Notes for February 10, 2020

Footnotes #382

The biggest news this week was the cancellation of WordCamp Asia due to recent COVID-19 concerns. An official post on the conference site provides guidance for registration and travel refunds. ๐Ÿ˜ท

Naoko Takano, one of the organizers, notes that the decision was sad, but at least the event has helped people connect. 1,500 participants were expected to attend.

The community has been showing its support. WordFence created a fund of $10,000 to assist with airline and hotel change fees. Yoast, GoDaddy, and ServMask all contributed $10,000 each to this fund as well.

Although many people were involved in this decision, ultimately it fell to Matt Mullenweg to make it. I can personally relate to the stress of having to cancel large conferences, and I think in this case it was justified. Matt said they're exploring whether speakers can still give their presentations online, although the organizing team stated later that they were not planning an online event.


๐Ÿ•๏ธ WordCamp websites now have more “app-like” PWA (“Progressive Web App”) features. This means cached pages and assets are available offline, so if someone visits the schedule page and loses their internet connection theyโ€™ll still be able to load the schedule. ๐Ÿ“ฑ


Zac Gordon announced the new GatsbyWPThemes.com site, which is devoted to Gatsby themes for use with WordPress. You can preview some of the themes and plugins now, and there will be more to come.


Sarah Drasner over at Smashing Magazine documents how to create a headless WordPress Site “on the JAMstack.” She sets up a Vue application with Nuxt and pulls posts via the WordPress API. A demo with source code is provided. ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ


Genesis is celebrating its tenth anniversary! ๐ŸŽ‚ Chris Garrett, Marketing Director for StudioPress at WP Engine, briefly reflected on the global Genesis community and the ways you can get involved in it.

Like WP Engine, Flywheel is now offering its customers free access to Genesis themes.


Rich Tabor has posted his reflections on 2019, which included joining GoDaddy and selling CoBlocks and ThemeBeans. His goals for 2020 are “to simply read more,” “produce music,” and “get involved with core Gutenberg on a deeper level.” Rich predicts this is going to be “an even bigger year for the block editor” than 2018 and 2019, and he describes what is probably the only way to make WordPress “future proof:”

“I want to build a WordPress that my children will fall in love with. Will share their adventures with. Will make their mark with.”

In another post, Rich outlines a new look for the Login Designer website. He used the Twenty Twenty theme and Tailwind CSS, noting he “wanted to experiment with a fully utility-based framework and better understand both shortcomings and opportunities with this flavor of site building in WordPress.” It looks nice; you should check it out.


Karolina Szczur explains how to get started with web performance by breaking down the most important performance metrics. ๐Ÿš„

JavaScript is one of the main obstacles, according to Karolina:

“Avoiding long-running tasks and blocking the JavaScript main thread is one of the most critical performance strategies to employ.”


The Daily Stoic chronicles the “timeless art” of journaling. They offer practical tips on how to begin journaling: start small, use your journal to review your day, and use the bullet journal method. Perhaps most importantly they explain why a journal matters: it's a place to bring your thoughts and keep them for your future self and maybe people close to you. “Thereโ€™s no right way or wrong way. The point is just to do it.”

CORY'S TAKE ๐Ÿ’ฅ

I've done some form of journaling on and off my entire life, recently returning to a paper journal, although I keep one on Evernote as well. In this season of life, it's even more critical for me. I firmly believe it's a best practice for leaders for clarity on the here-and-now. Keeping journals also lets you reflect and remember things later that you'd otherwise forget. I recently did that with my journals from right before I started iThemes.


The scale of online media markets and their leaders' profits are enormous. Instagram brings in more than a quarter of Facebook's sales. YouTube brings in $15 billion in revenue โ€” more than all of the ABC, NBC, and Fox networks combined and just $5 billion short of Netflix's overall 2019 revenue. ๐Ÿ’ธ


Joost de Valk took another look at CMS market share via W3Techs. He notes that WordPress and WooCommerce are growing, but Joomla and Drupal are losing market share. Currently, “Shopify is set to overtake Joomla as the #2 CMS in approximately 7-8 months.” ๐Ÿ›๏ธ


WordPress developer Jonathan Bossenger shares his 2020 web development setup. He uses Firefox and Chrome along with PHPStorm and a wide selection of GUI and CLI tools. Some may be new to you. ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ


Francesca Marano wrote aย refresher on what it means to be a component maintainer and who qualifies. (Being a maintainer and a committer are two separate things.) Francesca says “a passion for your component” is “the most important thing” โ€” and making sure you have the time available.

If you passionately believe something should be in core, check out this post. ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ


For those who wanted a full list of private functions and classes in WordPress core, Jonny Harris has provided one. He notes: “I created the list to add it to the WP coding standards, to highlight to developers that they should not be using these functions/classes in their plugins.”


Carl Alexander explains why raising the minimum PHP version in WordPress doesn't make it a “modern PHP project.” The also lists the steps that could be taken now to close that gap.

In a follow-up tweet, Carl added, “I think the larger issue is that there's no real desire to make these changes in the first place. There are plenty of people with experience that would gladly help if that was a priority.


Claire Brotherton analyzed the accessibility of two WordPress page builders side by side: Beaver Builder and Elementor. Claire's tests are extensive; they include widgets and UI. Results appear to be a mixed bag, with both plugins still having more work to do. ๐Ÿšง

In another accessibility comparison, Scott Vinkle looked at keyboard and screen readers in native video players. Scott “found most video players have poor keyboard and screen reader support,” so he recommends using them only “with caution.” ๐Ÿ“บ


If you ever wanted to develop expertise in browsers, Eric Law has put together an impressive list, from books to tools. ๐Ÿ“š


If you were looking forward to seeing the navigation block in the upcoming WordPress 5.4 release… sorry, it's not going to happen. Mark Uraine explains why, and I agree it makes sense to wait until more full site editing features emerge. ๐Ÿงญ


Looks like some folks (Nick Hamze and Aajit Bohra perhaps) created a plugin that lets you create memes using the block editor in WordPress. ๐Ÿ™€


If you or your clients are using the Event Manager Plugin, make sure you update to the latest version as soon as possible. A CSV injection vulnerability was discovered in version 5.9.7.1. ๐Ÿ’‰


Jon Christopher teased SearchWP 4.0 โ€” a major rewrite that's no longer limited to WP_Posts.ย ๐Ÿ”Ž


Scott Bolinger announced AppPresser 4. It's a major release with a completely modernized, native build process for backend apps. This will make your apps “faster and … up to date.” New pricing and beta releases are coming soon. ๐Ÿ”˜


๐ŸŽ“ WPCampus‘ call for speakers is now open through March 10th. The event is set for July 15-17 in New Orleans. ๐Ÿ“…


DAVID'S PICKS ๐Ÿ“ฌ

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here's my video pick of the week:

  • There's an interesting discussion at the Gutenberg Times between Enrique Piqueras and Birgit Pauli-Haack about the highlights of a full-site editing experience and how block-based themes could work.
  • Francesca Marano has two videos (part 1 and part 2 + slides) from the last WordCamp US on how to create a plan that properly represents you and your business. At WCUS she provided some handy worksheets with this talk.
  • The videos from last month's WP Engine DE{CODE} 2020 conference are now available if you register.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some podcasts I've listened to recently that are worth your time:

 


Notes for February 9, 2020

My mistakes with product-founder fit

I received Matt Medeiros' second email for Business 5000 this morning and the topic was Product-Founder Fit, and it inspired me. So thanks, Matt.

He talks about “new ideas fever” that we all get. In my own fever, I've made the misstep of chasing ideas too many times to count.

Mistakes and missteps

Here are some of the mistakes and missteps I've made that came to mind reading Matt's email:

  • Looking at the opportunity first and solely. My biggest misstep example was chasing eCommerce. I saw a big huge opportunity and yes, dollar signs first. I didn't properly look at who we were currently serving and what adjacent product areas we could serve our customers much better. So we came in late, burned years of time and talent and tons of money chasing a misguided opportunity.
  • Starting with the hammer and not the nail. Far too often I think of a great solution — my awesome hammer โ€” and seek out the nail to pound with it. I know that starting with the nail — the problem, the people โ€” is the absolute key and appropriate starting place. I've spent the last year talking and listening to people, trying to identify themes, struggles, problems and then find an appropriate hammer to help.
  • Do I really even care about it? Like Matt's example, he didn't care about serving lawyers. And I don't think it has to be a burning passion. But a deep curiosity and interest are extremely handy. Then do an honest assessment and ask yourself: Is this something I'd commit a year or even 5 years of my life to? That's what I did with iThemes in 2008. I knew I had to make a 5-year commitment at first to focus on it fully. Then last year when I left, I started my next chapter with some key areas I was intensely curious about and interested in. By the end of 2019, I had some much-needed clarity about what was next. In fact, one of them is mental health and I'm writing this from a retreat in Boulder where I've spent an incredible time with a group of therapists. All because of my interest โ€”and it's also an enduring mission in my life.

How Post Status fits

By the way, how did the opportunity at Post Status stand the Product-Partner Fit assessment?

When Brian pinged me about becoming a partner at Post Status late last year, it was an instant, “hell yes!” Here are some of the reasons it was the right and enduring fit for me:

  • I love the people in our Club. You are some of my dearest friends in life. You are my people. I want to support and serve you. Now I get to stay even better connected to you.
  • I care deeply about the problems, issues, the struggles, the ups and downs of our members. They are my own.
  • I love the business model and work. Community and publishing are in my blood, my experience, my ongoing interest and yes, I'll say it, my passion. I can contribute my time and talents directly. This is energizing to me.
  • We won't get rich, and that's not the point. But it needs to be profitable for us. Profitable enough to exchange our finite time and gifts in the pursuit. I'm fully confident it will.
  • I had actually pinged Brian about his Hired project right before he was going to ping me about partnering with him because I just wanted to contribute in a meaningful way and I saw an opportunity to do so. (I can't wait to share what we're doing with that very soon!)

Because of all of those reasons and probably 100 more, this is a great fit for me.

And I've got to say several weeks into it: it doesn't feel like work, at all.

It feels like flow. It feels like purpose. It feels like my tribe.

Thank you for that, Brian, the Post Status team and Club. I needed it.

Notes for February 7, 2020

Post Status Club Improvements

Hey Club members, here are some highlights of what Brian and I are working on for you:

  • The way I view business and improvements is just like software. Sometimes you have smaller releases and sometimes big releases, and always fixing bugs in the system. The Post Status Club to me is in v.5.1.1 currently. And I'm very excited about what Brian and I have planned next.ย  Iโ€™ve been reaching out to members and getting feedback on how to make PS even better for you. (DM me in Slack. ๐Ÿ’ฌ)
  • Brian and I meet every Friday at 9 AM Central followed by Slack chats throughout the week. We're still getting our rhythm down, but we're already running at a good pace together. We talk about juggling multiple projects and also partnering in a new episode of Post Status Draft.
  • The first visible improvement you should see is to the weekly Newsletter. We are adding insight/commentary to help you keep up and pinpoint how it matters to you. Our third iteration on this is coming out today! We love to have your feedback as always.
  • We are scheduling monthly Club-only content and more on topics that matter to you, like business, marketing, the remote life, health, personal and professional growth โ€” and more in addition to the weekly Newsletter and Slack community.
  • One focus Iโ€™m championing is our Teams Membership. We got some great feedback this week on topics for teams, specifically around the realities of working remotely and health. (This is right up my alley, and I have experts in mind to bring in.) Join Automattic, Pantheon, Valet and others in offering Post Status to your WordPress team.
  • I'm added a new Channel today called the Book Nook, devoted to reading that helps us grow โ€” ourselves and our businesses. I read pretty voraciously and my commitment is to post books with takeaways and encourage your own monthly. Plus, I'm sharing two resources for Club Members: My Reading Strategically ebook and my Top 100 Business Book List.

Notes for February 4, 2020

Footnotes #381

Gutenberg 7.4 ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท is out. It includes an official tool to scaffold blocks quickly, a handy color tool for Group and Column blocks, updates to the link UI with RichText formats, prettier formatting, and more.


I have been enjoying Nick Hamze‘s posts over at block.garden lately. They are short, “open thought” posts on WordPress and Gutenberg (editor) blocks. ๐Ÿก

Nick's latest piece talks about supporting blocks that may have been abandoned by developers:

“Iโ€™m just trying to figure out a way to keep not only myself going but other block builders who are having a hard time gaining traction. I donโ€™t have an answer.”

Perhaps a network devoted to supporting new block projects would help.

BRIAN'S TAKE โœ๏ธ

Nick is doing some of the most interesting work in the WordPress ecosystem, with as pure of intentions as anyone I know: he just wants to build cool stuff. I hope people will take notice of Block Garden and his other projects, which are all great.


WPEngine hosted its DE{CODE} 2020 virtual conference this week in a pre-recorded talks format but with speakers taking live questions. There's a nice selection of speakers โ€” particularly Jason Cohen and Matt Landers on headless WordPress.

There is video footage of the event, and it looks like WPEngine will be organizing it for quicker consumption on their site. ๐Ÿ“น


Jonathan Bossenger is preparing a course dedicated to automated testing for WordPress plugins. ๐Ÿงช


Zack Bloom has concluded JavaScript Libraries “are almost never updated once installed.” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The oldest version of jQuery included in CDNJS is 1.10.0 โ€” released on May 25, 2013. Through Cloudflare, it still gets “gets an average of 100k requests per day, and the sites that use it are growing in popularity.”


Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle provide some tips for writing for accessibility. Don't use colors or icons alone, and keep in mind screen readers will parse information from left to write, from top to bottom. โŒจ๏ธ


Congrats to Patrick Rauland for his new position as Product Marketing Manager for WooCommerce at Nexcess, which is now a Liquid Web brand. Patrick explains the job and his enthusiasm for it on his blog. ๐Ÿ™Œ

CORY'S TAKE ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Patrick's vast knowledge and experience of Woo and eCommerce, in general, makes this a huge nab for a company trying to make its name in WordPress and WooCommerce.


Mike Schroder explains how the media upload request worked before WordPress 5.3 and how it works now. This is a great resource for WordPress developers. ๐Ÿ“ท๐ŸŽต


Here's an interesting case of someone monetizing a browser extension (one that scans CSS in a browser) and reaching $70k over 18 months. ๐Ÿค‘

If you also haven't heard of Indie Hackers but want more monetization stories like this one, check it out.


Tim Nash explains and evaluates several strategies for updating WordPress core, plugins, and themes. He also talks about error monitoring, acceptance testing, and visual regression testing.

It's a good reminder of how updates aren't automatic for some sites, but for many, they nearly can be. Of course, depending on the host, that still leaves the rest of the stack to be updated as well.

Tim also explains how to turn on automatic core updates for major releases, which is more often than not a good idea for the vast majority of sites. ๐Ÿค–


This looks like a very handy developer's guide to designing and building fully accessible websites.ย ๐Ÿ“—

Created by Zugang fรผr Alle (Access for all), the guide is based strictly on the W3C‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).


Felix Arntz has a possible solution for lazy loading images in WordPress core and is calling for testing it in a feature plugin (WP Lazy). ๐Ÿ’ค

“With WordPress enabling native lazy-loading by default, it would significantly impact performance and user experience for millions of sites, without requiring any technical knowledge or even awareness of lazy-loading as a concept.”


If you do JavaScript development, then you might enjoy this piece from Joe Eames on why the import statement is so confusing. ๐Ÿ˜•


Rafal Tomal posted a review of 2019, which he describes as a time of personal rediscovery. Rafal formed a design studio called Authentik (now rebranded as Good People Digital) and left it at the end of the year to go back to solo design. ๐ŸŽจ

I've enjoyed the sites Rafal helped create, including the personal sites of Syed Balkhi, Jay Baerย and Thomas Griffin.

CORY'S TAKE ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Rafal's work is alwaysย inspiring. But I really love seeing CEOs polishing, promoting, and leveraging their personal brands for their businesses whileย building a separate platform for themselves outside of their businesses. Something I regret was not pushing out monthly content and spending time on my personal brand more, especially in light of exiting the company I built.ย ย 


Bruce Lawson shows why you should choose HTML5 article over section elements in this nifty article at Smashing Magazine. Article elements aren't just for blog posts โ€” they're for any self-contained item. Bruce also explains the HTML tags that are most helpful to screen reader users and entirely transparent to everyone else. ๐Ÿท๏ธ


For those who write blogs or manage content for their company site, Igor Beniฤ‡ suggests using Trello as a blog planner. Igor shows you how Trello can be used, not how it must be used. Naturally, “you are free to set your own workflow.” ๐Ÿ“‡


Lucas Bustamante says writing good code is completely feasible “if you care for your craft, keep pursuing your own improvement and aim high.” ๐Ÿš€

For developers, Lucas has some specific suggestions for self-improvement: “use PSR-4” (maybe it will land in core eventually), “read software books” like Timeless Laws of Software Development and Design Patterns, and “learn to write tests.”


DAVID'S PICKS ๐Ÿ“ฌ

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here's my video pick of the week:

  • Matt Medeiros has another outstanding tutorial โ€” this time he shows how to use the GoDaddy Go Theme with Gutenberg and the CoBlocks plugin to create the homepage for one of Go's sample templates called “Keynote.”

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ There are no particular criteria for what we include here in other than the fact that we listened to and enjoyed these podcasts. I try to listen to a variety, but some weeks I have more time than others. Here's what I enjoyed most recently:

  • Cal Evans and Mario Peshev discuss the term “full-stack developer” and what that means in and out of the WordPress space.
  • The Women in WP podcast interviewed Stephanie Wells of Formidable Forms and discussed her journey as a self-taught plugin developer.
  • I caught up on two episodes of the Ladybug Podcast โ€”ย one focuses on personal branding, including some tips on starting out and then managing your brand. The other is a discussion of Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Notes for February 1, 2020

Notes for January 27, 2020

WP Fusion Drive

It's easy to see a year-in-review like Sandhills‘ and think, “that just doesn't relate to me.” Maybe you're a one-person business, or you're not seeing the path forward. Millions in revenue feels impossible.

If that's the case, you will enjoy reading Jack Arturo's year-in-review for WP Fusion, a product that I must admit I could not recall hearing of before I read this post. But wow, was I blown away.

Jack has driven down into a niche of providing Zapier-like services deeply integrated with many popular (and some less popular) WordPress plugins. It's very, very clever, and he's found a special place in the LMS space.

In 2016, Jack made $44,725. In 2019, he made $303,242. Just, wow. And he's set the business up to do some great stuff in 2020, with new integrations, and a stunning new website.

Updates, branding, usage insights, revenue, and support all come into the story. It's especially fascinating to see the breakdown of plugin usage he sees from his customers. Go read it!

A few highlights:

  • In 2019 there were 65 releases of the core WP Fusion plugin.
  • The total number of platforms supported rose to 39.
  • 2019 was WP Fusion's “best year yet for revenue.”
  • Total gross revenue ($303,242) increased by 89% with 756 new sales.
  • 154 new customers emerged on Black Friday alone! ๐Ÿ™Œ

I always enjoy annual reflections from business owners in the WordPress space, but this one went above and beyond. Going into this level of detail is a rare and valuable source of insight. Thanks, Jack!

Notes for January 25, 2020

Footnotes

If you want to start reading ahead for PHP 8, follow this post from Brent Roose as it evolves. There is quite a bit of information to read already. I'm particularly interested in the JIT (“just in time”) compiler that promises significant performance improvements. ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿ’จ


In development since November, WooCommerce 3.9 is out with 600 commits from 18 contributors. This is a minor release, but it ships with WooCommerce Blocks 2.5.11, MaxMind Geolocation Integration, and it raises the minimum WordPress and PHP version requirements to 5.0 and 7.0, respectively. ๐Ÿ›’


Gutenberg 7.3 has rolled with lots of bugfixes, enhancements, and performance gains. The most notable new features are the text and background color selectors. ๐ŸŽจ


StudioPress announced recently a new theme using their Genesis framework, Navigation Pro. They described it as their “first theme to make building pages even easier, by delivering theme-specific Sections and Layouts via Atomic Blocks.” โš›๏ธ

Originally developed for Array themes, Atomic Blocks was acquired by WP Engine last year a few months after StudioPress was acquired.

If you have a Pro Plus or WP Engine account, you already have access to Navigation Pro.


As Rich Tabor announced on Twitter recently, the GoDaddy “Go” Gutenberg-first WordPress theme is available on the WordPress theme directory.


Tim Nash shares how one might go about finding all the Gutenberg Blocks used on a site. It's more complicated than you think.

Tim also shares five languages he thinks WordPress Developers should learn in 2020: PHP 7, Javascript and NodeJS, Python, Rust, and Bash/Shell Scripting.


PublishPress has some unusual listicles that might warrant some attention: federal websites that use WordPress, and state governments that have WordPress websites. It would be interesting to see similar lists for countries other than the United States. ๐ŸŒ


Cristina Holt from WebDevStudios shares some tips for leading a remote work team: ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

  • Require a direct communication tool for all employees.
  • Ensure your company has solid process documentation in place.
  • Trust your employees and avoid micromanagement by setting clear expectations.

Two members of the WordPress leadership team need the public's votes to win in the first-ever Community Industry Awards. Andrea Middleton was nominated for Executive Leader of a Community Team. Josepha Haden Chomphosy was nominated for Community Professional of the Year. ๐Ÿ™Œ


If you've heard the term “JAMstack” in developer circles but aren't sure what it includes, you will appreciate this post from Lee Warrick.


Cathi Bosco explains why she finds it important to contribute to the WordPress governance project: “WordPress cannot expect to be leading the way to democratize publishing without basic governance in place.”


After a one-year hiatus, CMB2 โ€” a “developer's toolkit” for building metaboxes, custom fields, and forms for WordPress โ€” has released a new version. Justin Sternbergย breaks down some of the enhancements and features, including text, textarea, and WYSIWYG character counter options, a new field type, and styling that's more compatible with WordPress 5.3. ๐Ÿ“ฆ


10up released Autoshare, a plugin that automatically tweets your posts as soon as theyโ€™re published. Autoshare integrates nicely with the Gutenberg publishing flow. Once you click the publish button, the plugin sends your post's title, featured image, and link to Twitter, along with a custom message. ๐Ÿฆ


Jeff Ong at ThemeShaper shares how to create a block-based theme using block templates that can be fully edited with Gutenberg โ€” including headers, footers, and sidebars.

As of Gutenberg 7.2.0, block templates are an experimental feature on the path to a full-site editable front-end for WordPress. Jeff notes, “This spec is in a very early stage. I hope by writing this, your interest is piqued to learn more and contribute your own experiment to the WordPress theme experiments repository.”

Tip of the hat to Mel Choyce for bringing Jeff's post to my attention. ๐Ÿงข


Tiny helpers is a website that curates a list of “free single-purpose online tools” for web developers. Worth checking out. ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here's my video pick of the week:

  • Matt Medeiros has another outstanding tutorial โ€” this time he shows how to use the GoDaddy Go Theme with Gutenberg and the CoBlocks plugin to create the homepage for one of Go's sample templates called “Keynote.”

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ As we move forward in 2020, I should say the podcast recommendations we make here are for the most part the podcasts the Post Status team listens to as we follow our interests. There are no particular criteria for what we include other than the fact that we listened to and liked it! I try to cast a wide net myself, but sometimes I devote entire weeks to only a few podcasts, and other weeks I am more varied. Here's what I enjoyed most recently:

  • Joe Casabona chats with content manager and strategist Jessica Lawlor about content calendars. They answer important questions about goals and how to create content even if youโ€™re strapped for time.
  • A recent episode of Syntax covers some high-level design tips specifically for developers.
  • Bryce Adam shares his transition from WooCommerce to running his own SaaS business, Metorik, on the Doo The Woo podcast.
  • I've recently started getting into the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, which covers recent news and updates to Gutenberg plugins as well as the block editor in WordPress. Hosted by Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine, I listened to one recent episode covering the Gutenberg 7.2 release. Another recent episode covers a new scaffolding script and “ShareABlock” service.

Notes for January 20, 2020

Footnotes

Sand Dollars

Pippin Williamson has written another year-end review post about Sandhills Development โ€” what they achieved and the struggles they encountered. This post is very detailed and lengthy as we have come to expect. Pippin notes his company has grown to 24 on the digital side, and 14 on the brewery side. ๐Ÿป

Pippin's breakdown of Sandhills' core product revenue is notable:

  1. AffiliateWP: $1,272,293.46
  2. Easy Digital Downloads: $1,009,080.44
  3. Payouts Service: $24,446.03
  4. Restrict Content Pro: $467,806.26
  5. Sugar Calendar: $6,282.75
  6. WP Simple Pay: $307,743.63

Among their 2020 goals, Sandhills is aiming to surpass $4,000,000 in gross revenue and maintain a 20% profit margin. ๐Ÿ“ˆ


Jason Bahl notes that if you're following the WPGraphQL project, this upcoming release “might be one of the more exciting ones yet.” ๐Ÿฅณ


If you are looking for CSS animation libraries, here is a recent “top ten” list that goes into great detail. It's published on DEV, which I'm reading more and more these days compared to Medium, which I'm reading less and less. ๐Ÿ‘€


Burn After Reading

Here's another impressive “what we are reading” list from the regulars at CSS Tricks. It will keep you busy for a good chunk of the year! Chris Coyier, Sarah Drasner, Geoff Graham, and Robin Rendle weigh in with some worthy links. ๐Ÿ“š


Cody Landefeld has put together a handy SEO guide for WooCommerce users. Cody advises you to start with the Yoast WooCommerce SEO Plugin, but there are many tips about speed and security too. ๐Ÿ›’


Cookie Beatdown

Thanks to the “SameSite” policy that is coming soon in Chrome 80, some potentially “promiscuous” ways cookies can behave will go away. ๐Ÿช

Troy Hunt argues on his blog that this change “takes us towards a more ‘secure by default' position but as with many changes that favour security, it'll also break some stuff along the way.”

On a related note, Google recently announced they are planning to “phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within two years.โ€


Hello Dollie

Dollie turns WordPress premium themes and plugins into “click-to-launch pre-made websites for customers.”

Hat tip to Bowe Frankema who alerted me to this. It looks great, and I'm looking forward to digging into it soon. ๐ŸŽฉ


Congrats to Andrea Middleton and Josepha Haden for being nominated for the first Community Industry Awards (CMX) for their work in the WordPress community. If you have a few minutes, they could use your vote. ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ


Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser is now generally available. So far, it works just as fine with WordPress as you would expect.


HaPHPy Birthday

Drupal has turned 19. Congrats to Dries Buytaert and the entire Drupal community for their wonderful achievement. ๐ŸŽ‚


WordPress and Ajax 3rd Edition is a book that is “being written in the open.” You can leave feedback in the form of comments so Ronald Huereca and Vivien Anayian can shape the book towards the reader. โœ๏ธ


Luca Mezzalira shares some tips on “micro-frontends” โ€”ย an architectural style in frontend apps. There are four pillars in any micro-frontends project: definition, composition, route, and communication. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ


How Am I Self-Hosted to Live Without You?

Barry Pollard examines when and how you should consider hosting your own Google fonts.


Zac Gordon outlines his plans at JavaScript for WordPress. More bootcamps and books are coming along with a platform for new teachers. Also mentioned: a focus on new speakers and MCs for conferences. ๐ŸŽค


Brent Roose offers some benchmarks that feature the new preloading feature in PHP 7.4. Brent says, “I think it's safe to say that preloading… will have a positive performance impact, also on real-life projects built upon a full-blown framework.” ๐Ÿš†


Dan Abramov recently published “Goodbye, Clean Code.” Attempting to be clever and code cleanly didn't turn out the way Dan hoped. ๐Ÿ›

He shares his mistakes and considers when developers should think deeply about the impact of their work on others:

“I thought a lot about how the code looked โ€” but not about how it evolved with a team of squishy humans.”


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น I've been slow to get back to watching new videos in the new year. Here's one I appreciated:

  • Matt Medeiros made a tutorial about setting up a homepage with the Chaplin theme and Gutenberg.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ I've been trying to avoid the “Best of 2019” and the “What are you looking forward to in 2020?” podcasts, but it's been difficult. Here are the ones I enjoyed over the holidays and New Year's week:

  • Here's a great episode of the Women in WP podcast with Allie Nimmons talking about teaching yourself to code and building diversity within the WordPress Community. A more recent episode has a good discussion with Monique Dubbelman about (among other things) the Dutch WordPress community.
  • Richard Tubb spoke with Chris Brogan about dealing with mental health challenges as the owner of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
  • Two great episodes of the Shop Talk Show feature Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier having good discussions: one is about the future of the industry (and alternatives to WordPress); the other is about when development just goes wrong.
  • Matt Mullenweg spent his first 2020 episode with Jason Fried, who is best known as the CEO of Basecamp.

Notes for January 9, 2020

Footnotes

Ella van Durpe notes “the first Gutenberg release of 2020 includes not less than 180 PRs ๐Ÿ˜crafted by more than 56 contributors.” Highlights include a new block for multiple buttons, accessibility improvements to the editing interface, and a refactoring of the button component. You can also “Enable Full Site Editing” in the Gutenberg “Experiments” panel.

If you're wondering what's coming up next for Gutenberg, Riad Benguella has an initial gameplan for the year. Work on a separate Edit Site UI and an updated Block UI design are being explored. The navigation block is up for some polishing, and early feedback on it will be addressed. ๐Ÿ‘


Haris Zulfiqar says he is “betting on Gutenberg” because it's addressing the needs that page builders currently fill, although Gutenberg will never (in Haris's opinion) replace them. ๐Ÿƒ


Here's Nick Hamze on building Gutenberg blocks for the next generation:

“Give blocks a chance and maybe ask your kids what theyโ€™d like their WordPress to look like.”

This is a good read, and it takes on a subject I don't think we take seriously enough as a community.


WP Landing Kit has launched. Built by Phil Kurth and Jason Schuller, it maps domains to posts, pages, WooCommerce products, or any other custom post type item without the need for WordPress Multisite. ๐Ÿ›ฌ


New books ๐Ÿ“š of note:

  • Building Web Apps with WordPress: WordPress as an Application Framework by Brian Messenlehner and Jason Colemanย is available in print and digital forms from O'Reilly.
  • Justin Tadlock, Brad Williams, and John James Jacoby will be publishing the 2nd edition of Professional WordPress Plugin Development later this year.

Michael Beckwith has shared an impressive list of IndieWeb plugins for WordPress and the terminology and concepts that go with them. If you're curious (or confused) about this community and movement, this is a must-read.

Michael covers IndieWeb Core, Webmentions, Semantic Linkbacks, Microformats2, Post Kinds, Syndication Links and Micropub Server. ๐Ÿ”Œ


Brad Touesnard did a review of 2019 for his company, Delicious Brains. After launching two products and working toward a major release of WP Migrate DB Pro, Brad notes that they're doing very well and plan to “step up [their] marketing game in 2020.”

The API is an extremely important part of Delicious Brains' website and business. Iain Poulson explains how he began testing it with the help of Codeception: “Turns out Codeception has a pretty nifty REST module that makes it possible to perform API testing.” ๐Ÿงช


Aaron Jorbin shares his thoughts on keynotes at WordCamps. “Not every WordCamp needs a keynote. Itโ€™s far from a requirement… Keynotes should leave the audience asking questions of themselves, and this should be for just about everyone in the audience.”


Scott Kingsley Clark is asking for donations to support the Pods Framework this year. Automattic has withdrawn its sponsorship of the project, which has provided 90% of the Pods team's total funding.

Understandably, Automattic “want[s] to focus their funding on Gutenberg-native projects” now.


As part of a “month in WordPress” review, Angela Jin mentioned that the WordPress meetup program crossed the 800-group mark this month! More than 100 countries are represented. ๐ŸŒ


I agree with Nile Flores that WordCamps need more workshops and talks for beginners:

WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe donโ€™t cater to the beginner user… If youโ€™re going to talk about being inclusive and wanting to encourage newbies to embrace WordPress and democratizing publishing, we gotta walk the walk too.


Notes for January 2, 2020

Footnotes

Party Block Admin

Mel Choyce-Dwan posted an update to the “block directory” project. As Mel explains, building the directory in the WordPress admin interface presents some “opportunities to redesign certain existing patterns” there. ๐Ÿšง

Check out Mel's post to see some mockups that might be turned into components for the new block directory UI.


Ultra Prominent Speak

Aaron Jorbin shared some “random thoughts” on his block about WordCamps and travel:

Itโ€™s important for people who can be considered ‘Names' to make space for the next group of contributors, and this includes not speaking all the time.


During WordCamp US Contributor Day 2019, the Design Team explored a number of ideas for an author card block. Joshua Wold has shared some of the mockups, along with the thinking that has gone into the process so far. ๐Ÿ‘ค


If you are a front-end developer or just an admirer of clever JavaScript and CSS, then you might enjoy this gathering of the most popular pens of CodePen in 2019. ๐Ÿ–Š๏ธ


Verge Engine Optimization

Max Rice, co-founder and CEO of SkyVerge โ€” a prominent seller of plugins for WooCommerce โ€” shares how his team started this $350k/month business. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Max walks the reader the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing their first product. He also shares the tools, books, podcasts, and other resources that were helpful along the way.


OOP Therapy

Tyler Smith discusses how WordPress's functions.php can be simplified with OOP.

What if we had a theme object that we could perform these actions on with a simple, object-oriented API?


Noriko Yamamoto comments on the PHP community and suggests how it can expand beyond linguistic and geographic barriers. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ


Kinsta Replay

Brian Jackson reflects on the past year with Kinsta as it scaled to become a global WordPress hosting platform. Brian has some previews on what to expect in 2020 too.

๐ŸŒ 12.7+ billion HTTP requests and 519+ terabytes of data moved through Kinstaโ€™s servers in 2019.


Conflict of Public Interest

Jay Hoffmann explains why the past decade was not great for the web. “If we want a better web, weโ€™re going to have to fight for it,” he warns.

Whileย  Jay notes that “communities are splintering,” he sees hope in conversations about “a sector of the web that exists solely to serve the public good” where “the government has a role to play.” ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

Jay references MIT Center for Civic Media‘s director Ethan Zuckerman, whose recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review calls for “a wave of innovation around imagining and building tools whose goal is not to capture our attention as consumers … but to connect and inform us as citizens.”


“We might think thereโ€™s no place for old tricks like negative margins, but I recently discovered otherwise,” writes Eric Meyer. This great te.chnique for flexible captioned slanted images tickled the front-end and CSS part of my developer's brain too. ๐Ÿง 


Privacy Practice

We don't often share legal items here in our notes, but Rian Kinney tweeted this really interesting post about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) risks we may be facing in 2020.ย โš–๏ธ

Rian's post serves as a general reminder that many managers should be “vigilant and precise about the descriptions of privacy practices” in their companies โ€” whether they are in California or not.


After many years without one, the internet now has an official Far Side website to help keep things weird.


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น More video watching to wind down the year: ๐ŸŽ„

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Podcasts have been light on content during the holidays with a lot of reflection on the past year and discussion of what's to come in 2020. Here are a few worth listening to:


Notes for December 27, 2019

Footnotes

WordPress 5.3.2 dropped right before Christmas with five bugfixes and enhancements. ๐ŸŽ…

It follows so quickly on the heels of 5.3.1 because it was a short-cycle maintenance release. (The next planned release will be 5.4.)

WordPress 5.3.1 rolled out with 46 bug fixes ๐Ÿ› and enhancements โœจ that touch the block editor, the Twenty Twenty bundled theme, accessibility, and the back-end interface CSS.

 


Matt Mullenweg shared a fascinating story about how a comment on a blog led to a mathematical breakthrough. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿซ

Matt commented, “Iโ€™ve always said that comments are the best part of blogging, but this is a particularly cool example.” ๐Ÿ’ฌ


Speaking of Matt, Ella van Durpe, Tammie Lister, and a few others who were involved shared the story of how Gutenberg was used to make Matt's slides for the WordCamp US 2019 State of the Word presentation.

This nifty use of Gutenberg started with Ella using an early prototype at JSConf and ReactEurope. The plugin she created registers a custom post type called โ€œpresentationโ€ and a new โ€œslideโ€ block.

Ella offers some tips on how to use her plugin to make better slides. ๐Ÿ”Œ


Mel Choyce over at 24ways explores how the block editor can be used to create art-directed posts. ๐ŸŽจ

Mel's post shows how to use a number of blocks to build a site, and she also shows how similar results could be achieved (with greater downsides) using the Classic Editor.


Michelle Frechette explains that WordPress, as an open-source project, goes well beyond coding.

“It's about meetups, WordCamps, Contributor Days, and other events that bring WordPress users together.” ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ


Alex Denning takes on the topic of “Risk and reward at Black Friday with WordPress products” by drawing on this yearโ€™s round of holiday sales to “pull out some key insights for the future.” ๐Ÿ›๏ธ


I ran across domainnamestat.com recently โ€” and it has some interesting statistics about domain names:


Cรฉdric Fabianski covers ways to make remote work a success โ€” like good communication and making everyone feel connected.

Juan Pablo Buriticรก and Katie Womersley offer a guide for distributed teams with a focus on communication, coordination, collaboration, organization, operations, and culture. ๐Ÿค—


Addy Osmani explains one approach to loading web pages quickly on a $20 feature phone:

“Building a fast, core foundation for your site gives everyone a good experience, whether they're on a low-cost feature phone or the latest high-end smartphone.”๐Ÿ“ต๐Ÿ’จ


What can be done to block a specific customer from an eCommerce site? ๐Ÿ™…

I'm not sure if that problem has been solved by the time of this writing, but there is some help here โ€” thanks to Mika Epstein.

If you happen to know of any WooCommerce plugins that can block individuals effectively, please chime in on the WP.org forum. ๐Ÿšซ


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น More video watching to unwind with over the holidays: ๐ŸŽ„

  • The backendlessConf_ was online last weekend and had some interesting talks around static sites, JavaScript, and headless CMSes. Videos will appear soon on the Zeithq YouTube channel.
  • Take a peek at Newspack Homepage Blocks, which are being used by publications in Automatic's Newspack pilot program to build their homepage layouts. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some podcasts worth listening to:

  • John O'Nolan of Ghost was interviewed on a recent episode of Indie Hackers talking about Ghost 3.0, how WordPress influenced Ghost, and some mistakes the Ghost team has learned from. ๐Ÿ‘ป
  • The Pressing Matters podcast examines GPL clubs, inspired by a Q&A question for Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp US.
  • The Pressnomics Podcast talks with Francisco Dao about his entrepreneurial journey and the current challenges he has experienced while founding a consumer product goods company.
  • Cory Miller opens up to Scott Bolinger about the experience of selling iThemes and what he would recommend to other entrepreneurs in a similar situation.

Notes for December 13, 2019

Footnotes

WordPress 5.3.1 has been released with 46 bug fixes ๐Ÿ› and enhancements โœจ that touch the block editor, the Twenty Twenty bundled theme, accessibility, and the backend interface CSS.


Draft guidelines for plugins submitted to the new and rapidly improving Block Directory are available for discussion; feedback and suggestions are welcome! ๐Ÿ”Œ


The 2019 Web Almanac is a massive collection of data (20+ TB) from almost six million sites. ๐Ÿ“Š

Categories include CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, CMS, and page weight. There are lots of statistics to keep you busy for a while. Bookmark it! ๐Ÿ”–


24 Days in December is a series of blog posts on different subjects from the PHP community, including yours truly. All of them are worth a read, but here are two that stood out to me:


Megan Risdal reflects on building successful communities on Stack Overflow and what a product leader can do to be successful.

Key takeaways: Always ask how changes impact users, value everyone as a part of the team, and “think holistically.”


Megan Risdal reflects on building successful communities on Stack Overflow and what a product leader can do to be successful.

Key takeaways: Always ask how changes impact users, value everyone as a part of the team, and “think holistically.”


WPaudit.site is a website audit checklist for WordPress with a focus on formatting, WordPress specific optimization, accessibility, performance, and security. โ˜‘๏ธ


Koko Analytics is an open-source analytics plugin for WordPress that doesn't use any external services. Some of its features include:

  • No trackable personal information.
  • No cookies required.
  • Designated user roles can be excluded from tracking.
  • They say it's fast!

A proposed 2020 Global Community Sponsorship program for WordCamps has been made public. Of note: “most package rates will decrease for 2020, to reflect the unexpectedly flat growth in [the] number of WordCamps in 2019.” ๐Ÿ•๏ธ


Rebecca Gill will be hosting a three-day SEO Bootcamp next month (January 21 โ€“ 23, 2020). Registration is free, and you can signup at seobootcamp.com.


David A. Kennedy shows why going beyond the basics of accessibility isnโ€™t as hard as you might think. David looks at how accessibility intersects with markup and context, and he deals with labels and interactive elements in his examples.


The initial planning session for the proposed WP Global Accessibility Day will happen on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. ๐Ÿ“†


Sam Greenspan shares all the things Jilt learned by sending 4.1 million emails on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year they saw an average order value of $168, up 5.9% from last year. Mobile orders accounted for $2.9 billion on Black Friday, or 39% of all revenue. On Cyber Monday, mobile orders hit $3 billion, for 32% of all revenue. ๐Ÿ“ˆ


A critical vulnerability was found in the Ultimate Addons for Elementor and Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder plugins. Hackers can gain full control of your website through them if you don't apply the security updates.


Matteo Duรฒ has some good thoughts on advertising and cross-selling on WordPress.org and the wp-admin dashboard. Yoast and JetPack are mentioned of course, along with Matteo's view of the guidelines in place now and how they affect new developers.


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น More sweet video watching as we near the end of 2019! Most are from WordCamp US 2019:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Cal Evans interviewed Francesca Marano from SiteGround on the latest episode of Voice of the ElePHPant.
  • Matt Mullenweg interviewed Glitch CEO Anil Dash on Distributed to talk about strengthening values in a distributed startup.

Notes for December 6, 2019

Footnotes

Gutenberg 7.0 ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด was released at the end of November. It included “a big number of fixes and enhancements to the Navigation block,” which is now stable. There are new APIs allowing the internationalization of strings, a new Card component, and a few other enhancements.


For Black Friday, Yoast released an update that placed an animated banner on the dashboards of all WordPress admin pages where it was installed. This resulted in some negative feedback and discussions about ad policies from plugin companies. Yoast was updated a short time later with the banner removed, and CEO Marieke van de Rakt issued an apology on Twitter.

Several consequences of this event have been positive:

  • There was a pull request on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory Guidelines Github repo, which was closed two days later after some significant discussion.
  • The WP Notify project (which will be meeting again in January) got some attention.
  • Timothy Jensen released a plugin that “organizes admin notices for a cleaner administrative experience.”

It's not related to the dashboard ad fiasco, but Yoast released a well-made and (I think) entertaining video ad.


The draft guidelines for plugins submitted to the Block Directory are available for discussion according to a recent post on the Plugins Team site.

Currently, blocks can be submitted to the directory using the regular plugin submission form. However, you must make it clear that itโ€™s a block in the description and/or your correspondence.


Matt Mullenweg noted that with the recent acquisition of Tumblr, the total number of Automatic employees is now at 1,146. ๐Ÿ“ˆ


Scott Bolinger posted a proof of concept for fetching new WordPress posts dynamically on a static Gatsby site “using Apollo and a dateQuery.”


Jean-Baptiste Audras shared his new Contextual Adminbar Color plugin which helpfully differentiates your WordPress instances (e.g., production versus staging) with color schemes and even favicons. ๐Ÿญ


Jeffrey Carandang updated his guide for choosing the perfect Gutenberg plugins and themes.

In addition to being the author of the EditorsKit plugin, Jeffrey also shares Gutenberg tips and tricks on Twitter. ๐Ÿฆ


PHP 7.4 was officially released on Thanksgiving Day (US). As Joe Watkins notes on Twitter, PHP 7.1 is no longer supported, and the branch is closed for modification. If you are on 7.1, consider upgrading.


If you use WordPress on mobile, there is a call for testing WordPress for iOS 13.8 and another call for the Android version. If you can help out, their teams will appreciate it.


Aaron Parecki shares an extensive list of home automation tools with the goal of having “everything running locally, without relying on cloud services.” ๐Ÿค–


Josh Comeau has a three-part series about his experience as a remote worker and finding his first remote job.

If you are thinking about going remote or if you want to improve how you work remotely, then Josh has some informed takes for you to ponder.


Writing open source software and staying sane while at it” is sage advice from Sebastian De Deyne. ๐Ÿคช

Some highlights: Write your library's docs as soon as possible, spy on others in the same ecosystem, and tag stable versions early.

The best tip for me: Don't overcomplicate! If you don't need a feature, don't build it.


Gijo Varghese shares how he made WordPress faster with 1KB of JavaScript. His method involves using a preloader script called Flying Pages when the browser is idle. ๐Ÿ›ซ


Here is a great reminder from Lucy Greco that adding people with disabilities to your team improves that team's perspectives and decision-making processes: “Just thinking about someone you know can improve the product.” ๐Ÿค”

If disability is just a concept about an imaginary person who is not represented on your team or in your day-to-day associations, that is likely to be a large limit on your thinking and creativity.


Mary Fernandez at OptinMonster shares some HubSpot data related to the question, “Should blog comments be allowed?” ๐Ÿ—ฏ๏ธ

Bear in mind this is data for over 100,000 blog posts. Mary concludes, “the data shows that blog comments are not correlated with increased traffic.”


BackendlessConf is a free-to-attend online conference dedicated to the frontend. It's happening on December 14 and has a great list of speakers. ๐Ÿ“…


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching โ€” all WordCamp US 2019 videos:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:


Notes for November 26, 2019

Footnotes

A tentative schedule for major WordPress releases in 2020 and 2021 has been posted by Francesca Marano. ๐Ÿ“…

Tentative is the key term here, as “the exact dates will be confirmed only when the release cycle kicks off.” At the time of this writing, here are the version numbers and the “potential” release dates:

  • 5.4: March 31, 2020
  • 5.5: August 11, 2020
  • 5.6: December 8, 2020
  • 5.7: March 9, 2021
  • 5.8: June 8, 2021
  • 5.9: September 14, 2021
  • 6.0: December 7, 2021

Joost de Valk has an analysis of CMS market share numbers from W3Techs. Joost's key findings are:

  • WooCommerce‘s market share is three times as big as Shopify, but Shopify is growing.
  • If current trends continue, Shopify, Joomla, SquareSpace, and Wix will be in the #2, #3, #4, and #5 positions. Drupal will drop from #3 to #6, despite promising results from a recent Drupal business survey.
  • Outside WordPress, the open-source CMS market share is decreasing. ๐Ÿ“‰

Congrats to HeroPress on its recent five year anniversary! ๐ŸŽ‚

Topher DeRosia reflected on how it has changed him by “chang[ing] the way I look at the world, and the people in it.”


Renato Alves shared on Twitter that the BuddyPress team has added basic support for the Groups component to the BuddyPress GraphQL schema, which is available on GitHub. Now it has “all the goodies” you needย  “to get groups, or a group, delete/update/create, pagination, and permissions.”


Chris Coyier reviews some approaches to removing unused CSS from a site, and he recommends starting with a look at “coverage” in Chrome's DevTools. PurifyCSS, UnusedCSS, and PurgeCSS are also addressed. ๐Ÿšฟ


Check out this console cheat sheet for JavaScript developers. ๐Ÿ‘€ Very handy!


It's that time of year again, and you are invited to take the 2019 State of JavaScript survey. ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ

You can view the information gathered by the last survey here.


WP&UP (along with GreenGeeks as sponsor) is holding a summit to bring together charitable organizations and funds in the WordPress community.

This event should generate some great conversations! Spots are limited, but you can register now for free.

The event will feature nine sessions, with thirteen speakers, starting at 13:00 UTC, on December 3, 2019. ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

Speaking of WP&UP, check out Michelle Ames post on "Post-WordCamp Emotions."


Steve Burge has another post on Google Docs-style editing in Gutenberg, this time dealing with the YJS framework.

Steve's post includes a video of him talking with Kevin Jahns, Michael Meyers, and Fabian Franz from the Tag1 Consulting team. YJS already has a live demo you can try, and it's been deployed for some of Tag1's clients, including a network of Drupal sites.


Over at The Correspondent, Jesse Frederik and Maurits Martijn claim”the new dot com bubble” is upon us, and “it's called online advertising.” ๐Ÿ’ธ

This is a lengthy but fascinating deep dive into online advertising's beginnings, Google Ads vs. traditional ads, and the effectiveness of online ad campaigns.


Milled is a search engine for email newsletters.

Almost all newsletters (except this one, of course) appear very similar to me, especially eCommerce newsletters. If you need some inspiration to help you stand out of the pack, Milled might be worth a look. โœจ


From Chris Stokel-Walker, this is a fascinating look at the team that powers VLC media player, which still has millions of users.


Sadly, the agency that manages the .org domain registry has sold it to a private equity firm, which will likely drive up prices for non-profits. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

A number of news sites are covering this story, but Kieren McCarthy's take at The Register is exceptionally thorough.


Ron Soak, a Senior Data Analyst with Xero, shares some insights on the good, bad, and ugly (but significant) effects Microsoft has had on "the world of data." (Good = SQL Server, Bad = Excel, and Ugly = Access.)


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • More WordCamp US 2019 videos are appearing on WordPress.tv, including this one that includes Olivia Bisset explaining how it will be vital for the next generation to use WordPress followed by a panel that includes her, Dina Butcher, Ema DeRosia, Emily Lema, Sophia DeRosia, Natalie Bourn, and Nathan Ingram.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • In the latest Distributed podcast, we get an inside view of the Grand Meetup, Automattic’s annual week-long all-staff event.
  • Syntax hosted by Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski has two good, recent episodes: one is focused on general problem solving, which is great for developers who deal with bugs daily; the second is full of tips for writing good CSS.
  • Matt Medeiros interviews Jordan Gal (co-host of the Bootstrapped Web podcast) on his journey with CartHook.
  • The Ladybug Podcast covers conference talks, including the courage to speak and how to prepare for talks.
  • If you want to hear about the CMS landscape in 2019 beyond WordPress, then this casual discussion on a recent ShopTalk Show is perfect.

Notes for November 22, 2019

Footnotes

This month the “People of WordPress” spot honors Kim Parsell, who was also known as #wpmom before she passed in 2015. If you are relatively new to the WordPress scene, take a moment to read about Kim and get to know her a bit. ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ

Topher DeRosia is celebrating five years of HeroPress, which continues to tell the stories of people in the WordPress community who have felt they're on the outside.

WP&Up announced #DoSummitGood, an online summit for this #GivingTuesday. The summit will bring together “the ‘for good' entities within the WordPress space.” Check out the speakers, which include Topher, Cory Miller for WP&UP, Marieke van de Rakt for Yoast's Diversity and Care Funds, and others.

Yoast announced its Yoast Care (Community Appreciation REwards) fund a while back โ€” it's a program that rewards people for their voluntary contributions to WordPress. Yoast recently spoke with Georgia Castro, their first recipient, about her contributions. ๐Ÿ’


The WordPress community noticed that celebrity Christine Teigen tweeted a video of her “first site update” post using WordPress. She appeared to be using a branded admin theme and Advanced Custom Fields appeared to be installed.


BaseCamp (re)launched a free version of its service for “freelancers, students, families, and personal projects.” ๐Ÿ•๏ธ


If you are a Github user, you may have seen these announcements recently. The most applicable to many developers is likely to be the GitHub mobile apps currently in beta.

The company also released it's State of the Octoverse. 10 million new users joined the site in 2019, and 44% more developers created their first repo in 2019 compared to 2018.

Helen Hou-Sandi of 10up shared the release of Github Actions for WordPress. These are some really valuable workflow enhancements, like enabling easy deployment to the WordPress plugin repo. This is a super helpful and significant contribution by team 10up.


Stack Overflow notes in a recent post that it is “recalculating reputation” and introducing “an improved question asking experience” that rewards people who good questions. ๐Ÿ™‹


Wordfence published a comprehensive whitepaper analyzing WP-VCD, which is the name for an intensifying malware campaign that is spread via โ€œnulledโ€ or pirated plugins and themes. โ˜ ๏ธ


WP Remote has been acquired from maekit by BlogVault. Here's what that will mean for existing customers.

The original WP Remote tool and features were built by Human Made and acquired by maekit in 2017.ย  BlogVault's announcement says the current version of WP Remote “will be discontinued and retired on 31st January 2020” to be “replaced by BlogVaultโ€™s website management features.”

Existing users also have the option to migrate directly to BlogVault's site management service.

I talked to Akshat Choudhary, the founder of BlogVault, about this acquisition at PressNomics. He told me he wanted to acquire WP Remote the first time around, but it didn't work out. I think he'll do really well by this tool, and BlogVault will be the right home for folks still using and relying on WP Remote's functionality.

 


Here's an extensive summary of the recent Accessibility Scotland 2019 event from Claire Brotherton. The talks at this conference covered a wide range of topics from accessibility and ethics to AI and the challenge of maintaining privacy.

Have you ever wondered how those of us who work in technology can help make it more accessible and ethical? You should, and this is a great place to start finding answers. ๐Ÿ™‹

Claire also has a great deep dive into Twenty Twenty.


Igor Beniฤ‡ closely examines the useful ServerSideRender Gutenberg Component. Igor says, “When I want to convert a shortcode used to display dynamic content, I tend to go for this component.”


Ashley Rich explains what a load balancer does and then asks if using one is overkill in your WordPress hosting setup. ๐Ÿคน


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for videos worth watching:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Some recent podcasts of note:


Notes for November 16, 2019

Footnotes

WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” became available last week with the new default theme, Twenty Twenty, and a host of new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements for the block editor.

Hot on its heels, here's Gutenberg 6.9. ๐Ÿ“ฆโœจ

New things to note:

  • An “experimental block pattern API” along with other APIs.
  • Themes can now define custom gradient presets.
  • Support for loading block templates from themes.
  • A ResponsiveBlockControl element.

Here are two interesting proposals and posts on the future of WordPress themes based on what we've seen from Gutenberg so far:

Rich Tabor updated his post on the future of themes and notes “the definitive end of WordPress themes as we know them today is coming.” Rich thinks that might be a good thing.

Mike Schinkel has a “modest proposal.” What if, “starting with [WordPress] version 6.0 maybe โ€” the WordPress team chose to actually deprecate themes?” What if themes were replaced with modules and components as “first-class extensions?” ๐Ÿค”


Steve Burge offers some insightful thoughts on collaborative editing in Gutenberg and what that might be like in the future.ย ๐Ÿ”

Steve notes that it might be quite a challenge when this feature is tackled in “Stage 3” of the Gutenberg project. He notes Google and CKEditor needed servers and SaaS to make it work:

The WordPress team are in a similar situation… they need to find a solution that runs on almost any server.


WooCommerce 3.8 is live. It has been in development since August 2019 and contains 516 commits by 28 authors. “This version represents a move towards smaller, stable, and more frequent WooCommerce releases” and contains a new suite of product blocks. ๐Ÿ›’

Speaking of WooCommerce, I found this article about setting up an online takeout ordering system using the Liber restaurant WordPress theme, WooCommerce Product Table, and some other helpful WooCommerce plugins. ๐Ÿฅก


bbPress 2.6.0 is out after only six years (years?!) of development. John James Jacoby explains the reason for this timeframe was mainly because there are only far “less than part-time folks” actively working on the project. bbPress is installed on “over 300k sites, each with their own thousands of users.”

This release addressed 420 tickets via 1,737 individual code commits. Impressive! ๐Ÿ‘


WP-CLI 2.4.0 is out, and it supports PHP 7.4. It works great with WordPress 5.3's improvements to “properly deal with large images” by keeping track of “the original source images … so you can safely rebuild your thumbnails without losing quality.”


The latest release of Gravity Forms adds support for osDXP and includes several enhancements and bug fixes.


We will be doing more in-depth notes on some of the talks from WordCamp US after we can link to the processed videos on WordPress.tv. In the meantime here are some reviews, summaries, and reflections on WordCamp US that are worth a read:

  • I enjoyed Bob Dunn's thoughts from the heart about the event and the community. โค๏ธ
  • Matt Medeiros has a transcript of the whole State of the Word.
  • Olivia Bisset wrote about Matt's State of the Word to share her perspective as a young woman involved with WordPress. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป
  • Jilt covered some conference talk highlights and reflected on the team bonding experience in St. Louis. ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘
  • Christie Chirinos wrote about the event, including the Community Track and WCUS workshops. Both were new additions this year.
  • GiveWP wrote about some new features they debuted at WCUS. They also discuss the Open documentary and the diversity workshop. ๐ŸŽฌ
  • Ben Pines from Elementor shares four things he took away from WCUS.
  • WP Hive has a good summary of the whole event with nicely organized links to the talk sessions on the WCUS website.
  • Maddy Osman shares what she learned as a first-timer at WCUS, including the value of researching attendees you want to meet ahead of time, using calendars and alarms, and giving back.
  • Jamie Wedholm has a summary of her experience as a WordCamp US organizer and the challenges of designing iconic event graphics.
  • Of course, Post Status had a summary of Matt Mullenweg's State of the Word up moments after Matt finished giving it. ๐Ÿ’จ

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for videos worth watching:

  • Matt Mullenweg's State of the Word (and the questions he fielded from the audience) is up now on WordPress.tv.
  • Women In WP had some great interviews with women at WordCamp US. There is an audio-only version.
  • Plesk has a brief (~40 second) video on how things looked at WordCamp US Contributor Day last Sunday.
  • WordCamp US set the stage for the release of the film Open: The Community Code. This film shows the community behind WordPress, and it was also shown during Matt's State of the Word.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ WordCamp US and the trip to St. Louis kept me busy, but I managed to listen to a couple of podcasts recently:

  • Pressing Matters has a chat with James Kemp about transitioning from selling his WooCommerce plugins on CodeCanyon to his own website.
  • Kyle Maurer shares his experiences with Bob Dunn about family podcasts and the art of interviewing.

Notes for October 25, 2019

Footnotes

WordPress 5.3 RC2 is out of the gates with ten bug fixes and some improvements to the new About page.


WordCamp US is next week. We (Brian and David) will be there. Please come up to us and say “hi!” if you see us. We might also have conversations on and off camera with some of our Post Status members. ๐Ÿ•๏ธ

This year's WCUS looks like a different conference I predict it will have an overall less anxious and calmer atmosphere compared to 2018 when the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg stirred things up. The welcome addition of a Community Track and Kid's Camp are great to see. Make sure to check out the schedule. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

We will have our press badges (yes, WordCamp US has press badges this year), and we will have full coverage of the conference highlights, including Matt Mullenweg‘s State of the Word shortly after. So watch your inboxes!


Ghost 3.0, the open-source blogging platform founded by John O'Nolan, was released this week. The headline feature is a “new business model,” which aims to help writers use memberships and subscriptions to make a “sustainable living” as “independent publisher[s] in 2019.”

Ben Thompson has an interview with John that provides some of the backstory and deeper insights into Ghost's relation to WordPress. For example, John says, “We look at WooCommerce a lot in terms of business models.” ๐Ÿ‘ป


Medium announced it's changing how writers are paid: compensation will stem โ€œprimarilyโ€ from visitor reading time rather than claps.

Medium has reportedly “paid out more than $6 million in total to 30,000 writers” to date, which averages out to $200 per writer. ๐Ÿ’ธ


A new version of Firefox (70) is out, and Chris Mills covers all the developer-focused enhancements. Firefox has made tremendous advances in developer tools and features โ€” both in CSS and JavaScript โ€” and I've enjoyed using it for the past month as my default browser.

One of the things I miss from Chrome is the language translation feature, but Chris Smith notes that Mozilla is working on something similar to Google Translate. It will work locally and be more private.


Here's a pluginย that introduces GraphQL to BuddyPress. Nice! ๐Ÿ”Œ


Matt Shaw shows how WordPress handles HTML email and how plugins can supplement it. Matt says, “While WordPress core has a way to go before it has good support of HTML emails, plugin developers have helped to pick up some of the slack.”


Geoff Graham digs into the preview loading animation (with the WordPress logo) that came with the block editor in WordPress 5.0.


Faces of Open Source is a site that aims to photographically document the people “behind the development and advancement of the open-source revolution.” It highlights foundational figures and influencers from Unix, WWW, BSD, and other significant projects. ๐Ÿ“ธ


We've mentioned this viral post from Jason Grigsby before, which discusses how an HTML attribute could be worth $4.4M to Chipotle.

On a similar subject, now Adrian Roselli explains how Indiegogo left $18 million (USD) on the table last year due to incorrectly implemented labels on its payment form. ๐Ÿ’ธ

Adrian concludes this may explain whyย  “accessibility-related campaigns on Indiegogo consistently fail to make their goals.”


GoDaddy has announced it is releasing “an integration” with WooCommerce. This integration “reduces the typical four-step set-up process into one easy step” so that GoDaddy's WordPress users “can set up a fully-functioning eCommerce site in no time.”


Jon Christopher has a series running on his blog about rescuing a product. He examines improvements to the content on OrganizeWP's website in his latest post.


Marcelo Lebre explains why you should be working asynchronously. This post goes into detail about multiplexing, communication, and action, which are all vital to async work.

I'm not sure if I'm all-in with everything Marcelo says, but I'll agree that async work is an excellent way to get things done efficiently with fewer interruptions.


Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

๐Ÿ“น Here are my latest picks for video watching:

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ I've been busy preparing for WordCamp US and traveling to St. Louis, so I'm planning on catching up on podcasts during next week's journey. Here's one that's topping my list: