Footnotes #412

The Gutenberg plugin is out with a new update. In version 8.9, the block-based widgets screen is enabled by default and replaces the default WordPress widgets screen.

Other enhancements include adding a character count to the info panel. You can add links to featured images now too. ๐Ÿ”—


Birgit Pauli-Haack published a resource list useful to anyone creating small or big block patterns. This is a good starting point for learning how to make block patterns available in your themes or plugins. ๐Ÿ™


This made me smile ๐Ÿ˜„ โ€” something a bit different for virtual WordCamps: WordCamp Austin 2020 has put out a call for musicians along with its call for speakers. ๐ŸŽถ


Austin Ginder recently launched Stackable โ€” which soon was rebranded as WP Freighter. The product offers “fast duplicate copies of your WordPress site with no need to wait to deploy to separate environments.”


Upon returning from a sabbatical, Josepha Haden wrote about some skills and leadership lessons she picked up from tending to her garden. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ

Two clear and simple lessons: Plant today what you need tomorrow and give them space to grow, or create space later. ๐ŸŒฟ

At the end of the day though you are leading and managing flawed human beings:

“The plants are not picture perfect… and shouldnโ€™t that be true for those we lead, too? That perfection shouldnโ€™t be measured on what we wish someone could do, but rather on what they were built to do.”


Troy Hunt explains what “hashing” means for passwords, and what site owners mean if they say they “didn't encrypt your password but hashed it.”

It's a lot to digest, but Troy makes it easy to understand what password hashing is and why you are asked to change your password when hashes are exposed. ๐Ÿ‘


Ben Kuhn offers an excellent reminder that attention is your scarcest resource. Programmers and managers both make key decisions about when to devote energy and focus on a problem or project. Sometimes it's best to take a break or tackle it another time. ๐Ÿ˜ซ

One of Ben's tips is to have a “bullshit timebox.” ๐Ÿ’ฉ Like Ben, maybe you “somehow always end up with a bunch of minor chores to doโ€”responding to emails, deflecting secondary obligations, etc.” Well that BS can all be shoveled into “a one-hour period a few times a week” devoted to “all the things life is too short” to waste more time on than this!

Ben also tries to trim down his “open loops,” which are “projects or processes” you've started and not finished. โ˜‘๏ธ


Lisa Charlotte Rost offers some helpful tips on how to pick more beautiful colors for your data visualizations. ๐ŸŽจ

The depth of this post makes it worth a bookmark even if you aren't building a visualization. I found it helpful in how I look at other areas of design too.


Antonio Villegas ponders whether WordPress has a “bright future.” While the WordPress market share is currently on the rise, “the future of blogging (and its platforms) is today more threatened than ever.” โŒ›

Antonio points to two areas we should be concerned about. The first comes from yours truly, David Bisset, about our youth involvement youth in the WordPress community. The second concern comes from Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Morten's “Blogging is dead. Long live ephemerality” post from a few months back is referenced, and as we said then, it's a good read. Antonio comments, “I find it very difficult for my parents to start writing in WordPress. But they do use WhatsApp to share everything they want… we have a lot of work ahead of us to make WordPress attractive again.” ๐Ÿ’ฆ


Mack Male details how he transferred his self-hosted WordPress blog to WordPress.com with WordPress Premium to start.

Normally (at least in my world) you hear of the transfer from WordPress.com to self-hosted, so it was a new experience to hear about it happening the other way around. It's pretty straightforward, but Mack explains a few potential pitfalls that are helpful to plan for in advance. ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ


Mark Krynsky shares his experience of trying to replace the OceanWP theme and Elementor on a with Astra Pro and the block editor on an existing site. Mark looks at the cost factor, simplicity vs. complexity, and performance considerations.

Mark concludes he will stick with the block editor for simple sites, but he also warns us to “take careful consideration as to what your requirements are and then select the best tools as necessary.”


Matt Zeunert from DebugBear attempts to answer the question, “Is the web is getting slower?” Starting by interpreting the HTTP Archive data, Matt looks at how devices and the web have changed over the past 10 years and what those changes have meant for web performance. :

He doesn't think the web is truly slower overall but, our software is nowhere near optimal efficiency:

“On the one hand, the web is slowly getting faster. On the other hand, the improvements in networks and devices represent a missed opportunity for more significant performance improvements.”


Michal Bugno writes about the hidden cost of constantly shipping new things, using his experience in launching a company called Pulse. ๐Ÿ’—

Michal shares some lessons he learned, like “no matter how much time you put into your product design, iterate again.” He also makes some good points about technical debt and voicing concerns earlier rather than later.


Ohad Eder-Pressman recently wrote an “open letter” to Matt Mullenweg on the subject of JamStack. This seems to come in response to Matt's comments in an email exchange with Richard MacManus in which Matt didn't find favor with the technology at this time.

There are several people in the WordPress community who have had an enjoyable experience with JamStack technologies. It is a trendy technology right now that is not without its pitfalls and challenges โ€” some of which are being handled by for-profit and non-profit organizations.

I tend to side with Matt in his view that the technology isn't there yet, and I am not convinced it would replace WordPress and non-JamStack technologies in terms of market share. But I do want to see the technology move forward, and I think there are some in the WordPress community doing great things with it in conjunction with WordPress and without it. ๐Ÿฅž


I recently stumbled uponย Jamhur Mustafayev‘s curated list of private businesses publicly sharing their expenses. This is a good place to see the tools used by startups and small private companies and what they cost.

Jamhur's curating goes pretty deep. Some of the list items link to archived pages because the posts or sites are gone or have been removed. ๐Ÿ‘


๐Ÿ“… Conference and Event Updates

  • The FemTechConf is an event “for empowering women in the tech world” that is expecting 30,000+ attendees on September 25th. Mary Job might have a few free tickets available if you are a woman and interested in attending.
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ WPMRR Virtual Summit (September 23rd and 24th.) Free, online. The focus will be “100% focused on helping you make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.โ€ Scroll down the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! ๐Ÿ’ธ

DAVID'S PICKS ๐Ÿ“ฌ

Video Picks

๐Ÿ“น Here's the video pick of the week:

  • This isn't a single video, but a list of videos I found on YouTube focused on general programming and development. Nothing specific to WordPress here, but it's quite the rabbit hole if you like learning through videos.

Podcast Picks

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are a few podcasts I recommend this week: