Wordpress News

druparcheky_theme

Drupal Themes - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 21:37

composer require drupal/druparcheky_theme
or
composer require carcheky/druparcheky_theme

Dolphin Theme

Drupal Themes - Mon, 09/14/2020 - 05:15

Dolphin is a fully Responsive, mobile-first multipurpose Drupal 8 theme built on the Bootstrap 3.x Framework.

Main Features
  • Mobile First - Fully responsive
  • Pre-defined sections like banner, promotional cards, about section, number sccollers, footer.
  • Maximum configurations provided for each sections
  • Easy Theme settings for customization
  • Option to enable/disable the pre-defined section
  • Supports one / two / three column page layout
  • Dynamic columns - Adjusts to fit the page width
  • Responsive Drop Down menu
  • Use of Google Font - Exo 2.
  • Customizable social platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube) icons and links
  • Custom 403(access denied), 404(page not found) pages

Coral

Drupal Themes - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 13:02

A subtheme for Drupal's new administration theme Claro. It features minor css tweaks for prettier status messages, condensed UI elements and thinner sidebars.

Tube Theme

Drupal Themes - Thu, 09/03/2020 - 11:56

A tube profile base theme (Bootstrap 4).

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.5.1 Maintenance Release

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 19:13

WordPress 5.5.1 is now available!

This maintenance release features 34 bug fixes, 5 enhancements, and 5 bug fixes for the block editor. These bugs affect WordPress version 5.5, so you’ll want to upgrade.

You can download WordPress 5.5.1 directly, or visit the Dashboard → Updates screen and click Update Now. If your sites support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

WordPress 5.5.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.6.

To see a full list of changes, you can browse the list on Trac, read the 5.5.1 RC1 and 5.5.1 RC2 posts, or visit the 5.5.1 documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.5.1 release was led by @audrasjb, @azhiyadev, @davidbaumwald, @desrosj, @johnbillion, @planningwrite, @sergeybiryukov and @whyisjake.

Thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.5.1 happen:

Amit Dudhat, Andrea Fercia, Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko, Andy Fragen, Angel Hess, avixansa, bobbingwide, Brian Hogg, chunkysteveo, Clayton Collie, David Baumwald, David Herrera, dd32, demetris, Dominik Schilling, dushakov, Earle Davies, Enrique Sánchez, Frankie Jarrett, fullofcaffeine, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, gchtr, Hauwa, Herre Groen, Howdy_McGee, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Jb Audras, Jeremy Felt, Jeroen Rotty, Joen A., Johanna de Vos, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, Jonathan Bossenger, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonathan Stegall, Joost de Valk, Jorge Costa, Justin Ahinon, Kalpesh Akabari, Kevin Hagerty, Knut Sparhell, Kyle B. Johnson, landau, Laxman Prajapati, Lester Chan, mailnew2ster, Marius L. J., Mark Jaquith, Mark Uraine, Matt Gibson, Michael Beckwith, Mikey Arce, Mohammad Jangda, Mukesh Panchal, Nabil Moqbel, net, oakesjosh, O André, Omar Reiss, Ov3rfly, Paddy, Pascal Casier, Paul Biron, Peter Wilson, rajeshsingh520, Rami Yushuvaev, rebasaurus, riaanlom, Riad Benguella, Rodrigo Arias, rtagliento, salvoaranzulla, Sanjeev Aryal, sarahricker, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Bernhardt, Steven Stern (sterndata), Thomas M, Timothy Jacobs, TobiasBg, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), TwentyZeroTwo, Winstina, wittich, and Yoav Farhi.

WordPress 5.5.1 Maintenance Release

Wordpress News - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 19:13

WordPress 5.5.1 is now available!

This maintenance release features 34 bug fixes, 5 enhancements, and 5 bug fixes for the block editor. These bugs affect WordPress version 5.5, so you’ll want to upgrade.

You can download WordPress 5.5.1 directly, or visit the Dashboard → Updates screen and click Update Now. If your sites support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

WordPress 5.5.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.6.

To see a full list of changes, you can browse the list on Trac, read the 5.5.1 RC1 and 5.5.1 RC2 posts, or visit the 5.5.1 documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.5.1 release was led by @audrasjb, @azhiyadev, @davidbaumwald, @desrosj, @johnbillion, @planningwrite, @sergeybiryukov and @whyisjake.

Thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.5.1 happen:

Amit Dudhat, Andrea Fercia, Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko, Andy Fragen, Angel Hess, avixansa, bobbingwide, Brian Hogg, chunkysteveo, Clayton Collie, David Baumwald, David Herrera, dd32, demetris, Dominik Schilling, dushakov, Earle Davies, Enrique Sánchez, Frankie Jarrett, fullofcaffeine, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, gchtr, Hauwa, Herre Groen, Howdy_McGee, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Jb Audras, Jeremy Felt, Jeroen Rotty, Joen A., Johanna de Vos, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, Jonathan Bossenger, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonathan Stegall, Joost de Valk, Jorge Costa, Justin Ahinon, Kalpesh Akabari, Kevin Hagerty, Knut Sparhell, Kyle B. Johnson, landau, Laxman Prajapati, Lester Chan, mailnew2ster, Marius L. J., Mark Jaquith, Mark Uraine, Matt Gibson, Michael Beckwith, Mikey Arce, Mohammad Jangda, Mukesh Panchal, Nabil Moqbel, net, oakesjosh, O André, Omar Reiss, Ov3rfly, Paddy, Pascal Casier, Paul Biron, Peter Wilson, rajeshsingh520, Rami Yushuvaev, rebasaurus, riaanlom, Riad Benguella, Rodrigo Arias, rtagliento, salvoaranzulla, Sanjeev Aryal, sarahricker, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Bernhardt, Steven Stern (sterndata), Thomas M, Timothy Jacobs, TobiasBg, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), TwentyZeroTwo, Winstina, wittich, and Yoav Farhi.

Post Status: iThemes has acquired Restrict Content Pro from Sandhills Development

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 17:06

Restrict Content Pro has been acquired by iThemes. Originally built by Pippin Williamson in 2012, RCP was early to the membership space and kept its promise of simplicity and stability throughout its tenure to date.

A couple of years ago, the Sandhills Development team put new energy into RCP, and in 2019 the product made nearly $500,000 in revenue. 2020 is set to outpace those numbers. While the sale price is not disclosed, it is a 7 figure deal, likely somewhere between two and four times annual revenue. No members of the Sandhills team are moving over to iThemes and Liquid Web (the iThemes parent company), but there is a multi month transition plan in place.

In our interview, we talked a lot about the process of the deal, the transition expectations, the past and future of the product, and the emotions surrounding the sale — particularly for Pippin.

Strategically, selling RCP enables Sandhills to better focus on their other products and free up several team members' energy. RCP was profitable and fun for them to work on, but they knew it was the right fit with iThemes and were excited to be able to better share the workload on Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP, and their other products. Pippin compared it to hiring multiple full time team members, by simply transitioning what they are working on.

Additionally, the sale enabled them to put some cash in the bank, a comforting thing for a relatively small company in an extraordinarily uncertain time. Sandhills is very much an employee-first company, and this safety net lets them approach the future with confidence.

For iThemes, Matt tells me that the acquisition excites them in part because it gets them once again on the front-facing part of websites. For years now they have focused on the utility side through backups, security, etc. Now they get to not be just peace of mind to their customers, but an aid to helping customers actually make money.

Restrict Content Pro makes a lot of strategic sense for Liquid Web and iThemes both. Sandhills has always had a great audience, but is most popular among developers and tinkerers — people ready to get their hands dirty a bit. iThemes opens up a much more user-centric audience, and expands the base of potential customers through cross marketing.

Also for Liquid Web, they have put a lot of energy into optimizing for eCommerce, and RCP offers a much more niche eCommerce product for them to cater to for the side of their eCommerce audience that is not selling physical goods.

All around, this deal just makes sense. Thanks to recent energy reviving the product, website, and RCP community, Pippin and his team were able to receive a compelling offer for Restrict Content Pro. Thanks to a well established marketing plan, and a well established roadmap for furthering the product's success, iThemes should be able to nicely capitalize on the opportunity.

I'm glad to see a win-win, and the opportunity for both of these companies I respect to take a new step in their company journeys.

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress: August 2020

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 09:32

August was special for WordPress lovers, as one of the most anticipated releases, WordPress 5.5, was launched. The month also saw several updates from various contributor teams, including the soft-launch of the Learn WordPress project and updates to Gutenberg. Read on to find out about the latest updates from the WordPress world.

WordPress 5.5 Launch

The team launched WordPress 5.5 on August 11. The major release comes with a host of features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, enabling updates over uploaded ZIP files, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, inline image editing, and lazy-loading images, to name a few. WordPress 5.5 is now available in 50 languages too! You can update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or download it directly from WordPress.org. Subsequent to the 5.5 release, the 5.5.1 release candidate came out on August 28, which will be followed by its official launch of the minor release on September 1.

A record 805 people contributed to WordPress 5.5, hailing from 58 different countries. @audrasjb has compiled many more stats like that and they’re well worth a read!

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8

The core team launched Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8. Version 8.7 saw many improvements to the Post Block suite, along with other changes like adding a block example to the Buttons block, consistently autosaving edits, and updating the group block description. Version 8.8 offers updates to Global Styles, the Post Block suite, and Template management. The release significantly improves the back-compatibility of the new Widget Screen, and also includes other important accessibility and mobile improvements to user interfaces like the Toolbar, navigation menus, and Popovers. For full details on the latest versions of these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.7 and 8.8.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Check out the brand new Learn WordPress platform!

Learn WordPress is a brand new cross-team initiative led by the WordPress Community team, with support from the training team, the TV team, and the meta team. This platform is a learning repository on learn.wordpress.org, where WordPress learning content will be made available. Video workshops published on the site will be followed up by supplementary discussion groups based on workshop content. The first of these discussion groups have been scheduled, and you can join an upcoming discussion on the dedicated meetup group. The community team invites members to contribute to the project. You can apply to present a workshop, assist with reviewing submitted workshops, and add ideas for workshops that you would like to see on the site. You can also apply to be a discussion group leader to organize discussions directly through the learn.wordpress.org platform. We are also creating a dedicated Learn WordPress working group and have posted a call for volunteers. Meetup organizers can use Learn WordPress content for their meetup events (without applying as a discussion group leader). Simply ask your meetup group to watch one of the workshops in the weeks leading up to your scheduled event, and then host a discussion group for that content as your event.

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a local WordPress community event, visit the handbook page

Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

The Month in WordPress: August 2020

Wordpress News - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 09:32

August was special for WordPress lovers, as one of the most anticipated releases, WordPress 5.5, was launched. The month also saw several updates from various contributor teams, including the soft-launch of the Learn WordPress project and updates to Gutenberg. Read on to find out about the latest updates from the WordPress world.

WordPress 5.5 Launch

The team launched WordPress 5.5 on August 11. The major release comes with a host of features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, enabling updates over uploaded ZIP files, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, inline image editing, and lazy-loading images, to name a few. WordPress 5.5 is now available in 50 languages too! You can update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or download it directly from WordPress.org. Subsequent to the 5.5 release, the 5.5.1 release candidate came out on August 28, which will be followed by its official launch of the minor release on September 1.

A record 805 people contributed to WordPress 5.5, hailing from 58 different countries. @audrasjb has compiled many more stats like that and they’re well worth a read!

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8

The core team launched Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8. Version 8.7 saw many improvements to the Post Block suite, along with other changes like adding a block example to the Buttons block, consistently autosaving edits, and updating the group block description. Version 8.8 offers updates to Global Styles, the Post Block suite, and Template management. The release significantly improves the back-compatibility of the new Widget Screen, and also includes other important accessibility and mobile improvements to user interfaces like the Toolbar, navigation menus, and Popovers. For full details on the latest versions of these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.7 and 8.8.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Check out the brand new Learn WordPress platform!

Learn WordPress is a brand new cross-team initiative led by the WordPress Community team, with support from the training team, the TV team, and the meta team. This platform is a learning repository on learn.wordpress.org, where WordPress learning content will be made available. Video workshops published on the site will be followed up by supplementary discussion groups based on workshop content. The first of these discussion groups have been scheduled, and you can join an upcoming discussion on the dedicated meetup group. The community team invites members to contribute to the project. You can apply to present a workshop, assist with reviewing submitted workshops, and add ideas for workshops that you would like to see on the site. You can also apply to be a discussion group leader to organize discussions directly through the learn.wordpress.org platform. We are also creating a dedicated Learn WordPress working group and have posted a call for volunteers. Meetup organizers can use Learn WordPress content for their meetup events (without applying as a discussion group leader). Simply ask your meetup group to watch one of the workshops in the weeks leading up to your scheduled event, and then host a discussion group for that content as your event.

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a local WordPress community event, visit the handbook page

Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

WPTavern: WordSesh EMEA 2020 Kicks Off September 2, Featuring Short Talks and Micro-Tutorials

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 04:00

The second edition of WordSesh EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) is happening in less than 48 hours on September 2. The virtual event’s schedule is tailored to attendees living in the Eastern hemisphere. In its first year running, WordSesh EMEA attracted a solid turnout of close to 1,000 attendees and was the proving ground for future regional WordSesh events. With WordCamp Europe cancelling in-person events until 2022, WordSesh EMEA is another way to highlight voices in the European WordPress community with a global audience.

“There were definitely enough people at the inaugural WordSesh EMEA event that it was clear I needed to do it again, and expand into an APAC event,” organizer Brian Richards said.

Richards had WordSesh APAC (Asia/Pacific) on the schedule for the end of March, right when the pandemic was breaking out. WordCamp Asia had just been cancelled the month before, as he was preparing to announce speakers for the WordSesh.

“I worked with the WCAsia organizers to invite as many speakers to speak as I could,” Richards said. “I ended up helping run a Feb 22 pop-up livestream event to host several of them and invited the remainder to join me on a second full day of sessions at WordSesh.”

Six months later, many WordCampers have had their fill of online events after months of mandated lockdowns and voluntary quarantining. Any new virtual event announced is immediately in competition with outdoor activities and hobbies that attendees could be engaging in away from the computer. Nevertheless, Richards has seen a threefold increase in signups over the previous year.

“There are 3,200 folks registered currently, and we’re on track to have 3,500 by the time things kick off on Sept 2nd,” he said.

“I’ve been extremely mindful of virtual event fatigue for this one. This time around, the event is designed to fit inside an 8-hour span, inclusive of breaks, and no single session is longer than 20 minutes (plus Q&A).”

Whereas the previous WordSesh events were somewhat novel in that they gave attendees 24 hours of free live streaming WordPress presentations, pandemic era virtual events are evolving to eat up less of attendees’ free time. Organizers are now opting for scheduling fewer speakers for more manageable sections of time, or requiring them to give more condensed versions of their presentations.

“I worked with the speakers to compress their talks into 20 minutes instead of the historical 40 minutes of years past,” Richards said. “I’ve been developing a theory that case studies and micro-tutorials are the most optimal format for a conference talk, though, and I’m going to test that idea more thoroughly in future events.”

The schedule features 13 sessions on topics ranging from plugin development to client management to marketing with multisite networks. Whether you are a PHP developer learning how to navigate the world of blocks or an event planner seeking resources for the pandemic pivot, there’s a session for everyone.

The talks will be a mix of live and pre-recorded, all broadcast live at their set times with speakers joining for Q&A after each session.

“Most will be pre-recorded to eliminate any technical risks during the event (e.g. internet outage, power outage, and all the many various life emergencies),” Richards said. “This also offers a nice bonus of the speaker being able to interact with the chat during their talk.”

WordSesh EMEA will introduce a temporary job board, reminiscent of the kind one might find on a whiteboard in the hallway at a traditional WordCamp.

“Attendees can share whether they are hiring or looking for work in an entirely free-form format,” Richards said. “The entire board will be accessible to attendees throughout the live event only. After the event has ended I will capture the final state of the board and share that with everyone who actually attended so they can have a semi-permanent record. I think this is the first time there has ever been anything that only exists for live attendees and nobody else.”

Richards will also be delivering virtual swag to attendees’ inboxes again this year, with substantial discounts to various WordPress shops, hosts, and service providers. If you haven’t signed up yet, you are not too late. Registration is still open until the last minute, and tickets are free.

WPTavern: One Year After Beta, Elmastudio’s Aino Blocks Plugin Lands in the Plugin Directory

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 08/31/2020 - 22:09

One year ago today, Elmastudio launched a beta version of its Aino WordPress theme and Aino Blocks plugin. While the team pushed the theme live in the theme directory earlier this year, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that they officially released their blocks plugin.

Elmastudio’s beta launch was one of the first pieces of news I noted when I began writing for the Tavern — I was already lining up stories a couple of weeks before I officially started. But, the story fell down the list over time. After seeing Aino Blocks land in the plugin directory two weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to check out what the plugin looked like today.

Aside from a few minor styling issues, the Aino theme is a solid offering for users who are looking for a block-ready theme that provides an open canvas. I am generally a fan of Elmastudio’s work with themes. However, most of the blocks from the Aino Blocks plugin are not particularly impressive. At best, they are par for the course for these types of block library plugins. I tend to install them to see if I can find a gem of an idea or two, some missing element that would solve one of the various problems I have. No such luck this time.

The Plugin’s Blocks

The one block that caught my eye the most was the Grid block. I am still hopeful that core WordPress adopts some sort of grid layout block or system. Therefore, I test every such block I come across.

The Grid block in the Aino Blocks plugin works well enough for people who have a background in CSS code. The terminology for the block options may be hard to understand for average users. On the whole, it does not feel intuitive enough for me to recommend it over better options.

Using the Grid block.

Layout Grid by Automattic still holds the title for best grid block plugin thus far. Yes, its options can be confusing too, but it does provide dragging capabilities that will autofill those settings for less tech-savvy users. GenerateBlocks also has a powerful Grid block that is far easier to use.

The most complex block and the one that seemingly pushes some boundaries is the Hero block. It is essentially a block that combines content, buttons, and media in a specific layout. The problem is that there may not be a need for the block in every case. It is far better suited as a block pattern, and because the plugin already introduces a custom pattern, there is little reason not to move along the same route with the Hero block.

Within a couple of minutes, I was able to recreate the default Hero block output with core WordPress blocks. The only exception to this was the use of the Badge block included with the Aino Blocks plugin.

To recreate the Hero block, an end-user merely needs to add a Media & Text block. In the content/text panel for the block, they can add the Badge, Heading, Paragraph, and Buttons blocks. After adding an image in the media section, they would have recreated the Hero block. Because of the multiple inner blocks involved in this, it can be a bit complicated for some users. That’s where patterns come into play. By using a pattern, the plugin would have:

  • Used less JavaScript.
  • Used less CSS.
  • Mostly used core blocks.

Users may be stuck with an unnecessary block in this case. And, if this is their first foray into the world of blocks, they are unlikely to learn that there was a better way.

The one thing the Hero block brings to the table is its custom grid settings. It provides end-users with control over the placement of content and media columns. That is the only thing it has going for it as an individual block, but such a feature might be better as custom block options, such as those provided through EditorPlus.

Aino Blocks does include a single block pattern. It is called Hero Aino. It is a customized version of the Hero block in pattern form and showcases what users can accomplish with a few adjustments of the block options.

Aino Hero block pattern.

This pattern is the one area where the plugin shines. It will be interesting to see if the developers continue with more patterns in the future.

The plugin also adds Badge, Card, Author, Testimonial, Buttons, and Arrow Button blocks. The Badge block allows users to add a small bit of text with an inline background. The Arrow Button is essentially a link with an arrow icon next to it. Everything else feels like it has been done before by a plethora of other block collection plugins.

Final Verdict

I question whether most of these types of block library plugins are necessary at this point. Few of them feel like they are pushing any limits, raising the bar beyond what has already been done. My fear is that we will continue to see more and more of these collections packaged from every plugin and theme shop to the point where everyone is simply building the same blocks in-house.

This is why the block directory needs to be integrated into core. Instead of downloading an entire collection of blocks for something like a plain ol’ testimonial block, end-users can simply download a single testimonial block.

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on Aino Blocks. Maybe it appeared in the plugin directory too late. Bigger plugins have already carved the path that Aino is trekking. I want to see more than yet another block collection by yet another theme/plugin company. I want to be dazzled.

For the most part, the plugin works well. I did not see anything technically wrong with it. I just do not see it appealing to many people outside of Elmastudio’s current theme users, not when there are more mature plugins of its type out there. There is still room to grow. The company’s best bet is to focus on building patterns. Its first pattern shows some promise. I am holding out hope for more interesting work to come.

WPTavern: WordCamp Austin Opens Call for Musicians

Wordpress Planet - Sat, 08/29/2020 - 21:39

WordCamp Austin 2020 is putting out a call for musicians, alongside its call for speakers. The event’s organizers are rising to the challenge of creating a unique experience for attendees, while working within the constraints of a virtual format. Because the city prides itself on being “the live music capital of the world,” due to its abundance of music venues, the camp’s organizers are inserting a little local Austin flavor into the schedule.

English poet Robert Browning, in his poem Balaustion’s Adventure, wrote, And who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.Music has a way of bringing a human aspect to virtual events where people are sitting alone behind glowing screens, hoping to connect with others during this protracted time of isolation. WordCamp Austin’s organizers are aiming to pepper the schedule with a diverse selection of performances for attendees to enjoy.

Musicians from anywhere in the world are invited to send an audition video (or schedule a live audition) for the opportunity to perform 2-5 songs at WordCamp Austin between sessions. Those who are selected will have the choice of performing live (with technical support from the organizers) or submitting pre-recorded performances. Organizers are also accepting auditions from singers, beat-boxers, rappers, and anyone who plays a non-traditional instrument.

“We want WC ATX to be put on the map so that it will drive more attraction when we can get back together in person,” co-organizer Ben Moore said. “Like all other major events, 2020 will be the catalyst for more virtual events. Virtual, in-person, and a hybrid mix of the two will emerge after all of this.”

WordCamp Austin organizers are planning to use Hubs Virtual Rooms by Mozilla to create a unique environment for attendees.

“I think it will be a lot of fun and allow everyone who is burnt out on Zoom to get something different,” co-organizer Cousett Hoover said. “We have a lot of dedicated folks but venues in Austin are super expensive which makes it hard to coordinate a WordCamp. This allows us to get more support and with a star group of organizers we can come back even better next year.”

WordCamp Austin’s use of Hubs Virtual Rooms will be an interesting experiment to follow, as most other virtual WordPress events have opted for Zoom.

“One of the more exciting parts of Hubs is the spacial audio feature,” Moore said. “We hope this can create a more interactive experience for people as opposed to everyone having to hear everything being said. People will be able to ‘walk’ around, gather in groups, and have smaller conversations without the need for a moderator to designate breakout rooms. We hope to imitate an ‘in-person’ environment but remain virtual.”

WordCamp Austin has been running since 2012, with a few gaps in between when they were not able to make it happen. Most other city-based WordCamps are on hold right now, but Hoover said she sees an opportunity in the present circumstances for newer community members to attend virtually.

“I think it is a beautiful opportunity for so many who might otherwise not know about WordCamps or not have one close by to be able to attend,” Hoover said. “Personally, I work with a lot of Mompreneurs who use WordPress daily for their livelihoods just like many other WordPressers but so many do not know about the incredible community that WordPress has and these events are an opportunity to save on travel and time and still be able to participate a bit.”

Organizers are planning two tracks, with 8-10 sessions separated by musical interludes. Applications for WordCamp Austin’s musicians are due by September 4. The deadline to submit auditions is September 11 and performers will be notified of acceptance by September 15.

WPTavern: Stepping Into a Market With Major Players, Mario Peshev Acquires WP-CRM System

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 08/28/2020 - 18:23

Mario Peshev, the CEO of WordPress agency DevriX, officially announced he had acquired the WP-CRM System plugin this week. Formally, his company Premium WP Support is taking the reins for the project. Scott DeLuzio, the creator and previous owner of the plugin, published the news on his blog last month.

DeLuzio originally built the plugin in 2015 after dissatisfaction with the solutions available on the market and having no control over the data, which was hosted on third-party services. He made the plugin available through his brand Amplify Plugins. Since then, his company has shifted focus to add-ons for eCommerce plugins in the WordPress space. Therefore, he decided to sell his CRM project.

Peshev began his career as an engineer with enterprise-grade development. He said he was already familiar with CRMs after having worked with them long before he switched to WordPress development. It shaped the focus of DevriX toward small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and growing businesses using WordPress as an application framework.

“Over the past few years, we’ve built a number of integral solutions in-house for our brands — including our business process management system or our time tracking software,” he said. “When I stumbled upon a tweet by Scott DeLuzio disclosing the sale of a couple of plugins, I got hooked almost immediately.”

Peshev described WP-CRM System as being closely aligned with his company’s goal, which is to support WordPress-driven businesses given clear metrics for maximum ROI.

“It’s powerful, integrates seamlessly with most form plugins (intercepting leads through Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms), comes with Slack callbacks when leads come in, provides multiple views for different use cases, and gets the job done through a single, yet powerful dashboard,” he said. “Working with an existing customer base is also a great opportunity to refine the rest of our product offerings and work closely with businesses eager to evolve without having to migrate away from WordPress.”

The Future of WP-CRM System

For the short term, Peshev said his quality assurance team is doing extensive testing for performance opportunities. It is also testing to see how the plugin can integrate with other popular business plugins. However, the main goal is to push out some usability improvements.

“In the long term, we will be expanding into several verticals — adding industry-specific features that better serve groups of businesses, such as accounting firms, creative studios, and event management companies,” he said. “The product is customer-led and we rely a lot on existing customers to improve usability even further.”

The CRM market is becoming more competitive. Peshev said the contract on this acquisition was already signed by the time Automattic publicly announced its acquisition of Zero BS CRM (now Jetpack CRM) last year. However, he feels like there is plenty of room for growth for both plugins in the space.

“Larger businesses have to scale with certain constraints in mind — both from a managerial standpoint, and when it comes to responsibility,” he said. “This is how startups emerge and quickly acquire certain industries or niche markets. Automattic is known to spread across other business segments, such as the hosting or eCommerce ecosystems. I certainly don’t believe it sets the right tone, but I’m also not concerned about yet another CRM solution entering the space. In this case, it’s a mutual effort toward strengthening the position of WordPress in the SME space, bringing more opportunities to matured businesses, and preventing businesses from ‘outgrowing’ WordPress as a business platform.”

The major player in the CRM market is HubSpot, but it pushes users to an app that is hosted off-site, which is the opposite approach of both WP-CRM System and Jetpack CRM.

Peshev said his company used to be a HubSpot agency partner between 2017 and 2019. However, they terminated the partnership because HubSpot’s focus was on building an opinionated business ecosystem that was cluttered and incompatible with other solutions. The goal seemed to be to push users toward other CMS-type software that they owned.

“WP-CRM System feels native to the WordPress user,” said Peshev. “With simpler sales cycles, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. You don’t need to spend forever sifting through options and filling out complex forms. WP-CRM System is designed for growing businesses that used to rely on group chats, emails, and spreadsheets, and can’t justify the administrative overhead (or pricing) of the giants in the CRM space. The market is indeed saturated, especially outside of WordPress, and segmentation is the best strategy here: evolving a CRM for a specific segment (WordPress users) and audiences (mostly service businesses) in our case, and developing separate extensions for verticals that reach out more frequently.”

WPTavern: MotoPress Acquires Gutenix WordPress Theme

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 08/28/2020 - 04:34

MotoPress, a theme and plugin shop in operation since 2013, has acquired the Gutenix WordPress theme and its commercial ZeGuten blocks plugin for Gutenberg. The free theme currently has more than 700 active installs after nine months on WordPress.org.

MotoPress already has a number of successful niche WordPress themes and plugins but Gutenix fills the gap for a multipurpose theme. It was developed to work well with popular page builder plugins, and includes dedicated starter template libraries for Elementor, Brizy, and the block editor. The theme’s commercial upgrades bundle the GutenixPro premium plugin, 30+ starter sites, and the ZeGuten plugin.

MotoPress is more well-known for its Hotel Booking plugin and its associated add-ons. The company also develops a block collection plugin called Getwid Gutenberg blocks, which has more than 10,000 active installs and is growing in popularity. Getwid is unique in that the collection is aimed at developers. The plugin comes with a free style kit that includes theme support snippets and CSS classes to accelerate the development process of building custom themes. Its accompanying Getwid Base Theme has more than 2,000 active installs.

Even though MotoPress is already developing its own block collection and base theme, the company saw value in acquiring a more multipurpose theme aimed at users of popular page builders.

”Such a multipurpose theme is something we always wanted to create – but have never had the time resource to invest in such a multidimensional and complex thing,” MotoPress CEO Alexander Matienko said.

“After a fruitful exchange of experiences and visions with the Gutenix creators,I realized one thing. Not only are our companies aligned in our Gutenberg-driven passion, but we both have realistic views on the current WordPress market demands, where Elementor and other builders have been great value for people.”

Gutenix is MotoPress’ first acquisition and the company plans to keep it as a separate product that is independent of MotoPress Club membership.

WPTavern: Elementor 3.0 Allows Users to Create a Personalized Design System

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 08/27/2020 - 20:35

Elementor version 3.0 was launched on Tuesday. This release is the first major update to the plugin in over two years and is one of the largest upgrades in its history. The new version focuses on a design system, a new theme builder, and performance improvements. The driving motivation behind this release was to create global design tools, which is a shift from the plugin’s roots as a mere page builder.

One of my biggest complaints about builder plugins is that they have often approached design on the individual page level first. However, web design is not about how you can fancy up a page. It is about taking a holistic approach to the overall design of the site. When building single pages, users of such plugins far too often create more work for themselves, much of it better handled on a global scale. One of the cornerstones of development is to not repeat work you have already done. Builder plugins can too easily push those who use them toward such bad habits.

Design should handle the foundational, global features first. Then, drill down to the atomic level when necessary. Builder plugins have almost exclusively gotten this backward in the past.

Elementor 3.0 seeks to solve this problem by introducing its design system and a new theme builder. The latter is part of its pro offering. The design system is essentially a global style creator and is available in both the free and pro versions. This is a welcome addition to the plugin and should create a solution for those foundational elements that the plugin has been missing.

“Creating a site with a design system in mind (i.e. style guide, colors, and typography) is how professionals approach building websites,” said Ariel Klikstein, the co-founder and CTO of Elementor. “For many creators, this is an integral part of building the site as it helps them, their teams, and their clients to align and communicate around a consistent vision.”

The Elementor team is coming to terms with the principles that have long guided web designers. The goal is to apply these principles to a user interface, breaking outside the confines of code.

“Design system capabilities are among the pillars of building professional websites, as they give the ability to view and control the site elements from a centralized hub and apply sitewide changes to overall colors, typography, and layout,” said Klikstein.

Elementor’s Design System Editing global colors with Elementor’s design system.

Elementor is pitching its new design system as revolutionary. However, such design systems have long existed in the WordPress ecosystem. Theme developers have created similar systems for well over a decade, and they have since capitalized on WordPress’s built-in customizer to do it in real time.

The question is whether this new system ups the ante, creating a new baseline in which others must compete.

That will be for users to decide. However, it does offer a plethora of options under its Site Settings menu. It allows end-users to customize colors, typography, and several other elements across the site. Current plugin users will have tools in their hands to do some more amazing things with Elementor, and they will be able to do them in a much more streamlined manner. Ultimately, it should save time and make it possible to update the site over the long term without re-editing old work.

It is not particularly revolutionary, but it is something that should be standard for any sort of visual design system.

“While it’s true that applying global styles was always possible using custom CSS code and themes, in Elementor V3.0 we made these options truly global,” said Klikstein. “Today they are independent of a theme, plugin, or widget as part of the element-based web design paradigm. The design system features are integrated into the editor workflow, without the need to use a single line of code. This will let the user implement global colors and fonts across any site element — be it a button, heading, or background. Then, if the user decides to change the color or a font style, he or she can change it once and apply it wherever it was previously placed in the global setting.”

To not mislead readers, note that most themes that have implemented such systems have also not required custom CSS or other code.

Perhaps the bigger question is whether this new design system will be better than the upcoming global styles feature in Gutenberg and core WordPress. The aims of the two are similar, but WordPress will undoubtedly launch its feature with a much more limited set of options. WordPress will also need buy-in from theme authors.

Klikstein did not directly respond to the question of how WordPress’s global styles feature impacted any decision that went into Elementor’s design system feature. However, when cutting through the marketing cruft, he did say, “It’s great to see that Gutenberg/WordPress is also moving in this direction because we believe this is the best way to create consistent and maintainable websites.” He also said this feature was on the roadmap since the plugin’s earlier theme builder concept.

Gutenberg may not be much of a consideration for Elementor’s development team. They are clearly carving their own path to success and outpacing others in the race to building websites through a visual interface.

WPTavern: Atomic Blocks Rebranded to Genesis Blocks, Migration Path to New Plugin Coming Soon

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 08/27/2020 - 00:41

StudioPress, which was acquired by WP Engine in 2018, is rebranding its popular Atomic Blocks plugin to Genesis Blocks. WP Engine also acquired Atomic Blocks in 2018, growing the plugin’s user base from 3,000 active installs to more than 60,000 over the past two years. The purpose of rebranding is to more tightly align the block collection with the Genesis brand.

“We decided to elevate the Genesis brand to be the parent brand for all of our block and theme products moving forward,” WP Engine VP of web strategy David Vogelpohl said. “While we could have changed the title of the Atomic Blocks plugin, we wanted the slug to represent the Genesis brand so we decided to create a new plugin to achieve that outcome.”

Unfortunately, in order to get the preferred slug for the plugin, WP Engine has to create a new plugin, instead of renaming the existing one. The company is creating a migration tool to move the plugin’s 60k users over to Genesis Blocks.  

“Based on initial prototypes, the migration path will be automated for most users of the plugin,” Vogelpohl said. “We believe that migration technology will be available at the end of our next two-week sprint (starting next week), but we aren’t able to commit to a date until more work has been completed.”

The new Genesis Blocks plugin will now be explicitly developed in support of StudioPress themes and the Genesis Pro package. This doesn’t mean the blocks cannot be used with other themes. Rather, it’s more clear to users that the collection is designed to look best with WP Engine’s products.

Genesis Blocks contains the same 22 free blocks found in its predecessor but can be upgraded via a Genesis Pro subscription to add more blocks, full page layouts, and pre-built sections. The subscription also includes access to advanced block-level user permissions as well as support for the Genesis Framework and its commercial child themes.

Moving forward, all new features will be added to the new Genesis Blocks plugin, while support for Atomic Blocks gets scaled back to security releases and updates necessary for compatibility with WordPress.

In time, it will be deprecated, but only after enough users have migrated over,” Vogelpohl said. “We don’t have a date for that yet and any future decisions will be based on the percentage of people who have migrated and the effects of that decision on the users who have not migrated at that time. It’s important for us to make decisions that are respectful of the users of any of our products and the sites they manage. We will clearly communicate future plans and dates for deprecation, but for now, users of Atomic Blocks will have plenty of time to migrate. We will continue to update Atomic Blocks for security releases and functionality relative to updates in WordPress until the plugin is officially wound down.”

When WP Engine acquired StudioPress and the Genesis Framework, the company said it planned to integrate it tightly into the the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform so it performs better there than anywhere else. It’s an interesting trend among WordPress hosting companies, similar to GoDaddy’s acquisition of CoBlocks and Themebeans, where the company is gradually refining its product acquisitions to provide its own flavor or “experience” of WordPress.

WP Engine also plans to rebrand the Block Lab plugin as Genesis Custom Blocks. The plugin will also have a similar migration path for its 8,000 active installs. WP Engine’s goal with the rebranding effort is to make page building with the block editor more streamlined, as well as an extension of its current product lines.

“Genesis Blocks will play a big role in how we deliver value under Full Site Editing in the future, so this is the first step in helping the Genesis community and anyone in WordPress build better sites faster with the block editor,” Vogelpohl said.

WPTavern: WordPress Should Bump PHP Support on a Transparent and Predictable Schedule

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 08/26/2020 - 23:08

Juliette Reinders Folmer released a proposal for WordPress to drop old PHP version support on a fixed schedule. She wrote the proposal after Matt Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder and project lead, reached out to discuss solutions. This was after he closed a Trac ticket last week that sought to drop support for PHP 5.6 and bump the minimum version to 7.1 for the next major WordPress release this year.

The proposal lays out a position that many in the WordPress community could get behind. It is a clear-cut, transparent path for the platform’s future PHP support.

Folmer essentially put forward two roadmaps in the proposal. The first roadmap decides at what stage WordPress would drop support for a particular PHP version. The platform would remove support for a PHP minor release that is more than five years old each December. This would coincide with whatever major release of WordPress is upcoming. The following schedule lays out the minimum-supported PHP version each year:

  • December 2020 – PHP 7.1
  • December 2021 – PHP 7.2
  • December 2022 – PHP 7.3
  • December 2023 – PHP 7.4
  • December 2024 – PHP 8.0

The second part of the proposal creates a rolling schedule for backporting security updates to WordPress. Currently, WordPress releases security updates all the way back to the version 3.7 branch. If adopted, Folmer’s recommendation would support only the previous four years of WordPress releases.

Such a change would mean that when WordPress 5.6 is released in December 2020, the WordPress project would be committed to backporting security fixes as far back as WordPress 4.7, released in December 2016.

Folmer also proposes backporting PHP upgrade notices from the site health project to the currently-supported older versions of WordPress. This measure would inform users of PHP version issues before they make the jump to a newer version of WordPress.

The overlap of bumping the minimum PHP support into the future and backporting security fixes gives users a potentially huge window of nine years in which they could stay on whatever version of PHP they are currently on. Nine years may seem like a lifetime on the web with its constantly-changing technology, and it was a point of contention from some people in the comments of the post. However, it is a plan of action, something the WordPress community has not had the pleasure of experiencing with regards to PHP support. Developers will undoubtedly argue over the dates and versions, but that is secondary to actually having a predictable timeline.

A fixed version bump schedule is welcome. It puts everyone from developers to end-users to web hosts on the same page. This level of transparency is necessary if we ever intend to move forward without rehashing the same arguments.

The system of waiting around to see when a specific PHP version’s usage stats drop below a certain percentage just muddies things. The result is typically a long-winded argument that does not move the needle. Each side picks its stats. Each side digs its heels in. And each side has plenty of good points to make. Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing — to move the entire project forward and use up-to-date tools. However, they always disagree on how we get there. Eventually, the minimum PHP version gets bumped and the community gears up for the next round. It leaves us in a constant state of tug of war between those who want quicker advancement and those who do not want to leave users behind.

The truth is that no one is ever completely right in these arguments. There is no roadmap to follow. We have no guiding principle other than “this has what’s been done before.”

WordPress needs to set clear expectations.

This is not just a problem with the minimum PHP version — many want a more-detailed roadmap for the entire project. However, minimum PHP support is one problematic area that we could have a solution for, and Folmer has carved out a path. We need only follow it.

HeroPress: Discovering Your Place

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 08/26/2020 - 09:00

I remember watching a dog I used to have jump without a thought into a river from the edge. I’ve never been someone to do that. I am cautious by nature, considered and ponderous. I plan, ponder, observe, I was always the child that watched and learnt through seeing. My introduction into the WordPress community like so most of my life experiences started with a circling on the edges, a gradual involvement, slowly acclimatising to the waters.

From DIY roots

It was the time when everyone was creating their own system from scratch, without asking if they could or should. PHP was fresh, smelt like newly baked cookies, delicious, tasty and often insecurely held together with hope, well-meaning wishes. I was riding the blogging community waves happy and fulfilled, yet frustrated by my own solution that was more a wish than an option. My blogging surf board was more a plank of wood well painted, but really close to breaking. Someone casually mentioned WordPress and after trying it, I was sold. This was pretty early in the life of the system we all enjoy now, but it had enough to show me that this was the way forward.

What truly sold me was how I could customise and theme my site so easily. This really was at that time all I cared about.

With so many events like reboots and online refreshes, sites would change their themes more often than socks.

I could embrace this with the ease of creating a theme. Style switchers were all the rage, I could change my theme as much as I wanted, with pretty minimal effort and leaving my content alone. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about security, which to be honest I avoided incidents previously out of luck over my code.

Each release saw rapid improvements, bugs were easy to report and whilst I was very much on the edges, I was slowly moving a few more rings deeper into the experience, testing the water as I went. Reporting a bug, asking a question, joining an IRC chat. My contribution circles were increasing as I moved deeper within the project.

A timeline of sorts

It would be easy to get stuck on small details in this story, the problem is I want to tell as much of my journey as possible and I’ve been lucky it’s been so long so far. The temptation to expand is heavy, so I’ll try and focus on some points over a timeline.

I am not sure when you say you joined a community, as I noted I sort of circled, dipping my toe in for a while. However, my first self noted contribution would be with the theme team. Working on building the ‘core’ of WordPress itself was a hard place to find my start. It was noisy and as I mentioned I needed a quieter on-boarding. Within this space I could work through themes, learn slowly and participate in a smaller group. It was there I stayed for a while, growing my confidence as a contributor.

Following my passion

Time moved on and my freelance business grew from an acorn to a flourishing seedling and I made a choice to put my full bet on WordPress. By this time I had discovered not only WordPress, but begun to explore more fully BuddyPress too. It was there I found a place to thrive, grow and for a long time find my contribution space.

Community and specifically enabling people to create, manage and build open source communities, was and always will be a passion of mine. Particularly in this day and age, the potential for empowerment from this type of software can’t be ignored. I count myself lucky to have been able to focus on this for the time I did.

Growing achievements with help

My passions were growing along with my business thanks to this project. It was incredible to not only run my own company, but thrive in this space and grow in confidence. I began to travel to WordCamps, speak at them, make connections and then in leaps and bounds grow my business. This continued for a number of years. I was incredibly lucky to count myself as one of the happy WordPress business stories.

I got to focus on communities and as a result got to write a book about BuddyPress theme development.

Writing a book was powerful for me as a dyslexic.

Whilst not uncommon, for someone who is, writing a book can feel like quite a mountain and you likely are told you won’t achieve that at some point in your life. Never tell anyone they won’t do anything, because there’s a strong possibility given the chance they will, try giving them the opportunity instead.

WordPress has given me some incredible opportunities in life and I count writing a book as one of them. I didn’t do it by myself though, just like I haven’t done anything in this community alone. I got to write through networking, connections, the people I met. Without the community, I wouldn’t have had the business or written the book. Behind every publication is the community, the network that helped create it.

WordPress has given me options

One thing this story so far hasn’t covered is the personal side of my life. It’s told you my WordPress journey, yet the tale of any person always has a personal side. Every single commit, every single contribution has a heart, a life behind it. Each contribution has their own ebbs and flows.

Talking about myself isn’t easy because well I have a lot of privilege and right now in this world I know I am so very lucky to work remote, to have the job I do. Being able to be a full time contributor has given me a quality of life and empowerment I daily am grateful for.

It meant I could be the sole earner when my partner was too ill to work.

It’s allowed us to move to the best location for medical care and support. I am not unique, so many contributors care, support and hold up so many others. It’s not just the contributor behind the contribution, it’s their families, those that depend on them.

Trying on contribution hats

If someone asks me where they should contribute, I always suggest they try a number of areas. This is motivated by my own journey. Your place can also change depending on where you are in your contribution adventure, mine did. Just because you enter one area, that doesn’t mean you should stay there. Often the project is enriched by you moving around, spreading your skills and activating. You have to go where you both are the most comfortable and effective, this could be a surprising place to you and others.

A lot of the new contribution hurdles that once existed have been lowered, however for anyone joining it’s never easy. Remembering those first steps every single one of us took is crucial to keep projects alive. Once you forget how hard contribution is, you set yourself up to not have contributions.

You got this

If I could time travel there is probably a whole lot I’d do. In relation to my WordPress journey, if I could travel back through the many years to me as I click that first download of WordPress, I’d probably say this quote which I think is attributed to Winnie the Pooh.

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

― A. A. Milne

It’s so easy for us all to think we aren’t good enough. We can’t contribute. We can’t make a difference. We will never find our place. Nobody will ever want us in their project. I can’t lead. I am not good enough to be a team rep. I can’t speak on stage. I can’t lead a release. I can’t be a committer. A designer can’t write code. Sound familiar? I am sure one of those comments you’ve said to yourself, I’ve said them all to myself.

Maybe in this complicated year, we all should take a moment to be a little gentler, kinder and more compassionate to ourselves. Take a moment to recognise that you can contribute, you can make a difference.. and you do.

The post Discovering Your Place appeared first on HeroPress.

WPTavern: Privacy-First Gravatar Replacement, Pixel Avatars Module Released for the Toolbelt WordPress Plugin

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 08/25/2020 - 18:16

Ben Gillbanks decided to put an old idea into motion. After the discussion over Gravatar privacy concerns and local avatars in WordPress reignited a couple of weeks ago, he went to work building Pixel Avatars, a generated avatar solution that requires no connection to a third-party service.

Gravatar solves a huge problem. It creates a global avatar so that users need to upload an image to only one site and carry it around the web with them. To use the service, sites must pass email addresses back to Automattic-owned Gravatar.com, such as when a visitor leaves a comment. The typical local avatar solution suffers because it forces users to sign up and upload an image for that specific site. Neither option is ideal for every site owner. And, both options tend to add heavily to the page load speed, depending on the number of avatars loaded.

That is where Pixel Avatars come into play. The script has all the privacy benefits of local avatars while maintaining a light footprint.

“Initially, I just liked the idea of making dynamic images that can follow you around the internet,” said Gillbanks. “I hadn’t even considered the privacy implications of using Gravatar — although in hindsight they are obvious.”

He is launching Pixel Avatars as a module in Toolbelt, a WordPress plugin that he launched in 2019. The plugin is a privacy-focused alternative to Jetpack, another project of Automattic that relies on connecting to a third-party server.

“The last few years have made a lot of people more aware of privacy online and so I want everything I build to have privacy as a priority,” he said.

Gillbanks had not put much thought into the Gravatar vs. local avatar discussion until the WP Tavern coverage of it. It is nice to see that we are least in part responsible for some innovative ideas.

“It is accepted that using Gravatar is how you add avatars to WordPress sites,” he said. “However, Gravatar is owned by Automattic and it has the potential for them to generate a lot of data about what sites people view (comment on), and how popular websites are. I have no reason to be suspicious here. I doubt it’s being used in this way, but the potential is there and we’d have no way of knowing if it was being used for data collection.”

He further explained that he believes Gravatar would be better as an optional plugin. “Even a bundled plugin would be better than having it on by default,” he said. “In my opinion, the default should be local avatars with a fallback similar to what I have made for non-registered users (or just a blank image). I’ve offered my code to the core privacy team — my plugin is GPL and the code is on Github, so they are welcome to use it if they wish.”

How the Pixel Avatars Feature Works

Pixel Avatars are completely local to the site. Using 5kb of JavaScript, which is smaller than a single avatar image on average, the code generates a pixelated avatar. For each user, the plugin creates a hash string using their email address. This method also ensures that the avatar is consistent regardless of what site it is used own.

One of the reasons this is much faster than traditional avatar systems is that the avatars are generated. They are not images that must be loaded, which can be especially problematic when loading a blog post with 100s of comments, each with its own avatar.

“If you use external or local avatars then you will still need to load additional image files and no matter how good your content delivery system (server, CDN, third-party avatar service, etc.), this will mean more data transfer, so a slower page load than my Javascript system,” said Gillbanks.

From a technical perspective, the script is relatively simple. It short-circuits the core WordPress get_avatar() function and returns an HTML canvas element with a unique data property containing the hash of the user’s email address. Once the page is loaded, the JavaScript code generates a unique image for each of the canvases.

“Since I am filtering a core function, this will work everywhere that function is used,” said Gillbanks. “Comments in the admin, the little avatar in the admin bar, and any other pages or blocks that make use of the get_avatar() function. It’s not just for comments.”

Some site owners may want to use Toolbelt to handle guest commenter’s avatars while serving a local avatar for logged-in users. This system could be the best of both worlds — local avatars for those who have them and not sending any data from site visitors to a third-party site. Gillbanks has tested against 10up’s Simple Local Avatars plugin, but it should work with other local avatar plugins.

Ezakti Theme

Drupal Themes - Tue, 08/25/2020 - 16:42

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