates where it is heading.

Timi Wahalahti started a conversation about handling conflicts of interest in the WordPress community. โš”๏ธ

WebKit recently released its tracking prevention policy, which defines covert tracking as a type of malware it will “do its best to prevent.” ๐Ÿ‘

It will be interesting to see how adtech companies and those who rely on covert tracking will respond.

August 19th was the 28th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee‘s release of the World Wide Web’s codebase in 1991. He is currently the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium. In July,

Vanity Fair published an in-depth, retrospective essay about Berner-Lee in July. It focuses on the regrets he has, as well as his efforts to encourage decentralization and protect privacy.

Theย initial meeting for the “WP Notify” project will take place on Monday, August 26th.

WP Notify aims to create “a fundamental mechanism” in WordPress core for “sending notifications to users to give them feedback about state changes in the system.”

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my current recommendation for video watching:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Zac Gordon and Scott Bolinger chat on The Product Business podcast about static sites. Their discussion coversย Gatsbyย and the role of WordPress relative to static site generators. (~60 minutes)
  • I don’t mention the Core Intuition podcast often because it focuses on indie and iOS development, but a recent episode features a discussion of Automattic‘s acquisition of Tumblr from a unique perspective outside the WordPress bubble. The hosts are Daniel Jalkut and Manton Reece, who runs (~60 minutes)

Notes for August 16, 2019


๐Ÿ“ฃ Following the news of Automattic‘s purchase of Tumblr on Monday, here are some of the best reactions to it in and outside the WordPress community:

  • The Vergecast (a podcast produced by The Verge) interviewed Matt Mullenweg. With a few exceptions, it mostly goes over what we already know, as Matt isn’t releasing new information until the deal is completed in another month or two. Worth a listen.
  • Robert Jacobi says, “everyone should have seen this [acquisition] coming.” He believes it’s part of a “larger plan to go toe-to-toe with the SAAS site builders like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Facebook, etc.” With Gutenberg, it will be possible now to “integrate [its] atomic data across a social platform as well as a CMS.”
  • Mathew Ingram asks if WordPress + Tumblr can create something that could go head-to-head with Facebook and Twitter. Will independent journalists see it as an alternative to social networks?
  • Angela Watercutter points out that “moderation is key,” and “what made Tumblr such a haven in its heyday was that it felt like a place where freak flags waved proudly and everyone felt supported.” Could Tumblr be that again, even without the adult content?
  • Ryan Sullivan thinks the Tumblr purchase is a “good thing” that can bring WordPress “into the same conversations as other major social platforms.”
  • Caspar Hรผbinger did a brief analysis on Twitter of those reporting the news and how many of them got who-owned-what wrong (“Automattic Owns WordPress”) โ€” which I found a little amusing.

Tumblr wasn’t the only acquisition this week! Zero BS Marketing, a company of two people, announced they were joining Automattic. ๐Ÿšซ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ’ฉ

This means Zero BS CRM will be getting better through deeper integrations with WordPress and help and support across the board, from product development to usability and design.

Gutenberg 6.3 has been released with several new accessibility features, including “Navigation Mode” which is loaded by default. Navigation mode “allows you to move from block to block” with the Tab key, and the arrow keys let you navigate between blocks. โŒจ๏ธ

Chrome now has native lazy-loading for images and IFrames. There are already several good explanations of how this works and how to adjust your markup.

An initial Trac ticket for lazy loading in WordPress core exists, and it was mentioned in a recent WordPress core JavaScript developer meeting. ๐Ÿ’ค

If you’ve seen but avoided the current, heated CSS-in-JS discussions, then this balanced roundup from Chris Coyier might be just the thing for you.

WooCommerce Assistant is a WooCommerce extension that reduces “manual work by automating several routine tasks.” By setting up some simple rules, you can schedule sales, tweak prices, and run clearance events โ€“ all completely unattended. ๐Ÿ›’

I learned about this extension when I stumbled on this recent story about its development by Slava Abakumov. Slava and Gregory Karpinsky “were working on the same project and […] started seeing certain areas of site management” that could be optimized. The number of times the plugin had to be rewritten sounds frustrating.

Vincent Courson from the Google Search Outreach team, explains in detailย how Google Search recovered from some significant indexing issues following a massive outage. In the end, even the biggest companies have big challenges. Google’s apparent transparency here is refreshing. ๐Ÿ”

Jeff Matson shows off his recreation of the Twenty Nineteen WordPress theme, this time done in Gatsby (complete with working comments). He says: “It serves as an example of how you can use Gatsby for a frontend with a headless WordPress site running WPGraphQL as a backend.”

Jeff works for NorthStack, who promotes the concept in more detail here.

Andrea Middleton covers how WordCamp organizers can address the panic and anxiety of “the event is right around the corner!” period. Stay calm, analyze risks, gather data, and identify your options. ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

Aaron Powell shows off what CSS can do โ€” most of us probably had no idea! Two examples: keylogger (a little bit scary) and user tracking (not very scary, but still interesting).

Hard Lessons Earned

Julio Biason shares the things he has learned “the hard way” in 30 years of software development and many other areas of life and work. ๐Ÿฅต

Here’s some good advice about how to do hard things, from David MacIver.

Product Hunt ran a survey about the dark side of remote work, and unsurprisingly the nearly 9,000 responses drive home how hard it can be to avoid anxiety, stress, and depression if you are working on your own. Nearly 3/4ths of the respondents said they had suffered some type of compromised mental health from the remote nature of their work. The lessons drawn and advice given in this article match up with Viktor Petersson’s reflections on a decade of remote work.

Key takeaway: you’ve got to maintain a strict schedule, including your sleep schedule. โฐ

Perfection is not possible in anything, including life balance. Andrew Askins explains how he is running a company with ADHD, and again a key point is organizing your time: prioritize obsessively. โ˜‘๏ธ

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my recommendation for video watching this week:

Chris Lema has a walk-through video about his experiences with Strattic, a WordPress based static site host, as well as Stackbit, Netlify, and Forestry. He also shows how third-party SaaS solutions can integrate membership, basic eCommerce, and newsletter signups.

Chris’s demo is an excellent way to learn about some new technologies on the horizon. However, the number of hoops one has to jump through to create a simple site with them seems like a sizeable barrier. It will be interesting to see if a hosting company can crack this. (~12 minutes)

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • ShopTalk digs into WordPress databases and hosting with Brad Touesnardย whose company Delicious Brains is behind the WP Migrate DB Pro plugin. (~60 minutes)
  • Speaking of Brad, he has another interview with Scott Bolinger on The Product Business podcast about his early work, investment tips and mistakes, and what makes a profitable enterprise.
  • The WPCampus podcast is back with Maryann Reissig joining Jen McFarland and Brian DeConinck to discuss the highlights of WPCampus 2019.
  • The Women in WP podcast interviewed Michelle Schulp about the definition of design, creative passions, and why design is about defining problems and finding solutions.
  • The most recent Matt Report has Matt Medeiros sharing his experiences of launching Conductor to $4,000 in sales on day one, “only to watch it slowly plateau and fall short to bigger trends in the market.” ๐Ÿ“‰๐Ÿ˜ž

Notes for August 12, 2019


Several proposals that appeared on Make WordPress over the past week have started some good discussions:

  • Ian Dunn proposed a policy of support for the last six versions of WordPress with auto-updates that bring unsupported sites to the oldest supported version. Ian says his proposal “contains a careful roll-out plan” and “would not be a sudden and un-communicated change.” It’s a productive conversation with talk of an option for site admins to opt-out of the update with clear instructions 30 days in advance.
  • Andrew Nacin shared a reminder worth repeating: “WordPress only supports the latest major version. To be exceptionally clear, this has essentially always been the policy.”
  • Heather Burns noted the privacy team is engaged in a discussion of the possibility of creating a consent and logging mechanism for WordPress, most likely as a feature plugin.
  • Jonathan Bossenger proposed a “Feature Project” called “WP Notify,” which addresses the lack of a fundamental mechanism for sending notifications to users to give them feedback “about state changes in the system.” Admin notices, in a nutshell, haven’t been cutting it.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my recommendation for video watching this week:

  • Chris Coyier recorded his talk “I Guess We’re Full Stack Developers Now.” It covers “the breadth of what front-end developers are able to do and are being asked to do,” which has widened to the point that Chris thinks it’s become “full-stack development.”

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here’s an insightful recent podcast:

  • Indie Hackers interviewed Ben Tossell on his work with the “no-code platform” It’s a good look into the “build without code” community.

Notes for August 9, 2019


Caldera has been acquired by Saturday Drive, the makers of Ninja Forms. Acquiring competitors can make sense in a consolidating market, but the Saturday Drive folks don’t have plans to blend the two products. Instead, they see Caldera as a developer-focused product and Ninja Forms as a more user-focused product.

I am a bit surprised by that, and I wonder if those plans will change over time. Building separate developer- and user-centric products might be a great challenge to take on, but to my mind both markets need to be served side-by-side, in one product.

Josh Pollock is joining Saturday Drive as the VP of Engineer Experience โ€” a role I’m sure he will be great at. A few other folks who worked on Caldera Forms will be joining the new team as well. Congrats to everyone involved.

Sarah Gooding did a nice job summarizing the changes Jetpack is testing for paid block upgrades. It is controversial in the community as it fits within the gray zone of what should or should not be allowed. I appreciated Jeremy Herve’s comments to the post.

I think it’s fair to say I support good user experiences for paid upgrades in WordPress. I also support a level playing field where Jetpack or anyone else does not have special privileges on where and how to promote paid products. I think that’s obvious, but it can be easy to add drama to the situation. I trust the plugin team will help Jetpack fulfill both criteria, like they would for any other large player in the field.

John James Jacoby released the initial version of BerlinDB, a “collection of PHP classes and functions that aims to provide an ORM-like experience and interface to WordPress database tables.”

John touched on these concepts in his talk at WordCamp Europe about advanced database management for WordPress plugins. ๐Ÿ”Œ

The New York Times explains how they built a proprietary “collaborative editing CMS” for their newsrooms. It’s an impressive piece of software, but it’s a shame how much cool engineering goes into closed systems. Would the Times sharing this effort as an open-source project limit their business opportunities? ๐Ÿค

Grzegorz Ziรณล‚kowski tweeted to announce that “unifying text-based blocks” are in development for WordPress core. He also asked whether there is is a valid use case for centered or right-aligned lists in LTR languages.

Scott Bolinger rebuilt his WordPress blog in Gatsby and wrote about his experience, which was mostly positive. However, there was a learning curve with some challenges along the way, such as adding images to a page (“ridiculously difficult”) and forms.

Scott is also quick to point out that static sites aren’t suitable for all projects, especially those with “with complex relationships between users and other data.”

More from Scott: I have really been enjoying his new podcast for The Product Business. I’ve listened to every episode and gotten a lot from them.

In BuddyPress 5.0.0 you will be able to tidy your BuddyPress blocks in a separate BuddyPress block category.

Carolina Nymark announced the theme review team will require all themes to implement keyboard navigation in “five weeks time.” (This puts the deadline in early September.)

This new requirement goes beyond navigation menus: “All functionality should work using a keyboard only.” โŒจ๏ธ

In Carolina’s announcement, there are some tips and resources to help theme developers comply with the new standard.

Dealing with dates in programming isn’t always straightforward, which is why I appreciated this reminder on how to take a timestamp and convert it into a formatted date in JavaScript. ๐Ÿ“…

Gary Pendergast announced a “baby step” toward a better contributor experience in WordPress Core.

Custom Docker images are now available for running WordPress on PHP versions 5.2 to 7.3. These images arenโ€™t intended for hosting Docker-based WordPress sites but instead should be used to create a local development environment for WordPress.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my recommendation for video watching this week:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Podcasts I’ve appreciated in the last few days:

  • Presentable is a new podcast hosted by Jeff Veen with a focus on design. I liked a recent episode with Mike Monteiro that tackles the problem of enforcing ethical standards in the design industry. (~45 minutes.)
  • The php[architect] podcast did an interview with Maura Teal of Pagely, who is also giving a talk at the php[world] conference.

Notes for July 31, 2019


WPCampus 2019 concluded this past weekend with a wide range of substantial talks and topics. Thanks to Pantheon, there was a live stream and live captioning. Videos will be posted online as in past years. ๐ŸŽ“

WPCampus 2020 will be held on July 16-20, 2020 at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA

Parents who are thinking about bringing their kids to WordCamp US will be pleased to learn the event will be offering free on-site childcare all day for children ages six weeks to 12 years. ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿ•๏ธ

The childcare provider is “a licensed conference childcare service” that will allow parents to drop off and pick up their kids throughout the day as your schedule requires.

Speaking of WordCamps, tickets are now on sale for WordCamp Asia (February 21-23 2020).

If you use WooCommerce and are looking for product review plugins, Colm Troy has a big review of his picks for the best. His top pick is, and he goes into great detail about its capabilities. ๐Ÿ†

Not sure if reviews might be a good idea for your site at all? Troy has some good advice on that too.

In a world where “learn this programming language in a day or weekend” sells books and courses. Peter Norvig explains why this might not be a good idea. He shares a recipe for programming success that covers learning over years and decades.

It’s important to grasp fundamentals quickly today. Usually, you get on board with them fast, but it truly takes time and experience to gain mastery.

Jeffrey Carandang explains how to add custom Gutenberg block styles with ES6 and ES5 Javascript.

Here’s a nice “UI cheat sheet” for text fields from Tess Gadd. It covers text field anatomy, structure, icons, text field states, autoformat, touch targets, accessibility, and more.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here is my recommendation for video watching this week:

  • Adam Culp on being a better software developer, in just 15 minues. It’s the kind of common sense wisdom that seasoned coders need to hear now and again. Are the things you know you should do the things you actually have adopted as a diciplined practice?

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Three podcasts I’ve appreciated in the last few days:

  • This “quick chat” (under 30 minutes) with Dianna Allen of Budget Meal Planner is a good one. Dianna started with aย MailChimp newsletter and Wix website. Two months later she was on the Product Hunt homepage.
  • Matt Mullenweg and John Maeda discussed the design teamโ€™s workflow at Automattic, probably the largest remote team of designers that currently exists. John also talked about his life growing up and in school, where one teacher made a huge difference. (~30 minutes.)
  • The PHP Internals News podcast takes a brief (<10 minute) look into the deprecation of the curly brace syntax in PHP. (I didn’t even know this was a thing!) There’s also a longer episode devoted to testing PHP itself and how it’s improving. (<25 minutes.)

Notes for July 26, 2019


The call for speakers for the first WordCamp Asia 2020 has been announced, with only English speakers being accepted for the initial year. The deadline is September 25th. ๐Ÿ•๏ธ

Denis ลฝoljom announced a new release of the Theme Sniffer plugin and the WPThemeReview coding standards. ๐Ÿ‘ƒ

Theme Sniffer is a plugin that applies custom sniffs for PHP_CodeSniffer to verify that your theme adheres to WordPress coding conventions. Those conventions are specified by the official Theme Review Team coding standard, WPThemeReview.

If you build WordPress themes, check out this post on how to add and test skip links for accessibility.

Justin Tadlock showed off some work involving SVG background pattern options in the WordPress Customizer:

Jason Bahl has announced that WPGraphQL for Advanced Custom Fields will be available for free now. The plugin will also be submitted to so it can be included in projects using Composer.

If you haven’t had the chance yet to listen to Jason on, I highly recommend it.

J. Michael Ward has some ideas about the approaches you can take to structure your WordPress plugin projects. He shares including his coding philosophy with examples for plugin bootstrap files and class file organization.

David Ryan has written several tutorials to help developers get comfortable with WP-CLI and custom WP-CLI commands even if they haven’t worked much with the command line before.

Pascal Birchler‘s Introduction to WP-CLI is a great place to start learning WP-CLI too. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿซ

There’s a first time for everything, and Bolaji Ayodeji has written a short guide for a first-time setup of Git.

OSTraining has published a series of tutorials and a new book on CSS Flexbox. Their latest title is about local development with DDEV. ๐Ÿ“š

Joshua Wold explains from a design perspective how WooCommerce widgets are being converted into Gutenberg blocks. A lot more work goes into this than you might think!

Back in 2000, Jacob Nielsen proposed that elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. It’s often discussed and sometimes questioned advice, but Nielsen’s test data on testing is hard to dispute.

“The best results come from testing no more than five users and running as many small tests as you can afford,” he found. But, if you want to to discover all the usability problems, “you need to test with at least 15 users.” That said, “The ultimate user experience is improved much more by 3 studies with 5 users each than by a single monster study with 15 users.”

This more recent article from Nielsen is worth a read too if you are introducing changes to a user interface. “Any time you release a new user interface design, you’ll get complaints,” he warns.

That’s simply because “users don’t like to learn different ways of doing things,” and there’s nothing you can do to change it! ๐Ÿ˜ก

What you can do is reduce the amount of change you inflict on users at one time.

Greg Rickaby at WebDev Studios wants you to give AMP a second look if you tested it out and set it aside. Greg brings you up to speed on whatโ€™s new and aims to debunk a few common myths about AMP.

Scott Jehl shares the simplest way to load CSS asynchronously using a simple HTML approach: link to the stylesheet with the media type attribute set to print. Then use the onload to apply it to all media types once it’s loaded. Scott’s explanation and discussion of some alternative methods is outstanding. ๐Ÿ‘

If you use or work with Microsoft Teams, then this new WordPress plugin from Joรฃo Ferreira might be of some interest.

ServerPilot announced in June that they are launching a new hosting automation service called HostLaunch. It’s meant to be a “platform for operating a modern web hosting company.”

It’s a “customer-facing portal for your users to create their own accounts, log in, purchase servers, and manage their PHP and WordPress applications on those servers.”

HostLaunch plans to go live in August. ๐Ÿ›ซ

Laravel Vapor, a full-featured serverless management and deployment dashboard for PHP/Laravel powered by AWS, was recently announced. Features include on-demand auto-scaling with “zero server maintenance.”

Seth Godin discusses his picks for the five best books on marketing. ๐Ÿ“š

Unraveling the JPEG is a deep (and nicely illustrated) dive into the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) image format from Omar Shehata at Parametric Press. ๐Ÿ“ธ

If you like trying out new open-source CMS applications now and then, check out Django-based Wagtail, which Mozilla and Google are using. Wagtail is designed for headless deployments where the frontend pulls content from the CMS with GraphQL queries.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my recommendations for video watching this week:

  • Shail Bala Tripathy explores how communities are built and what it takes to start a WordPress community from scratch. This is a talk Shail gave recently at WordCamp Kolkata 2019 where she has been a co-organizer.
  • Sam Singer, the Lead Software Engineer at TechCrunch, shows how their “Extra Crunch” feature was built using WordPress.
  • Alex Young has another “Crash Course” video, this time on headless WordPress with WPGraphQL, ACF, and React.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are two new (to me) podcasts I’ve been listening to lately:

  • Fullstack Health is a new podcast focused on physical and mental health in the tech industry. The first episode includes a discussion with Jamund Ferguson and Kari Ferguson, co-organizers of the AnxietyTech conference.
  • This interview with WPEngine‘s Jason Cohen over at the Indie Hackers podcast offers a lot of insight. Jason talks about missteps, successes, and how it’s hard to learn from either of them as a founder. He also reveals that it took 2.5 years for WPEngine to reach 1,000 customers!

Notes for July 23, 2019


WordCamp US will soon be releasing its list of approved talks and speakers. They’ve also put out a call for volunteers. Helping out at WCUS is a great way to give back to the WordPress community, not to mention a fantastic way of networking with others. ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

Meanwhile, WordCamp Asia hasย a “teaser site” online for 2020. It’s happening February 21-23 in Bangkok, Thailand. ๐ŸŒ

If you are interested in usability testing for Gutenberg, several tests have been conducted already, and the results are available. Mark Uraine presented the highlights from the testing done in June, with videos included. There are usability test results from WordCamp Europe as well: parts one and two. ๐Ÿ“

Thanks to the work of Sergey Biryukov and others there appear to be new filters available in the media library dropdown for WordPress 5.3.

Sandy Edwards wrote the latest HeroPress article about the mostly unsung heroes of Kids’ Camps. Kids’ Camps and other youth programs are becoming more common at WordCamps and other WordPress events. Sandy spent weeks putting together a near-perfect timeline of all the related WordPress youth events from 2010 to the present. ๐Ÿšธ

Here’s a good postย from Mike Pennisi where he argues the “web can’t survive a monoculture” โ€” and that is what Chrome’s domination of the browser market means.

Mike says developers should help support other browsers like Firefox and WebKit. Developers should perform testing in all browsers too and be aware they have the power to prevent one from choking out the alternatives.

Joe Howard, the head buff at WPBuffs, talks about scaling WordPress maintenance tasks at the agency level. He covers “systemizing” everything โ€” especially the boring stuff โ€” documenting simple and complex tasks, and automating. ๐Ÿค–

Here’s an eye-opening study from Princeton University that analyzed over 53,000 product pages from 11,000 shopping websites. What they found was 1,818 instances of dark patterns, which are user interface design choices that benefit an online service by coercing, steering, or deceiving users. ๐Ÿ’ฉ

Mary Ann Azevedo from Crunchbase makes the case that the WordPress hosting space may simultaneously be one of the most lucrative โ€” yet underfunded โ€” industries. ๐Ÿ’ธ

The Washington Post is preparing for a “post cookie” ad targeting future by developing a first-party data ad targeting tool. It is able to tell what article a person is looking at, what position they have scrolled to on a page, and what URL they used to get there.

Lindsay Rogers Cook explains how the digital transition team at the New York Times created a program to help reporters “learn to love spreadsheets.”

If you want to encourage non-coders on your team how to be more fluent with data and numbers, this looks like a great model, including the attention given to data ethics. ๐Ÿ—ƒ๏ธ

Speaking of data ethics, check out the Times’ Privacy Project if you haven’t yet.

Seth Godin discusses his picks for the five best books on marketing. ๐Ÿ“š

Christopher Schmitt shows how placeholder text in forms is problematic for real-world use. He suggests a method that includes positioning the label element, so it overlaps the input field.

Jem Turner shares ten solid micro-optimizations for faster WordPress. Suggestions include reducing WordPress HTTP requests, reducing code size by removing duplicate functionality, and tidying up menus as well as wp_head(). ๐Ÿ’จ

Speaking of performance boosts, SpinupWP has published a terrific introduction to WordPress caching. After reading this, you should have a better understanding of how the various layers of caching play a role in speeding up WordPress page load times.

Tidy Repo made a speed comparison of 100 WordPress themes. The tests were limited to free themes in the WordPress repo, so popular commercial themes were not featured.

Because of the variables involved โ€” including your hosting and installed plugins โ€” I take these tests with a few grains of salt. The advice given at the end of the post is always good: “try to pick a theme that suits your needs.”

I found some of Andy Priestner thoughts as a UX consultant in the UK and former librarian insightful. Andy says the phrase “Ask for forgiveness, not permission!” translates into trying things out and seeing where they lead, but when it comes to users we should “Listen more, watch more!” ๐Ÿ‘‚

Survey results from WordCamp Europe have been published. Notably, with “the help of a whopping 60 sponsors, [WCEU] gathered over โ‚ฌ700,000,” and the “total revenue from tickets sold was a little over โ‚ฌ130,000.” ๐Ÿ™Œ

Rachel Andrew recentlyย wrote an excellent guide to CSS Margins, including some things I had forgotten.

Ionut Neagu reviews the redesign of Themeisle, including the pros and cons of the decisions that went into it. The design itself cost $10,000-$15,000. Commenting on that Ionut writes:

While the design itself is something almost impossible to track the ROI of, I believe that itโ€™s worth the investment. Frankly, considering that it took us five years before deciding to redesign the site, the cost only represents less than 0.5% of the revenues.

Here’s a reminder that WPCampus 2019 is happening from July 25-27, and sessions will be live-streamed for free. ๐Ÿ“น

WP Decoupled is a React theme boilerplate for WordPress, built with Next JS, Webpack, Babel, Node, Express, and WPGraphQL.

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here’s my recommendation for video watching this week:

  • Alex Young has a great tutorial that will get you up and running with Gutenberg Blocks using the new Advanced Custom Fields plugin update (5.8).

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately:

  • Joe Howard, via Matt Report,ย shares the origin of WPBuffs and why it’s challenging to be in the 24/7 maintenance space. On his own WPMRR podcast, he also shares some great news about becoming a father and how that affects life โ€” professionally and otherwise.
  • This extensive interview with Sara Golemon on the upcoming features of PHP 7.4 is a good listen for those writing any PHP or WordPress code.
  • Syed Balkhi, the founder of WPBeginner, is featured on the Elementor Blog podcast talking about his WordPress journey and sharing lessons from his acquisitions.
  • Women in WP interviews Michelle Ames about her role at GiveWP and as a WordCamp organizer.
  • Computer scientist and web standards pioneer Tantek ร‡elik is Jeffrey Zeldmanโ€™s guest on The Big Web Show #186.
  • If you use VSCode, this 20-minute Syntax podcast covers some helpful extensions and themes.
  • The latest Do The Woo podcast features topics such as WooCommerce Managed Hosting, CBD Products, and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) with Christie Chirinos.

Notes for July 15, 2019


Gutenberg and Full Site Editing

Gutenberg 6.1 was released this past week, and it includes some significant interface enhancements you will notice right away. The most noteworthy is the introduction of motion/animation when you are reordering, adding, or removing blocks.

The image block link settings have been improved too, and REST API error messages now appear as notices. There is also a claim about performance: “typing is 30% faster on long posts.” โŒจ๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ

The idea of Gutenberg growing to encompass the “full site editing experience” is getting more traction with this Github ticket submitted by Riad Benguella. ” Expanding the editor outside of post_content” may overlap with the role of “page builder,” by some definitions.

In that vein, Felix Arntz has created a Block Areas plugin that “allows you to define certain areas” anywhere on a WordPress site “that you can then edit like a regular post” using the Gutenberg editor.

Mel Choyce has shared some Gutenberg block directory and block management concepts for the WordPress admin interface and is asking for feedback.

Honey Code is a new Gutenberg Syntax Highlighter Block from Chris Kelley. It handles syntax highlighting quite nicely. โœจ

Ryan Welcher from 10up introduced SlotFill โ€” “a modernized take on classic interface ‘hooks and filters’ in WordPress” that extends Gutenberg’s interface.

Slot and Fill are a pair of React components that allow developers to inject items into predefined spaces. Together they are “a pattern for component extensibility.”

Ryan shows how SlotFill allowed 10up “to maintain the classic editor UI conventions” for their Distributor plugin in Gutenberg.

Demo plugins are available, and SlotFill has been officially added to the next WordPress core release.

More WCEU Recaps

Here’s an excellent WordCamp Europe contribution day recap from the Make WordPress Design team. I appreciate seeing how the discussion about Gutenberg and interaction resulted in designers opening issues in Github.

Codeable had a nice recap as well and an interesting post about quickly taking professional photos of their team โ€” 34 portraits in less than 2 hours with no studio. ๐Ÿคณ

Only “Mostly Uninstalled”

If you use or have ever used Zoom on for MacOS, you should be aware of a vulnerability that allows a malicious website to enable your camera without your permission. Even if you’ve uninstalled Zoom, you are still vulnerable. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

To paraphrase Miracle Max, there’s a big difference between mostly uninstalled and all uninstalled.

On Sunday, July 14, a fix from Zoom was released, so manually update your app!

Apple even stepped in to remove the local server Zoom installs (Yikes!) in a silent update. (Thank you, Apple!) ๐Ÿ™

Developers can learn a few things from this incident. At the very least, uninstalling and deleting an app or plugin should remove all traces of your code. Also, decisions that ignore the end user’s best interest will come back to haunt you. ๐Ÿ‘ป

Cash on the Mail

In 2017, WPForms acquired WP Mail SMTP, and recently a Pro version was announced. The Pro features include integration with Outlook 365 and Amazon SES, along with email logging and notification management.

If you are looking for MailChimp alternatives, then give this post from Victor Zhou a read. Victor explains how moving froim Mailchimp to Sendy cut his costs “by 100x.” ๐Ÿ’ธ

Developer Tools

Check out this project from Roots called Bedrock โ€” “WordPress boilerplate with modern development tools, easier configuration, and an improved folder structure.” ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

Bedrock is inspired by Heroku‘s Twelve-Factor App methodology, including Scott Walkinshaw‘s WordPress specific version.

I’m sure many developers can relate to Khaliq Gant saying he’s “not really a good web developer” โ€” he’s “just good at Googling things.”

That’s not self-deprecation because, as Khaliq points out, it takes a solid base of knowledge and training to know what questions to ask. Then you have to assess the answers you get and come to the right conclusions in your own coding decisions.

The ability to self-educate is essential, especially in a field that changes quickly. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿซ

Here’s a WordPress plugin that can generate a child theme based on the Genesis Sample theme with WP-CLI.

Zach Leatherman offers some insight into font loading strategies as he explains how CSS-Tricks (poweredby WordPress) optimizines the open license fonts they use.

If you’ve struggled with page loading times due to custom fonts, this is a must-read. โณ

If you’re looking for an opinionated presentation of the best open source web fonts, Chad Mazzola has it. The font examples use text and color better than any other font demo I’ve seen.

Your Feedback is Requested

๐Ÿ‘‰ Andrea Middleton is collecting topic suggestions from WordPress contributor teams for the WordPress User and Developer Survey, which didn’t happen last year. The survey’s goal is to gather the information that will help inform contributor work in the coming year.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The official WordPress Hosting Team is asking for feedback about the recommended minimum PHP requirement, based on four questions for developers:

  • How has the PHP minimum requirement bump affected you?
  • What should the next PHP minimum recommendation be and why?
  • What common issues do you foresee having with the sites that you host with the next PHP bump?
  • What versions of PHP should we target with a Servehappy warning banner?

Allez a11y!

The WordPress theme review team will start implementing a new accessibility-related guideline every other month and teaching theme authors how to tackle each issue. That’s great news! ๐Ÿ™Œ

WordPress profiles now include some additional fields that contributors can use to share how much time they dedicate to the WordPress project.

Video and Podcast Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here’s my recommendation for video watching this week:

  • The “Cost of JavaScript 2019” video (and blog post) from Addy Osmani at the PerfMatters Conference 2019 shows the main costs of processing JavaScript are download and CPU execution time.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately:

  • The latest Distributed podcast features Matt Mullenweg interviewed by Mark Armstrong. I heard some things in this discussion that I can’t recall hearing anywhere else. Matt tells the story of the pre-Automattic and early Automattic days, including the very first WordPress meetup. Even if you aren’t too interested in distributed work, this one’s worth your time.
  • The Voices of the ElePHPant podcast spoke with Sebastian Grodzicki about serverless PHP.
  • I started listening to the Ladybug Podcast with Kelly Vaughn, Ali Spittel, Emma Wedekind, and Lindsey Kopacz. My first episode was this one dealing with how to balance side projects.
  • This short Syntax podcast episode covers the question “what is a headless CMS?” and of course mentions how WordPress fits in.
  • This recent C2C Podcast interviews Tessa Krissel about the Pantheon Heroes project which focuses on giving back to Pantheon’s community. I’m listening to a recent episode focused on Asana at the moment. The very latest episode features Andrea Middleton on WordPress meetup groups and how diverse communities interact and thrive.
  • If you enjoy or are thinking about picking up the php[architect] magazine, their companion podcast is a good one to keep up with too. Their latest episode touches on serverless PHP and other subjects, like how to securely manage keys, secrets, and passwords.

Notes for July 5, 2019

Summer Roundup

Keeping Up with Gutenberg ๐Ÿšง

Gutenberg 6.0 is out with significant enhancements to the column layout block, widgets block, and block group functionality, among other things.

Felix Arntz explains how to leverage the power of Custom Elements in Gutenberg. Like many popular, component-based JavaScript frameworks, Custom Elements bring Web Components to WordPress โ€” standardized “browser APIs that allow you to define your own HTML tags, reusable and self-contained.” โš™๏ธ

If you are a developer and unfamiliar with Custom Elements or Web Components, give Felix’s article a read. Even if you aren’t planning on any Gutenberg development anytime soon, this is a good one for keeping up.

I’m not sure I would call this the “ultimate” list, but Kevin Muldoon does have an impressive list of Gutenberg block plugins and add-ons, as they’re accumulating quickly. Check in to see if you’ve missed anything.

Everyone’s Going Local ๐Ÿ 

Josh Koenig announced the first release of Pantheon Localdev,ย a local dev app for the Mac (Windows and Linux “coming soon”) that is built on top of Docker and Lando with a GUI for working on sites and deploying to Pantheon.

This announcement follows the launch of a similar tool from WPEngine called DevKit. Add to this the existence of Local by FlyWheel (recently acquired by WPEngine), and it’s not surprising that conversations started appearing on Twitter about the necessity of these “custom dev tools” and how they might lock users into these hosts. ๐Ÿ”’

Morten Rand-Hendriksen posed the idea of a single, standard tool for deploying code to WordPress sites, and an interesting discussion ensued. I don’t see this happening anytime soon โ€” at least from the major hosts as they battle it out โ€” but it’s something I would like to see someday.

While it doesn’t have a local development app, LiquidWeb is partnering with WPMerge and Affiliate WP to add them to their managed hosting bundles for WordPress and WooCommerce at no extra charge.

A tool for merging staging and production site databases like WPMerge is a must-have for eCommerce sites.

Kudos ๐Ÿ‘

Peter Suhm was selected to join the 2019 TinySeed accelerator. Peter wrote on his blog he will now be able to work full time on Branch. ๐ŸŒฑ

Scott Bolinger reminds us Why We Build Products. One reason: “making money while you sleep is an amazing feeling.” ๐Ÿ’ธ

WordPressed for the First Time ๐ŸŽธ

Rolling Stone just launched daily updated music charts that are powered by WordPress. Aaron Jorbin reached out to me to confirm that the internal team at PMC did this project along with the team at Yikes!.

Aaron noted that “from [the] WordPress side, there weren’t too many challenges… Primary development took about a month, and then there were about two months of small bug fixes while all the data pieces came together.”

If you want to dive into this more, you can check out the methodology behind the rankings, and there is also a FAQ. was relaunched this past week, and as Digital Editor Andrew Nusca pointed out, it too is running on WordPress. ๐Ÿ’ต

Losing Your Head ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

Dan Fries thinks the future of websites is “headless CMS.” He explains what counts as headless and the pros and cons of different headless solutions.

Dan notes WordPress and other platforms “account for more than 60% of all web content platforms,” but their problem “is their relative lack of flexibility” because “the front and back end functionalities are deeply coupled.” ๐Ÿ”—

If you want to take WordPress headless with a React frontend, check out Frontity‘s 1.0 release.

A couple of “features” stand out:

100/100ย Lighthouse score: Frontity is optimized to get the maximum score in Lighthouse, including performance, SEO and accessibility. Theme developers start with 100/100 and they just need to maintain it while they add features to their theme.

Perfect accessibility: as part of our mission to make building websites with WordPress and React easier and more accessible, we also want to develop the framework focused on this aspect. Frontity is accessible by default and will provide tools that let the developers know if they break it.

New Tools ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

WPOnion is a framework that “helps developers build custom meta boxes and custom fields in WordPress.” The documentation goes into further detail, stating its support for not only post_meta but also term_meta, user_meta, comment_meta, settings pages and custom tables.

Justin Tadlock announced the official 1.0 release of two feature projects for anyone building (and submitting) WordPress themes: Customize Section Button and Autoload.

Google‘s AMP for WordPress version 1.2 was released.

Thierry Muller outlined the XML Sitemaps feature proposal for WordPress core, which will include an API to make it fully extendable. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

Thierry also announced the developer beta release of the Google Site Kit plugin for WordPress.

That’s the Ticket ๐ŸŽซ

Jonathan Desrosiers posted a reflection on the WordPress triage team three months into its existence.

There’s a lot to take in here, but here’s one KPI: they closed more than half of the Trac tickets opened in roughly Q2 2019. ๐Ÿ˜…

Summer School ๐Ÿซ

Jen McFarlandย andย Brian DeConinck put together a summer news roundup for the WPCampus video podcast you can watch/listen to or read. ๐ŸŽ“

Among other things, they discuss WCEU and the upcoming annual WPCampus conference on July 25-27 at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Registration will remain open until July 7. The schedule of speakers and sessions looks super!

Rather than spend money on swag this year, the conference organizers are donating (and encouraging others to give) to Free Geek, a local charity for digital inclusion. ๐ŸŽ

๐Ÿ“š There will not be a quiz, but here’s some educational reading you or someone you know may appreciate:

Giving Back ๐Ÿ’

HeroPress is keeping a list of scholarships that are available to the WordPress community.

It’s great to see a company like Sentry start a program like Sentry for Good. The goal is to amplify “the voices of non-profits, open-source tools, and educational institutions” by blogging about the way they use Sentry, or by sponsoring their Sentry account.

Podcast Roundup ๐ŸŽ™๏ธ

WP&UP has Cory Miller as a trustee now. Cory has been sharing his mental health story for many years now at conferences, and he noted it is part of his “life mission” to “obliterat[e] the stigma of mental health.” ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Dan Maby, WP&UP’s CEO, shared that Cory “has been a personal inspiration,” and it was “his WordCamp Denver talk back in 2015″ that led Dan to open up about his own “personal mental ill health, leading “to the development of WP&UP.”

Cory was on the WP&UP podcast recently, and it is worth a listen if you haven’t heard his story yet. ๐Ÿ‘

Substack shared a growth masterclass with Judd Legum, who runs one of the most successful one-person newsletter businesses on their service. (This is a brief “popup podcast” episode you can listen to or just read the highlights.)

Judd’s secret is not volume or withholding content for paying subscribers; it’s about adding value.

Long Time Running ๐Ÿƒ

Enjoy reading “HTML is the web” from Pete Lambert which has a quality developer rant in it. Even if you code in React, “if youโ€™re making websites,ย then the most important thing youโ€™re making is HTML. HTML is the Web.”

Remember that time MooTools almost broke the web? Don’t miss another fantastic historical essay from Jay Hoffman about the olden days of JavaScript frameworks before jQuery. ๐Ÿฎ

Jay did a Cake Panel recently and answered a lot of great questions about his work and the many hats he wears. ๐Ÿฐ

Martin Tournoij makes an excellent case for why he’s still using jQuery in 2019.

Preethi Shreeya considers the things that give products longevity and asks whether “eternal design” is possible with software.

Inquiring Minds ๐Ÿ‘€

A recent Twitter thread and blog post from Remy Sharp takes on Disqus as a Trojan horse for Facebook and all sorts of tracking scripts after he took a look at his blog’s source code: ๐Ÿด

Rand Fishkin wanted to know “How Much of Googleโ€™s Search Traffic is Left for Anyone But Themselves?

Answer: Somewhere south of 88%, as a conservative estimate. ๐Ÿ“‰

As Google directs more searches to its various (Alphabet) properties, the results left to everyone else is shrinking fast:

In 2019 Google sent ~20% fewer organic clicks via browser searches than they did in 2016.”

Don’t Need Another Hero โšก

This article in Scientific American by Zeynep Tufekci brilliantly uses Game of Thrones‘ difficult translation to television to explain how its author, George R. R. Martin, understands “sociological storytelling” as very few screenwriters do. Martin treats all his characters as individuals who exist within social structures and historical contingencies that limit their possible actions and influence. Tufekci says we’re typically much more naive and idealize heroes, politicians, and industry leaders:

Itโ€™s reasonable, for example, for a corporation to ponder who would be the best CEO or COO, but itโ€™s not reasonable for us to expect that we could take any one of those actors and replace them with another person and get dramatically different results without changing the structures, incentives and forces that shape how they and their companies act in this world.

(John Gruber made a similar point about Apple after Jony Ive‘s exit.)

Tufecki wants us to think more about how to build good teams and organizations โ€” and the conditions that sustain them:

Well-run societies donโ€™t need heroes, and the way to keep terrible impulses in check isnโ€™t to dethrone antiheroes and replace them with good people.