Notes for June 18, 2021

Footnotes #551

Issue #451

“Try a thing you haven't done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”

Virgil Thomson


👉 Post Status Club Members: Please take our Annual Member Survey! 🙏

Automattic acquires Day One

Automattic has acquired Day One, a free journaling app that has won multiple Apple design awards and is available for most major devices, systems, and browsers. According to Paul Mayne, founder and CEO, work on the app started 10 years ago, and since then it has been downloaded over 15 million times in 225 different countries/territories. Paul and his team will be joining Automattic as part of the sale. 🤝

Matt Mullenweg notes he is impressed with the app’s infrastructure and fully encrypted sync mechanism.

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t know Day One existed, but I do plan to download it and give it a test drive. I doubt this is the last acquisition in this space for the Automattic, but it does seem they now have all forms of blogging covered: for public, long-form writing; Day One for private, short-form writing; and Tumblr is somewhere in between.

On a side note, in Post Status Slack Matt offered some advice for those being approached by potential acquirers:

“If a potential acquirer tries to get you to not talk to anyone else in the market, especially saying to not talk to Automattic, you should definitely talk to Automattic. The deal team can get you an ‘interested’ or ‘no’ very quickly… even if you end up somewhere else, we can at least help you get a better price.”

If you aren’t in the Post Status Slack #club channel when acquisitions are announced in the WordPress space, you are missing out on some great conversations.

Extendify acquires EditorsKit

Another acquisition was announced this week: Extendify is adopting Jeffrey Carandang‘s EditorsKit plugin. EditorsKit provides a set of advanced typographical tools for the WordPress block editor. 🧰

As a “first step,” Extendify has made the EditorsKit Typography and Google Fonts Add-On free. Additionally, the Extendify library of Gutenberg patterns and templates is available directly in EditorsKit. The acquisition announcement states that “during the beta launch the full library is available for users at no cost.”

Jeffrey thanks “all for your continued love and support for these amazing tools that I’ve created for the Gutenberg editor.” 🙏

FlipWP: A marketplace for acquisitions

Alex Denning and Iain Poulson have officially launched FlipWP, which is being labeled as a “new private acquisition marketplace for WordPress.” 💸

Iain, fresh from his sale of Plugin Rank to Awesome Motive, notes in an email sent out this week:

“Every week I was hearing about another acquisition, getting an email from someone looking to buy a plugin business, or emails from developers asking the best way to sell. The need for a WordPress specific acquisition marketplace became more and more apparent. The more I chatted to my friend Alex, from Ellipsis Marketing, the more and more we knew what we were going to build next.”

Alex also shares his take on why they started FlipWP on the site’s new blog.

Membership is $299/year, which gets you access to listings of WordPress businesses for sale. (Listings include information such as ARR, asking price, commentary, and owner/seller contact information.) Members get summaries emailed to them.

I’m excited to see how this progresses moving forward — the number of acquisitions in the past year in the WordPress space hasn’t been hard to count, but it’s the acquisitions involving small to mid-sized businesses (especially when the buyer isn’t a hosting company) that pique my interest.

Iain notes on Post Status Slack that “we got some deals lined up for the 28th of this month.”

WordPress 5.8 Beta 2 is now available for testing, and the current target for the final release is July 20, 2021. 📅

🐛 26 bugs have been fixed since the previous beta.

Third Time's the Charm

Chris Lema shares why he’s fully committed to Gutenberg now. First and foremost, the answer is “speed.” 🐎

But it’s also “the way page builders allow you to do all the magic they do” without any cruft. Builders produce “a lot of extra container structure.” And Google decided they didn’t like it.”

Chris outlines his observations about Gutenberg, and he some good and some critical points. The kicker is how he ends his post: “This was my third effort at learning it. And this time it really stuck.”

Three tries is a lot — and this is from a receptive, highly invested, and very experienced member of the WordPress community.

There are probably many people out there who tried Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0, decided they hated it, and haven’t revisited it. Some likely never will, but I wonder how many could adapt to it with another pass. If your first-time experience with Gutenberg was its initial launch in WordPress 5.0, I can’t blame you for resisting change.

Eric Karkovack opined in Post Status Slack:

“The early versions were a big turn-off to a lot of people. And it’s going to be hard to get them back. It takes an open mind and probably some unhappiness with whatever editing experience they currently use.”

I tend to agree — either a negative experience with a page builder or frustration with the Classic Editor can drive people away from WordPress. Or, it might push them to the block editor. Another possible path to win back Gutenberg skeptics is a “cool” feature‚ like the collaborative editing slated for Phase 3.

Even if there aren’t a lot of huge Gutenberg fans, I believe the vast majority of WordPress users agree that the block editor and full-site editing are the future of WordPress. For that reason, we’re due for some critical thinking in the community — about what is possible to do now with Gutenberg and how to move the needle on wider adoption of it.

As Joost de Valk stated this week in Post Status Slack:

“[C]onvince people stuck on [the] classic [editor] and people [who] work with page builders that it truly is worth another try.”

📆 Upcoming Events

  • Gutenberg Times Live Q & A — Theme.json for Theme Authors: Learn how to get started with building themes for Full-site editing. Join Daisy Olson, Tammie Lister, and Jeff Ong to learn more about the theme.json file and other tools on June 24, 2021. Register for free.
  • WP Engine Summit 2021 will happen on June 24 with industry leaders, CEOs, and speakers from inside and outside the WordPress space talking about trends. The keynote speaker is Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. This is a free event.
  • BigWP EMEA: BigWP EMEA will be hosted by WordPress VIP on June 24th featuring Matías Ventura speaking about the Gutenberg project. It's free to signup.

Rich Tabor asks on Twitter, “What do you need Gutenberg to do, to enable you further?” There’s a variety of interesting and well-thought-out responses in the replies that followed. 🐦

Riad Benguella explains one of the Full Site Editing tools being introduced in WordPress 5.8 — the template editor. This allows you to create, assign, and edit block templates for specific posts and pages. ✨

The templates are saved as a Custom Post Type named wp_template, and a REST API endpoint is available to fetch them. By default, the new template editor is enabled for all themes, but themes can opt-out of this feature with one line of code in functions.php.

In related WordPress 5.8 block editor development news, Greg Ziółkowski explains some block editor API changes to support multiple admin screens.

Chris Coyier wonders where headless WordPress will land. 🛬

After acknowledging some of the benefits and how different groups are approaching it, he reaches this conclusion:

“There’s just a heck of a lot more WordPress site owners who aren’t developers than those who are, I reckon, so that alone will keep headless WordPress from being anything more than a relatively niche concept for some time.”

Alex Barashkov explains on Twitter that you can connect your Gutenberg blocks to React components with Gatsby and “get crazy flexibility in terms of content editing driven by CMS.”

Congrats to WebDevStudios for becoming the newest agency partner for WordPress VIP and one of only 13 Gold Partners.

CEO Brad Williams and COO Lisa Sabin-Wilson lead a great team at one of the longest-running WordPress agencies. This is a good fit for both WebDevStudios and WP VIP. I can’t wait to see what grows from this partnership.

Anne McCarthy shares how WordPress fundamentally changed her:

“I found the world… myself… and my joy. To have the chance to give back to something that has given me so much is something I wake up every day thankful for, even on the tough days.”

The Codeable editorial team shares some tips on making your WordPress website more accessible:

  • Pick the right page builder.
  • Run an automatic or manual accessibility audit.
  • Use an accessible WordPress Theme.

This is a basic introduction to a11y. If you are already familiar with the basics, this would be a good post to share with clients early in the process of building or redeveloping a site. It will help site owners appreciate the amount of thought that should go into making their site accessible at launch. 🚀

Corey Maass shares how to generate a large number of discount codes in Easy Digital Downloads. Corey needed to figure out how to do this when he put his Social Link Pages plugin on the AppSumo marketplace. 👍

🤝 WordPress Jobs: The Post Status Job Board

💼 There are currently 21 Active Job Listings on the Board. We don't have space for them all here, so be sure to check online too.

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

Current Listings:

If you use Sugar Calendar, then you might be interested to know its Advanced Recurring add-on has been released. This has been the “most asked for” feature. 🗓️

John James Jacoby explains the addon “took almost an entire year to invent, test, and deploy… We ported the RRULE spec directly to PHP from the iCalendar RFC, because nothing existed to do what we needed.”

HeroThemes has released Heroic Inbox which “manages multiple business emails from different sources and from one powerful, shared mailbox inside WordPress.” 📨

It’s good to see Jeff Chandler back in the WordPress news and blogging space with his new website WP Mainline. 🚆

If you’ve done any testing or optimization with your site with Google in mind you’ve likely heard of Lighthouse — a popular open-source tool for auditing performance.

Karolina Szczur describes what has changed between Lighthouse 7 and 8 — and what you might notice in your site speed tracking that’s new. 💨

Lesley Sim takes us step-by-step through your first 20 newsletters if you’re starting from scratch — from thinking about what email provider to use, to deciding what you want to write about. 📧

“Write about something you’re interested in, and resist the urge to follow trends” is good advice. Although newsletters should follow a theme, Lesley suggests that once you’ve picked a theme, pick a subset of that theme. “Niche down.”

With the popularity of newsletters increasing over the last year, this is a good read to get your head in the game. 👍

If you want a sneak peek into the design overhaul of the blog, check out the public Figma design board. Looking good! 🎨

Jim Nielsen offers some opinions on code comments. 🗯️

On the subject of “useless” or obvious comments, Jim writes:

“…if writing ‘useless’ code comments helps you, then they are not useless. They’re the opposite: useful.”

WPScan is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this week. On June 16, 2011, the WPScan alpha was released as a “black box WordPress Security Scanner written in Ruby.”

Today WPScan, sponsored by Automattic, has over 22,000 vulnerabilities in its database. 🔎

Wordfence has been authorized by the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE®) program as a CNA, or CVE Numbering Authority. 👏🔒



📺 Here are my video picks for the week:


🎙️ Here are my top podcast picks:

— #451 —

Carefully crafted for you by humans.

Notes for June 8, 2021

Footnotes #550

A Half-Trillion Dollar Market

WP Engine has published a search study that pegs the WordPress economy at nearly $596.7 billion (USD) as of 2020. It's expected to grow to $635.5 billion by the end of 2021. 😲

Collaborators for this report include prominent agencies, plugin companies, and media sources — including Post Status.

Matt Mullenweg has estimated the WordPress economy (excluding eCommerce) in the billions — $10 Billion in 2018 — but half a trillion dollars is the highest number I've seen posted unofficially or otherwise.

WordPress Market Grow Continues to Surge

Joost de Valk has updated his CMS market share analysis for June 2021 based on numbers provided by W3Techs. Joost notes that “a lot has changed again this year, in large part attributable to COVID-19.” 😷

WordPress overtook “None” (no detectable CMS) as the most used CMS on the planet. Other open-source platforms didn’t fare as well, but “if they continue their current trends, Joomla and Drupal will be the #4 and #5 CMSes in the world by this time next year.” The big winners were WordPress and Shopify.

Joost has some great charts and graphs, but it blows my mind a little that WordPress grew more in its CMS market share (+4.6%) in the last six months. That's more than the total market share of the number two contender, Shopify, which stands at (3.6%). Bonkers! 🤯

Awesome Motive announced it acquired Plugin Rank this week. The SaaS app helps WordPress plugin developers track and improve their rankings in WordPress search results. 🔌

Syed Balkhi explained that his company was already engaged in plugin rank tracking of their own, “but the tool is way more powerful than what [Awesome Motive] had built internally.”

Iain Poulson tells the full story of Plugin Rank — from building it (with Laravel) to selling it within 12 months. He also shares why he sold it:

“I have numerous projects on the go, as well as my main work with Delicious Brains, [so] simplifying my life a little and reducing the amount of things I have to think about was a big win.”

Iain also runs WP Trends, and that site is not involved in the acquisition. 📈

Iain will not be joining Awesome Motive, but based on their past acquisitions and the experience they already have with their internal tool, it wouldn’t surprise me if Plugin Rank continues to live on for quite some time.

Jilt has announced they have stopped taking new accounts, and they will be shutting down on April 30, 2022. Existing customers will be able to use Jilt's service and support until that time. 🛒

I spoke with Beka Rice and she shared the following:

Max, Justin, and I still lead the SkyVerge team inside of GoDaddy and need to make the best business decisions for our customers and team. While Jilt continued to grow and provide a good service, as we evaluated long term plans, we had other, bigger opportunities we were passionate about trying to seize. The technology that powers Jilt can contribute to that, but the standalone service was not aligned with our direction.

We all felt strongly that if we weren’t going to aggressively invest in product improvements, the best thing for our customers was to direct them to products that would continue to improve with their businesses, rather than to simply let the brand and product languish.

Best of luck to the whole team as they make this transition.

The WPMarmite team has published a survey whose results are based on asking 127 WordPress theme shops how they have been embracing the Gutenberg block editor with an eye to the future of Full Site Editing in WordPress core. The survey revealed:

  • 57% of theme shops feature Gutenberg compatibility.
  • Only 17% of theme shops offer custom Gutenberg blocks.
  • 3% of theme shops provide block patterns.

These numbers don't seem particularly high or impressive at the moment, but we are still in the early adoption phase. Since the survey targeted “mostly independent shops and some on ThemeForest,” I feel they're likely to hold back until Full Site Editing and other features are publicly rolled out. This seems especially likely for themes sold in highly competitive markets. Once the public absorbs the changes in core and their expectations for themes shift, the way themes are marketed will change too.

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of a similar study a year from now.

Eric Karkovack shares his thoughts on how the more prominent developers and companies are holding more sway in the WordPress ecosystem. 🐟 🐠 🦈

Responding to concerns about the monopolistic potential in consolidation that draw comparisons to Amazon, Google, and Facebook, Eric says “there’s reason to believe things won’t become quite that dystopian. WordPress is, after all, an open-source application. Anyone with the talent and desire to build a plugin can still do so.”

If you’re interested in this subject, check out our recent Post Status Excerpt podcast where David and Cory take on this very subject.

Jason Coleman was interviewed by Starter Story. Their conversation focused on how Paid Memberships Pro averaged $100k per month in revenue and is on track to grow an additional 25-50% this year. Over 100,000 sites run Paid Memberships Pro, but the plugin only has 6,000 paid customers. 🙌

Jason shares advice to other entrepreneurs to not abandon their business when it stalls out at around $1,000 per month. Contrary to popular advice, Jason says don’t focus on churn too early.

WordPress 5.8 is adding WebP support. 🖼️

As Adam Silverstein notes, as long as your server supports WebP, you should be able to upload .webp files and use them like you would any other image. Developers can also fine-tune the compression quality setting.

The media component team exploring the option of having WordPress perform the image format conversion on uploaded images and adopt “WebP as the default output format for sub-sized images.”Adam notes:

“By switching to WebP as their default output format, users won't need to do anything and will benefit from faster sites because images will be 25-40% smaller, with no loss of quality. Hosts will benefit from reduced memory usage for compression, and reduced storage and bandwidth requirements for images.”

Elementor continues to roll out new features, and this week it introduced new Video Playlist and Hotspots Widgets.

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

PHP turned 26! 🎂 On June 8, 1995, Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf introduced the PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor 1.0 scripting language on Usenet‘s comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi. Rasmus’s announcement (now in Google Groups) is still online.

WordCamp Europe 2021 has concluded its three-day run. It seemed to be received well as an online event. Organizers reported that 3,290 people registered (with 1,841 logged in at once) from 121 countries. 🌐

Among the 48 speakers, Matt Mullenweg and Matias Ventura showed off the latest features in Gutenberg with a video that featured block patterns and inline cropping. Matt observed that “with Gutenberg, we are getting to intelligent context-based editing in WordPress.”

Afterwards, Matt sat down with Brian Krogsgard to answer some questions, including a few from the live audience. Some highlights:

  • How can governance in WordPress be enabled so it lasts 100 years?
    Response: “If we can maintain our culture – giving back, humility.. some parts of WordPress (like early days of Gutenberg) need strong leadership… other times and other sections require more community consensus.” With Josepha Haden in the role of executive director, Matt notes that “he is more invested in [the] outcome than in control [of the project].”
  • What’s the biggest contribution WordPress companies can make?
    Response: “Having full-time people contributing to core. After that, marketing WordPress.”
  • Are agencies used to doing WordPress projects a certain way being squeezed out by Gutenberg?
    Response: “No. Those being squeezed out are people who haven’t evolved.”

Discussing Tumblr‘s main audience today, Matt said its “Primary demographic is 13-24, not people who used it 10 years ago. Youth is flocking to them, half of them don’t use another social networking platform.”

Matt also observed that “WooCommerce isn’t the biggest part of Automattic… yet.”

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

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

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

Anne McCarthy shows off the list view, a recent improvement to the Core Editor that was originally imagined for the Site Editor.

The goal of the list view is to “make it easy to bounce between the exact pieces of content you want to alter.”

I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m impressed with the video showing how it works. It seems like a workflow that would be natural to me. 👍

It’s rare to see an experimental WordPress theme used to explore new approaches to design, so I enjoyed Kjell Reigstad sharing how he used Blockbase (a parent theme for block themes) to create an intentionally “glitchy” theme. Warping text and images using CSS and SVG filters created some nice effects! 🎨

If you are planning on building a block-based theme, consider looking at Blockbase. Kjell says, “I found that the benefit to using Blockbase was peace of mind… [it] eliminated a lot of extra busywork.”

Two new additions to the Codeable team are Mike Demopoulos (as Expert Community Development Lead) and Christie Chirinos (as Partner Community Development Lead). Congrats to them both. 🙌

Allie Nimmons has written a guide to good project proposals, starting with the discovery call and ending with cost estimates and additional services. 📝

Allie notes that “your proposal is not a contract” so you should establish terms unique to the proposal, including when it expires, how changes and negotiations will be handled, etc.

Ebonie Butler, a developer at Yikes Inc., was featured on HeroPress in an older post I found this week. It's appropriately titled “Believe in Yourself,” as Ebonie has to face various challenges. If you need to get inspired this week, make this the first post you read. 🕯️ shines a well-deserved spotlight on Tijana Andrejic from Belgrade, Serbia. It covers her journey from fitness trainer to the WordPress world, as well as the freelance and corporate opportunities it introduced.

🤝 WordPress Jobs: The Post Status Job Board

💼 There are currently 2️⃣3️⃣ Active Job Listings on the Board. We don't have space for them all here, so be sure to check online too.

☀️ Employers: Get your job opening in front of many of the best and brightest members of the WordPress community. List your job opening with Post Status today. (Get a 20% discount as a Post Status Club Member. Post Status Team subscriptions get 2 free listings per year.) »

💡 Help us understand how you're hiring! Take our short, one-question poll. »

Current Listings

📆 Upcoming Events


Video Picks

📹 Here is my video pick of the week:

  • WordCamp Europe 2021 Gutenberg Demo: A narrated demo of current and new features coming to the WordPress block editor presented at WCEU this past week. Created by Matías Ventura and Beatriz Fialho. Narrated by Beatriz Fialho.

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

Notes for June 4, 2021

Footnotes #449

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Schrader explains why unbounded possibility is bad for productivity:

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

I tend to agree, at least for me.

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆


Video Picks

📹 Here is my video pick of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

  • Yoast SEO Podcast: Nichola Stott shares practical tips on how and when to hire an SEO agency — and how to evaluate their work.
  • Indie Hackers: Rob Walling talks about new and not-so-new trends in SaaS that indie hackers should be paying attention to.
  • Syntax: Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski discuss how creators can make money without feeling “yucky” about it.
  • ShopTalk Show: Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier talk linters, delivering single-file HTML, choosing between a specific tool focus and being a generalist, and social image previews.
  • Matt Report: Brian Jackson, former CMO at Kinsta, talks about his latest plugins Perfmatters and Nova Share.
  • The Jasons Take On… had a good talk with Ross Fulton, CEO of Valuize. Ross shares his insights about effective customer success strategies and how to operationalize them.
  • The Digital Agency Show: This podcast is for the agency owner audience, and in this episode, it features Ben Marcel, CEO of Torapath Technologies, who discusses mental health and entrepreneurship.

Notes for May 28, 2021

Footnotes #448

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

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

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

There’s a lot happening in WordPress Core, including some tweaks that won't make the headlines.

For example, here's a real gem for people using WordPress Multisite: the addition of an indicator to make it clear “whether a theme is a child theme on the network admin Themes screen.” 💎

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

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

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

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

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

Pippin Williamson notes that Sand Hills Development will be experimenting with a four-day workweek during the summer: “The goal of this experiment is to better enable deep work, improved productivity, and happier and healthier team members.” 😃

I'm looking forward to seeing what Sand Hills learns from this experiment. Remote work is gaining ground thanks to COVID — will a shorter workweek be the silver lining to this difficult period?

Brad Parbs created a WordPress plugin that quickly outputs a 404 for static files that aren't found, rather than loading the normal 404 error page. This prevents more resources from loading and results in a faster page experience. 4️⃣0️⃣4️⃣

Dhara Shah from Mumbai writes about shifting to a focus on WordPress and finding satisfaction and joy in that new career. 😂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Parandyk has a short summary of ten years of design engineering research with eight “first principles of software design.” 🎱

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆


Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

  • Start The Snowball is a Podcast for builders and creators “just getting started.” It's hosted by Cory Miller and Brad Osborne. In the latest episode, they discuss a step-by-step method you can use to know exactly what people want to buy. Then you can know exactly what to sell and how to sell it without having to guess what your customers want. ❄️
  • Do The Woo hosted David Mainayar from PeachPay. David talked about entering the WooCommerce space and his competitors. (Automattic recently invested in PeachPay, apparently after David connected with Matt Mullenweg in Post Status Slack.) 🛒
  • Thunder Nerds got legendary web designer Jeffrey Zeldman to share his experiences, background, and lessons learned on his career journey. Zeldman also has some ideas for building a better bat cave. 🦇
  • WPMRR Podcast features Joe with Marc Benzakein, the Operations Manager at ServerPress LLC. They discuss opportunities for young startup founders and the best work practices to avoid burnout.
  • Distributed Podcast host Matt Mullenweg connected with Sid Sijbrandij to talk about GitLab, transparency and growing a distributed company. 👨‍💻
  • Reverse Engineered featured Joe Howard sharing what he feels are the secrets to entrepreneurship. Learn about Joe's early strategies for attracting new clients and why you should vet prospective clients to ensure they’re a good fit for your business. 👩‍💼

Notes for May 19, 2021

Footnotes #447

This update from Anne McCarthy about the block editor raised my interest:

“…work is underway to suggest block patterns based on the block one is working with…. in the long run it will be easier to create content and get inspired without leaving the editor. “

There is a video on the post along with an early PR to check out. ✨

Eric Karkovack shows how you can conditionally control block visibility in the WordPress Gutenberg Editor with the Block Visibility plugin. 👻

WordPress 5.8 will allow developers to set their plugin hostname – this allows third-party plugins to avoid accidentally being overwritten with an update of a plugin of a similar name from the Plugin Directory.

Carolina Nymark has published her full site editing (FSE) theme, Armando, in the WordPress theme directory.

Armando is designed for blogs or sports teams and includes multiple block styles and block patterns including site headers, site footers and page layouts. I'm sure this is just the start of a big crop of FSE themes coming soon. 👍

In case there was any doubt, WordPress 5.8 will no longer support Internet Explorer 11. Not surprisingly the block editor will be the most heavily impacted by this change.

Very happy to see the release WP-CLI v2.5.0 knowing it was quite the effort. Kudos to the team.

This version includes security patches, PHP 8 support, improved MySQL/MariaDB support, new commands for managing automatic updates and creating MO files, and more. Read the release notes for more.

Matt Chowning opened some issues in the Gutenberg repo to help begin the process of obtaining consent from contributors to relicense their work under the GPLv2 and MPLv2 licenses. Two days later Matt apologized in the wake of contributor reaction to the number of notifications that went out and the publication of committers' email addresses:

“In aiming for transparency and simplicity there were unintended side effects of adding noise into your daily lives with the GitHub notifications. I apologize for this negative impact to you and any other unintended consequences.”

Notably, this license change will allow Gutenberg to be used across different services and content management systems. Dual-licensing was first brought up in a Gutenberg discussion on GitHub on July 2, 2020.

WordPress VIP has adopted Multidots‘ plugin, Multicollab, which provides Google Docs-style editorial comments for WordPress. 📝

Multicollab looks pretty slick — it has the ability to allow inline commenting in posts, to mention team members in comments, and even assign comments to a specific team member. You can check out a live demo too.

Brian spoke with Multidots founder Anil Gupta about Mulitcollab on the Post Status Draft podcast last month. 🎙️

Scott Bolinger asked for picks for favorite WooCommerce themes and shared the top five responses: Astra, GeneratePress, Hello, Kadence, and Storefront.

Patrick Rauland joined in with some recent speed tests he did for Ocean WP, Storefront, Astra, and GeneratePress. 💨

If you use BuddyPress and plan on using Full Site Editing, you should be aware some issues with both have been reported. BuddyPress content is not shown at all on the front end with FSE enabled. (This issue might extend to other plugins too.)

BuddyPress 8.0.0 is nearing its release with a new beta that includes testing with FSE.

Chris Lema compared the leading commercial plugins for customizing the WordPress dashboard without much (or any) coding. If you want to customize the interface for clients or white label it, then this post is worth a look. ⚙️

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

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress VIP has received a FedRAMP “Authority to Operate” (ATO) approval which paves the way for further work with government entities. 🏛️

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sponsored WordPress VIP throughout its certification process and also migrated its own legacy infrastructure to WPVIP's platform.

Javier Casares makes the case for why hosting companies should install the PHP-intl extension. Instead of hacks, “we gain the possibility to use a lot of functions that can make our life easier” and “improve the way we develop to improve WordPress.”

I'm wondering if Google could be bringing RSS back to popularity with its latest “experiment” in Chrome.

Upcoming Events 📆


Video Picks

📹 Here is my video pick of the week:

  • Matt Medeiros shows how you can create reusable WordPress blocks for podcasters using the GeneratePress plugin, GenerateBlocks.

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

  • Castos Creators: Matt Medeiros talks with Tim McKenna, the host of the Signal337 (three-thirty-seven) Podcast, about the challenges of a solo podcast and how he adds uniqueness to his show.
  • Women in WP: Lindsay Halsey of Pathfinder SEO shares her insights on SEO and WordPress.

Notes for May 14, 2021

Footnotes #446

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆

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


Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

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

Notes for May 5, 2021

Footnotes #445

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A quick accessibility reminder for developers from Steve Faulkner:

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆

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


Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

Notes for April 28, 2021

Footnotes #444

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


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

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

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

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

Read More at Post Status »


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

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

Join the Slack Thread »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also talks about what might be next:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆

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


Video Picks

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Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are my podcast picks:

Notes for April 20, 2021

Footnotes #443

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

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

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

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

Boost has three “performance modules:”

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

Sarah Gooding took some initial benchmarks. 📈

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

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

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

The removal will be done in two phases:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Hirst makes a business case for headless WordPress. 💼

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Renato Alves explains why GraphQL and WordPress work well together:

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

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

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

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

Allison Rivers reviews three Gutenberg block plugins for WooCommerce stores:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Container Queries are currently available in Chrome Canary.

Upcoming Events 📆


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Notes for April 15, 2021

Footnotes #442

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

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

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

What you can expect with reasonable confidence in WordPress 5.8:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deborah was surprised this could happen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with Andrew Woods' comment on Twitter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…or another way to put it:

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

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆


Video Picks

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Notes for April 9, 2021

Footnotes #441

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Helen's take on FSE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Sabin-Wilson on the importance of data portability:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GoDaddy has acquired the .Club domain extension.

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

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

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

Upcoming Events 📆

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

Notes for April 2, 2021

Footnotes #440

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

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

Notes for March 21, 2021

Footnotes #439

Substacking the Deck 🃏

Jared Newman notes over at FastCompany that “writers who crave independence should skip Substack.” He refers to several WordPress-powered alternatives, including Newsletter Glue “which lets me instantly send out WordPress posts as nicely formatted newsletters.” ✉️

Personally, I don't find Substack too appealing. It reminds me of Medium back in its early days — the hype and the idea of paying people to host exclusive content on the platform. That's great if it profits the platform, but owning your content is usually the best strategy for their users. What writer wants to give up that much control?

Ernie Smith tends to agree with that concern:

“…Substack is pre-paying some famous writers to join the platform without telling the public who got the money and admitting that the pre-payment amounts to editorial influence on the platform.”

Ernie also lists some alternatives to launching an email newsletter, including WordPress with Newsletter Glue or Newspack Newsletters from Automattic. Another reason he has for taking this route is the cost:

“The thing that newsletter creators should know about sending newsletters is that it’s actually very cheap to do.”

As I mentioned on Twitter, whenever experts and larger media outlets cover solutions and alternatives to startups that are gaining market share, if they mention WordPress that is a bigger win than bragging about WordPress powering nearly half the web or more than half of all CMS-driven sites.

People outside the WordPress bubble are more likely to understand, appreciate, and use WordPress if they see the problems it solves or the solutions it offers. That is better for WordPress's lifespan than (almost?) anything else.

Early information about the WordPress 5.7.1 maintenance release schedule has been published. A Release Candidate is set to come out on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 with a final release likely on April 14th. 🔧

Anne McCarty, a member of the Developer Relations team at Automattic, explains how performance is measured and prioritized in each Gutenberg plugin release:

“With each release… a performance benchmark is run against the last few releases that compares different response times for a large post (~36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks).”

⌨️ Generally speaking, while the loading time of the editor is important, special attention is paid to typing speed:

“This is a far more important measure when it comes to user experience as this is what allows for the smooth experience when working in the editor.”

Caldera Forms, a WordPress form plugin, will be sunset at the end of 2021. Caldera's customers will be transitioned gradually to Ninja Forms. 🌆

Josh Pollock was the founder of CalderaWP and was the lead developer of Caldera Forms.

The WordPress Youth Events Working Group is reconvening and looking for volunteers to help build and grow. 🙋

Sandy Edwards generally leads the group and its meetings, but anyone can join — and if you can't attend, you can comment. Video creation, editing, and research are the main tasks they need help with.

There is a proposal from sarayourfriend for native TypeScript support in Gutenberg.

TypeScript extends JavaScript by adding types. It's hoped this move might “encourage new contributions by community members in this space by lowering the learning curve and leveraging existing knowledge of statically typed languages.” 👍

Matt Mullenweg noticed the Ulysses App now has better support for WordPress. From the Ulysses blog:

The feature is pretty straightforward. You publish to WordPress… [A]fter your blog automatically notifies your subscribers, and the first reactions come in, you notice how you completely misquoted that celebrity you were so viciously attacking on her politics. You can now correct your mistakes inside Ulysses, and simply… publish again. Voilá — easy as that, no harm done.

Igor Benic offers some great tips for getting better as a WordPress developer. Excellent points about code reviews and just reading the available handbooks. Taking time to learn from others and building extensions for existing plugins are good ideas too. 💯

If you want to learn how a plugin has fared over time, take a look at Igor's project, It tells you the number of active installs for any WordPress plugin in the repo as of a date you specify.

Bridget Willard has published a book — How To Market Your Plugin. It gives developers a framework for marketing their WordPress plugins, with input from Chris Badgett, Anil Gupta, Devin Walker, Marc Benezekein, Adrian Tobey, and Veto Peleg. 📕

The results of WebAIM’s 3rd Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners are available with some interesting highlights including:

  • 57% of respondents were male, 40% of respondents were female (5 times higher than the broader design/development field), and 3% non-binary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming (twice as high as the broader design/development field).
  • 29% of respondents indicated having a disability (15 times higher than the broader design/development field).
  • The average reported salary was at least $73,000, notably higher than the broader design/development field. Salaries of web accessibility practitioners have increased steadily over time. 📈

Speaking of accessibility, Channing Ritter adds a new perspective to the design team at Automattic on the accessibility features available in the block editor. Channing is also a new core contributor, and her post provides some context for how these features were developed. 👍

Troy Dean shows off his studio and the equipment he uses for live streaming and recording. This is particularly interesting if you are doing the same thing or looking to increase the quality of your recordings or calls. 🎙️

I use and trust Backblaze so I was surprised to learn Ben Cox discovered Facebook tracking the names and sizes of his files when moving them to Backblaze's B2 bucket. 😦

The tracking pixel has since been removed, and even though I choose to believe this was accidental or an oversight, it's a reminder that tracking (even if you opt-out) is something you have to watch out for.

Joe Casabona asks where you draw the line between owning your platform and paying for a service:

“It took two kids and a pandemic to get me to actually pull the trigger and hire more people to do things I felt I could do myself. That change in thinking has also opened my eyes to the great services out there that that save me tons of billable hours.”

🔌 A few plugins appeared on my radar this week, and if you weren't aware of their existence either, they're worth a look:

The State of California is banning companies from using “dark patterns.” This might be the start of a larger movement to prevent sneaky and just plain bad design or UI decisions — like trying to cancel a subscription online only to find it's nearly impossible. 👏

About one out of every ten eCommerce websites uses dark patterns, a 2019 study found. 🤭

Notes for March 16, 2021

Footnotes #438

wJosepha Haden shared her “early thoughts” 💭 on WordPress 5.8 planning, including this intention:

“For the release that includes full site editing, I would like to pause our cohort mentorship processes and replace it with a public coordination channel for the release squad that allows passive learning through observation and release squad transparency.”

Josepha recently published an outline of the communication work needed in the pre-merge period for Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project, which focuses on full site editing. There she notes, “Community readiness should be higher for full site editing than for the block editor” with “known (and unknown) gaps in knowledge we still need to bridge.”

One of the many effects of transparency and communication is community self-education. As Josepha notes, community readiness for full site editing is essential merging it with core WordPress. It will also have the effect of “raising awareness and increasing the skills of our community as we go.”

Josepha is also proposing a WordPress Project Handbook for contributors. It would share expectations for “how we, as contributors, work together, who we want to build our products for, and the WordPress interpretation of modern, open source best practices.”

Another post describes the next steps to add “non-negotiable guard rails” for the Theme Review team by specifying what will prevent a theme from being added to the repo.  Josepha anticipates a lot of change but thinks “we can get most of this work managed by early 2022.”

It's good to see these thoughts being posted on the official site. I can recall past criticisms (some balanced more than others) about communication around major WordPress initiatives, including the first release of Gutenberg itself. A high level of transparency and sharing is very welcome. 👍

The Gutenberg 10.2 release brings additions to Full-Site Editing (FSE) and Global Styles, along with editing experience improvements. ✨

This is clever: Justin Ferriman shows how you can create course certificates in LearnDash using the Gutenberg editor. Better yet it's backward compatible so existing certificates will not be impacted. 🎖️

I agree with Rich Tabor‘s take on Twitter:

“I enjoy seeing all the new and creative ways folks are leveraging Gutenberg outside of just content blocks. Focusing on jobs to be done (like we see here) is the way to go…”

BuddyPress has a security release that addresses 5 security issues that were reported privately to the team. Upgrade to 7.2.1 when you can. 🔒

Chris Lema talks about the advantages of second-movers or those who enter a market late. Their customers can be serviced better, product gaps can be seen more easily, and it's cheaper to acquire customers. 🥈

Chris describes WPForms and Ninja Forms as second-movers, both of which do very well in the WordPress space:

“When you don't enter a market as a pioneer… you can enjoy several advantages that aren't available to the first movers. The second mover advantage eliminates the high costs and risks of finding product market fit. The truth is that you don't have to be first to find success.”

Chris also has a guide to choosing the right WordPress form plugin. 🦮

You can now accept credit card payments through Stripe using the free version of Easy Digital Downloads. However, there is an additional 2% fee per transaction processed vs. no fee with the paid versions. 💳

In this release, Easy Digital Downloads also includes the ability to accept payments via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay.

Dumitru Brinzan writes about the “WordPress Web Hosting” page on the website.

He has some disagreements with Matt Mullenweg's recent description of the hosting page as “editorially-driven” and at high risk of “bribery or conflict” if it was placed under the control of another group.

Ionut Neagu notes that he has made another “small acquisition in the WordPress space” with WP Cloudflare Page Cache:

“We're still looking to acquire plugins, SaaS, or media products in WP or financial space, generating around $20k per month.”

Joe Dolson explains why accessibility overlays should not be welcome. ⛔

Overlays are software that, typically by using JavaScript, attempts to automatically resolve accessibility issues on a site. As Joe points out:

“Using an overlay takes away choices and decision making… the development team doesn’t learn anything from the process. In order to make their next site accessible, they pay the overlay company more money; and this cycle has no end.”

This Overlay Fact Sheet provides a good start. It explains what overlays are, along with the pros and cons of using them. Ultimately, “while the use of an overlay may improve compliance with a handful of provisions in major accessibility standards, full compliance cannot be achieved with an overlay.”

Greg Rickaby recounts how WebDevStudios used Next.js to build a 1,000-page Headless WordPress website. He covers the challenges, successes, and tools that were used to test and do UI/UX reviews.

Greg also covers how his team handled the massive number of redirects because many URLs changed in the process. This particular topic “doesn’t get enough attention among the development community, but it’s really important.”

In the end, Greg notes that they “took all the lessons we learned and poured them into our Next.js WordPress Starter, an open-source project which we plan to use on future Headless WordPress projects.”

WordPress will again apply for the Season of Docs, a Google program that offers open-source projects an opportunity to improve their documentation. 📝

Justin Ahinon explains in this post how mentors and projects are needed, so if you have ideas he would love to hear from you.

Ebonie Butler writes about her experience contributing to the latest version of WordPress and what that personally meant to her:

“As a black woman, it is always an obstacle to get involved in a space where there is either no one or very few people who look like you… it is important for me to never waste my time if the space that I am trying to contribute to doesn’t make space for me. In terms of WordPress, an amazing initiative was started by Josepha Haden Chomphosy to make the WordPress 5.6 team an all women & non-binary release squad… and I took this opportunity to raise my hand to be involved.”

Here's a recent guide to Advanced Custom Field and ACF blocks from Iain Poulson, who says he realized while writing “how vital [ACF] is for WordPress development.”

Rene Morozowich has an excellent guide to the Elementor page builder with a pre-recorded version of a presentation on YouTube and also a recording of a live presentation.

A needed conversation about safety at conferences — especially for women — has been taking place. Laura Kalbag explained why she doesn't feel safe at conferences and what might be done to improve safety. 🦺

The number one thing we (especially men) can do to help:

“Pay attention to the people in the room who may feel vulnerable and step in if they are being faced with any questionable behaviour.”

Michael Beckwith created a WordPress plugin to bring blogrolls back — this time in blocks. 🔌

Dan Hacks compares REST with GraphQL and gRPC in this guide to each with their pros and cons. Dan shows how each would be used in the typical case of retrieving a user.

Harmony Romo shares a general overview of the financial health of the WordPress Foundation and its subsidiary, WordPress Community Support (WPCS), as of the beginning of 2021:

“Due to the many cancellations in 2020, the program did lose money. However, many vendors offered balances on account which can be used towards future in-person events. WPCS has approximately US$305K in prepaid expenses as of 1/1/2021 (US$170K of which relates to WC Asia).”

Here are some JavaScript ES2021 features worth knowing, plus some practical examples. 👨‍🏫

HTTPWTF looks at the quirks and history of the HTTP protocol, from the unpatched bugs to the happy accidents. 🐛

If you host domain names at Namecheap, be aware the company is switching domain privacy service providers from WhoisGuard to Withheld for Privacy.

Mario Peshev explains what technical debt is, the types of technical debt, and how assessing code quality is critical to preventing or resolving technical debt: 🏋️‍♂️

“Having a product that is poorly built can be unstable, unable to grow over time, and can keep you limited. You are paying more to just sustain the lifestyle of this specific product instead of investing in business growth.”

Robin Rendle at discusses how enhancements to your software product, like adding a dark mode, can expose “radioactive styles” in your codebase: ☢️

“…the design of your color system shows you where your radioactive styles are… shows you how things are tied together, and what depends on what. Sure, we wanted dark mode to look great. But we also wanted to make sure that dark mode doesn’t slow us down by introducing even more problems than we already have.”

Kudos to the Ghost team on the release of version 4.0. (The newest features added seem to pivot slightly toward memberships.)

Founder John O'Nolan has an interesting Twitter thread with some personal reflections about the launch and eight years of software development with Ghost. 👻

Andrew Owen has some advice for continuous learning in the engineering and web development fields without burning out. 😫

Here's one of his tips I've always tried to follow: “If you’re wanting to stay in software for the long haul, then I’d recommend a different approach from chasing the hype. Try to find the fun in software development.”

Ian Miell explains when it's best to interrupt a developer or engineer There is even a formula in the post embedded in a spreadsheet. 🛑

Upcoming Events 📆

  • A Business Value Crash Course led by Cory Miller and Jeff Meziere on April 7th will help business owners work through some key steps to assess value and plan their next move. There's an impressive amount of information covered, along with a Q&A at the end of the workshop. 💥
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾
  • The Web Agency Summit is happening on March 23-26 featuring Chris Lema and other speakers. It's a free online event focused on “how to scale your web agency or freelance business.” Learn how to attract “high-paying clients and [build] recurring revenue.” ⛰️
  • WooCommerce Live Africa plans to host their first online meetup event on March 18 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM GMT +1. 🌍
  • WordCamp Greece is happening online on April 16 and is free to the public. 🇬🇷
  • OKC WordPress Meetup Topher DeRosia talks about increasing conversions in your eCommerce store on March 23rd. 🛒

Notes for March 11, 2021

Footnotes #437

WordPress 5.7 was released on schedule on Tuesday with 66+ enhancements and 126+ bug fixes.

This release was made with the work of more than 481 volunteers. Of these, 129 are first-time contributors to WordPress core. 🙌

The 5.7 release was named “Esperanza” after Esperanza Spalding, “a modern musical prodigy” who I'm overjoyed to add to my playlist. 🎶

If you haven't read the 5.7 field guide, now's a good time. If you are a developer, be sure to check out the upcoming plans for full site editing and Gutenberg.

Francesca Marano interviewed two Yoast employees who were deeply involved with this release: Tim Hengeveld served as the Design focus lead and Sergey Biryukov as the Core tech lead. 🙏

WordPress publishes nearly 80 packages to npm now. Greg Ziółkowski explains the latest changes to the process: when trunk is closed or in feature-freeze, you can use package distribution tags to get the future development version of a package you need. 📦


npm install @wordpress/components@next

Read Greg's post at Make WordPress Core for more details about the overall strategy for how WordPress uses npm and to share your feedback.

Bob Dunn, based on survey results and feedback from his outstanding podcast guests, tells us how 2020 played out for WooCommerce businesses.

Some businesses did better than others, and some store owners saw trends like “people requesting free or discounted rates due to being hit hard by the pandemic.” At least one started their business because of the pandemic.

It's good to see that, by far, most survey respondents did as well or better than previous years, with the largest group reporting, “I was lucky, it was amazing.” And, for the most part, few or no major changes needed to be made to their business operations.

Bob also has an updated guide for WooCommerce extension developers that is worth checking out as well. 👍

Steve Burge and his team have taken ownership of the Simple Tags plugin.

It has been renamed to TaxoPress and has a new website. The plugin has been in existence for over a decade and has over 80,000 users. 🔌

Ashley Rich over at SpinupWP breaks down all you need to know about caching and WordPress including the different caching layers and common pitfalls. 🕳️

Developer Olga Gleckler was recently featured in the People of WordPress segment on It's a good piece of writing and worth a read:

“I traveled through a very uneven path, with a lot of obstacles and noise, but for me, it’s like a kaleidoscope where a little turn presents a new picture, a new “ah-ha” moment, new excitement after seemingly pointless efforts.”

Alex Denning took a deep dive into the advertising campaigns of some WordPress businesses, inspired in part by recent events involving Elementor and Bluehost.

Alex looks at the different ads WordPress businesses are running and considers why they might be taking these approaches, with some input from the business owners.

Alex recommends re-targeting ads because the:

“give you the opportunity (once you’ve collected the appropriate consent) to show display ads [,…] reminding the visitor about your product and giving them the chance to come back.”

While ads aren't the only marketing channel at your disposal, they are a “reasonable marketing channel to consider if you’re doing $10k+/month, or if you have a big pile of other people’s money to spend. Re-targeting ads are the possible exception.” 🎯

It's up for debate right now how much demand there will be for headless WordPress. Jason Bahl identifies a key barrier:

While much of WordPress was built with decoupling in mind, the WP REST API and Gutenberg were not.

As a result, decoupled application developers interacting with WordPress are limited in what they can achieve.

Jason also offers three possible ways forward and explains how WPGraphQL can help. 👨‍💻

WPCampus is asking for feedback to make decisions about future events. They're aiming to hold their annual conference a month or two later in the year than they usually have, in August or September. 👩‍🎓

Scott Bolinger explains how he made a plugin (available to the public) that saves checkout form values in WooCommerce. 🛒

Brian Henry announced in Post Status Slack this week that he wrote a plugin to add a “view diff” link to review plugins before installing updates:

“It uses git diff via proc_open which might not be available everywhere. (Dependencies can be removed with a library, but this was quick and easy.) I've only installed it on one live site, so tread carefully. It uses PHP7.4, WPCS, PHPStan, and some PHPUnit.”

Kealan Parr relates what “every developer” must know about encoding and Unicode. This is a good overview of why we need encoding, what problems it solves, and what happens when it goes wrong. 🤯

I enjoyed reading these tips from The Leaf Node on how to craft effective landing pages along with some common mistakes to avoid. 🍂

Some high-profile acquisitions to happen recently, first in the hosting space: InMotion Hosting announced its acquisition of, a provider of “affordable and high-performance” unmanaged VPS Hosting.” Mike Demo comments on the deal: “InMotion now has an EU data center with an extensive OpenStack offering to give site owners more flexibility.”

In the cryptocurrency and commerce space, PayPal has bought Curv, a company that specializes in security infrastructure for digital assets. 🔒

Here's our wacky story of the week: Ben Stokes bought 300 emoji domain names from Kazakhstan and built an emoji email address service which has made him $1000 in a week. Come to learn about the weird world of emoji domains, and stay for the interesting story of this “tiny project.” 🤡

I ran across this week, a tool that compresses and compares images with different codecs in your browser.

Notes for March 1, 2021

Footnotes #436

The Gutenberg 10.1 release is out with visual enhancements for reusable blocks, improvements to Full Site Editing, widget and navigation screens, and global styles. ✨

Anne McCarthy has an overview of the current core editor improvements that impact front-end performance and speed. 💨

It may be on its way out of WordPress, but the jQuery 3.6.0 release is out with some good bug fixes and improvements. 🐛

Elementor in the room 🐘


A recent conversation in Post Status Slack centers on Elementor. The company targeted “full-site editing” in some of its Google ads.

Community member Birgit Pauli-Haack is the publisher of Gutenberg Times and a contributor to Gutenberg. She noted on February 25:

Elementor is targeting “WordPress Full Site Editing” for their ads, and also runs an ad “Frustrated with WordPress? Use Elementor.”

To be fair, companies often buy competitors' keywords for ads. It's the wording that seems to criticize WordPress itself that has not gone over well.

🍻 On March 1, Sarah Gooding reported on the story and Slack discussion at the WordPress Tavern and Elementor representative Ben Pines joined Post Status Slack. Pines has claimed his company is merely advertising for a generic feature set when it refers to “full site editing” in ads.

Matt Mullenweg publicly reached out:

“I think Elementor would be successful even if you didn't look at the names and features Gutenberg is launching, then try to co-opt them in your marketing. Full site editing was not a widespread generic industry term inside or outside of the WP community before we announced it… It's not a trademark thing, just a common decency thing.”

Ben offered to get on a call with Matt. He also stressed that at Elementor, they “believe in WordPress and … fully support the project.” They believe “like WordPress, in democratizing the web and adding value to the community, working together to do so.”

At Make WordPress Core there is a discussion taking place about dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 in core. IE 11's usage is very low by several measures. It would be a great benefit to developers to let it go.

Some concerns remain “for those who are unable to upgrade, like financial institutions and education sectors, and those who rely on IE11 for screen readers.”

What do you think? Make your comment by March 18th. 💬

Atlas SShRugged 🤷‍♂️

Right before the DE(CODE) 2021 conference, WP Engine founder and CTO Jason Cohen announced WP Engine's new Headless WordPress service, which is called Atlas. A new developer relations team “with focus on headless WordPress” — Matt Landers, William Johnston, and Nate Archer — was also announced in a blog post.

During the first session at DE(CODE) 2021 on Thursday, Jason explained how Atlas works:

“WPEngine has the entire stack for headless, so instead of piecing together various technologies, all the pieces are all in the same place for one price and one support team to call.”

Atlas allows developers to choose any JavaScript framework, it auto-deploys from Github, and it provides scripting and CLI tools.

Jason said Atlas uses Server-Side Rendering (SSR) to make WordPress “as fast as static” content management systems. He also emphasized the mission of WPEngine is to make WordPress the “number one headless CMS in the world.”

More details and commentary will be forthcoming, I'm sure. But I doubt WP Engine will be the only hosting company in the Headless WordPress space. I think back to Matt Mullenweg's comments recently on a Clubhouse call and during 2020's State of the Word. Back then Matt gave the impression that headless was not the next “big thing” for WordPress.

Time will tell. In the meantime, you might enjoy this older Post Status Draft podcast episode about headless WordPress. 🗣️🪓

📝 Back in 2015, Helen Hou-Sandí created a small plugin. It allows users to add a revision note inside WordPress when they update a post. Now Helen has demonstrated how to adapt an old plugin to the block editor, using her Revision Notes plugin:

“I’m going to explain the process of achieving the final code, first demonstrating what most people will need, then what I actually did because of some specific UX needs, and then dissect the revision bug and things I tried that didn’t work out.”

It's a great and needed tutorial. 👍

A rising tide lifts all hosts 🛥️

More WordPress news on the hosting and eCommerce front: GoDaddy has launched new WooCommerce extensions, which according to the press release are from GoDaddy's recent acquisition of SkyVerge. These extensions “increase the value of GoDaddy's WooCommerce plugins from $3,000 to nearly $6,000 worth of premium extensions.”

Chris Lema, who works for a competitor to GoDaddy, observes this is a welcome addition to the eCommerce hosting space:

“This isn't a zero sum game. The more companies thinking about bundling, the more companies trying to create a complete solution for merchants, the more people out there trying to make it easier, the better it is for everyone.”

It's certainly no surprise that hosting companies are continuing to promote their eCommerce capabilities — particularly with WooCommerce. Last year saw the largest yearly recorded growth in WordPress and WooCommerce. WooCommerce sites are the fastest-growing type of WordPress site according to W3Techs — unless you count Elementor:

W3techs CMS Marketshare 2021

W3techs CMS Marketshare 2021.

Andrea Middleton shares what she feels are some missed business opportunities in the WordPress space.

Because WordPress is open source, any solution or features a third-party developer sells can be added to WordPress Core. That means it's important for third-party businesses not to monetize access to their software. Instead, they should:

“…monetize something that makes the software more powerful for [their] customers. What you’re selling should be so valuable that your customers would still pay you for it, even if your plugin or theme were merged into Core.”

What doesn't tend to work? “Companies that make brash, unsubstantiated business claims and regularly trash-talk competitors… do not flourish in WordPress.” 🤬

Leonardo Losoviz asks, should WordPress should have a GraphQL API in core? Would WordPress be better off with both REST and GraphQL APIs for developers to choose from?

💬 Tell us what you think or jump right into the discussion in our #development channel.

Listing some of his favorite WordPress tools, Austin Gil says “a lot of folks talk trash about WordPress,” but it's still “pretty darn great.” 🤨

“…for the folks that like to hate on WordPress because that’s the ‘cool’ thing to do, just stop. It may not be the best tool for every single thing, but it does what it does really well.”

Brad Dickason argues speed and responsiveness are the ultimate “killer features” that ultimately made the iPhone a success at launch.

Speed in checkouts, in virtual reality, and design tools are examples Brad uses. With any product, we should keep in mind what we are trying to sell to the world. It may save people time, money, or help them solve a problem.

Very true: “Introducing friction or delay during the most important flow of your product will drive people crazy.” 🤪

At some point, you want to hide information or an element on a page. Kitty Giraudel explains all the right (and wrong) ways to do it — and when you should do it — with HTML or CSS.

The WebAIM Million is an annual accessibility analysis of the top 1,000,000 home pages. The most recent results are from February 2020, and one might expect another report soon.

Some significant numbers that likely haven't changed dramatically are not good ones:

“users with disabilities would expect to encounter detectable errors on 1 in every 14 home page elements with which they engage.” 😯

Here's a nifty font tool that uses Machine Learning: generates font pairings to your specifications with a single click. 🤖

🎨 Lukas Oppermann writes about the more and less well-known benefits of design systems:

“Knowing the benefits can be useful when you try to convince your management that a design system is not a waste of money. Or when you want to convince your designers that it will not replace the creative part of their job.”

Chloe Chamberland has the skinny about a vulnerability discovered in User Profile Picture, a plugin installed on over 60,000 sites. 🔌

A patched version of the plugin (2.5.0) was released by its vendor, Cozmoslabs, on February 18.

Sarah Gooding reported on accessibility consultant Joe Dolson and how he detected suspicious review activity for the AccessiBe plugin at Joe's discovery led to the removal of at least 33 reviews.

Accessibility plugins that offer “quick fix” solutions are usually frowned on in the accessibility community. Paying for reviews certainly isn't helping AccessiBe's image in this case either. 👎

Iain Poulson shares how Delicious Brains built an Elementor addon for WP Offload Media, and some tips on how to use it. ☁️

Mike Jolley explains how he created a login system for a ReactJS app using WordPress and WP GraphQL. Mike described his work as:

“a GraphQL mutation which accepts login credentials and logs users in using a custom cookie, and we’ve set CORS headers so the browser allows the cookies to be used…. we can now hook this up to a login form in the React app.”

Here's an interesting look at how deaf people are adapting sign language to accommodate limitations of video communication while working from home.

As you might guess, Zoom fatigue has been a thing deaf people have been coping with for a long time. Why? Close attention to non-verbal visual cues is essential for reading lips and signing. 🧏

The first peer-reviewed theory of Zoom fatigue pinpoints “non-verbal overload” as its most likely cause. 😫

Caroline Criado Perez, the author of Invisible Women, gave an insightful interview at Caroline's book explores how many common objects and technologies are designed for and by men. This “impacts not just the comfort, but also the safety, of women worldwide.”

On a similar note, gender-inclusive language is about more than comfort and personal preferences. I found this “how-to” guide by Enfys Book educational, and you may too. 👩‍🎤

Stephanie Eckles shared the release of the a11y-color-tokens package. It “generates accessible complementary text or UI colors as Sass variables and/or CSS custom properties from your base color tokens.”

At the time I write this, it seems Firefox might be replacing Google Analytics code with a shim — “a fake no-op GA (rather than outright blocking it) in strict tracking protection.”

Google Fonts now supports open source icons, starting with the Material Design icon set. 👍

They've “also created an entirely new icon for Google Fonts itself.” In my view, this change makes another Google product logo unrecognizable. 🤷‍♂️

WP Lookout has added a new feature that will try to detect and notify you when a plugin has been marked as “closed” in the plugin directory. 🔌

Founder Chris Hardie says they're also noting plugins that have been in the news. The news sources to be considered “consistently provide thoughtful and in-depth coverage of noteworthy happenings in the WordPress ecosystem.”

They are Post Status, WP Tavern, the Wordfence vulnerabilities blog, and the iThemes vulnerability roundup blog. 😊

Upcoming Events 📆

  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress WorkshopWP Engine is accepting signups for this event which will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.”
  • Web Agency Summit is happening on March 23-26 with Chris Lema and others. It's a free online event focused on “how to scale your web agency or freelance business.” Learn how to attract “high-paying clients and [build] recurring revenue.”

Notes for February 25, 2021

Footnotes #435


How Am I Bluehost to Live Without You?

Morten Rand-Hendriksen noticed Bluehost appeared to be violating the WordPress Foundation‘s Trademark Policy by using the WordPress logo in an ad. A day later, Josepha Haden acknowledged the tweet and said she had been “checking for context.” Josepha later mentioned having a call with Bluehost.

As you may know, Bluehost has been featured on the recommended hosting page at for a long time. It's one of the very few hosts that have been selected for that level of endorsement by Matt Mullenweg.

In the #hosting channel on Post Status Slack, Matt stated that the list on the recommended hosting page “is open” and that “anyone can apply, no one can pay to be on the page.”

Matt also said, “I take 100% responsibility for the editorial… I also get a fair number of people emailing me direct feedback about the hosts listed, and how the host follows up is part of my evaluation.”

While the current list is in “good standing,” Matt acknowledges the recommended hosts haven't changed in a while:

“It is past-due for open applications again, but I have prioritized other work on .org.”

Regarding the WordPress trademark itself, Matt summarized its history:

“The trademark was originally held by Automattic, which donated it to the Foundation, and in return got an exclusive commercial license back. That commercial use can be sub-licensed by Automattic, and has been in the past.”

Apparently “Automattic can lose its commercial license to the trademark if it is not a good steward,” although the odds of this happening while Matt is still in charge are probably slim to none.

Returning to the Bluehost ad, it seems the ad was “not approved” and has been dropped. The issue might be resolved soon, following further discussion between Automattic and Bluehost.