Footnotes #391

BRIAN'S TAKE ✏️

It’s been a heck of a week. While nationalism seems to be rising from a political perspective, I can’t help but feel an increased sense of global togetherness at a human level. We are all in this together. No country is spared. No country is immune.

Nations worldwide are organizing various relief packages to help families and corporations handle the sudden economic shock — a completely separate endeavor from the massive demands on healthcare systems.

The Tax Foundation — who has a nice WordPress site, I’ll add — has a handy guide for how each country is handling COVID-19 related relief programs.

The US just signed into law the CARES Act, in which Americans can see exactly what’s in the $2 Trillion package by reading the bill directly. I read the bill, and the Tax Foundation summary is a very good companion to better understand it.

Many of your businesses (incorporated or sole proprietors) in the US may have access to some of the Paycheck Protection Program funds. There are several caveats, but affected businesses will be able to both receive loans and also later apply for forgiveness of some expenditures, like those related to payroll or office rent. I hope anyone who is interested in these loans is careful though — there are no sure things here yet and more guidance is both necessary and pending. It’s a step, though.

Many, many people have been laid off, furloughed, lost hours, or otherwise had wages reduced. And we’re early in this. Some of us in the webspace have been affected already. Most of us (directly or our businesses) will eventually feel it, to some degree — though there might be a delay versus businesses completely shut down due to the response to COVID.

It’s an important time to be in a community, to know you’re in this with other folks, to share your experiences with trusted friends, and to let others help when and how they can.

Good will come of this experience. We don’t see it all today, but it will come. Until then, stay strong and I am hopeful for each of your safety and well-being.

WordPress 5.4 RC 4 was released a few days ago. Expect to see the final release on March 31. If you want to catch up on all the changes, check out the official field guide. 🐕


Gutenberg 4.7 has been released. Highlights include the Block UI redesign and new APIs — including an API to register custom Block patterns from themes and plugins. The API is still a work-in-progress and may change before entering WordPress Core. ✨


Yoast is offering a new online training course focused on the WordPress block editor. This is more than just a blog post — it's very well done and will “hand guide you through the process of creating a post with the block editor through practical screencasts, PDFs and assignments.” ✋


Juliette Reinders Folmer notes that some updates are proposed for implementation in WordPress Coding Standards 3.0.0:

“With the change to PHP 5.6 as the minimum PHP version for WordPress Core, and with the outlook of a minimum version of PHP 7.x in the (near) future, even more interesting language features will soon become available for use in WordPress Core, plugins and themes.”


This weekend marks one of the first WordCamps that have transitioned from an in-person event to a virtual one: WordCamp San Antonio. All speakers will be live streaming, and there's a rumor that there might be a “gameshow” event to cap off each day. Tickets are free. 📺

WPCampus 2020 is making that transition too — they have decided to become a virtual event. WPCampus 2020 Online will be July 15-17. The in-person event in New Orleans will be postponed to 2021. 🏕️

The call for speakers for WordCamp US 2020 (October 27-29) has been issued. 🤙


Brad Williams, John James Jacoby, and Justin Tadlock on April 22 for a special AMA on WordPress Plugin Development with Post Status partner Cory Miller. Our guests are the co-authors of the upcoming 2nd edition of Professional WordPress Plugin Development, 2nd Edition, which will be coming out in May. 📗

The webinar will happen on Apr 22 at 11:00 AM CST. You can register here »


Rahul Bansal and Joel Abreo of rtCamp share lessons from their fully-office to fully-remote transition. 👨‍💻

“The bedrock of remote work is mutual trust…. along with async communication.”

If you are a business owner or agency going through a similar transition, you'll want to read this.


Big news! Github has acquired npm, Inc. the company behind the Node package manager registry. 📦

Github claims npm will “always be available and free.” They will integrate GitHub and npm to “improve the security of the open-source software supply chain.”

Sadly, I'm already hearing of layoffs from npm — but that could be related to COVID-19, not the acquisition.


Pantheon shared how they are supporting organizations on the COVID-19 front line. If you host with them, this is especially recommended reading. 🙏


Convesio, a new WordPress hosting company, explains how they raised over $1M from 850 investors using Wefunder for their campaign. They also discuss the challenges ahead, and how they are planning for 2020. 🗺️


If you develop Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) then this announcement from WebKit about third-party cookie blocking may have appeared on your radar recently. Now, Aral Balkan says he believes Apple is “killing” offline web apps in the name of privacy. It seems others agree. ⚰️


Delicious Brains shared some great ideas they had for adding more creativity and context with testimonial styling at SpinupWP. 🧠


A new version of the Perfmatters WordPress plugin was released recently and features an entirely rewritten form submission process for the Script Manager. 🎛️


Google has published Schema.org 7.0, which includes schemas for Coronavirus special announcements, Covid-19 Testing Facilities and more. 🏥


Emma Goto has some great notes on how to take smart notes as a developer. Emma's tips are based on the Zettelkasten method and Sönke Ahrens book, How to Take Smart Notes. 🗒️


DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

📹 Here are my two video picks of the week:

🎙️ Here are some podcasts I've listened to recently that are worth your time:

  • How I Built It: Nathan Ingram talks about managing client relationships and a new project he recently launched to help freelancers.
  • Geek 2 English: The second episode of this new podcast from SiteGround has Cal Evans looking at what a plugin is, what it does, and what site owners need to know before installing one.
  • WPMRR Podcast: The latest episode includes advice for remote work drawn from guests on previous episodes.
  • #PressForward Podcast: Kathy Zant reflects on a stressful time in her life and how it forced her to re-evaluate the way that she approaches her work and life, a method she calls a “Hacker Mindset.”