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Drupal Themes - Sun, 05/22/2022 - 09:44

This theme intended towards 'The Ambitious Site Builder'

More to come soon.

CivicTheme

Drupal Themes - Mon, 05/09/2022 - 05:01

Placeholder for CivicTheme Drupal theme

Code will be published soon

WPTavern: How To Build Coupon Cards With WordPress Blocks

Wordpress Planet - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 02:39

Last year, I designed several patterns for showcasing coupon codes on a site. They were part of a larger theme project that I never finished. However, I had a ton of fun playing around with variations. Disliking them withering away on my laptop’s hard drive, I thought I would share them with the Tavern audience.

The base coupon card looks like the following:

When I designed it and the others, I had Christmas on my mind (if that was not obvious from the screenshot). Of course, I am always thinking about the holiday, usually starting my shopping by at least July each year.

Other than the image, I intentionally left most of the design generic so that it easily applies to other holidays and events.

This tutorial in the Building with Blocks series will walk you through each step of creating custom coupon cards from the editor. I will also share a couple of ideas for variations at the end.

Step 1: Adding a Group Block Adding a Group block with custom background and border.

As with most patterns, you should start with a container-type block. For the coupon card, begin by inserting a Group. You are free to personalize this however you want. However, to use the same layout in the tutorial, you should at least set the block’s padding to 0px and block spacing option to 0px. Those need to be zeroed out for the rest of the design to work.

I adjusted my Group block to have a light gray background color. Then, I added a 4px dashed border and an 8px border-radius. Each of these design tools is available in the block inspector in the sidebar panel. Have a little fun with colors and other settings until you find something you like.

Step 2: Add an Image Inserting an Image block into the Group.

This step is straightforward. Insert an Image block inside of the Group from step #1. There are no particular settings required.

Of course, you should link it to something via the insert-link button in the toolbar. You are presumably selling a product and want folks to click on it.

Step 3: Add Content Group Adding a nested Group block.

This should be another simple step. Below the Image block from step #2, add a new Group. This will house the “content” you will add in step #4.

The most crucial setting for this block is to add padding via the block design tools in the sidebar panel. I opted for 2rem to match my theme. Remember that you zeroed out the padding in the outer Group in step #1. Now, you need to add some to keep the content from butting against the side of the container.

Step 4: Add Content Adding the sales pitch.

With the Group block in place from step #3, you have a new freeform area to throw in your sales pitch to potential customers. This can be as simple as a Heading followed by a Paragraph or something much more complex. It is probably best to keep it short and on point.

Step 5: Coupon Code Row Inserting a Row block for coupon code section.

To highlight the coupon code, add a new Row block below the Group block added in step #3. This allows you to add a section for the code and expiration date in the next step.

Select the “space between items” option for the justification control. This setting pushes each nested block away from the other.

Then, select a custom background color. This should automatically give padding to the Row block. If you opt out of setting a color, you should manually set the padding to match the Group block above it.

Step 6: Add Code and Expiration Custom coupon code and expiration date.

The final step is to add two Paragraph blocks into the Row container. The first should read something like “Coupon: XMAS2022,” and the second should be “Expires: December 31.”

Of course, it is your card, so have fun customizing it.

Variations

The wonderful thing about the WordPress block editor is there are so many ways that users can modify the output of a set of blocks like the above. Something as simple as changing the colors can give you an entirely different look. And, by rearranging a block or two, you can craft something uniquely your own.

One of the easiest ways of customizing the coupon code above is by throwing in a few emoji, as shown in the following screenshot:

Emoji variation.

OK. I was having a bit of fun with that. On a more serious note, there are many ways to tinker with the formula and create something new.

It took me only a few moments to merge steps #2 and #4 (skipping step #3) from earlier to create the following:

Media & Text variation.

That is a Media & Text block in the mix. I will leave you with the challenge of recreating this variation without a complete walkthrough. If you get stuck, check out my previous tutorial, which covers Media & Text extensively.

Do The Woo Community: WooBits: Web3 Integration, Woo in Search and More Random WooCommerce

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 10:03

This week I chat about the flux of crypto plugins for WooCommerce, how Woo is rating in search and third-party risks.

The post WooBits: Web3 Integration, Woo in Search and More Random WooCommerce appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community.

WPTavern: FSE Outreach #14: Building Recipe Posts With Lists and Quotes

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 03:04

Round #14 of the FSE Outreach program is now open to the public. Anne McCarthy, who oversees the program, calls for testers to build a recipe post using existing tools like the template editor and some new and experimental blocks.

Those who want to leave feedback can do so until May 18. The program always needs testers from across the spectrum of user experiences. This is an easy way to contribute back to the WordPress project.

The latest round calls on users to test some new blocks in the Gutenberg plugin. Some of these are related to comments. I opted out of this part of the test because I had already covered everything I had to say in an article in early April. That post, along with feedback from the community, helped drive some of the changes that should land in WordPress 6.0.

My focus was on the List and Quote block updates for this round. “Version 2” of these are available via Gutenberg 13.1 and must be enabled via the Gutenberg > Experiments admin screen.

The new List is no longer a single block. Instead, each item within it is a separate block of its own. Likewise, for each sub-list.

The overhaul of the Quote block allows end-users to nest other blocks within it. By default, this is a Paragraph, and there seems to be no limit to what can be placed inside.

I had fun with this testing round. Recipes are my jam, so I had to pick the perfect one to share. Ultimately, I built a custom “recipe template” and a faux recipe post, as shown in the following screenshot:

For this experiment, I relied on the ever-reliable Archeo theme by Automattic. It has been my go-to for several weeks now, and I will likely continue using it until I find something new that sparks my interest. It is definitely a solid solution for these types of tests.

Testing the New List and Quote Blocks

The call for testing asks volunteers to create a custom template for recipe posts. The only change I made to the theme’s default single template was to wrap the site header, post title, and post excerpt in a Cover block tied to the post’s featured image.

Custom single recipe template.

I described how to do this in a post in April. Once that was in place, I moved forward with building out a recipe post.

Ultimately, I added a short intro for the recipe. Then, used the Columns block to section off the recipe card and some tips from readers. This is where I was able to dive into the experimental List and Quote blocks.

The List block proved to be the most problematic. It seemed impossible to add a new item to the top level after an inserted sub-list. Clicking the first item and hitting Enter deleted everything nested below it. No amount of clicking or keyboard input seemed to get me back to the top level to continue adding more items.

Eventually, I wised up and navigated to the top level via the breadcrumbs in the editor. Then, I clicked the “+” icon (this could also be done from the editor’s list view). As someone who primarily works from the keyboard, this felt unintuitive.

Troubleshooting a List block.

It also seems impossible to escape the List and into a new Paragraph block. In the past, this could be accomplished by hitting the Enter key twice while on the final list item. That action now creates a nested list.

Markdown-based lists are also not transformed into a List block when pasted into the editor. The formatting is lost, and each item gets absorbed into a Paragraph block.

The new Quote block worked well. It is now possible to add nested blocks inside it, one of the features I have long needed as a writer here at the Tavern when quoting from third-party resources.

One enhancement I would like to see for Quote v2 is the <cite> element separated into a standalone block. This would allow end-users to customize its design separately from the wrapping <blockquote> on the block and global levels. Currently, only theme authors can modify its style, which must be handled via custom CSS.

Overall, I am eager to see the finalized versions of these blocks. They will bring back some of the missing functionality from the classic editor and give users the flexibility to do even more.

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress – April 2022

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 15:01

This past month saw a lot of preparation work for WordPress 6.0, due to release on 24 May 2022. This major release brings exciting improvements – read on to find out more about the latest happenings in the WordPress project.

WordPress 6.0 Release Candidate 1

The first release candidate (RC1) for WordPress 6.0 is now available for download. Help improve the project by testing and translating this version to non-English languages. Check out the RC1 release post to learn what’s new and how to contribute. For a more in-depth look at the upcoming changes, you can refer to the WordPress 6.0 Field Guide.

WordPress 6.0 is packed with all kinds of improvements for everyone. It brings new blocks, accessibility enhancements, refined design tools, the ability to switch theme styles easily, multi-block partial text selection, and a new block locking interface, to name a few of its highlights.

Listen to the latest WP Briefing episode for a sneak peek into the exciting features included in WordPress 6.0. Gutenberg releases: Versions 13.0 and 13.1 are here
  • Gutenberg 13.0 shipped on April 14, 2022, and introduced the final updates that will be part of WordPress 6.0. These include an improved editor experience (with the ability to select text across blocks), better responsive blocks, and prominently exposed block patterns.
  • Gutenberg 13.1 landed on April 27, 2022. This version adds border support to the Columns block and accessibility and Comment block improvements.
Follow the #gutenberg-new posts for more details on the latest updates. Team updates: Updated guidelines for in-person events, redesign of the Gutenberg page, and more How do you feel about in-person WordPress gatherings? The Community team wants to hear about the challenges in returning to these events. Open feedback/testing calls
  • Following this proposal for a WordPress Project Contributor Handbook, Executive Director Josepha Haden opened a round of discussions to share feedback on the various handbook sections.
  • Version 19.8 of WordPress for Android and iOS is available for testing.
  • Join the 14th testing call of the Full Site Editing (FSE) Outreach program – “Rallying Recipe Reviewers.” This call focuses on testing blocks that help recipe authors make their recipe blogs more interactive. Leave your feedback by May 18, 2022.
Are you interested in helping test out new WordPress 6.0 features but don’t know where to start? This detailed guide will walk you through how to get started. Get ready for WordCamp Europe in Porto
  • We are four weeks away from WordCamp Europe. After being postponed twice due to the pandemic, the WordPress event is taking place in Porto, Portugal, on 2-4 June 2022. Check out the schedule and get your tickets if you haven’t yet!
  • WordCamp US announced a new program to support underrepresented speakers.
  • WordCamp Irun (Spain) is happening this month on May 21 and 22, 2022.
The Call for Volunteers for WordCamp US in San Diego, California, is now open. Newcomers to WordPress are always welcomed. Apply today!

Have a story that we could include in the next issue of The Month in WordPress? Let us know by filling out this form.

The following folks contributed to this Month in WordPress: @rmartinezduque, @cbringmann, @dansoschin.

Do The Woo Community: Listen to Yourself When Agency Life Calls You Back with Remkus de Vries

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:01

Remkus de Vries has decided to reboot his agency and bring himself back into setting at the helm of his life and his business.

The post Listen to Yourself When Agency Life Calls You Back with Remkus de Vries appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community.

Handicraft Zymphonies Theme

Drupal Themes - Wed, 05/04/2022 - 16:14

Handicraft zymphonies theme has a new look of soft and clean professionalism for the Handicraft Business. These designs combine creativity with simplicity on each page. Read more

Live Demo Advanced Themes

Features
  • Drupal 8/9 core
  • Bootstrap v4
  • Handicraft theme
  • Mobile-first theme
  • Easy customization
  • Great performance
  • Standard typography
  • Built with HTML5 and CSS3
  • Dynamic layouts
    • 2 column layout
    • 3 column layout
    • 4 column layout
Most installed Zymphonies theme Contact Zymphonies

Have Queries? Click here to contact Zymphonies

  • Free theme customisation & additional features
  • Drupal custom theme development
  • Drupal website design & development
  • Drupal website migration

Sponsored by Zymphonies

WPTavern: #25 – Joe Casabona on Why WordPress Is a Great Choice for Your Podcast

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/04/2022 - 14:00

So on the podcast today we have Joe Casabona.

Joe is a podcaster and educator, which makes him perfect for the discussion today, ‘Why WordPress Is a Great Choice for Your Podcast’.

He started his career over 20 years ago as a freelance web developer before realising his true passion, which is sharing his years of knowledge to help creators and small business owners.

His goal is to help people make money with their content, which he does primarily through his podcast, and courses.

We start out the podcast talking about Joe’s story; how he found WordPress and podcasting. It was not all plain sailing and Joe went through several iterations of his podcast before he began to think of it less as a hobby, and more as a useful tool for his business.

The conversation then turns to the purpose of setting up a podcast. Right now podcasts appear to be all the rage. Many people create them for fun, as an outlet for their creativity, but there’s also a growing recognition that they can have purposes beyond entertainment. They could help you connect with customers or be used as a way of communicating with your team.

We also cover the subject of the things that you’ll need to create a podcast, and why this list is not as daunting or expensive as you might think. You can, if you like, buy the latest and greatest equipment, but Joe is of the opinion that, whilst this is nice, it’s not essential.

As this is a podcast about WordPress we make sure to discuss how WordPress and podcasting are a perfect match. Whilst many podcast hosting platforms will allow you to have a basic website, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make your podcast more effective if you are able to extend the website’s functionality. WordPress is perfect for this. There’s no restrictions on what you can do and you’re free to change anything whenever you like.

So if you’re curious about how to set up a podcast, or if you’ve already got one going and just want to hear some fresh perspectives, this episode is for you.

Useful links.

Joe’s website

Podcast Liftoff

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case why WordPress is a great choice for your podcast.

If you’d like to subscribe to our podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WP Tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy and paste that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, well I’m keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the contact form there.

So on the podcast today we have Joe Casabona. Joe is a podcast and educator, which makes him perfect for the discussion today. Why WordPress is a great choice for your podcast. He started his career over 20 years ago as a freelance web developer before realizing his true passion. Which is sharing his years of knowledge to help creators and small business owners.

His goal is to help people make money with their content. Which he does primarily through his podcast and his courses. We start out the podcast today talking about Joe story. How he found WordPress and podcasting. It wasn’t all plain sailing. And Joe went through several iterations of his podcast before he began to think of it less as a hobby and more as a useful tool for his business.

The conversation then turns to the purpose of setting up a podcast. Right now podcasts appear to be all the rage. Many people create them for fun. As an outlet for their creativity. But there’s also a growing recognition that they can have a purpose beyond entertainment. They could help you connect with customers or be used as a way of communicating with your team.

We also cover the subject of the things that you’ll need to create a podcast. And why this list is not as daunting or as expensive as you might think. You can, if you like, buy the latest and greatest equipment, but Joe is of the opinion that, whilst this is nice, it’s not essential.

As this as a podcast about WordPress, we make sure to discuss how WordPress and podcasting are a perfect match.

Whilst many podcast hosting platforms will allow you to have a basic website, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make your podcast more effective if you’re able to extend the website’s functionality. WordPress is perfect for this. There’s no restrictions on what you can do and you’re free to change anything whenever you like.

So, if you’re curious about how to set up a podcast, or if you’ve already got one going and just want to hear some fresh perspectives, this episode is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash podcast. Where you’ll also find all the other episodes. And so without further delay, I bring you Joe Casabona.

I am joined on the podcast today by Joe Casabona. Hello Joe.

[00:03:58] Joe Casabona: Hey, Nathan. Thanks for having me.

[00:04:00] Nathan Wrigley: You’re very welcome. Joe and I have actually spoken on a number of occasions, but we’ve never actually spoken about this particular subject. And it’s nice to have you on the WP Tavern podcast as well. First of all, Joe the generic question, which always ask, it may not be the most interesting, but at least it sets the tone for the episode. Give us a little bit of a backstory about yourself as long or as short as you like, tell us who you are and how come you’re talking about podcasts and WordPress today?

[00:04:24] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I’ve been a WordPress developer since 2004. My origin story is a little bit, I was telling my friend how I think I’m going to build my own content management system, cause I was doing client work since high school. And he said, have you heard of this thing called WordPress? And I was like, no, I looked into it, and I basically used it ever since. I did it the bad way for awhile before pages were supported, I would put like my own PHP files into Core, but then pages got support in like 2006, I think, and since then, pretty much all of my client work has been done with WordPress. I also, since second grade was in drama club from second to 12th grade.

And so I love entertaining. I love performing, and podcasting seemed like a good outlet for that, as I became an adult and moved away from theater, as other things claimed my time. But in 2012, I launched a podcast, but it was terrible because it was like a panel podcast. It was basically just me and my buddies talking, which is just like the worst kind of podcast.

But in 2016 I launched a real proper, I had a proper go at podcasting with my podcast, how I built it. And since then, that’s a main driver of my income. I’m self-employed, full time since 2017. I have three children at home, so this business supports my family and podcasting is a major part of that. And so from 2016 on I’ve been able to combine my two careers of WordPress and podcasting into a content creation business we’ll say.

[00:05:58] Nathan Wrigley: So it’s fair to say that on the subject of podcasting and WordPress combined, you’ve pretty much got it sussed. So that’s perfect. Thank you very much indeed. You mentioned in there that you had a go at podcasting and the format was wrong, but you persevered. And I’m just curious about that. It seems to me that at the moment, the words I’m going to do a podcast, pretty much fall out of everybody’s lips at some point. It’s very much in vogue. Everybody’s talking about it. It’s the latest thing. Whether or not that continues, who knows, but right now it seems that everybody wants to get on that bandwagon. Do you think it is for everybody? Are there any gotchas that you would put in people’s way and say, actually before you commit, just answer these questions about yourself. Just think about these particular things. I know that’s a very generic question, but do you believe it is truly for everybody?

[00:06:49] Joe Casabona: I think it is for everybody, as long as the answer to why do you want to start a podcast is not to make a lot of money or to be famous. I think you need a better reason than either one of those, because while I make a lot of my money with podcasting, it’s not the reason I started. I thought that this was going to be more of like a marketing tool for my online courses which is another way to make money. Don’t get me wrong.

But if you go into podcasting thinking, I’m going to be rich and I’m going to be famous. I’m going to be the next Joe Rogan or Conan O’Brien or whoever Then you’ll be disappointed. But if you go in with a reason beyond that, I want to help people learn about this thing I’m passionate about. I want to help establish my expertise in a specific area, then yes, you should start a podcast.

[00:07:44] Nathan Wrigley: Do you think that the skill set is something that you can learn in its entirety? Because there’s a lot going on in a podcast. When you consume it, it feels as if it just fell out of the podcast player. You know, you might not realize the amount of work that goes in. That might be research. It might be setting up the interview, redoing the interview, editing the interview, putting music in and searching for that. The time spent, if you’re doing guest interviews and all of that.

Do you feel that there’s a certain proclivity, a certain type of person who fits best? In other words, If you’re, let’s say more on the reclusive side, is that something that would put you off? And also, from a technical point of view, can you just learn everything that needs to be learned, or is it difficult to acquire the skills and, you know, you need to basically dedicate time to learn all those before you actually commit to starting.

[00:08:36] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question because, I think a lesson people learn time and time again is the thing that looks effortless on the front end, right? The way we see it is actually a huge effort on the backend, by the creator, right? The YouTube videos that look like they’re so smooth and easy, really just take hours of editing for example, right. And so I think it does take time to learn. I think the hardest thing to learn is probably how to have a good conversation. I think a lot of people don’t really know how to do that, especially with people they don’t know personally.

And so that takes some research. You know, you and I had a pre-interview discussion, even though we know each other. I do the same thing with my podcast interviewees. We get out about 20 minutes before we’re going to record and chat and get comfortable with each other. So I think that there are some things you do need to learn. Or you need to recognize your strengths and outsource the things that you don’t care to learn or don’t like to do, right.

Coming from the WordPress space, that always feels like a tough conversation to have, right? Why would I pay for somebody to do it when I can do it myself, but one of the first things and one of the best things I did when I started my podcast was hire an editor. I hated editing. And if I had to edit my own podcasts, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

[00:09:59] Nathan Wrigley: So it’s a question of finding the things that you’re good at. Finding the things that you like. Concentrating on those and knowing that there are commercial avenues for taking that off your plate and giving it to somebody else. That’s really good advice.

In terms of the sort of scope of the project, typically the podcasts that I listened to fall into two main categories, I listened to podcasts for entertainment. So, there’s comedy podcasts and there’s news podcasts and things like that. But then I also more recently have found podcasts where I’m consuming information. It’s almost like I’ve replaced the TV documentary with podcasts.

And I just wonder if you had any thoughts about that. In other words, should you think really carefully about the subject matter at hand? Is a pet project good enough. Or do you really need to be introspective and thinking long and hard about what the nature is? In other words, if you begin, are you stuck doing that?

Or can you pivot halfway through like you did, you kiboshed one podcast and started again. Just curious as to how much thought you think the subject matter of the podcast may need.

[00:11:06] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s a really great question, right, and sometimes it’s a situation of you don’t know what you don’t know, right. It’s like when you do client work and you say well, what do you, what do you want? I’ll know I don’t like something when I see it. And so I think if you want to start a podcast, try your first or third or fifth idea, don’t spend too much time on laboring over that and just get started. Record a couple of test episodes, and see how well you fall into the habit of recording and the format and see if it works for you.

Yeah, cause I’m listening to a highly produced podcast right now called Wicked Game. It looks at all of the American elections from the very first to the 2020 election, American presidential elections, I should say. And it’s highly produced with music and sound effects and it’s deeply researched. And it’s so interesting, but my podcast is nowhere near that. I’m having a good conversation with somebody. And it’s a little bit researched.

I look into my guest if I want to have them on the show. I look at the questions I’m going to ask them, for example, I’m interviewing Chris Coyier later today. And I listened Nathan to your interview with him from a few weeks ago, to make sure that we didn’t cover the same exact things, because there’s probably some overlap, and I’m sure Chris doesn’t wanna, I’m sure he’s not going on like a podcast junket, to tell the same stories over and over again. So I think that was maybe a meandering answer. I would say when you have an idea, you think is good enough, start, you’re not stuck, but it will help you understand what works for you and what does not work for you.

[00:12:42] Nathan Wrigley: The use case, so I mentioned two categories there, broadly entertainment and information. I caught sight of a really interesting idea of podcasting the other day. And I confess having been a podcast and myself for a few years, it was caught short by this re-purposing of audio content. And that was that the CEO of a company, had decided that the daily huddle of his, I don’t know how many staff let’s say 20 or so, was it a bit of a waste of time. And he thought to himself, well, most of the people that work for me are commuting. They’re all using iPhones or Android phones and they’re all consuming podcasts.

Why don’t I create a podcast episode telling everybody what would have been in the morning meeting the following morning. And although that’s a very specific use case, it just suddenly made me think, oh, so it’s not just about information. It’s not just about entertainment. You really could finesse this down, and make it something very specific indeed. I don’t know if you’d come across any other curious examples of how audio podcasts had been used.

[00:13:48] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I think that’s a brilliant, and I had somebody approach me last year interested in basically doing the same thing. They run a company of truck drivers, and instead of making their truck drivers, who could be all over the country, tune into a go-to meeting every month, they wanted to put those go-to meetings, which were usually just presentations by the CEO, out as podcasts.

That way truck drivers who are in their car or their truck most of the day, could listen whenever they could more conveniently. I’ve seen use cases of teachers using podcasts to put out lectures, or to announce new homework assignments or add more context to a homework assignment. So there are, especially with the advent of private podcasting, I think there are a ton of fantastic use cases because audio is a simpler medium than video, and it is easier on bandwidth and you have a podcast app where new episodes automatically get downloaded, right? You don’t have to go to a website to check, to see if it’s updated. You can get a push notification when a new episode drops.

[00:15:01] Nathan Wrigley: One of the things that I find really amazing about audio is just the fact that I can actually be doing several things at the same time. You know, I can be sitting at my computer working and I can tune into a podcast. And if I don’t need it to give my full attention, it’s just there. And if something piques my interest, I’ll probably pause what I’m doing and get engaged with it for a little moment.

But also equally, I could be giving it my full attention whilst I’m carrying out some household chores, it could be vacuuming the floor or something. And that requires almost no cognitive ability from me at all. And I do that quite a lot and I’m, I’m really engaged in it. And so you don’t have to be, as you would be for a, a piece of video content, you don’t have to apply all thought towards it.

Things can be going on at the same time. In particular, as you said, things like commuting. It’s the perfect time to have audio content, because most people are probably throwing on the car stereo at some point anyway, so. Yeah. That’s really interesting.

Do you see this as an avenue, in terms of WordPress website builds, do you see this as a growing avenue for let’s say agencies or freelancers, as an area that they can bolster their offering to their clients. At the moment they can say things like, we can build you a website. We can offer you a care plan. We can do the maintenance, we can do SEO and so on. Do you think people are more frequently asking, can you do me a podcast? What benefit could I get from a podcast?

[00:16:26] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m not the best marketer. And I get these inquiries. I have a couple of clients for whom I produce podcasts. But even from the WordPress side, right, I think more podcasters are realizing they need a good website for their podcast. And I think, even if we’re not looking at independent podcasters, you know, who are more reluctant to spend money at first, because there isn’t a real, tangible cost associated with podcasting from the very beginning.

But you have agencies and institutions who are like, maybe we should have a podcast. Building a good website around that is going to be important to them, especially if they want to offer something to their members or their employees, or their students, where there is some sort of privacy aspect involved.

[00:17:16] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you mentioned privacy or private podcasts. Perhaps people who don’t listen to podcasts or, like us, are habitual about podcasting. Just tell us what a private podcast is. Because it’s a whole different area of podcasting that many people don’t even know about.

[00:17:31] Joe Casabona: Private podcasting, I guess if I’m going to generalize the definition, it is a podcast for which you control access to. So for me, I have a private podcast called build something more. That is for my members. They get add free extended episodes of my podcast, but they also get, on Fridays, an episode called the weekly wrap, where I just tell them what I worked on this week. And some of my struggles, some of my wins, and it’s a 15 minute or so update for just my members. But as you mentioned, a private podcast could also be a company only podcast, right? Where maybe the CEO is talking about their roadmap for the next quarter.

And that’s not necessarily public information, but he still wants, or he or she wants to disseminate that information to the employees. A podcast could be a great way to do that. If you have a classroom based podcast, that’s the same thing, right? You’re putting out lessons that you don’t want the whole world to hear. Maybe you’re communicating with student feedback or something like that. That could be a private podcast as well.

[00:18:36] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. Thank you. That’s cleared that up. In terms of growth of podcasts, it feels like there’s been more or less exponential growth in the last few years. If we rewind the clock, maybe ten or eight years, they existed, but they were fairly niche. You probably had to sit at a device and then along comes the iPod and changes all of that. And then after that along comes the iPhone and smartphones in general. And all of a sudden, this stuff is just in your pocket. It’s completely there all the time. It’s a device which you are more or less guaranteed to hold during the time that you’re awake.

So it felt like it was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And everybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. Do you have any, any insight into whether or not that’s still the case. In other words, if today is the moment that you’re thinking about a podcast, you would want to be thinking, okay, it’s a growing medium. I want to hop on whilst it’s still growing, but maybe that’s not the case. Maybe it’s in decline.

[00:19:34] Joe Casabona: Yeah, really interesting question. And I think as with anything with data, you could probably twist the stats to tell your own story, but Edison research is a organization that does a lot of different kinds of stats. They’ll do like a thing called terrestrial radio as well. They’ll do general content consumption by household, but, they have a report called the infinite dial, where they look at listening habits and podcasts specifically. Right? So for example, smartphone ownership grew by about 250 million over the last couple of years. Internet connected watch owners and they have all the, all of these stats.

But one of the stats is podcasting. How many people are listening to podcasts? How many people are aware that podcasting is a thing. And for the first time, since they were doing this study it is I think monthly or weekly listenership decreased. I’m trying to find the stat. I wish I had it up, but it was all a buzz when they announced it in March, that for the first time podcast consumption went down.

[00:20:40] Nathan Wrigley: It feels like there’s always going to be a moment in any market where it has plateaued, but it feels as if the threshold which we’ve reached is still more or less everybody. It still feels like there’s plenty of audience to share around, and the sky is not necessarily falling in just because in the more recent past the numbers haven’t kept growing. I think in our pre-recording chat you mentioned that there might be some kind of COVID pandemic data that explains that a little bit better.

[00:21:10] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Honestly, I’m looking through this data right now and I cannot find, oh, monthly podcasts listening went down from 41 percent to 38 percent from 21 to 22, it looks like. Yeah, a small decrease. And what happened in that time? The world opened up again, right.

Because again, from 19 to 20, we saw a 5 percent increase. From 20 to 21, we saw a 4 percent increase. So if we compare 20 to 22, we see a 1 percent increase. People are going back to their normal lives. What is the more interesting stat to me is around awareness. A lot more people are aware that podcasting is a thing. A lot more people are listening to more than one podcast now.

So yeah, maybe I’m listening to fewer podcasts on a monthly basis than I was a year ago, but that doesn’t mean that podcasting is decreasing in popularity. And on that same token, podcasting has not hit critical mass yet. There’s 2.2 million podcasts only about, I think it’s something like less than half of them are active. And so we have 38 million YouTube channels, you tell me is podcasting has podcasting hit max capacity yet?

[00:22:37] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it certainly feels to me as if there’s lots more growth. And it’s curious, the sort of up and down of the last couple of years, and there definitely seems to be some data points, which explain maybe the more recent dip, because life is going back to normal.

If somebody is listening to this, and they think to themselves, wow, I really must make time for this. I’ve finally been persuaded. I’m going to do my podcast. Regardless of the subject, let’s get into the tooling that’s needed. And first of all, let’s stay away from, let’s just stay right away from WordPress and just concentrate on the things that you would need in your life if you were to become a podcaster.

And now we don’t need to go to the extremity of all of the different bits and pieces, but at the very basics, what would you say would be the essential and then maybe we can go onto the more that would be desirable. So let’s start with the essential stuff. What is needed to do a podcast?

[00:23:28] Joe Casabona: I think that you need four things to do a podcast, excluding your voice, right. That would be number five. I guess that’d be number one. Really? You need a not built in microphone, right? So you will see blog posts they’re like what microphone should you get? Should you buy the Shure SM7B? Every podcaster that you see on a TV show has the Shure SM7B, and I assure you as someone who’s speaking into one right now, you don’t need that. You can spend 50 bucks or 40 bucks and get a decent built in microphone because you’re not singing, probably. You’re talking. So you just need something that has reasonable noise rejection, that has a dedicated function for capturing your voice.

You also need headphones. There are going to be people who say, I don’t need headphones. I’ve done podcasts without headphones and it’s, it’s fine. It’s not fine. What happened was the person whose podcast you went on was too polite to ask you to put on headphones, and then too polite to tell you that the recording sounded like crap.

You need headphones, because if you don’t, you’re going to get a lot of interference. So mic, headphones, that’s one and two. Three is a way to record. Luckily, whatever device you are consuming this podcast on has a way to record. It could be Quicktime on a Mac. It could be Windows Recorder on Windows, or your phones have recording apps as well. Heck the iPhone has like a version of Garage Band I think you can use.

And then you need an audio host. We’ll probably get into audio host recommendations later, but you can’t just throw an MP3 up in your WordPress media library and call it a day. You need a dedicated audio host for a bunch of reasons.

[00:25:14] Nathan Wrigley: Just develop that further. I mean, we all know what a WordPress website host is and the reasons why you wouldn’t put your WordPress website on your home computer, unless you were really skilled and knew what you were doing. What’s the purpose of a host, and why is that an essential component?

[00:25:27] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I’ll put it to you this way, right? If you wanted to travel across your country, whatever country you happen to be in. You could put on like those 1970s roller skates, right? With the four wheels on each side of the shoe. Or you could get a bicycle, which one of those sounds better?

Or in the United States, like biking across the country sounds terrible to me, but some people do it. I’d probably want a car or a plane. So if you want to put your audio online, technically you can just upload it to any old server, but you want a server that specializes in serving audio, just like YouTube or Vimeo or not just any old video hosting providers, right.

They do a lot of things behind the scenes to make sure that people are getting those videos served up quickly and efficiently. And it’s the same thing for an audio host. They do a lot of things behind the scenes to make sure your audio is available and that stats are being captured on it. And that If maybe one server crashes, they have redundancy, right? There are things in place that audio hosts do that general hosts will not do.

[00:26:39] Nathan Wrigley: They also compile something called an RSS feed, and WordPress users were really familiar with this, but there is a particular type of RSS feed which needs to be consumed by a podcast player. And they also typically take that heavy lifting as well, so that when you subscribe to the podcast, it comes with all of the album art and all of the episode descriptions and all of that. So, yeah, highly recommended to look into that.

In terms of then things which you quite like. So it’s no longer the four essential things. What about some of the things which you found to be quite useful although not necessary.

[00:27:13] Joe Casabona: Okay. So strictly gear I, heavy caveat here, that I love tech and gear and I go overboard right? But I do have a fancy microphone, and I have something called the Rodecastor Pro. This is a 500 or $600 device that allows me to capture audio from multiple channels, and sound effects, et cetera.

What I like about the Rodecaster Pro is it’s a soundboard built for podcasts. I have a couple of mikes plugged into it and they’re all dialed in based on the microphone. So I sound good, no matter which one I use, and it allows me to do things like monitor my audio. You can even record audio directly onto the hardware. That’s a piece of hardware I really like.

If you’re thinking, look, I want to sound better than just a regular old USB microphone. Then you can get an XLR microphone and you can get the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, which is a interface that allows you to plug an XLR microphone basically into your computer. Those are two things that I think if you’re looking to upgrade, that’s a good place to start.

The rest of my podcast gear, I mean, the rest of my recording gear honestly is more around live streaming. I guess the other kind of piece of gear I really like, I have a Zoom recorder, the Zoom H5, which is like a portable kind of podcast recorder that you could again, plug an XLR microphone into. And when I’m quote unquote on location, usually on location means at my parents’ house. I’ll use that to record.

[00:28:46] Nathan Wrigley: What about the software? Do you obsess about that in the same way? Do you download the most expensive audio software that money can buy or do you just go for some of the freely available stuff like Audacity?

[00:28:57] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m actually, I’m recording this on my end into garage band, which just comes with the Mac. As far as other software goes uh, you know, something I forgot to mention in the hardware, is the Stream Deck. Again, that’s not something I think about with podcasting, but there’s a lot of stuff for podcasting on my Stream Deck.

Maybe that’s another piece of gear that’s really interesting, and we can talk about that if there’s time later, but, as far as the software goes, I use riverside.fm to record. Of all of the online recording platforms that get good audio from your guests. That’s the one I’ve liked the best. I like having video on, cause I like seeing my guest. Again, riverside.fm is a really good tool for that full disclosure, they have sponsored my podcast in the past.

[00:29:45] Nathan Wrigley: So these days it’s fair to say that there are basically tools which live inside the browser. You now no longer need to be using an app like Skype or something like that. You can connect with multiple guests, dozens potentially through browser based solutions, and Riverside.fm is one of them, and there’s a whole tranche of them and they all seem to have similar feature parity, but that’s the one that you’ve chosen.

Let’s flip to the website side of things. It’s a WordPress podcast. There is going to be things that we would like to implement on our website. What makes a good podcasting website? Now that could be the way it looks. It could be the plugins that you’re putting in there. It could be lead capture, anything like that, that you want to discuss.

[00:30:29] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So that’s a great question right. And I think, so I think what a lot of podcasters suffer from is a weak call to action, right? They’ll say subscribe in Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcast right. First of all, if people are using a podcast app and they already know that, right? They know how to get your podcasts.

What I like is having a call to action for my website. So my call to action will always be, you know, go visit URL slash episode number. And there you can get all the show notes, you can get a transcript and you can get this thing I’m offering. If you give me your email address, whatever that happens to be. Your website serves as the canonical place for all people to go, no matter what platform they’re using to get more information about your podcast.

So, this is again, kind of like mission-based right. Why are you starting a podcast? If you’re starting it to have sponsors, then great. You could have a good section for sponsors. And I have, I have a page where I don’t know if this is the case anymore cause I had to like quickly redesign it because there was something wrong with something I was using.

But for awhile, if you visited a sponsor page, it would list all of the episodes they sponsored. Right. I should probably turn that back on. So you can make it really nice for your sponsors. You can add transcripts in a way that works really nicely. And I, again, I just updated my website. I have a custom post type for transcripts, and instead of when somebody searches my site, if they come across a word in the transcript, they don’t go to the transcript or they go to the episode page, right. There’s like a little magic you can do with Search WP to make that happen. So it depends on what you want. But using WordPress as I’m sure everybody listening knows gives you a lot of flexibility, sponsors, merch.

If it’s your agency say, you can just, you can add a podcast feed using the right plugin. Directing people to your podcast website allows you to get a better return, let’s say, on your investment. Especially if you’re an agency or a freelancer who is doing this to open up more avenues of income.

[00:32:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. it’s the same piece that we’ve used for the longest time when building websites, just for clients. You are in control of the content. And if you choose to go for the default website, which would be built potentially by your podcast host, you really aren’t in control of that. Things could go wrong. There could be an outage, they could go out of business. You may just decide that you wish to leave them and so on. Whereas if you’ve got all of that on your own domain and you’re running it and owning it, I completely concur. I just think that’s the best way to do it. You can do what you like.

And, It is true to say that typically, if you go to a podcast host website, the usual ones that have nothing to do with WordPress, they will offer the functionality for a basic website. Do you just want to outline why there’s drawbacks there, you know, in terms of the options to customize it, and also the things that, all of the clever things that you just mentioned, presumably they’re all out of the window. You can’t modify, customize, update it as you would change the layout and so on.

[00:33:34] Joe Casabona: Yeah. Most of them are just terrible. They look terrible. They don’t work well. I’ve seen some where like, you don’t even get an episode specific link. Right. It’s just like, all the episodes are like listed in line on a single page. That’s not great. And then, yeah, you can’t really customize anything.

I think the best implementation I’ve seen is Castos. They rolled out their like website templates. And even those are pretty limited. If you have nothing Castos is a lot better, but you can’t bolt a e-commerce option on to any of those, right. Or you can’t when somebody becomes a member, right? Maybe you want them to get a member RSS feed and integrate your podcasts into that. That’s a lot easier to do on WordPress. Or you can’t have an account area in general for any private podcast if you’re using the audio hosts implementation.

You’re just locked in, in a lot of ways. You’re limited in your show notes. You’re limited in what you can do with sponsor stuff. And so it’s probably better than nothing, but I am fully confident that the reason that my show grew so much over the first couple of years was because I had a good website right off the bat.

[00:34:49] Nathan Wrigley: If you are literally just going for audio, then I think an audio host is fine, but if you want to have anything ancillary to just the audio, if you want to put any words on pages or any images that might attach themselves to that or any upsells, then I, think you’ve got to stray away because it’s almost like the podcast has got the memo about a website five years after it was needed. I’ve yet to find a podcast host where the website isn’t something that you could put together with WordPress in a matter of moments.

Let’s go to some recommendations for podcast hosts, which are WordPress specific. Now, I’ve come across one, as it happens. There may be many, but the one that I’ve used before is called Castos, and they’re quite unique, in that they allow you to do all the things inside of WordPress and you literally don’t need to go away and visit a podcast house. It’s all happening as metadata. Just explain how that works.

[00:35:49] Joe Casabona: Yeah as far as I know unless a new host has entered the scene recently, Castos is the only kind of WordPress based podcast host. And you can do it both ways, which is a little bit confusing if I’m being honest. But, if you tell Casto is I’m managing my podcast completely from WordPress, you can do everything from there, upload the audio, it’ll send it to Casto’s server. Update the title and description and on the Castos end, everything will get sinked.

And so you can manage your whole podcast from WordPress in a custom post type for podcasts. You can say, I want this in the main feed or not. So you can have a completely separate section for your podcast. And it just it makes everything a lot easier, right, because when I was not on Castos, I would have to. Well, I set up an automation to do this eventually, but it was like, what if this breaks, and my whole podcast goes down or whatever, but I’d have to upload the audio to Libsyn. That’s what I was using. Libsyn was the big dog for a while, but then they rested on their laurels and now they’re really not good at all. They were really good in like 2002. But it’s not 2002 anymore.

And so I’d have to go there, upload, copy the audio URL, right? The audio files URL. Paste it into a different podcast plugin I was using. And the whole process was just like womp or like it took so much time. And so if you’re using Castos, this sounds like a commercial for Castos, but Castos is the only one who does this. This is their competitive edge. Then you don’t have to do all that. You can do everything from the dashboard, from your WordPress admin. And you’re not going around into a bunch of different places.

[00:37:22] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So you are basically saving yourself a little bit of time and yes, caveats, everything that we have described on the Castos side can be achieved. There’s just more little intermediate steps. Like you said, you have to go over here, and upload the file and then paste maybe an iframe or something like that into your Gutenberg posts or whatever. It’s just stuff you’ve got to do.

[00:37:43] Joe Casabona: Yeah, like maybe Bluberry is another podcast host, like maybe they have this integration because I think the biggest competitor to Casto’s plugin, which is Seriously Simple Podcasting is PowerPress, which is Bluberry’s offering. But I still don’t think anybody does it as well as Castos.

[00:37:58] Nathan Wrigley: So we’ve made the case for having a podcast, the different use cases. We’ve described some of the tech that you might have, on the WordPress side and the tech that you might own in the physical world as well, the bits and pieces, the microphones and so on. Just curious to know if you’ve over the years that you’ve been podcasting, if you’ve had any aha moments where you’ve suddenly strayed into something and thought, boy, why have I not been doing this for a while? Anything that you’ve figured out. Top tips that may save our audience sometimes, should they decide to podcast..

[00:38:31] Joe Casabona: Yeah, this is not necessarily the process of podcasting, but build your email list. Because what you’ll learn quickly is podcasting feels a lot like a one-way street. You’re talking into a microphone, the vast majority of people who are listening, probably aren’t engaging, but if people sign up for your mailing list, now you have direct access to them.

You can put names with listeners and engage with them on a deeper level. So I would say build your email list right off the bat. That’s something I didn’t do for years and it hurt me. I think the other thing that a lot of podcasts was making a mistake about is. Again, I mentioned it earlier, but have a clear call to action, right? Because usually what podcasters, myself included, will do is say, rate us and review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to learn more about this, go here. And that’s too many things, especially for somebody who’s probably not fully paying attention.

Instead, say, hey, join my mailing list. You can sign up at the show notes page over at wp tavern.com slash whatever. There you’ll also find all of the show notes for everything that we talked about. Then mention it again in the middle of the episode. Hey, by the way, you can find all of the show notes and sign up for my newsletter over at blah blah.

And then at the end where your call to action will be. And the great part about that is that you can have a link to rate and review wherever. You can have the subscribe buttons. And in the email newsletters that you send out every week with the new episodes or every two weeks with the new episodes, you can have links to rate and review, to subscribe, to check out this new ebook I launched. You can have early access if you want. There’s a lot of things that I think when people first start podcasting, they’re really focused on, all right, I need to sound good, I need to make it good, I need to launch it. But these ancillary actions are the things that become the base for which your podcast business or your podcast income is based off of.

[00:40:30] Nathan Wrigley: Now you’re obviously very bullish about podcasting. You’ve really made it your life in more recent times. Just curious as to whether or not that is relentlessly the case. If we were to cast the net a little bit wider and go back five or six years, have you got any cautionary tales about the usual thing that begins when people begin to a project like this.

It’s all roses and everything is sparkly and new, and you’re fascinated by the process. And perhaps it’s not as easy, perhaps there is a bit of grinds to this as well. So just wondering if you had any thoughts about that.

[00:41:01] Joe Casabona: Yeah, it definitely is a grind. It’s work. And the thing that made it less like work for me in the beginning is I am an extrovert. I love having conversations with people. In an increasingly remote world, I’m seeing people less and less. A friend from high school who lives in my area now invited me to get a beer on Thursday and there were like several hurdles to that. And my wife was like do you want to see him? And I was like, I want to see almost anybody I’m not blood related to you right now. Like I just miss seeing people. That’s not a knock on my family, of course. I like the human connection.

And so what made it feel less like work for me was I got to have conversations. I’m passionate about those conversations and when you’re starting a podcast, again, it goes back to that first question you asked me, like, why shouldn’t somebody start a podcast? If you’re just doing it for the money and the glory. You’re in for a long, frustrating ride.

But if you’re doing it because you want to tell the world about this thing that you’re super passionate about, then yeah, it’s a grind, but it’s a grind where you get to talk about this thing that you love. And that is what’s going to make an audience connect with you, and that is what’s going to get your podcast to grow.

[00:42:12] Nathan Wrigley: I love it. That’s a really perfect place to end the interview, but I don’t want to end quite there because I want to give you an opportunity to tell us a little bit about where we can find you. So yeah, exactly that the opportunity now to give us your Twitter feed or your email address, or possibly a website.

[00:42:29] Joe Casabona: Yes. So if you are interested in my podcast specific services and content, you can go to podcast liftoff dot com, and you can find everything podcast related I’m doing there. If you’re generally interested in the stuff I’m doing whether it’s WordPress or anything else that we have, or haven’t talked about, you can go to casabona dot org. You’ll find everywhere I am and links to Twitter and all that fun stuff.

[00:42:51] Nathan Wrigley: Joe Casabona, thank you for joining me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:42:55] Joe Casabona: My pleasure, Nathan. Thanks for having me.

HeroPress: The pleasure of being a part of a community – Щастя бути частиною спільноти

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/04/2022 - 05:00

Це есе також доступно українською.

Hey there! My name is Artemy, and I am from Ukraine. I’ve been working with WordPress since 2018. I specialize in WordPress backend development: I build and support WordPress plugins, third-party integrations, and other cool custom features.

If you ask me why I love WordPress and why I decided to stick with it, my answer is the community. There are a lot of different CMS written in PHP and other languages. Still, I don’t know any other CMS with such an active, responsive and enthusiastic community.

So in this post, I want to tell you how I became a part of this community. And I hope this post will encourage someone to do the same.

How it started

I vividly remember my first WordPress experience: I was confused, had many questions, and was desperately trying to understand how to do the most simple things.

Back in those days, I was an intern in a small agency in Zaporizhzhya, my hometown. I had basic HTML/CSS skills, and I just started learning PHP development. My senior colleagues helped me take my first steps in web development. They gave me some simple tasks, and I was annoying them with questions.

One day, the agency’s director came to me and told me that I’d be responsible for creating a WordPress website for his friend. It was a big surprise for me, and I was like: “Man, I barely know PHP; how would that go?”. But he just said, “Don’t worry, you’ll figure everything out as you go.”

Well, he was right. It took some time, though.

My first WordPress experience

So that’s how I started experimenting with WordPress. My senior colleagues were busy with their own projects, so I had to find answers on my own.

The first WordPress theme I built was awful. It was a wild Frankenstein composed of my own “creative” solutions and code snippets I googled somewhere. It worked like crap; it had a lot of bugs, but as people say, “the first pancake is always a bit tricky.”

No matter how bad it was, it was my first experience, and I learned a lot about the basic concepts of WordPress. That’s why I believe that learning by doing is the best way to learn something new.

Moral: don’t be afraid of doing something awful when you create something for the first time. It’s okay; we’ve all been through this.

Why I think that WordPress is one of the best options for beginners

It’s nice to have a mentor when you learn something new. Luckily, you don’t need a person sitting next to you anymore. All of us have got the best mentor possible: the Internet. You don’t know how to do something? Try to google it.

No wonder some say that one of the most required skills of every developer is to know how to search for information. And from this point of view, WordPress is one of the best options for beginners.

Why?

Because when you stumble upon a problem, there’s a high probability that someone already asked the same question on StackOverflow. Or on WordPress Stack Exchange. Or on one of the dozens of other forums.

If you’re lucky enough, someone already wrote a post about your problem with a great explanation of how to solve it with examples and code snippets.

And that’s the most wonderful thing about the WordPress community: we are not selfish. WordPress is an open-source project, so there are a lot of free code and snippets anyone can use.

At some point, I became very grateful to all of these people that wrote answers on StackOverflow, wrote blog posts, created free plugins, and other helpful stuff. Hence, I decided to help other people when I’d be able to. 

And today, I’m happy to be a part of this community as well.

How I contribute to the WordPress community

In August 2021, I started blogging about WordPress on my website: https://kayart.dev/

I like to think that this way I’m repaying my karmic debts for all the content I have consumed. And it makes me happy to see that people really read my posts, and it helps them solve their WordPress problems.

So today, when I face a problem and can’t find the solution, I think: “Well, it might be a great idea for a new post!”.

Also, I visit StackOverflow, WordPress-related Facebook groups, and other communities where people ask their questions almost every day. Sometimes I find some nice ideas for new content there; sometimes, I help people figure their problems out.

Every community is a two-way street

I encourage everyone to become a part of the WordPress community. There are a lot of opportunities for everyone. 

You can help with the translation of your favorite plugins or themes. You can create your own plugin or become a contributor to an already existing open-source plugin. You can write tutorials. You can write reviews helping other people to choose the best option for them. You can help people on support forums.

Every contribution, big or small, makes WordPress better. Isn’t it great to understand that you’re a part of it?

Anyways, thank you for reading my story. If I inspired you to start contributing to our community, please, write me a DM on Twitter or email me about this. 

Good luck!

Щастя бути частиною спільноти

Привіт! Мене звати Артемій, я з України. Я працюю з WordPress з 2018 року. Я спеціалізуюсь на backend-розробці для WordPress: створюю та підтримую плагіни для WordPress, сторонні інтеграції, та інші прикольні додаткові фічі.

Якщо ви б спитали мене, чому я люблю WordPress та чому вирішив працювати саме з ним, моя відповідь – це спільнота. Існує безліч CMS написаних на PHP та інших язиках. Але я не знаю жодної CMS з такою ж активною, чуткою та сповненою ентузіазму спільнотою.

Тому в цьому пості я хочу розповісти, як я став частиною цієї спільноти. І я сподіваюсь, що цей пост надихне когось зробити те ж саме.

Як все почалося

Я добре пам’ятаю свій перший досвід роботи з WordPress: я був розгублений, в мене була купа питань, і я відчайдушно намагався зрозуміти, як робити найпростіші речі.

В ті дні я був стажером в маленькому агентстві в Запоріжжі, моєму рідному місті. В мене були базові навички HTML/CSS і я тільки-но почав вчитися  PHP-розробці. Мої старші колеги допомагали мені робити перші кроки в веб-розробці. Вони давали мені простенькі задачки, а я надокучував їм своїми питаннями.

Одного дня прийшов директор і сказав мені, що я буду відповідати за створення сайту на WordPress для його товариша. Я був здивований і міг лише сказати щось на кшталт: “Чуваче, я ледь знаю PHP; як ти собі це уявляєш?”. На що він відповів: “Не парься, розберешся по ходу справи.”

Ну, він був правий. Але для цього був потрібен час.

Мій перший досвід роботи з WordPress

То ж так я почав свої експерименти з WordPress. Мої старші колеги були зайняті своїми власними проектами, тому мені доводилось шукати відповіді самостійно.

Перша тема для WordPress, яку я створив, була просто жахлива. Це був якийсь дикий Франкенштейн, створений з моїх власних “креативних” рішень та коду, який мені вдалось нагуглити. Працювало все не менш жахливо; була ціла туча багів, але як то кажуть: “перший млинець нанівець”.

Незважаючи на те, якою поганою вона була, це був мій перший досвід, завдяки якому я багато дізнався про базові концепції WordPress. Ось чому я вірю, що кращий спосіб вивчити щось нове – це навчатися на практиці.

Мораль: не бійтеся зробити щось жахливо, коли ви робите щось вперше. Це цілком нормально, ми всі через це проходили.

Чому я вважаю, що WordPress – це один з найкращих варіантів для новачків

Круто мати ментора, коли ти вчиш щось нове. На щастя, вам сьогодні не потрібно, щоб поряд з вами сиділа якась людина. В кожного з нас є найкращій з можливих менторів: інтернет. Не знаєш, як щось зробити? Спробуй загуглити.

Не дивно, що одна з найпотрібніших навичок для кожного розробника – це вміння шукати інформацію. З цієї точки зору, WordPress – це один з найкращих варіантів для новачка.

Чому?

Тому що, коли ви стикаєтеся з проблемою, існує велика ймовірність, що хтось вже ставив таке ж саме питання на StackOverflow. Або на WordPress Stack Exchange. Або на іншому з десятків форумів.

Якщо ж вам дуже пощастить, хтось вже написав цілий пост про вашу проблему з чудовим поясненням, як її вирішити з прикладами та готовим кодом.

І це найдивовижніший факт про про спільноту WordPress: ми не егоїсти. WordPress – це open-source проект, тому тут існує багато вже готового та безкоштовного коду, який може використовувати кожен бажаючий.

В якийсь момент я став настільки вдячний всім тим людям, хто писав відповіді на StackOverflow, вів блоги, створював плагіни та робив інші корисні речі. Тому я вирішив також допомагати людям, коли зможу це робити.

Сьогодні я щасливий також бучи частиною цієї спільноти.

Як я приймаю участь в спільноті WordPress

В серпні 2021 року я почав вести блог про WordPress на моєму сайті: https://kayart.dev/

Мені подобається думати, що таким чином я віддаю свій кармічний борг за весь той контент, яким я користувався. Я щасливий бачити, що люди читають мої пости та що вони допомагають їм вирішувати їх проблеми, пов’язані з WordPress.

Тому сьогодні, коли я стикаюсь з проблемой та не можу найти її рішення, я думаю: “Що ж, це може бути чудовою ідеєю для нового поста!”.

Також я читаю StackOverflow, Facebook-групи про WordPress та інші спільноти, де люди ставлять питання майже кожень день. Іноді я знаходжу тут класні ідеї для нового контенту; іноді допомагаю людям вирішити їхні проблеми.

Кожна спільнота має бути двосторонньою вулицею

Я закликаю вас ставати частиною WordPress-спільноти. Тут кожен зможе застосувати свої вміння.

Ви можете допомагати з перекладом ваших улюблених плагінів або тем. Ви можете створювати власні плагіни або допомогти з розробкою вже існуючих open-source проектів. Ви можете писати туторіали. Ви можете писати рецензії, допомагаючи іншим людям з вибором найкращого варіанту. Ви можете допомагати людям на форумах підтримки.

Кожен внесок, будь він великим чи малим, робить WordPress краще. Чи не круто розуміти, що ти є частиною цього?

Так чи інакше, дякую вам, що прочитали мою історію. Якщо я надихнув вас почати робити внесок в спільноту WordPress, будь ласка, напишіть мені повідомлення у Twitter або надішліть мені імейл про це. 

Нехай щастить!

The post The pleasure of being a part of a community – Щастя бути частиною спільноти appeared first on HeroPress.

WPTavern: The Image Filters Plugin Adds Over 20 Filters, Including Vintage, Pastel Pink, and More

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/04/2022 - 00:47

Kevin Batdorf released the Image Filters plugin for WordPress yesterday. It is a block that allows users to select from curated list of filters and apply it to their images.

Batdorf is the creator of one of my favorite “fun” plugins for WordPress: Wavy Divider. It allows users to create wavy and jagged divider sections between blocks. After reviewing it in February, Batdorf said to stay tuned for more fun blocks. It seems that he is keeping good on his promise. A week ago, he released Animate In View, a wrapper block that allows nested blocks to slide or fade into view on the page. The Image Filters plugin promises more of the same. However, the latest two can be used for more than just fun.

The Image Filters plugin offers a range of handy filters, and they are applicable for everything from photography portfolios to business sites. It is a tool that end-users can make of it what they will.

The plugin is straightforward to use. End-users need to only insert the Image Filters block and select an image from the media library. Then, click the “View Filters” button in the editor toolbar, which will create an overlay with all 22 image filters applied to choose from:

Image filters overlay.

From that point, users merely need to select a filter to insert it into the content canvas.

Unlike other plugins that apply CSS filters to images, the plugin creates the filtered images on the server. It does not overwrite existing media files, so the originals are still available.

Applying a filter on an image.

Batdorf listed several features in the plugin description that he may explore in future versions. The list included:

  • Watermarking
  • Resizing
  • Cropping
  • More filters
  • Image blending

Core WordPress already supports resizing and cropping. I am not sure how these might be expanded. However, image blending sounds like something I want to tinker with now.

My one nit-pick with the plugin is that it is a block in and of itself. I will not pretend to understand the technical hurdles of the project since I was not involved in its build. However, I would have liked to have seen it as an extension of the core image-related blocks. Currently, it is a wrapper for Image, but from a UX perspective, it would have been easier to use without the extra layer.

Technically, it is possible to use it like that. Because the Image Filters block creates images directly on the server, they are also available via the media library. Users could use the plugin’s block to build a filtered version of an image, delete the block, and use the image elsewhere.

The WordPress block system has opened a world of possibilities around media. Whether that is unique gallery patterns, the built-in duotone filters, or third-party plugins that apply masks over images, there is a little something for everyone. Many of these things existed for the classic editor, but they were often wrapped up in shortcode soup, lacking a visual preview. Or, they did not play well with other plugins because there was no standard API for developers to build from.

Some of the most exciting work that developers are doing is with media. Image Filters is yet another example.

Even with my nit-pick over the implementation, I love the experimentation. Image Filters pushes boundaries, exploring new methods of manipulating media from within the block editor. The only thing I really want is to see even more of this from the WordPress developer community.

Image Filters

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.0 Release Candidate 1

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 17:18

The first release candidate (RC1) for WordPress 6.0 is now available!

This is an important milestone on the 6.0 release cycle journey. “Release Candidate” means that this version of WordPress is ready for release! Before the official release date, time is set aside for the community to perform final reviews and help test. Since the WordPress ecosystem includes thousands of plugins and themes, it is important that everyone within the WordPress community check to see if anything was missed along the way. That means the project would love your help.

WordPress 6.0 is planned for official release on May 24th, 2022, three weeks from today. 

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, and test this version of WordPress on a production or mission-critical website. Instead, it is recommended that you RC1 on a test server and site. 

You can test WordPress 6.0 RC1 in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the release candidate version here (zip).

Option 3: When using WP-CLI to upgrade from Beta 1, 2, 3, or 4, on a case-insensitive filesystem, please use the following command:
wp core update --version=6.0-RC1

Additional information on the full 6.0 release cycle is available here.

Check the Make WordPress Core blog for 6.0-related developer notes in the coming weeks which will detail all upcoming changes.

What’s in WordPress 6.0 RC1?

Since Beta 4, various items have been addressed, including (but not limited to): 

  • Backport updates of Comment blocks tests (#55643)
  • Backport a bugfix of Comment Template block pagination (#55658)
  • Editor: Backport bug fixes for WordPress 6.0 from Gutenberg (#55567)

WordPress 6.0 is the second major release for 2022, following 5.9 which became generally available in January. This release includes nearly 1,000 fixes and enhancements spanning most areas of the WordPress platform. Some key highlights within the content creation and site-building feature sets include:

  • Style Switching: switch up the look and feel of your site, all in one block theme. No need to change themes!
  • More template options: use blocks to edit five more templates (author, date, categories, tag, and taxonomy).
  • Multi-select: Easily select text across multiple blocks. Edit to your liking.
  • Retain Styles: Keep your custom styles in place, whether transforming between blocks or creating new buttons. 
  • More patterns in more places: the Quick Inserter surfaces patterns that might work well for the condition you’re in, baking in relevant patterns for template parts and pages you’re working on. 
  • List View improvements: New keyboard shortcuts (shift + click) let you select multiple blocks to modify in bulk (reposition, delete, etc.), see your content at a glance with a collapsed by default view, and more.
  • Refined design tools: Explore a new color panel, transparency options, more group block variations to create new layout options (Stack, Row), the ability to set your featured image in a Cover block, control the exact size of your featured image, gap support for the Gallery block, and more.
  • New blocks: Various Post Comments, Read More, No Results in Query Loop, Post Author Biography, Avatar blocks. 
  • Block Locking: Choose to disable the option to remove a block, move it, or both, right in the editor. 
  • Export block themes: Explore the improved block theme export tool, as WordPress heads closer to codeless visual block theme building.
Plugin and Theme Developers

All plugin and theme developers should test their respective extensions against WordPress 6.0 RC1 and update the “Tested up to” version in their readme file to 6.0. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post detailed information to the support forums, so these items can be investigated further prior to the final release date of May 24th.

Review the WordPress 6.0 Field Guide, for more details on what’s contained in this release.

Translate WordPress

Do you speak a language other than English? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages. This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 6.0 release cycle.

How to Help Test WordPress

Testing for issues is critical for stabilizing a release throughout its development. Testing is also a great way to contribute to WordPress. If you are new to testing, check out this detailed guide that will walk you through how to get started.

If you think you have run into an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac. This is also where you can find a list of known bugs.

Haiku Fun for RC 1

Release candidate 
Our journey nearly done
Get ready, WordPress

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @dansoschin, @webcommsat, and @annezazu.

Do The Woo Community: Recommending the Right Solution for Your eCommerce Client, All the Time

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 11:00

It just makes sense that sometimes you send a client somewhere else because it is not your specialty

The post Recommending the Right Solution for Your eCommerce Client, All the Time appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community.

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.0 Beta 4

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 16:46

WordPress 6.0 Beta 4 is now available for testing!

Beta 4 was not part of the originally published development cycle. It is aimed at providing an opportunity for testing some specific issues that were resolved since Beta 3. WordPress will continue with the regularly scheduled release milestones on May 3rd, 2022, with the RC1 release.

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, and test this version of WordPress on a production or mission-critical website. Instead, it is recommended that you test Beta 4 on a test server and site. 

You can test WordPress 6.0 Beta 4 in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the beta version here (zip).

Option 3: Use WP-CLI to test: wp core update –version=6.0-beta4.
Do not use this option if your filesystem is case-insensitive.

The current target for the final 6.0 release is May 24, 2022, which is in less than a month! 

Additional information on the full 6.0 release cycle is available.

Check the Make WordPress Core blog for 6.0-related developer notes in the coming weeks which will detail all upcoming changes.

Explore What’s in Beta 4

Since Beta 3, various items have been addressed, including (but not limited to): 

  • Update post content placeholder (#40177)
  • Comments block: Fix glitches found while backporting (#40628)
  • Show add pattern label when patterns are being prioritised (#40598)
  • Fix regression with featured images in latest posts (#40662)
  • Navigation Link: Avoid unnecessary re-renders (#40696)
  • Navigation: Improve selector performance (#40700)
  • Comments Title: Count toggle working in ‘Singular’ editing mode (#40728)
  • [Writing Flow]: Try to fix multi-selection with shift+click (#40687)
  • Fix alignment issue with comment author name (#40610)
  • Comment Content: Show moderation message (#40612)
  • Display paragraph breaks in comment contents block (#40667)
  • Fix style comment awaiting moderation indentation (#40681)
  • Fix: Page patterns don’t show when only one pattern is available (#40707)
  • Update the placeholder for post excerpt (#40178)
  • REST API: Fix regression in the Pattern Directory endpoint. (#55617)
  • REST API: Fix the scheme for the Block Directory search endpoint. (#53621)
  • Show comments previews in the Comment Query Loop. (#55634)
  • Avoid DB error in comment meta queries. (#55218)
How to Help

Testing for issues is critical for stabilizing a release throughout its development. Testing is also a great way to contribute to WordPress. If you are new to testing, check out this detailed guide that will walk you through how to get started.

If you think you have run into an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac. This is also where you can find a list of known bugs.

Another Haiku, Just for You

Beta four, surprise!
Iterating all day long
Time to share and test

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post:
@dansoschin, @annezazu, and @costdev

WordCamp Central: Join the European WordPress Community in Porto, Portugal!

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 14:02

In just 4 weeks Porto will finally host the long-awaited WordCamp Europe in the Super Bock Arena in Porto, Portugal after having been postponed for 2 years in a row.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of WCEU and the return of the in-person WordCamps this edition will be a special one that you shouldn’t miss. This year speakers and workshop hosts will focus on ‘WordPress’ and The future of WordPress’, in WP Cafe you will be able to grab a coffee and discuss other WordPress topics at one of the tables. Of course, you’re welcome to share your knowledge yourself and contribute to WordPress during the Contributor Day.

If you plan to bring your partner and maybe your kids, we’ve got you covered: childcare will be available too.

And while you’re planning your visit to WCEU2022, extend your stay and visit this great city. We have partnered with TAP Airlines and some hotels to get a nice reduction on your expenses.

Convinced? Grab your tickets while they are still available!

Location: Super Bock Arena in Porto
Date: 2- 4 June 2022

See you in Porto!

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 30: A Sneak Peek at WordPress 6.0

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 13:03

In the thirtieth episode of the WordPress Briefing, Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy and special guest Channing Ritter give listeners a sneak peek into the WordPress 6.0 release ahead of the Release Candidate 1 (RC1).

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits References Transcript

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:00] 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:40]

Tomorrow’s a big day. It marks the beginning of what is called the RC period, or release candidate period, for the current major release of the WordPress CMS. If you’re not super familiar with the way release cycles work, this is the point in the process where the code should pretty much be done changing. 

That way you can call in your designers, developers, and anyone else who builds things for others using your software. And they can either start testing their products on it, or they can figure out what new things they need to be able to teach their clients, whichever is most relevant to them. That is generally true for WordPress as well, but in true open source fashion, there is a caveat built in that helps us to get in last-minute, vital changes from contributors.

We have a two-person sign-off rule that’s been around for about as long as I can remember, but lets things be added late in the release cycle, as long as there are two sign-offs from qualified contributors. Most of the time, those qualified contributors are lead developers of the project, but not always. We have a good group of people who are around helping us make sure that this is doable and the best thing that we can offer to all of our users.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:50]

And so, yeah, two-person sign-off, that is the little bit of release process trivia that you never knew you needed. And since we’re looking at a release trivia, kind of hidden bits of how software is made, I actually have a guest with me today, Channing Ritter. So Channing is a product and visual designer based in Brooklyn, New York.

She’s a design director at Automattic and has been working on the WordPress project as a full-time sponsored contributor since January, 2021. She is joining us to share some behind the scenes intel on what’s going into the 6.0 release, her role in that process, and then we’ll just kind of see how the conversation goes from there.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:40]

Well, and with that, I’d like to welcome Channing to the WordPress Briefing. Hi Channing!

[Channing Ritter 00:02:45]

Hey Josepha. Thanks so much for having me. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:48]

I’m excited to have you here. If I understand, you are working on the design side of things with the release. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about the role you’ve played?

[Channing Ritter 00:02:59]

I am. I am the design release lead for the 6.0 release. And if I understand correctly, this is a position that has been unfulfilled for the past few release cycles. So I’m kind of the first person to step in over the past few releases. And I think that’s really exciting, especially because design has started to play such a more important role in the WordPress project over the past few years.

So it makes sense that design would have a seat at the table, and I’m really excited to be helping advocate for the design team and learning from other folks on the release squad. Who’ve been doing this for a while.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:33]

So. First big question about 6.0, what is the feature that you are most excited about? 

[Channing Ritter 00:03:39]

I’m most excited about the style switcher within the global styles panel. Um, so if folks still don’t know what I’m talking about there, it’s the ability to change between different variations of the theme.json without actually switching the theme. 

So this is a way to get a drastically different look and feels across your site with just a single click. And I see it as a really fun place to experiment and kind of get inspired for the different ways your site could appear without ever having to change your theme.

And in terms of the Twenty Twenty-Two variations, they’re just really gorgeous and all so diverse. Like you have the main default theme that has the deep green and kind of peachy colors and this really elegant type treatment with a really thin Serif typeface. But then the variations are so different from that. And I think my favorite one is the Swiss variation.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:36]

The Swiss variation? 

[Channing Ritter 00:04:38]

Yeah, every graphic design nerd loves Swiss design. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:42]

Oh, ok! Now I know! 

[Channing Ritter 00:04:38]

Really awesome things found in there. It’s a really high contrast, bold variation. It’s kind of black and white with red accents. I just love how different it is from the default style and how easy it is to change up your site and just get a whole drastically different look and feel.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:00]

That’s excellent. So for folks who do not know what we’re referring to, when we talk about the Twenty Twenty-Two variation, that is the default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two. I’ll put a link to both the classic and block-based versions in our show notes, but you’ll want to use the block-based version to look at these style variations that Channing has mentioned here. 

[Channing Ritter 00:05:24]

You know, we’re really excited that the first-ever default block theme was released with 5.9, which is when Twenty Twenty-Two first went out and was bundled with 5.9.

But now, with 6.0, I think even more so it’s starting to showcase the real power of block themes and what can actually be done there. And style variations is a huge kind of first step into this new world of block themes and starting to really open up the possibilities and all the flexibility that you have there.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:55]

Yeah, absolutely. So when we’re talking about the Twenty Twenty-Two default theme, when we’re talking about switching these variations inside the theme itself, that seems to me to be a very user-focused kind of feature. And when we talk about users in WordPress, there’s a lot of room for interpretation. Like if we look at it kind of in a framework of three types of users of WordPress, you have, like end-users. So people who are site owners using it as a site to, like, enable their business. 

But you also have mid-end users—people who use it to build sites for others. And what I like to call back-end users, people who are using WordPress as a framework. And of course at the start of the Gutenberg project, way back in forever, a million years ago, one of the big calls to action that we had around even, like, trying to do this, was that we wanted to make WordPress easier for users. Just plain users. 

And, and to me, that means making WordPress easier for those mid-end users, people who are creating WordPress sites for other people. But also should give some power and autonomy back to those end-users, the people who are using sites to enable their business or are site owners. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:07:14]

And so in that context, between 5.9 and 6.0, do you feel like we have features that are really giving that kind of power and agency back to our end-users? Do you feel like we have some features that are really focused on those mid-end users, as opposed to our backend users? For a long time, we focused heavily on enabling our backend users, and now Gutenberg kind of moves us into those other two areas.

And so do you think that things like being able to switch between your style of variations, other things like that are moving us closer to that particular goal of Gutenberg?

[Channing Ritter 00:07:51]

That’s a great question. I think it’s both. I think some of the features being released in 6.0 are absolutely going to empower that end-user.

Particularly in terms of improvements around design tools and some of the quality of life improvements. For example, partially selecting across multiple blocks and being able to partially select texts there. That’s the type of thing that really brings the writing experience in the editor to be on par with how you would expect a text editing experience to work.

And there are tons of small quality of life improvements in this release that I think are really gonna help those end-users. But there are also improvements around what we might call the maintainers who are building sites for others. I think block locking in particular is something that is really going to start filling a gap between people who build the sites and then people who do the day-to-day maintenance within a site.

For example, in 6.0, we’re introducing some interface UI around block locking, but also there’ll be control around the ability to lock user roles.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:09:03]

Which I think makes a lot of sense. I mean, we have all of these user roles in the CMS itself, and for a long time, we’ve just been like free for all on blocks, which was great and is great and should be available to people.

But also if we are saying, like, it makes sense to have this gradient of users and their abilities for the CMS itself, and we are saying that we want to move control of the website and the content to be at the base layer in these blocks, then it also makes sense that we should be able to provide that same sort of granular level of access in the blocks.

So I think that’s a great thing. If you all, if dear listeners, you do not know what we mean by “block locking,” I’m sure that I can find a link for us in our show notes below as well. If for anyone who’s been talking through Gutenberg things with me for a while, you know that this is one of the primary use cases that I think has been a long time coming.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:10:05]

It was one of the first examples that I offered to folks when we had that question of like, who is this being built for? In what way is this beneficial to that mid-end user, as opposed to just giving all of the power and autonomy to users in a way that maybe is not the best for their visitors? 

This is one of those use cases that made the most sense to me being able to say, okay, well, the opportunity to, as somebody who runs an agency and is building websites for people to be able to say, yeah, ‘You can do anything that is possible in this instance of WordPress and all the things that you are allowed to do will not break your instance. It won’t break your website’. 

And so it gives a lot of time back to agencies to focus on their client’s most important problems, as opposed to not knowing how to update the hours in their footer or something like that. And so I’m very excited about that particular feature.

[Channing Ritter 00:11:01]

It’s such a long-requested feature. I mean, we’ve been hearing requests around this particular feature for years and, you know, often when something gets requested over a span of years like that, it’s because there are some complexities to figure out how it works.

And that’s definitely been the case with moving forward with block locking. And there are a lot of nuances there. But I think what you were saying, I totally agree with. There’s always a push and pull. And as we enable more and more flexibility for end-users, there needs to be a little bit of push from the other side to kind of give more granular controls, more locking options, and make sure that everything can still be easily maintained.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:11:43]

Yeah, we mentioned in that answer the concept of maintainers. If you are a contributor, it’s not that kind of ‘maintainer.’ So if you’re a WordPress contributor and we said maintainers there, um, just know that that’s not what we’re referring to. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say ‘contributor,’ there is a whole community of open source people and maintainers are people who specifically take care of a particular part of the WordPress software or the WordPress project, um, that makes all this possible.

So there’s, ya know…. 

[Channing Ritter 00:12:19]

So true! The maintainer has another meaning in this context.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:12:20]

Yeah, we have a mix in our audience and I love it, but it also makes me frequently spend like 10% of my podcast being like, by the way, when I said this, I didn’t mean you, but I did mean you, which makes it harder. I know. 

So. You’ve been with the project for a little bit, but if I recall correctly, this is the first time that you were, like, leading part of a release.

So what would you say was the most challenging part of that?

[Channing Ritter 00:12:52]

Another great question. This is my first time being this closely involved with the release. Although I was involved with the 5.9 release, but mostly in a release assets capacity. So I helped with the About Page and the welcome banner that goes on the dashboard.

So I did get some insight in the last release cycle. Which was great preparation for being more involved as a release lead on this cycle. From the design perspective, one of the hardest things is always going to be figuring out what exactly goes into the release and what needs more time. In the sense, you know, that there might be some features that need to stay in the Gutenberg plugin for a while and get more testing before they get released to a much wider audience in a major WordPress release.

So I think on the design side, we definitely have some goals that are big, long-term projects that are likely going to span across, you know, many releases, maybe even over many years. And I think the full site editor is a great example of that in a sense that it’s not something that you just were gone in one release and then it all gets released and then it’s all good to go.

[Channing Ritter 00:14:06]

It’s something that has to be staggered across many releases, and there’s a lot of thought that goes into it; does this make sense in this more limited capacity, and what else needs to go in in order for this feature to go in? And the most complex things about the WordPress project is how interconnected things are.

So when you start making those decisions about what should go in, what should get pulled out, often there’s sort of a domino effect of like, well, that would affect this feature and then, well, maybe they shouldn’t go in, or maybe this does need to go in. And that is really one of the most challenging, but also one of the most fascinating aspects of the release process.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:14:46]

Yes. It is very, very true that there are kind of no small problems left in WordPress. *laughs* Yeah, when we, when we first started with this like bigger release squad, cause that has not been routine for the history of the project. When we first started with that, I know that expanding out the exposure to like how much one change affects 25 different things was really, it was really good for all of us to be reminded.

And as I mentioned at the top of our episode today, tomorrow begins the RC period. It begins the release candidate period, which is when it’s supposed to be, as locked down as possible. But if you all have been following along with our release process in general, which if you’re listening to this, you probably have, you know that last week or a couple of weeks ago, we had this whole question about the Webfonts API, and we had that conversation in a public space as best we could, 

Like, there are always things that you can’t, like, fully disclose in public spaces, but we had a very open and transparent conversation about, like, who is most affected by putting it in, in the state that the API was in. And, who’s most affected if we take it out. And where can we make compromises on either side so that both sides are a little happy and a little unhappy?

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:16:09]

And, like, that is all so hard to do. Not only in general. We have a 20-year-old code base and a five-year-old code base. And it’s all a big, big undertaking to understand what is happening and where it happens. And so there’s this moment always when we are trying to decide, like, is this baked enough? Did we put it in too early? Should we pull it out? How, if we pull it out, did we ask people to do too much work before we decided to pull it out anyway?

Like, you always have those kinds of questions about it. And honestly, I think that most of us weren’t around the last time, that WordPress was, was this experimental in public, like it’s always been open source. It’s always been experimental and iterating publicly, which is just the hardest way to work on anything. We like, we shipped our best guesses. Don’t be mad. It’ll be… we’re coming for it. We’re going to fix it. Like, that’s always hard, but the last time around, when it was this substantial a change was, like, 2008 or something, like, it was ages and ages ago.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:17:14]

And we were smaller than, we had a smaller number of contributors. We had a smaller group of people actually using the CMS. And so over time it has gotten more and more complicated. And, and I don’t think that we can ever understate the complexities of that. And so for you, you had a little bit of exposure to it in 5.9 and then showed up for like really doing it in 6.0.

Has it been a surprising change? Like, were you surprised much more by how complicated it was when you were closer to it? 

[Channing Ritter 00:17:47]

Yeah, definitely. It’s been a real learning process, especially coming to understand how much there really are no easy answers. I think a lot of us are in the release squad are real problem solver types of people and, and want it to, you know, be a really neat, tidy answer. 

And it’s not always the case. You know, sometimes parts of the feature might go in, or some contingency plan might get put into place and things didn’t go exactly as planned. But what you said of being an experiment and being on kind of the cutting edge of trying out new things, I think there is a lot of passion around that in the WordPress project. 

Right now, we’re in such a transitional period for the project, you know, moving from classic themes to block themes and really changing the ideas of how we approach designing sites. And because of that, I think there is a lot of momentum and energy around getting new features, as many new features as possible into each release. But there’s also, you know, a lot of testing and stuff that needs to happen.

And to make sure that, like you said, these things aren’t going out too early. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:19:01]

Well, and there’s always that difficulty, we’re going to just leap right into open source areas now. There’s always that difficulty around, like, there’s this concept that when, like, we always want to ship something that doesn’t break backward compatibility when possible, we don’t want to ship vulnerabilities. Like, that’s always true, but we are in an open source project, and open source projects are necessarily kind of tolerant of like, that’s not our best, but like it skates, right? 

This was, we aimed for Ferrari and got a skateboard because sometimes you got to start with a skateboard, right? *laughter* Like if it gets you from one place to another, that’s kind of where we’ve got to aim some days. 

[Channing Ritter 00:19:45]

Totally.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:19:46]

And that’s always so, so difficult, especially cause, like, for the big change that 5.0 represented, and that 5.9 represented– 6.0 is not as big a shock as 5.9 was.  But, like, as big a change as those represented, it still skates. And that’s, I think what makes the work especially hard, especially nuanced. And like, we haven’t gotten together as human beings in two years. And so sometimes people just kind of forget there’s a human being back there.

We’re humans. Everyone be nice. Yeah. I don’t know that part of running a release definitely was surprising to me. My first release that I ran was 5.0 and…

[Channing Ritter 00:20:31]

Oh, wow!

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:20:32]

Yeah, it was, like, that was 2018. And then I became the executive director at the top of 2019. And I distinctly remember one core chat where I showed up and just was like the most transparent, vulnerable person we’ve ever experienced in life.

That’s not true. We have very vulnerable people in the project and very transparent people, but I told everyone like, there are a million of you and one of me, and it’s kind of terrifying that you’re leaping on me in this—like you’re scaring me a lot right now. And that was quite a thing to say to like, all these… it’s terrifying! Right?

[Channing Ritter 00:21:12]

I love when you see that type of vulnerability in the project. I think it takes… it takes a degree of comfort and familiarity with the project to even be able to admit to that. And to me, that’s a real sign of growth in the project. Like when I first started contributing, I don’t think I ever would have just said, like, ‘How is the feature supposed to work? I have no idea.’ That’s something that I say all the time now.

*Laughter*

And you know, that is completely fine and more than okay. It’s a massive project. There are folks who have done deep thinking about a feature over the course of years. You know, and there are experts who can help shed light on various problems that maybe you just haven’t had a chance to dive into yet and really understand the nuances of yet.

So that’s the amazing thing about open source is that you can lean on folks who do have expertise in that particular area. You’re not expected to be an expert-expert in every single domain. It’s okay to say, I don’t really have a good idea or a good concept of this feature. I don’t have a good feeling for it. What do other folks think? 

[Channing Ritter 00:22:24]

And even people who have been in the project for a long time, decade plus, still say that all the time. You know, or you might just say, like, I have a really rough idea of how this works, are other people seeing this the same way? Or did other people have a different, you know, mental picture of how this might work?

Even if, sometimes it feels like you’re over-communicating, it’s really helpful because often people do have really dramatically different ideas about how a feature might take shape.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:22:49]

And I hope that’s one of the things that we never lose in the project. Like we are an old, old project now and we support a bunch of the web with a tiny, tiny group of people compared to the amount of the web that we support.

And I hope that we always have that opportunity as senior leaders, which I am, and all of our upcoming leaders to all of us, just at some point, be like, can we stop the train? I don’t understand. I don’t understand that. Um, and not necessarily feel that that has made us a worse contributor. Cause I think that it’s when we are transparent about our lack of understanding.

That’s when we have the opportunity to make what we’re offering to the world more solid and always better.  

[Channing Ritter 00:23:35]

I love it. I think it’s the, one of the most lovely things about the WordPress community. There’s really low judgment around those types of questions and people are really inclusive and more than happy to take a moment to explain something to you or shed some light on an issue you might not have thought that much about. 

I think that’s one of the best things you can always reach out for help. And folks are always willing to provide guidance or context or even historical information about, you know, whether it’s been tried in the past or previous explorations and that sort of thing.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:24:10]

All right. Well, that covers all of my questions for you. Do you have a final thought about the release that you would like to share with everyone you don’t have to, if you don’t want to, not everyone has like a final sign off. 

[Channing Ritter 00:24:25]

Yeah. One of the things I’m most excited about for this 6.0 release is all of the improvements around design tools.

And these are just small improvements around a ton of different things, like the color panel, border controls, gap support, typography options, flexible container blocks, etc. These are the types of tools that are a designer’s dream. You know, they really make the difference between being able to make a really crisp, finished looking final product and having something that’s a little rough around the edges.

And as a designer, like those are the things that your eye goes straight towards. And all of these nuanced new tools, they really allow designers to have that fine detailed control to create really pixel perfect sites. And I think that’s something that, you know, myself and a lot of others on the design team are just so beyond excited about.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:25:25]

Excellent. Well, Channing, thank you so much for joining us today on the WordPress Briefing; it has been an absolute delight. 

[Channing Ritter 00:25:32]

Thank you for having me.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:25:41]

And now it is time, woohoo, for the small list of big things. My favorite part of this podcast, that’s not true. I have a lot of things that I love about this podcast. I just, in particular love being able to share like three things that are coming up in the next couple of weeks that everybody should be aware of. And I really particularly like the list I have this week. 

First as of today, we are two weeks away from WordSesh. If you’re looking forward to your first in-person WordPress event, but feel like you could use a little foundation information, a little bit of a WordPress primer, then this event has a lot of excellent thought leaders in the project that you can learn from.

If you’re looking for more practical or hands-on opportunities, uh, you can also check out social learning spaces. All of those are free for anyone. So I will include links to both of them in the show notes. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:26:30] 

Second, as of today, we are four weeks away from WordCamp Europe. This is one of our flagship events. So it also includes a contributor day, which I encourage you to look into. If you have never heard of one before. I will be there to meet some of the contributors that have joined the project since the end of 2019. And hopefully, I will see you there as well. If you’ve never heard of a contributor day, then I’ll include a link to the beginner’s guide to contributions, a little talk that I gave in 2017 in the show notes that should help you get your bearings or at the very least know what questions to ask yourself to figure out if a contributor day is right for you.

And then the third thing as of today, it has been one week since Ian Dunn and the Meta developers… Um, that sounds like a band… Ian Dunn and the Meta developers connected the props channel in the community Slack to WordPress.org profile activity. I’m really excited about this. It’s the first in a long list of changes that are part of a larger project to credit more non-code contributions, more contributions that are not specific to a major release or event.

And also to set us up to be able to provide more quality checks and balances for our growing Five for the Future program. If you’ve not been over there lately, if you’re not super sure what I’m talking about, there’s a link to the discussion post that we had about it, but also you can wander right over into the Making WordPress Slack and check out the props channel to just kind of see a running list of contributors that people are really grateful for. Which, frankly, if you ever are having a bad day, that is a wonderful place to just kind of wander in and see all of the positive vibes that people are sending around to each other.

Uh, yeah, so the props channel, is always good. Uh, and that my friends is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing.

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. And I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

BuddyPress: BP Rewrites 1.1.0 Maintenance Release

Wordpress Planet - Sun, 05/01/2022 - 16:39

Immediately available is BP Rewrites 1.1.0. This maintenance release fixes two bugs. For details on the changes, please read the 1.1.0 release notes.

Update to BP Rewrites 1.1.0 today in your WordPress Dashboard, or by downloading from the WordPress.org plugin repository.

Many thanks to 1.1.0 contributors 

shawfactor & imath.

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #66 – Gutenberg 13.1, New Zealand, InnerBlocks

Wordpress Planet - Sun, 05/01/2022 - 03:43

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mary Job discuss with their guest, Glen Davies, Gutenberg 13.1, New Zealand, InnerBlocks and more so much more.

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes

Glen Davies on Twitter

GlenDavisNZ.blog

FSE Program Rallying Recipe Reviewers

Play the Piano and Other Instruments via the WordPress Block Editor

#24 – Aki Hamano on Building Useful Blocks for Fun

WordPress Beta 3

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.1? (27 April)

Gutenberg 13.1 Ships a Batch of Improvements and Implements a New Border Design Component

Add visualizers for padding and margin for all blocks

Save theme edits from the site editor to the theme files

Persistent Preferences in User Meta

Coming in Gutenberg 13.2: Users’ Editor Preferences Will Be Stored in the Database, Improving Persistence Across Sessions

Design Share: Apr 11–22

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 66th episode of the Gutenberg ChangeLog podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about Gutenberg 13.1 version, New Zealand, inner blocks in an interesting work in progress with our special guest, Glen Davies. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and a WordPress developer advocate. And I’m here with my lovely co-host Mary Job. She’s also a WordPress advocate, works as support engineer at Paid Membership Pro and is a community organizer at wpafrica.org. And today we also have a special guest. I’m thrilled to welcome Glen Davies to our show. He’s from New Zealand, a JavaScript engineer on the Gutenberg project and the release lead for the Gutenberg plugin 13.1 version. Good evening, Mary, top of the morning to you, Glen. And thank you both for joining. How are you today?

Glen Davies: Good, thanks.

Mary Job: Yeah, I’m fine too Birgit. Nice to see you. Nice to meet you, Glen.

Glen Davies: Yeah, likewise.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Awesome. So Glen, before we go into the weeds of the plugin release and the rest of the show, I want to ask you a couple of questions about your WordPress journey and about your work on the gallery block. And maybe you can briefly tell us how you came to WordPress and automattic.

Glen Davies: Guess I came to automattic and then to WordPress.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, okay. The other way around.

Glen Davies: I had used WordPress quite a few years ago. I was an IT manager for a not for profit for a few years and they needed a blogging platform. So I installed WordPress for them. But that was mostly from a tinkering setting up point of view rather than development. They didn’t really need a lot of development, just a pretty simple blog. Prior to that, I’d done quite a bit of PHP development. I developed an open source learning management system for a university. I don’t know if you’ve dealt with LMSs, you’ve probably heard of something called Moodle.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah, yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah, yeah. But that wasn’t the LMS I developed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was similar.

Glen Davies: Yeah. Well, the one I developed, I probably say mine was the beta max to Moodle’s VHS. So Moodle sort of… Moodle got the community and mine never did. At one point I said to the university they were wasting their money paying me to be the sole developer of an open source LMS. They should really use Moodle instead. So I sort of did myself out of a job.

I was ready for a change. I did IT management for a while and that’s when I first encountered WordPress. Decided that IT management wasn’t really for me. So I went back to development for a couple of big corporates. But got a bit sick of the commute and the crammed office spaces. I think the last office I was in there was a person a meter and a half that side and the meter and a half that side and a meter behind me was other three people. You had to say, “excuse me” when you pushed your chair out to go to the bathroom.

So I had a bit of a look around about three years ago for remote work positions and Automattic came up and looking through the Automattic CRE, just the whole philosophy and culture really, rang true for me. So I took a punt and applied and managed to get a position. That was, yeah, about three years ago.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, wow. Yeah. So that is in the middle of the new development of Gutenberg pretty much. Yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah. It was some of the early releases was sort of going out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That kind of brings up the question that I had, or that a lot of people had, is how do you migrate or how do you become, get, from a PHP developer to a JavaScript developer or a mixed to, for the Gutenberg blocks and custom blocks and all that?

Glen Davies: Yeah, for me, it wasn’t… Cause I said years ago I did a lot of PHP, but then when I came back to development, I went almost straight into just JavaScript front end. It was just a big learning curve of diving in. So for me coming to Automattic and WordPress, it was almost the reverse I had to go back from doing JavaScript to some PHP stuff.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah. Okay. I get that. Yeah. All right. Yeah. Did you have contact with other people in the workers community in New Zealand?

Glen Davies: No. Cause unfortunately I started 2019. I spent the first eight or nine months just really getting to grips with WordPress and then of course COVID hit. So I’m hoping this year, New Zealand, like most countries has opened up quite a bit. So hopefully there’ll be some local WordPress events I can get along to.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, hopefully. I hope that for you too. Yeah. Cause you’re probably not coming to work in Europe.

Glen Davies: No, not this year.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. There’s actually a good friend of the Gutenberg Times, so to speak, Ellen Bauer. She is the owner of the Elmer Studio and with her significant other Manuel they have quite a few themes in the… And she’s was one of the early adopters of Gutenberg as well as the block themes. I’m not quite sure how far away you were, but yeah. She’s definitely, she migrated to New Zealand a long time ago. Yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah, no. It would be good to catch up with some local events this year.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well keeping the fingers crossed that that’s possible. So you and me, Glen, we collaborated a little bit on the working on the gallery block of trying to figure out how to let the community know that they were be a change. And you converted the first version, which came out 2018, had not particularly been developed much after that. And it now uses a single image block within blocks and it came to WordPress school in 5.9 in January. So it’s such a richer experience and has all the features that the image block has, is now coming to gallery block and you can kind of change each image or… And also you have the styles for it. I had the feeling that the journey wasn’t particularly easy one, from especially around backwards compatibility blocks and deprecating blocks. What did you learn and what advice would you give developers working on version two for the list and the quotes and the developers building custom blocks?

Glen Davies: Well, I learned that it’s not as easy as it looks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s life for you, right.

Glen Davies: There were a whole list of open issues of people saying, “oh, we need the gallery to be able to do this.” And, “in an image in a gallery, we need to be able to do that.” And I sort of looked and thought, well, you can already do that on the image block. So why aren’t we just wrapping the image blocks rather than… Cause there was almost a whole lot of copy and pasted code to duplicate stuff between images and the gallery. I thought I might as well have a go and see whether we could use inner blocks. Which the initial setup was pretty straightforward, but yeah, there were a whole lot of gotchas in actually getting it to run properly.

And then when we looked at the backwards compatibility, the main issue we had was with the mobile app. So the big learning was just how different the Gutenberg editor in the mobile app is from the web editor. In terms of the fact that you have a whole lot of different versions of the editor out running in people’s apps that haven’t been upgraded. And currently the editor has no way of knowing what to do with a block it hasn’t encountered before. So in the mobile app, it would get the gallery that had inner blocks and think there’s no content, cause it didn’t recognize blocks. And Android quite nicely, or it was thought it was being quite nice in auto saving as soon as it opened it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Overriding whatever’s there, yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah. Would say, oh, it’s a gallery. There’s nothing in it, save. And it would lose all the people’s images. There was a lot of working with the mobile team to work out, how do we stage deploying the new version so that people on the mobile app don’t lose their data. Yeah, one of the big learnings was just the issues with compatibility. In the meantime, Dennis, I think you had Dennis on the podcast a few weeks ago. He’s done quite a bit of work to make the editor a bit more robust to be able to cope with blocks it doesn’t recognize. So rather than just losing the data, just say, hang on, I don’t recognize this. I’ll just ignore it for now and leave it as it is.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Just display what I have and then yeah, the plain HDML. So yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Glen Davies: So hopefully it’ll slowly start to ease, but I know the quote block people have the… The developers that have converted quotes to inner blocks have had the same issue with mobile. Cause they’ve had to stage the deployment so that the mobile versions don’t lose the data.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah. One of the other big learnings was just how well the whole community works together. It’s like, it’s… It was a pretty big change but it wasn’t too hard to get the people that needed to be involved, involved, and work through the issues together. And then paying the likes of yourselves to say, we need to let the community know. And knowing that you took that bit on board and paying the relevant developers and let them know.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And it was interesting to see that most of the theme developers that are plugin developers and also theme developers that I reached out to, they already were aware that there’s something coming and there were testing quite a bit on the Gutenberg plugin. Yeah. So when it came to 5.9, there were no surprises on that, not that particular on that part. Well, but we were not able to reach all of the people, but I think it was a good chunk of it. Yeah.

Glen Davies: Yeah. I held my breath when the 5.9 release went out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Say that again.

Glen Davies: I held my breath when the 5.9 release went out. I thought, oh, I hope this is going to work.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Glen Davies: It’s a pretty block. There’s a lot of people use gallery blocks. So it was a bit nerve racking pushing out such a major change, but it seems to have gone reasonably smoothly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The backwards compatibility and on the desktop version or on the web version. Yeah. That was quite nicely. I was really pleasantly surprised that what I can do in addition what I was doing already on the gallery block. So it was a very pleasant surprise.

Mary Job: Yeah. I think I have a question for Glen if you don’t mind.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sure.

Glen Davies: Yeah, sure.

Mary Job: As you said you came into WordPress three years ago. Would you say coming from all that kind of development into WordPress, would you say WordPress has a steep learning curve or was it like smooth?

Glen Davies: Yeah. Reasonably steep learning curve. Cause although it’s Java script and react, which I’d used before, there’s a reasonable amount of complexity in Gutenberg. It’s a pretty impressive project when you look at the depth and the breadth of it, what it’s actually doing. Even having worked on it for three years, there’s some parts of Gutenberg that are just a black box to me. Yeah. There’s parts I haven’t had to touch and I’ve got no idea what they’re doing. And if I had to actually do some debugging in that area, there’s quite often quite a bit of work to think what’s actually happening here, what’s going on.

But having said that, think it wraps really well some of that complexity. And then allows the block developers to do an awful lot of fairly clever stuff with a minimal amount of work. For instance, the new block supports are fairly impressive. Previously, if you wanted to have borders and background colors and text colors, you had to copy and paste a whole lot of code. Now it’s just a matter of adding a few flags to your JSON file and suddenly your block has borders and background color and text color.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. That’s pretty impressive. I really love the development on the theme JSON file and all the configuration that goes in there. And it works very well with classic themes as well. So it’s a really good way how that works.

Glen Davies: It’s sort of an interesting mix of complexity and simplicity. There’s some really complex stuff going on in the background, but it’s been wrapped quite well to a nice, simple API for block developers.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Do you have another question, Mary?

Mary Job: No, no, no. I was just thinking how impressive that is.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, let’s get started with the rest of the show. It’s so glad you’re here. 

Announcements

So we have one announcement that just made it in. If you want to test the features that are in Gutenberg 13.1, head over to the latest call for testing from the FSE, from the full site editing program. And it’s called ‘Rallying Recipe Reviewers’. And this call for testing focuses on, on taking a few blocks amongst on the list view in this and the quote blocks in the second version and practically spin it up with fun for interactive recipe focused site. Where you can customize the commenting experience. And for a very interactive site. The instructions are from Anne McCarthy again. It’s the 14th of these testing calls and they are very detailed and they get you really into the topic of things. It just was published yesterday. You have about three weeks to comment on this and try it out. Of course, as always, the link to the post will be in the show notes. And yeah. So that’s the announcement for today. What else do we have?

Community Contributions

Mary Job: Oh, we have community contributions. So our fellow WordPress podcast Nathan Wrigley over at Jukebox podcast talked to Aki Hamano who is a plugin and freelance developer from Japan. Hamano also has some great blocks in the repository. Three years ago, he created a rich text expansion plugin when Gutenberg only had rudimentary color spacing and controls.

And he also has a flexible table block. So he also has this amazing block plugin, piano block, which I actually just tried today and it was fun. I didn’t want to leave the post editor. What this does is it adds a musical instrument to your editor screen and you can take a break from content version and make some music in between. And this block doesn’t show anything on the front end, which makes it a really fun project. Have you tried that plugin Birgit or Glen? I thought it was fun.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I have not tried it but Justin Tadlock actually wrote a separate blog about it a month or so ago, blog post about it. And he has a video where he tried to do a music thing. And I’m not saying which one, because you might want to go there and kind of try it out.

Mary Job: What about you, Glen? Have you tried it?

Glen Davies: No, I haven’t tried it. I did see the WP Tavern article about it. Yeah, I must give it a go. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mary Job: Yeah. I saw today and I didn’t want to stop playing. I felt like a genius. You know those saying, is it all work and no play makes Jack do… I remember that when I saw that I was like, ah, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And sometimes when you’re stuck on developing or trying to write something and you distract yourself and you come back, it’s coming there.

Mary Job: Yeah, it makes very profit break time. Because there are times when you are stuck, like, okay, it’s not working. And then I just want to take a walk. I mean I could take a break and then play some piano.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right.

Mary Job: On the podcast, Nathan and Aki also talked about what the developer journal learning and building blocks was like. As always, we’re going to put the link to this and the show notes so you can always read. It was quite entertaining listening to them.

What’s Released – WordPress 6.0 Beta 3 and Gutenberg 13.1

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Great, yeah. So the brings us to the section what’s released? And so we had two releases. One was WordPress Beta 3. Do you want to talk about it Mary or?

Mary Job: Oh yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The notes.

Mary Job: The Beta 3 release comes with a few bug fixes that was discovered in the previous betas. It now has the power down version of Workfront API. I believe we’ve talked about this in past episodes. Which allows team developers to register team star versions, including typography with their team.JSON file.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We talked the last episode where it wasn’t clear if the fonts API actually would make it into 6.0.

Mary Job: Yes. So the team is working tirelessly to bring all the notes to the field guide and least order interesting changes in time for the release candidate that will be coming on the third of May. And just in case you’re wondering, WordPress 6.0 is scheduled to come to you, WordPress on the 24th of May, 2002. I’m quite excited to try it out and see what new exciting features it brings.

So WordPress in 6.0 is not as big as 5.9, but it has a lot of exciting new features. Anne McCarthy also published a video with highlights on YouTube if you want to check that out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And we talked about it two weeks ago and what our favorite features are. Glen, do have a favorite feature for the 6.0 version?

Glen Davies: Can’t think of anything off the top of my head. There was so much 5.9 and I’ve been doing a bit of background stuff.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I really like, and I haven’t looked at it before, but I’ve found that there are actually quite some writing experience improvements in there. 

Glen Davies: Yeah, actually, now that you mentioned that the partial block selection is probably it, yeah. There’s been so many times over the last few years where that’s come up as you can’t select partial blocks. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. If, if you want over two paragraphs or something like that, and want to have something italic or bold that is half a sentence above and the other half below, you couldn’t do that and it’s now possible and you can do all of it. That’s one of the things. And the other one is the double bracket short code to have a list of all the posts or pages that are on your site to link to it, to do inner links. That is actually quite nicely done. But we will talk about it when it’s out again. You will find quite a few things will be published right around that. The about page and then marketing is working on their releases for that.

We also had the Gutenberg 13.1 release. It was released on yesterday, also April 27th, and release lead Glen Davies. Thank you so much. How is that release experience when you do it as a developer?

Glen Davies: Oh, it was my first time at it so I was sort of a newbie. Luckily the documentation’s pretty straightforward and I was sort of lucky that it was a reasonably small release. Because 13.0 was the release that went into WordPress six. So doing the release, that’s going to go into the WordPress, call releases, usually a big job. I was lucky I got the one just after that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I think only a few PRs were backboarded to 6.0. There were still some buck fixes or so. 

Enhancements

So what brings… We have definitely someone had enhancements coming, even it’s a small release, but it’s the design tools for borders. There’s a new border control component in the block support thing. So it can also be configured with the theme.JSON for individual blocks, like the column blocks you can have in your theme.JSON settings for the blocks. You can say a standard, a variation, on the border configuration, which is really nice. There is also for the duotone. There are two things for duotone on… There’s a new icon for the filter on the image block. And the other one was that the duotone’s now render in the site editor when you use it on the placeholder. So if you have a featured image placeholder or other media and text placeholder or something like that and use the duotone for it will show you in the editor as well.

Mary Job: The block library also had some enhancements. I’m excited about the comments, the fact that you can now style the comments area, because I know in the past, when I first started creating WordPress sites people would tell you, ah, no, the comments section is too boring. Can you like make it brighter? Or can you change? So this is actually interesting because you don’t have to use third party. Well, you can still use them if you want. But having it in Chrome means that you don’t have to go allowed to start a comments area on blog post. The category section also had an enhancement. There’s now an option to show or how I entered categories previously in the past. If her category has no post, it was eating. But now you can now choose to show or hide categories that are empty. So that’s also interesting. Yeah. This particular one, this, the styles, this enhancement styles. I didn’t quite get this. You mentioned duotone tone earlier. Can you expand on this one? Because I tried reading about it, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was referring to here.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. You can do a preset for the dual tone in the theme.JSON. so when you have a duotone filter for the image, you can set that with a theme.JSON is and reference foreground and secondary for instance, since colors. So you can. That only that is available. A lot of people have real stomach ache when they envision that people who edit a site can come up with all different kind of crazy combination for the duotone or for the gradient. Having a way to standardize that for a whole site that is now in the theme.JSON You can switch off the duotone settings then for the editor, but still have duotone settings for the images if you allow that. Does it make sense?

Mary Job: Yes. Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay, good. Yeah. Some on the other styles changes, there were all a little bit more cosmetic. Do you have anything that you want to point out there Glen or Mary?

Glen Davies: Probably just highlighting again, what you’ve already mentioned that the borders, it’s great that there’s now the ability to set each of the borders separately. Both in the U both in the UI and in the theme.JSON.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Did you test this specifically as well? Because I have a question on it and there was a question that’s actually on the release post, is there a way to also get some styles in there, like a double or outset or dotted line in that?

Glen Davies: Yeah. So you can change it to solid dotted. Adding it to columns is quite good I think, cause it’s quite a good showcase of it. Because columns is an obvious place where you only want one border as a division between each of the columns.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Glen Davies: So I think it was quite a good block to get that into to sort of showcase 101 borders and its specific edge.

Accessibility

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely, yeah. And then there were also quite a few changes, accessibility improvements, that included the resolve around the focus loss problems that have been experienced for the installing blocks, from the directory or creating pages from a link. Or there were quite a few situations where all of a sudden the block editor would lose focus and a screenwriter wouldn’t know where to be and how to handle that. And so that there have been quite a few fixes there. 

Documentation

And then documentation, what I saw was that you fixed some of the… Was it in this release that you, Glen, wrote about the deprecated locks that you fix up the documentation for that. Was this for this release?

Glen Davies: No, I think there was a couple of releases ago.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Okay. But that definitely helps some of the developers to figure out how to deprecate the versioning for static blocks you, which is still a little bit cumbersome.

Glen Davies: Yeah. That was one big learning from the gallery block that forced me to work out how deprecations work. And that’s slightly different there how duplications and migrations work in software in general. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I wish they had kind of written a blog post about your learning and the frustrations about it because I think that’s what a lot of developers have in the community as well.

Glen Davies: Yeah. Maybe I might, might take the time to do that. Yeah. Our team’s set up a blog to try and document some of our experiences. So perhaps I’ll take the time to go back and go through that. There is some discussion about improving the duplication migration process.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But there’s nothing yet kind of that surface that trade.

Glen Davies: No, there’s, there’s an issue and there’s a bit of discussion about it. An agreement that’s a little bit confusing,

Birgit Pauli-Haack: A little bit confusing. I think that’s the understatement of the year.

Glen Davies: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You’re not English, are you?

Glen Davies: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. No, but there were quite a few documentation updates in this release. one was about the new ancestor property for the block meta data. And the other one was about the inserter argument for the patterns where you can hide patterns that are with your theme to set the inserter setting to false, then users won’t be able to find the pattern in your, in the inserter, but you can still use it on tablet and tablet parts. And that is documented, it’s also documented the updates for the theme.JSON file has been updated as well as documentation around the individual block locking sections.

So if you are interested in that and want to do that’s the state of the art kind of on how that is, check out the documentation and follow the links. 

Code Quality

So in the release post to get to that code quality, is there anything that’s stood out to you that you feel, oh, that’s a neat thing.

Glen Davies: No, probably more on the testing side of it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The testing, yeah.

Glen Davies: Which is sort of related to code quality and that’s the migration to using playwright.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. How is that going?

Glen Davies: That’s making good progress and it’s going to make the writing at the end to end test and debugging of them Significantly easier. So it’ll be good ones that’s completed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It would be really interesting to see kind of a primer on how to use playwright and how to write the test. Not only for of course for the Gutenberg project, but definitely for contributors on the Gutenberg project, but definitely also if you want to use it also for their own project yeah. To how to get into that testing part.

Glen Davies: Yeah. Which I’m sure that’ll be coming once once the the whole migration project’s finalized and underway.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I can imagine there’s quite a foundational foundational work that needs to be done for that can be migrated. Totally.

I think that was… So anything we forgot? Kind of… There’s some developer experience for the local environment. Now you can have a environment and core environment variable, and I’m thinking that’s probably about the version. And then the create block scaffolding tool has been updated to fix all the warnings and errors that are reported during the scaffolding and validation. So it’s all a little nicer now. All right. Yeah.

So that concludes our session of what was released, or the session part. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

And we can now go and discuss what’s active in development, what’s work in progress and what people can look forward to. One is APR called a visualizer for the padding. Riad is working on that. So when you are changing the padding for a block, it shows you a visualize representation, a visual representation of that, how it looks in the editor around the block. If you say 20, how does that look? 20 pixels or one for that side. Because there’s a lot of… There’s padding, there is margin. And then there is block gaps and all those three things, if you are using that in the side bar, can be confusing. Where did I change things? And if you have a visualizer, it’s very obvious on how you change things and those changes are easily then replicated or even controlled. So that’s definitely something to look forward to. I’m not quite sure how far that is. Definitely…. Oh, it has been merged. So this will come in a 13.2 version, Gutenberg version. And it’s the same version that will have the persistent preferences and user meta. And that was horah on Twitter when one of the developers discovers that that is coming, we have all been waiting for.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the welcome guide, popping up on all kinds of different situations. When you have a new browser, you have a new computer, you have just changed the browser settings. And here comes welcome to the block editor. You have been using it for four years and it still wants to welcome you. It was kind of an annoying thing. It’s also… That’s one of the obvious things, but the other part is also your settings for the top toolbar. When you are in the editor and you go from block to block, there’s a block toolbar. And sometimes that’s a little bit disconcerting for content editors. You can actually glue it up to the top, through the settings menu. And it was also just stored in local storage on the browser and you had to do it again over and over as well.

Now this is changing. With 13.2, those settings will be stored in the user meta data, in the database. It will remember. You go away and you come back. It will remember. And it’s yeah… Quite a few people who say, okay, it’s about time that it comes. I know why it was a little bit delayed because these are settings for the editor and there are editors. There’s a widget editor, there’s a site editor, there’s a template editor, there’s a block editor and a post editor. There are a lot of editors that first needed be unified before you could actually standardize the persistence for it. But yeah, three years ago there wasn’t a widget editor. There wasn’t a site editor. So back then, I think the developers didn’t have enough information to make that a good way to start out. So waiting was far probably a good decision to not get into technical depth with backwards compatibility promises and all that. Yes. But we’re all happy about that.

Sarah Gooding has the story already WP Tavern. We share the links, of course, on the show notes. And the last thing that I have… So there is also… So when you use a theme and you edit it with the global styles or with the styles thing, all the information is stored in the database. Only when you export it, all the changes will come into the theme.JSON. In the works is a safe theme edits from the site editor to the theme files. When it’s in a so-called developer mode, making it a little bit easier for designers to visually update a theme and then have that, and then update the theme files per se, be it the JSON file or template power or template files.

So it can be export or can be reused. But it doesn’t have to be an export. And then there will just be a safe button and you can switch it off with a development flag mode true or false. That’s also in the works. We will share the PRS for it. So you can comment on it or chime in the show notes.

Channing Ritter has updated the design share on the make block for design, and you will see some things that they’re working on with the Figma files or Figma links. One of them is also it’s the element state exploration. How can the interface look when you want to change the hover or active setting for elements like a menu or a link or something like that.

Mel Joyce says up the did some work in Block Patterns in Figma. There’s also a discussion of revising the global style panels. What I like is, or what I really pleasantly surprised on how far the work has been done, is the design for documentation and handbook pages as Stella Raella has that, has the Figma file shared with the design team. And it’s all in the design of the new news theme. I don’t know if you saw the news scene webpress.org/news has had a recent design and now all the designers are working on replicating that for the rest of workforce.org and make.org. So it’s really cool.

Anything else? Glen, do you want to… What are you working on now? Is it that you, the race is out and you’re working on certain projects?

Glen Davies: The team that I’m currently on, we’re working on global styles and design tools. So the big project we are currently working on is something called the style engine. Which is sort of a way of trying to bring together all the different styling elements of a block. Because at the moment it’s a bit… The styles in quite a few different places, particularly with static blocks, There are some that actually are applied to the static content, there’s class names that are applied, there’s inline styles that are applied. The sort of Nirvana would be that the actual static block content had very little styling actually saved within it. There would just be some meta information and the styles are then applied at the server. And it could be a lot clearer than about which styles of output with the page based on what block content was there.

At the moment, there’s a lot of redundant style content has to go with the page to cover all the possibilities of blocks that might be there. So there’s a lot of work around trying to rationalize that and say, well, let’s only output the CSS that’s actually needed for this particular page content.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I know that some theme developers are really having a hard time with a few block changes. Every release there is a change that they have to update their themes and either take away classes or find classes. All of a sudden it’s all overwritten, both important kind of thing.

Glen Davies: Yeah, there’s some discussions going on. There’s been some really good input from theme authors about what the difficulties they’re having. So that’s feeding in really well to this around the style engine and there’s all those ongoing questions about backwards compatibility and the API. It’s a reasonably big project. At the moment there’s sort of no definite timeframes. We have the basic style engine in place, but then we’ve got to go through the process of how do we move all of the existing blocks to use this new way.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Styles. Yeah. This new way and what to do with the old ones.

Glen Davies: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Because the static blocks, they don’t update themselves. You need to touch them before they update themselves.

Glen Davies: Yeah. It’s a needed project, but it’s a big project and it’s a matter of working out how do we stage it, rather than go away for two years and work on the style engine. By the time everything’s moved on. It’s the usual thing with software development. What are the little pieces we can do to actually keep this thing moving and release pieces along the way create a massive project that never actually completes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, no, I get it. But it’s good. I know there was some discussion and we had also discussed it here with the proposal from Mark Road Wiley. I think he did some foundational thinking about that and there was quite a good summary, but also the ideas that he had in terms of how that could be input or what a theme developer would need. That I think that post really informed about that to make it as close as possible for how theme developers were going.

Glen Davies: Yeah. That generated some really good discussion. And what we’ve done is split that up into about four different areas. Because there was some quite of distinct parts within that. So we’ve tried to split that into separate issues to deal with each of them separately. So hopefully some progress will be made.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent.

Glen Davies: And coming releases on this.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I’m looking forward to that to maybe write about things that work. I have some deaf notes that I could wrangle about soon.

Okay. So I think we are at the end of the show. Glen, if somebody wants to get in touch with you and wants to reach you, what would be the best way to do that?

Glen Davies: At glendavies.nz

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. And you also… Are you often on the WebPress slack community.

Glen Davies: Oh yeah. Yeah. All WebPress slack. Same. Glendavies.nz. See me there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Thank you

Mary Job: Before we let Glen go, I hope you don’t mind my asking. So my question again is on your background. I hope you don’t mind my asking. In my part of the world, we have a lot of people who are learning development actively. It’s like an escape over here. “Okay, if I can’t get a normal day job, maybe I can learn development and make something out of that.” If you were to meet somebody who is starting to learn development, is in their first or second year of learning, would you recommend WordPress development to such a person? Is this something you would say, okay, maybe you could actually build a career in WordPress development? Do you think that’s…? Because people are very skeptic hearing some WordPress developers like, what’s a WordPress developer. It’s not common. It’s not like everywhere as opposed to other developments languages.

Glen Davies: Yeah. I definitely recommend it particularly the likes of the Gutenberg project. So if you can get involved in the project and pick up some small issues, there’s some reasonably simple things that come through. And if you can start putting up some PRs with some simple fixes, a reasonably easy way to get into a development community. And then if you start getting some of your PRs accepted. It’s a pretty friendly and accepting developer community. There’s some other developer communities where you might put up some simple PRs and get lambasted for doing things the wrong way. But from my experience, you’re not going to get that in the WordPress community. You’re just going to generally get help and support. So I think that there would definitely be a way to actually get into development in a bigger way. Plus it’s real life and it’s a real project. So can’t help but improve your CV or your resume if you can say, “Well, I’ve been actively involved in this project for the last year and here’s the 10 PRs that I’ve had accepted and merged.”

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a very good question. Thank you, Mary. And I like the answer. There’s actually a label in the Gutenberg repository that says ‘Good First Bugs’. So scouting through those or just pulling up and see if something moves you or something you were interested in is definitely, yeah. Try to pick that up. There are also other ways to start contributing to WordPress. I always have to say that it doesn’t have to be code. But if you’re a developer code is definitely one thing. But it’s also could be testing quite a bit. So there are also labels says “needs testing” means, okay, we need some more reports and what could configuration or something like that. Is that reproducible, especially for the bug reports. So the developer who picks that up has a better inkling on how to attack that. That’s also a good way to get started if you don’t know the project yet. I think doing it from the user point and tested for some bugs is definitely a good way to get in there. Yeah, definitely.

All right. Anything else? How can people reach you, Mary? Anything from your side that you want to announce and let people know, our listeners know?

Mary Job: Not a lot. We recently had a diverse speaker training group, all the meet up for the leaguers, some citizen in Nigeria, and also here. That was interesting. They had a lot of good feedback. Like I said, we’re actively trying to grow the WP Africa community. We want, I personally want to get to know people who are doing WordPress on this continent and maybe we can have chat that wordcam. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And if you are listening from Africa and you want to be part of it, WPafrica.org is the website with all information about it. You can also get Mary on Twitter. MaryoJob is the Twitter handle.

As always, the show notes will be published on Gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is episode 66. If you have questions or suggestions or news you want us to include, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. That’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com.

Well, thank you so much for joining us, Glen. It was a great pleasure to have you and talk to you. And thank you, Mary, for being with me again on this podcast. And it’s for me, goodbye.

Mary Job: Thank you.

Glen Davies: Goodbye.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Goodbye. Take care.

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Meher Bala

Wordpress Planet - Sat, 04/30/2022 - 09:20

In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people’s lives for the better. This month we feature a Indian-based WordPress developer and long term contributor on how it helped her find a career and a local and global community to belong to.

WordPress is an inspiration to Meher Bala, a frontend web developer and community builder from India. From using the software as a basic website tool to helping entrepreneurs and good causes around the world fulfill their aspirations, she has overcome personal barriers and now aims to inspire others.

Meher found her vocation and learned new skills through WordPress. She also discovered a way to encourage other women to consider careers in IT. 

Opening the doors to a career in technology

As a child, Meher was diagnosed with dyslexia (difficulty in reading the written word) and dyscalculia (difficulty in comprehending numbers and mathematical functions). With the support of her parents and a tutor, she was able to overcome this learning obstacle. She developed coping techniques and a determination to work to overcome challenges as they appeared later in life.

In school, she got an opportunity to replace one subject with computer studies as an alternative. This proved to be an eye-opener to future career possibilities. 

She began to research not only what the internet had to offer but also how it worked, including the new and fascinating concepts of email and websites. Her father bought the family’s first desktop computer so she could do her research at home.

Meher’s father wanted to turn her love for computers into something that would serve her well in the future. In 2005, he enrolled her in a short computer course from a global IT training provider. The course tutor was so impressed with her performance, she was advised to enroll in a four year software development course.

That meant she had studied the software development course alongside her higher education college course. Looking back, she enjoyed the dual challenge of the degree course in commerce, and the experience prepared her well to keep learning software while working as a developer. Within three years, she had learned C#, C, C++, HTML, Java, and .NET.

After graduation, she was in a dilemma to choose between commerce and IT. What to choose? She had a compulsory one-year technology internship to complete, and her choice of focus for that year would prove to be a defining moment.

In 2009, on her birthday, Meher was offered an internship. On the first day of the internship, she was introduced to WordPress. Her initial assignment was to change the look and feel of the WordPress dashboard — in just six hours. But there was a problem – she had never worked with WordPress before!

“I stared at the whiteboard and thought that task given was impossible and difficult to meet the deadline. I wondered if my boss was joking and did not know then what you could do with WordPress as a developer and how it could slot into your toolbox. It opened my eyes.” 

Meher Bala

Meher used her research skills to know more about using WordPress. She found a plugin that would help her achieve her task. She met the deadline and it ingrained an interest that she would never lose.

Re-discovering WordPress

Five years after her initial WordPress experience, Meher was assigned to lead an international project in WordPress. She was hesitant — she had lost touch with the CMS during that five years, but the project was a great opportunity to become a team leader and lead from the front. 

She decided to update her WordPress skills, relying again on the strength of her research skills and determination. In the process, she also taught her team all about WordPress, inspiring many of those members to continue to develop their WordPress skill set.

The success of that project was a pivotal moment for Meher and a new dawn as a developer specializing in WordPress.

As a team lead, Meher soon found it was not possible to always have all the answers straight away. She found internet searches gave practical solutions—but rarely explained the theory behind it.

So she went looking for a WordPress group to help her expand the scope and depth of her knowledge.

Finding the community and its developer learning opportunities Meher enjoying being part of WordCamp Nagpur in 2017

In 2015, while browsing Facebook, Meher came across an advertisement for something called WordCamp Mumbai, an event that had taken two days before. She did a little digging to learn what a WordCamp was, and about the people behind it. She took the plunge and joined the WordPress Mumbai Meetup group.

Her first Meetup experience was not love at first sight. She felt the topics were for advanced users, and the timing late in the evening made it difficult to attend.

But a few months later, the Meetup addressed a topic that could help her resolve an issue in one of her current projects. She made the effort to show up and came away with a number of important tips. The speaker had taken the time to speak to individual attendees. When he came to Meher, she took the opportunity to ask a couple of questions about her project issues.

Thereafter she went to more Meetups and got to know the people behind this group, just as they started talking about WordCamp Mumbai 2016.

A WordCamp adventure Meher discovering WordCamps in Mumbai in 2016

Meher expressed interest in being a part of the coming  WordCamp Mumbai and started in an entry-level role with basic responsibilities.

At first, she thought WordCamp was a formal conference with about 100 people. So on the first day of WordCamp Mumbai 2016, she was surprised to see so many WordCamp enthusiasts attending and enjoying such a relaxed and friendly conference.

After that great experience, Meher went to many more meetups and did more volunteering. She started taking on responsibilities in the coming WordCamps and getting to know the different aspects of the camp. 

In the following years, at each WordPress, she took up a new role like speaker vetting, sponsors, and volunteer coordination. This allowed her to know more about what an organizer needs to do, from planning to execution, to make WordCamp a successful event.

With the team at WordCamp Mumbai in 2017

Meher is grateful for her WordPress journey which was fostered in the Mumbai community. It has been filled with beautiful surprises. 

When people ask why she’s chosen to specialize professionally in WordPress, Meher says WordPress is easy to teach a non-technical person, yet it is still highly customizable. Being a WordPress developer has given her the opportunity to work  remotely for global web development companies that let her think out of the box. And she learns new skills with every release.

The community makes WordPress special

Meher says that some of her most memorable WordPress moments have revolved around special friendships, trying new things, and participating in community building. 

WordPress has let her explore different parts of India, make new friends locally and internationally, and encourage women to be a part of meetup groups and events across India. 

One of Meher’s biggest dreams was to lead WordCamp Mumbai as a lead organizer and show others what could be achieved by working together in open source. In 2019, she did just that and has volunteered at international WordCamps and meetups since.

Taking to the stage at WordCamp Mumbai in 2019

As part of her enthusiasm for sharing the opportunities WordPress can give people, especially women, she has given time to co-organize two global WordPress Translation month long events and contributor events in India.   

Meher said: “I was first introduced to translation at one of the meetups which was organised to support the WordPress Translation Day. I realized this was another way to support my local communities and bring the power of WordPress to them by contributing in Gujarati and Hindi. I did not imagine I would a few years later be a global organizer for the event itself!”

With her commitment to ongoing learning as a developer and to model what she believes about the value and community growth opportunities of open source, Meher has given time and energy to the Marketing Team, where she has been a Team Rep, to the Training Team, and to the Core Team contributing to multiple releases. 

The developer adventure with WordPress is unlimited

At the start of my software developer journey, I always thought the C++ and Java were the only skills you required to excel in your career. From the time I started exploring WordPress in depth, I realized the potential and the power of WordPress in web development.

Meher Bala

Being a part of the WordPress community, Meher learned that there is so much more than just building blogs on WordPress. She started exploring different features of WordPress, created her first theme, and eventually specialized as a frontend specialist.

Meher now works as a consultant and front end developer with an international agency specializing in WordPress. Asked what she thought was the best thing about being a WordPress developer, Meher replied: “Through WordPress, I have an opportunity to build unique out of the box websites and work remotely for global web development companies that encourages you to think out of the box. There is always opportunity to continuously advance my coding skills and learn new techniques with every release.”

She believes that there is no limit to where using the software can take you and what you can combine it with to find solutions to projects big and small.

If you earn a living from WordPress, her advice is from the heart: try to give back to the WordPress community.

“I am sure you will learn or teach something new and definitely make friends across the world. There is no shame in making mistakes, as you can learn from them and develop your skills further. You can also help others as they build their skills.”

Meher added: “Don’t let the things you find difficult get in the way of your success.”

Share the stories

Help share these stories of open source contributors and continue to grow the community. Meet more WordPressers in the People of WordPress series.

Contributors

Thanks to Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Larissa Murillo (@lmurillom), Mary Baum (@marybaum), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann), and Meg Phillips (@megphillips91) for interviews, writing and image work on this story. Thank you to Meher Bala (@meher) for sharing her experiences and to Josepha Haden Chomphosy (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) for their support of the series.

This People of WordPress feature is inspired by an essay originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories might otherwise go unheard. #HeroPress

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