Footnotes #434

The first WordPress 5.6.2 Release Candidate is now available for testing. This contains 5 bug fixes and we should expect a final release for Monday, February 22, 2021. 🐛

Meanwhile WordPress 5.7 Beta 3 was released for testing and includes some fixes for issues with the Twenty Twenty One theme. We're still on target for a final release on March 9, 2021. 📅

There's also an adjustment to the color contrast on some buttons to improve accessibility and readability in the admin.

Elementor announced earlier this month that they are increasing the price for their upper-tier subscriptions.  The 1,000 site plan will go up from $199/year to $999/year on March 9th, 2021.

These changes are only for new customers; existing subscribers to the Pro plan will not be affected. Personal and Plus plans are not changing in terms of price and service.

Joe Casabona responded to Elementor's announcement — and negative reactions to it — in a blog post. Joe says to do the math — “If you need a plan that allows for 100, or 1,000 websites, the pricing should work for you, because you should be making a TON of money.” 💰

Does not wanting to pay for software hold many businesses back, or are price raises just the kind of thing that will always generate loud criticism?

I like how Brad Frost defines the two types of front-end developers:

  • Front-of-the-front-end developer: a web developer who specializes in writing HTML, CSS, and presentational JavaScript code.
  • Back-of-the-front-end developer: a web developer who specializes in writing JavaScript code necessary to make a web application function properly.

In Brad's view, “A front-of-the-front-end developer determines the look and feel of a button, while a back-of-the-front-end developer determines what happens when that button is clicked.”

As someone who started in web development as a designer and front-end developer (in much simpler times) before moving into more back-end development, it's amazing to see the growth and diversity that has come to these roles. 👩‍💻

🔌 A new plugin from Andy Fragen adds “Skip Updates” to the WordPress Settings menu.  With it, you can select plugins and themes to omit from taking updates if their source code is hosted at

Why you might want to do this:

“Have you ever had a custom plugin or theme accidentally overwritten by an update from a plugin or theme with an identical slug? There are several very old Trac tickets describing this behavior and are still waiting for a solution in core. That solution is now available.”

BuddyPress 7.2.0 is now out. This maintenance release mainly fixes bugs that surface when the BP Nouveau Template Pack is used with the Twenty Twenty-One core theme.

Chris Lema talks about the sunk cost fallacy and the power of freebies.

Trial periods, testimonials, coupons, and onboarding for your products all work because “We're wired to want to finish what we start. And it's something you can leverage as you sell products.” 👍

😷 Eric Karkovack believes the state of COVID-19 vaccine scheduling holds lessons for designers:

“A coherent strategy is vital to the success of a project… when this is lacking, we make it harder for users to get what they need.”

🇮🇳 I had the chance to watch the fireside chat between Matt Mullenweg and Josepha Haden Chomphosy during WordCamp India last weekend. Some highlights:

  • Matt on India's significance to WordPress: “I visited [India] in the early years of WP; it’s home of many contributors, and the entire country seems to be very united.”
  • Matt on startups like Substack: “Whenever we see a Substack pop up in the market, it’s a moment of reflection of how we can improve WordPress and education material.”
  • Josepha on live events: “In the short term, the future of WordCamps is very careful.” We might see small events in the third quarter of 2021. But moving forward, events might have a global appeal, and even in-person events might include an online component and reduce a barrier to entry.

Michelle Gienow writes on the Gatsby blog about, “a Facebook-led global payment system website” choosing Gatsby and WordPress for building the site.

Dfuzr Technologies CEO Jason Williams described inheriting this setup when tasked with building a new site for Diem:

“We saw the virtue of using Gatsby — we’re all React developers, and Gatsby just seemed to fit the bill. Plus we recognized that things had matured in the meantime.”

He also noted that “Facebook has a lot of properties on WordPress VIP, and they have very specific requirements around scalability, security, supportability, so many different things.”

By installing Gatsby’s new gatsby-source-WordPress plugin and adding WPGraphQL-enabled endpoints, “WordPress content became accessible in Gatsby’s data layer and available to use in React templates.” ✨

Bob Dunn is about to celebrate the 100th episode of the “Do The Woo” podcast! He is asking for anyone who has a question or a shoutout to record something brief to be played back during the recording of the episode on February 22nd. 🎉

I left a shoutout of my own and can't wait to see if it gets featured. 🙂

If you ever wondered what “long-term support” really means for the Ubuntu LTS distros — and when to choose it over alternatives — then this post at SpinupWP will tell you exactly that. 💿

Here's a fascinating look at how Yoast employees have been working through the pandemic. Everyone moved from offices to homes and used daily vlogs “to keep their spirits up.” ☀️

On a similar note, Andy Budd shared two articles outlining different companies' approaches to annual retreats during the pandemic: one involves MURAL and the other is about Human Made.

📈 Based on search volume data from 2020, Alex Denning found some significant growth indicators in the WordPress space:

  • WordPress keywords increased by 14.0%
  • Plugin keywords increased 17.8%
  • WooCommerce keywords increased 44.3%
  • Theme keywords increased 8.7%

While it was a solid year for plugins and WooCommerce, there was some volatility in theme searches. Alex notes, “some themes rise quickly, but it also seems they go out of favor faster than other categories.”

The WordPress Community Team has new handbook pages that give guidance to meetup organizers who want to host in-person meetups in 2021.

In the announcement about this update, Angela Jin writes:

“As more people get vaccinated and regions are able to better address COVID-19, this process will need to evolve to reflect that, and to support the WordPress community’s other beloved in-person event formats.”check

The new guidance includes a mandatory In-Person Meetup Decision Checklist for meetup organizers to “assess whether they can proceed with hosting in-person meetups, based on health authority data and organizer readiness.” This checklist must be submitted to the Community Team “if you plan to move forward with an in-person meetup.” 🦠

Leonardo Losoviz says GraphQL can “rejuvenate” the WordPress data model. ⚡

Josh Comeau wrote a tutorial about CSS transitions — and how to use them to create polished animations.

If your host supports SSH, it supports rsync. Justin Foell explains why it might be better than (S)FTP — and how it works: “Only transferring what has changed makes rsync deploys an order of magnitude faster than traditional SFTP deploys.”

Even though there's a learning curve involved, it might be worth your time to check out rsync. 💨

Let’s Green The Web was a five-day Twitter campaign starting this week (Monday the 15th) to encourage and support the measurement of the carbon costs of websites. 🏭

Jason Bahl documents how to set up a new development environment to contribute to WPGraphQL. If you develop on a Mac, you might be interested in this. 👨‍💻

Asko Nõmm shares frustrations with front-end development and is calling it quits.  I do agree the field has gotten complicated and some developers are beginning to feel the stress. 😫

Justin Ferriman asks the question (and answers with his opinion) — should you use “WP” in your business brand?

“There is no hard-set rule. It comes down to your primary industry and customer — which requires that you do ample market research (something that’s so often neglected by WordPress entrepreneurs).”

A quick heads up if you use LastPass. It appears they are locking down the free version to one type of device (smartphone or computer) starting March 16th. 🔒


Video Picks

📹 Here are my video picks of the week:

Podcast Picks

🎙️ Here are a few podcasts worth listening to that I've enjoyed:

  • WP Briefing: In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy has some quick explanations of the Four Freedoms of open source. She also takes up the phrase “Free as in free speech, not free as in beer” and tells us why open source matters.
  • Do The Woo: Bob Dunn and Jonathan Wold talk with Patrick Garman about the WooCommerce space over the years, the rebranding of his agency Mindsize, and the potential WooCommerce has.
  • WPMRR Podcast: This is the last episode with Christie Chirinos as the regular host.