Mika Epstein has published a proposal to modify the WordPress plugin guidelines. 🔌

Mika's plan covers several areas but focuses on advertising and the clutter of the WordPress dashboard:

Our understanding is that a cluttered and unmanageable Dashboard upsets users, making it harder for them to do what they want. This behavior, if enacted by all plugins, could cause WordPress irreparable harm.

Mika is inviting everyone to review and comment on this proposal. If you have a WordPress plugin in the repo, then you should probably check this out — especially if your plugin adds messaging or advertisements in the admin.

The WordPress theme review team is adopting a new policy: Trusted Authors “will need to review [one] ticket a month to be able to have their themes set live.” 🎫

Some folks have chimed in on this policy, including Justin Tadlock. It appears there aren't enough volunteers to review all the incoming themes. Will this new policy increase the number of reviewers and maintain a high standard of quality reviews? We will soon find out.

Speaking of themes and Justin Tadlock, Theme Hybrid has just released Unravel, the first official child theme for Exhale. Brian has been using the Exhale theme with Gutenberg layouts for 🌬️

Danny Cooper talks about some common mistakes in submissions to the theme directory. Danny, who has reviewed over 100 themes, discusses naming issues, unescaped output, untranslatable text, prefixing, licensing, and other potential pitfalls. is preparing a feature for subscriptions (donations and recurring payments) on sites. 💳

Automattic Happiness Engineer Maria Górska posted a link on Twitter for the beta program sign up form and is looking for feedback, especially from “independent content creators on what features they would be interested in.”

🎩 Hat tip to Travis Northcutt for sharing this in Post Status Slack.

Some people noted a recent pull request with a couple of screenshots that introduces a membership button block to Jetpack. It “essentially will be a recurring donation button.” The initial commits for this feature came about a year ago, but there's been a lot of recent activity around it.

A membership block appears in the changelog for Jetpack 7.3 too.

Mark Jaquith has updated his Page Links To plugin. Now at version 3.1.0, it fully supports the block editor as well as the classic editor. 🔗

Do you think procrastination is about laziness and lack of self-control? Charlotte Lieberman explains in The New York Times why that's not true. This article also has some excellent tips for finding healthier ways to manage the feelings that typically trigger procrastination. 😴

If you follow AMP-related news, then you might have heard that Google is creating “dedicated placement” in search results for AMP Stories. AMP Story creators will soon be able to embed new types of content — specifically Twitter posts, Google Maps, and YouTube videos.

Google is launching Portals — a navigation system for Chrome that seeks to replace iframes. Portals may not gain traction, but it does seem like an improvement on iframes, which everyone seems to hate. 😠

Alicja Snarska tells the story of how her dream job at Microsoft turned into a nightmare. I came away from this article appreciating the value of life/work balance more and a workplace where you are respected, even if it's on a distributed team and your employer is not in the Fortune 100.

Pavel Ciorici explains why WPZoom was delisted from Google search results and what it took to get relisted. 😖 The problem was a backlink in the footer of WPZoom themes. Some advice from Pavel:

  • Only use the footer backlinks with the “nofollow” attribute.
  • Don’t use words other than your brand on the anchor text for the link.
  • Monitor your website for negative SEO and harmful backlinks. Take appropriate action right away.

Many US government sites use Drupal, but the State Department appears to have switched to WordPress. It uses the Underscores theme, along with the Yoast and Gravity Forms plugins.

Here are two useful posts from Brent Roose about PHP topics. The first article covers the upcoming enhancements in PHP 7.4, and the second article reflects on how far PHP and PHP frameworks have come:

PHP isn't just WordPress anymore… WordPress isn't in any way representative of the contemporary ecosystem.

If you use the Give plugin, make sure you upgrade to the latest version (2.4.7+) due to a recently discovered vulnerability noted at the Sucuri blog by Antony Garand. 🔓

I enjoy how Sucuri breaks down the timeline from the discovery of vulnerabilities to their resolution while explaining the code that's involved. These post-mortems are always great learning opportunities for developers.

In the world of front-end development, fluid typography has a lot of promise. Brian recently asked on Twitter why more WordPress themes don't take advantage of elements like VH and VW. Ana Cirujano answered and pointed to “The State of Fluid Web Typography” by Matej Latin.

Matej says there are four reasons why fluid web typography isn’t widely used by designers yet:

  • Proper responsive web design/development is still confusing and complicated.
  • Web typography still isn’t perceived as necessary by many designers/developers.
  • Potential accessibility problems.
  • Fluid web typography can be very tricky.

If you do any work with typography or front-end development, this is a good read. 🗛

A new version of Gutenberg was released. It will be part of WordPress 5.2.1, which is close to a first release candidate. Improvements to Gutenberg include the ability to set different widths for each column in the columns blocks, improved usability of the group and columns blocks, accessibility fixes, and key “writing flow” bug fixes.

Do you want your sites in a multisite network to share reusable Gutenberg blocks in a “hub-and-spoke style?” Richard Tape has a plugin for that. 🎡

Milana Cap announced that the developer's handbook for the block editor is “finally home” together with the rest of WordPress's developer documentation. 📚

Improvements related to image processing and resizing after uploading could be coming to WordPress 5.3. Andrew Ozz pointed out that fixing several “stalled” tickets “will greatly improve user experience, especially when uploading large images or the server is slow/busy.” ⌛

Software partially raised me, and it’s such a patient teacher.

Paul Ford at WIRED writes why he still loves tech despite it being a difficult industry to take proud in. If you grew up in the 1990s and 2000s with technology and gadgets central to your growth, you probably will relate to this piece.

May 16th was Global Accessibility Awareness Day, with many public events taking place. You can find more accessibility events, sites, and information via the official Twitter account, @gbla11yday.

The Frontity framework's public beta has been released. Here's the Quick Start Guide if you want to give it a try. For a quick overview of Frontity, check our interview with Reyes Martinez if you haven't seen it yet.

🎙️ Here are some podcasts I've been listening to lately:

  • Matt Mullenweg started a new one called “Distributed,” which aims to explore “the benefits and challenges of distributed work.” The first episode is an interview with Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork.
  • A recent episode of the WPMRR WordPress Podcast includes the keynote panel from WordCamp Lancaster. Participants included Beth Soderberg, Joe Howard, Lee Drozak, and Tara Claeys. Their topics included freelancing on the side until you can quit your 9-5, balancing work and life, the importance of boundaries, and why failing faster is the key to success.
  • If you are looking for some analysis of tech industries beyond WordPress, then I recommend Episode 170 of Exponent. I always enjoy Ben Thompson‘s high-energy discussions and in-depth analysis. This episode does a great job of explaining what makes Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft unique in their recent marketing for growth in the Enterprise space.