Footnotes #405

The debut of Jetpack CRM was announced at the Jetpack blog. It's a “new customer relationship management tool built specifically for WordPress sites.” Jetpack CRM is a standalone plugin — not bundled with Jetpack — and has separate pricing starting at $11 per month.

This is the result of Automattic purchasing Zero BS CRM back in mid-August of 2019 alongside the Tumblr acquisition.

Mike Stott and Woody Hayday first launched ZBS in the plugin repository in 2016. Both co-founders have been working for Automattic since then.


I actually really like what's possible with this. I have in fact been looking to replace Xero, as I only really use it for invoicing now, and do not currently use a CRM. Keeping my CRM inside of WordPress aligns well with the businesses I run. I think Automattic could really do well with this integration, and I'm glad to see it's the Zero BS CRM that is being leveraged in this way.

I saw some complaints about the XBS acquisition being another example of Automattic gobbling up independent product use cases, but I'm not sure what people expect after they acquired a tool that accomplishes this. And given it is not bundled in the primary Jetpack plugin, I don't think this is overly obtrusive. I'm excited to see where it leads.

More information about WordPress 5.5 is surfacing, including news of its ability to pass arguments to template files: “The template loading functions will now allow additional arguments to be passed through to the matched template file using a new $args parameter.”

In addition, there's a new esc_xml() function that came along with the new XML sitemaps feature.

Human Made has a good post about collaborating with Google to bring XML sitemaps to a large portion of the web.

Developers might want to read up on the REST API changes coming in the 5.5 update.

Finally, with the upcoming ability in WordPress 5.5 to have plugins and themes auto-updated, it was inevitable there would be a plugin to add the filters to disable auto-updates. This one is from Jake Spurlock. πŸ”Œ

Restrict Content Pro released its 3.4 beta. The upcoming 3.4 release promises to include auto-renew toggles, a payments importer tool, new logging functionality, and a bug fix related to renewal expiration dates. πŸ›

Rich Tabor is encouraging anyone interested in Block Patterns for the WordPress editor to dive in with him and discover how to leverage the new Block Patterns API to “build beautiful patterns.” πŸŠβ€β™€οΈ

Rich shows how you can “block out the pattern” in the editor and then register it, along with additional categories.

Lesley Sim showed off her work on a WordPress plugin she is calling NewsLetter Glue. It lets users connect WordPress to a mail service (currently Mailchimp) and send posts to subscribers. βœ‰οΈ

Leslie also launched a closed beta; get in touch with her if you want to check it out.

Unsplash has released an official WordPress plugin that integrates their stock image service with WordPress. Features include quick intuitive search, easy insertion of images into posts, native support for the WordPress Media Library, automatic alt descriptions for improved accessibility and SEO. πŸ“·

The plugin was built by the team at XWP. They're also working on the next version of the official AMP plugin for WordPress, which is available now for testing.

There is some conflictΒ on Twitter about the licensing of the photos from Unsplash (not the plugin itself) and's requirements for listing there, which flared up due to comments by Matt Mullenweg. Sarah Gooding has an excellent post about the nuance involved in the discussion and around the Unsplash licensing. I personally agree entirely with Unsplash's side of this.

Claire Brotherton takes a good look at six WordPress form plugins and identifies what might be the best “free” and “premium” options. Of course, your needs and likes might vary. ⭐

Christina Hasternath has a step-by-step tutorial to show you how to create a custom WordPress plugin that lets content editors rebuild a Gatsby app on AWS by manually rerunning GitHub Actions from the WordPress admin dashboard. πŸ”Œ

Scott DeLuzio announced that he's found a new home for WP-CRM System, and its new owner is Mario Peshev. Mario has agreed to continue supporting existing customers until their current licenses expire unless they renew. 🀝

A new study from North Carolina State University and Microsoft discovered that the technical interviews currently used in hiring for many software engineering positions actually test whether a job candidate has performance anxiety rather than whether the candidate is competent at coding.πŸ’¦

Even without intending to, these “interviews may also be used to exclude groups or favor specific job candidates.”

Depending on how you do your hiring, this might be a good report to think over.

Matt Medeiros has moved to Castos, a company that focuses on podcast hosting β€” and also has a WordPress plugin. Matt is the new Director of Podcaster Success. πŸ‘

It looks like BuddyPress 7.0 is gaining some new features, including a Gutenberg block to share a post/page via the Activity stream. The BuddyPress 6.2.0 Beta is available and needs testers. πŸ§ͺ

Conference and Event Updates

  • πŸ’Ό Big conference news for anyone looking for a WordPress business conference: WPMRR Virtual Summit is happening September 23rd and 24th. It will be a free online event focused on helping “make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.” Take a look at the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! πŸ’Έ
  • πŸ”Œ On August 6th, Gutenberg Times Live will broadcast a webinar featuring Kelly Dawn, Alex Shiels and Samuel “Otto” Wood. They will discuss how the Block Directory works, how to get your single block plugin into the Block Directory, and they will explain the submission guidelines currently in place.
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ“ Registration for WPCampus 2020 Online is open. This free event is happening on July 29-30.
  • πŸ•οΈ WordCamp Europe 2021 has announced it will be online only. I am glad they went ahead and made the decision. I'm afraid it'll be some time before we're able to be back to normal. 😷


Video Picks

πŸ“Ή Here's the video pick of the week:

  • Check out this series of videos from The Pricing WordPress Podcast β€” its meant to help WordPress professionals with the pricing of their products and services. Guests include Jodie Riccelli, Jason Resnick, Ben Gillbanks, and Jonathan Stark.

Podcast Picks

πŸŽ™οΈ Here are some nifty podcasts I listened to recently:

  • An interview with Shirley Wu on how she built a career as a freelance data visualizer, how to get started with learning data visualization, and taking data visualization into the real world.
  • Corner Office: Matt Mullenweg was recently interviewed on the subject of remote work by the New York Times. The audio and transcripts are now available.
  • ShopTalk Show: One of their more recent episodes covers a variety of good topics, like using Medium as a platform, accessibility widgets for websites β€” no, you can't just bolt accessibility onto a product β€” and other good subjects.