Footnotes #428

Jean-Baptiste Audras shared some fascinating stats and colorful charts on core contributions focusing on people and companies who contributed to the WordPress 5.6 release. You may recall it was directed by a 100% female Release Squad. Some highlights:

  • 605 people contributed to WordPress 5.6. Of these, 236 (39%) had never contributed to WordPress source code before. 🙌
  • Of the 57 countries represented by contributors to 5.6, the US once again had the largest number (121), followed by India (46) and then the UK (24). 🌏
  • Of the 57 companies that contributed to WordPress 5.6, Automattic had by far the most contributors, with 70 people credited. Yoast is still the second biggest contributor with 16 people. 10up came third with 8 people. Then we have a group with 5 contributors each: Human Made, GoDaddy, WP Engine, and rtCamp. Google closed the lead group with 4 contributors.

I also took note of this comment on Twitter by John James Jacoby:

“Automattic's ability to devote more staff resources to navigate the growing complexity of teams, processes, history, and initiatives gives them a disproportionate advantage when it comes to influencing the future of WordPress.”


Mathieu Viet has a summary of BuddyPress updates and activity in 2020. Some highlights:

  • 9 releases (3 more than in 2019)
  • 2 major releases (1 more than in 2019)
  • 7 minor releases (2 more than in 2019)
  • Fixed 186 tickets, it’s 62% more than in 2019.

Notably, the “[m]ost important spike for 2 years happened in 2020 for the 7.0.0 releases” — 34,236 downloads on December 11. And with more than 1.25 million downloads as of December 28, BuddyPress enjoyed a growth rate of 23% compared to 2019. 📈


Could being a “happy” developer depend on where you live? That's the question that seems to arise from Honeypot‘s Developer Happiness Index, which Hélène Le Gascoin, Hayley Kuhl, and Emma Tracey break down for us. 😃

Overall, the Nordics are at the top of the index:

“when looking at average developer happiness per country, Nordic countries dominate the rankings: Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden all take a place in the top ten. Canada ranks joint 8th with Germany and is the only non-European [country] among the top [ten].”

Based on this analysis, developers with happy jobs tend to have stable leadership, high personal autonomy, and a sense of self-determination and achievement:

“Work-life balance is the most important predictor of developer career happiness… developers in Northern Europe are most satisfied with their work-life balance — they also work the shortest hours.”


A look at the HTTPArchive‘s data for images shows that as of October 2020, 10.6% of the web was using native image lazy loading. 💤

That number was only 1.5% in July!

As Rick Viscomi, who brought this to my attention, commented:

“This appears to be entirely driven by WordPress at 28.9% of WP pages, which makes up [over] one-third of the web.”


If you are trying to choose between the popular and similarly matched GeneratePress and Astra themes, then this post from Matteo Duò might help you understand their differences. 🤔


🧪 Here's a MySQL engine that's written in PHP for unit tests. 😲 (Hat tip to George Peter Banyard.)


Nate Arnold recently developed a WordPress theme for headless WordPress projects and wrote up a simple explanation of the decisions that were made after implementing the theme on a few JAMstack projects.


WPForms published their year in review for 2020, and they have been quite busy! They passed 4 million active installs and 56 million downloads for the year. 💨


Angela Jin shares a few lessons learned in her ongoing quest to build empathy:

“During difficult conversations, especially with people you care about, it may be instinctual to want to make things better.”

But instead of trying to help, sometimes it's better simply to empathize by “saying something along the lines of, ‘Gosh, that seems so difficult, and I can see why you are feeling this way. Thank you so much for sharing with me.'” 🤗


December 31 is the day Flash officially “dies.” 💀

Out of all the posts I've read, this eulogy post from Mike Davidson is the most relatable for me. He takes you back to the early days with a video of Macromedia Flash 2.0 in 1997 that gave me flashbacks. :

Flash has received a lot of hate and negativity in recent years, but at one time it was the best way to experiment and present interactive media and video on the web. Matt notes how:

“Flash showed us where we could go, without ever promising that it would be the long-term solution once we got there… forever remembered for pushing us further down this windy road of interactive design, lighting the path for generations to come.”


Hashim Warren, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Gatsby, thinks SEO will drive serverless website adoption in 2021:

“Marketers will discover that you have two options: pay a lot monthly and spend a lot of time speeding up your WordPress or Drupal site. Or you can adopt a new stack that’s less expensive, more resilient, and more performant.”

Hashim says the “shift is already happening” but predicts May 2021 will be the real trigger because “That’s when Google will update its website ranking algo to factor in a page’s Core Web Vitals.”

I'm sure many of us in the WordPress community will have different opinions about Hashim's predictions, and 2021 is bound to have surprises for us. Yes, there's growth in serverless, but I am skeptical there will be a huge rush to headless and serverless WordPress or alternatives to it.

Will SEO and marketing professionals converge with developers in seeing performance as a top priority that “their good-enough traditional CMS” can't deliver any other way? There are a lot of assumptions behind that imagined scenario. 🤨


Pierre Saïkali explains that if you're relying on the WooCommerce Action Scheduler library, you can hook on action_scheduler_failed_execution or action_scheduler_failed_action to log or intercept any failed or timed-out action. ⏳


Syed Balkhi, co-founder of Awesome Motive has another insightful year in review for 2020. This year Syed has included more personal information like falling victim to a scam, along with his travel adventures and experiences with burnout. Some highlights from the WordPress-related items:

  • The Awesome Motive team is fully distributed and composed of 140+ remote workers in 27 countries.
  • WPForms was Zapier’s 6th fastest growing app in 2020 alongside Facebook, Zoom, and Webflow.
  • WP Mail SMTP is used by over 2 million websites and is currently in the top 20 most popular WordPress plugins of all time.

Syed notes that he practices gratitude 🙏 every day, but “2020 has been a challenging year…” Reflecting on it, Syed writes:

“I don’t think I would be able to keep my sanity if I didn’t start doing this daily exercise. Before you go to bed, take a deep breath and reflect on all that you’re grateful for.”


Elijah Mills from Oxygen Builder shared some stats from 2020 in our Post Status Slack:

  • 29 releases this year (including alpha, beta, and RC versions) with 8 final versions released.
  • Introduced 8 new features and 90 bug fixes, tweaks, or enhancements. ✨
  • Around 22,000 messages hit the support inbox! 62% were resolved in the first reply. The average handle time in Help Scout was 5 minutes. 92% had great ratings. 👍
  • Oxygen Builder's Facebook group gained 7,838 members and had 21,992 posts with 172,479 new comments in total. 😯

Elijah's takeaway from that Facebook stat:

“This year I learned that our Facebook group appears to be relieving a large portion of our support burden as our user base continues to grow. Most easy questions are asked there and solved in minutes rather than ending up in our inbox.”


You might have noticed a recently updated feature on the Github homepage: a data-driven globe. 🌐

Tobias Ahlin explains what this new GitHub homepage actually represents and how they built that globe with WebGL. It's a five-part series, but only the first two posts are available at the time of this writing.


Upcoming Events 📆

  • Wordfest Live 2021 makes its debut on January 21 as a 24-hour event loaded with great speakers.
  • WordCamp India 2021 will take place over three weekends from January 30 to February 14, 2021!