Footnotes #433

Current Releases

WordPress 5.7 Beta 2 is now available for testing. πŸ§ͺ The current target for the final 5.7 release is still March 9, 2021. πŸ“…

There are two new Post Parent related functions in WordPress 5.7:

  • get_parent_post() is a template tag that accepts a Post ID or a WP_Post object and retrieves the parent WP_Post object for the given post.
  • has_parent_post() is a conditional tag that accepts a Post ID or a WP_Post object and returns true if the post has a parent, false if there's no parent.

9️⃣9️⃣ Version 9.9 of the Gutenberg plugin is out β€” its 99th release!

What's New: Custom colors for social icons, a redesigned options modal (now called β€œpreferences”), text labels in the block toolbar,Β  automatic dark mode, bug fixes, and miscellaneous tweaks and improvements. ✨

WooCommerce 5.0 has been released πŸ“¦ with a lot of bug fixes and improvements to the Admin.Β  The product review count is fixed, legacy reports are deprecated, and prefixed CSS variables are added to the stylesheet.

The biggest change might be the shift to the WordPress versioning schema:

“This means that although we’re releasing version 5.0 (which usually means a backwards compatible breaking release under Semver), we will maintain backwards compatibility.”

The Big 4-0

According to W3Techs, WordPress has reached 40% of the top 10 million websites globally. It holds 64.3% of the total CMS market share. πŸ“ˆ

Growth in 2020 was 4.3%, exceeding the growth rate for every previous year. Since the beginning of 2021, WordPress has outpaced the growth of Shopify and Squarespace as well, which are the only other platforms in the top ten that are growing. πŸ›’

WooCommerce also seems to be among the β€œfastest-growing content management systems” too, although this definition can be a little confusing since it's a plugin for WordPress.

As Joost de Valk joyfully observed, Yoast has crossed the 300 million downloads milestone on 😲

Dancing with the Parse

WordPress VIP has acquired, making it another part of the Automattic family. is a “content analytics company” with 50 employees. 🀝

According to Sara Fischer in Axios, this is the first large enterprise software acquisition for Automattic, although no financial terms have been disclosed at the time of this writing.

Co-founder Sachin Kamdar notes, “whether you’re running WordPress or not, will continue to get active, CMS-agnostic development and support.”

The other co-founder, Andrew Montalenti, made his first comment on Matt Mullenweg's blog back in 2012 as part of a (still ongoing) conversation about distributed teams. Matt remembered this and included it with his post about the acquisition. πŸ’¬

Change the Rhythm, Keep the Pulse

Continuing the conversation about WordPress release cycles, Josepha Haden put forward some ideas for making releases easier.

Although the “roadmap for [2021] promised four major releases, as well as any follow-up minor releases,” there have been “flags … raised about how we can accomplish that.” Josepha believes “4 major releases is not a viable plan in 2021” based on current people resources. 🚩

Josepha shared what she sees as the main challenges, including contributor fatigue and burnout. 😫 There's also this widely under-appreciated fact:

“Currently, only a small number of active contributors can do the administrative work required during a release, and they split that responsibility across releases for the year. The onboarding process for contributors with that skill set is lengthy, and the main mechanism we use to recruit and start training them (our in-person events) is not available.”

Frankly, I'm impressed the releases for WordPress were as big and frequent as they were in 2020, given the extra stress and roadblocks caused by the global pandemic. 😷

We might be seeing some adjustments now and throughout 2021. Personally, I don’t care too much about the timing as much as quality and predictability. Releases should be easier for everyone involved.

This is a vital post to absorb β€” and to follow for the comments.

WP Engine has hired WPGraphQL creator and maintainer Jason Bahl as a Principal Software Engineer.

Jason formerly worked at Gatsby. He says this move “will actually strengthen the WordPress + Gatsby integration” and “allow WPGraphQL to grow and mature faster than ever before.” Jason will be part of a larger team that WP Engine has put together.

“WP Engine pays my salary,” Jason writes, “and in exchange I will be maintaining WPGraphQL and helping grow the headless WordPress ecosystem, reducing friction in many different ways.”

WPGraphQL will continue to be operated and maintained as a free, open-source community plugin.

Content Bot that claims to be the first WordPress AI Content Plugin.

Nick Duncan shared on Twitter how this new product is generating $260 MRR so far, which is a nice start. πŸ’Έ

Nice tips here from Chris Bongers on how to use WebP images despite a few browsers still not supporting it. πŸ–ΌοΈ

This is a security nightmare: a researcher managed to breach over 35 major companies' internal systems (including Microsoft, Apple, PayPal, Shopify, and more) in a software supply chain attack. 😱

The attack comprised uploading malware to open source repositories including PyPI, npm, and RubyGems, which then got distributed downstream automatically into many companies' internal applications. The attack vector leveraged a unique design flaw of the open-source ecosystems called dependency confusion.

Thankfully this breach was performed by a white hat security researcher β€” not a criminal β€” but the researcher believes there are more vulnerabilities more to discover. πŸ’¦

Steve Burge interviewed Johannes Benz, the Managing Director of Raidboxes, a fast-growing WordPress hosting company. Based in Germany, they are doubling every year and adding nearly 1,000 customers per month. πŸ’»

GoDaddy Pro has been making some improvements and changes to their “Hub” interface, which offers measurable value to freelancers and agencies using it:

People who use the Hub report saving, on average, three hours each month for every site they’re maintaining for clients.

Matt Shaw helpfully compared Amazon SES, SendGrid, Mailgun, and Sendinblue in terms of features, costs, and their ability to integrate with WordPress. πŸ“§

I highly recommend this article from Jennifer Bourn on how to manage conflicts with freelance clients.

Jennifer covers some typical approaches to conflict management and how to handle client conflict “like a professional.” That means the conflict must be handled quickly and follow steps of listening, acknowledging, showing empathy, stating the facts, explaining the solution, and remaining firm. πŸ‘©β€πŸ’Ό

Another good tip: move all communication about the conflict away from email because “the intention and meaning of your words can be misinterpreted. Instead, get on a video chat or a phone call with your client so your client can see, hear, and interact with you face-to-face.”

Jennifer notes conflict isn't always a bad thing: “When you collaborate with a client to overcome a conflict, it will strengthen the relationship and show that if any problems arise in the future, the client can rely on you to listen, evaluate, take action, and deliver a solution with grace.” πŸ‘

πŸ’Ž Some real gems here from Andy Bell on what you can do with CSS right now that you might not be aware of yet. Masonry layout, the :is selector, logical #CSS functions for sizing, and more.

Also worth a look is Thomas Steiner showing how the color-scheme CSS property and the corresponding meta tag make it possible for a page to use the theme-specific defaults of the user agent stylesheet. πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ¨

It appears that the UK Treasury is exploring an online sales tax.

In 2020, 46% more money was spent online in the United Kingdom than in 2019, and “Ecommerce now accounts for about 30% of overall retail sales in the UK, up from about 20% a year ago.”

Amber Wilson wants us to help grow the IndieWeb with Webmentions:

“With webmentions, each person owns their own data and each person can communicate with others. Webmentions are basically a way to display on your personal site ways that others have interacted with your content.”

🎡 I asked the Post Status community this week what “pleasant and calming” music they enjoy having on in the background when they code or want to be productive and stay focused:

  • Cory Miller: “I have been listening to bilateral music for a couple of weeks now (even on Zoom meetings) and can't live without it … this is the best I've found (by a clinician) and just finished buying out the store.”
  • Courtney Engle Robertson recommends and to pretend that your home is a coffee shop.
  • Kim Coleman shared a “floating through space” playlist on Spotify.
  • Jon Bossenger: “Besides freeCodeCamp Radio, I stumbled across this on Spotify when looking for streaming background music and find it works very well for focus at work. For those of us who like working to music of the heavier variety, I recently was shared this 10-hour track on YouTube of progressive metal made by a game engine.”
  • Corey Maass shares a “Quantum Focus” channel on YouTube.
  • Doug Cone: “I love for the less musical background noise. You can also use it to block specific frequencies which is cool.”
  • Jason Coleman: “I'm a fan of this: ‘The Slow Rush in an Imaginary Place' mix of Tame Impala.”
  • Matt Mullenweg suggested we check out Endel for “personalized environments that help you focus and relax.” 🧘

Upcoming Events πŸ“†

  • WordCamp India 2021 is still taking place β€” this is the final weekend, February 13-14.
  • There is a WordPress “Mega Meetup” coming up on February 18th at 6:30 pm (ET). It will be focused on static sites, Elementor, and overall site performance. The speakers are Michelle Keefe, Maciek Palmowski, and Bud Kraus.
  • The WordCamp for Publishers meetup is February 23rd from 4-6 pm ET and is hosting a panel on β€œCareer Growth and Development in WordPress and Beyond.”
  • Coming up on March 4th is DE{CODE} β€” WP Engine‘s virtual developer conference.


Video Picks

πŸ“Ή Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

πŸŽ™οΈ Here are a few podcasts worth listening to that I've enjoyed:

  • Women in WP: Recent guest Amanda Gorman β€” a Customer Success Manager at GiveWP β€” talks about nonprofits, yoga, SEO, recipe bloggers, and more.
  • Matt Report: Matt Medeiros sits down with Matt Mullenweg. After Automattic launched their experiment with selling $5,000 websites, the Matt Report published a video, I spell it wordpress now.
  • Do The Woo: It's a “Woo Reunion” with Adii Pienaar, Magnus Jepson, and Mark Forrester β€” the cofounders of WooCommerce). They share advice for potential plugin builders and what they each think the future of WooCommerce is.