In a post titled “Open Source Has Won,” EllisLab founder Rick Ellis explained why ExpressionEngine is going open source after 16 years. The content management system is an evolution of the pMachine blogging software first released in early 2002. EllisLab previously required a license fee to use the full version of ExpressionEngine, which is built on object-oriented PHP and uses MySQL for storage.
“Although open source was a viable licensing model when we launched our first CMS back in 2002, it was not apparent then just how dominant open source would become on the web,” Ellis said. “It wasn’t until Eric Raymond wrote The Cathedral & The Bazaar that open source would even begin to enter the general public’s consciousness. Since then we’ve watched the open source market grow rapidly and continuously.
“Today, over 90% of the CMS market is open source. In fact, it’s nearly the de-facto license model for all-things web. Stunningly, the market is expected to triple in revenue within the next five to ten years, and it’s estimated that over 70% of businesses worldwide rely on open-source software. To say that the internet is open source would not be an exaggeration. It’s that dominant.”
Ellis said he had wanted to migrate to an open source license for a long time but had not yet found “the right strategic and financial partner to enable the full vision of what we hope to achieve.” The first part of EllisLab’s business plan is to build a successful services model and then branch out from there.
Prior to licensing ExpressionEngine under the Apache License, Version 2.0, EllisLab’s commercial license imposed severe restrictions on what users could do with the software. Users were not permitted to do any of the following:
- Use the Core License (free) for any client or contract work.
- Use the Software as the basis of a hosted blogging service, or to provide hosting services to others.
- Reproduce, distribute, or transfer the Software, or portions thereof, to any third party.
- Modify, tamper with, bypass, or in any way impede license registration routines in the Software.
- Sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublet the Software or portions thereof, including sites in your multi-site license.
- Grant rights to any other person.
- Use the Software in violation of any U.S. or international law or regulation.
Additional stipulations encouraged users not to share code by keeping their repositories private, and to make sure they were paying for commercial licenses if they were being paid for their work.
There was simply no way ExpressionEngine could capture any significant amount of market share with this kind of restrictive licensing and its usage has steadily declined over the years. It is currently used by 0.3% of all the websites whose content management system w3techs can detect. By this or any other measure of market share, ExpressionEngine stands as a sobering monument to the importance of giving a project a license that empowers its community to continue adding wood to the fire.
“The community is mostly gone at this point and I don’t even think its related to them charging for the software but they just stopped responding people and helping them in their forums,” reddit user @netzvolk commented on the news.
“I have paid EE multiple times in the past but considered NOT paying anymore because third party developers are gone, the community members are gone, the tutorials and books are gone….EE 2 was the best version so far. Moving to yearly releases also caused more harm than good in terms of building a stable ecosystem around the product.”
ExpressionEngine’s new open source licensing is a major win for its remaining users. How much further down the road would the software be if the decision was made years ago? There’s no way to know, but moving forward users will have more input and influence over the future of the software.
“I suspect open sourcing EE is an approach to get that community and developers back,” @netzvolk said. “EllisLab can still make money with consulting, support and add-ons.
“But all those suffer if nobody is using the product anymore. This is more about expanding reach to stay afloat than anything else because some of their past bad decisions are what created alternatives like Craft. EllisLab turned an amazing product into a forgotten one in just a few years. I hope this means some change, and maybe, maybe one day the old developers and hard core EE community members come back.”
Users can only speculate on why EllisLab is making this move after 16 years of keeping its software locked down under restrictive licensing, but Ellis makes it clear in his post that the market decided long ago.
“Open source has won,” Ellis said. “It’s not even a contest anymore.”
Figma, an online collaborative interface design tool, has donated an organizational membership to the WordPress project. The browser-based application helps designers and developers collaborate more efficiently and is used by organizations like Microsoft, Slack, and Uber. It provides design tools, prototyping, previews, and real-time feedback, all in the same place, and is often described as the “Google Docs for designing apps.”
Figma aims to match the way designers work today in collaborative roles, with features like shared component libraries, versioning, live device preview, and Sketch import. It was created to offer “one single source of truth for design files.”
“Where we may have used multiple tools in order to support all the parts of the design process, Figma incorporates many of the core features of other tools all in one product for a more efficient and powerful workflow,” Alexis Lloyd, Head of Design Innovation at Automattic, said in the announcement on the make.wordpress design blog. “I’m excited about the possibilities for how Figma can make the WordPress design process more collaborative, robust, and efficient.”
Figma launched in 2016 but has quickly gained popularity due to its seamless developer handoff exports and cross-platform compatibility. Many teams inside the WordPress community are already big fans of using Figma. 10up has been using the tool as part of the company’s design process. The SketchPress library that 10up created, a collection of WordPress admin interfaces, symbols, and icons, is in the process of being converted into a shared team library for Figma so that WordPress contributors can take advantage of it.
We've been using Figma at @10up to improve collaboration across our team & clients. Excited to see @figmadesign partnering w/ @WordPress to make design more collaborative. Big thanks to @apollo_ux for adapting #SketchPress to Figma as well! https://t.co/Lq2Poqexjj
— Chris Wallace (@chriswallace) November 19, 2018
If you have held back on getting involved in designing for the WordPress project because of archaic collaboration tools, working with Figma may improve your contribution experience. Designers can get access to the WordPress.org Figma team by signing in with a WordPress.org Slack account using the invitation link. New users can upgrade their default “view” capabilities and get access to edit files by requesting permission in WordPress’ #design Slack channel.
Block Lab is a new tool that provides an admin interface and a templating system for creating custom Gutenberg blocks. Rob Stinson, Luke Carbis, and Rheinard Korf, all employees at XWP, kicked off the project in their own time with the goal of removing the relatively steep barrier to block creation. The plugin is now available on WordPress.org and Stinson said their target audience is WordPress developers ranging from junior to experienced.
The Block Lab admin screen lets users select an icon for the custom block, enter keywords, and choose from a variety of input fields.
Rendering the custom blocks in the editor and on the frontend requires simple PHP functions that most WordPress developers are probably already familiar with. Here’s an example for a testimonial block from the plugin’s documentation:<img src="<?php block_field( 'profile-picture' ); ?>" alt="<?php block_field( 'author-name' ); ?>" /> <h3><?php block_field( 'author-name' ); ?></h3> <p><?php block_field( 'testimonial' ); ?></p>
The plugin makes it possible to build custom blocks in a matter of minutes, as demonstrated in the video below.Block Lab Puts Block Creation Inside the WordPress Admin
Block Lab differs from existing block creation tools in that it aims to provide a Gutenberg-first solution directly inside the WordPress admin. With the exception of the template creation, developers are not required to write any code when using it to create blocks.
“Ahmad’s create-gluten-block is an excellent solution, but is more focused on streamlining block creation from the ground floor,” Stinson said. “As I understand, it’s a development framework. Block Lab is about letting the developer kick off from the 10th floor and does this by offering a super simple WP Admin and traditional templating experience.”
Stinson said ACF’s solution was one of the inspirations for his team but that Block Lab tackles block creation from a different angle.
“ACF is amazing as well – easily one of our all time favorite plugins and one that has inspired us,” Stinson said. “Block Lab is a Gutenberg-first solution. Where ACF is a meta data first solution. They both arrive at similar destinations but get there by very different means, both technically and as far as UX goes.”
Developers and users who adopt Block Labs should be aware that if the plugin is deactivated, the custom blocks they created will also be deactivated. They are stored in the database and the templates are stored in the theme or child theme. Switching themes means users will lose the blocks as well.
“Adding templates to a stand-alone plugin is the most effective way around this,” Stinson said. “Either way though, the templating is simple enough that copying template folders/files from one theme to another is pretty easy. I did this exact thing yesterday in about 5 minutes.”
Data portability isn’t a guarantee for users right now, but Stinson said his team has some ideas about how they can reduce barriers even further to include an in-admin templating experience.
Block Lab’s creators have plans to offer commercial extensions eventually, but at this stage they are focusing on solving the problem for users in the free plugin.
“Once we better understand what folks are needing, we’ll find a way of gracefully offering premium stuff,” Stinson said.
There are still many unknowns about how the larger community of WordPress users will react to the upcoming 5.0 release, but Stinson is convinced that Gutenberg will have a positive impact on the plugin ecosystem and users’ experiences with extensions.
“Gutenberg is going to, ultimately, change things for the better in the plugin ecosystem,” he said. “There is no doubt it’s going to be bumpy for the first little while, but the net effect is that WordPress will have a better editing experience in general and one that gives plugin developers a stronger baseline for extending the editing experience. Even as we explore what we can do with Block Lab we’re discovering really cool things that we would never have thought of unless we just started using it. I think this will be the larger experience by most people in the WordPress community.”
The team working on integrating Gutenberg into WordPress’ mobile apps is making progress, but users will not have access to the new editor in the apps until early 2019. Jorge Bernal, a mobile engineer at Automattic, posted an update yesterday, highlighting current capabilities:
Gutenberg Mobile [is] working inside the apps and the first post published with it, the writing flow has improved so it’s starting to feel more like an editor and less like a collection of isolated blocks, we have a working toolbar in place, you can now select images from your media library.
If you are using one of the mobile apps and you attempt to edit a post that was created with Gutenberg, you will see a warning like the one below:
This doesn’t mean users cannot edit content in the mobile apps, but there will be inconsistencies while Gutenberg support is still in progress.
I created some posts with Gutenberg and then went to edit them in the Android app. During my tests of switching back to the Gutenberg editor after saving some changes in the mobile app, I found that Gutenberg included the content but not the formatting options I had selected in the app. I received a warning about unexpected or invalid content.
The mobile apps team expects to ship an alpha release to testers at the end of 2018, with basic capabilities like adding a heading, paragraph, and images from the media library:
We will have an alpha release at the end of the year that will showcase the editing flow with some selected basic blocks. We will have a basic integration with the apps, enough to be able to experience Gutenberg (via secret opt-in or special builds), but won’t be showing this to users. Being able to use early versions of Gutenberg directly in the apps will make it easier to gather feedback and do user testing.
A beta with support for the most common types of content is tentatively planned for February 2019. The team is aiming to make writing a post using Gutenberg Mobile as pleasant as it currently is with Aztec.
“As Gutenberg rolls out to users on the web, we might see a good amount of users hitting problems trying to edit Gutenberg posts on Aztec,” Bernal said. “We have done (and keep doing) a lot of work to try to make that as good as possible, but there are limits to how compatible we can make the existing editor. We want to reduce the gap between Gutenberg launching and having a version in the apps, so we’re adjusting scope a bit to ship in February.”
It will be interesting to see how Gutenberg support is presented in the apps. I imagine it will be challenging to improve upon the mobile apps’ current editing experience, which is already fairly intuitive and streamlined.
Users can follow along with the process and give feedback on the Gutenberg Mobile GitHub repo.
It’s Friday and we could probably all use a little more positivity in our lives, especially on social media. Morten Rand-Hendriksen recently asked his followers on Twitter how WordPress has changed their lives. Here are a couple of the responses that stood out to me.
As a beginner web designer, who was struggling to find a job/work, WordPress opened the door to web development and enabled me to offer clients control over their websites. That was nearly 10 years ago and I’ve been building with WP ever since.Keith Devon
I graduated in 2008 right into the thick of the recession. No jobs, nothing – the only way I could put food on the table and pay rent was to build WordPress sites for people. This led to my entire career in UX design, and my life would be very very different without WordPress.Scott Sullivan
Here’s one you won’t expect. I was in an agency job I hated. I had an interview with Automattic and failed. Devastated, it forced me to look at what I really wanted. I now have my own consultancy.Chris Taylor
I’d been working in the social field for more than 30 years. In 2015 I had to change and decided to work in the digital world. I casually met the Turin Meetup community and joined them. Then I started to contribute to the Polyglots team. Now, I’m one of the Italian GTELaurasacco
I’d been working for a hosting company and noticed how many of our users were enjoying it. Decided to go to WordCamp in 2008. The software was great, but the community was what really drew me in. I’ve been using WordPress in my career ever since then.Ms. Velda
Made a WP website for a friend, then another, then someone who paid me… Today is 6 years and 120 clients later.
#WCSEA and specifically @adspedia reminded me that WordPress is about the inspiring people I meet at so many occasions. Beautiful minds & souls who inspired me to build a new and better life 2 years ago. It’s way more than software and individual ego.Carole Olinger
I started by own consultancy doing WordPress for nonprofits straight out of college. Somehow, I’m still here and still loving it almost a decade later. Meetups and WordCamps (#wcsea!) were so crucial to my learning, developing as a speaker, and networking.Mark Root-Wiley
I started working with #WordPress in 2012 after my business was sold out from under me by a ‘partner’. I ended up losing everything. Developing WordPress sites contributed to getting my Family out of debt, back on our feet. @Mor10 you’ve been an inspiration along the way…Damian Saunders
There’s always a lot happening in the WordPress ecosystem and every once in awhile, it’s nice to step back to see how this software, which is used by millions of people across the world, is impacting lives.
I highly encourage you to read the thread in its entirety. If you’d like to read similar, more in-depth content, check out HeroPress. HeroPress publishes inspirational essays from members of the community once a month.
WordPress’ Accessibility team will be hosting a hackathon at Contributor Day on Sunday, December 9, at WordCamp US in Nashville. The team will be joined by lead developers from Deque Systems, a widely respected accessibility firm in the industry, with the goal of setting up automated accessibility testing for WordPress core.
The event has been in planning since JSconf EU 2018 in June when Jenny Wong met with Caitlin Cashin from Deque. They discussed how Deque could help WordPress with their accessibility expertise at WordCamp US. Rian Rietveld worked with Aaron Campbell, who is organizing the WCUS contributor day, to put the hackathon in motion.
Deque’s site is built on WordPress and the company specializes in helping teams get hooked up with automation tools. The company created aXe, an open source library and testing engine that can be customized to integrate with all modern browsers and testing frameworks. Deque open sourced aXe in 2015 and the team was invited to contribute the library to the W3C WAI Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group, when the group worked to develop a normative set of rules for evaluating WCAG 2.0 conformance.
Deque is volunteering their lead developers to help WordPress make improvements to its development workflow. The company has hosted similar hackathons in the past.
“By focusing primarily on projects with broad adoption, accessibility fixes have potential to trickle down to every website or web application including that library,” Deque Developer Advocate Marcy Sutton said after the 2017 aXe hackathon in San Diego. “Ultimately, this kind of work will have the most impact on the lives of people with disabilities, as it contributes to the creation of a more accessible workplace environment. A more accessible web also means a better user experience for everyone, part of the reason why digital accessibility is so important.”
In order for the hackathon at WordCamp US to be successful, Deque will need to connect to contributors who can collaborate on setting up automated testing.
“From the WordPress side we would like to invite core developers to join in and help find solutions to set this up,” Accessibility Team rep Jean-Baptiste Audras said. He and contributor Rachel Cherry will be representing the accessibility team during the hackathon and they need help from core committers who know their way around the automated testing system in WordPress core. Audras also said the team will need help from Gutenberg contributors.
“The tools can/will provide automated tests for the block editor since it’s based on testing the DOM (Document Object Model) of each admin screen generated by WordPress,” he said. “But we have to build it together with the people involved in Gutenberg to see how we can handle it the best way.”
Audras said the Gutenberg phase 2 release leads have already been in touch with the accessibility team and communication across teams is improving.
“If we find a technical solution, there should ideally not be technical problems to implement it,” Audras said. “As usual, it will be a question of priority and communication. I am confident that Gutenberg developers will be interested to add some automated checks to the Gutenberg stack.”
Audras said he doesn’t know when the automated tests for accessibility will be operational but he believes they will be very helpful in the future, especially in cases where new releases are being put out quickly. Anyone interested to contribute to the effort can get in touch on WordPress Slack’s #accessibility channel.
BP 4.0.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available. This package contains the code that we think we’ll ship as BuddyPress 4.0.0 later in November. If you build BuddyPress plugins or themes, you’re encouraged to give the RC a thorough look in a test environment.
Important changes in 4.0.0 include:
- BuddyPress data exporters (for WP 4.9.6+), including a new ‘Export Data’ Settings subtab, where users can request an export from the front end
- Improvements to Nouveau and other BP interfaces on mobile devices
- Bug fixes for emails, Nouveau, BP’s nav tools
- Improved compatibility with WP 4.9.x and 5.0
See the 4.0.0 milestone for more info.
Download the 4.0.0 release candidate from wordpress.org: https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/buddypress.4.0.0-RC1.zip. As always, remember that this is pre-release software, and we don’t recommend running it on a production site.
WordPress 5.0 Beta 5 is now available!
This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.
Reminder: the WordPress 5.0 release date has changed. It is now scheduled for release on November 27, and we need your help to get there. Here are some of the big issues that we’ve fixed since Beta 4:Block Editor
The block editor has been updated to match the Gutenberg 4.4 release, the major changes include:
- A permalink panel has been added to the document sidebar to make it easier to find.
- Editor document panels can now be programmatically removed.
- The uploading indicator for images and galleries has been replaced with a spinner and faded out image.
- The text and code editing blocks will now use the full width of the editor.
- Image handling has been improved. Images now take up the right amount of space for themes with wider editors (like Twenty Nineteen).
- Hover styles are now correctly disabled for mobile devices.
- The i18n module has been refactored to benefit from significant performance gains.
Additionally, there have been some pesky bugs fixed:
- Better handling for links without an href attribute, which were showing as undefined.
- Japanese text (double byte characters) are now usable in the list block.
- Better handling for different text encodings (e.g. emoji) within a block in block validation.
A full list of changes can be found in the Gutenberg 4.4 release post.
The final known PHP 7.3 compatibility issue has been fixed. You can brush up on what you need to know about PHP 7.3 and WordPress by checking out the developer note on the Make WordPress Core blog.
- Add .button class support.
- Fix editor font-weights for headings.
- Improve support for sticky toolbars in the editor.
- Improve text-selection custom colors for better contrast and legibility.
- Fix editor to prevent Gutenberg’s meta boxes area from overlapping the content.
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If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.
WPTavern: Full Gutenberg Compatibility Coming Soon to Automattic’s Free Themes on WordPress.org, Including Storefront for WooCommerce
If your site is hosted on WordPress.com and you are trying out the new Gutenberg editor, there are currently 24 themes with full Gutenberg support available and more on the way. In response to questions about how to find Gutenberg themes on WordPress.com, Automattic’s Theme Team has given an update about the status of the .com themes, as well as the company’s free themes on WordPress.org.
There is currently no way to search for Gutenberg-ready themes on WordPress.com themes because there is no filter set up for this. However, the team said users should not any experience any issues with themes breaking with the new editor:
All existing themes should still work with Gutenberg. At worst styles in the editor might not exactly match styles on the site itself, and styling for individual blocks might cause conflicts if the theme treats that type of content in a specific way. But that is true of all WordPress themes, not just the ones on WordPress.com.
Users can activate any theme they want with Gutenberg. The new editor is not going to break any themes, but a theme does need to add support for users to take advantage of specific features like wide alignments and block color palettes. Gutenberg-ready themes also include editor styles to ensure a consistent editing experience between frontend and backend.
Automattic is also working to bring some of those updates from its current set of Gutenberg-ready themes to its free themes hosted on WordPress.org. The company has 109 themes in the directory, which have cumulatively been downloaded more than 17 million times. The majority of its more popular themes fall into the business category, such as Dara (10K active installs), Argent (10K), Edin (6K), and Karuna (5K). Several of these themes are already Gutenberg-ready with the code available on GitHub.
Storefront is by far Automattic’s most popular free theme on WordPress.org with 200,000+ installs and is well on its way towards being ready to support Gutenberg’s new features. Development towards this goal is happening on GitHub. Users can run beta versions of the Storefront theme ahead of time using the Storefront Beta Tester plugin.
In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week. We talk about the delayed release of WordPress 5.0 and which day would be a suitable release date. We share our opinions on Matt’s answers from his Q&A appearance at WordCamp in Portland, Oregon. We also talk about the changes in WordPress core development, Automatticians in leadership roles, and last, but not least, WordCamp budgeting.Stories Discussed:
Next Episode: Wednesday, November 21st 3:00 P.M. Eastern
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If you’re a NextGEN Gallery plugin user and have been wondering about Gutenberg compatibility, Imagely CEO Erick Danzer announced today that the plugin will ship a gallery block in a release planed for next week. The plugin is currently used on nearly a million WordPress sites (900,000+ active installs). NextGEN Gallery’s Gutenberg block has been in beta testing since May and the plugin will support users who update to use the new editor as well as those who stick with the Classic Editor plugin.
In a post titled “A Plea to Defer the Release of Gutenberg,” Danzer outlined his concerns with the timeline for WordPress 5.0. His thoughts echo many other prominent members of the development community who have written their own calls to delay the release. He cites feedback on WordPress.org and urges the Gutenberg team not to discount the validity of these reviews:
Some people have been dismissive of those reviews and questioned whether they are a legitimate reflection of user experiences with Gutenberg. The reviews often lack detail and can be quite harsh.
But that’s the experience of ALL plugin developers on the WordPress repository. Gutenberg is being reviewed in precisely the same way as every other plugin on the repository. If any other major plugin maintained a 2.3 star rating and refused to accept the feedback as legitimate, it would not be a major plugin for long.
Even without detail, reviews on the repository represent a fair reflection of overall user feelings about a plugin. In the case of Gutenberg, it is clear the plugin is not ‘wowing’ potential users.
Danzer also referenced a release the NextGEN Gallery team shipped in 2013 that included “major and breaking changes” that had been “tested aggressively but in limited ways.” This release broke an estimated 10 percent of the plugin’s installations as well as compatibility with many extensions. It has had a lasting impact on NextGEN’s reputation for the past five years. Danzer said he fears WordPress may be headed in the same direction, except at a much larger scale.
As a postscript to his plea, Danzer assured users reading his post that NextGEN Gallery will have support for Gutenberg in time for the WordPress 5.0 release:
Despite the concerns expressed in this post, I want to assure NextGEN Gallery users that we’ll be ready regardless of the final release decision for Gutenberg. We’ll be officially in the next week. We’ve tested and ensured that your existing galleries will work when you update. We’ve developed our block so that if you add galleries via Gutenberg, they will continue to work if you roll back or install the classic editor. And we’ll have all hands on deck to deal with any issues that arise when Gutenberg is released.
NextGEN Gallery’s Gutenberg support includes a block that launches a modal where users can select a gallery to insert. Unless it has significantly changed from the beta preview video published, the gallery block doesn’t seem to offer a preview of the gallery inside the Gutenberg editor once it has been selected and placed within the content. Users who want to test the beta version of Gutenberg support in the plugin can download the latest from the NextGEN Gallery beta page.
For the last seven years, the maximum amount of money WordCamp organizers could charge for ticket prices was $20 per day. In 2019, this will increase to $25 per day.
The new amount accounts for inflation and provides breathing room for organizers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, $20 in January of 2006 is equal to $25.51 in October of 2018.
Organizers don’t have to charge this amount and are encouraged to keep the ticket price as low as possible. The increase is also part of a delicate balancing act between not being a financial burden and getting 80% or more of attendees to show up.
“The ticket price does not reflect on the value of the event,” Andrea Middleton, Community organizer said.
“In an ideal world, all WordCamp tickets would be free just like WordPress is free but to avoid organizing a conference for 500 registrants and only having 50 people show up on the day of the event, we charge as little as we possibly can for tickets, but just enough that people will show up for the event if they’re sleepy that morning or got a last-minute invitation to a pool party or something.”
When the proposal to increase the maximum ticket price was published in September, many commenters approved of the increase with some suggesting an even higher amount to account for inflation for the next few years. Ian Dunn questioned whether or not budget shortfalls were due to organizing teams spending money on extra things.
“Beyond that, though, I’m curious why camps are having more trouble today than they were 5 or even 10 years ago?” Dunn said.
“Is it harder to get sponsorships? It seems like the opposite is true, especially given how much the global sponsorship program covers.
“Based on experiences in my local community, I suspect that the primary reason for budget shortfalls is that the organizing team is choosing to do extra things, beyond what’s necessary to meet the goals of a WordCamp. For example, holding after-parties at trendy venues, expensive speaker gifts, professional A/V (which I’ve advocated for in the past, but not at the cost of higher ticket prices), etc.”
It is interesting to ponder how much money WordCamps could save globally by eliminating the materialistic aspects of the event such as t-shirts, speaker gifts, lanyards, badges, signs, etc.
At there core, WordCamps are about gathering the local community together in a physical location to share knowledge. Not every WordPress event needs to mimic WordCamp US or WordCamp Europe, two of the largest events in the world.
Although the WordPress Community team tracks data such as how much each WordCamp charges for ticket prices, the information is not readily available. This is because of the large volume of data that would need to be calculated and displayed. It would be interesting to see an info-graphic of this data where you can compare the average ticket price for WordCamps per country.
Hugh Lashbrooke, a WordPress Community team contributor who has access to the data says that, “globally the majority of camps have lower prices.”
WordCamp organizers are highly encouraged to keep track of attendance as the data is used to help make better informed decisions. The team will review the no-show rates at WordCamps at the end of 2019 to determine if the price increase had any effect. If not, the team may increase the price again for 2020.
Alberto Medina and Weston Ruter gave a presentation on Progressive Content Management Systems yesterday at Chrome Dev Summit 2018 in San Francisco. Medina is a developer advocate at Google and Ruter recently transitioned into a new role as a Developer Programs Engineer after eight years at XWP.
Medina began the session with a quick overview of the increasingly complex CMS space, which is growing, according to figures he cited from w3techs: 54% of sites are built with some kind of CMS (11% YoY growth). Many CMS’s face common challenges when it comes to integrating modern web technologies into their platforms, such as large code bases, legacy code, and technical debt.
In addressing the challenges that WordPress faces, Google is looking to make an impact on a large swath of the web. Medina outlined the two-part approach Google is using with the WordPress ecosystem. This includes AMP integration via the AMP plugin for WordPress. It’s currently at version 1.0 RC2 and the stable version is scheduled for release at the end of this month.
The second part of the approach is integration of modern web capabilities and APIs in core, so that things like service workers and background sync are supported natively in a way that the entire ecosystem can take advantage of them. Google has invested resources to get these features added to core.
Ruter demonstrated a single page application built in WordPress using a standard theme as the basis and the AMP plugin as a foundation. Medina said the team plans to continue expanding this work integrating AMP content into WordPress, specifically in the context of Gutenberg. He gave a quick demo of how they are working to help content creators easily take advantage of features like AMP stories via a Gutenberg integration.
Medina said AMP stories are formed by components and work well with Gutenberg, since everything in the new editor corresponds to a block.
“We want powerful components like these to become available across all CMS’s,” Medina said. “The CMS space is moving steadily along the progressive web road.”
Check out the video below to learn more about Google’s experience integrating modern web capabilities and progressive technologies into the WordPress platform and ecosystem.
WordPress 5.0 Beta 4 is now available!
This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.
The WordPress 5.0 release date has changed, it is now scheduled for release on November 27, and we need your help to get there. Here are some of the big issues that we’ve fixed since Beta 3:Block Editor
The block editor has been updated to match the Gutenberg 4.3 release, the major changes include:
- An Annotations API, allowing plugins to add contextual data as you write.
- More consistent keyboard navigation between blocks, as well as back-and-forth between different areas of the interface.
- Improved accessibility, with additional labelling and speech announcements.
Additionally, there have been some bugs fixed that popped up in beta 3:
- Better support for plugins that have more advanced meta box usage.
- Script concatenation is now supported.
- Ajax calls could occasionally cause PHP errors.
- Menus now properly support keyboard and touch interactions.
- A footer menu has been added for secondary page links.
- Improved backwards compatibility with older versions of WordPress.
All of the older default themes—from Twenty Ten through to Twenty Seventeen—have polished styling in the block editor.How to Help
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isation is a word with
Meta boxes are
the original style block.
Old is new again.
Tickets for the first ever WordCamp Nordic went on sale today and 100 seats sold within 20 minutes. The event is scheduled to be held in Helsinki, Finland, March 7-8, 2019. There are currently 97 regular tickets and 59 micro-sponsor tickets remaining in the first batch, but more will be released in another round.
If there was any question about whether this new regional WordCamp would gain support, the record-setting buy up of all the sponsor packages has put them to rest. All of the Gold packages (3000 €) were purchased within one minute. Silver packages (1500 €) and Bronze packages (750 €) were all purchased within four minutes and 35 minutes, respectively.
“Sponsor packages tend to go in a few hours whenever there’s a WordCamp in Finland, largely thanks to our communications team and the fact that most companies involved with WordPress follow the conversations on our local Slack/Twitter where these things get announced,” co-organizer Niko Pettersen said. “But this must have been a record even for us. WordCamp Nordic seems to be drawing a lot of interest.”
The call for speakers opened on November 7 and submissions close January 7, 2019. All of the sessions will be held in English and the camp is planning to have two tracks. Those interested to speak may apply for a long talk (40 minutes) or a lightning talk (15 minutes). Selections will be made by mid-January and speakers will be announced in February. Follow @WordCampNordic for all the latest news from the event.
At the end of last week, a plugin called WP GDPR Compliance sent out a security update for a privilege escalation vulnerability that was reported to the WordPress Plugin Directory team on November 6. The plugin was temporarily removed and then reinstated after the issues were patched within 24 hours by its creators, Van Ons, a WordPress development shop based in Amsterdam.
The changelog for the most recent release states that previous versions are vulnerable to SQL injection due to “wrong handling of possible user input in combination with unsafe unserialization.” The fixes are in version 1.4.3, which includes the following:
- Security fix: Removed base64_decode() function
- Security fix: Correctly escape input in $wpdb->prepare() function
- Security fix: Only allow modifying WordPress options used by the plugin and by the user capabilities
Van Ons said they requested the Plugin Directory team do a forced update but they said it was not an option in this case.
WP GDPR Compliance has more than 100,000 active installs. According to Wordfence, the vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild and many users are reporting new administrator accounts being created on their affected sites. The Wordfence blog has a breakdown of how attackers are taking advantage of these sites:
We’ve already begun seeing cases of live sites infected through this attack vector. In these cases, the ability to update arbitrary options values is being used to install new administrator accounts onto the impacted sites.
By leveraging this flaw to set the users_can_register option to 1, and changing the default_role of new users to “administrator”, attackers can simply fill out the form at /wp-login.php?action=register and immediately access a privileged account. From this point, they can change these options back to normal and install a malicious plugin or theme containing a web shell or other malware to further infect the victim site.
Wordfence has seen multiple malicious administrator accounts present on sites that have been compromised, with variations of the username t2trollherten. Several WP GDPR Compliance plugin users have commented on the Wordfence post saying they were victims of the exploit, having found new admin users with a backdoor and file injections added.
The plugin has its own website where the vulnerability was announced. Its creators recommend that anyone who didn’t update right away on November 7, 2018, should look for changes in their databases. The most obvious symptom of attack is likely to be new users with administrator privileges. Any unrecognized users should be deleted. They also recommend restoring a complete backup of the site before November 6 and then updating to version 1.4.3 right away.
The WP GDPR Compliance plugin lets users add a GDPR checkbox to Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, and WordPress comments. It allows visitors and customers to opt into allowing the site to handle their personal data for a defined purpose. It also allows visitors to request data stored in the website’s database through a Data Request page that allows them to request data to be deleted.
While the name of the plugin includes the word “compliance,” users should note that the plugin details includes a disclaimer:
“ACTIVATING THIS PLUGIN DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU FULLY COMPLY WITH GDPR. PLEASE CONTACT A GDPR CONSULTANT OR LAW FIRM TO ASSESS NECESSARY MEASURES.”
A relatively new amendment to section 9 of the plugin development guidelines restricts plugin authors from implying that a plugin can create, provide, automate, or guarantee legal compliance. Heather Burns, a member of WordPress Privacy team, worked together with Mika Epstein last April to put this change into effect. This guideline is especially important for users to remember when a plugin author uses GDPR Compliance in the name of the plugin. It isn’t a guarantee of compliance, just a useful tool as part of larger plan to protect users’ privacy.
Version 4.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available and contains the following changes:
- We added a WP-CLI method for retrieving Akismet stats: wp akismet stats
- Akismet now hooks into the new “Personal Data Eraser” functionality from WordPress 4.9.6 to ensure that any personal data stored by Akismet is erased when requested.
- We’ve updated the plugin to more quickly clear outdated alert messages.
To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.
Matt Mullenweg joined attendees at WordCamp Portland, OR, for a Q&A session last weekend and the recording is now available on WordPress.tv.
The first question came from a user who tried Gutenberg and turned it off because of a plugin conflict. She asked if users will have to use Gutenberg when 5.0 is released. Mullenweg said one of the reasons Gutenberg has been tested so early is to give plugin developers time to get their products compatible. He also said that it has been the fastest growing plugin in WordPress’ history, with more than 600,000 installations since it was first made available.
In response to her question he said users will have the option to use the Classic Editor and that the team is considering updating it to include per-user controls and the possibility to turn it on/off for different post types.
Subsequent questions went deeper into recent controversies surrounding Gutenberg, which Mullenweg addressed more in depth.
“The tough part of any open source project – there’s kind of a crucible of open source development which can sometimes be more adversarial and sometimes even acrimonious,” he said. “Working within the same company, you can kind of assume everyone is rowing in the same direction. In a wide open source ecosystem, some people might actually want the opposite of what you’re doing, because it might be in their own economic self-interest, or for any number of reasons.
“I liken it much more to being a mayor of a city than being a CEO of a company. I’ve done WordPress now for 15 years so I’m pretty used to it. It might seem kind of controversial if you’re just coming in, but this is not the most controversial thing we have ever brought into WordPress. The last time we had a big fork of WordPress was actually when we brought in WYSIWYG the first time. Maybe there’s something about messing with the editor that sets people off.”
Mullenweg commented on how polarizing Twitter can be as a medium and how that can impact conversations in negatives ways. He said people tend to read the worst into things that have been said and that has been a new challenge during this particular time in WordPress’ history. WordPress tweets are sprinkled into timelines along with politics and current events in a way that can cause people to react differently than if the discussion was held in a trac ticket, for example.
One attendee asked, “With Gutenberg there’s a lot of uncertainty. Where do you see the tipping point where you see people become more favorable to Gutenberg than the Classic Editor?”
“Part of getting these two plugins, Gutenberg and Classic Editor, out early, was that it could remove uncertainty for people,” Mullenweg said. “Months before they were released you could kind of choose your path. The hope is that the 5.0 release day is the most anti-climactic thing ever. Because we have over a million sites that have either chosen to not use Gutenberg, which is totally ok, or have already opted in and have been getting these sometimes weekly updates. We have hosts that have been actually been pre-installing, pre-activating Gutenberg with all of their sites.”
Mullenweg said hosts that have pre-installed Gutenberg have not reported a higher than normal support load and that it has basically been “a non-event.” It’s the users who are updating to 5.0 after many years of using WordPress who will have the most to learn.
“Gutenberg does by some measures five or ten measures more than what you could really accomplish in the classic editor,” Mullenweg said. “That also means there’s more buttons, there’s more blocks. That is part of the idea – to open up people’s flexibility and creativity to do things they would either need code or a crazy theme to do in the past. And now we’re going to open that up to do WordPress’ mission, which is to democratize publishing and make it accessible to everyone.”
Gutenberg’s current state of accessibility has been a hot topic lately and one attendee asked for his thoughts about the recent discussions. Mullenweg said there is room for improvement in how this aspect of the project was handled and that WordPress can work better across teams in the future:
Accessibility has been core to WordPress from the very beginning. It’s part of why we started – adoption of web standards and accessibility things. We’ve been a member of the web standards project for many many years. We did kind of have some project management fails in this process where we had a team of volunteers that felt like they were disconnected from the rapid development that was happening with Gutenberg. Definitely there were some things we could do better there. In the future I think that we need – I don’t know if it makes sense to have separate accessibility as a separate kind of process from the core development. It really needs to be integrated at every single stage. We did do a lot, as Matias did a big long post on it. We’ve done a ton of keyboard accessibility stuff, there’s ARIA elements on everything. One of their feedbacks was that we did it wrong, but we did it the best that we knew how to and it’s been in there for awhile. There’s been over 200 closed issues from really the very beginning. We also took the opportunity to fix some things that had been poorly accessible in WordPress from the beginning. It’s not that WordPress is perfectly accessible and all WCAG AA and it’s reverting. It’s actually that huge swaths of WP are inaccessible – they just might not be considered core paths from the current accessibility team but I consider them core.
“This is not the finish line,” Mullenweg said. “5.0 is almost like the starting point. Expect just as much time invested into Gutenberg after the 5.0 release as before – to get it to that place where we don’t think it’s just better than what we have today but it’s actually like a world-class web-defining experience, which is what we want to create and what you all deserve.”
The WordPress 5.0 release date has been pushed back to November 27. The previous schedule outlined the possibility of a slip date where the first target date could slip by up to eight days if necessary.
“As discussed during the Core devchat this week, the initial November 19th target date is looking a bit too soon for a release date,” Gutenberg technical lead Matias Ventura said in today’s announcement on the make.wordpress.org/core blog. “After listening to a lot of feedback — as well as looking at current issues, ongoing pull requests, and general progress — we’re going to take an extra week to make sure everything is fully dialed in and the release date is now targeted for November 27th.”
Ventura outlined a new plan where beta 4 and beta 5 releases will coincide with Gutenberg 4.3 and 4.4 releases. RC1 is expected to be released November 19. He said contributors will be posting daily high level updates on the current status of the release, including things like open pull requests to be reviewed and outstanding bugs, to the #core-editor channel.
The announcement also includes a short video demonstration of Gutenberg fully integrated with the new default Twenty Nineteen theme.
Given the recent pushback on the timeline from prominent WordPress developers and business owners, the updated November 27 timeline may still not offer enough time to resolve the issues remaining and allow the ecosystem to prepare training materials that accurately reflect late stage UI changes.
At a spontaneous Q&A session at WordCamp Portland this weekend, Matt Mullenweg said WordPress 5.0 was branched from 4.9.8 so this release has been tightly wound to the previous one to allow for a more seamless transition.
The next targeted release day falls on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, which should be a relief to anyone running a WordPress-powered e-commerce site. If WordPress misses the updated November 27 release date, it will be pushed back to the secondary target date of January 22, 2019.