Footnotes #381

Gutenberg 7.4 🇰🇷 is out. It includes an official tool to scaffold blocks quickly, a handy color tool for Group and Column blocks, updates to the link UI with RichText formats, prettier formatting, and more.

I have been enjoying Nick Hamze‘s posts over at lately. They are short, “open thought” posts on WordPress and Gutenberg (editor) blocks. 🏡

Nick's latest piece talks about supporting blocks that may have been abandoned by developers:

“I’m just trying to figure out a way to keep not only myself going but other block builders who are having a hard time gaining traction. I don’t have an answer.”

Perhaps a network devoted to supporting new block projects would help.


Nick is doing some of the most interesting work in the WordPress ecosystem, with as pure of intentions as anyone I know: he just wants to build cool stuff. I hope people will take notice of Block Garden and his other projects, which are all great.

WPEngine hosted its DE{CODE} 2020 virtual conference this week in a pre-recorded talks format but with speakers taking live questions. There's a nice selection of speakers — particularly Jason Cohen and Matt Landers on headless WordPress.

There is video footage of the event, and it looks like WPEngine will be organizing it for quicker consumption on their site. 📹

Jonathan Bossenger is preparing a course dedicated to automated testing for WordPress plugins. 🧪

Zack Bloom has concluded JavaScript Libraries “are almost never updated once installed.” 😮

The oldest version of jQuery included in CDNJS is 1.10.0 — released on May 25, 2013. Through Cloudflare, it still gets “gets an average of 100k requests per day, and the sites that use it are growing in popularity.”

Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle provide some tips for writing for accessibility. Don't use colors or icons alone, and keep in mind screen readers will parse information from left to write, from top to bottom. ⌨️

Congrats to Patrick Rauland for his new position as Product Marketing Manager for WooCommerce at Nexcess, which is now a Liquid Web brand. Patrick explains the job and his enthusiasm for it on his blog. 🙌


Patrick's vast knowledge and experience of Woo and eCommerce, in general, makes this a huge nab for a company trying to make its name in WordPress and WooCommerce.

Mike Schroder explains how the media upload request worked before WordPress 5.3 and how it works now. This is a great resource for WordPress developers. 📷🎵

Here's an interesting case of someone monetizing a browser extension (one that scans CSS in a browser) and reaching $70k over 18 months. 🤑

If you also haven't heard of Indie Hackers but want more monetization stories like this one, check it out.

Tim Nash explains and evaluates several strategies for updating WordPress core, plugins, and themes. He also talks about error monitoring, acceptance testing, and visual regression testing.

It's a good reminder of how updates aren't automatic for some sites, but for many, they nearly can be. Of course, depending on the host, that still leaves the rest of the stack to be updated as well.

Tim also explains how to turn on automatic core updates for major releases, which is more often than not a good idea for the vast majority of sites. 🤖

This looks like a very handy developer's guide to designing and building fully accessible websites. 📗

Created by Zugang für Alle (Access for all), the guide is based strictly on the W3C‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).

Felix Arntz has a possible solution for lazy loading images in WordPress core and is calling for testing it in a feature plugin (WP Lazy). 💤

“With WordPress enabling native lazy-loading by default, it would significantly impact performance and user experience for millions of sites, without requiring any technical knowledge or even awareness of lazy-loading as a concept.”

If you do JavaScript development, then you might enjoy this piece from Joe Eames on why the import statement is so confusing. 😕

Rafal Tomal posted a review of 2019, which he describes as a time of personal rediscovery. Rafal formed a design studio called Authentik (now rebranded as Good People Digital) and left it at the end of the year to go back to solo design. 🎨

I've enjoyed the sites Rafal helped create, including the personal sites of Syed Balkhi, Jay Baer and Thomas Griffin.


Rafal's work is always inspiring. But I really love seeing CEOs polishing, promoting, and leveraging their personal brands for their businesses while building a separate platform for themselves outside of their businesses. Something I regret was not pushing out monthly content and spending time on my personal brand more, especially in light of exiting the company I built.  

Bruce Lawson shows why you should choose HTML5 article over section elements in this nifty article at Smashing Magazine. Article elements aren't just for blog posts — they're for any self-contained item. Bruce also explains the HTML tags that are most helpful to screen reader users and entirely transparent to everyone else. 🏷️

For those who write blogs or manage content for their company site, Igor Benić suggests using Trello as a blog planner. Igor shows you how Trello can be used, not how it must be used. Naturally, “you are free to set your own workflow.” 📇

Lucas Bustamante says writing good code is completely feasible “if you care for your craft, keep pursuing your own improvement and aim high.” 🚀

For developers, Lucas has some specific suggestions for self-improvement: “use PSR-4” (maybe it will land in core eventually), “read software books” like Timeless Laws of Software Development and Design Patterns, and “learn to write tests.”


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

📹 Here's my video pick of the week:

  • Matt Medeiros has another outstanding tutorial — this time he shows how to use the GoDaddy Go Theme with Gutenberg and the CoBlocks plugin to create the homepage for one of Go's sample templates called “Keynote.”

🎙️ There are no particular criteria for what we include here in other than the fact that we listened to and enjoyed these podcasts. I try to listen to a variety, but some weeks I have more time than others. Here's what I enjoyed most recently:

  • Cal Evans and Mario Peshev discuss the term “full-stack developer” and what that means in and out of the WordPress space.
  • The Women in WP podcast interviewed Stephanie Wells of Formidable Forms and discussed her journey as a self-taught plugin developer.
  • I caught up on two episodes of the Ladybug Podcast — one focuses on personal branding, including some tips on starting out and then managing your brand. The other is a discussion of Atomic Habits by James Clear.