WordPress 5.5 will update external libraries bundled with the core such as SimplePie, Twemoji, Moment.js, and PHPMailer. Jonathan Desrosiers has put out the call for testing.
If you use these libraries in your themes and plugins, download the nightlies, and report any bugs. 🐛
Smash Balloon and Duplicate Post Acquisitions
Yoast SEO and Awesome Motive both made recent plugin acquisitions: 🔌
- John Brackett and his whole team at Smash Balloon are joining Syed Balki at Awesome Motive. John is coming on board as a partner, and they're expanding with five new positions open now. Smash Balloon has been around since 2013 developing a popular suite of social media feed plugins. Congrats to the whole new team! 🎈
- Yoast too has picked up a popular plugin in Enrico Battocchi‘s Duplicate Post, which is active on more than 3 million sites and made its debut back in 2008. It will remain free, and Yoast has no plans to develop a premium version at this time. This is an acquihire as well, with Enrico coming on board with Yoast as a Senior Developer. Joost de Valk, Yoast's Chief Product Officer and Founder, says Enrico will “still have an important voice in [the plugin's] future development. In fact, some features we suggested, he’d already wanted to build but simply lacked the time and resources to do so. And that’s why this transaction happened.” 🤝
The European Commission has granted WordProof €1 million by awarding the company first place in a blockchain competition for promoting social good. WordProof's Timestamp Ecosystem aims to prevent fake news and verify sources through their protocol which they hope to establish as a global standard. 🌐
In addition to the competition winnings, they also received a grant from Block.one (the primary organization behind the EOS blockchain), as well as another loan. They have a plugin available now for WordPress websites, but the protocol can be used by other means as well.
WordProof was founded in 2019 by Sebastiaan van der Lans. A website using WordProof can offer a clickable link to view the certificate highlighting when it was published and how it changed over time. It is great to see investment going into online content integrity, and I hope WordProof is able to catch on. Some degree of wide usage and network effects is surely necessary for a protocol like this to stick.
Ana Silva explains native personalization and other features of the newly released Altis 4 on the Human Made blog. ✨
Personalization is the biggest missing feature several major consultants have told us WordPress needs in order to compete with other high-end “enterprise” level CMSs. Altis aims to level the playing field with this feature now part of its core platform.
It's super interesting to see how Human Made is selling Altis as WordPress but for high-end clients.
Austin Ginder has come up with an experimental way to deploy multiple WordPress sites on a single install without using multisite. He calls it “stackable WordPress.” 📚
“I see this being a good option for small, low usage WordPress sites. Even better if it’s a no usage site. As in WordPress site that has no visitors and is used exclusively as a tool to output static content.”
You can give this a try, although Austin warns it is clearly in the early stages.
I also discovered another nice post from Austin: How to getting notified via email when plugins are updated by hooking into the Simple History plugin.
Joe Howard wrote what I consider to be a must-read if you have input in your company's hiring process — how to access a more diverse pool of job candidates. Joe lists some job boards he used during the last round of hiring at WPBuffs. 👩💼
At the end of the day, there are many ways to help make the world a better place, and this is one of them:
“…you can be a WordPress ally and give every potential candidate a fair shot to work at your company. I can tell you from firsthand experience that having a diverse team has helped us solve a diverse set of problems and do pretty well.”
Dave Bailey shares some tips for managers to measure professional development. 📏
Dave recommends question-driven development, clarifying your desired outcomes, and taking the results of surveys with “a bucket of salt.” 🧂
Max Böck wonders if we're ready to revisit some of the ideas of the early (1990s) web as things like plain HTML and server-side rendering (SSR) are “stepping back into the spotlight.”💡
Max also has an interesting observation about the renewed interest in personal websites, blogs, and niche communities as alternatives to increasingly unpopular and impersonal social media.
WPGraphQL is turning 1.0 even though it has been production-ready for a while. Jason Bahl notes a little of its history and explains the 1.0.
According to Packagist.org, as of June 30, 2020, there are nearly 50,000 installs of WPGraphQL in the wild. 📦
If you dabble in CSS animations and CSS scroll effects, Zach Saucier has a great overview of scroll technologies that target specific and more general scroll behaviors. 📜
Also from CSS Tricks, Chris Coyier shares some different perceptions of Developer Experience (DX). Not everyone sees it the same way.
Finally, if you aren't deeply into front-end development but you want to be, Chris explains how and where to learn HTML and CSS today. He outlines most of the top destinations — books, courses, sites, and other sources. But, there's still no substitute for just diving in and trying things:
“With learning web design and development, getting anywhere will involve all sorts of ways. There’s no silver bullet. It takes bashing on it lots of different ways.”
I always enjoy learning from markets I'm not familiar with, and balloon artists are certainly one of the most unique I've come across. Ziv Raviv used WordPress and LifterLMS to build a course on balloon art that brought in $11,000. In its first year (2019), the business brought in more than $277,000. 🎈
Sara Soudain‘s guide to inclusively hiding and styling checkboxes and radio buttons has been making the rounds with this important heads-up:
When you hide an interactive element, make sure you choose a hiding technique that keeps it screen reader-accessible, position it on top of whatever is visually replacing it so that a user navigating by touch can find it where they expect to, and then make it transparent.
If you have not seen Sara's takeaways as a designer who dove into accessibility just a few years ago, you should take a look. 👍
Ethan Marcotte, who coined the term “responsive design,” has released a series of 5-minute tutorial videos about designing for accessibility. The first tutorial is an introduction to the different ways the VoiceOver screen reader can be used to navigate a site. 📺
The ManageWP.org news site has been shut down by GoDaddy, as Jeffrey Carandang recently observed.
ManageWP.org was an early source of WordPress news many years ago but was fading even before Godaddy acquired it along with the ManageWP.com monitoring and maintenance service. 🌆
If you have ever wondered how Grunt and Gulp differ as task runners and which one might be best for you, Gilbert Pellegrom‘s post on the Delicious Brains blog goes through the basics, listing the pros and cons of each build tool. 🐷🥤
Flywheel recently relaunched its Local Pro app. It's a solid upgrade focused more on reducing WordPress site development pain points than being just a companion tool for Flywheel users. It syncs with WPEngine now too, and they're actively working to bring in additional hosts. 🛠️
Sarah Gooding reports at the Tavern, “More than 300,000 developers have tried Local since it first launched in 2017 and active users are up 90% year over year.” 😲
Congrats to the Local team on this achievement! I know a lot of developers who have used Local and are pleased with the enhancements so far. 👏
📹 Here's the video pick of the week:
- Another talk worth seeing from WordCamp Europe 2020 if you missed it: Tara King shows how you can support your marginalized colleagues at work. She covers the big picture but also gets into templates and other tools you can use to be more inclusive. 🛠️
🎙️ Here are some podcasts I've listened to recently that I enjoyed:
- Hot Air: The latest episode is an interview with Kimberly Lipari, the CEO of WordPress agency Valet. Kimberly talks about the tools, models, and strategies that help agencies succeed.
- Shop Talk: The subjects covered in this recent episode include WordPress blocks and “mobile-first vs desktop-first.” 📱
- Ladybug Podcast: Here's a great talk with Timirah James, founder of TechniGal LA, on building mobile apps. 🐞
- Geek 2 English: Cal Evans talks about how and why content can improve your SEO.