Footnotes #425

WordPress 5.6 (“Simone”) was released this week. Props to the all-female lead team and the 605 volunteer contributors. They collaborated on nearly 350 Trac tickets and over 1,000 pull requests on GitHub. 🙌

The 5.6 release has many enhancements, features, and bug fixes for users and developers. (See the WordPress 5.6 field guide for more details.) There's also the new Twenty Twenty-One default theme. The official guide to Twenty Twenty-One is a good resource if you want to catch up with the direction front-end development is heading in WordPress. 👩‍🎨

Timothy Jacobs has a nice summary of the REST API changes in this release.

If you are aware of the recent jQuery changes in WordPress releases, then this post is worth a read. It covers how 5.6 includes a temporary downgrade path to run legacy jQuery on a site when needed. The juicy bit:

“[T]he first time a site visitor encounters an error caused by a now broken jQuery implementation, the plugin will facilitate an automated downgrade to a legacy jQuery version, and sends an email to the site administrator informing them of what has happened.”

🚣‍♂️ I also want to point out Helen Hou-Sandí‘s comment on Twitter:

“You know what’s funny about this release? The biggest impact I think I made (with help ofc) was not actually in the core software, but in the way themes are previewed on Check out the latest default theme — no more boat!”

BuddyPress 7.0.0 “Filippi” is out! New features include a UI for Member and Group types, new blocks, REST API improvements, and WP CLI support. ✨

Here's a piece from The Repository focused on Yoast and Whodunit and why they contribute to WordPress core as well as the features they’re pursuing.

Some notable stats are mentioned in this post where Jb Audras breaks out the companies that contributed the most employees to WordPress 5.5‘s development:

  • Automattic: 82 people
  • Yoast and Whodunit: 10 people each
  • Human Made, 10up and WP Engine: 8 people each
  • Google and rtCamp: 6 people each
  • WPMU DEV: 5 people
  • Bluehost, GoDaddy, iThemes, and Audrey HC: 4 people each

The next iteration of WordPress components/Gutenberg’s design is currently being explored under the codename “G2 Components.” There is a roadmap here and an open issue about how to best approach integrating this into Gutenberg.

This is certainly the cutting edge for WordPress, and I'm looking forward to learning more from Jon Quach (who has shared a few Twitch streams) and others who have been driving this project forward. 👍

🖥️ Over at the Automattic Design Blog, Filipe Varela covers some tips for looking and sounding a bit more professional on your video calls. Why bother? Filipe gets right to the point:

“Elevating the quality of your audio and video is a good way to eliminate all possible distractions and present yourself and your work in a more polished way.”

🤝 MailPoet and its team of eleven have been acquired by Automattic to join WooCommerce:

“WooCommerce stores can look forward to improved features to reach their customers in the near future. This is a natural continuation of WooCommerce functionality we added to MailPoet 3 years ago. Nearly a quarter of our users run WooCommerce stores already.”

The post from Kim Gjerstad goes on to note that MailPoet will “remain available on the plugin repository,” but there's no mention of any planned future updates at this time.

⚡ Jennifer Wong explores the power of web development outside tech circles:

“Even simple websites and apps go on to make a huge difference politically and socially. We, as website builders, have the benefit that even in a global pandemic, we’re able to organize and operate online.”

Cory Miller brought this article to my attention. It's about the late Tony Hsieh of Zappos, one of Cory's entrepreneurial heroes. In the article, Lindsay Blakely delves into hard topics, like Tony's battle with depression and substance abuse. 😫

How do you strike a balance between developing a winning growth strategy and keeping your mental health in check?” That is a question Cory discussed recently with Dave Vogelpohl on the Press This Podcast. 🎙️

I can't stress enough how important it is to have a support system, even if that's the last thing you think you want or need. If you don't have one, there are many people you can reach out to in the WordPress community and beyond. 🧡

Kellen Mace has launched Headless WP Rocks, a YouTube channel dedicated to building JavaScript apps powered by a headless WordPress backend.

The website has a form where you can sign up for email updates. 📧

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “PHP is dead” I'd be rich! Warrick Bayman seems just as frustrated:

“It isn’t dying and it isn’t reaching ‘end-of-life.' That’s it. No matter how much some people want it to go away, it isn’t going away. At least, not for a long time.”

It's a rant type of post but a reassuring one.

I'd say that with the recent release of PHP 8, things are getting even more interesting with the language, and there is no evidence that it's slowing down. 👨‍💻

“If PHP didn’t exist, what would be your primary coding language today?” I got a lot of interesting and some surprising answers to that question on Twitter. 🐦

Totaling up all responses, I got:

  1. Python 31%
  2. JavaScript 28%
  3. C / C# 15%
  4. Go 15%
  5. Perl 12%
  6. Ruby 10%
  7. Java 2% (4 responses)
  8. Typescript 2% (4 responses)
  9. Pascal <1% (1 response)
  10. Scala <1% (1 response)
  11. .NET <1% (1 response)
  12. Scratch <1% (1 response)

Bob Dunn asked Matt Mullenweg what can go wrong in an open-source project? 🤔

Anything involving the open-source business model makes interesting reading — and this piece from Joe Morrison (Aazavea) about the end of Mapbox GL JS as open source didn't disappoint.

⚰️ Joe claims open core is dead:

“I still believe open source software is a powerful force for good in the world… but I no longer believe venture-backed companies can responsibly pursue a strategy of giving away the software at the core of their value proposition.”

I'm not sure I agree with everything here, but there are some valid points in the non-WordPress examples Joe brings up.

The Knight Foundation is awarding a total of $2 Million (USD) to 24 newsrooms to upgrade their websites. Almost every winner chose WordPress.

As Steve Burge of PublishPress notes, 20 out of 24 recipients of these grants will be moving to WordPress or upgrading their WordPress platform. Automattic’s Newspack platform is involved with some of these projects.

We reached out to Steve for further comment, and he said:

It’s clear that newspapers are in crisis in America. Yes, they are squeezed by falling ad revenue, but there are other significant problems. Many papers have fallen into the hands of hedge funds that are bleeding them dry. The good news is that a lot of innovative people are successfully launching news start-ups, and almost all of them are doing it with WordPress.

Steve shared an article from the Los Angeles Times highlighting three small, locally-focused newsrooms that are doing great work with WordPress, although their platform isn't named in the article: Mississippi Today, The Oaklandside, and Votebeat. 🗞️

Rachel Zick shares how FiveThirtyEight managed to stay up during election week despite record traffic and page views. The numbers are impressive, even if the teams knew what they were up against ahead of time:

The site served “close to 1.3 billion pageviews from Monday-Friday during election week. On Tuesday night alone, their site served 132,000 requests per second, with WordPress VIP’s server response time staying flat at 144 milliseconds.💨

Chris Hartjes has a simple message for improving your coding skills: practice makes perfect.

“For me I think there is a tripod upon which all your programming outcomes rely on: operating systems, editor, and language features. By refining and practicing your use of these three things, you build a very stable platform to keep building your own higher-level skills and help other people get better.”

Upcoming Events 📆

  • State of the Word 2020: Matt Mullenweg announced that he will be streaming on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter on Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020 at 1600 UTC. Note: Post Status will have a live chat in our Slack channel (#events) during the presentation if you want to talk during the live broadcast.
  • Wordfest Live 2021: The second round of speakers has been announced: Cameron Jones, Shanta Nathwani, Imran Sayed, Marieke van de Rakt, Mary Job, Larry Swanson, Masni Mustafa, and Paul Lacey. This 24-hour event is happening on January 21, 2021.