Footnotes #400

WordPress 5.4.2 is a security and maintenance release that rolled out on June 10. It features 23 bugfixes and enhancements. Make sure your sites are updated if that hasn't happened automatically. One maintenance update was also deployed back to versions 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3. 📦

Of note: In 5.4.2, there is only a brief window of time to publicly view a comment that's waiting for moderation after it's submitted. “This change prevents search engines from indexing URLs that may contain spammy messages,” according to JB Audras.

This comes in response to changes in 5.1 that added an “awaiting moderation” screen for new comments. This allowed spammers to get an indexable URL that contained their unapproved messages. 🙅💬


Gutenberg 8.3 has been released. It features a few additions to the design tools for blocks, including a new padding control on the cover block. This release consolidates a new organization of block categories that groups blocks into text, media, design, widgets, and embeds.

See our video pick below to learn more about what's been happening recently and what's coming up next for blocks.


Reflecting on the color of my skin, by Marques Brownlee is worth your time. 🧑🏾


PHP is 25! 🎂 The Register has a nice summary of its history that links to a 2017 talk given by Rasmus Lerdorf. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend this presentation, especially for developers.

JetBrains also has a PHP story worthy of your time with a timeline of important events.

The very first version of PHP was a simple set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in C. Originally used for tracking visits to Rasmus’s online résumé, he named the suite of scripts “Personal Home Page Tools” or “PHP Tools.” 🔨


Matt Shaw explains how the JavaScript FileReader API can be used to upload large files in chunks and avoid server limits. The API has major browser support now, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 10.

Matt notes, “If you’re going to use something like this in a real app, you should definitely look up any security issues.” 🔒


ProcessKit has a free video course on automating processes in a service business. It explains how to create an efficient standard operating procedure (SOP) and automate project management using tasks. 🤖


An effort is underway in PHPCSStandards to encourage inclusive language and throw a warning when non-inclusive terms such as “whitelist/blacklist” and “master/slave” are found. ⚠️

No matter what your budget is, there's a lot to learn from Matt's Guide to Distributed Work Tools. 🛠️


ReviewSignal, already known for its WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks, recently added a separate performance analysis report for WooCommerce Hosting. Hosts specializing in WooCommerce — like GreenGeeks, Nestify, Pressable, Seravo, Servebolt, SiteGround, and Wetopi — are among those who participated in ReviewSignal's tests. 🚤

I won't spoil any of the results, but if you host WooCommerce or have sites with these hosting companies, take a look.


If you are looking for solid guidance on documentation writing, check this post featuring a video from speaker Daniele Procida. Daniele notes there are four kinds of docs: 1) learning-oriented tutorials, 2) goal-oriented how-to guides, 3) understanding-oriented discussions, and 4) information-oriented reference material. 📚


Timothy Vernon outlines how inlining your CSS can improve site performance. Lots of useful information here. 🏃

Timothy mentions that Chrome has a tool to find unused JavaScript and CSS; he also mentions Penthouse, which generates “critical CSS” for your webpages.


The WordCamp Europe team has shared a list of tips for designing an online WordCamp. 🏕️


🎙️📹 More and more posts are being written about good audio and/or video setups for working and broadcasting from home. We mentioned a guide for CEOs from Matt Mullenweg in our last issue. Here's two more that have been making the rounds:

  • Matt Stauffer publishes live streams and videos on YouTube and goes into his recommendations for webcam, audio, and video. (Prices range from free to a decent amount of money.) Matt says don't worry about quality too much: “Just get it out there! Worry about audio quality when you start to have enough listeners that they care.”
  • Olivier Lacan also has a good guide with side-by-side comparisons of webcams and lighting. A good tip: don't use embedded microphones if you can do help it.

It appears that we are close to seeing basic, extensible XML sitemaps functionality in WordPress core. 🧭


Preethi Sam shares some techniques for generating creative background patterns using gradients, CSS shapes, and even emojis. 👍


Here is some interesting advice about picking your tech stack — great for sharing and comparing notes. 👨‍💻

I appreciated the first point about going on what you know:

“Unless your product has deep technical requirements the only thing you should optimize for is how fast you personally can code. Don’t try something new. Don’t experiment. Write code.”


Stumbled on some interesting advice on picking your tech stack which I found worthy of sharing for conversation.

I appreciated the first point on going on what you know more times than not: “Unless your product has deep technical requirements the only thing you should optimize for is how fast you personally can code. Don’t try something new. Don’t experiment. Write code.”


Conference Updates


DAVID'S PICKS 📬

Video Picks

📹 Here's the video pick of the week:

  • During WordCamp Europe 2020 Matt Mullenweg had a discussion with Matias Ventura about the features coming to Gutenberg. The video presentation had a well-organized demo of some impressive tweaks and new features. In it, Matt also addressed some questions from the WCEU crowd, including his thoughts on WordPress's position in relation to Shopify.

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are some podcasts I've listened to recently that I enjoyed: