Wordpress News

Government Website Template

Drupal Themes - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 10:29

Under Development and Seeking Co-maintainers

Help Needed

We are looking for folks and volunteers to contribute to update the Drupal version of the website template using the latest available iteration. Refer to the more updated WordPress release.

This is the starter theme and Drupal Integration for the Government Website Template project by the Integrated Government Philippines Program (iGov).

Drupal 7

This theme was base on zen theme framework and was modified and customized for the AO39 (administrative order no.39) Compliance.

This template also uses foundation css theme framework (version 5.4.5) which allows a responsive design for the template.

This theme has also a module helper that improves the functionality of the template and adds additional blocks like transparency seal and Philippine Standard Time(PST)

Requirements

For support and request, please email us on gwtsupport@i.gov.ph.

Future Updates
  • Fix Front page list template
  • add breadcrumb support
  • define division for the menu
Known Bugs
  • check helper module error: Notice: Undefined index: status in _block_rehash() (line 439 of C:\xampp\htdocs\FAQ_drupal\modules\block\block.module).
Drupal 8 Under heavy development. Not yet ready for production use.

References:
Philippine Uniform Website Content Policy (UWCP)

WPTavern: Key Takeaways From the First ‘Future of Themes’ Meeting

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 02/05/2020 - 21:08

There are few clear answers.

As members of the core design, editor, and theme review teams joined for the inaugural biweekly meeting that may decide the fate, at least in part, of WordPress themes, it became clear that there is no structured game plan. There are many ideas. There are several moving pieces. There are components and teams and ideas that must all coalesce and build something that has never been done before in WordPress.

There is room for both excitement and concern.

It is not necessarily a bad thing to be in an early experimental stage. However, WordPress is a mature product. It feels like there should be something more concrete about the future of one of its most integral parts — themes.

That is what these meetings are for. They are about building bridges between various teams and making some decisions. One of the problems going forward will be cutting through the noise.

Takeaway #1: there are still more questions than there are answers.

Moving Forward With Block-Based Themes

If there is one thing that almost feels like a foregone conclusion it is that we are transitioning into a future where themes will be built entirely of blocks. Even the meeting was dubbed the “Block-Based Themes Meeting,” despite some pushback that such a meeting name was biased.

This is no surprise. Block-based themes are where we are going. The real question is how that will work and what level of control theme authors will ultimately have over their creations.

Kjell Reigstad, a design director for Automattic, kicked off the meeting with an introduction of block-based themes and what the meeting would cover. “As most of you probably know, Gutenberg is in the process of expanding beyond the editor,” he said. “As we’ve already seen, Gutenberg allows for a great deal of user-customization inside of post and page content. It allows any user to create custom layouts all by themselves, and style adjustments too. These will all usually be retained even after a user switches themes.”

Full-site editing seeks to bring blocks to the entire site, which is traditionally the domain of themes. “By turning elements like the header and footer into block areas, users will have the flexibility to place any sort of content wherever they want,” said Reigstad. “It allows for a lot of creativity! They’ll theoretically be able to click and edit their header in place, or change their sites entire color scheme without needing to jump into an entirely separate interface.”

Takeaway #2: block-based themes are happening.

The Definition of Block-Based Themes Live Demo Q&A from The Gutenberg Times.

After a quick introduction of how the meeting would work, Jeff Ong, designer at Automattic, filled in the details of how block-based themes work. Currently, such themes are experimental and must be activated by ticking the full-site editing (FSE) checkbox via the Gutenberg plugin’s Experiments settings screen.

“Once you’ve activated this FSE experiment option, a few major changes will occur in how WordPress behaves,” said Ong. “WordPress will look for HTML templates inside of a block-templates directory of your theme, instead of using the PHP templates, to determine how your site will appear.”

This was not a new concept to the people present. Most have explored the initial documentation for block-based themes over the past two months.

This part of the meeting was more about providing information. The following are key links for further exploration of full-site editing and block-based themes:

Global Styles Are a Part of the Process Example mockup from the primary global styles ticket.

Tammy Lister, experience designer at Automattic, introduced global styles, a feature coming to the Gutenberg plugin and eventually core WordPress. She described global styles as being at the “what goes into the cake” stage, meaning the team is still deciding what the feature will entail.

“So what are global styles?” Lister began. “In short, it’s style you can apply across your site right there in the browser. Pretty neat! Think of it as a kit full of component tools you can activate and take advantage of. Tried, tested and ready to go. It’s your decorating kit to get your site space just the way you want it.”

At the moment, the baseline for the “kit” includes text, background, and primary colors in which themes can set the defaults. The baseline would also include typographical settings for changing the font size, scale, and alignment.

“However, is that enough?” asked Lister. “This is currently a big question. There needs to be exploration on what are common things needed and what needs to be available.”

Another argument for the biggest question award would be whether global styles are a necessary feature for core WordPress at all. With the possibility that users can directly manipulate templates in the WordPress admin, adding styles to the mix may make some theme authors feel like they will be permanently sitting in the back seat.

Lister made it clear that global styles should not go too far. “These are tools available in the editor, so addressing what is needed or not is key, over allowing everything and creating a complicated experience,” she said. “A personal point I’m thinking about here is how when I had a crowded art box I could never find that ‘one pencil’ I wanted, we want to avoid that.”

Takeaway #3: End-users will likely be able to set global styles from the WordPress admin. For many, this level of power will be a good thing. For theme authors who build hyper-detailed designs, they may be cringing at the thought.

Open-Ended Questions Going Forward

When will block templates and global styles land? The rough timeline for block-based themes is for it to remain experimental through mid-year and have something basic in place as we close 2020. Global styles are likely to land this year, but there is no definite date yet.

Global styles could easily land in the next several months. It has a tighter scope than themes made of HTML block templates. Given the point that block-based themes are currently at and the unanswered questions about how the system will work, its time frame may be optimistic. The scope touches almost everything in WordPress to some degree, at least anything that ends up on the front end of the site.

Everything about themes will change. How theme authors approach design will likely move toward styling on the component/block level. Blocks will go into sidebars as widgets are slowly replaced. Even theme options may be a thing of the past. “Personally, I don’t think the customizer will disappear immediately, but I do think it’s clear that many of its current duties won’t be necessary in this Gutenbergy future,” said Reigstad.

One question on many theme authors’ minds is what sort of quality control they will have over their theme if users are handed so much power to change things.

One proposal in the meeting was to allow theme authors to lock down certain templates so that users could not mess up the design by moving parts (e.g., a meticulously-crafted header and nav menu template that works across browsers and screen sizes). There is not yet an open ticket for this possibility, but some theme authors will need to have a level of control over this for certain designs to work.

Ending the meeting on a high note, Ari Stathopoulos, a representative from the theme review team, gave his final thoughts. “Themes are not going away,” he said. “They may change, completely transform in many ways. The tools we’re currently using and the way we’re currently building themes is not the way themes will be built next year. But they will still exist, and the new way is neither better nor worse. It’s just different. If we embrace that and open up our imagination, there’s lots of amazing things we — as theme authors — can build.”

I am cautiously optimistic that things will work out in the end. I’m excited about the idea of end-users being given tools to build out the websites of their dreams. I’m concerned, along with many theme authors I have chatted with, about what the role of theme designer will be in a year.

At the moment, I imagine a major split in types of themes: block-based vs. traditional with perhaps some block elements. Only time will tell whether this becomes an insurmountable rift or whether there is a place for both concepts.

Takeaway #4: it’s still far too early to come to any solid conclusions about what the future holds.

WPTavern: Guteblock Joins the Block Collection Plugin Arena With an Initial 12 Custom Blocks

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 02/04/2020 - 19:53

Last week, London-based digital marketing agency Sweans Technologies released Guteblock, its new block collection plugin. Currently, the plugin boasts 12 custom blocks. The company plans to add more and has big plans for the plugin’s future.

While the team earns no points for originality in plugin naming, they are nevertheless throwing their hat into the ring of ever-growing block collection plugins alongside the likes of Atomic Blocks, CoBlocks, and Kioken Blocks. There is already steep competition in this arena, but there is also a lot of space for growth.

“WordPress bets high on Gutenberg editor and the block styles,” said Ajay Thomas, CEO of Sweans. “With the introduction of blocks, WordPress allows greater user control over the page-designing process beyond what the theme can handle. For the upcoming block directory, we believe that blocks will be the third integral part of WordPress after plugins and themes.”

The plugin’s team has put together the following video to show installation and usage examples:

Plugin Blocks

Guteblock is still a little rough around the edges in comparison to more mature block library plugins. Some things were confusing, such as some block color options not using the theme-defined colors. The drop cap block felt like it could have simply been added as extra settings to WordPress’ paragraph block.

The container block currently does nothing but group elements. At the moment, it is a step down from WordPress’ existing group block. Thomas explained that the team wanted to develop other blocks before fleshing it out. “The main features we will add to the container block are custom background settings, which include color, customizable gradient, an image with parallax effect, video, customizable SVG and other features including shadow, border-radius, etc.,” he said.

Of its library of 12 blocks, it has some interesting blocks that will come in handy, such as the number box block, which allows users to add columns of numbered boxes. The notification block is also useful for adding a bold warning, note, or similar message.

Number Box block from the Guteblock plugin.

The post grid block is one of the nicest blocks in the collection. It lets users create a grid of posts, showcasing the featured image, post title, and optional excerpt. It has settings to control the post count, number of columns, and font sizes.

Post Grid block from the Guteblock plugin.

The biggest downside to the post grid block at the moment is that it relies on the post-thumbnail size for featured images, which may make them look stretched and distorted on the front end. In the future, it would help if the user could select their preferred featured image size.

The plugin includes a social sharing block. Currently, it adds sharing links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit. Each social network can be enabled or disabled individually. The plugin also includes round, square, and modern block styles.

Social Sharing block from the Guteblock plugin.

A social sharing block will likely be more useful when WordPress moves toward block-based themes. Controlling this at the post level instead of globally is unnecessary work except in some edge cases where a user wants social sharing only on a limited number of posts or pages.

Thomas believes the team members and author profiles blocks are the most useful blocks. “One of the extremely important features of team members block is that users can highlight one block separately by changing the background color, font color, etc. and drag and drop members to reorganize, he said. “Regarding the author profile block, our block will fetch the author’s name, bio, and image and display there. Users can modify the same if needed.”

Upcoming Blocks and a Premium Version

At the moment, Guteblock is a free plugin. However, Sweans plans to launch a commercial version in the future. The company did not provide an exact date of launch but said it will happen shortly. It is also unclear what the pricing model will look like.

“This will be mainly a more customizable plugin with some other blocks such as Amazon link builder, events and shows, a premium slider, etc.,” said Thomas. He stressed that the free version will have at least 34 blocks down the road.

The plugin’s development team is currently working on two primary blocks to include in the premium edition. “The first block will help Amazon affiliates search for their products in the Amazon catalog, access real-time price and availability information, and effortlessly create links in your posts to products on Amazon.com using the Amazon Product Advertising API,” said Thomas. “The second block is for adding event details in a post or page. You can show the time, date, venue, and the details of the event, and this can be directly added to your desktop/mobile calendar with one click.”

Along with work toward their commercial version, the development team is preparing to add 16 extra blocks to their free version. This update will include blocks for Google Maps, video, grids, advanced columns, newsletters, pricing tables, and more. They will also provide alternative versions of some core blocks, such as blockquotes and buttons.

The company plans to dip its toes into the upcoming block directory too. “We are planning to release some very useful and unique blocks into the block directory and will maintain its excellence and effectiveness,” said Thomas. “But, at the same time, we will improve our plugin’s collection to make them stand out from the rest as we are updating them regularly to give the finest user experience.” It will be interesting to see if the block collection plugin or the individual blocks perform better.

Post Status: Working on multiple things, and working with partners

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 02/04/2020 - 01:13

A lot of folks in the WordPress economy, whether employed with a side hustle or self-employed, manage multiple things. Also, many of us work with partners, or are interested in partnerships.

Cory has long worked with partners, and we're now running Post Status as partners. Also, we are both working on several projects.

In this episode of Draft, we talk about how to balance multiple things, how we try and structure our weeks, and some things to consider when working with partners.

Show links Sponsor: Pagely

Pagely offers best-in-class managed WordPress hosting, powered by Amazon's Cloud, the Internet’s most reliable infrastructure. Pagely helps big brands scale WordPress. Their new platform NorthStack is a completely serverless solution for managed application hosting. Thank you to Pagely for being a Post Status partner!

Full Transcript

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Brian Krogsgard 0:05
This episode of Post Status Draft is brought to you by Pagely's best in class WordPress managed hosting. They help big brands scale. And it's really the place you want to be. If your website is a mission-critical site, they have an extremely flexible tech stack to help you accomplish your goals with your website. And they have the three things that they really like to focus on: Number one, flexibility. Number two, scalability. And number three, reliability. What I think occasionally in the years that I've hosted my main website PostStatus.com on Pagely, that's what I keep in mind myself — I know I can do the things I want to do. It's not overly opinionated. It's highly scalable, and it's reliable. I never worry about my WordPress going down because it's on Pagely. Go to pagely.com to check it out. Thanks so much to Pagely for being a Post Status partner, and welcome to Post Status Draft. My name is Brian Krogsgard. I'm here with my partner for Post Status, Cory Miller. Hey, Cory.

Cory Miller 1:07
Hey, Brian.

Brian Krogsgard 1:09
Alright, official podcast.

It's our second podcast. Every, every trend starts with two, right? Yep. So we have a couple of topics that are highly relevant to us that we want to discuss today. And number one is juggling multiple things. We're both doing so so we're going to talk about the process of it and some of the things we've tried to instill in our own habits and otherwise. And then the second thing is the process of working with a partner because when juggling several things, often the choice would be to have a partner in crime as you do. So obviously, this is highly relative to our, our own situations, with post status and then each of us are, you know, Post Status as our common plate but we each have other plates that were spinning So that's what we want to discuss and iron out today. You know, I'm thinking of who's our listener who's, who's listening to this and thinking, I'm interested. And you know, one type of person sticks out to me in particular, which is a, like a plugin or product developer, someone that's got a WordPress product and maybe it's not their full-time gig yet or maybe they're balancing the product side with doing some freelance work. Why don't we jump back to the first time you had to start balancing something and go from there so like, what have you learned since you you know since you started doing full-time WordPress back in 2008 or so? Was I themes paying the bills right out of the gate, or how did that work?

Cory Miller 2:49
Yeah, I think it was paying the bills right out the gate, but I've kind of notorious mine. People that have worked with me to be a plate spinner anyway, I kind of relish In the place multiple things keep me engaged. And so, but I woke up you know, couple weeks ago post that this is one of five projects I've got going right now and back into being a plate spinner again but and iThemes Yeah, I spend a lot of plates in the first year, of course, we had full time, you know, I had money to be able to kind of get started and then we try to get revenue in the first month as best we could and be self-sustainable. But uh, for that year, I tried to only spend one plate and that was just I themes, but on the project plate for products, it was just trying to iterate on themes and stuff, but the year, a year or two prior, I was doing the same thing we're doing now which is balancing a full-time gig with stuff on the side, in my freelance business just happened to be, you know, it worked out but I was also I don't know, 13-14 years younger and I can power through until midnight or one now it's like I'm going to bed at night.

Brian Krogsgard 4:07
Yeah, definitely makes a difference I've said on this podcast and elsewhere many times that my I used to call it my tended to time. So 10 pm to 2 am was my window where typically my wife was in bed before I had kids. And I was a night owl, so I would get stuff done. And that was how I maintained my side hustles while I had full-time jobs, and I can't do that anymore, like just physically, my I can't do that now. And, you know, if I have to get some stuff done late at night, I might be able to put in an hour or so. But I run out of steam like if I'm going to do something else. It has to be something replenishing or balancing my work efforts, like reading a book or something that's not by, you know, fingers to keyboard type of activity.

Cory Miller 4:59
I know a lot I know most probably of our community can relate to all this as burning the midnight oil, so to speak. And then now as I've gotten older it's like, it's just not going to work. And you and I both have young kids. So when I get home, it's hard to like, I can't pull up my computer one, I've got a kid sitting in my lap. And, you know, wanting to know what I'm dead. I'm like, I'm trying to get something done.

Brian Krogsgard 5:25
If I'm, if my two-year-old is here, he will literally just make every effort to just slam the spacebar. He's like, that's the biggest thing that's on that board that you, you know, put your fingers on and he's just like, I gotta get on that, you know. I can't, I can't really work with them awake. What that means for us is that we're juggling things and we're not like inventing new hours in the day where we're figuring out how do we juggle within our standard, our standard day. So how do you physically process this and terms of playing And execution?

Cory Miller 6:03
Gosh, you know, I put the five projects like in December, I thought I have four, this is all one and then something happened and I was like, okay, there's a fifth can't turn down. And I realized real quickly like, okay, I don't want to get into old bad ruts. I knew I had to get organized new posters is a priority for me, for us, for our family, too. And I've got a lot of other projects kind of spinning, but I had to get really organized and go, okay, you know, I'm going to need help at some point. So I actually hired a virtual assistant. A couple of weeks ago, I don't even know if I told you that run. But yeah, you mentioned to me Yeah. How to virtual assistant because I had a longtime executive assistant at it. Named Patty color, Painkiller, excuse kill. And I was like, I've got to find figure that out. So I hired a virtual assistant and starting to delegate trying to delegate things to her to help me chase down some things but there's so much like, she can't go to the bank and sign, you know, a bank account for me. So I'm trying to be strategic about it. And then now you know you and I both said we're in a different stage now. So we got young kids, work, work-life balance, if that's even a thing work-life alignment is a thing for me. But I don't know if I want to be working. After six o'clock, I need to devote that time to my kiddos, and I know you do too. So I've got to really prioritize I think Jason freed said it best is in one of his books or podcasts or something a long time ago that constraints particularly time constraints are such a good thing. I'm like, Yes, absolutely. You know, when I saw those names and people, you know, have their opinions about where they think my financial future is. But honestly, when everything is an option, everything sucks. And I think constraints. I can't believe I'm saying this, but constraints are good. In certain situations, everything is an option. And I've kind of taken the mindset from Jason freed that, you know, having kids is good because it gives me some boundaries, or at least that need to be setting boundaries to not repeat bad habits that I did over 10 years. And I think,

Brian Krogsgard 8:19
yeah, so you're saying constraints in terms of what you choose to work on. And that's interesting. For me, I kind of know what I'm working on now. Like, I made those decisions. And, you know, I'm contracting a significant chunk of my week with sky verge, working the majority of the rest of that with post status, and then I have this one thing, and this is where I really had to make my biggest decision, which is on the like, crypto side of things where I had huge community following and stuff. I had to say, I'm going to establish scope on what's achievable within that project, and really limit myself self to, to what I know I can do well and efficiently. So for that, it really meant narrowing it all the way down to just like a podcast. So I do a podcast in that space. And now I know like, I'm not going to spend more than, you know, x hours in the week on that because I've established scope for that project. And then it's deciding, okay, well, where, where's the differentiator between, you know, being productive with my time and relying on teammates, like in our scenario, that was one of the big things selling half a post at us. It's not just Oh, great. There's a little bit of money now that I get to bring in which I'm obviously thankful for. But it's also to say, Okay, if I treat this as part-time and you treat this as part-time, we have two part-time contractors, will you put all four of us together we're combining multiple people's skills, and the end result is better than me as a full time or upon myself could have ever done in the first place. So I feel like That's a really effective use of part-time efforts and allows me to juggle multiple things and in my opinion, put out a better product on the thing that I was trying to do alone. So that was a big part of it for me is defining the scope and identifying how can I make something better while spending less time on it?

Cory Miller 10:22
Yeah, I think what has been for me is prioritization of like, I can't, I can't goof off. I've been here in my little office from, you know, 830 to five roughly and it's straight through and it's good. It's engaging senior wanted to level off at some point. But there is a focusing power, like I've got to be very good about prioritizing what my time is, particularly with juggling some projects like you do. I'm thankful that our partnership we're in the same time zone and roughly on the same hours, work hours. So that's really good. My partner, Rebecca Gill, another project. She's in Eastern Time Zone. I always have to kind of convert a little bit on that. So,

Brian Krogsgard 11:04
and then really hard for our friends who have partners or whatnot that are six hours or 10 hours apart, that the offset that you create in your communication cycle forces your projects to go slower.

Cory Miller 11:16
We were very deliberate about when we took on our Portugal team and iThemes and because they were six hours ahead of us, and knowing there's going to be a lag and man that just slows things down when you're trying to ship product. So it's, it's, you know, I'm definitely thankful we're in the same time zone and even Rebecca and I are just an hour apart, but still, it's like she's already started her day, you know, I might get an email at 630 in the morning, and I'm just kind of getting around and it's like, oh, man, her days getting going now.

Brian Krogsgard 11:47
Yeah, she's full force. I'm ready.

Cory Miller 11:48
Yeah. So but again, I think it is the constraint is the prioritization. Like today I just thought, Okay, well, you know, one thing I've done is have specific For the first time, probably in my career in about 12 years, I am blocking time out of my, my calendar for recurring meetings to that never done before, but I have to do it and I have to get better at time prioritization to and so even getting the newsletter out today, for instance, I was like, Okay, I got to think about this better because I need to block it out a time, reverse engineer, whatever, we're going to get the newsletter out, and then block out time when you guys aren't waiting on me for something. So we make sure you get out a good product.

Brian Krogsgard 12:31
Yeah. Discipline it. Yeah, it certainly is. And the first person that I saw doing this really effectively They showed me their calendar, they talked to me about how they balance was actually cited baki and, you know, a lot of our listeners will know through awesome motive. He's got his hands in five different products at any given time, and incredible amounts of other businesses as well like he does it to an extremely He's a robot. He's a yes. But he is a time blocking master like I, he showed me his calendar and it's colour-coordinated, it's day by day. And it's broken into, you know, a two hour or four-hour block, 30-minute block. And he's got every day of every week assigned to a thing. And it's like, here's a half-day that goes towards working with Jared on WP forums or a half-day working towards OptinMonster. You know, it may change depending on week by week but he knows before he starts this week, essentially where he's spending the every like work hour of that week, he's designed his workouts and he's designed his, you know, it's like, if there's family time or travel during the normal workweek like it's built-in there too. And I was inspired by that I could not mimic it like I tried it for a little bit and it was too structured for my discipline like his discipline level is just beyond mine. Yeah. But it did give me a framework for saying, Okay, well I have my focus, like Mondays we have a lot of meetings with sky verge. And that's like, basically a sky verge only day aside, aside from, if something that really needs urgency from post status comes along. And then it just allows me to structure my days and say, This is my big thing today. It's my big thing this other day, this is where I want the majority of my time in my hour spent and I've actually started tracking my hours. And I've been evolving that I've always hated time tracking any job where they like, you know, focused on that. I was always like, Look, I don't want to this, you know, like, negotiated my way out of it. And now, I'm embracing it, but it's more for my personal accountability than anything else because I want to know, like, Okay, well, it was I actually spending these hours of these days. On the things that I planned, of course, it helps me like for, you know, for a contract job that helps if you're paid hourly. But even for something like what we're doing, I had a partnership line item on my time tracker. And I was tracking generally, like, if we got sidetracked, you know, or like, we had a meeting, I would track it. And then if we had, you know, something, especially where it was in a zone that was supposed to be geared towards something else, I wanted to know, like, how far off of my routine Am I getting? And it's this intro week, accountability process. So you kind of have an idea of like, oh, man, I've spent more hours over here and I need to be over there. And it's been really good accountability for me to better audit my time so that I can then more effectively move forward and be knowledgeable about the way I'm approaching it. And I'm not succeeding, like if I say, Okay, well, I want to spend 25 hours over here. 15 over here and two over there like it doesn't always work that way. But it allows me to have a target and audit my effectiveness against that target and you really learn a lot when you start doing that.

Cory Miller 16:15
Yeah, I go back to the side comment and I'm joking when I say robot kit but his worth it work ethic i is unparalleled and never seen anything like it maybe my dad who's now should be retired for the second time and working 60 hours a week-long gas industry but said is a maniac. But he's also I think it the thought about that was like it's how we're all kind of wired, like, I've had so many people over the years they know I juggle things, spin plates and go Why would you do that? Like tell them wired I mean, and I used to go Why do you only have one project that sounds boring. And so we had this telephone realize to each his own like wired in different ways and have a lot to do that, having said that, you said the word discipline, it's some it's a word I've been trying to kind of reintroduce into my life. Consistency is another big word. So I've gotten more organized and, and want to line things up where I'm not dropping balls for sure. And I'm mixing metaphors here. But, you know, I play doesn't drop. But they're all important to me. They're engaging and I think that makes me me, you know, if we were all carbon copy of each other, it'd be a bland world and, and all that. So I think to each his own for sure. But I think you're talking about something we're talking about something that a lot of people go through, they want to strike out on the entrepreneurial adventure, and but they're balancing a day job and then I can potentially family. I have a couple of business friends here in Oklahoma City that their entrepreneur story started with. I started my business when my child was six months old. Like, I can't imagine that you know, I kind of say, I think it was in kindergarten when we had our first kids had our kids so like, it was to the point where that one that little baby had kind of graduated and was under adult supervision. And then I could kind of turn my time. Now on this season to toe, it's just very drastically different. And so, man, I just admire the stories of people that juggle so much, particularly with family while starting this crazy job. This crazy gig we have come entrepreneurship. I, you know, if entrepreneurship was easy, by the way, everybody would do it. Because think about the freedom, the lifestyle you're having to live as an entrepreneur, but it comes with a heavy cost. Just talking to a dear friend of mine that I've known for a long time entrepreneur and comparing stories and him saying he's had a rough couple of years and going in my part was to say to encourage to go I'm going to be in your seat at some point. Mukherjee that like this thing, this thing we do called entrepreneurship is just not meant for everybody. And it's just a tough thing, but it's really thrilling for me to come would say, join you in something that's already started, by the way. So that makes this project. They're all exciting to me. But this is different in that I can help take something really, really good and make it even better. Where starting new projects. Oh, that's that's a ton of work, man.

There's a different kind of grind. And they're like, what did two years of post as before the club, you know? Yeah, well, that grind of getting the thing off the ground like business takes time.

Brian Krogsgard 19:45
One of the things that I think plays into this idea of structure and being able to juggle different things, a lot of it does come down to personality. And for me, you know, I've always achieved a lot So it's not it's there's a difference to me between what I'm about to describe and like if it's laziness or something for me, it's not laziness. I have no threat of saying, Oh, I work from home or I don't have a, you know, nine to five job. So I'm going to sit on the couch at my house. That's never my personality. But I do procrastinate in my own way, and wait, but why.com is a great website that it's called, has a long series from 2013 called how procrastinators procrastinate, and it's like the brain of a procrastinator. And what he really breaks it down to is this intimidation of long tasks that makes a procrastinator put that off, and how you can kind of beat that and how to beat procrastination or the way he describes it is he says effective planning turns a daunting item, say like writing a book or launching a website or something big and turning it into a series of small clear, manageable tasks. When you do that, you're making something that sounds big he calls he says a remarkable glorious achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable and glorious tasks looks like from far away. So if you break things down, if you have this type of mentality where you can see the short, short term finish line, and turn it into a to-do list or you know a task, then that's no big deal. It's like, okay, boom, knock out that test, boom, knocked down that task. And then all of a sudden, you've done lots of things that add up to be this really big, more glorious thing of accomplishing your goal. And I've found that I have got to structure my day to day that way. And I've really embraced note-taking but it's kind of a hybrid between notetaking and to-do list stuff, where I take notes of like, okay, what's my, what's my main jam, like what I have to capture today? Sometimes it's an idea and some times it's deliverable, and then turning it into these to-do lists that I accomplish inside that week. And then you add that in weekend and week out and hitting those to-do items. That's when the real changes and effects start to take place for me.

Cory Miller 22:14
Yeah, well, no, I completed my master's degree. When I was in my late 20s. I went back to school, and the staff there at that college in the adult program said, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And, you know, I've used that a lot with teams, helping coach teams that I've led, and others is this big task that you have breaking it up into small parts. And then I think there's something to be said of, I think it's James clear. The author, prolific blogger that talks about, you know, consistency, like if you're going to write a best selling book, it's, you know, break it down if it's 50,000 words is 500 words a day. For X amount of months kind of thing. Now, I don't know what to believe I have that discipline in me to show up every day and just write 500 words a day. And but I believe that if you do that you will show up, you know, an X amount of months with something. And this is the harder pill for me to swallow sometimes, just again, how I'm wired. I'm not trying to make excuses, but just saying it's, it's not an easy task. Some people make it look easy, but the reality is, you're probably wired in a different way.

Brian Krogsgard 23:30
One of the things I learned from Pagely was that the price of hosting or the expensive hosting is really a relative thing. What Pagely might be able to do for $1,000 might end up costing three to 5000. At hosts that don't do these large setups all the time. I called our chatted rather with the CEO of Pagely, Joshua Strebel, several years ago and said, Hey, we're comparing options between Pagely and some of the other options in the market for really high scale websites. And what I realized was that on an apples-to-apples comparison, I was getting more with Pagely for less money. Now granted, we're talking about hosting for $1,000 a month, but so it's expensive for a website. But when a website was being quoted from other providers for $3,000 Plus, I was really getting excellent service from Pagely, for the price. If you have websites where you really rely on your website provider, being reliable, have excellent human support. I can't remember the last time it took longer than I don't know an hour for like a real answer to a support question, not an auto-answer, but someone that was, you know, taking a technical look at my issue. And getting back to me for about some question. I have almost always a question of my own fault. Not to do with my actual hosting plan, but where I just needed help. Pagely has plans for everybody. Whether it's that thousand dollar type of VPS or $200 for five sites, that's what their small VPS instance sets up for you. It's all built on AWS, they've really fine-tuned it really, really well over the years. It's an excellent service go to Pagely.com to try Pagely today, let a little post that essentially. And they've been a longtime partner, good friends of the show, and Post Status, and I can't recommend them enough. I trust my own websites to Pagely, go to Pagely.com. Thanks to Pagely for being a Post Status partner.

One of the things you had me do when we were just trying to figure out would we make good partners was an assessment through Colby, calm kayo LP calm, and that was stuck with me. You had me do a couple of them which I thought was fun across the board. And just the fact that you wanted me to do that told me a lot about the type of partner you could be you know, like the way your mind works first. is mine. The Colby one I thought was interesting because it gave me an understanding of how I work. You have an understanding of how you work based on your assessment profile. And then it tells you Okay, well because you have this and you have this, you YouTube may have conflict in this way. Or you may have a really nice jelling in this way, and why you talk about how that kind of fits into this. So if I'm talking about my, I need these, you know, big pictures fine. But then if you just say, take the big picture, go write a book, I'm in trouble. But if you say take the big picture and go write some like thousand-word articles on like, okay, I can accomplish this. So, take this assessment, how you blend that and turn it into an effective partnership.

Cory Miller 26:46
So my belief is whether it's a team or a partner is to leverage your their unique strengths and experiences that I probably don't have or if we overlap, there's unique this in there and so it's Specifically with our partnership, and we did these discovery tools, and I think was two years strengthsfinder from Gallup was the one, we can put these in the show notes. It gives you your top five strengths. And then so let me unpack that. So Strengths Finder is one that I had to do because I kind of wanted to see verify probably what I already thought about what your unique strengths were and what you believe that they are. And real quickly with that, I can go there's overlap, but there are differences. And that's why I like one of yours, I think is analytical. And that shines brightly, everything post at us. Like I told you years ago, what I always found value was your insight and analysis of everything that was breaking. Like I wanted. I might not agree with you every single time but I was like, No, I want a different perspective. And that's something I knew ahead of time, but it helped me just kind of really identify that. So the street corner does that with teams with partnerships, whatever. And by the way, that joke was I thought you're gonna say this But when my wife and I first met I had to do these two and she was like what the heck you're you have to take a test today you to see if I'm, you know, married. Now she's a big fan. But Colby is really interesting because it's how you instinctively take action. And we started with Strengths Finder and then we evolved into Colby because I wanted to see how you instinctively took action. So this four modes factfinder, which is, you know, a high fat fighter which you happen to be is very I mean, it lends to everything you've done, which is analytical research, I mean, dive deep into an area of a middle road factor under which is I want the essential truth. And the three other areas are quickstart. Most entrepreneurs, many entrepreneurs, I should say are quickstarts Hi, quickstarts. I'm a high quickstart The other one is the blue one, which is follow through and it's not like you can't ever fall through but it's step by step. mode of action. If you have a problem, I'm going to figure out step one, step two, step three, step four, the yellow is implementation. People behind that are the ones like mad Danner who are amazing with their hands and like woodworking and different things or whatever, like very high implementers, are. And then we also want to focus found from you is that we had, we had compatible things where I knew we could work really well together, but I knew there was also willing sounds like you're a medium quickstart which you and I could ideate all day and not get anything done. So that was the thing we talked about, you already recognized it. factfinder is great because we're kind of in that mode, where we're not in what Colby calls conflict, but we're low in the blue, which is step-by-step plan. We're kind of find the shortcuts, bandaid it together, put it together and do that. So we talked about that actively. You already recognize that but I helped us talk through, okay, our similarities can also be our weaknesses. We need someone to kind of help us. And I know David and Dan really help us with some of those things that we might go, man, let us we'll do it at the last minute.

Brian Krogsgard 30:10
And just being cognizant of that, as we go about our day to day in partnership, you know, it allows me to say, Okay, I need to think I need to be sure and know, like, here's our plan, we came up with our plan, we've got these ideas and the follow-through component or the, you know, the take it to execution side of things. It's like, I have to make sure that we both understand what to do, where to go and bring people along to help us accomplish that. And so far, I think that's been effective. And sometimes that's tooling you know like it's one thing if we have our all our conversations and slack and we have these pages of notes, in our note keeping apps and we, you know, collect our thoughts, but then it's another to say, Okay, well, let's put it on a schedule and let's set a date for When we're going to launch this thing, and let's have our plan of action for, you know, who's responsible for what, and put deadlines on that across the way. And to me that tooling side of things, which could be as simple as base camp or whatever, is my way of introducing accountability to an area where we both identified kind of on the same side of the spectrum, which is, in that in that particular instance, it's kind of the kind where it's like, ours has its own benefits, like the way we sit. But you really need that person that's like, the big long spreadsheet, project manager, very type a type of person to help rein us in, when we could end up down a whole bunch of different rabbit holes. You know, Id aiding the next two years of what post status is going to be and it's like, well, someone's got to do what we're going to do in the next two weeks or the next two months and yeah, so that gives us that accountability there.

Cory Miller 31:57
Well, we're supposed to record this podcast six hours. ago, I think. And we had, you know, part of that was we had thought we still were so new in our partnership and trying to get some things done at post that is that we need to have the time. But we had deliberately two weeks ago, set this date to record and then now we're six hours later recording it. But I know we'll get to those types of things. But it's that, you know, we could wear that. I think you and I are kind of wired to be the squirrel. You know, movie idea. Okay, let's face it. We've talked about that. And we both have, I think helped each other rein it in on that, like, hold on. This is first that second, this third, right? Yep, yep. Yep. Let's go back to that because it's really fun to dream. It's really fun to ideate and think about cool stuff, especially as quickstarts and the Colby kind of mantra. So, but there needs to be somebody that also says, Okay, let's stop dreaming now. Let's go do

Brian Krogsgard 32:58
Yeah, and I think been proud of how we've so far been able to do that. And we realize it's important. And I think maybe one of the things that has allowed us to do it is, when we first started the partnership, we, and you really helped me outline this. And it's like, what are our goals? For the business for the partnership, where we want to be a year, two years and three years? And therefore we say, Okay, if this thing is effective in January next January, what have we accomplished? And we said, okay, we want you know, certain things, it's a number of subscribers or it's a number of page views or a number of members or a degree of like member satisfaction, like things that you want to strike and then it's how do you plan to accomplish that and keep that as your goal, how many dollars you need to make a day if your dollar goal for the year is this? And that was really helpful for me to put all that in context.

Cory Miller 34:00
So one other thing I did, I think I told you this either as I've had a coach for a year and a half now a personal coach. Fantastic. name is Kelly. We came into this and she was like, Okay, got five projects, what do you need for me? And I was like, here's what I think I need me to go weekly. And what I don't want to do, my virtual assistant helps me take certain tasks that I need to just create my time, you know, to do other things. My coach is okay, here's the deal. I'm highly invested in my time, my money, my energy and all these projects, and they've got to make progress. I've got to move the needle. That is the most impactful things. So what we do now is each week we do a 30-minute laser call. And I talked to the big issues, I think through the projects, and I go, can we post those this week? We need this. And what and she helps me get clarity on that before by the way. I have my partner calls like with you. We knew our calls on Friday to do my call with Rebecca on Wednesday. My partner Jeff on Monday. So I'm like, man, there's too much stuff going on, I've got to have that kind of clarity. And she's helped me rehearse and get ready for because like, for instance, I try hard not to ping you. Because I know there's a bucket of time, there's a bucket of energy that probably is owned mostly by Erica and your two kiddos. And I want to be really careful what I withdraw from that. So. So she's helped me go in, I looked over the last 30 days. So every week is a 30-minute call to kind of get ready and make sure I'm on task for all the projects. The last meeting, which I just had this week, is a one hour kind of look back over the last 30 days, and then they look forward to next Thursday. So make sure I'm keeping progress with all the critical projects going on. And that's just another level of optimizing for. There's a lot on the line for me. There's a lot of love for you and my other partners and so I want to make sure we're focused and making the most progress, we can For all of these so that we can say, high five and go, this is this, these were the best times. What resonated with me for you, Brian is you said for years, you know, Kevin did it by yourself, I Exodus ran into your burnout that post like it was the first sentence burned out. And I was like me and I can resonate with that. And one of the compelling things that he said to me as I said, I don't want to do this alone. Again, I could, I could sell this, I could do this and just leave. But I just really don't want to do it alone. And that I told you then resonates with a lot of social entrepreneurs. It's tough doing it by yourself. I had aside amazing psychic command, enter and I think to help me not do it alone. And then a group of us were friends, WordPress, none of WordPress helped me over the years. But man, that's something that you can mention too, is how a partner or a team or somebody that can come alongside you is so powerful.

Brian Krogsgard 36:55
Yeah, there's two things there applies to both of these. I guess. A lot of people, you know, they dream when they're in a normal nine to five job. They're like, Okay, well, I have so much more upside potential or so much more opportunity for freedom and all these things if I go out on my, on my own, and work on this thing and turn my hobby into my business or turn my side gig into a full-time gig, and I think it takes several years potentially, of doing that before you oftentimes for and maybe it's for certain personality types that then they say, Okay, this has some real benefits, but there are some real drawdowns to that I need to consider and for me, okay, I love the freedom. I love the upside potential. But at the same time, I liked working with people and I liked bouncing things off teammates, and that was an important thing for me to figure out how can I recapture and I think a lot of people that might be listening to this talking about juggling multiple things, working with a partner, maybe they've all kind of landed on that. So now, there's this kind of fundamental balance there, where when you're juggling multiple things, none of them is necessarily such a security blanket or a safety that is the same as a full-time job. So this balance is how do you spend time in the places where you can make money, yet none of them are probably sufficient relative to what you could make it a full-time job. Like, say, if you were making $100,000 and a full-time job while your main side hustle, it, maybe it's making $50,000 and your other side hustles making, you know, another $50,000? Well, you're making $100,000 total, but it requires this balance between the two of them. In our situation, you have partners so like my needs from the business, do they align well with your needs from the business from a revenue standpoint, there's so much balance and inertia. So you have to balance like, okay, I want to work with people. I want to have this freedom. But there's all this balance. that's required there and I would be curious if you have any kind of final tips to find the sweet spot while you're doing that.

Cory Miller 39:09
Yeah, so you know for years I said it's a sidekick it's it's the Matt Danner, it's someone that just is doesn't have as has compatible strings to you. And but you're not strong in the same area where you can kind of divide and conquer. And so I've honestly thought about it as a work spouse, you know, to Bandy that. That phrase around a little bit, but I mean, there's an element to that work spouse, like having someone you can confide in. And I bet you there are entrepreneurs and founders solopreneurs listening to this today. That is like, in the spot you were and by the way, when I struck out, it's been a year ago this week, I'm back on my own. I didn't want to do it alone. I wanted to do with other people, and I found some great people. One of them being you and Do it together and collaborate. So, but I think, you know, somebody goes, why don't we give away equity I get that then finally struggle psychic, a workout spouse that feels ownership that you could give some rewards if they need it. But find that person that is the end to your Yang. We missed that. And then secondarily, I'll tell you, I know the work psychic work spouse type thing is hard. And the partnership conversation is hard. But I'll tell you and this is something you're not been talking about. Small groups of like-minded people on the same path with the same values have been life-saving and changing for me. So I've been in one group for nine years now. 10 years almost. I've helped start to more. We're talking about trying to get that kind of group. people in the room to rub elbows that get it they understand the story. So I always get the joke. Most of us don't know. Your parents don't know what they we do. Living Dead still thinks I just upgrade the computer somehow. But you know, having a group of people that just get you, know you, not talk you've got some dear friends you lean on, you meet with weekly even as the same can be those kinds of compatriots that like, you can let your guard down and, and share like today sucks. And I've tried to be that for people and also clean to those that are like vulnerable and genuine and authentic and are willing to let the guard down the shields down, take the mask off all that kind of stuff and go Hey, not everything is rosy. So, you know the two things is one is finding someone in the business that can work with it, that just gets it. That's a hard one I know. Second is to find a group of people that are on the same path as you then share life and go deep and it doesn't always have to be personal or a business. It can be personal, some of the most endearing moments I've had with my friends. That I count as brothers and sisters. I mean, like they are family to me. If something were to happen to me, they'd be the first people at my house scene if Lindsay and the kids were okay. But finding that group of people and you and I've been talking about this, how do we do that through post tennis community to pull in our amazing community of founders, entrepreneurs, and give that type of like, being in the room together and sharing that stuff that it's the high fives, and it's the hugs that you need when things are just bad. So that'd be my two takeaways.

Brian Krogsgard 42:35
How about yourself? That's really good on and I think that's, I'll leave it there from a partner perspective. I'll jump back to the juggling things and just get my final. My final comparison maybe so I'm thinking, Okay, well for you know, somebody that's somewhat technical or works in the web industry at minimum. All right. So if I gave you the challenge to say, hey, this website's slow, we need to speed it up. Well, if the first thing you would want to know is, where is it slow? Why's that slow and cut audit that process. And I think that that was the biggest thing that I had to come to the terms with, which was if I'm going to juggle multiple things I need to know, where's my time going? I don't know how many times I had these weeks where the week goes by much less the day and it's like, okay, I had stuff I wanted to accomplish. I know I didn't accomplish everything on my list. But when I look back, I felt busy. But the results weren't there. What happened? And that is dangerous. Because you're not auditing. You're not knowing where your energy actually went. So that you can iterate and improve. It doesn't mean you have to be perfect. It doesn't mean you have to have like every hour tracked. But I think if you're going to make your website faster and more efficient, the first thing to do is to identify what are the processes that are slowing it down right now what is like what are the pivot points The what are the bottlenecks? Where's my time being consumed? And where, when I look at that, if I say I'm spending 10 hours a week on phone calls, or if I'm spending 10 hours a week, you know, in support, okay, what's the value of the time that I'm spending there? And the best thing to do in juggling those multiple things is to try to find the difference makers in that time and spend more time on the difference makers and find out how to bring someone else in a contract or the or offload it to your partner if they're really good at it, and getting them to do those things. You've told me I don't even know how many times since, you know, we started talking about talks about you know, managing support, which is pretty light with post status, but you were like, I don't want you in support, like get out of there. And I'm like, okay, that's okay, that makes sense. But we still need to take care of support, but it starts by identifying how much time am I spending in that type of communication and Therefore, how can I effectively bring someone else on to take that task or put it in a certain bucket like I'm going to do support every Monday and every Thursday or something like that. And that way, it's not kind of floating along with me the whole time. And that's what I found most effective in terms of auditing, and improving my personal processes to be able to juggle multiple things, which is an ongoing battle and ongoing struggle, but one that I've certainly seen progress on, especially since I started self-auditing where I was spending my time

Cory Miller 45:38
Yeah, that's really good. In my calendar if it's on my calendar, so I can get done. I don't do the time blocking like said this, but for mostly, but man I live by that calendar and I've had to start trying to bracket time for certain things. But I think the audit is so good. Always be optimizing. You know, because again, We, you know, in this project have very limited time and energy. And so we put our best into it, but I want to prioritize that time and then optimize for bugs like, Okay, are we spend too much time here too. We, you know, and I think that kind of review helps us make good decisions to and going, Okay, this is the new here. This is the morning side, like the dashboard says, overheat or something, you know, we can go in and go Okay, well, how do we collaboratively figure this out?

Brian Krogsgard 46:31
Yeah. Well, let's optimize this podcast a bit and leave it there. Thanks, everybody, for joining us. Thanks, Corey, for chatting with me. This was obviously relevant for us and these are always self-reflective, we'll be able to think back on what we said here and how we can do better from here. I hope that it helps you as well. I hope everybody has a great week and we go to post that comm slash club and sign up if you haven't already. Corey and I spent the majority of our time figuring out how to make the club better and more appealing to people that are already members and would consider being members. So if you're not opposed to as club member, you're going to miss out. So go to PostStatus.com/Club and sign up and we'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

WPTavern: Ahmad Awais Launches Script to Automatically Deploy WordPress Plugin Updates

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 21:23

Today, Ahmad Awais launched WP Continuous Deployment, a continuous deployment pipeline for updating plugins hosted on WordPress.org via GitHub actions. It is a Node.js-based CLI script that simplifies the process of keeping plugins updated. Developers only need to type out a single line in their terminal or command prompt. Other than setting up a couple of secret keys on GitHub, the script handles everything in just a few moments.

“We live in the age of agile workflows,” wrote Awais in the project announcement. “Developers only want to git commit && git push and expect their products to be deployed globally…It’s been a minute since I worked on a WordPress project, but for the last year or so, I’ve been fantasizing about a git-based plugin deployments workflow that will allow me to get away from those old SVN repositories finally.”

On November 14, GitHub announced it was rolling out GitHub Actions. Actions are a way for developers to automate workflows from their Git repositories. Developers can share, fork, and reuse them across projects. A few days later, 10up launched two GitHub actions for WordPress plugin developers. These Actions are the basis for WP Continuous Deployment.

10up’s WordPress Plugin Deploy Action handles deploying plugin updates directly to the WordPress plugin directory. The WordPress.org Plugin Readme/Assets Update Action handles committing changes to a plugin’s readme or assets. The WP Continuous Deployment script automatically adds both and sets up appropriate GitHub workflow files for each.

“What I hope to accomplish with WP Continuous Deployment is make it easy for any developer to use the GitHub Actions built by 10up and others and help migrate to this new workflow with a pinch of automation,” said Awais. “Without WP Continuous Deployment, migrating to GitHub Actions for deploying WordPress plugins is a task that requires knowledge of how GitHub Actions work, what files you have to create, what secrets are, and where to put them. We lose a great number of developers that are unable to figure out this step — due to a bulky and dry operational experience.”

The workflow for many WordPress developers today runs directly through Git, primarily with repositories hosted on GitHub. Often, developers expect any committed code to automatically deploy to the places it should go, such as production websites.

The WordPress plugin directory system, which relies on SVN instead of Git, can sometimes be a bottleneck in team workflows. Some teams even have developers who have never used SVN in their careers. It makes sense for teams to use a single system. Doing so leads to fewer bugs and requires fewer resources to train people on a dying version control system.

“We’re not doing anyone a favor by keeping SVN around,” said Awais. “Projects are hiring hundreds of open source developers to make it easy for the developers’ community to interact with their projects. Whereas WordPress — that once held that edge — has started to lag behind by making it hard and impractical to get started with WordPress development. Go pick 100 random students for universities all over the world and ask them to start an open-source project. You’ll be amazed by the majority of them choosing to start with Git and MIT license. And, here in the WordPress community, we ask people to use SVN. That’s impractical and inaccessible for a majority of developers today.”

Awais said that GitHub Actions have allowed his team to shed a lot of dead weight. He originally did not make his GitHub Actions open source because they were specific to his use cases. After trimming the code down, he realized they were not any different from the Actions that 10up had already released.

“I see dealing with SVN as a DevOps task,” he said. “Something web developers should not be concerned with in 2020. Web developers want to build websites. They want to use Git to do that. With JAMstack, everyone has become accustomed to the idea of pushing a git commit and getting the new build/release. That’s why I built WP Continuous Deployment.”

Set up in 1, 2… Running the setup process for WP Continuous Deployment

When I originally tested 10up’s GitHub Actions last year, there was a small learning curve. I had to figure out what those new workflow files were for and whether I needed to change things. It was not an overly complicated process, but there was a moment of confusion or two.

What Awais’ script does is take those two GitHub Actions one step further and automate nearly all of the setup.

Developers must have Node.js installed on their computer to run the script, which is fairly common today. With a single command of npx wp-continuous-deployment, the script is installed. It then prompts you to enter your WordPress.org plugin slug to set everything up. Once done, you merely need to create a couple of secret keys on your GitHub repository.

Awais wanted to automate the entire process. However, GitHub does not yet have an API for creating secret keys. Until that happens, it is the only manual step required.

Within two minutes of choosing which repository I wanted to test the script on, I had everything in place and ready to go. Now, I just need to find some time to actually write code for some of my numerous plugins so I can truly put this script to the test. Thus far, things are looking good.

It may finally be possible for me to purge everything related to SVN from my life. That would be a welcome change. #lifegoals

The Month in WordPress: January 2020

Wordpress News - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 09:54

Following an action-packed December, 2020 is off to a fine start with some new releases and announcements. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project in January.

Release of Gutenberg 7.2 & 7.3

Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more.

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.

Proposal for an XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin

In June last year, a team of contributors proposed a feature plugin that would bring standardized XML sitemaps to WordPress Core. Since then, the team has been working to bring this to reality and have now published a working plugin to demonstrate this new capability.

The plugin is still in development, but the included features already provide much-needed functionality from which all WordPress sites can benefit. You can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard or download it here.

Want to get involved in bringing this feature to Core? Follow the Core team blog, report any issues you find on GitHub, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A New Block-Based Themes Meeting

The Theme Review Team has announced that they will be holding bi-weekly meetings in the #themereview channel focused on discussing block-based themes. If you are interested in discussing themes within the context of Gutenberg’s full-site editing framework, this will be the place to do so! The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 16:00 UTC.

Want to get involved with the Theme Review Team or become a reviewer? Follow their blog, and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Further Reading
  • The Core team has started work on WordPress 5.4 and kicked off their planning with a summary post. You can follow all the v5.4 updates by watching the version tag on the Core team blog.
  • The inaugural WordCamp Asia event is taking place in February. This will be the largest WordPress event in the region, bringing together around 1,500 WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.
  • Two WordPress community leaders, @chanthaboune and @andreamiddleton, were nominated for CMX awards due to their work on the WordPress project, with @andreamiddleton winning the award for Executive Leader of a Community Team.
  • A feature plugin has been proposed that introduces lazy-loading images to WordPress Core, which will be a huge step forward in improving performance all across the web.
  • The Core team has put together an extensive and informative FAQ to help new contributors get involved in contributing to the project.
  • One key priority for Gutenberg is the ability to control the block editor. There are already a number of APIs that control the experience, but there is a lack of consistency and missing APIs. A method to address this has been proposed.
  • The Design team published detailed information on the recent design improvements in Gutenberg.

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

The Month in WordPress: January 2020

Wordpress News - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 09:54

Following an action-packed December, 2020 is off to a fine start with some new releases and announcements. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project in January.

Release of Gutenberg 7.2 & 7.3

Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more.

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.

Proposal for an XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin

In June last year, a team of contributors proposed a feature plugin that would bring standardized XML sitemaps to WordPress Core. Since then, the team has been working to bring this to reality and have now published a working plugin to demonstrate this new capability.

The plugin is still in development, but the included features already provide much-needed functionality from which all WordPress sites can benefit. You can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard or download it here.

Want to get involved in bringing this feature to Core? Follow the Core team blog, report any issues you find on GitHub, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A New Block-Based Themes Meeting

The Theme Review Team has announced that they will be holding bi-weekly meetings in the #themereview channel focused on discussing block-based themes. If you are interested in discussing themes within the context of Gutenberg’s full-site editing framework, this will be the place to do so! The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 16:00 UTC.

Want to get involved with the Theme Review Team or become a reviewer? Follow their blog, and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Further Reading
  • The Core team has started work on WordPress 5.4 and kicked off their planning with a summary post. You can follow all the v5.4 updates by watching the version tag on the Core team blog.
  • The inaugural WordCamp Asia event is taking place in February. This will be the largest WordPress event in the region, bringing together around 1,500 WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.
  • Two WordPress community leaders, @chanthaboune and @andreamiddleton, were nominated for CMX awards due to their work on the WordPress project, with @andreamiddleton winning the award for Executive Leader of a Community Team.
  • A feature plugin has been proposed that introduces lazy-loading images to WordPress Core, which will be a huge step forward in improving performance all across the web.
  • The Core team has put together an extensive and informative FAQ to help new contributors get involved in contributing to the project.
  • One key priority for Gutenberg is the ability to control the block editor. There are already a number of APIs that control the experience, but there is a lack of consistency and missing APIs. A method to address this has been proposed.
  • The Design team published detailed information on the recent design improvements in Gutenberg.

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

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

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 09:54

Following an action-packed December, 2020 is off to a fine start with some new releases and announcements. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project in January.

Release of Gutenberg 7.2 & 7.3

Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more.

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.

Proposal for an XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin

In June last year, a team of contributors proposed a feature plugin that would bring standardized XML sitemaps to WordPress Core. Since then, the team has been working to bring this to reality and have now published a working plugin to demonstrate this new capability.

The plugin is still in development, but the included features already provide much-needed functionality from which all WordPress sites can benefit. You can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard or download it here.

Want to get involved in bringing this feature to Core? Follow the Core team blog, report any issues you find on GitHub, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A New Block-Based Themes Meeting

The Theme Review Team has announced that they will be holding bi-weekly meetings in the #themereview channel focused on discussing block-based themes. If you are interested in discussing themes within the context of Gutenberg’s full-site editing framework, this will be the place to do so! The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 16:00 UTC.

Want to get involved with the Theme Review Team or become a reviewer? Follow their blog, and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Further Reading
  • The Core team has started work on WordPress 5.4 and kicked off their planning with a summary post. You can follow all the v5.4 updates by watching the version tag on the Core team blog.
  • The inaugural WordCamp Asia event is taking place in February. This will be the largest WordPress event in the region, bringing together around 1,500 WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.
  • Two WordPress community leaders, @chanthaboune and @andreamiddleton, were nominated for CMX awards due to their work on the WordPress project, with @andreamiddleton winning the award for Executive Leader of a Community Team.
  • A feature plugin has been proposed that introduces lazy-loading images to WordPress Core, which will be a huge step forward in improving performance all across the web.
  • The Core team has put together an extensive and informative FAQ to help new contributors get involved in contributing to the project.
  • One key priority for Gutenberg is the ability to control the block editor. There are already a number of APIs that control the experience, but there is a lack of consistency and missing APIs. A method to address this has been proposed.
  • The Design team published detailed information on the recent design improvements in Gutenberg.

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

WPTavern: Join the Future of WordPress Themes Conversation: Theme Review Team to Hold Biweekly Discussions

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 20:49

In collaboration with the core design and editor teams, the WordPress theme review team will begin hosting biweekly (fortnightly) meetings on the future of themes. The meetings will be held every other Wednesday on the #themereview WordPress Slack channel at 16:00 UTC. The first meeting is on February 5.

Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project is about tackling site customization. This covers everything from turning sidebars into block containers to redefining how themes will work in a block-based system in the coming years. The latter is a huge unanswered question. There are several ideas on how themes should be handled.

Kjell Reigstad, a design director for Automattic, proposed the meeting as a step toward answering the future-of-themes question. “The main thing I’d like to accomplish is to build up regular cross-team communication around the theme plus full-site editing work,” he said. “There are so many potential changes on the horizon, and we really need perspective from both the Gutenberg folks and theme authors. I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the development happening, and I thought this dedicated meeting would be a great place to stay up to date and share ideas on a regular basis.”

Currently, the agenda for the first meeting is still open but should be posted next week. Anyone who wants to participate or make sure an idea sees discussion, should let the team know in the announcement post’s comments.

“I’d initially like to try and get everyone on the same page in terms of what’s happening already on the Gutenberg front,” said Reigstad. “So for instance, the experimental block-based themes implementation and the global styles work. We’ll likely go over those a little bit, share links and updates, and then pivot into some discussion questions.”

Bringing in the theme review team is imperative for a smooth transition into whatever themes eventually become. “There’s already a lot of full-site editing work going on, and there are already experimental reference documents for block-based themes,” said Reigstad earlier this week in the team’s regular meeting. “It’s important for the TRT and the theme community to keep up to date on this work, and to develop a clear communication loop with the Gutenberg teams.”

There is some concern that the concept of full, block-based themes will simply be railroaded into core WordPress, regardless of feedback. Not all members of the theme review team or theme authors are supportive of the idea.

Theme reviewer Joy Reynolds pointed out in the announcement’s comments that using the phrase “block-based themes” in the meeting title shows bias in favor of themes made of blocks. “Why is the current Full Site Editing code outside the scope of the Customizer?” she asked. “What is the goal? Is it even something that makes sense for themes? Don’t we need a merge proposal? Or even a consensus on design before forcing these changes into core and having meetings about using experimental code as if it’s the only choice?”

These are questions that will certainly come up in the meeting.

Block-based themes already feel like a foregone conclusion. The initial code is currently in the Gutenberg plugin, albeit as an experimental feature. There is already documentation for building such themes. There is a core theme experiments repository Everything seems to be moving full-steam ahead in that direction.

Whatever direction themes end up going, the meeting will at least offer an opportunity for the community to add their input. For success, the editor, design, and theme review team members will need to find some common ground to begin their discussions.

WPTavern: Native Lazy Loading Support Coming to WordPress

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 20:22

It seems to be the week for dropping news of WordPress feature plugins. Felix Arntz, WordPress core committer and developer programs engineer at Google, announced a plan to push a lazy loading feature to the platform. If testing goes well, this feature could land in WordPress 5.4 in March.

The concept of lazy loading allows a webpage to render without loading certain resources until they are needed. This leads to faster page loads and saves data on the visitor’s end. Lazy loading is particularly useful when rendering images on the web.

The opposite of lazy loading is called eager loading, which loads everything in bulk. By default, this is how all images are loaded on the web. This often leads to poor performance on image-heavy webpages where many of the images are not in the site visitor’s viewport when first viewing the page.

For many years, various JavaScript libraries have handled this feature but not always to success. A native solution is slowly making its way into browsers. Native lazy loading works by adding a loading attribute to an <img> or <iframe> element. Browsers can then decide how to load a resource based on the value of the attribute. Currently, Chrome, Edge, and Opera all handle the loading attribute. Once the attribute officially makes it into the HTML specification, the feature should be a standard that all browsers support.

Adopting the new loading attribute is a great chance for WordPress to lead the way for a faster web overall.

Felix Arntz

The new Lazy Loading feature plugin is now available in the WordPress plugin directory. The plugin relies only on native browser support and does not add extra JavaScript. The implementation adds a loading attribute to images in post content, excerpts, comments, text widgets, avatars, and instances of using core WordPress image functions. By default, the plugin sets all images to load lazily rather than eagerly.

It is refreshing to see the continued work by core contributors on more robust image solutions. Along with WordPress 5.3’s large image size handling, both features will lead to a generally faster web. With more users loading high-quality images via mobile phones over the past few years, it has only exacerbated the problem of a slow web. That is why it imperative that WordPress continually push for image optimization.

“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,” wrote Arntz in the announcement post. “Adopting the new loading attribute is a great chance for WordPress to lead the way for a faster web overall.”

Arntz and a team of engineers originally released a native lazy loading plugin in September 2019. This was shortly after Google brought the “loading” attribute feature to version 76 of its Chrome browser. The Native Lazyload plugin currently has over 7,000 installations.

How This Affects Existing Plugins

Because not all web browsers support the loading attribute, users may not want to automatically drop their current plugins when the feature lands in WordPress. Users may choose to support browsers without native lazy loading for a while

The proposed code within the Lazy Loading plugin attempts to detect whether the loading attribute exists on an image before applying it. This means the code should play nicely with existing plugins and avoid conflicts in most cases.

Developers of plugins that handle lazy loading need to start testing their plugins and updating them for WordPress 5.4. Follow the Lazy Loading API ticket on core Trac to stay updated on when the feature lands and the GitHub repository for contributing to its development.

WPTavern: XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin Open for Testing and Feedback

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 01/29/2020 - 20:37

Thierry Muller, a Developer Relations Program Manager at Google, and several contributors posted an update on the XML sitemaps feature that may land in WordPress this year. After seven months of development, the team has made the XML Sitemaps feature plugin available on GitHub. It is currently open for testing and feedback. The plugin should also be available in the WordPress plugin directory by next week.

Update (January 31, 2020): The Core Sitemaps feature plugin is now available in the WordPress plugin repository.

The project aims to ship a basic version of an XML sitemaps feature to all WordPress installations. It will also offer an API for plugin developers to manipulate. Therefore, sitemap plugins would not automatically disappear. Instead, plugins would offer users various options on how their sitemaps work.

A team created by Google, Yoast, and other contributors originally proposed XML sitemaps as a core WordPress feature in June 2019. Traditionally, WordPress has left this feature to plugins to implement, and many have filled this role over the years. However, several other major content management systems ship with sitemaps as part of their core codebase.

Many praised the initiative, such as WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg. “This makes a lot of sense, looking forward to seeing the v1 of this in core and for it to evolve in future releases and cement WordPress’ well-deserved reputation of being the best CMS for SEO,” he said.

However, several people questioned whether WordPress should ship with XML sitemaps. Some were worried about performance and others felt like the feature should remain in plugins.

“At a high level, expanding the number of WordPress sites with Sitemaps ultimately speeds up content discoverability by search engines and re-crawl fresher content flagged by the lastmod date faster than a scheduled bot would,” Muller said of the primary reasons the feature belongs in core.

WordPress users may see this feature arrive in major update this year. “Ambitiously [version] 5.4,” said Muller of the release goal. “Realistically 5.5.”

The feature plugin currently indexes the following URLs for a site:

  • Homepage
  • Blog posts page (if not the homepage)
  • Posts and pages
  • Categories and tags
  • Custom post types
  • Custom taxonomies
  • Users/Authors

Custom post types and taxonomies are registered only if they are public. There is also a filter hook available to change which post types, taxonomies, and users are indexed. Ideally, WordPress would provide a registration flag for post types and taxonomies.

Solving the Performance Issues

One of the primary concerns with the initial proposal is how well a core sitemaps feature would perform and scale, particularly on larger sites. Without a full caching solution built into core, it presented some hurdles for the team.

“Solving the performance issue is not trivial, and we have looked into various solutions,” said Muller. “We believe that we landed on a solution that doesn’t need full caching and will still be scalable.”

For performance, there are two primary challenges:

  • The number of URLs per page.
  • The lastmod date in the index.xml file.

“Addressing the number of URLs per page is fairly trivial,” said Muller. “While sitemaps can have up to 50,000 URLs per sitemap, we found that capping it at 2,000 is acceptable from a performance perspective and totally acceptable from a search engine perspective.” The team decided to stick with a default of 2,000 URLs per sitemap and to provide a filter hook for plugins to alter if necessary.

Finding a solution for the lastmod date was not as easy. “We believe we found a good balance, which will be scalable and doesn’t open the can of worms that full caching exposes us to,” said Muller.

The solution the team implemented involved scheduling a cron task that runs twice daily (the frequency can be filtered by plugins). The cron job fetches the lastmod dates of each sitemap and stores them in the options table, which essentially works as a light caching solution.

“Relying on cron should be stable enough for small to medium websites,” said Muller. “Enterprise websites usually have server cron set up to more regularly ping WP Cron instead of relying on website visitors to trigger it. In fact, most managed hosting providers have that for all plans.”

If the team’s initial implementation is not well-rounded enough, they have been researching an alternative implementation that uses custom post types to store and update sitemap data. Two open GitHub tickets further explore performance that developers may want to check out: Issue #1 and Issue #39.

What Happens to Sites With Existing Sitemaps?

One question that remains unanswered is what happens when a user updates to WordPress 5.4/5.5 and already has a sitemap. There are likely millions of WordPress sites that are running a plugin or have some sort of sitemap solution in place.

“This is a question which we haven’t quite solved,” said Muller. “It is important to work with plugin authors, and in an ideal world, all plugins providing advanced sitemaps solutions would extend the core API. We would love to get feedback from the community on that one.”

WordPress must take care to avoid any major conflicts or indexing errors, or at least alleviate issues for the users who may be unaware of this upcoming feature.

Adaptive

Drupal Themes - Wed, 01/29/2020 - 13:44

WPTavern: Emoji Conbini and the Case for a Block Enhancements Directory

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 01/28/2020 - 20:54

In December of 2019, Nick Hamze, the owner of Sorta Brilliant, quietly launched Block Garden with a proposal for plugin authors to build block-based plugins off concepts, called seeds, from his site. He has since written extensively on the block editor and has shared a multitude of ideas, many of which are sorta brilliant.

It is easy to be drawn in by Hamze’s unabashed love for blocks. In a post titled “You aren’t busy, you’re just not excited,” Hamze challenges developers to build something, anything and not worry about it being perfect or becoming an earth-shattering product. “The purpose of Block Garden is to get you excited about blocks,” he wrote in the post. “To make you so excited about blocks that you’ll make the time to bring them to life. The community needs you more than you realize. I honestly believe that every person has at least one block in them. If I can get you to create that first block, I know you’ll be hooked for life.”

He has created a space for those who genuinely love the block editor. Block Garden is reminiscent of some of the early WordPress blogs where normal, everyday end-users shared their love of the platform. It is refreshingly optimistic. It is block geekdom at its finest. And, I kind of love it.

Hamze put out a job posting for block developers earlier this month. Several developers answered the call. “I can’t code but I have ideas and cash that I’m investing into blocks, mostly to keep the boredom at bay that is slowly killing me,” he said. “We are making some really fun blocks together. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

In a few short weeks, Hamze and his co-authors have released multiple block-related plugins through his Sorta Brilliant brand that are now available on the WordPress plugin directory:

  • P.S. – A container block for grouping blocks into a popover.
  • StreamShare for Twitch – Embed Twitch content into the block editor.
  • Ghostwriter – Adds a heading block style that types out the text on the front end, Ghostwriter style (for you fans of the ’90s TV series).
  • Ubiquitous Blocks – Exposes the Reusable Blocks admin screen and allows users to automatically add them to posts.
Emoji Conbini Inserting an emoji with the Emoji Conbini plugin.

In collaboration with George Mamadashvili, Hamze’s latest release is the Emoji Conbini plugin. It adds an emoji inserter to the block editor toolbar.

Emoji Conbini utilizes the Emoji Mart library, which offers a Slack-like emoji picker. When the picker is open, the user merely needs to choose their preferred emoji. Users can also search for a specific emoji.

Hamze was aware of the Emoji Autocomplete Gutenberg plugin before commissioning his emoji plugin for the block editor. “I loved how easy it made adding emoji but I didn’t like the UI,” he said. “It seemed like you had to know what emoji you wanted to add and relied on keyboard shortcuts, which I don’t think everyone is comfortable with.”

The problem with both emoji plugins is that they insert the WordPress-based emoji image directly into the editor instead of the emoji character. By default, WordPress will automatically convert emoji characters to images on the front end. For the average user, this is likely a non-issue. However, some users prefer to use the browser-based emoji and disable the images that core outputs. Both emoji plugins remove this possibility. They also remove the possibility of using a different emoji image library.

“To be honest, I’m not really a fan of the browser versions, but I’m willing to consider anything if there is a demand for it,” said Hamze of the possibility of simply inserting the emoji character. “To me, getting version 1 out there is the most important, and if anything needs to be changed, people will let me know.”

The term “conbini” initially drew me to the plugin, which is the name given to Japanese convenient stores 🏪. If you have never been to one, they are like stepping into another world (almost everything in Japan seems otherworldly to this smalltown guy from the southern U.S.).

“I love everything from Japan,” said Hamze. “The music, anime, the tech. I bid on items on Yahoo Japan daily as I love surrounding myself with cool stuff from Japan. I’ve only been to Japan once, but it was magical. I especially loved going to conbini. My favorite thing to get there was rice balls from Lawsons.”

The plugin name also plays into Hamze’s goals with Sorta Brilliant and Block Garden. While many other plugins are offering full packages for blocks, he is dropping smaller, convenient extensions to the block editor. Emoji Conbini shows that there is perhaps a market for add-ons that are block-related but not necessarily blocks, or at least some people are thinking about it.

Discovering Block Extensions

In his post “The block directory needs more than just blocks,” Hamze argues that one of the largest hurdles for block-related plugins is discoverability. He further argues the block directory is too tightly focused on individual blocks, proposing a “block enhancements” category as a solution.

For Emoji Conbini, 10up’s Insert Special Characters, ThemeIsle’s Blocks CSS, and other plugins that extend the block editor, there is no way for users to discover these plugins without specifically searching for them. These are useful plugins that could help sell the block editor to users who are on the fence.

There is an unknown number of possibilities for enhancements to the block editor. This sub-category of block-editor plugins does not seem to get the attention that is going toward blocks. However, in some cases, they can be far more useful for everyday writing than the numerous blocks in development.

Hamze’s initial idea proposes an enhancements category for the upcoming block directory, but that has problems. For one, the block directory will be directly tied to the block inserter in a future version of WordPress. Plus, these types of plugins are not actual blocks. However, the concept of making block enhancements more visible to users is a necessary part of the puzzle. For the block editor’s continued success, WordPress needs to expose its users to a wider world of possibilities than simply installing another block.

Now is the time to start thinking about exposure for plugins that enhance the block editor. Eventually, these types of plugins may need to be further grouped into editor toolbar (e.g., character inserters), block options (e.g., extra settings for existing blocks), and other categories. I suspect that we are only now glimpsing a future where users will be asking how to find not just blocks but block editor extensions.

WPTavern: Swift Control Replaces WordPress Toolbar With Custom Access Panel

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 19:46
Swift Control expanded panel on the site front end.

David Vongries, creator of the Page Builder Framework theme, launched the Swift Control plugin last week. The plugin is billed as a replacement for the core WordPress toolbar (admin bar). It allows site owners to customize the front-end control panel’s appearance and what links are displayed.

Swift Control adds a new button on the front end of any site the plugin is active on. When clicked, the button expands to open the full array of button-like links to various admin screens. By default, the links point to the dashboard, edit screen for the current post, and the customizer.

On the whole, the default functionality is not much different from the normal toolbar. The selling point for this plugin is its customizability. For users who want more control over admin access links from the front end, the plugin is a nice option.

Vongries said the plugin made it easier for his customers to work with than the WordPress toolbar. He had wanted to release it as a standalone plugin for others to use over the years. However, he lacked the time and resources to put the release together.

“We built this for our multisite network around 3 years ago to make it easier for our customers to navigate and access the key areas of their website,” said Vongries. “We actually ended up using this — what was back then just a couple pieces of custom code — on all of our client websites. I got so used to it, I’m using it on my own sites as well.”

The plugin is simple to use and does its job well. For the moment, the largest downside is that the front-end controls are always positioned in the middle of the left side of the screen. This means it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. “We’ve actually planned to provide some position options so you can align the panel to the left, right, top-left, top-right and so on,” said Vongries. “That’s on the roadmap as well as some different styling options for the panel.” Both the positioning and styling options are planned for the free version of the plugin.

It would also be nice to see some mobile-specific options for the control panel. An option to move it to a different location on smaller screens would be helpful so that the buttons do not inadvertently cover content. Adding an option to disable it completely on mobile may also be worth considering.

The positioning is the only potential downside of an otherwise well-made plugin. Because it is being actively worked on, it may be a non-issue in future versions (I’m currently running version 1.2.1).

Customize the Swift Control Panel Swift Control plugin settings screen.

The beauty of Swift Control is in its options for customizing what buttons appear in the front-end panel. By default, the free version of the plugin contains seven “widgets” (what the plugin calls its buttons/links):

  • Dashboard
  • Edit {Post Type}
  • Customize
  • New Post
  • New Page
  • Themes
  • Plugins

Users can drag and drop these widgets wherever they prefer in the control panel. Each widget has its own options. By clicking the edit button, users can change both the icon and title for the widget. Users can also decide whether links should open in a new browser tab.

Swift Control Pro, the commercial version of the plugin, kicks customization up a notch. Besides the widgets available in the free version, it adds widgets for custom post types, launches the editor for page builders (Elementor, Brizy, Divi or Beaver Builder), supports WooCommerce, and adds a logout widget. Users can also create custom buttons.

Both the free and pro versions offer additional settings. Users can customize each of the colors used in the control panel so that it matches their site. Other settings are switches to enable or disable features, such as turning off the WordPress toolbar.

The following video shows how Swift Control Pro works (the free version is essentially the same but does not have the pro widgets):

Future Plugin Plans

Besides new positioning options, Vongries said they are working on an import and export feature. Ideally, this would allow users to keep their settings from test environments or when copying to new sites. It could also be interesting in use on multisite.

“One of the other features we’re going to work on next is the ability to show controls based on user roles,” said Vongries. “This will require us to change the UI of the widgets though, and we haven’t yet decided on what they should look like.” Currently, the team is exploring various ideas with the UI for such a feature, such as creating an expanding section for access to advanced widget settings.

The first order of business is bringing in more users and getting feedback, which should help steer the future direction of the plugin.

Answers Theme

Drupal Themes - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 19:00

People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

Wordpress News - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 15:26

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

Meet Robert Cheleuka

Robert is a self-taught graphic and motion designer turned web designer (and aspiring web developer) from Malawi, Africa. Over the years, he has grown fond of WordPress and has become a loyal user. Still, the journey is rough.

Robert Cheleuka Malawi

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A tiny landlocked country with a population of 17 million, it’s largely rural and still considered a developing country. The average entry-level monthly pay for most skilled jobs is about $110. If you’re employed full-time in the creative industry and if you’re very lucky, you might be able to earn more than that. Employees earning more than $300 a month are rare to non-existent.

Robert has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011. He started by doing gigs from his dorm in college and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency.

How Robert was introduced to WordPress

Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency.

While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes. 

With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills.

Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition. 

The WordPress community from Robert’s perspective

Robert doesn’t have a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Although he would search for solutions from blogs about WordPress he had never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. 

Robert believes that this isolation is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there isn’t a local group in Malawi. And because Malawi, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet.

WordPress & inclusion

As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day.

Robert didn’t have a programming background and had always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, he needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now.

Robert wishes that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise). He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.

WordPress has allowed him to build an income he would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. He believes sharing stories like his will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, he hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.

Contributors

Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Siobhan Cunningham (@siobhanseija), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe)

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!


People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

Wordpress News - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 15:26

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

Meet Robert Cheleuka

Robert is a self-taught graphic and motion designer turned web designer (and aspiring web developer) from Malawi, Africa. Over the years, he has grown fond of WordPress and has become a loyal user. Still, the journey is rough.

Robert Cheleuka Malawi

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A tiny landlocked country with a population of 17 million, it’s largely rural and still considered a developing country. The average entry-level monthly pay for most skilled jobs is about $110. If you’re employed full-time in the creative industry and if you’re very lucky, you might be able to earn more than that. Employees earning more than $300 a month are rare to non-existent.

Robert has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011. He started by doing gigs from his dorm in college and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency.

How Robert was introduced to WordPress

Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency.

While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes. 

With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills.

Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition. 

The WordPress community from Robert’s perspective

Robert doesn’t have a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Although he would search for solutions from blogs about WordPress he had never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. 

Robert believes that this isolation is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there isn’t a local group in Malawi. And because Malawi, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet.

WordPress & inclusion

As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day.

Robert didn’t have a programming background and had always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, he needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now.

Robert wishes that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise). He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.

WordPress has allowed him to build an income he would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. He believes sharing stories like his will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, he hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.

Contributors

Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Siobhan Cunningham (@siobhanseija), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe)

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!


WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

Wordpress Planet - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 15:26

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

Meet Robert Cheleuka

Robert is a self-taught graphic and motion designer turned web designer (and aspiring web developer) from Malawi, Africa. Over the years, he has grown fond of WordPress and has become a loyal user. Still, the journey is rough.

Robert Cheleuka Malawi

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A tiny landlocked country with a population of 17 million, it’s largely rural and still considered a developing country. The average entry-level monthly pay for most skilled jobs is about $110. If you’re employed full-time in the creative industry and if you’re very lucky, you might be able to earn more than that. Employees earning more than $300 a month are rare to non-existent.

Robert has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011. He started by doing gigs from his dorm in college and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency.

How Robert was introduced to WordPress

Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency.

While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes. 

With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills.

Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition. 

The WordPress community from Robert’s perspective

Robert doesn’t have a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Although he would search for solutions from blogs about WordPress he had never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. 

Robert believes that this isolation is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there isn’t a local group in Malawi. And because Malawi, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet.

WordPress & inclusion

As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day.

Robert didn’t have a programming background and had always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, he needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now.

Robert wishes that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise). He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.

WordPress has allowed him to build an income he would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. He believes sharing stories like his will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, he hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.

Contributors

Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Siobhan Cunningham (@siobhanseija), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe)

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!


WPTavern: 10up Releases Autoshare for Twitter WordPress Plugin

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 21:00

On Tuesday, 10up released its Autoshare for Twitter plugin. The plugin is designed to automatically tweet blog posts as they are published. By default, it will send the post title, featured image, and link to Twitter. Users can also add a custom message. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin directory.

If you threw a rock into a crowd of WordPress plugins, you would likely smack a social-networking extension. The WordPress plugin market is crowded with similar plugins, so it would make sense if this one flew under the radar. Plus, powerhouse plugins like Jetpack provide similar functionality, such as the Jetpack Publicize feature. Yet, with the prevalence of similar plugins, Autoshare for Twitter is worth checking out.

Many similar plugins work with multiple social networks, but 10up’s plugin is designed specifically for sharing via Twitter. For users who only need a solution for that specific social network, it is a solid solution for version 1.0.

10up originally built the plugin to provide the company’s clients more control and customization than they found in existing solutions. “Recognizing its widespread potential, we decided to follow our own best practices for managing open-source software by releasing it as a free plugin on the official WordPress plugin repository,” wrote Jeff Paul, Associate Director of Open Source Initiatives at 10up.

The plugin works with both the block and classic editors. When in use with the block editor, it is added as part of the pre-publish check system as shown in the following screenshot:

Pre-publish check for tweeting a post.

The custom message box tracks the number of characters so that users do not go over Twitter’s character count. The plugin also displays a message in the Status & Visibility panel to let users know if a post was shared on Twitter.

Overall, the plugin does its job well (sorry to folks who were bombarded with some test tweets earlier). It would be nice to see similar one-off solutions that are specific to other social networks. I often find myself in need of such plugins without dealing with a full array of social networking options.

The plugin is also available on GitHub for others to contribute. Currently, there are several open issues that would improve how the plugin works.

Setup Is Not User-Friendly Settings page for Twitter credentials.

The biggest downside to the plugin is there are no links, no admin help tab, and no instructions on how to set up the Twitter Credentials on the plugin’s setting screen. The page simply has some text fields for things like an API Key, API Secret, and so on. These are not user-friendly terms, and will likely be confusing for many. Not to mention, similar plugins can connect users at the click of a button. For a plugin that does nearly everything else right, this is a missing piece of what would be a near-perfect release.

The plugin is ideal for power users or developers who want to set up Twitter sharing for a client. In the current version of the plugin, users need to set up a Twitter Developer account and create a Twitter App. This generates the API keys and necessary tokens for using the plugin.

The plugin does have an open ticket on GitHub for a better onboarding process, which could solve this issue. Therefore, the team is aware of and actively working on making this smoother in a future version.

WPTavern: Gutenberg 7.3 Brings Navigation Block Colors, Block Collections API, and Dynamic Post Blocks

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 21:17

The Gutenberg team announced version 7.3 of the plugin yesterday. This was the second release of the year, which included 159 contributions from 56 people. The major changes to the plugin include settings for changing the navigation block’s text and background colors, a new Block Collections API for developers, and placeholder blocks for post elements.

One of the most significant changes with this release is the speed improvement for page load times and input events. Speed tests are done against posts with ~36,000 words and ~1,000 blocks. The team reduced total load time from 6.431 seconds in version 7.2 to 4.55 seconds in version 7.3. Input events saw larger improvements. Events in 7.3 take 33.8 milliseconds in comparison to 64.7 milliseconds in 7.2.

Changes in Gutenberg 7.3 covered a wide range of areas in the plugin. The team added an experimental label function for improving block accessibility. They corrected over a dozen bugs with editor navigation. They also introduced some new developer APIs such as a warning utility, text component, and image size control component.

Work toward full-site editing continued in this release. It is now possible to edit existing template part files. The site editor can also load the front page block template.

Navigation Block Colors Selecting custom colors for the navigation block.

The existing Navigation block continues to improve with each release. Version 7.3 added new options for setting the text color for all navigation items and background color for the entire navigation block.

It is nice to see some work done toward providing users control over navigation colors. However, it is a far cry from what a good theme designer can do with the flexibility of plain ol’ CSS. Handling navigation colors is tricky because there is so much that is missing. Link colors also need hover and focus state changes. Some designs may need borders for links and border color changes for the various link states or even background color changes.

Suffice it to say, I am still skeptical about how good the navigation block will be when it is time to move onto full-site editing, especially in comparison to the fine-tuned control that a theme author would normally have.

Dynamic Post Element Blocks Post element placeholder blocks.

In previous releases, the Gutenberg team dropped post title and post content blocks. These are placeholder blocks that will dynamically output the title and content for posts. The long-term goal is for these blocks to be used along with full-site editing, which will allow users to manipulate how everything on their sites is output, including posts.

Gutenberg 7.3 introduced three new placeholder blocks for post elements:

This still represents early work toward full-site editing. Eventually, Gutenberg will need to turn nearly every important template tag into a block to get full coverage of what is currently possible with PHP.

To test these features, you must enable “Full Site Editing” via the Gutenberg > Experiments screen in the WordPress admin.

Block Collections API for Developers registerBlockCollection( 'super-duper', { title: 'Super Duper', icon: ( <SVG xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 24 24"><Path d="M11 5v7H9.5C7.6 12 6 10.4 6 8.5S7.6 5 9.5 5H11m8-2H9.5C6.5 3 4 5.5 4 8.5S6.5 14 9.5 14H11v7h2V5h2v16h2V5h2V3z" /></SVG> ), } );

A new Block Collections API was added to version 7.3 for plugin developers. Instead of registering a block category and adding blocks to specific categories, plugin developers can register a collection based on the namespace for their blocks.

For instance, suppose you develop a plugin with a collection of blocks. Each block is under the namespace super-duper. When you register a block collection with the super-duper namespace, all of the blocks would be automatically registered to your custom block collection. This seems to be a smarter way to handle groups of blocks than the existing category system.

Right now, collections work the same way as categories within the UI. However, it does open collections to other possibilities in the future.

Blocks can still be registered to a specific category that makes the most sense for the individual block. However, by registering collections, an avenue exists for finding all blocks coming from a single source.

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