Footnotes #438


wJosepha Haden shared her “early thoughts” 💭 on WordPress 5.8 planning, including this intention:

“For the release that includes full site editing, I would like to pause our cohort mentorship processes and replace it with a public coordination channel for the release squad that allows passive learning through observation and release squad transparency.”

Josepha recently published an outline of the communication work needed in the pre-merge period for Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project, which focuses on full site editing. There she notes, “Community readiness should be higher for full site editing than for the block editor” with “known (and unknown) gaps in knowledge we still need to bridge.”

One of the many effects of transparency and communication is community self-education. As Josepha notes, community readiness for full site editing is essential merging it with core WordPress. It will also have the effect of “raising awareness and increasing the skills of our community as we go.”

Josepha is also proposing a WordPress Project Handbook for contributors. It would share expectations for “how we, as contributors, work together, who we want to build our products for, and the WordPress interpretation of modern, open source best practices.”

Another post describes the next steps to add “non-negotiable guard rails” for the Theme Review team by specifying what will prevent a theme from being added to the repo.  Josepha anticipates a lot of change but thinks “we can get most of this work managed by early 2022.”

It's good to see these thoughts being posted on the official WordPress.org site. I can recall past criticisms (some balanced more than others) about communication around major WordPress initiatives, including the first release of Gutenberg itself. A high level of transparency and sharing is very welcome. 👍



The Gutenberg 10.2 release brings additions to Full-Site Editing (FSE) and Global Styles, along with editing experience improvements. ✨



This is clever: Justin Ferriman shows how you can create course certificates in LearnDash using the Gutenberg editor. Better yet it's backward compatible so existing certificates will not be impacted. 🎖️

I agree with Rich Tabor‘s take on Twitter:

“I enjoy seeing all the new and creative ways folks are leveraging Gutenberg outside of just content blocks. Focusing on jobs to be done (like we see here) is the way to go…”



BuddyPress has a security release that addresses 5 security issues that were reported privately to the team. Upgrade to 7.2.1 when you can. 🔒



Chris Lema talks about the advantages of second-movers or those who enter a market late. Their customers can be serviced better, product gaps can be seen more easily, and it's cheaper to acquire customers. 🥈

Chris describes WPForms and Ninja Forms as second-movers, both of which do very well in the WordPress space:

“When you don't enter a market as a pioneer… you can enjoy several advantages that aren't available to the first movers. The second mover advantage eliminates the high costs and risks of finding product market fit. The truth is that you don't have to be first to find success.”

Chris also has a guide to choosing the right WordPress form plugin. 🦮



You can now accept credit card payments through Stripe using the free version of Easy Digital Downloads. However, there is an additional 2% fee per transaction processed vs. no fee with the paid versions. 💳

In this release, Easy Digital Downloads also includes the ability to accept payments via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay.



Dumitru Brinzan writes about the “WordPress Web Hosting” page on the WordPress.org website.

He has some disagreements with Matt Mullenweg's recent description of the hosting page as “editorially-driven” and at high risk of “bribery or conflict” if it was placed under the control of another group.



Ionut Neagu notes that he has made another “small acquisition in the WordPress space” with WP Cloudflare Page Cache:

“We're still looking to acquire plugins, SaaS, or media products in WP or financial space, generating around $20k per month.”



Joe Dolson explains why accessibility overlays should not be welcome. ⛔

Overlays are software that, typically by using JavaScript, attempts to automatically resolve accessibility issues on a site. As Joe points out:

“Using an overlay takes away choices and decision making… the development team doesn’t learn anything from the process. In order to make their next site accessible, they pay the overlay company more money; and this cycle has no end.”

This Overlay Fact Sheet provides a good start. It explains what overlays are, along with the pros and cons of using them. Ultimately, “while the use of an overlay may improve compliance with a handful of provisions in major accessibility standards, full compliance cannot be achieved with an overlay.”



Greg Rickaby recounts how WebDevStudios used Next.js to build a 1,000-page Headless WordPress website. He covers the challenges, successes, and tools that were used to test and do UI/UX reviews.

Greg also covers how his team handled the massive number of redirects because many URLs changed in the process. This particular topic “doesn’t get enough attention among the development community, but it’s really important.”

In the end, Greg notes that they “took all the lessons we learned and poured them into our Next.js WordPress Starter, an open-source project which we plan to use on future Headless WordPress projects.”



WordPress will again apply for the Season of Docs, a Google program that offers open-source projects an opportunity to improve their documentation. 📝

Justin Ahinon explains in this post how mentors and projects are needed, so if you have ideas he would love to hear from you.



Ebonie Butler writes about her experience contributing to the latest version of WordPress and what that personally meant to her:

“As a black woman, it is always an obstacle to get involved in a space where there is either no one or very few people who look like you… it is important for me to never waste my time if the space that I am trying to contribute to doesn’t make space for me. In terms of WordPress, an amazing initiative was started by Josepha Haden Chomphosy to make the WordPress 5.6 team an all women & non-binary release squad… and I took this opportunity to raise my hand to be involved.”



Here's a recent guide to Advanced Custom Field and ACF blocks from Iain Poulson, who says he realized while writing “how vital [ACF] is for WordPress development.”



Rene Morozowich has an excellent guide to the Elementor page builder with a pre-recorded version of a presentation on YouTube and also a recording of a live presentation.



A needed conversation about safety at conferences — especially for women — has been taking place. Laura Kalbag explained why she doesn't feel safe at conferences and what might be done to improve safety. 🦺

The number one thing we (especially men) can do to help:

“Pay attention to the people in the room who may feel vulnerable and step in if they are being faced with any questionable behaviour.”



Michael Beckwith created a WordPress plugin to bring blogrolls back — this time in blocks. 🔌



Dan Hacks compares REST with GraphQL and gRPC in this guide to each with their pros and cons. Dan shows how each would be used in the typical case of retrieving a user.



Harmony Romo shares a general overview of the financial health of the WordPress Foundation and its subsidiary, WordPress Community Support (WPCS), as of the beginning of 2021:

“Due to the many cancellations in 2020, the program did lose money. However, many vendors offered balances on account which can be used towards future in-person events. WPCS has approximately US$305K in prepaid expenses as of 1/1/2021 (US$170K of which relates to WC Asia).”



Here are some JavaScript ES2021 features worth knowing, plus some practical examples. 👨‍🏫



HTTPWTF looks at the quirks and history of the HTTP protocol, from the unpatched bugs to the happy accidents. 🐛



If you host domain names at Namecheap, be aware the company is switching domain privacy service providers from WhoisGuard to Withheld for Privacy.



Mario Peshev explains what technical debt is, the types of technical debt, and how assessing code quality is critical to preventing or resolving technical debt: 🏋️‍♂️

“Having a product that is poorly built can be unstable, unable to grow over time, and can keep you limited. You are paying more to just sustain the lifestyle of this specific product instead of investing in business growth.”



Robin Rendle at Sentry.io discusses how enhancements to your software product, like adding a dark mode, can expose “radioactive styles” in your codebase: ☢️

“…the design of your color system shows you where your radioactive styles are… shows you how things are tied together, and what depends on what. Sure, we wanted dark mode to look great. But we also wanted to make sure that dark mode doesn’t slow us down by introducing even more problems than we already have.”



Kudos to the Ghost team on the release of version 4.0. (The newest features added seem to pivot slightly toward memberships.)

Founder John O'Nolan has an interesting Twitter thread with some personal reflections about the launch and eight years of software development with Ghost. 👻



Andrew Owen has some advice for continuous learning in the engineering and web development fields without burning out. 😫

Here's one of his tips I've always tried to follow: “If you’re wanting to stay in software for the long haul, then I’d recommend a different approach from chasing the hype. Try to find the fun in software development.”



Ian Miell explains when it's best to interrupt a developer or engineer There is even a formula in the post embedded in a spreadsheet. 🛑



Upcoming Events 📆

  • A Business Value Crash Course led by Cory Miller and Jeff Meziere on April 7th will help business owners work through some key steps to assess value and plan their next move. There's an impressive amount of information covered, along with a Q&A at the end of the workshop. 💥
  • Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop from WP Engine is accepting signups. It will kick off on June 5th to support “Black voices in the WordPress community” and elevate “community members to leadership roles.” 🧑🏾
  • The Web Agency Summit is happening on March 23-26 featuring Chris Lema and other speakers. It's a free online event focused on “how to scale your web agency or freelance business.” Learn how to attract “high-paying clients and [build] recurring revenue.” ⛰️
  • WooCommerce Live Africa plans to host their first online meetup event on March 18 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM GMT +1. 🌍
  • WordCamp Greece is happening online on April 16 and is free to the public. 🇬🇷
  • OKC WordPress Meetup Topher DeRosia talks about increasing conversions in your eCommerce store on March 23rd. 🛒