Footnotes #437

WordPress 5.7 was released on schedule on Tuesday with 66+ enhancements and 126+ bug fixes.

This release was made with the work of more than 481 volunteers. Of these, 129 are first-time contributors to WordPress core. πŸ™Œ

The 5.7 release was named “Esperanza” after Esperanza Spalding, “a modern musical prodigy” who I'm overjoyed to add to my playlist. 🎢

If you haven't read the 5.7 field guide, now's a good time. If you are a developer, be sure to check out the upcoming plans for full site editing and Gutenberg.

Francesca Marano interviewed two Yoast employees who were deeply involved with this release: Tim Hengeveld served as the Design focus lead and Sergey Biryukov as the Core tech lead. πŸ™

WordPress publishes nearly 80 packages to npm now. Greg ZiΓ³Ε‚kowski explains the latest changes to the process: when trunk is closed or in feature-freeze, you can use package distribution tags to get the future development version of a package you need. πŸ“¦


npm install @wordpress/components@next

Read Greg's post at Make WordPress Core for more details about the overall strategy for how WordPress uses npm and to share your feedback.

Bob Dunn, based on survey results and feedback from his outstanding podcast guests, tells us how 2020 played out for WooCommerce businesses.

Some businesses did better than others, and some store owners saw trends like “people requesting free or discounted rates due to being hit hard by the pandemic.” At least one started their business because of the pandemic.

It's good to see that, by far, most survey respondents did as well or better than previous years, with the largest group reporting, “I was lucky, it was amazing.” And, for the most part, few or no major changes needed to be made to their business operations.

Bob also has an updated guide for WooCommerce extension developers that is worth checking out as well. πŸ‘

Steve Burge and his team have taken ownership of the Simple Tags plugin.

It has been renamed to TaxoPress and has a new website. The plugin has been in existence for over a decade and has over 80,000 users. πŸ”Œ

Ashley Rich over at SpinupWP breaks down all you need to know about caching and WordPress including the different caching layers and common pitfalls. πŸ•³οΈ

Developer Olga Gleckler was recently featured in the People of WordPress segment on It's a good piece of writing and worth a read:

β€œI traveled through a very uneven path, with a lot of obstacles and noise, but for me, it’s like a kaleidoscope where a little turn presents a new picture, a new β€œah-ha” moment, new excitement after seemingly pointless efforts.”

Alex Denning took a deep dive into the advertising campaigns of some WordPress businesses, inspired in part by recent events involving Elementor and Bluehost.

Alex looks at the different ads WordPress businesses are running and considers why they might be taking these approaches, with some input from the business owners.

Alex recommends re-targeting ads because the:

“give you the opportunity (once you’ve collected the appropriate consent) to show display ads [,…] reminding the visitor about your product and giving them the chance to come back.”

While ads aren't the only marketing channel at your disposal, they are a “reasonable marketing channel to consider if you’re doing $10k+/month, or if you have a big pile of other people’s money to spend. Re-targeting ads are the possible exception.” 🎯

It's up for debate right now how much demand there will be for headless WordPress. Jason Bahl identifies a key barrier:

While much of WordPress was built with decoupling in mind, the WP REST API and Gutenberg were not.

As a result, decoupled application developers interacting with WordPress are limited in what they can achieve.

Jason also offers three possible ways forward and explains how WPGraphQL can help. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

WPCampus is asking for feedback to make decisions about future events. They're aiming to hold their annual conference a month or two later in the year than they usually have, in August or September. πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“

Scott Bolinger explains how he made a plugin (available to the public) that saves checkout form values in WooCommerce. πŸ›’

Brian Henry announced in Post Status Slack this week that he wrote a plugin to add a “view diff” link to review plugins before installing updates:

“It uses git diff via proc_open which might not be available everywhere. (Dependencies can be removed with a library, but this was quick and easy.) I've only installed it on one live site, so tread carefully. It uses PHP7.4, WPCS, PHPStan, and some PHPUnit.”

Kealan Parr relates what “every developer” must know about encoding and Unicode. This is a good overview of why we need encoding, what problems it solves, and what happens when it goes wrong. 🀯

I enjoyed reading these tips from The Leaf Node on how to craft effective landing pages along with some common mistakes to avoid. πŸ‚

Some high-profile acquisitions to happen recently, first in the hosting space: InMotion Hosting announced its acquisition of, a provider of “affordable and high-performance” unmanaged VPS Hosting.” Mike Demo comments on the deal: “InMotion now has an EU data center with an extensive OpenStack offering to give site owners more flexibility.”

In the cryptocurrency and commerce space, PayPal has bought Curv, a company that specializes in security infrastructure for digital assets. πŸ”’

Here's our wacky story of the week: Ben Stokes bought 300 emoji domain names from Kazakhstan and built an emoji email address service which has made him $1000 in a week. Come to learn about the weird world of emoji domains, and stay for the interesting story of this “tiny project.” 🀑

I ran across this week, a tool that compresses and compares images with different codecs in your browser.