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WPTavern: Theme Creation Will Be Easier, But We Are Not There Yet

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 02:18

“The way that themes have evolved within WordPress has made creating them easier,” wrote Tammie Lister in the opening line of her article titled Theme creation is now easier. “That feels like a bold statement, but it’s true.”

It is not a stretch to say that many would be asking for this secret-sauce recipe of easy theme creation. If anything, WordPress theming is at its most complex stage in history. It is a weird mix of APIs and years upon years of legacy baggage. Jumping into traditional theme development today carries with it a high barrier to entry, especially if you want to build anything grander in scope than any of the default Twenty* themes.

But Lister is talking about the WordPress of the future, a platform that will render its front-end output via blocks.

The thing about blocks is that they put this veil over a lot of the messy legacy stuff, creating a new standard where anyone who wants to build a theme does not have to worry about a lot of the history that got us from Point A to Point B. That is a Good Thing. Standardization of the system was long overdue, but we are still in the process of making that final leap forward. It is a tough time to be a developer. It can also be an exciting new adventure if we stop thinking about themes from a traditional mindset.

Lister made sure to point out the difference between theme “creation” and “development.” In almost two decades of WordPress, we have only ever had WordPress theme developers. Only those with the minimum knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP, and [sometimes] JavaScript could build a theme. And, that is absolutely still true today.

However, it will not be true tomorrow.

The act of front-end design does not have to be an all-or-nothing affair. Creators can build custom patterns and soon be able to submit them to the official pattern directory. WordPress 5.8 launched the template editor, so anyone can dip their toes into the shallow end of the template-creation pool. Global styles, a feature yet to be released, carries with it the promise of customizing fonts, colors, backgrounds, borders, and much more.

From a developer’s perspective, some of these features can seem limiting. We dive into code and see the world around us changing. Nothing is like the WordPress of old. There are moments when things are more complicated — sometimes by magnitudes.

However, for people who have never written a line of code in their lives, there is something magical brewing. WordPress is lowering the barrier to entry to almost nothing for the “regular” folks.

I remember how empowering it was to create my first personal blog design on top of WordPress. It was a fork of a theme by Tung Do, the former owner of the now-defunct WP Designer blog. I knew enough HTML and CSS to hack my way through most of it and just enough PHP to break my site several dozen times. It was a life-changing experience for me that played no small part in launching my career.

However, I also think about all the people who never got to build their own site designs because they did not have the prerequisite knowledge, the available time, or ran into some other blocker that disallowed their entry into the experience. WordPress is positioned to change that with new tools, building a runway that allows more people to become a part of our collective design community.

It is not only about building personal blog designs. It is about allowing anyone who wants to contribute to this open-source experiment, founded on the idea that we can share with our neighbors.

The pattern directory, which is only a few days old, is an early example of that. As we continue removing barriers for non-developers, it opens an entire world of possibilities and, perhaps, allows some who did not previously have the privilege of contributing an opportunity to do so. Or, it could even be the launchpad of a new business for some.

There is also a two-year-old ticket on starter page templates that is picking up steam. It is a sort of companion to block patterns, tackling entire pages instead of sections. The initial goal would be for themers to bundle these in their themes, but I envision a future where users can create and share these freely with their peers via WordPress.org.

But, it is rough going for theme authors today — plugin developers too, but we’ll save that for another post.

Traditional themes carry all the legacy baggage mentioned earlier, and some of the new block-related tools have added to the load. The current phase often breaks classic projects or forces developers into mixing compounds and waiting to see if the amalgamation explodes.

And, the promised future of easy theming with blocks is still in its infancy. The moment developers get into anything slightly more “advanced” than a simple blog, there are hurdles and pitfalls aplenty. For example, if you want to use different image sizes and orientations in various sections of a front-page template, that is impossible with the Post Featured Image block.

Or, maybe you have a theme user who wants to put a dynamic profile/account link for registered users on their own site. It is not happening without building a plugin or finding one to handle the job. It can also be a tough sell when four lines of PHP code worked just fine in the past.

These are merely simple examples of an array of issues that theme authors deal with on a day-to-day basis. They are problem-solvers for the masses, but they do not yet have a robust enough set of tools. Foundationally, the block system can handle most problems and even provide better solutions in some cases, but not all of the necessary blocks or options are in place yet.

As we continue solving these problems and adding the missing pieces, theme creation will be easier for everyone from the weekend tinkerer to the million-dollar theme shop. It will be a bit before we get there, but I find it hard not to look at what is upcoming and not be excited about the prospect of theming in the next few years.

HeroPress: From WordPress to Freedom

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 07:00

Hello there! Do you know that having a WordPress knowledge can change your life for good? Yes! It can.

In the last half of 2020 which of course can be said as the pandemic year, I made more than $750 (300,000) creating websites with WordPress. Perhaps I could have made more even as a beginner, but I also had a full time job which didn’t make it easy for me as a beginner at that time. I didn’t quit my job at that time and I still haven’t cos WordPress is now easier and I started managing both ends well enough after few months.

How I Started

I was already a graduate of Computer Science and finished my service year by October 2019 but as regards employability I only had a beginner knowledge in HTML and CSS, of course I had pages created with that but I couldn’t make them really interactive cos I didn’t know enough JavaScript and I also had little knowledge of PHP. Here in my country, no one really hires Junior developers with no JS knowledge, then I needed money to keep myself learning.

The bail out, I understood I needed to be skilled, so I began to see what I can do. One morning in May/June 2020 I decided to rearrange my workspace, then I found an old jotter of mine. Going through it, I found my jottings from watching a video on 4 professions you can learn on your own and get skilled with it (Note -not exactly the video title). On the list was WordPress, I went online and started searching on becoming a WordPress developer as a beginner. At this time, I already had a job, the pay was low which is also why I was thinking of learning new skills, meanwhile, pandemic also joined.

The most helpful resource for me during my search then and till now is the WP Beginner website.

With the little internet/data I had, I started reading, learning and practicing. I learnt how to register a domain, get a host and build with WordPress. I saved some money, registered 2 imaginary domain names, hosted them and built them with WordPress and Elementor, this was already early 2020.

What next, I had to show people what I knew and what I have done with what I knew, cos no one would know if I didn’t show it. I posted the 2 websites on twitter, got some likes and comments, then got some messages to create 3 websites for some clients, I kept building and showing it, and the rest as they say is history.

By the end of 2020, I already created about 10 websites and since then I have been making some side income as a Website creator aside my full-time job as a stock/store manager.

My challenges 

No active WordPress community here to support, and sometimes I have a block as to what to learn next and how to get clients.

I solve what to learn with trying new things or interests, I recently enrolled in a UI/UX design class and I can say I really explored, cos I will be finishing an online internship this week of writing in July, 2021.

In summary, learning about WordPress is something you can turn to a skill, a full time job, a side hustle and other cool things. Learn, build and show the world what you have.

With WordPress, you can create amazing things and earn more.

Thank you for reading.

The post From WordPress to Freedom appeared first on HeroPress.

WPTavern: WordCamp US Online Set for October 1, 2021, as Community Team Weighs Proposal for Returning to In-Person WordCamps

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 02:39

WordCamp US will be held online this year on October 1, 2021. Organizers are planning a free, one-day event that will feature networking opportunities, speaker sessions, and workshops. Michelle Frechette, one of the organizers, said the team is planning on hosting a contributor day and will add more information to the event’s website over the next few weeks. In August, WCUS will send out the calls for speakers, sponsors, and volunteers.

Planning for the 2020 virtual WCUS ended up as somewhat of a debacle after organizers decided to cancel due to pandemic stress and online event fatigue. The cancellation came after volunteers had already invested hundreds of hours of free time in planning the unfortunately timed event. Outbreaks in the US were worsening and political tensions were at an all-time high ahead of what went down as one of the most contentious presidential elections in US history.

Bringing back WordPress’ flagship WordCamp as an online event was a necessity in 2021, as COVID-19 cases rise and ICU’s are filling up in US hot spot regions where vaccination rates are lower. The delta variant has thrown the world another curve ball in what has become one of the most stressful and traumatic 18 months in recent memory.

Despite the continued public health crisis, the WordPress community is eager to restart in-person events. Rocio Valdivia published a proposal today, summarizing the Community Team’s discussions on how to establish a path for returning to in-person WordCamps. The proposal is based on using the current guidelines for meetups with a few additional guidelines pertinent to WordCamps. It uses the same decision-making flow chart that applies to green lighting in-person meetups:

After these guidelines for meetups were announced in early July, in-person meetups have been held in six countries, including Russia, US, New Zealand, Uganda, Australia and the Netherlands.

“Resetting expectations for WordCamps may be necessary, as the world has changed significantly,” Valdivia said in the proposal. “This is a great opportunity to rebuild the program by restarting locally, and then building back up to the levels we had in 2019.”

WordCamps had mostly fallen into a fairly predictable format before the pandemic, but the Community Team is now keen on organizers experimenting with new formats and content. One example suggested in the proposal is delivering WordCamp content entirely online, followed by an in-person social gathering, for a more inclusive experience that makes it possible for those who cannot attend to participate in the educational aspects of the event.

The Community Team is embracing the current hardships as an opportunity to improve WordCamps and rekindle the community spirit after such a lengthy absence from in-person events:

Additionally, the normal WordCamp application process requires that there be an active local community in place. As the community has faced many changes this year, Deputies are thinking about how to handle this requirement. One possibility could  be more flexibility with WordCamp applications, allowing communities that had a meetup pre-COVID to host a WordCamp, even if they weren’t as active in the last year, to help build excitement and restart community activity again.

The proposal includes a list of more practical considerations, such as securing fully-refundable venues, providing individually-packaged food instead of buffets, and limiting capacity to provide for social distancing. It also notes that WordCamps taking place during this transitional period would need to be prepared to cover 100% of their expenses, as WordCamps are currently exempt from the 2021 Global Sponsorship Program. Inclusion in the Global Sponsorship Program will be reconsidered once WordPress returns to in-person camps in all regions.

The Community Team is inviting feedback on the proposal, which is still under active discussion. If you have ideas that you think should be included in the guidelines or suggestions for this transition period for in-person WordCamps, leave a comment on the proposal.

WPTavern: Create a Publishing Task List With the Todo List Block

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 23:08

Rich Tabor, the Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience at GoDaddy, has been on a bit of a publishing productivity and workflow kick as of late. The co-creator of the Iceberg Editor plugin released a Markdown Comments block last month, allowing users to write editor-only notes. Last week, he launched the Todo List Block plugin.

The latest plugin is yet another simple, editor-only tool. The goal is to allow publishers to create and keep track of tasks on a per-post basis. It is essentially a way to create a publishing checklist directly in the editor’s content canvas.

Adding a Todo List to a post.

For solo writers, it should work well as a standalone plugin. Larger teams might consider coupling it with a plugin like Post Descriptions for a more robust solution.

One annoyance when using the block is that clicking the Enter button twice on the keyboard does not break you out of the Todo List. This is how lists work in core WordPress, allowing users to create a new paragraph or add a different block. I am not sure how to move out of the Todo List via the keyboard.

The issue could be related to how the plugin builds the list. Technically, it creates two separate blocks. The Todo List block is a wrapper for individual Todo Items. However, I am generally a fan of this approach because it allows developers to create block options for each item (e.g., different colors for each), a feature I have needed on occasion with the core List block.

Plugin + Theme Integration Theme JSON integration.

One of the hardest things about developing plugins in past years was having no standardized method for themes to style plugin output. Every plugin author had their own system, which would often change from version to version, and theme authors had to keep up.

Tabor may have just struck the perfect balance with the Todo List block. It defines its own styles but leans on the new theme.json standard available since WordPress 5.8.

Almost anything a theme designer might want to style is easily configurable via JSON, and the plugin has an example bundled within it. Theme authors can simply copy the code wholesale, paste it, and modify it to suit their design. Or, they can just use the bits they want. I only wanted to change the text color, so it was as simple as plugging in a single custom value.

This is the sort of forward-thinking that we need in this new era of blocks. And, this solution might just be the standard that other plugin authors should follow. It provides themers with an uncomplicated method for customizing plugin output and does not require nested styles to overwrite rules with high specificity.

A Checklist Block Type in WordPress

My initial interest in the Todo List Block plugin was its similarity to checklists (also called task lists). Essentially, these are unordered lists with a checkbox input for each item.

For transparency, I mostly just want to build a recipe block pattern with a checklist. This would let readers check each step in the instructions as complete.

Creating a task list of recipe instructions.

It is a relatively standard feature in Markdown editors to be able to create checklists by typing something like the following:

- [ ] Incomplete task. - [x] Completed task

There is a ticket to bring a similar feature to the Gutenberg plugin. It was opened in 2019. However, other than a few people chiming in, it has not seen much traction in the two years since.

Gutenberg project lead Matías Ventura shared a concept he had tried out early in the ticket:

Given the similarity with the Todo List block, maybe we can give Tabor a little nudge and have him bring a checklist solution to the masses.

WPTavern: Colorado Becomes First State to Require State and Local Government Websites to Meet Accessibility Standards

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 03:59

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against people with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The legislation continues to help disabled people gain equal access to employment, schools, transportation, government services, and public accommodations.

In a speech at the Rose Garden today, President Joe Biden announced guidance that would extend the ADA protections to COVID-19 long haulers who experience lingering symptoms that qualify as a disability.

“We’re bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long COVID who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law,” he said. “Which includes accommodations and services in the workplace and school, and our health care system, so they can live their lives in dignity and get the support they need as they continue to navigate these challenges.”

The Biden administration is continuing its commitment to accessibility which was first declared publicly on WhiteHouse.gov. When Biden took office, the site relaunched on WordPress with an accessibility statement, highlighting its ongoing accessibility efforts towards conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1, level AA criteria.

Last week, Colorado became the first US state to require state and local government websites to meet accessibility standards as established by the state’s Chief Information Officer. The bill states that the accessibility standards are to be identified using “the most recent web content accessibility guidelines promulgated and published by the world wide web consortium web accessibility initiative or the international accessibility guidelines working group.

Each state agency in Colorado is required to submit an accessibility plan to the office before July 1, 2022. The office will review the plan and work collaboratively to set an implementation methodology. State agencies are required to fully implement the plan before July 1, 2024. Any agency not in full compliance will be considered in violation of laws that prevent discrimination against individuals with a disability. The bill also makes it easier for an individual with a disability to bring a civil suit against noncompliant agencies and the agency’s $3,500 statutory fine would be payable to the plaintiff.

“This bill will give our local governments the resources to make sure they’re complying with the ADA,” Julie Reiskin, Executive Director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, told Colorado Public Radio. “Particularly after the year we just had. People who were blind couldn’t sign up for vaccines, get information online, sign language interpreters weren’t widely available. Failing to fund this says people with disabilities don’t matter.”

WordPress web developers responsible for Colorado state or local websites should be ready to deliver accessible websites on the timeline laid out in the bill. It applies to any department, agency, special district, or other instrumentality. All of the state agency websites are currently running on Drupal 7, but the state has more than 4,268 active local governments. Many of them use WordPress and those responsible for these local sites will need to begin the process of creating a plan to ensure they are accessible before July 1, 2024.

WPTavern: Block Widgets, Template Editing, Media, and More: Enabling and Disabling WordPress 5.8 Features

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 21:11

WordPress 5.8 was one of the most feature-packed updates that the community has seen in ages. There was just about a little something for everyone. And, there were plenty of things that some users would rather live without.

Big releases on the CMS that powers 40% of the web mean that some users will want or need to disable new features. Whether it is turning on classic widgets, bringing back infinite scrolling in the media library, or enabling the template editor, there is bound to be a solution. Some say there is a plugin for everything, so we are about to test that theory against the WordPress 5.8 features list.

Enable the Template Editor Creating a landing page in the template editor.

The template editor is one of the highlights of WordPress 5.8, but the majority of users cannot use it right now. Weeks before the latest update, the release team decided to make this an opt-in feature. This put the responsibility on theme authors to test their themes and enable it. However, users could be waiting for weeks, months, or even longer to see if their theme author switches the feature on.

Not every theme will work well with the template editor. Much of this comes down to how each was designed. However, many will work just fine with the new feature even if the theme author has not yet sent out an update that enables it. The only way most users can know is to turn it on and test it themselves.

The Template Editor plugin by Webd Ltd does just this. There are no settings; just activate and give it a test run.

Keep in mind that results may vary. If template editing does not work out, just disable the plugin.

WebP and Controlling Image Formats Modern Images WP settings.

WordPress 5.8 introduced support for WebP images. This image type could reduce file sizes by 25-34%, depending on the original format. While WordPress supports WebP, it does not automatically change it upon upload. However, it now has the image_editor_output_format hook that plugin authors can filter.

The Modern Images WP plugin by Adam Silverstein builds on top of that hook. It allows users to decide how their uploaded images are formatted on a case-by-case basis via the Media Settings screen. For example, users can transform their JPEG images to WebP or leave it as the default format.

Classic Widgets Block widgets screen in WordPress 5.8.

Square peg, meet round hole. That is how I have often described the block-based widgets system introduced in WordPress 5.8. It is meant as a temporary transitional phase between classic and block themes. For many, myself included, it is one best avoided.

Block widgets simply do not work with all themes, and some people just want the traditional widgets experience. Whatever the case, there is no shortage of options:

For users who would still rather simply avoid all things related to blocks, the Disable Gutenberg plugin by Jeff Starr is your best bet. It is the most robust solution available, allowing site owners to fine-tune the experience.

Enable Infinite Scrolling for the Media Library Media library with load more button.

WordPress 5.8 replaced infinite scrolling in the media library in favor of an Ajax-powered load more button. This change limited each “page” of images and other media to 40 items. This was a necessary change for keyboard users attempting to reach content appended to the screen and those who rely on audible feedback for navigation. Infinite loading was also a performance issue for those on slower connections.

Accessibility and performance should always trump bells and whistles, but the WordPress development team provided a filter hook for plugin authors to tap into and reenable the feature.

The change was slated for the WordPress 5.7 release but did not quite make the cut. David Baumwald released the Media Library Enable Infinite Scrolling plugin months ago in anticipation of it. The plugin still works great with WordPress 5.8 and is the solution for those who want to load images in the media library without clicking a button.

The one missing plugin would let users control the number of media items displayed. For some, they are OK dropping infinite scrolling but want to bump up that 40-item limit. There is currently no way for plugin developers to hook in and change this, at least until an open ticket works its way through the system.

Maybe there is not a plugin for everything yet, but it is close enough.

WordPress Foundation: Announcement: Online do_action hackathons in India and Nigeria

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 15:32

Following the success of online do_action events worldwide in 2020, the WordPress Foundation is doubling down on its mission by supporting more charity hackathons in 2021. Even as COVID-19 continues to wreck havoc around the world, our community organizers in India and Nigeria are working hard to empower local non profits by helping them build a stellar online presence. We are excited to announce do_action Karnataka 2021 and do_action Nigeria 2021!

do_action Karnataka (India) 2021

do_action Karnataka will be a week-long online hackathon which is being planned on: 07 – 15 Aug 2021. WordPress enthusiasts in the state of Karnataka, India are coming together to organize this event, and the efforts are led by the WordPress Bengaluru meetup group. Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, has already seen a successful do_action event in 2019.

A snapshot from do_action Bengaluru 2019

The hackathon has shortlisted three Non-profits: Luv Kush Foster Home (a foster home that aims to care for animals in need), Peacespark Foundation (which aims to support the education of underprivileged children), and Vridhi Foundation (Women and children welfare). The event has also put forth its call for participants/volunteers – if you would like to support non-profits by helping them build websites, simply fill up the form on the event website. Read the participant’s guide for more details on what is expected of you when you sign up. You can also support the event by signing up as a sponsor. Please email the organizers at: karnataka@doaction.org if you are interested in sponsoring the event.

You can find more details about the event in their website:

Karnataka 2021 do_action Nigeria 2021

Following the spectacular success of do_action Nigeria 2020, the vibrant WordPress community of Nigeria is back once again to organize an online do_action charity hackathon from October 25 through October 31, 2021! For the last three years, local communities in Nigeria have organized in-person do_action WordPress Charity Hackathons in several cities, where they had spent an entire day building brand new websites for a selection of local charities and NGOs. This year, for the second annual regional do_action Nigeria event, the team aims to repeat the same in an online format, for a handful of charitable organizations! 

Participants are building websites for non-profits at do_action Lagos 2019.

do_action Nigeria has currently opened up its call for non-profits. If you represent a non-profit based out of Nigeria which does not have an online presence, please submit the application on the event website. Applications close on the 15th September 2021. You can also support the event by sponsoring the event, please visit the do_action Nigeria website for more details. You can also email the organizers at: nigeria@doaction.org if you would like to support the event.

Nigeria 2021 Organize a do_action charity hackathon in your region

Are you excited about these upcoming do_action events? Would you like to support your local community by organizing a do_action event for your region? Send in your application right away! You can read more about do_action in the event handbook. Don’t  hesitate to ask any questions you may have in the comments. 

Thank you for all that you do to empower the global community through WordPress!

WPTavern: Next Phase of the WordPress Theme Review Overhaul: Open Meeting and Call for Feedback

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 02:20

The WordPress.org Themes Team announced an open discussion and date for a Zoom meeting with theme authors. The team is proposing a new set of guidelines that reduces and simplifies what is currently in place. Comments on the proposal are open through July 26, and the meeting is set for July 28, 2 pm CET.

This is the next step in an ongoing plan to revamp the review system and make it easier for the WordPress community to submit themes. It comes after months of waiting to see the results of earlier discussions unfold.

In January, the state of the theme review system seemed to have reached a crossroads. The Themes Team, a group of gatekeepers that oversees submissions to the official WordPress.org theme directory, had been making strides in the previous couple of years. Its members had cleaned up most of the submissions backlog, but they still had a lot of work ahead to smooth out the review process. On the whole, a series of incremental improvements seemed to be working at the time, albeit slowly.

Then, WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg dropped a bombshell via the Post Status Slack:

The .org theme directory is particularly bad when you compare it to any half-decent commercial theme marketing page, or the designs available on other site building services or Themeforest directories. The .org theme directory rules and update mechanism have driven out creative contributions, it’s largely crowded out by upsell motived contributions.

It was an age-old discussion of whether the theme review guidelines were too high of a barrier for entry into the directory.

Were WordPress users missing out on the best themes because the most innovative theme authors were not playing in the .ORG sandbox? If so, were the rules driving them away?

No one can know if a more lenient, free-for-all atmosphere would have unleashed a mountain of creativity paralleling or besting commercial theme producers. But, perhaps if the team opened things up, it would test the theory.

That initial post led to a series of discussions and a decision to overhaul the system. However, the Themes Team would need some help from the Meta Team to implement more automation of its grunt work, such as security and other code checks. Behind the scenes, pieces of that system have been put into place in the months since.

Guidelines Proposal and Questions

Themes Team representative Carolina Nymark listed a set of 13 overarching guidelines, each with sub-guidelines of their own. The proposal significantly simplifies the current rules for submission into the directory.

She asks that theme authors review the proposal and answer the following questions in the comments ahead of the meeting:

  • Will the updated requirements make it easier for you to submit themes?
    – If no, what is making it difficult for you to submit themes?
  • Will the updated requirements make it easier for you to review submitted themes?
    – If no, what is making it difficult for you to review themes?
  • Are there requirements that need to be removed, and why?
  • Is there anything in the list of requirements that is unclear? Describe the issue.
  • Can the formatting of the page be improved to make it easier to read?

The current proposal is more expansive than the shortlist of guardrails WordPress executive director Josepha Haden Chomphosy mentioned in a post that laid out the next steps. Most of these were not meant as blockers for submission.

“Rather we should use the list to flag themes that have/don’t have each thing and show them in results accordingly,” she wrote. “Likely exceptions to this would be proper licensing, adherence to fair use of the trademark, and a ban on child pornography or other images of anyone unable to provide consent.”

The goal was to put more responsibility into the hands of users, granting them privileges to say whether a theme was working or not. This would take a lot of the work off the shoulders of the review team.

Another part of the original proposal was to mark themes with “quality tags” that went above and beyond the baseline for approval. For example, internationalization (i18n) and accessibility (A11Y) are items that do not stop a theme from technically working. Instead of making these requirements, themes would merely be tagged if they met those standards.

Presumably, there would be incentives for taking those extra steps for theme authors, such as higher search rankings, the ability to be featured, and more. It is not that i18n and A11Y standards are unimportant, but they are sometimes hindrances to first-time authors. And, they definitely fall within the range of things that end-users can dock themes for in the ratings.

Many will take a hard stance on i18n and A11Y, but they are merely examples. A less controversial guideline might be the one that proposes that themes can only recommend plugins directly hosted on WordPress.org. Why should that be a blocker for inclusion in the directory? Some will say there is no good reason for it since themes are disallowed from installing plugins anyway. There are no technical issues with allowing such recommendations.

It is these sorts of rules that have plagued the theme review process over the years. Often, it moves discussions into ideological territory that most users do not care about. They just want themes that work.

Under the new proposal, moving to 100% blocks would further reduce requirements for developers. Currently, classic themes have a more extensive list of rules they must adhere to. Many of these are unnecessary for block themes, essentially cutting everything back to including a few required files. Most of this can and should be automated in the long term since they are necessary for a functioning theme.

Right now, the 13 guidelines (and their sub-guidelines) are only a proposal. Theme authors have a voice, but they must use it. As is so often the case, decisions are made by those who show up. Far too often, the team is shouting into the void, awaiting a response that rarely comes.

For theme authors who are invested in the future of the WordPress theme directory, that July 28 meeting is a can’t miss opportunity. Early responses via the comments on that post will also help shape the conversation.

WPTavern: WooCommerce 5.5.2 Fixes Performance Issues Found After Forced Security Update

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 01:13

WooCommerce has shipped version 5.5.2 as a follow-up to the forced security update that patched a SQL Injection vulnerability last week. The vulnerability impacted versions 3.3 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce plugin, as well as versions 2.5 to 5.5 of the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin. The team created a patch for more than 90 releases, which was sent as a forced security update from WordPress.org, due to the potential severity of impact for millions of WooCommerce installations.

Shortly after the automatic update rolled out, many store owners started reporting serious performance issues on both WordPress.org and GitHub. Some users reported database crashes after receiving the automatic security patch in 5.5.1. One user reported a painfully slow, endless query that was “crippling to our operations,” with similar reports on GitHub of this same query “causing the entire server to go down.”

Those with a large number of products in their databases were impacted more frequently. “We run a fairly big DB – 17k products,” one user said. “This has been a nightmare.”

Store owners affected by this issue had resorted to downgrading to the previous releases at WooCommerce’s recommendation. They shared temporary workarounds to disable the query while WooCommerce investigated the issue. The problem was reported so frequently that it became a high priority for the team to fix.

A week ago, WooCommerce developer Adrian Duffell reported back that they had determined the cause was twofold:

  1. A slow SQL query used to retrieve the products that are low in stock. This SQL has been in WooCommerce for a number of releases.
  2. A REST API request, which executes this SQL query, is called more frequently in WooCommerce 5.5 than in previous versions.

A combination of these factors was causing the degraded server performance when users updated to WooCommerce 5.5. A fix was released in WooCommerce Admin 2.4.4 three days ago, and the fix was also added to core today in 5.5.2. Users who had put workarounds in place are advised to remove them after updating to the latest release.

WPTavern: Revisions Extended Plugin Lets Users Schedule Updates to Published Posts

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 03:02

WordPress has long had the ability to schedule content to be published in the future, but it can only make immediate changes to posts that are already published. If you want to schedule changes to published content, a plugin is necessary. Corey McKrill, a full-time sponsored contributor to the WordPress.org Meta team, has developed a plugin, with the help of contributor Steven Dufresnethat, which is now in use on WordPress.org.

Revisions Extended allows users to schedule revisions, or updates, for posts that have already been published. It extends WordPress’ revision system to include a “future” post status as a revision post type. McKrill recorded a gif to demonstrate the UI:

https://cloudup.com/cOHLm_77ECk

Although there are existing plugins which already perform this functionality, McKrill said they were either inadequate for WordPress.org’s needs or add extra functionality that they don’t need. Revisions Extended supports the following for any post type that supports revisions:

  • From the block editor, make changes to an already-published post and schedule those changes to go live at a later date.
  • In the block editor UI as well as other admin screens, indicate when a post has a scheduled update.
  • View a list of all scheduled updates
  • Delete a scheduled update or trash/unpublish a post with a scheduled update
  • Edit scheduled updates, including the content and the future publish date.
  • Compare scheduled update content to the current published content.

The ability to schedule updates is especially useful for ensuring that software documentation is updated when a new release is available or when API changes go into effect.

The plugin entered the testing phase in March and is now used on multiple sites across the WordPress.org network. It makes it easier to schedule updates to lesson plans on the Learn WordPress site after a new version of WordPress is released. It also makes updates to HelpHub and DevHub more efficient.

“If you need to schedule updates for published WordPress post/page/CPT without changing what’s already published (nor switching to draft), this is something we recently started using at the WordPress Docs Team and it’s a game changer,” contributor Milana Cap said.

Revisions Extended is currently being developed on GitHub. McKrill said it may be be submitted to the official plugin directory someday when it is more ready for that level of exposure.

“It’s a possibility,” McKrill said. “There’s a bit more functionality I think should be added first, namely the ability to create updates in a ‘draft or ‘pending’ status to go alongside the current ‘future’ status. Adding it to the plugin directory would allow a lot more people to try it out and give feedback, but it might also greatly increase the support and maintenance burden. So that has to be part of the calculation when deciding if/when to add it.”

McKrill believes Revisions Extended could be a useful addition to core but there is not currently an active plan to bring it into WordPress.

“Something like this might get traction during Gutenberg Phase 3, which will focus on collaboration tools,” McKrill said.

For now, those who are interested to use Revisions Extended can download it and/or contribute to its development on GitHub.

WPTavern: Gutenberg 11.1 Adds Drag-and-Drop Support for List View and Upgrades Block Borders

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 02:03

The Gutenberg plugin continues to march forward. Yesterday’s release, coming merely a day after the launch of WordPress 5.8, brings several new features and nearly three dozen bug fixes. The big-ticket items are drag-and-drop blocks in the list view and a much-needed upgrade for border support.

Theme authors should enjoy the ability to control the Columns block’s stacking on mobile and some updated design controls for nav menus. While labeled an “enhancement,” themers should also check their designs against a breaking change to the RSS block’s updated styles.

Drag and Drop Blocks in List View Dragging a block around in list view.

Drumroll, please. The moment we — or at least many of us — have been waiting for has finally arrived. The editor’s list view has become a powerhouse for managing long documents with many blocks. Over the past dozen or so releases, the development team has continued to tack on necessary feature after necessary feature.

In version 11.1, users can drag and drop blocks from within the list view to order and organize content. However, users are not merely limited to moving things around within the list view itself. They can drag blocks from the list over into the content canvas and vice versa.

I do not often use emoji, but sometimes I like to dole out a slow clap for a job well done. 👏 👏

Border Support Adding a dashed border to a Group block.

I have already been having a bit of fun with the new border options. Lately, I have been in the holiday spirit because I was getting ahead and buying my Christmas tree in July (when you find the good deals). This inspired me to create a coupon code block pattern, and the Group block’s border support was perfect for this.

Gutenberg 11.1 refines the user experience for border options. The development team tightened the UI and placed the settings into logical groupings.

Only the following core blocks have partial or complete border support:

  • Button
  • Group
  • Image
  • Search
  • Table

Users can also define individual corners with the border-radius option in this update. I would love to see the same treatment for the top, right, bottom, and left borders in the future. I also would not mind seeing a double-border style.

Columns Block: Stack on Mobile Adding post metadata to an unstacked set of columns.

By default, individual Column blocks will stack on top of each other in mobile views. However, users can now disable this via the parent Columns block on a case-by-case basis. This has also been one of the missing pieces for more layout control in block themes.

One of the primary use cases for a Columns block that does not break on mobile devices is post metadata sections that should be inline. For example, theme authors often want to align the post author, date, and comments link in a single row below the post title.

This toggle switch sort of moves us in that direction. However, it is a stopgap solution that does not afford theme designers the flexibility they are accustomed to with CSS (this is not generally a complicated affair).

Before block themes and the site editor are rolled into core WordPress, theme developers will need fine-tuned responsive control over the Columns block and, perhaps, some type of row/inline/flex block to go along with it.

Theme authors who need to target the Columns block based on whether mobile stacking is disabled can use the .is-not-stacked-on-mobile class.

Post Terms and Tag Clouds Controlling the number of tags output.

The development team has crossed one of my months-long pet peeves off the list. In past releases of the plugin, the Post Terms block (variations of Post Tags and Post Categories) has displayed a pipe (|) separator between individual items by default. It now shows a comma, followed by a space.

Theme authors can change this in their block templates, and users can customize it from the editor. The setting is located under the “Advanced” tab in the block options sidebar.

The Tag Cloud block got a small but much-needed upgrade. Users can now set a limit on the number of tags to display. By default, it is set to show 45 tags.

Navigation Submenu Colors

The Gutenberg development team added two new color options for the Navigation block. Aside from its existing text and background colors, users can now change the text and background colors for submenu items.

The Navigation block, while improved, still seems to be one of the trickiest pieces of the site-editing puzzle. It is trying to be the Jack of all trades, mastering few — if any — solutions. And, there is already a ticket gaining traction that would allow users to stuff a wider range of inner blocks into it.

But, we have submenu text and background colors, which is a win. Only, they are named “Overlay Text” and “Overlay Background.” I am unsure whether it works as part of the mobile responsive menu. Gutenberg seems to have once again failed to bundle its front-end navigation JavaScript.

WPTavern: Stockfish Contributors Sue ChessBase for GPL Violations

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 04:30
image credit: Sebastian Voortman

A legal reckoning is brewing in the world of open source chess engines. Stockfish, a GPL-licensed chess engine widely recognized as one of the strongest in the world, has filed a lawsuit against ChessBase. The German-based company makes and sells chess software that relies heavily on the Stockfish engine, maintains a prominent chess news site, and runs a chess server for online games.

Stockfish’s announcement, published this week on International Chess Day, claims that ChessBase has violated the GPL by not releasing the corresponding modifications of its products that are derivative works:

We have come to realize that ChessBase concealed from their customers Stockfish as the true origin of key parts of their products. Indeed, few customers know they obtained a modified version of Stockfish when they paid for Fat Fritz 2 or Houdini 6 – both Stockfish derivatives – and they thus have good reason to be upset. ChessBase repeatedly violated central obligations of the GPL, which ensures that the user of the software is informed of their rights. These rights are explicit in the license and include access to the corresponding sources, and the right to reproduce, modify, and distribute GPLed programs royalty-free.

In 2020, Stockfish added support for NNUE (Efficiently Updatable Neural Networks). ChessBase’s Fat Fritz 2 product includes a neural network that the company has not released. Stockfish’s previous statement on Fat Fritz 2 identifies these net weights as a derivative:

“This chess engine is a Stockfish derivative, with a few lines of code modification (engine name, authors list and a few parameters), and a new set of NNUE net weights considered proprietary,” current Stockfish maintainer Joost VandeVondele said. “ChessBase’s communication on Fat Fritz 2, claiming originality where there is none, has shocked our community. Furthermore, the engine Fat Fritz 2 fails to convince on independent rating lists, casting doubt on the usefulness of those modifications. Indeed, we feel that customers buying Fat Fritz 2 get very little added value for money. Claims to the contrary appear misleading.”

The GPLv3 permits ChessBase to sell its chess engine but requires the company to make its modifications available, along with all information needed to build the program. Stockfish informed Albert Silver, author of the neural net in Fat Fritz 2, of the license violation, resulting in ChessBase releasing its C++ sources but not the net weights. “Obviously, we condemn the approach taken,” VandeVondele said.

Stockfish contributors have been working with a certified copyright and media law attorney in Germany to enforce their license and were able to force a recall of the Fat Fritz 2 DVD and the termination of the sales of Houdini 6. They are now pursuing the Termination clause of the GPL that would shut down ChessBase’s ability to distribute Stockfish in its products.

“Due to Chessbase’s repeated license violations, leading developers of Stockfish have terminated their GPL license with ChessBase permanently,” the Stockfish team said in the most recent statement. “However, ChessBase is ignoring the fact that they no longer have the right to distribute Stockfish, modified or unmodified, as part of their products.”

In a post titled, “Fat Fritz 2 is a rip-off,” published earlier this year, the Stockfish, Leela Chess Zero, and Lichess teams called out the product as a Stockfish clone, repackaged with a different neural network and “minimal changes that are neither innovative nor appear to make the engine stronger.”

“It is sad to see claims of innovation where there has been none, and claims of improvement in an engine that is weaker than its open-source origins,” the teams wrote. “It is also sad to see people appropriating the open-source work and effort of others and claiming it as their own.” 

Lichess, a free and open-source Internet chess server run by a non-profit organization that also uses Stockfish as a critical part of its infrastructure, has published multiple posts in support of Stockfish revoking ChessBase’s license to sell derivatives of the popular engine. Lichess also publishes the source code of everything they create using Stockfish so its users can see, modify, and redistribute it.

Even if you’re not a connoisseur of chess drama, Lichess’ most recent statement of support for Stockfish identifies why this case is important to the greater open source community:

Free open-source software offers essential freedoms that benefit developers and users alike, and those freedoms should have been extended to users of Fat Fritz 1, 2, and Houdini. Failing that, free-software licenses are only meaningful if they are enforced, making this an important case not only for Stockfish, but also for the open source community as a whole. We are happy that the Stockfish developers have the will and means to take action.

Stockfish’s lawsuit may become an important landmark case for proving that the GPL can be enforced. It will also be interesting to see whether the courts regard the neural network weights that ChessBase trained as a derivative work that must be released as source code in order to be in compliance with the GPL.

Stockfish has gained broad support from the project’s maintainers and developers who have stated they “have the evidence, the financial means, and the determination to bring this lawsuit to a successful end.” The team has promised to update their statement once the case makes progress.

WPTavern: The WordPress.org Block Pattern Directory Is Now Live

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 22:37

Yesterday, the WordPress pattern directory went live to the world as the development team behind it put the finishing touches on the project. It will work similarly to the theme and plugin directories in time. Along with WordPress 5.8, users can browse and use block patterns directly from the post editor.

Officially, the pattern directory shipped as part of the WordPress 5.8 release. The Tavern did not include this in its coverage yesterday because it was still listed as an “in-progress” project until several hours later. The team was still wrapping up several issues yesterday for the initial launch.

Pattern directory homepage.

The current patterns in the directory are a curated list of designs from over 20 volunteers. The team called upon the community in early June, and it answered. To date, there are over 70 patterns across six categories to choose from:

  • Buttons
  • Columns
  • Gallery
  • Header
  • Images
  • Text

Thus far, translations are complete for 12 languages. Others are at varying completion percentages, but there are dozens more that are incomplete. This would be an easy entry point for anyone who wants to give something back to the WordPress project.

I had a hand in building the About Me Cards and Team Social Cards patterns, but I cannot take all the credit. Kjell Reigstad and Mel Choyce-Dwan took my initial ideas and ran with them. It was a rewarding experience just peaking a bit into how other designers work. I only wish I could have put in more time during the initial submission window.

About Me Columns (left) and Team Social Cards (right) patterns

I look forward to submitting more patterns when submissions are open to everyone, the project’s next phase.

“Work is now beginning on the next milestone, which will enable patterns to be submitted by anyone, similar to the Theme and Plugin Directories,” wrote Kelly Choyce-Dwan in the announcement.

I am excited to see where the overall community can take the directory. Submissions have been limited and held to a specific aesthetic that will not be universally appealing. It may be hard for some users to look beyond centuries-old artwork, flowers, and the current fling with offset columns to see how a specific layout would work for their site. For others, it is perfect.

Even I struggle with this. I can see the structure beneath the default images and text, but I am not inspired to use most of the patterns because they simply do not fit my personal style. When selecting one, I want to feel like the designer was building something just for me. I suspect that will play a part in winning over more users and bringing some holdouts over to the block system.

Gallery-categorized patterns.

One limitation of the pattern directory is the imagery. Now that services like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay have put limitations on their licensing, it can be tough to find photos and artwork that meet the guidelines for submissions to WordPress.org. However, that could open up a bit with the potential integration of Openverse, formerly the Creative Commons search engine. Making it easier for pattern designers to find the perfect images to build out their visions would improve the overall quality.

What will eventually make the pattern directory a worthwhile venture is when the best designers from the WordPress ecosystem step up and begin competing. I eagerly await a breadth of authors putting their own stylistic spin on submissions.

HeroPress: More Than Just Joost’s Wife

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 06:00

Dit essay is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands.

My WordPress story is closely entangled with my Love story. Joost de Valk – my husband- led me to WordPress and the WordPress Community. And, while I love being Joost’s wife, I am much more than just Joost’s wife. My story on how I found my way in WordPress is also a story on how I stepped out of the shadows of Joost, without stepping away from (or on top of the toes of) my husband. It’s a story about my journey and my struggles in growing towards a leadership role. And, it’s a story about the wonderful inviting and inclusive world that WordPress is. But, there’s always room for some improvement!

The early days – Marieke before Yoast

I am extremely competitive and ambitious. Always have been. I was a highly competitive teenager, wanting to be the best at everything. I was president of the student council, editor of the school newspaper, and participated in debate clubs (that’s where I met Joost). After graduating high school (cum laude), I began studying Sociology and Communication Science. I obtained two bachelors and did a Masters in Sociology (all of it cum laude). And then, I decided to do my PhD in Criminology. I wrote my own research proposal and got funding to do my PhD. I was pretty keen on a scientific career. One year after I started my PhD I got pregnant…

Joost and I were shocked by my pregnancy, but almost immediately decided that we wanted to have this baby. Joost quit his job and found a job closer to our home. This was his first job as an SEO consultant, a rather significant career move :-). He was working 4 days a week, as was I, which allowed us both to spend time and take care of our son Tycho. Joost and I got married.

The pregnancy changed me. And it changed how people looked at me.

All of a sudden, I wasn’t the high potential anymore. I was the girl that got pregnant during her PhD. I tried my best to prove that I could still do the same amount of work. But with a baby that was hardly sleeping and work piling up, I collapsed. I was diagnosed with burnout and depression. But I got better. I finished my PhD at a slightly slower pace. We decided that I wanted another baby and gave birth to our daughter Wende. I started to work as a teacher and a researcher. We had another son, Ravi. Yes, we really like children ;-). And Joost started his own business- Yoast.

Joost was heavily involved in WordPress. His plugins had over one million users. He was speaking at all these conferences in the WordPress world and the SEO world. He was also doing consultancy. I helped him with his planning. I brainstormed with him about new business ideas. As of 2012, Joost started hiring people to work for him. He started working from an office. I helped with hiring. I did some research at Yoast. I liked being at the office. Thinking of ways to get a fun company culture.

Finding my place at Yoast

In 2013, I decided to join Yoast. I was having more fun at the Yoast offices than in my job as a teacher. It was a good decision, although it meant leaving my scientific career behind. That was hard. I started writing at Yoast. Writing about writing, about content SEO. I wrote an eBook, I launched Yoast Academy and I came up with the idea for a readability analysis within Yoast SEO. We had our fourth child, another son -Borre-, in 2015. At the same time I was doing a lot of work in setting up an inclusive and fun company culture for Yoast, inspired heavily by the WordPress community.

At Yoast, I really was Joost’s wife for the first time. I felt that not everyone would take me seriously. People outside of Yoast often assumed that I was Joost’s assistant or his secretary. That never happened to me before. I struggled with those prejudices. My resume clearly showed that I had some brains, but some people did not seem to look beyond my marital status. People working within Yoast sometimes questioned my expertise too. Within Yoast, over time, that really changed. As I worked at Yoast for a longer period of time, people started to judge me on my track record within the company.

Taking a leadership role

In 2015, I started talking at conferences. At Yoast, I got my own team. I became a manager. A leader. That was new for me, uncomfortable even. Giving feedback, explaining to people what needed improvement or what I wanted different, that is challenging for me. Even today. I have a strong desire for people to like me. And, I was really insecure about my own skills. Who was I to tell people how to do their work? In my first years as a manager, I was super nervous whenever I needed to correct people. And, I often did not do that well. I was afraid of the confrontation, would postpone it and eventually addressed the issue when it had become this whole big thing. For everyone who worked with me and recognizes this: I am so sorry.

Over time, I got more comfortable and less insecure. I was more confident that I knew what I was doing.

Working hard and studying a lot pays off. I became an SEO expert. I felt comfortable talking about it on stage. As I became an expert in SEO and in marketing, it became more natural to give feedback or to ask coworkers to do something for me.

I did a lot of the architecture of our company culture, our benefits and our HR plans.The WordPress community is well known for its diversity, for the openness and the acceptance. These are things that are really important within Yoast as well. Yoast breathes WordPress. Our core values are inspired by the WordPress community.

Becoming CEO in a big WordPress organisation

In 2019, I became CEO of Yoast. Once again, I was faced with the prejudice of only getting the job because I am Joost’s wife. That threw me off my game a little bit. I felt like I had proved myself having enough capabilities to fill the role of CEO. I had founded Yoast Academy, written so many blog posts, talked at so many big conferences. I had designed the entire company culture and came up with a few really important product ideas. I didn’t feel like an imposter myself. I was shocked to find out that other people did see me as a puppet on a string.

When I began as CEO, I was the only woman in our board and in our management team. I wanted to change that. I promised myself that I would change that. I began an inhouse coaching program for women that wanted to grow. And, we did our best to recruit more senior women. I succeeded.

Nowadays, half of our management team consists of women. The board of directors (5 people) now consists of 3 men and 2 women. We are getting there.

Also, we were trying our best to hire more people from traditionally underrepresented groups. We have a lot to learn and improve there. We launched a diversity fund to sponsor diversity at WordCamps.

For me, having half of our management-team consisting of women seemed like something all companies are heading towards. However, being a CEO of a rather large WordPress company taught me otherwise. The number of women I encounter on my many partnership calls is really, really low. It often makes me uncomfortable being the only woman on a call yet again.

WordPress is the most inviting, equal community I know. It’s the best! I know a lot of companies care about diversity. But that level of diversity is not yet reached at the level of management teams in WordPress companies. And that matters! Female leadership within WordPress means more than having women talk at WordCamps. We need to have more female leaders in WordPress companies as well. So, that’s my new mission ;-)!

What a place to work!

I love working in the WordPress world. I love working at Yoast. Most of the time, I enjoy being a leader, although I also struggle with the role. There’s a lot to gain in terms of diversity (and that’s more than gender of course) in the boardrooms of WordPress companies. And, although I struggle with being judged by my marital status, I wouldn’t dream of ever changing that. Joost has been a terrific ally in helping me with my struggles. We run Yoast together and we run our family together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Meer dan de vrouw van Joost.

Mijn WordPress verhaal en mijn liefdesleven lopen flink in elkaar over. Joost de Valk- mijn man- is degene die mij kennis heeft laten maken met WordPress en de WordPress community. Ik hou ontzettend veel van mijn man en ik vind het fantastisch om met hem getrouwd te zijn. Tegelijkertijd ben ik meer dan alleen maar de vrouw van Joost. Mijn WordPress verhaal is een verhaal van hoe ik uit de schaduw van Joost ben gestapt, zonder op zijn tenen te gaan staan of hem te moeten verlaten. Het is ook een verhaal over de moeite die het me heeft gekost om een leiderschapsrol te pakken. En het is een verhaal over hoe mooi open en inclusief de WordPress community is. Maar dat er tegelijkertijd nog werk aan de winkel is.

Het begin: Marieke voor Yoast

Ik wil altijd de beste zijn. Ik ben super ambitieus. Dat is altijd al zo geweest. Als middelbare scholier was ik voorzitter van de leerlingenraad, eindredacteur van de schoolkrant en deed ik mee aan het Europees Jongeren Parlement (daar heb ik Joost ook ontmoet). Na het behalen van mijn VWO diploma (cum laude) heb ik Sociologie en Communicatiewetenschappen gestudeerd. Ik heb beide bachelors gedaan en de master in Sociologie (alles cum laude). Daarna wilde ik gaan promoveren in de Criminologie. Mijn onderzoeksvoorstel kreeg NWO-subsidie, mijn wetenschappelijke carrière stond in de startblokken. En toen raakte ik zwanger…

Dat was flink schrikken voor Joost en voor mij. Toch besloten we eigenlijk direct dat we heel graag een kindje wilden. Joost zocht een nieuwe baan dichterbij huis. Een baan als SEO consultant, wat achteraf een belangrijke carrière-switch is gebleken. Joost en ik gingen beiden 4 dagen in de week werken en zorgden gezamenlijk voor onze zoon Tycho. Een paar jaar later trouwden we.

De zwangerschap en het moederschap was heftig voor mij. Ik veranderde erdoor.

Maar het veranderde ook heel erg hoe andere mensen mij zagen, hoe andere mensen mij benaderden. Ik was ineens dat meisje dat ongepland zwanger was geworden. Ik was niet meer dat meisje met die hoge cijfers die altijd alles ‘volgens het boekje’ deed. Ik werkte keihard om niet onder te doen voor mijn collega’s en probeerde hetzelfde werktempo aan te houden als voordat ik moeder werd. Dat lukte niet. Tycho sliep heel slecht en alle veranderingen braken me op. Ik kreeg een depressie en een flinke burnout. Maar ik herstelde daarvan. Ik besloot het wat rustiger aan te doen. Maar ik maakte mijn proefschrift wel af en Joost en ik kregen nog een kindje, een dochter, Wende. Ik ben op het HBO gaan werken als onderzoeker en docent. Daarna kregen we nog een kindje, onze zoon Ravi (ja, wij houden dus erg van kinderen). Joost begon voor zichzelf en startte Yoast.

Joost was enorm betrokken bij WordPress. Al vanaf 2006. Zijn plugins hadden ondertussen miljoenen gebruikers. Hij sprak op allerlei conferenties, zowel in de WordPress wereld, maar ook in de SEO wereld, waar hij inmiddels een grote naam was geworden. Hij deed een heleboel consultancy werk. Ik hielp hem. Ik hielp hem met zijn planning, ik brainstormde met hem over nieuwe business ideeën. Vanaf 2012 begon Joost ook mensen aan te nemen en vanuit een kantoor te werken. Ik hielp met de sollicitaties, ik deed ook wat onderzoek bij Yoast en schreef wat posts. Ik vond het heel erg leuk om op kantoor te zijn en om de bedrijfscultuur vorm te geven.

Mijn plek bij Yoast vinden

Het werken bij Yoast was eigenlijk leuker dan mijn werk op het HBO. In 2013 besloot ik om echt fulltime bij Yoast te gaan werken. Dat betekende dus dat ik mijn wetenschappelijke carrière afbrak. Dat was best heftig. Maar bij Yoast ging ik iets doen wat ik altijd heel erg leuk heb gevonden. Ik begon met schrijven. Ik ging schrijven over ‘hoe moet je nou eigenlijk schrijven’ en deed veel onderzoek naar content SEO. Ik schreef een eBook, ik lanceerde Yoast Academy en ik bedacht de readability analyse voor Yoast SEO. Joost en ik kregen nog een zoon, Borre, in 2015. Bij Yoast was ik ook druk met het opzetten van een leuke en inclusieve bedrijfscultuur. Daarvoor is de WordPress community een enorme inspiratiebron geweest.

Toen ik bij Yoast kwam werken, werd ik voor het eerst ook echt ‘Joost zijn vrouw’. Voor mijn gevoel werd ik niet door iedereen serieus genomen. Mensen buiten Yoast gingen er ontzettend vaak vanuit dat ik Joost zijn assistent was, of zijn secretaresse. Dat was me nooit eerder overkomen. Ik vond dat mega ingewikkeld. Uit mijn CV blijkt toch dat ik capaciteiten heb? Sommige mensen lijken niet verder te kijken dan mijn burgerlijke staat. Ook binnen Yoast overkwam het me dat mensen twijfelden aan mijn expertise. Dat is echt wel veranderd in de afgelopen tijd. Nu ik langer bij Yoast werk, beoordelen mensen me gewoon op het werk dat ik bij Yoast heb gedaan.

Een leiderschapsrol

Gaandeweg kreeg ik een grotere rol. Ik ging spreken op conferenties en ik werd manager van een eigen marketing team. Ik werd een leider. Dat vond ik spannend. Feedback geven of vertellen tegen mensen wat anders moet is iets wat ik ingewikkeld vind. Nog steeds. Ik wil gewoon graag dat mensen me aardig vinden. En, ik was lange tijd heel erg onzeker over mijn eigen capaciteiten. Wie was ik om mensen te vertellen hoe ze hun werk moesten doen? In die eerste jaren als een manager was ik echt heel onzeker als ik mensen feedback moet geven. Ik vond confrontaties vaak te moeilijk en ging die dan uit de weg. Dan liet ik dingen uit de hand lopen en was het heel groot geworden voordat ik de feedback besprak. Voor iedereen die met me heeft gewerkt en zich daarin herkent: super sorry!

Ik wende aan mijn leiderschapsrol en werd gaandeweg veel minder onzeker. Ik kreeg vertrouwen in mezelf, in mijn eigen capaciteiten.

Door mijn deep dive in content SEO ben ik ook echt een SEO expert geworden. Ik werd gevraagd voor allerlei talks. Daarmee werd het ook veel natuurlijker voor mij om feedback aan collega’s te geven.

Een groot deel van de bedrijfscultuur, onze arbeidsvoorwaarden en onze HR plannen komen uit mijn koker. De dingen die belangrijk zijn voor WordPress: diversiteit, openheid en inclusiviteit zijn ook de dingen die belangrijk zijn voor ons bedrijf. Yoast ademt WordPress. Onze core values zijn heel erg geinspireerd op de waarden in de WordPress community.

CEO worden in een groot WordPress bedrijf

En toen in 2019 werd ik CEO van Yoast. Wederom waren er mensen die zich afvroegen of ik die baan alleen had gekregen omdat ik Joost zijn vrouw ben. Dat kwetste me destijds. Ik had het idee dat ik me nu echt wel bewezen had. Ik had Yoast Academy gelanceerd, zoveel blog posts geschreven en op ontelbare conferenties gesproken. Ik ben verantwoordelijk voor de gehele bedrijfscultuur en ik heb ook een heel aantal belangrijke productideeën geïnitieerd. Ik had zelf geeneens meer last van een imposter syndroom en toch hadden mensen het idee dat ik een soort marionet van Joost zou zijn. Dat was even een tegenvaller.

Maargoed, ik begon aan de taak als CEO en had al snel een extra missie te pakken. Toen ik CEO werd in 2019 was ik de enige vrouw in de directie van Yoast en ook de enige vrouw is ons MT. Ik wilde dat veranderen. Ik begon een inhouse coachingsprogramma voor vrouwen bij Yoast – het empowerwoment-project. Maar we gingen ook beter ons best doen in ons sollicitatieproces. En dat heeft echt gewerkt! We hebben nu 2 vrouwen in onze directie en de helft van ons MT bestaat uit vrouwen. Er is meer werk aan de winkel wat betreft het aannemen van mensen uit traditioneel onder gepresenteerde groepen. Daar moeten we bij Yoast nog meer mee aan de slag! In de WordPress wereld hebben we het diversity fund geïnitieerd wat voor nog meer diversiteit op WordCamps en in de WordPress community moet zorgen.

Ik was altijd onder de indruk dat het belang dat wij bij Yoast aan diversiteit hangen iets is dat alle WordPress bedrijven onderschrijven. En misschien is dat wel zo, maar dat zie ik niet terug in de meeste boardrooms. Nu ik CEO van een groot WordPress bedrijf ben, merk ik dat ik heel vaak de enige vrouw in de vergadering ben. Dat vind ik nog steeds lastig. Ik voel me erg ‘anders’.

WordPress is zo’n ontzettende open, uitnodigende cultuur om in te werken voor vrouwen. En ik weet dat heel veel bedrijven het belang van diversiteit zien en belangrijk vinden. Leiderschap door vrouwen betekent echter wel meer dan alleen veel vrouwelijke sprekers op WordCamps. We hebben die directeuren ook nodig! Dus dat wordt nu mijn nieuwe missie :-).

Zo’n gave plek om te werken!

Het is zo gaaf om met WordPress te werken! Het is geweldig om met de WordPress mensen te werken! En het is echt fantastisch om bij Yoast te werken! En ik vind het meestal ook heel leuk om een leider in de WordPress wereld te zijn, hoewel ik het ook vaak moeilijk vindt. Er is nog veel te verbeteren in die boardrooms van al die grote WordPress bedrijven en daar wordt ik enthousiast van!

En, hoewel het getrouwd zijn met Joost soms iets is waar ik soms wat mee worstel, zou ik het echt niet anders willen. Joost is mijn bondgenoot en heeft mij zo geholpen met alle stappen in mijn carrière. Samen met hem run ik Yoast, samen met hem run ik ons fantastische gezin. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

The post More Than Just Joost’s Wife appeared first on HeroPress.

WPTavern: BuddyPress 9.0.0 Transforms Legacy Widgets Into Blocks

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 02:56

BuddyPress 9.0 was released one day before WordPress 5.8. As all major BuddyPress releases are named for pizza joints, this one has been dubbed “Mico” in honor of Pizzéria Chez Mico, a small restaurant on the French riviera, where you just may find capers and anchovies on your pie.

This short release cycle was laser focused on getting all of the BP component widgets ready to be used as blocks to ensure that they work with WordPress 5.8’s new block widgets experience. BuddyPress 9.0 introduces 10 new BuddyPress blocks to be used in place of the legacy widgets.

New BuddyPress Blocks in 9.0.0

This release also enables users to transform legacy widgets into a block with two clicks, while preserving all of their settings and automatically importing them. The availability of these new blocks is an important milestone that BP contributing developer David Cavins said is “the first step toward the progressive retirement” of BuddyPress widgets.

All this functionality that used to only be available in widgetized areas can now easily be used as blocks inside content areas. The blocks vastly expand BuddyPress’ flexibility, enabling site owners to do many things that used to require custom development. Designing unique landing pages for communities is now easier than it has ever been.

“My coworkers are pretty excited to have these new BP blocks,” Cavins said during a chat in the BuddyPress development channel on Slack. “For instance, with the login form block, you can pretty well replace login form customization plugins and put the form in your landing page with ease.”

The release also includes a new Sitewide Notices endpoint for the BP REST API that will enable site admins to create, edit, or delete notices and let users fetch the active notice. For a full list of the improvements and bug fixes included in 9.0.0, check out the release notes in the codex.

WPTavern: WordPress 5.8 “Tatum” Introduces Block Widgets, Duotone Media Filters, New Emoji Support, and More

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 19:56

WordPress 5.8 “Tatum,” named in honor of jazz pianist Art Tatum, landed earlier today. It is the second major release in 2021. It includes duotone media filters, block-based widgets, theme-related blocks, template editing, and theme JSON file support.

The release also ships tons of other notable features, such as support for new Emoji and an Update URI field for plugin authors to offer custom updates. The latest update also drops support for IE11, saying goodbye to the era of Internet Explorer.

Matt Mullenweg led the WordPress 5.8 release, which saw contributions from 530 volunteers. The entire release team closed 320 Trac tickets and over 1,500 GitHub pull requests.

The official release squad members were:

  • Release Co-Coordinator: Jeffrey Paul
  • Release Co-Coordinator: Jonathan Desrosiers
  • Editor Tech Lead: Riad Benguella
  • Marketing and Communications Lead: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
  • Documentation Lead: Milana Cap
  • Test Lead: Piotrek Boniu
  • Support Lead: Mary Job
Duotone and Media Improvements Duotone filter + gradient overlay on a Cover block.

The Image and Cover blocks received a new duotone feature. It is a filter that allows users to lay two colors over their media, creating unique effects. The colors overwrite the shadows and highlights of the image or video. Users can use WordPress’s defaults, theme-defined colors, or create their own mixes.

WordPress 5.8 also introduces several upgrades to the media library. The development team replaced infinite scrolling with a “load more” button, improving the experience for screen-reader and keyboard users. End-users can now copy media file URLs from the Add New media screen.

The latest release offers WebP image format support for the first time, and developers have a new image_editor_output_format filter hook to fine-tune the experience.

Block Widgets Widgets screen with a Gallery block in the Footer sidebar.

For the first time since the block system launched with WordPress 5.0 nearly three years ago, blocks are no longer confined to the post content editor. Users can now use them in any available sidebar. This is a stepping stone in the Full Site Editing experience that will eventually lead to block themes and the site editor. In the meantime, it is a way for users to begin trying out blocks in new ways.

However, those experiences may vary, depending on the active theme. Some older projects may not hold up well with this system. Authors may need to opt-out of the feature. Users who do not want to use block widgets or run into trouble can install the Classic Widgets plugin.

Query Loop and Theme Blocks Query Loop pattern inserter: carousel view.

The power to create lists, grids, and other designs around a group of posts has long been solely in the wheelhouse of developers. Users had to rely on their themes or specialized plugins to make such changes. This is no longer the case. Users will have the power to create almost any type of post list they want from now and far into the future with the Query Loop block.

And, this is just the beginning. WordPress 5.8’s new block is merely an introduction to what will eventually be one of the foundational elements to Full Site Editing in the coming years. As more and more blocks continue to mature, users and theme authors will continue building all sorts of layouts from this simple starting point.

The Query Loop block will also be the first introduction of the pattern inserter to many users. This is a new tool that allows users to scroll through block patterns, choose one, and customize. In the future, it will become a more prominent feature.

Inserting lists of posts is just scratching the surface. WordPress 5.8 ships a new “Theme” category of blocks for users to play around with. Many of these are primarily for use within the Query Loop, such as the Post* blocks. However, others like Site Title and Site Tagline will be handy in the template editor.

Template Editor Creating a custom landing page template.

The new template editor provides users with a method of creating reusable templates. And, they do not need a 100% block theme to do it. The feature opens an overlay from the content-editing screen for users to customize their page header, footer, and everything in between.

This is essentially a scaled-back version of the upcoming site editor. With 5.8, its primary use case will be for creating custom landing pages. It is a lot of power in the hands of the average user. And, it helps WordPress inch closer to its goal of not only democratizing publishing but also design.

The downside to this feature? It is currently opt-in. The active theme must declare support for users to access it. Many will not see it until developers submit updates.

Developers: theme.json Support Real-world theme.json file.

WordPress 5.8 lets theme authors begin tapping into global styles and settings configuration via the new theme.json system. In the coming years, this will be the foundation of how themers build their projects.

Essentially, the new file is a bridge between themes, WordPress, and users, a standardized method of communication that puts them all on the same page. Theme authors define which settings it supports and its default styles. WordPress reflects these via the editing interfaces and on the front end. And, users can overwrite them on a per-block basis or, eventually, through the Global Styles feature.

Right now, it is an opt-in feature that both traditional and block themes can utilize. Themers will want to start moving their projects over to using it now that WordPress 5.8 is on the doorstep.

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.8 Tatum

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 17:43

Introducing 5.8 “Tatum”, our latest and greatest release now available for download or update in your dashboard. Named in honor of Art Tatum, the legendary Jazz pianist. His formidable technique and willingness to push boundaries inspired musicians and changed what people thought could be done. 

So fire up your music service of choice and enjoy Tatum’s famous recordings of ‘Tea for Two’, ‘Tiger Rag’, ‘Begin the Beguine’, and ‘Night and Day’ as you read about what the latest WordPress version brings to you.

Three Essential Powerhouses Manage Widgets with Blocks

After months of hard work, the power of blocks has come to both the Block Widgets Editor and the Customizer. Now you can add blocks both in widget areas across your site and with live preview through the Customizer. This opens up new possibilities to create content: from no-code mini layouts to the vast library of core and third-party blocks. For our developers, you can find more details in the Widgets dev note.

Display Posts with New Blocks and Patterns

The Query Loop Block makes it possible to display posts based on specified parameters; like a PHP loop without the code. Easily display posts from a specific category, to do things like create a portfolio or a page full of your favorite recipes. Think of it as a more complex and powerful Latest Posts Block! Plus, pattern suggestions make it easier than ever to create a list of posts with the design you want.

Edit the Templates Around Posts

You can use the familiar block editor to edit templates that hold your content—simply activate a block theme or a theme that has opted in for this feature. Switch from editing your posts to editing your pages and back again, all while using a familiar block editor. There are more than 20 new blocks available within compatible themes. Read more about this feature and how to experiment with it in the release notes.

Three Workflow Helpers Overview of the Page Structure

Sometimes you need a simple landing page, but sometimes you need something a little more robust. As blocks increase, patterns emerge, and content creation gets easier, new solutions are needed to make complex content easy to navigate. List View is the best way to jump between layers of content and nested blocks. Since the List View gives you an overview of all the blocks in your content, you can now navigate quickly to the precise block you need. Ready to focus completely on your content? Toggle it on or off to suit your workflow.

Suggested Patterns for Blocks

Starting in this release the Pattern Transformations tool will suggest block patterns based on the block you are using. Right now, you can give it a try in the Query Block and Social Icon Block. As more patterns are added, you will be able to get inspiration for how to style your site without ever leaving the editor!

Style and Colorize Images

Colorize your image and cover blocks with duotone filters! Duotone can add a pop of color to your designs and style your images (or videos in the cover block) to integrate well with your themes. You can think of the duotone effect as a black and white filter, but instead of the shadows being black and the highlights being white, you pick your own colors for the shadows and highlights. There’s more to learn about how it works in the documentation.

For Developers to Explore Theme.json

Introducing the Global Styles and Global Settings APIs: control the editor settings, available customization tools, and style blocks using a theme.json file in the active theme. This configuration file enables or disables features and sets default styles for both a website and blocks. If you build themes, you can experiment with this early iteration of a useful new feature. For more about what is currently available and how it works, check out this dev note.

Dropping support for IE11

Support for Internet Explorer 11 has been dropped as of this release. This means you may have issues managing your site that will not be fixed in the future. If you are currently using IE11, it is strongly recommended that you switch to a more modern browser.

Adding support for WebP

WebP is a modern image format that provides improved lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP images are around 30% smaller on average than their JPEG or PNG equivalents, resulting in sites that are faster and use less bandwidth.

Adding Additional Block Supports

Expanding on previously implemented block supports in WordPress 5.6 and 5.7, WordPress 5.8 introduces several new block support flags and new options to customize your registered blocks. More information is available in the block supports dev note.

Check the Field Guide for more!

Check out the latest version of the WordPress Field Guide. It highlights developer notes for each change you may want to be aware of: WordPress 5.8 Field Guide.

The Squad

The WordPress 5.8 release was led by Matt Mullenweg, and supported by this highly enthusiastic release squad:

This release is the reflection of the hard work of 530 generous volunteer contributors. Collaboration occurred on over 320 tickets on Trac and over 1,500 pull requests on GitHub.

5ubliminal, 99w, 9primus, Aaron Jorbin, aaronrobertshaw, abderrahman, Abha Thakor, Abhijit Rakas, achbed, Adam Silverstein, Adam Zielinski, Addie, aduth, Ahmed Chaion, Ahmed Saeed, Ajit Bohra, Alain Schlesser, Alan Jacob Mathew, Albert Juhé Lluveras, Alejandro Perez, Alex Concha, Alex Kirk, Alex Lende, alexstine, allilevine, Amanda Riu, amarinediary, Amogh Harish, Andrea Fercia, Andrei Draganescu, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Serong, Andrey "Rarst" Savchenko, André Maneiro, Andy Fragen, Andy Peatling, Andy Skelton, Ankit Gade, annalamprou, Anne McCarthy, anotherdave, anotia, Anthony Burchell, Anton Lukin, Anton Vanyukov, Antonis Lilis, apedog, apokalyptik, arena, Argyris Margaritis, Ari Stathopoulos, ariskataoka, arkrs, Armand, ArnaudBan, Arthur Chu, Arun a11n, Aspexi, atjn, Aurooba Ahmed, Austin Matzko, Ayesh Karunaratne, Barry, bartkalisz, Beatriz Fialho, Bego Mario Garde, Benachi, Benoit Chantre, Bernhard Reiter, Bernhard Reiter, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), Birgit Pauli-Haack, Blobfolio, bmcculley, Bob Linthorst, bobbingwide, Bogdan Preda, bonger, Boone Gorges, Brad Touesnard, Brandon Kraft, Brecht, Brent Swisher, Brett Shumaker, Bruno Ribaric, Burhan Nasir, Cameron Jones, Cameron Voell, Carike, Carl Alexander, carlomanf, Carlos Garcia Prim, Carolina Nymark, Casey Milne, Cenay Nailor, Ceyhun Ozugur, Chandra M, Chetan Prajapati, Chintan hingrajiya, Chip Snyder, Chloé Bringmann, Chouby, Chris Van Patten, chriscct7, Christopher Churchill, Chuck Reynolds, Clayton Collie, Code Amp, CodePoet, Colin Stewart, Collins Agbonghama, Copons, Corey McKrill, Cory Hughart, Courtney Engle Robertson, crazycoders, critterverse, czapla, Dávid Szabó, Daisy Olsen, damonganto, Dan Farrow, Dani Llewellyn, Daniel Richards, danieldudzic, Daniele Scasciafratte, Danny, David Aguilera, David Anderson, David Artiss, David Baumwald, David Biňovec, David Calhoun, David Herrera, David Kryzaniak, David Smith, dekervit, devfle, devrekli, dhruvkb, Diane Co, dingdang, Dion Hulse, djbu, Dominik Schilling, donmhico, Donna Peplinskie, Doug Wollison, dpik, dragongate, Dreb Bits, Drew Jaynes, eatsleepcode, Ebonie Butler, Edi Amin, Eileen Violini, Ella van Durpe, Emil E, Emilio Martinez, Emmanuel Hesry, empatogen, Enej Bajgorić, Enrique Sánchez, epiqueras, Erik, etoledom, Fabian Kägy, Fabian Pimminger, Fabian Todt, Felipe Elia, Felix Arntz, felixbaumgaertner, Femy Praseeth, fijisunshine, Florian Brinkmann, Florian TIAR, Francesca Marano, Frank Bueltge, frosso1 (a11n), fullofcaffeine, gab81, Gal Baras, Ganga Kafle, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, GeekPress, Gennady Kovshenin, Geoffrey, George Hotelling, George Mamadashvili, George Stephanis, geriux, glendaviesnz, Grant M. Kinney, Greg Ziółkowski, gRegor Morrill, Héctor Prieto, Hannah Malcolm, happiryu, Hareesh, Haz, hedgefield, Helen Hou-Sandí, Herm Martini, Herre Groen, herrvigg, htmgarcia, Ian Dunn, ianmjones, icopydoc, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Isabel Brison, Ivaylo Draganov, Ivete Tecedor, J.D. Grimes, Jack Lenox, Jake Spurlock, James Bonham, James Koster, James Nylen, James Richards, James Rosado, jamil95, janak Kaneriya, janw.oostendorp, Jason Johnston, Javier Arce, Jayman Pandya, Jean-Baptiste Audras, Jeff Ong, Jeff Paul, Jeffrey Pearce, Jenny Dupuy, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Herve, Jeremy Yip, jeremy80, JeroenReumkens, jeryj, jillebehm, Jip Moors, Joe Bailey-Roberts, Joe Dolson, Joe McGill, Joen Asmussen, Johan Jonk Stenström, Johannes Kinast, John Blackbourn, John Godley, John James Jacoby, John Sundberg, Jon Brown, Jon Surrell, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, Jono Alderson, Joost de Valk, Jorge Bernal, Jorge Costa, Josee Wouters, Josepha Haden, JoshuaDoshua, Joy, jsnajdr, Juan Aldasoro, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Julio Potier, Justin Ahinon, k3nsai, kaavyaiyer, Kai Hao, Kalpesh Akabari, Kapil Paul, Karolina Vyskocilova, Kelly Choyce-Dwan, Kelly Hoffman, Kerry Liu, Kishan Jasani, Kite, KittMedia, Kjell Reigstad, klevyke, Knut Sparhell, Koen Van den Wijngaert, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Xenos, Kyle Nel, lakrisgubben, Lara Schenck, Larissa Murillo, Laxman Prajapati, LewisCowles, lifeforceinst, linux4me2, Lovro Hrust, Luis Sacristán, Luiz Araújo, Luke Carbis, m0ze, Maedah Batool, Maggie Cabrera, Maja Benke, Marco Ciampini, Marcus Kazmierczak, Marek Hrabe, Marin Atanasov, Marius L. J., Mark Jaquith, Mark Parnell, Marko Heijnen, Marty Helmick, Mary Baum, Mary Job, marylauc, Mathieu Viet, Matias Ventura, Matt Chowning, Matt Mullenweg, Maxime Pertici, mblach, Meet Makadia, Meher Bala, Mel Choyce-Dwan, meloniq, mensmaximus, Michael Babker, Michael Beckwith, Miguel Fonseca, Mikael Korpela, Mike Hansen, Mike Jolley, Mike Martel, Mike Schroder, Mikhail Kobzarev, Milan Dinić, Milana Cap, mkdgs, mmuyskens, mmxxi, Mohamed El Amine DADDOU, Mohammed Faragallah, Monika Rao, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, mrjoeldean, Mukesh Panchal, munyagu, Mustafa Uysal, mweichert, Nadir Seghir, Nalini Thakor, Naoki Ohashi, Naoko Takano, Nazrul Islam Nayan, nderambure, net, nicegamer7, Nicholas Garofalo, Nick Halsey, Nik Tsekouras, ninanmnm, Noah Allen, nvartolomei, oguzkocer, olafklejnstrupjensen, Olga Bulat, Olga Gleckler, Otshelnik-Fm, oxyrealm, Ozh, Paal Joachim Romdahl, palmiak, Panagiotis Angelidis, Paragon Initiative Enterprises, Pascal Birchler, Pascal Knecht, Pat, patricklindsay, Paul Biron, Paul Bunkham, Paul Schreiber, Paul Stonier, Paul Von Schrottky, Paulo Pinto, Pavel I, Paweł, Peter Wilson, Petter Walbø Johnsgård, phena109, Philip Jackson, Pierre SYLVESTRE, Pinar, Piotrek Boniu, Pippin Williamson, Pirate Dunbar, Pramod Jodhani, Presskopp, presstoke, pwallner, pyronaur, Q, Rachel Baker, rafhun, Rajesh Radadiya, Rami Yushuvaev, Ramon Ahnert, ramonopoly, Ravi Vaghela, ravipatel, Refael Iliaguyev, Rene Hermenau, retrofox, reynhartono, Riad Benguella, Rian Rietveld, Rima Prajapati, Rinat, Rnaby, robdxw, Robert Anderson, Robert Chapin, Roger Theriault, rogerlos, roo2, Roy, Russell Aaron, Ryan McCue, Ryan Welcher, Sérgio Gomes, Sören Wrede, Saša, Sabrina Zeidan, Sahil Mepani, Samir Shah, Samuel Wood (Otto), Sandip Mondal, Sanne van der Meulen, sarahricker, sarayourfriend, SASAPIYO, satrancali, savicmarko1985, Scott Lesovic, Scott Reilly, scottconnerly, scruffian, Sean Fisher, Sean Hayes, sebbb, Sergey Biryukov, Sergey Yakimov, SergioEstevao, shaunandrews, Shital Marakana, silb3r, Siobhan, SirStuey, snapfractalpop, spikeuk1, spytzo, stacimc, Stanislav Khromov, Stefan Hüsges, stefanjoebstl, Stefano Minoia, Stefanos Togoulidis, Stephen Bernhardt, Stephen Edgar, Steve Dufresne, Steve Grunwell, Steve Henty, Steven Word, Subrata Sarkar, Sumaiya Siddika, Suman, Sumit Singh, Sumit Singh, Sunny, sushmak, Sybre Waaijer, Synchro, szaqal21, tamlyn, Tammie Lister, Tellyworth, Terri Ann, Tetsuaki Hamano, them.es, Thomas Kräftner, Thomas Patrick Levy, Thomas Vitale, tigertech, Timothy Jacobs, TimoTijhof, Tkama, tmatsuur, tmdk, Tobias Zimpel, TobiasBg, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), Tom J Nowell, Toni Viemerö, Tonya Mork, Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe), torres126, Torsten Landsiedel, Toru Miki, Travis Northcutt, trejder, Udit Desai, Ulrich, Utsav tilava, Vicente Canales, Vipul Chandel, Vlad T, wangql, WebDragon, Wendy Chen, Weston Ruter, William Earnhardt, williampatton, Xavi Ivars, Xristopher Anderton, Y_Kolev, Yan Sern, Yui, Yuliyan Slavchev, Yvette Sonneveld, Zack Krida, Zebulan Stanphill, zkancs, and 孙锡源.

In addition to these contributors, many thanks to all of the community volunteers who contribute in the support forums. They answer questions from people across the world, whether they are using WordPress for the first time, or they’ve been around since the first release all the way back in 2003. These releases are as successful as they are because of their efforts!

Finally, thanks to all the community translators who help make WordPress available in over 200 languages for every release. 80 languages have translated 80% or more WordPress 5.8 and our community translators are hard at work ensuring more languages are on their way. If contributing to WordPress appeals to you, it’s easy to learn more. Check out Make WordPress or the core development blog.

WPTavern: Makers of TinyMCE Acquire Setka

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 04:39

Tiny, the makers of TinyMCE, have acquired Setka, a content design and editing platform, for an undisclosed amount. Founders Katya Bazilevskaya, Alexey Ametov, Vasily Esmanov, Roman Khudonogov, and the rest of the Setka team will join Tiny as part of the agreement.

Tiny has been tracking an increasing developer demand for rich text editing components, citing 8.1 million TinyMCE downloads (up 77%) and 106 million downloads of rich text editing components in general from NPM in the last 12 months (up 53% YoY).

“TinyMCE has typically focused on the average business user or knowledge worker; someone familiar with Microsoft Word or Google Docs,” Tiny founder and CEO Andrew Roberts said. 

“With Setka, we can now serve professional content creators and designers who want more advanced options.”

TinyMCE is used by millions of WordPress users, most visibly in the Classic Editor plugin as well as the Advanced Editor Tools plugin, previously known as TinyMCE Advanced. Advanced Editor Tools adds a “Classic Paragraph” block to the block editor that gives access to the TinyMCE editor with configurable rows and buttons. It provides a stepping stone for those who are not quite ready to switch to the block editor.

While Tiny is a widely recognized leader in rich text editing, Setka allows for more interactive content creation with design capabilities for arranging text, images, and other visual elements. It allows users to create and save post templates and easily reuse design elements throughout the WYSIWYG design process. Tiny plans to merge TinyMCE and Setka for a combined platform that will offer more than either product alone.

“Modern day content creators are much more ambitious, and Setka allows us to meet more demanding use cases,” Roberts said. 

“Over time, we envisage a combined editor platform that is both easy to use and powerful.”

Setka currently offers integrations for several CMS’s, document management tools, and CRMs, including WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Ghost, Microsoft Sharepoint, and Hubspot. The Setka WordPress plugin integrates with the block editor and provides its own content block that can work together with other blocks on the page.

Former CEO Kate Bazilevskaya, who will be assuming the role of director of business development and partnerships at Tiny, said the team intends to focus on the CMS space.

“Through an array of integrations, we hope to make this visual building technology more accessible to businesses who already have a CMS in place, yet want more power in their editing tools,” Bazilevskaya said.

WPTavern: Identify and Select Blocks via the Wayfinder WordPress Plugin

Sat, 07/17/2021 - 01:56

Christopher John, a Seattle-based designer and UX engineer, released his first project to the plugin directory yesterday. Announced via Twitter to high praise, Wayfinder is a block outline solution for the WordPress editor.

Like similar plugins, the goal is to make it easier for end-users to select nested blocks, which can sometimes be tough to pin down. Wayfinder outlines each block in the editor on hover. It then displays the block name at the upper left of the box.

My favorite feature that you will not find elsewhere is the addition of each block’s classes at the bottom right of the box. This makes it easy for designers or users who want to quickly find a class for styling.

Outline of a Heading block.

Users can also enable or disable the pieces of the UI they want to appear via the plugin’s setting screen. However, any changes affect all of the site’s user experiences. Currently, there are no per-user settings.

At first glance, the plugin seemed to work great. The hover outline experience felt smooth, and I did not need to change the default options. Wayfinder almost seemed to be everything one might look for in a block-outline solution. It was besting existing plugins in nearly every way.

However, things soon began rolling downhill when writing a typical blog post with nothing other than Heading, Paragraph, and Image blocks. I first noticed that I could not type the same number of words as usual on one line. My perfectly-tuned typography was breaking sooner than it should have. Spacing between paragraphs seemed a bit too large. My wide-aligned images were just a little smaller than usual.

The user experience still felt good until this point, but the little oddities were stacking up. Something was not right. The plugin had been showered with praise on Twitter and already received three five-star reviews in its first 24 hours. Maybe my custom theme was the issue. However, similar problems arose when testing several others, such as Twenty Twenty-One, Nutmeg, and Eksell — each a well-rounded theme catered to the block editor.

As clean as the plugin’s UI is, it more often than not wrecks the theme’s default block spacing. This becomes more noticeable as users begin adding nested layers of blocks.

The problem is the plugin adds 18 pixels of padding around every block via its stylesheet.

.wp-block:not(.block-list-appender) { position: relative; outline: 1px dashed transparent; padding: 18px; overflow: visible !important; }

To the untrained eye, this may not be a visible issue in many cases. It will affect each site differently, but 18 pixels of extra padding on every block will undoubtedly mess things up to some degree unless the theme itself uses that exact same spacing in its design.

The more noticeable issues are seen with blocks like Social Icons:

Holy moly! Those are some gigantic social icons!

But, even something as basic as a List block can be misaligned:

List block shifted out of alignment.

Theme authors can write custom CSS to overrule the plugin’s padding. However, the last thing the WordPress community needs is a specificity war between themes and plugins. Themers already have to do this enough to wrangle blocks now.

Removing that one padding rule from the plugin’s editor-style.css killed 99% of its issues. Afterward, things were running like a well-oiled machine.

As a developer, I would explore outline-offset for spacing between the block and its outline, maybe cutting that 18px down a bit. Because outlines are not a part of the CSS box model, it would not affect spacing. Adjustments may be necessary on a per-block basis, especially when those blocks are nested or small (e.g., Social Icons, Navigation). It would carry its own challenges but should be a less destructive course.

To a lesser extent, the plugin’s overflow rule breaks the theme design from time to time. Its position and outline rules could overrule some edge-case block styles too, but they are necessary for the plugin to actually do its job. In particular, I could see positioning being problematic with sticky headers as we get into site editing.

The only other issue might be themes that use ::before and ::after pseudo-elements on blocks, but the plugin also needs to overwrite those to display the block name and classes list. This is likely another edge case.

Despite the issues, the plugin is ahead of the pack at this point.

Gutenberg Editor Full Width Blocks Border (a bit of a mouthful), another recent plugin to offer similar functionality, breaks custom theme design across the board. It does accomplish the job of making blocks easier to select, but the sacrifice of a WYSIWYG is not worth it.

The Editor Block Outline plugin has been my go-to recommendation for a while. It has a few design issues of its own, but some of those are adjustable on a per-user basis. However, as of late, it has made the editor feel sluggish. Plus, its misuse of the WordPress admin notice system for Twitter followers makes it something I’d prefer to steer clear of.

EditorsKit has a similar “block guidelines” feature that uses a box-shadow instead of padding and an outline. It does not muck up most theme layouts with that technique. However, I have hit other style conflicts with the plugin. Plus, EditorsKit is overkill for users who simply want just one feature.

That leaves us with Wayfinder. Warts and all, it is the best standalone option right now. Maybe that’s not saying much, but it is saying something. This is a feature that is hard to nail down. I do not envy the developers who are trying to make miracles happen.

It is sure to please many who have been on the lookout for a block outline solution. It is in a position to pull farther ahead of the competition with its relatively solid first outing. With more thorough theme testing and a bit of adjustment to its approach, it could be even better. I am eager to test future iterations.

WPTavern: Automattic Acquires Pocket Casts

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 22:39

Automattic has acquired Pocket Casts, a popular podcast listening, search, and discovery app for Android and iOS. Australian co-founders Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson are staying on to continue leading Pocket Casts as a part of the acquisition.

The app allows users to keep all of their podcast subscriptions together in one place and sync between platforms. Previously a commercial-only app, Pocket Casts has been free since it switched to the freemium model in September 2019. Its creators have been monetizing the app through its Pocket Cast Plus tier, which gives users access to desktop apps, cloud storage, watch playback, and themes and icons for $9.99/year.

In May 2018, Pocket Casts was acquired by public media organizations NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. BBC Studios also held a small ownership stake in the platform prior to Automattic’s acquisition.

Despite being widely regarded as one of the best podcasting apps available, NPR’s financial statements and auditor’s report from 2020 shows a net loss of more than $800K. The board governing the company met in December 2020 and agreed to sell Pocket Casts.

No financial details of the acquisition were disclosed but Automattic may have gotten a bargain on Pocket Casts if its other owners were also losing money. After acquiring Tumblr and Day One, Automattic is starting to gain a reputation for buying up apps that people love to use and giving them a fighting chance at financial stability and longevity. The company has also demonstrated a growing interest in podcasting-related technologies with its recent investment in Castos and partnership with Spotify’s Anchor podcast creation platform.

Acquisition announcements often include assurances of no changes for current customers but Automattic’s post made no promises and did not share many details regarding its plans for Pocket Casts. Integration with WordPress.com may be on the horizon but it’s currently in the exploration stage.

“As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new),” Automattic’s Head of Apps Eli Budelli said. “We will explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts. We’re thrilled that we can continue to give our users a multitude of ways to tell and engage with stories that matter.”

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