Wordpress News

WPTavern: EditorsKit Adds Nofollow Options for Links, Fixes Bug with Gutenberg Metaboxes Overlapping in Chrome

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 19:42

EditorsKit is becoming somewhat of a “hotfix” plugin for Gutenberg, especially with the additions to the 1.14 release this week. Developer Jeffrey Carandang added new link formats for nofollow rel attribute options, along with a fix for an annoying bug in Chrome that causes Gutenberg metaboxes to overlap. He has been closely monitoring feedback on both Gutenberg and EditorsKit, introducing features for which users have an immediate need.

Google recently announced new ways to identify nofollow links with two additional rel attribute options for specifying links as sponsored and/or user-generated content. The Gutenberg core team has expressed hesitation on a PR that would add nofollow link options, invoking WordPress’ 80/20 rule.

Since the related PR doesn’t seem to be a priority, with no movement for two weeks, Carandang decided to add the nofollow and sponsored rel attribute options to EditorsKit, so users can start following Google’s recommendations without having to switch to HTML mode. He also managed to make it work with the version of Gutenberg included in core.

Chrome users may have noticed that the block editor has a nasty bug with metaboxes overlapping, obscuring the main content area. This problem was introduced in the recent Chrome 77 update and is present on WordPress 5.2.3 and older versions.

Chrome developers are aware of the issue and a fix will be in the next release. Version 78 is expected October 22. Since it is a bug with Chrome, the Gutenberg team has opted not to release a fix/workaround for this problem. In the meantime, they recommend updating to WordPress 5.3 if it is released before the Chrome bug is fixed. This isn’t likely, as 5.3 is scheduled for mid-November.

The Gutenberg team also recommend using a different browser or installing the Gutenberg plugin to fix the issue. Andrea Fercia noted on the ticket that the plugin is still listed among WordPress’ beta plugins and may not be advisable to use in production on some sites. Users with a technical background can implement one of several CSS solutions in the ticket, but this is a frustrating bug for users who don’t know how to apply code fixes.

Carandang added a fix for this bug to the most recent version of EditorsKit. So far his strategy of being responsive to users’ requests seems to have been successful, as his Gutenberg utility plugin now has more than 1,000 active installs. He said he is happy to add hot fixes for EditorsKit users and will remove them once the fixes have been added to Chrome and/or the block editor.

WPTavern: Behind New Packages Project Lead, Theme Review Team Launches Admin Notices Solution

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 18:06

As part of the WordPress Theme Review Team’s plan to curb obtrusive admin notices, the team pushed version 1.0 of its Admin Notices package to the public. The new package provides a standard API for theme authors to display admin notices.

Ari Stathopoulos took over as the packages project lead in late August. Stathopoulos is the primary developer and creator of the highly-rated Kirki customizer framework, which currently has 300,000+ active installs as a plugin. However, the framework is also available as separate modules that theme authors can bundle within their themes.

The Admin Notices package is the third package produced by the team and the first that Stathopoulos has spearheaded.

Adding a basic admin notice in WordPress is relatively easy for most developers. However, handling features such as persistent dismissible actions is more complex. The Admin Notices package handles this out of the box.

Some options for the package include the ability to:

  • Set a title and message.
  • Select a type that adds in the appropriate UI class (info, success, warning, error).
  • Choose which admin screens the notice appears on.
  • Limit the message by user capability so that it doesn’t appear for all users.

The above screenshot shows an example of a basic admin notice output for the four available types. The dismiss action is handled by JavaScript and works without reloading the page. Once dismissed, users will no longer see the notice.

“I think the hardest thing about it was deciding how restrictive we wanted it to be,” said Stathopoulos of the challenges building this package. The package restricts theme authors to paragraph, link, bold, and italic elements in version 1.0. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for experimentation, but standardization is the goal. The more elements allowed, the more likely the tool doesn’t solve the team’s problem of keeping admin notices unobtrusive.

User Notifications Are a Complex Problem

WordPress doesn’t provide a formal API for user notifications. However, it does provide a standard set of CSS classes and a hook for attaching notices. The Codex also has some examples of best practices. The lack of a formal API has left theme and plugin authors to their own devices. Users have suffered because of wildly varying implementations and common issues such as non-dismissible advertisements.

Tim Hengeveld proposed a Notification Center API on Trac in 2018. The ticket has a healthy, ongoing discussion and some UI proposals. The proposal is still marked as “Awaiting Review,” and it’s unlikely that it’ll ship anytime sooner than WordPress 5.4 or later.

Currently, many plugins and themes also use admin notices for user onboarding, which is a separate problem in need of a solution. There’s a 4-year-old ticket that discusses WordPress new-user onboarding, but there’s not much movement to solve this problem for plugins and themes.

While the TRT’s package doesn’t tackle all issues associated with user notifications, it does help limit some of the short-term damage.

More Packages in the Works

More packages are currently being built and others are in the planning stages.

The goal of the overall project is to provide theme authors with drop-in modules they can bundle with their themes. The packages are all written in PHP 5.6+ in hopes to push theme authors toward more modern coding practices (relatively speaking, since PHP 7.4 will be released this year). It will also help streamline the review process if more theme authors adopt the packages rather than building everything in-house.

“If we build packages for the most-requested things, we’ll hopefully empower people to build quality themes easier,” explained Stathopoulos. “I think of packages as building blocks for themes.”

Stathopoulos is working on a customizer control for selecting a color with alpha transparency, which could be released as early as next week. It will provide theme users with more control over how their colors appear for themes that implement it.

“After we build the basics I want to focus on packages that would enhance a11y and privacy in themes – two areas where themes are falling short,” he said. “It would help a lot of people, and that is ultimately our goal.”

Theme authors have grown accustomed to installing JavaScript and CSS packages via NPM over the past few years. However, their use of Composer as a PHP dependency manager has lagged. In some part, this could be due to WordPress’ previous reluctance to bump its minimum version of PHP. Many packages available on Packagist, the main Composer repository, do not work with older versions of PHP. WordPress’ recent jump to PHP 5.6+ and plans to move to 7+ in the future may push more theme authors to consider PHP dependency management.

The TRT has a Packagist account and has made all of its packages installable via Composer.

No Requirement to Use Packages Yet

There are no current plans for the TRT to start requiring the use of these packages for specific features, but a few team members have proposed doing so.

“There are valid reasons to enforce the use of these packages, but it can’t happen overnight,” said Stathopoulos. “We want themes in the repository to have some standards, it can not be the wild west. Code quality has to improve. These packages are a way to make life easier for people, and ultimately save time for everyone.”

Stathopoulos is open to theme authors building custom implementations if they can improve upon what the team has built, but he prefers that authors “discuss their ideas in the package repository and submit a pull-request so that the whole community can benefit.”

Getting theme authors involved is one area where the team has struggled. Contributing to the packages could benefit the entire community. “Most people don’t even know about them since they are not listed anywhere,” said Stathopoulos. “Theme Authors currently have to look for them, and in order to look for them someone needs to tell them they exist (which doesn’t happen).” One of the next steps would be getting the packages listed in the TRT’s documentation.

Working together on common theme features could provide a bridge between theme authors and reviewers, allowing them to solve issues together.

Note: The author of this article was involved with the initial theme packages proposal and a developer on its initial package releases.

HeroPress: Life Stacks Up – From A Small Town Boy To A Geek Entrepreneur

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 03:00

A six year old is in deep thought. His gaze stuck on an intricate structure made with wooden sticks – a large rectangular box in the centre, a tall stick, some knitting threads running up and down. All this is arranged in a shelf in a common terrace wall of two middle class Indian homes.

The boy is holding what seems like a paper cup telephone – two paper cups with a thread running between. Soon, he smiles and throws one paper cup over the wall to the other side. His counterpart on the other side picks up his side of the “telephone” and they start talking.

“I made a TV using the sticks. I’m now going to set up a power line…”

“Awesome, I’ll be there after my homework!”

Aha! Now it makes sense. The kids are pretend-playing, and this one in particular is into science and model making. He has made an elaborate television model with limited resources.

Fast forward six years, and the boy is writing programs on a school computer. Couple years later he’s making model rockets and planes.

Fast forward another six years, and the boy is sitting with Bill Gates, being one of the eight national winners in a competition.

He goes on to launch India’s first electronic magazine, a web solutions business, local language versions of Linux and OpenOffice, a content management system, few books and a string of businesses that have made millions of dollars.

And he fondly remembers meeting Matt Mullenweg and Chris Lema at WordCamp San Francisco in 2014. His web agency business had gone bust around 2011, and his WordPress plugins business was picking up. Those meetings strengthened his conviction for WordPress and he doubled down on his plugins. Today his team takes care of 200,000+ active users across two dozen of their plugins – both free and premium.

That small town boy is me.

Who I Am

My name is Nirav Mehta. I live in Mumbai, and I’m super passionate content, commerce and contribution. I run three businesses – two in WordPress (StoreApps.org – where we solve problems for growing WooCommerce stores, Icegram.com – where creators find tools to inspire, engage and convert their audiences), and one SaaS business (Putler – meaningful analytics for e-commerce).

I have done some or other form of writing for over two decades. I’ve done open source for my whole life and used Drupal and Joomla earlier. As a matter of fact, I created a content management system using PHP back in 2000. But I liked the simplicity and community of WordPress. So when I wanted to start two blogs in 2006, I jumped on to WordPress.

And it was amazing. WordPress simplified a whole lot of things, allowed customization and had extensive plugin ecosystem.

I continued blogging and tinkering with WordPress. WordPress kept growing, and when I was looking for “the next big thing” around 2011, I figured I can bet on e-commerce with WordPress.

There was no WooCommerce back then, and we built an extension to WPeC – an e-commerce plugin that was popular at that time. Smart Manager – the plugin we built – allowed managing products, orders and customers using an easy spreadsheet like interface. It quickly became popular. When WooCommerce came along, we ported our WPeC plugins to WooCommerce, and also became an official third-party developers with our Smart Coupons plugin. StoreApps – our WooCommerce plugins business continues to be our top business today.

WordPress has changed my life. For me, WordPress means freedom, self expression and adaptability.

Where I Came From

I’m from a small town, I am not an engineer, I didn’t do an MBA. I don’t have a godfather. But I’ve always wanted to contribute to a larger community, I’m a stickler for elegant solutions that solve practical problems and I’m ready to delay gratification. I believe grit and humility are essential. I’m a curious lifetime learner. I’ve realized that money is important, it’s a great resource. But I’ve also learnt that the joy of seeing someone benefit from your work far surpasses anything else.

WordPress fits perfectly here. It gives me a platform to reach out to the whole world. It’s built on community and greater good. There are lots of opportunities and entry barriers are low.

What WordPress Has Given Me

WordPress allowed me to exercise my creative skills and easily build solutions on top of the core platform. I am not a great marketer, and WordPress and WooCommerce enabled me to build strong businesses by tapping into their distribution prowess. WordPress was easy to learn, so when we found people with the right mindset, they became productive soon.

Icegram – our onsite and email marketing plugins business – is a clear example of the power of WordPress. Icegram Engage shows popups, header-footer bars and many other types of visitor engagement and call to action messages. Maintaining such a solution on a large scale would require huge server costs and sys-op efforts. We could avoid all that because we could keep most of the functionality in WordPress. It also provided a cleaner and much better user experience than typical SaaS solutions. When I wrote the initial code for it, I wanted to keep the frontend logic in JavaScript – and of course, WordPress allowed doing that. Eventually, it was also easy to migrate to a hybrid model – where complex functions are performed on our servers and rest remains in WordPress.

WordPress has given me great friends. I’ve met so many talented people online and at WordCamps! Me and my WordPress friends have done amazing adventures together! And the circle keeps expanding. You will find amazing people in WordPress!

When you look at my life, and if important events were plotted as a chart, you won’t see a straight curve. It’s a bundle of long lull-times with gyrating ups and downs in between. I studied behavior patterns, data modelling and visualization for Putler – our multi-system analytics solution for online businesses. I also get to see numbers from many other businesses. I wanted to analyze how businesses work. What causes success.

And one big, common takeaway – in both business and life – is that results are non-linear. There is no single cause to any result.

Back To You

It all starts simple. What you do today, is shaped by something you did earlier, and will shape something else you’ll do in the future.

Every little act of courage, every little getting out of your comfort zone, every new thing you learn, every setback, every little success… It all keeps building who you are.

You see, life stacks up!

Do not despair, do not lose faith. Series of actions produce a result, and you have the ability to act.

So stay on!

The post Life Stacks Up – From A Small Town Boy To A Geek Entrepreneur appeared first on HeroPress.

WPTavern: GPL Author Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 23:58

Richard Stallman, free software movement activist and originator of the “copyleft” concept, has resigned from his position as director of the board and president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), which he established in 1985. This resignation comes on the heels of his resignation from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) after remarks he made regarding a 17-year old victim of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, characterizing her as seeming “entirely willing.”

Stallman blamed media coverage for misinterpreting his comments as a defense of Epstein two days before announcing his resignation from MIT on his personal blog:

To the MIT community, I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.

The remarks in question were sent on a department-wide CSAIL mailing list in response to an MIT student email calling for a protest against Jeffrey Epstein’s donation to the school. Selam Jie Gano, the MIT graduate who exposed Stallman’s comments in a post on Medium, also leaked the full thread to Vice.

In the email thread, which was also circulated to undergraduate students, Stallman became pedantic about the definition of assault and the use of the term ‘rape’ after a student pointed out the laws of the location and the victim’s age:

I think it is morally absurd to define “rape” in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.

These comments caused media organizations to dig up old posts from Stallman’s blog where he demands an end to the censorship of “child pornography” and says he is “skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.”

Why Stallman felt it necessary to lend his controversial views to public comments on rape, assault, and child sex trafficking on a public mailing list is a mystery, but he has a long history of being outspoken when it comes to politics and civil liberties.

This particular incident seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, unleashing a flood of outrage from the the free software and broader tech communities who demanded Stallman’s removal from the FSF. Critics cited two decades of behaviors and statements that many have found to be disturbing and offensive. The Geek Feminism Wiki maintains a catalog that includes some of these references.

“The free software community looks the other way while they build their empires on licenses that sustain Stallman’s power,” Software engineer and founder of RailsBridge Sarah Mei said in a Tweetstorm calling on the FSF to remove Stallman from his positions of influence.

“Your refusal to part ways with him – despite well-known incidents that have pushed women and others out of free software for decades – might have been ok 10 years ago. Maybe even two years ago. It’s not ok now.”

The Software Freedom Conservancy also issued a statement calling for Stallman’s removal, titled “Richard Stallman Does Not and Cannot Speak for the Free Software Movement:”

When considered with other reprehensible comments he has published over the years, these incidents form a pattern of behavior that is incompatible with the goals of the free software movement. We call for Stallman to step down from positions of leadership in our movement.

We reject any association with an individual whose words and actions subvert these goals. We look forward to seeing the FSF’s action in this matter and want to underscore that allowing Stallman to continue to hold a leadership position would be an unacceptable compromise. Most importantly, we cannot support anyone, directly or indirectly, who condones the endangerment of vulnerable people by rationalizing any part of predator behavior.

In a 2017 Twitter thread, Mei shared some context on her perspective of how Stallman’s influence has had a ripple effect of damage throughout the free software and open source communities:

In the 90s, Richard Stallman’s attitude towards women alienated me (and many others) from any interest in or support for “free software.” Viewing software through the Richard Stallman/GNU/”free as in freedom” lens would have run our industry into the ground. But it was the only alternative to proprietary software for ~20 years. So lots of folks worked on it despite finding Stallman problematic. This was the period when women largely declined to be part of computing, despite having pretty reasonable representation through the 80s.

In the early 2000s, “open source” was a breath of fresh air. All of the usefulness! None of the built-in arrogance, privilege, or misogyny! But just because it wasn’t built in doesn’t mean it disappeared. As folks converted, the behaviors normalized by Stallman and others followed. Our drive now for diversity/inclusion wasn’t even conceivable until we discarded GNU, Stallman, and “free software” in favor of “open source.” It’s not an accident that the communities who still, today, embrace that outdated philosophy are the least diverse and the most hostile.

Stallman is the author of the GPL, which he wrote with the help of lawyers. For the most part, the free software community is able to objectively separate the license from the man who conceived it. The FSF’s sister organization in Europe welcomed Stallman’s resignation, echoing the sentiments of many who value his contributions but are unwilling to support his public representation of the organization:

On 16 September, one of our independent sister organizations, the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF), announced the resignation of Richard M. Stallman as its president. While we recognize Stallman’s role in founding the Free Software movement, we welcome the decision.

The FSF has the opportunity to redefine itself after the resignation of its founder and supporters are hopeful that the free software movement can find a better way forward without Stallman’s influence.

“I believe in Free Software and have published most of my work open source under LGPL/GPL/AGPL (notably including Cydia, Cycript, WinterBoard, ldid, and now my work on Orchid),” software engineer Jay Freeman said. “I’m glad to see Richard Stallman leave, and hope this starts a new era for the Free Software Foundation.”

WPTavern: Yoast to Reward Contributors with the Yoast Care Fund

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:51

Yoast, a company primarily known for its popular Yoast SEO plugin, announced a new program earlier this month called Yoast Care. The project aims to reward volunteers in the WordPress community. “Care” stands for “Community Appreciation REwards.”

Thousands of people contribute to WordPress. Some choose to contribute code. Others answer dozens of support questions every day in the forums. Many spend their free time actively running or helping with the various Make WordPress teams. Many people do it because they love WordPress or have found a home within the community, but not all of them get paid for their work toward the open-source platform.

Contributing untold hours is often a thankless job. The many millions of WordPress users will never know about the time and effort these volunteers pour into the project. They are in the trenches doing the work that keeps WordPress running. They don’t wear capes, but they are the unsung heroes of the community.

“We visit a lot of WordCamps and know a lot of people. We notice that some people have a hard time making a living from just their WordPress-work,” said Marieke van de Rakt, CEO of Yoast. “We wanted to do something for these people. We can’t hire them all.”

Yoast Care will grant $500 to around 50 volunteers each year. The company has already set aside $25,000 for the first year and has an open application process for nominating contributors.

“We’re aiming for people that do not get paid for their work on WordPress,” said van de Rakt, founder of Yoast Academy and CEO of Yoast. “It has to be a person that is active in a Make WordPress team.”

Some within the community have noted that Yoast is a for-profit company and that such programs are more about PR. At the heart of the discussion is whether the fund will obscure the longstanding issue of how to properly fund contributors to open-source projects ($500 only goes so far). Others have pointed out that the program is a step in the right direction and could push other companies to follow suit.

The fund could help those who need it most. It may help a volunteer replace their worn-out laptop, cover a freelancer during a low-income month, or boost someone in need of cash flow for their new WordPress project.

The application process is open for anyone to fill out, but applicants can’t throw their own names into the hat. The form for applying also asks for up to 3 references to confirm the nominee’s work. The team has already received many applications.

Taco Verdonscho is leading the Yoast Care project for the company’s community team. Such a program is no small task to run, and the rewards will be spread out through the year.

“It is a lot of work,” said van de Rakt. “They’ve really thought it through (what the demands are), so I think it’s rather easy to decide whether or not the application can be rewarded. But, still after that, we need to do an interview and make it happen financially. So there are a lot of people involved.”

Outside of a cash reward, Yoast will feature winners in a blog post that highlights his or her contributions to WordPress.

Yoast is not new to community outreach and funding those in need. Last year, the team launched the Yoast Diversity Fund. The program was created to help minorities and other underrepresented groups afford to speak at conferences. It covers travel, accommodations, childcare, and other costs. The Diversity Fund is still accepting applications.

Most within the inner WordPress community know at least one or two people who deserve some appreciation for all the work they do. If you know someone who fits this description, you can nominate them via the Yoast Care application page.

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 5.0.0 Release Candidate

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 23:15

Hello!

The first release candidate for BuddyPress 5.0.0 is now available for a last round of testing!

This is an important milestone as we progress toward the BuddyPress 5.0.0 final release date. “Release Candidate” means that we think the new version is ready for release, but with more than 200,000 active installs, hundreds of BuddyPress plugins and Thousands of WordPress themes, it’s possible something was missed. BuddPress 5.0.0 is scheduled to be released on Monday, September 30, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.0.0 yet, now is the time!

Download and test the 5.0.0-RC1

PS: as usual you alternatively get a copy via our Subversion repository.

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release note, but you can get a quick overview by reading the post about the 5.0.0 Beta1 release.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against BuddyPress 5.0.0. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to this specific support topic so we can figure those out before the final release.

Polyglots, we need you!

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate BuddyPress into many languages! This release also marks the string freeze point of the 5.0.0 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, please let us know reporting it on the support forums and/or on our development tracker.

Thanks in advance for giving the release candidate a test drive!

WPTavern: New Attock WordPress Meetup Empowers Pakistani Women Freelancers and Business Owners

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 22:04

WordCamp Lahore is getting rebooted on November 30 – December 1, at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences. The first edition of the event was planned for 2016 but was derailed by local disagreements and ultimately canceled. For the past three years organizers have worked to strengthen their local meetup groups and follow suggestions from the WordPress Foundation before reapplying.

WordCamp Lahore lead organizer Muhammad Kashif said his team is expecting more than 350 attendees, with the majority of them coming from the local community. The Lahore WordPress meetup group is thriving and has grown to 4,383 members who regularly meet in various groups across the area.

“We still have attendees from other cities and in closing I encourage them to start local chapters and offer any help they need,” Kashif said. He works as a Master Trainer for a government training program called eRozgaar that trains unemployed youth in more than 25 centers across Punjab. The program was launched by the Punjab Government in March 2017 and WordPress is a major part of the eRozgaar curriculum.

“I manage the WordPress curriculum and in a recent update I have included community building, which is about Meetups and WordCamp events,” Kashif said. He reports that eRozgaar trainees have collectively earned more than $1 million US dollars to date after going through the 3.5 month-program.

“The program is making a big impact, especially for women who can’t go out for jobs,” Kashif said. “They are making good money from freelancing and WordPress is playing a big part in that.”

Kashif attributes some of Pakistan’s current economic challenges to a rapidly growing population and poor planning from past governments. The job opportunities have not grown as fast as the population, which was one of the reasons the government created the eRozgaar training program.

As the result of having WordPress in the curriculum that is used across so many areas of Punjab, new meetups are starting to pop up in other cities. Salma Noreen, one of the program’s trainers who Kashif worked with, started a meetup in Attock and is the first female WordPress meetup organizer in Pakistan. She plans to apply for WordCamp Attock in 2020.

Salma Noreen, first female WordPress meetup organizer in Pakistan

“Attock is a small city but love for WordPress is big and I am so happy to see other women participating in the WordPress community,” Noreen said.

“Every year, 1000+ people graduate in this city after 16 years of education. But we don’t have many jobs in this small city, so a small number of people who are backed by financially good families can move to other big cities like Lahore and Karachi for jobs and learning opportunities. The remaining people’s future is always a question mark.

“Being a woman, I was more worried about women, as we have a cultural barrier that most women cannot get permission to relocate or go out of home for a regular 9 to 5 job. Introducing them to WordPress and then guiding them on how to find online clients has helped many to earn a decent living from home.”

For the past 10 years, Noreen worked primarily as a freelancer and has completed more than 3,500 projects in web development. She is mentoring new WordPress users in her city to become successful freelancers and online store owners using resources like Udemy courses, YouTube, public blogs, and the WordPress codex.

“I am still struggling but yes I am confident that one day everyone will be making enough from home,” she said.

The Attock WordPress meetup is averaging 60-70 attendees in recent months, where members share their knowledge, experience, and best practices. For many of those attending, the meetup group was their first introduction to the software. Noreen describes the local community as “crazy about WordPress” and eager to have their own WordCamp in 2020.

Attock WordPress meetup

One meetup member, Uroosa Samman, is a graduate of Environmental Science studies but is now working with WordPress after attending the monthly meetups.

“I didn’t have any WordPress or coding background during my education,” Samman said. “It was difficult for me to learn tech things. The meetups were very helpful and motivational for me, so I decided to start working in tech. Since the events were organized by a female organizer, it was comfortable for us to attend. I am able to provide my services as a freelancer and I am developing my own WordPress e-commerce store. If I get stuck in any issue related to WordPress, I immediately contact this community and they are always ready to help each other.”

Women attending a recent Attock WordPress Meetup

Shahryar Amin, a recent college graduate, was uncertain about his future until he discovered WordPress through Noreen’s support and the Attock meetup:

Just a few months ago, I was completely devastated financially. Pakistan is going through turbulent time, and its economy has never been performing this low. So, fresh graduates like me had their dreams absolutely shattered, when after four months of rigorous effort, we were unable to find a source of livelihood. That was truly a testing time.

Moving back to my small city, I was not much hopeful for the future. My hometown, Attock, is a remote city with limited opportunities to advance one’s career. But ironically, that turned out to be a wrong assumption. I moved back to my city after nearly four years, and it had some phenomenal changes which I couldn’t resist noticing. The most
impressive of them was WordPress meetups.

That was the first time I became familiar with the platform. I was curious, and that got me to the very first meetup organized by Ms. Salma Noreen. She is a remarkable soul, and I can’t thank her more for putting up such effort for an ignored city like ours. I learned my basics from these meetups, and as my interest become my passion, I was spending more and more hours on learning WordPress through the internet. I had no programming skills, but fortunately one don’t need any to setup a website on WordPress.

As I delved further into it, I discovered some very useful plugins, like Elementor, Divi and Visual composer, and at that moment I decided to become a designer using WordPress. I won’t say that I have become an expert in WordPress, but I am paying back the community by sharing my knowledge as a speaker at the very last meetup on July 30. Also, I have been working as a freelance designer on various online platforms, and WordPress expertise has truly been rewarding me financially.

Shahryar Amin speaking at a recent Attock WordPress meetup

Attock resident Sania Nisar has a degree in software engineering and used to spend several days creating a simple website before discovering WordPress. She has never had any formal training through paid courses but is now working as a WordPress professional with the knowledge she gained from attending WordPress meetups and online resources.

“WordPress Attock is playing a vital role in empowering women in my vicinity,” Nisar said. “It is difficult for the women of Attock to travel to big cities like Islamabad to gain knowledge. However, WordPress Attock has efficiently solved this problem by providing an engaging learning platform for the women of this city. Today I am a successful freelancer and a WordPress professional.”

Noreen said her team hopes to bring 15 to 20 people from Attock to attend WordCamp Lahore. The trip is expensive and takes approximately seven hours so not many will be able to make it but there will be other camps in the region that are nearer for Attock residents.

Last year a WordCamp was held in Islamabad, and the second WordCamp Karachi took place in August 2019. WordCamp Lahore will be Pakistan’s fourth WordCamp, held in the country’s second-most populous city. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and connect with WordPress professionals and enthusiasts from across Pakistan. Speaker applications are open and sessions will be held in Urdu and English. Regular admission is Rs 1,700.00 and tickets are now on sale.

WPTavern: Justin Tadlock Joins WP Tavern

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:02

The kid scampered ahead of his classmates. He wanted to be one of the first to set foot in the building, but he stopped as he got to the first step. He looked up to count the floors. One, two, three…it wasn’t The Times. He was awestruck all the same. The Birmingham News.

Truth be told, the kid was a man grown in 2007, but he was still a kid at heart. His graduation was fast approaching. He’d soon leave The Plains, his home of Auburn, Alabama. He needed to get some experience at smaller, local papers before landing a job at The Birmingham News. He didn’t know it while standing on those steps, but before the day was out, he’d return home and start filling out applications for every small paper across the state.

His only real experience with newspapers outside of university was reading about J. Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker or following the exploits of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He had this 1950s-esque picture in his mind of a cigar-smoking reporter wearing a cheap suit and fedora while pounding the keys of his typewriter. He’d be working toward a Pulitzer-winning story. Other reporters would sprint by his desk with their next big lead. The editor would yell orders across the room as everyone rushed to beat the deadline.

Reality didn’t exactly match the picture in his mind. The kid knew it wouldn’t. On those steps of the recently-built news office, he’d need to let go of the fantasy. He breathed deep and stepped forward at the instruction of his professor.

Field trips were a rare occurrence in college, but this professor was different. His classroom was merely a part of the learning process. Journalism was more than memorizing rules and writing a few papers each semester. The only way to understand journalism was to step foot into an office and observe.

That’s the day the kid’s life changed forever. He knew what he wanted to do after he graduated. He wanted to work at a small-town newspaper by day and pen the great Southern American novel by night.

The roads people travel are rarely the direct route they set out on.

A few months later, the kid was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and traveling to Home Depots across half the state as a vendor. During his summer in the Peach State, he got an opportunity to visit the CNN Center. It was a thing of beauty. With renewed vigor, he put in more applications at small papers. Either no one was hiring or he didn’t have the experience.

He applied for other jobs. Once he interviewed to be a used-car salesman. However, he landed a job teaching in South Korea. While imparting the few things he picked up about the English language to young minds, he began building his reputation in the WordPress community. Before leaving the country, he’d bootstrapped his own WordPress theme shop in 2008.

After 11 years, the kid stumbled upon an opportunity to join the staff at WP Tavern, a chance to combine his passion for WordPress and writing.

Now a new chapter in his life begins.

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

My name is Justin Tadlock. I’m the new staff writer for WP Tavern. It’s my hope that I can bring a different perspective and produce many engaging stories for you to read long into the future.

You’ve probably used at least a few lines of my code to run your web site. I’ve contributed to WordPress in some form or fashion since I started using the software in 2005. I formerly ran Theme Hybrid, which was one of the earliest and longest-running theme shops in the WordPress ecosystem. I also co-authored Professional WordPress Plugin Development.

Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to get to know more of you within the WordPress community. I’ve been an avid reader of WP Tavern since its inception. It’s always held a special place in my heart, and I want it to be an environment where everyone feels welcome to discuss all the things happening in the WordPress world.

It will take me a bit to get a feel for the new writing position and find my voice. I may have a few hit-or-miss stories out of the gates, but I’m always open to feedback and criticism from our readers. Ultimately, it’s my job to serve you the stories that you enjoy reading.

I’m stoked for the opportunity to get to know more of you. I want to help you share your stories. I want the community to know the people behind this platform that so many of us rely on in our personal and professional lives.

I hope I exceed your expectations for quality reporting and feature stories for WordPress. Stay tuned.

Hopper

Drupal Themes - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 14:20

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WPTavern: Adam Jacob Advocates for Building Healthy OSS Communities in “The War for the Soul of Open Source”

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 21:31

Chef co-founder and former CTO Adam Jacob gave a short presentation at O’Reilly Open Source Software Conference (OSCON) 2019 titled “The War for the Soul of Open Source.” In his search for meaning in open source software today, Jacob confronts the notion of open source business models.

“We often talk about open source business models,” he said. “There isn’t an open source business model. That’s not a thing and the reason is open source is a channel. Open source is a way that you, in a business sense, get the software out to the people, the people use the software, and then they become a channel, which [companies] eventually try to turn into money.”

Companies often employ open source as a strategy to drive adoption, only to have mega corporations scoop up the software and corner the market. Jacob addressed the friction open source communities have with companies that use OSS to make billions of dollars per year running it as a service, citing Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a prime example.

Amid conflicts like these, it’s a challenge to find meaning in OSS via business. Jacob looked to organizations like the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative but could not get on board with the methods and outcomes they pursue through their efforts.

He concluded that what is left is the people at the heart of OSS, who improbably come together with an overlapping sense of shared values and purpose.

“Each of us are a weird different shape, struggling to find our path and yet open source software gives us this ability to gather together around this resource that we turn from being scarce to being infinite,” he said.

“Look at your own desires, look at your own needs and the things you want in your own life. Then go out and find and build and steward communities with other people who share those values and who will embrace your purpose, and sustain each other. Because that is the true soul of open source.”

In December 2018, Jacob launched the Sustainable Free and Open Source Communities (SFOSC) project to advocate for these ideas. Instead of focusing on protecting revenue models of OSS companies, the project’s contributors work together to collaborate on writing core principles, social contracts, and business models as guidelines for healthy OSS communities.

“I believe we need to start talking about Open Source not in terms of licensing models, or business models (though those things matter): instead, we should be talking about wether or not we are building sustainable communities,” Jacob said in a post introducing the project. “What brings us together, as people, in this common effort around the software? What rights do we hold true for each other? What rights are we willing to trade in order to see more of the software in the world, through the investment of capital?”

Check out Jacob’s presentation below for a 13-minute condensed version of the inspiration behind the SFOSC project.

Flexi Cart

Drupal Themes - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:45

This a Drupal Commerce Mobile first Theme. Our Commerce theme is the best way for you to display and sell your products. It is designed to make your products to sell fastly and easily in online. We have provided clear code and comments for theme. Using SASS variable it apply globally.

Font Awesome icons used for browser friendly. Banner/Slider, Social share, regions etc., are configurable. To use this module you must have Drupal Commerce 2.x installed.

Features

  • Mobile first Theme
  • 18+ regions
  • Smooth scroll animation
  • Font Awesome icons
  • Slider/Banner configuration
  • Included Sass & Compass
    • Colors are stored in Sass variable
    • Well organized Sass

WPTavern: WPHindi Plugin Instantly Converts Text from English to Hindi in the Block Editor

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 18:52

Hindi is one of the world’s top languages, with more than 520 million native and non-native speakers, and is the fastest growing language in India. In a region where English is also commonly spoken, many Hindi publishers have the unique requirement of being able to switch back and forth between the two languages when writing articles.

WPHindi is a new plugin that was developed to help WordPress users stay inside the editor instead of copying and pasting from third-party tools.

It offers a block that instantly converts text from English to Hindi as users are typing. It also works with the Classic Editor. The block supports intelligent auto-suggestions that make it easy to correct typos. Users can quickly enable/disable WPHindi with one click when switching between languages. It also works seamlessly with the rich text options inside the editor.

The plugin was originally created by the team at Zozuk, a WordPress support and maintenance service, as a custom solution for a client.

“They are a big publisher in the Hindi content space and with a lot of writers,” Zozuk representative Aditya Rathore said. “Using tools outside the WordPress dashboard was becoming a huge productivity killer for them.”

After this request Zozuk contacted 54 Hindi content publishers who are WordPress users and found that 39 of them were facing the same problem.

“It was more than enough to realize the scale of the problem and we decided to make the plugin available for free to every webmaster including our partners,” Rathore said. “The scale of the problem and how important it was to solve it, proved to be our element of inspiration for WPHindi.”

Data from a KPMG-Google study indicates that 201 million Hindi users, which comprise 38% of the Indian internet user base, will be online by 2021.

WPHindi is currently the only solution of its kind in the WordPress space. An older plugin called Hindi Writer performed a similar function for converting text in the comment box but it was not available from the official plugin directory and has not been updated since 2006.

Hindi publishers have also used tools like google.com/intl/hi/inputtools/try/ and easyhindityping.com but these are not tailored to WordPress and have to be open in a separate window. WPHindi provides text conversion directly in the editor, speeding up writers’ workflow.

Rathore said Zozuk plans to monetize the plugin in the future with an add-on that will allow users to comment in Hindi on the frontend. The plugin is currently in development. The team is is also working on releasing similar plugins for other languages like Bengali and Marathi.

WPTavern: Richard Best Releases Free Audio and Ebook: “A Practical Guide to WordPress and the GPL”

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 22:24

If you’re itching to go deeper into the legal aspects of navigating WordPress’ relationship to the GPL license, Richard Best has recently made his ebook (and the audio version) called “A Practical Guide to WordPress and the GPL” available for free. Best, a technology and public lawyer based in New Zealand, had previously sold the book with other products as part of a business package that is still available for purchase. After receiving feedback on his most recent post titled “Taking GPL’d code proprietary,” he found that the issues addressed in the book are still relevant and decided to release it for free.

The first two sections provide a brief history of WordPress, its adoption of the GPL, and a summary of the license. These sections are a bit dry, but Chapter 3 is where it gets more interesting, particularly for theme and plugin developers who have questions about licensing GPL-derivatives. Best explores the practical application of the GPL in common business scenarios:

  • If I modify the core WordPress software or a GPL’d theme or plugin, must I release the source code of the modified versions(s) to the public?
  • I’m a theme/plugin developer. I’ve put huge effort into writing my theme/plugin and I’m going to release it under the GPL but I want to make sure that everyone who receives my theme or plugin, even if from someone else, is obliged to pay me a licensing fee or notify me that they have it. Can I do that?
  • I’ve purchased some fully GPL’d themes or plugins from a commercial theme or plugin provider. May I sell those themes or plugins from my own website for my own benefit or publish those themes or plugins on my own website and give them away for free?

Subsequent chapters cover controversies surrounding “GPL non-compliant” sales models, applications of copyright law, GPL compatibility with other licenses, and trademarks. Both the audio and the PDF ebook are available for download on Best’s website. The text of the book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

WPTavern: Google Announces New Ways to Identify Nofollow Links, Progress on Related Gutenberg Ticket Is Currently Stalled

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 18:41

This week Google announced changes to the 15-year old nofollow attribute that was previously recommended for identifying links related to advertising, sponsors, or content for which users are not intending to pass along ranking credit. The nofollow attribute is no longer a catchall for these types of instances, as Google has introduced two new rel values (“sponsored” and “ugc”) to further specify the purpose of the link to the search engine:

  • rel=”sponsored”:
  • Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

  • rel=”ugc”:
  • UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

  • rel=”nofollow”:
  • Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

Google is also shifting to using a “hint model” for interpreting the new link attributes:

When nofollow was introduced, Google would not count any link marked this way as a signal to use within our search algorithms. This has now changed. All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.

The announcement includes a few notable instructions regarding usage. Although all the new link attributes are working today as hints for ranking purposes, there is no need to change existing links. For sponsored links, Google recommends switching over to using rel=”sponsored” if or when it is convenient. Users can also specify multiple rel values (e.g. rel=”ugc sponsored”). Google plans to use the hints for crawling and indexing purposes beginning March 1, 2020.

The new ways to identify nofollow links impacts not only how users create links in their sites but also plugins that add the nofollow attribute sitewide or other otherwise. Plugin authors will want to reevaluate the options provided in their products.

Progress on the relevant Gutenberg PR for adding a nofollow option has stalled and is not currently listed for any upcoming milestones. Last week Gutenberg designer Mark Uraine expressed hesitation on adding this feature to the plugin.

“I’m hesitant on this one,” Uraine said. “I think it’s been a long-standing discussion and there are reasons behind not including this option in the Classic Editor.

“How does it adhere to the WordPress 80/20 rule? We’re looking to implement this as an option (not a decision)… so will 80% of WP users benefit from it?”

Gutenberg users are continuing to advocate on the ticket for the necessity of nofollow link options.

“Now, with Gutenberg, you can only add a nofollow by switching to the HTML version and manually add the nofollow attribute,” Andreas de Rosi said. “It’s a big pain. I don’t know how to best implement it (I am not a programer), but this is an important feature the Gutenberg editor should have.”

Paal Joachim Romdahl commented on the ticket, requesting a simple way for plugins to extend the link dialog box if the Gutenberg team decides to reject the PR for adding nofollow options.

More general discussion regarding how to implement link settings extensibility is open in a separate ticket on the Gutenberg repository.

WPTavern: Kioken Blocks: The New Street Fighter-Inspired Block Collection that Is Taking Aim at Page Builders

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:53

With the proliferation of block collection plugins over the past year, Kioken Blocks is a relatively unknown newcomer that you may have missed. Compared to competitors with thousands of users like CoBlocks (30K+), Atomic Blocks (20K+), Stackable (10K+), and Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg (100K+), Kioken is a small fish in a big pond of page builder utilities.

You might have seen Kioken Blocks in action recently without knowing it, if you checked out Matias Ventura’s demo introducing the concept of “block areas.” The plugin was first released two months ago but is already starting to differentiate itself with some innovative design features, block templates, and layouts. Its name was inspired by the Street Fighter arcade game and major releases are named for different character moves.

Kioken’s most recent release includes a new Vertical Text setting that allows users to rotate paragraphs and headings for a special effect in more complex layouts.

Inside the block editor, users can flip the vertical text rotation, adjust the alignment, add margins, dropcaps, and apply other standard text settings to the selection.

Kioken currently includes 17 blocks, all created with an emphasis on providing an aesthetic base design that will seamlessly fit into a user’s theme, with further customization options for each block. The blocks are not cookie cutter repeats of other collections but rather offer their own distinct styles and features.

For example, the Kinetic Posts block allows users to list blog posts, including custom post types, inside a grid, columns/list, or slider with multiple different layout options. Users can run custom queries, such as ordering randomly, or by name, popularity, date, and by post type with custom taxonomy queries.

Kioken Blocks creator Onur Oztaskiran said he focuses on adding features and blocks that are not commonly available already. This includes some under the hoods usability features, such as custom block appenders, lighter block highlighter on block selection on dark backgrounds, and block settings change indicators in the sidebar.

“I try to add blocks that people don’t have access to yet,” Oztaskiran said. “So I don’t spend my time on creating accordions or team blocks but rather add things that enrich your content building process in the same fashion premium page building tools do (Kinetic Wrapper block, Animator and Vertical Text extensions are some of these).”

Kioken Blocks Aims to Provide a Faster, Simpler Alternative to Complex Page Builder Plugins

Oztaskiran has a design background, having previously worked as the design lead at Udemy, Noon.com, and Qordoba, but he taught himself how to build blocks in order to push the limits of WordPress’ page building capabilities.

“Kioken Blocks started out as a personal hobby to learn Gutenberg development and test out if I can do something with GB that would replace mine and everyone else’s page building workflow with WordPress, using only Gutenberg by extending it.

“I am a designer and not so great developer. I’ve mostly built Kioken Blocks following Gutenberg resources on the web and GitHub, most of the time by learning from the Gutenberg GitHub repo.”

Oztaskiran’s personal site, monofactor.com, was built with nothing but Gutenberg and Kioken Blocks, including the fancy animations reminiscent of Themeforest products, along with the layout. The site is a good example of how the block editor and a few custom blocks can enable users to create beautiful, complex layouts without having to use a heavy, over-engineered page builder plugin.

“I took a leap of faith in Gutenberg when it was first released and started developing for it since I’m also a user and hate many things about page builder plugins,” Oztaskiran said. “I love to hate Gutenberg as well, but right now I can’t stop using it.”

Oztaskiran used page builder plugins in the past and even created extensions for some of them, but ultimately his frustrations inspired him to go all in on Gutenberg block development.

“With page builders, what took me away from them most was the MBs of resources they add to my sites, and the complexity of content editing in the editor, the long learning curve for some of them, and most importantly you need to be a ‘pro’ to create complex layouts and engaging, rich content,” Oztaskiran said.

As a result of these frustrations, he decided to focus on speed and usability in Kioken Blocks. Oztaskiran said he is satisfied to have developed a product that allows users to create animated, complex layouts in minutes, much faster than he was able to do in other platforms. Kioken’s predefined block presets allow users to insert elements like background hero sections, product intros, sliding testimonials, and other page elements, making it easy to quickly design a site. These types of elements further blur the line between predefined block templates and themes.

“What amazes me with Gutenberg is you only need a lightweight unbloated GB compatible theme and nothing else,” Oztaskira said. “You can create amazing things.”

He is currently maintaining the plugin by himself without a team but the project is very time consuming. He sells commercial block templates through the plugin’s upgrade page and the user base is growing, so is considering making some partnerships in the future. Kioken Blocks only has approximately 100+ active installs at the moment, but Oztaskiran reports that his conversion rate is about 6-7% on selling Pro licenses, which include priority support and commercial block templates and layouts.

Despite identifying himself as just “a designer and a crappy developer,” Oztaskiran’s investment in learning Gutenberg block development is starting to pay off.

“You don’t need to be a pro dev to understand the logic, and with having an average JS knowledge you can get on board to GB development in a short time,” he said.”

“I indeed had ups and downs with Gutenberg, and Kioken Blocks aims to cover for those ‘downs.’ I’ve been trying to build a tool for the editor so that some day you will only need Gutenberg and no other page building tools to create engaging and beautiful content.”

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 5.0.0-beta2

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 17:45

Hello BuddyPress contributors!

5.0.0-beta2 is available for testing, you can download it here or get a copy via our Subversion repository. This is really important for us to have your feedback and testing help.

Since 5.0.0-beta1:

  • We’ve brought some improvements to string i18n into the BP REST API code.
  • We’ve also improved the JavaScript function we are making available in this release to ease your clients BP REST API Requests.
5.0.0 final release is approaching!

The Release Candidate (RC) is scheduled on September 16: at this time BuddyPress 5.0.0 will be in a string freeze. It means we won’t change i18n strings anymore for this release to leave enough time to our beloved polyglot contributors to translate BuddyPress into their native languages. If you’re a good english writer or copywriter you can still help us to polish the text we plan to use to inform about the 5.0.0 new features.

If you are still using our Legacy Template Pack and think it’s important to include a Twenty Nineteen companion stylesheet into this release, September 16 is also the deadline to make it happen. Please test, contribute and improve the patch attached to this ticket.

Let’s use the coming days to make sure your BuddyPress plugins or your theme or your specific WordPress configuration are ready for BuddyPress 5.0.0 : we need you to help us help you: please download and test 5.0.0-beta2!

Download and test 5.0.0-beta2

5.0.0 is almost ready (Targeted release date is September 30, 2019), but please do not run this Beta 2 release in a production environment just yet. Let us know of any issues you find in the support forums and/or on our development tracker.

WPTavern: Creative Commons Releases New WordPress Plugin for Attributing Content with Gutenberg Blocks

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 03:58

Creative Commons has released an official WordPress plugin for attributing and licensing content. It is an updated and revamped version of the organization’s WPLicense plugin. It is also loosely based on an old plugin called License, which seems to have been abandoned after not receiving any updates for six years.

The new Creative Commons plugin is an attribution tool that is compatible with the block editor. It comes with eight different blocks for licensing any post, page, image, or other type of media.

The block settings allow the user to specify the Attribution text, add additional text after the license, and customize the block’s background and text colors.

The plugin also retains several features from the older versions, including the ability to set a default license and display it as a widget or in the footer. Users can license their entire sites or license some posts, pages, or images differently on a per-content basis using the CC Gutenberg blocks. It is also multisite compatible, where network admins can license the entire network with a default license or allow site admins to choose their own. License information can be displayed with “One Click Attribution” for images.

Software developer Ahmad Bilal worked on the Creative Commons plugin with help from a mentor as part of his Google Summer of Code project. This update is long overdue, as the older version of the plugin was not compatible with newer versions of WordPress beyond 3.8.1. The new plugin is compatible with the latest version of WordPress (5.2.2) and is now available in the official plugin directory.

WPTavern: Gutenberg Team Explores the Future of Full-Site Editing with New Prototype

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 19:48

From its inception, the block editor was always intended to be more than just an editor for the main content area. Gutenberg phase 2 brings the block editor to other parts of the site, including widgets, menus, and other aspects of site customization. Matias Ventura, one of the lead engineers on the project, has offered a glimpse of the team’s vision for how the block editor will tackle full-site editing with an intriguing new prototype.

Ventura shared a video demo, introducing the concept of “block areas,” which he said would include headers, footers, sidebars, and any other meaningful template part outside of the post content that contains blocks. In the example below, every element on the page is made of blocks and can be directly manipulated by the user.

The prototype wasn’t necessarily created to prescribe a specific implementation but rather shows some of the possibilities of how block areas could be organized within the page. Each block area is saved separately and any of the template parts can have a distinct name. Ventura suggested they might be saved as individual posts in an internal custom post type, which can be isolated and edited individually or within the scope of the whole page. This would allow for different view modes and possibly even a design mode with a grid overlay:

The prototype demonstrates the possibility of drilling down into the individual blocks nested within theme templates and post content. This offers users a better understanding of the page structure and allows them to easily navigate nested blocks.

Ventura’s writeup is somewhat technical and implementation details are still being actively discussed across several tickets on GitHub, but initial community reactions to the prototype have been positive overall.

A Closer Look at How Block Areas Could Replace the Customizer

With WordPress closing in on the one year anniversary of having the block editor in core, the interface presented in the block areas prototype seems immediately more familiar than the Customizer. Full-site editing in the Gutenberg era will fundamentally change how users approach their site designs. The block editor stands to unify customization and content interfaces that were previously unable to make the jump into full-on frontend editing.

“It’s too early to say for sure, but in a world where everything is a block, there isn’t much need for the Customizer’s current interface where the preview is disconnected from the controls in a separate window,” Customizer component maintainer Weston Ruter said. “If theme templates are built entirely with blocks which support direct manipulation, then it’s essentially a frontend editing paradigm.”

Ruter, who was instrumental in architecting a great deal of the Customizer, said the current interface, which splits the design and controls into separate windows, was necessary because so many of the controls required full-page reloads. The split interface ensures that the controls don’t constantly disappear while the page reloads to display the changes.

“The better Customizer integrations are the live ‘postMessage’ updating-controls which didn’t require reloads (e.g. color picker),” Ruter said. “More recently the ‘selective refresh’ capability also facilitated themes and plugins to re-generate partial templates without having to reload the entire page. In theory, those capabilities did allow for inline editing without having to reload the page.”

While the Customizer gave users more control over their site designs, the component has always struggled to provide powerful controls and live refreshing in the same interface with a limited amount of page real estate. Ruter highlighted a few of the advantages of making the block editor the primary vehicle for customization in WordPress.

“Blocks bring a common interface to be able to do such inline editing for any part of the page, not just special areas in the Customizer preview that get the extra user interface goodies added,” he said. “And so with this common block interface with direct manipulation paradigm, there’s no need for a separate controls panel and there is no need to do full page reloads to do preview changes. So there would be no need for the current Customizer interface.”

Although much of the Customizer is likely to become obsolete in the new era of Gutenberg-powered full-site editing, the Customizer changeset is one key concept that Ruter thinks could be preserved. This is the code that enables users to stage and schedule sitewide design changes.

“This is independent of the current Customizer interface and relates to the underlying data model of WordPress,” he said. “If changes made to Gutenberg blocks were put into such a changeset prior to being published, then the changes could be previewed across a site before going live. The need for this has not been so apparent until now because the changes have been scoped to post content. But once the block data being manipulated across various entities of a site, then it becomes important to have some place to stage those changes prior to going live.”

Plugin and theme developers will want to monitor the conversations surrounding the implementation of block areas for full site editing. When this prototype become a reality, it will have a significant impact on themes and plugins that are currently extending the Customizer. Many product developers will need to re-architect their solutions to be better suited to site customization that is powered by the block editor. Ventura lists all the relevant GitHub issues in his post introducing content-block areas.

WPTavern: First Look at Twenty Twenty: New WordPress Default Theme based on Chaplin

Wordpress Planet - Sat, 09/07/2019 - 03:16

Anders Norén unveiled the designs for the new Twenty Twenty theme today. As speculated earlier this week, WordPress will repurpose Noren’s Chaplin theme in order to expedite shipping the new default theme on the constrained 5.3 release timeline.

Although the new default theme will be based on Chaplin, it will not retain the same style.

“Using an existing theme as a base will help us get going on development faster,” Norén said. “Very little of the style of Chaplin will remain though, so it will still look and feel very much like its own thing.”

The screenshots he shared in the announcement look like a completely different theme. With just a few color and typography changes, along with a centered column for content, Twenty Twenty has its own distinct character.

Norén said he designed it to be a flexible, all-purpose theme suitable for businesses, organizations, and blogs, depending on the combination of blocks.

“The promise of the block editor is to give users the freedom to design and structure their sites as they see fit,” he said in the post introducing Twenty Twenty. “The responsibility of a theme is to empower users to create their inspired vision by making the end result look as good, and work as well, as the user intended.”

The theme uses Inter for the typeface, selected for its legibility and bold personality when used in headings. It also comes in a Variable Font version, which Norén said will be a first for WordPress default themes. The benefits are that it reduces the number of requests and decreases the page size.

Those who are adventurous can download Twenty Twenty right now from GitHub and play around with the theme in its current state. Once it is stable, Norén and his team plan to merge it into core and continue development on Trac. There will be weekly meetings held in the #core-themes Slack channel for those who want to contribute to the design and development. The first one is scheduled for Monday, September 9, 2019, 02:00 PM CDT.

WPTavern: Google Releases Native Lazyload Plugin for WordPress

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 19:14

The most recent release of Chrome (76) added a new “loading” attribute that supports native lazy loading in the browser. An implementation for WordPress core is still under discussion. In the meantime, plugins that enable this for WordPress sites are starting to pop up, and Google has just released one of its own.

Native Lazyload was created by Google engineer Felix Arntz and the team behind the official AMP and PWA plugins for WordPress. It lazy loads images and iframes with the new loading attribute for browsers that support it. It also includes a fallback mechanism for browsers that do not yet support it, but this can be disabled with a filter. The plugin has no settings – users simply activate it and it works.

In a post introducing the new plugin, Arntz explains why current lazy loading options, which require custom JavaScript, are not always good for performance:

Lazy-loading has for a long time not been a switch you can just toggle to make it work. It was not a browser feature, so it typically required loading and running custom JavaScript logic to make it work. Unfortunately, JavaScript itself is an expensive resource, so lazy-loading as it’s been done so far might in certain cases actually have a negative impact on performance (e.g. if a page doesn’t contain any images or only contains a single image that’s immediately visible). Furthermore, if a user had disabled JavaScript in their browsers, lazy-loading wouldn’t work at all.

The plugin uses a similar implementation that is being discussed in the core ticket. Arntz described it as a “progressive enhancement,” where a user’s website performance will “magically improve without intervention,” as more browsers add support for the loading attribute.

With the release of this plugin, and Google’s input on the related trac ticket, it’s clear that the company is interested in seeing WordPress core support the new loading attribute. Chrome Engineering Manager Addy Osmani commented on the ticket 10 days ago to lend his support for the effort and make a few recommendations.

“I’m very supportive of core getting support for native lazy-loading in a non-destructive manner,” Osmani said.

“The ideal change I would love to see in lazy-load plugins is deferring to native lazy-loading where supported and applying their fallback where it is not.” Osmani estimates that more than 17K origins are already using loading=lazy, according to Google’s telemetry.

Andy Potts, a software engineer at the BBC reported seeing major performance improvements after adopting native lazy loading. He implemented it on one of the company’s internal products, a site with approximately 3,000 active users per day:

“One of the most common actions on the site involves running a query which renders a list of up to 100 images — which I thought seemed like the ideal place to experiment with native lazy loading,” Potts said.

“Adding the loading attribute to the images decreased the load time on a fast network connection by ~50% — it went from ~1 second to < 0.5 seconds, as well as saving up to 40 requests to the server. All of those performance enhancements just from adding one attribute to a bunch of images!”

Kris Gunnars, who operates searchfacts.com, added Google’s new Native Lazyload plugin to his site and reported remarkable performance improvements, especially on mobile.

“After I installed this, my mobile PageSpeed score went from 92 to 96 and it also shaved a whopping 1.5 seconds off of my Time to Interactive score,” Gunnars said.

With WordPress powering 34.5% of the top 10 million websites, core support for native lazy loading stands to make a huge impact on the overall performance of the web. Progress on the ticket has been slow, as contributors continue discussing the best approach. In the meantime, users who are anxious to implement it on their sites can install any one of a number of plugins that are already available.

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