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Post Status: Flooding the zone

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 23:35
Why not take a nice long bath instead?

Post Status: Today in WordCamp History

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 22:34
Starting today and every day for the next year, I’ll be sharing 1-4 photos that appear on that day from the WP events I was at. I’ll tag the location and people there as well as I can. You can follow on Twitter @KitchensinkWP or at kitchensinkwp.com.

Post Status: Not Dead Yet! Just Mostly Dead?

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 20:00
Gutenberg 13.4 • Learning FSE sooner rather than later • Gutenberg in Tumblr and Day One • WordCamps and the vitality of the WordPress community • AUS WordPress community only mostly dead? • Get SEO Schema graphs • Web font loading geek out • PHP is 28! • PHP namespaces and autoloaders • You can work anywhere... why not Cleveland? • North Commerce — faster than the rest? • and more...

Do The Woo Community: WooBits: WordCamp Europe Before, During and After

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 16:58

I had an amazing time at WordCamp Europe in Porto, Portugal. Here are some highlight around and during the event.

>> The post WooBits: WordCamp Europe Before, During and After appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

Post Status: Richard Midson on WordPress and the Future of Podcasting — Post Status Draft 116

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 14:11
Richard Midson of Automattic on the future of podcasting and the opportunities for WordPress as a podcasting platform.

Post Status: This Week at WordPress.org (June 13, 2022)

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 14:30
Each week we are highlighting the news from WordPress.org that you don't want to miss. If you or your company create products or services that use WordPress, we've got the news you need to know. Be sure to share this resource with your product and project managers. Are you interested in giving back and contributing...

Post Status: This Week at WordPress.org (June 13, 2022)

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 14:30
Each week we are highlighting the news from WordPress.org that you don't want to miss. If you or your company create products or services that use WordPress, we've got the news you need to know. Be sure to share this resource with your product and project managers. Are you interested in giving back and contributing...

WPTavern: #30 – Matt Mullenweg on the Future of Technology and Where WordPress Fits In

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 14:00

On the podcast today we have Matt Mullenweg.

Matt is the co-founder of WordPress, and as a result, he has been a user for as long as anyone.

We recorded this podcast whilst at WordCamp Europe in Portugal a couple of weeks ago. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, covering a lot of ground. 

We start out with Matt’s reflections of WordPress at 19 years old. Which aspects of the project would he change if he had his time over, and which parts is he proud of?

Did Covid, and the restrictions around community events, have an impact upon the project, given that much of the time dedicated to WordPress is done by volunteers? What lessons have we learned about events like WordCamp Europe?

In recent news, and for the first time, there’s some data pointing to the fact that WordPress’ market share might have flattened out. Is this a cause for concern?

Where are we at with WordPress right now, given that it’s changing the scope of what non-technical users can do with it out of the box?

We then get into some more personal matters, including how Matt manages his time over the variety of projects he’s involved with, and does he regard advances in artificial intelligence as always positive?

You might notice that the sound is a little patchy in places. This was a function of the environment we were in. There’s a few booms on the mic here and there, but it’s certainly listenable.

Useful links.

Five for the future

DALL·E: Creating Images from Text

OpenAI

Transcript

[00:00:00] 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, the place of WordPress in the technology landscape.

[00:00:38] If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or go to WP Tavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players as well. If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast well I’m very keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea featured on the show. Head to WP Tavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the contact form there.

[00:01:13] So on the podcast today. We have Matt Mullenweg. Matt is the co-founder of WordPress. And as a result, he’s been a user of WordPress for as long as anybody. We recorded this podcast while at WordCamp Europe in Portugal, a couple of weeks ago. It’s a wide ranging discussion, covering a lot of ground.

[00:01:41] We start out with Matt’s reflections of WordPress at 19 years old. Which aspects of the project would he change if he had his time over and which parts is he proud of? Did Covid, and the restrictions around community events, have an impact upon the project, given that much of the time dedicated to WordPress is done by volunteers? What lessons have we learned about events like WordCamp Europe?

[00:02:08] In recent news, and for the first time, there’s been some data pointing to the fact that WordPress’ market share might have flattened out. Is this a cause for concern?

[00:02:20] Where are we at with WordPress right now, given that it’s changing the scope of what non-technical users can do with it out of the box.

[00:02:30] We then get into some more personal matters, including how Matt manages his time over the variety of projects he’s involved with. And does he regard advances in artificial intelligence as always positive?

[00:02:43] You might notice that the sound is a bit patchy in places. This was a function of the environment we were in. There’s a few booms on the mic here and there, but it’s certainly listenable. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WP tavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

[00:03:07] And so without further delay, I bring you Matt Mullenweg.

[00:03:17] I am joined on the podcast today by Matt Mullenweg. Hello Matt.

[00:03:22] Howdy, good to see you.

[00:03:23] Yeah. They’re really nice to see you.

[00:03:25] As far as I’m aware, you’re one of two people who can claim to go all the way back with WordPress. And it’s been just last week, 19 years, I think.

[00:03:35] Yeah, that was a pretty exciting anniversary.

[00:03:37] Yeah, does that kind of stuff fill you with nostalgia? Do you sort of look back and think, wow, what a journey this has been? Or are always focusing on the future?

[00:03:45] You know, I am very future-focused personally, but it’s partially because I have a terrible memory. No really. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging. I learned a lot from the archives of my blog that I forgot. It’s also why I’m not too attached to like, arguing about the past. It’s like, you remember it differently. It’s fine. I’ll even go with your version, but what’s happening next? What are we doing in the future? And I try to live my life primarily oriented towards moving forward.

[00:04:12] The reason I laughed is because I’m exactly the same. I more or less everything that happened 30 minutes ago. But looking back over those 19 years, what would be some of the highlights? So I’m forcing you to be nostalgic.

[00:04:25] Hm. You know to me, it’s all about the people. Like we created lots of great stuff together, and still are. And so there’s definitely things like the first plugins, the first themes, the first international versions of WordPress with the Wiziwig coming in, which was quite controversial. And then Gutenberg coming in, which is quite controversial.

[00:04:46] That’s part of why I dipped back into more active WordPress stuff day to day for a while there. But, I really think of the people. From the early folks like Mike Little, some who’ve passed away like Alex King. To the incredible array of people we have here today.

[00:05:00] And my favorite part about WordCamps, what I miss the most was just meeting folks. Reconnecting with people who I’ve seen before, or just meeting people who, lives have been touched by WordPress in some way. And I’ve never, we’ve never run into each other before. I really enjoy that side of it. I learn a lot too. So it actually is very helpful for me in terms of thinking about the roadmap for WordPress. Just the stories. I hear, the things I see in the booths, the talks that happen. I definitely learn a ton from it.

[00:05:29] Staying on nostalgic thing, are there any bits which you think, I wish it had played out differently, bits where you look back and you think, oh, WordPress could have gone in that direction, or there was a moment in time where we could have done this, and we we didn’t do that?

[00:05:40] Hmm. Probably would have left the Rest API as a plugin, or maybe skipped straight to GraphQL or something. We did need to support all the feeds other than RSS2. We probably didn’t need all the others. Gosh, what else? I definitely, if I could go back to the very early days, we’ve always been really big on backwards compatibility.

[00:06:00] And so there’s a few database tables that are just inconsistent in their namings, you know, as capital ID or something like that. Going all the way back to the B2 days, even before WordPress. So I kind of wish we had just renamed some of those early, actually it might be easier to do it now because no one accesses those tables directly anymore, but some of those minor things kinda.

[00:06:18] I’d say broadly on the whole year you got it fairly right? I’m staying on the nostalgic bit, but this is the last couple of years. I mean, everybody knows what I mean by that sentence. The last couple of years, Covid and so on. How’s that been for WordPress in general? Everybody started staring at screens and looking at Zoom and, I feel that we were as prepared as an industry, as any. We got the zoom calls. We knew how to get the computer to do all those things. We had the mics, we had the cameras, but yet it wore pretty thin, after a period of time. And I wonder if the community, was sort of slowly leached away a little bit and I if there’s any of that.

[00:06:56] I don’t think in a way that was unique to WordPress. Like you said, we’re fortunate that we’ve always connected online. It’s a fairly positive community. People are very supportive of each other. Competitors grabbed dinner together. What we miss was definitely these events like what’s happening right now.

[00:07:11] It’s always been part of our magic sauce, secret sauce, if you will. Like we work remotely, but then when we get together, it makes it that much more special. And then more broadly, I think it’s just, you can’t ignore the impact all this has just had in people’s lives. And if there’s something going on in your life, you’re gonna have less energy for work or volunteering or other things.

[00:07:32] And certainly if it’s anything health related, right. All the priorities melt away, right? When you, or a loved one facing a health challenge. So I think that, so many parts of the world are back to normal or like nothing happened, but it’s easy to forget, like the vast human costs of what we’ve been through. And it’s still ongoing for many people.

[00:07:49] In terms of the contributions to the project, did that wick away? Is there the same engagement today, well, maybe let’s say three months ago, as there was two years ago, to core and all the other bits and pieces, or was that a struggle to keep going?

[00:08:07] I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but if I recall there was a boost at the beginning, when we’re stuck at home. And I think like, as people started returning, to normal life, it dipped a bit, which makes sense, right there probably like have saved up. I know I’ve been going to like a thousand weddings. It feels like everyone in the world is doing their wedding. So I think there’s just some natural time that goes back to life, which by the way is great, because then we’ll return to equilibrium there. If you looked at 6.0 though, amazing number of contributors, contributor day yesterday was way over populated.

[00:08:42] Yeah, it was so overpopulated, there was a struggle with food.

[00:08:44] We literally ran out of food and we always over half that. So I think that’s showing that there is a, um, to say WordPress can continue to serve the needs of the world and our community. There’s no reason for it to, uh, not continue to grow and get more involved. That flywheels, it gets more users, some percentage of those contribute. And then of course we have programs like five for the future. That I feel like every open source project should have, but it’s very mature in WordPress where it’s just a cultural mores of people, for whom they get a lot from WordPress, take a little bit of time to give back. And that again is part of it. It’s all the people at the end. I think I’m going to say that 10 times.

[00:09:22] No, it’s okay. I don’t know if you know, but apparently the two thousand seven hundred people who are registered, apparently 1,700 are brand new. Never been any WordPress event. About 60% of the people who are in this building have never been. So it feels if that was the thing it’s back in reverse.

[00:09:41] It makes me wonder what the 2022 WordCamp Europe would be without a global pandemic we are just are coming out of and like, kind of in, in many places still. So yeah, 2,700 that’s amazing.

[00:09:54] What do you think about events like this? It’s a generic question, but what are your thoughts? I mean, you’ve got such a different perspective, I guess, than somebody like me who turns up, attend events and go to people speaking and go to various different bits and pieces. What is this for you? Is it an enjoyable experience?

[00:10:11] I mean, that’s, that’s what I do too. You know, I’ll drop it in the back and check out talks. If for whatever reason not in the room often I’m live streaming them. I would say the difference for me is like, I leave a pretty under the radar life generally. It’s not like people recognize me or anything like that. But at WordCamps, definitely. So I go stopped sometimes every five feet, to take a picture or talk to people, but you know what, that’s kind of why I’m here too.

[00:10:40] Like if that’s a any way I can be of service to the community, sign me up for it.

[00:10:44] Maybe that was the target of the question. Is it a strange thing to drop into for a period of time where life generally is normal and then it’s extraordinary for a bit, and then it goes back to whatever the normal is.

[00:10:57] You know, I also just love talking about WordPress and technology. So I’m doing that for fun anyway. I’d say the main difference from my normal life is being recognized, which is just kind of a bizarre human experience. I never want to be actual, famous. Keep me out of the Daily Mail or The Post or whatever it is like. I’m happy to be well known among a community creating things like we do in WordPress.

[00:11:20] So yeah, that’s kind of fun. And also the to and from, because like all the restaurants around. The planes to and from the event. You’ll just run into people and, you know, I could take a hundred flights without anyone ever stopping me. Yeah, my backpack actually has the WordPress logo embroided on it, but it’s black on black, so it’s a little subtle.

[00:11:36] Normally no one recognizes. But often to or from a WordCamp, people will be like, oh, hey. But even I can go to WordCamps. I remember, often before WordCamp US, I’ll go to a bunch of the smaller ones. Just to kind of test out my material, like a comedian, playing smaller clubs before the big ones.

[00:11:51] I remember going to working at Scranton, I think it was. Uh, Pennsylvania. I forget where Scranton is, someplace, um, and smaller WordCamp, maybe 110 people, which are some of my favorites, but, you know, we sat down at the lunch. No one knows who I am. They’re like, what do you do? And then after my talk, they were like, oh wow.

[00:12:08] You’re like, you did that. And so it’s, it’s also fun to just kind of be like a secret shopper, if you will. Like often I’ll just sit down at random tables or go over to people. And, uh, again, like I said, I learn a ton, and sometimes when people don’t know who I am, I’m able to learn even more because they are more unguarded and more relaxed.

[00:12:26] These kinds of events feel to me almost like the glue that binds so much more together. These are three days where all sorts of new relationships are forged and old relationships are rekindled, and it feels like there’s been a great, big chasm. They’ve been missing. And, I’m just really glad they’re back.

[00:12:45] It’s funny, one of the things I’ve said that gets quoted the most, like on Instagram posts and stuff, is technology is best when it brings people together. And that really came out of the WordCamp experience. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and this is where I’d actually like to call out and thank the WordCamp Europe team.

[00:13:00] They really push the bar every year and raise it. Right. I have a little more involved with US. Every time Europe happens I’m like, man, we got to up our game. And I know it’s exhausting. Everyone like, you know, needs a break at the end. But wow. Really is one of the, I think one of the best contributions to the WordPress community.

[00:13:18] They’re all wearing black t-shirts and there’s black T-shirts everywhere. You know, there’s hundreds and hundreds of people who are giving up their time. And It’s amazing, you know, they’re doing it because they want to do it. There’s no coercion there. They’re really keen on the community and it’s this lovely.

[00:13:33] It’s a lot of fun too. Often my sister, she’s been to, I think, WordCamp US and Europe until this one. Unfortunately she tested positive before the flight, so she ended up staying home, wasn’t feeling well. But often she’ll volunteer at like the check-in stage or something like that. But she now loves it for the people, you know, like she’s a fan of mine obviously. We’re brother and sister for a long time, she has so many friends here now.

[00:13:56] I know for a fact that there’s people here just in the few people that I know who’ve brought their husband or wife and they’d just in, cause it’s a nice thing to do. Staring into the future, forever, it seems, the numbers for WordPress up, up, up, up, up, 25%, 40%, 43%, whatever it is. I think, you know where this is going.

[00:14:15] Recently, I don’t know how dubious the statistics are. There’s this possible leveling off. Is any of that of interest to you? Is growth the thing, or is it, is there something else? Are you thinking about that at any point? Does it worry you or give you pause for thought?

[00:14:31] I think growth is the result. So if we create something that’s accessible, well designed, solves people’s problems, we should grow. And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me when we don’t grow. That number is going to be a little wonky over the next year, year and a half, because as you’re probably aware, Alexa, the toolbar is shut down.

[00:14:51] So even though they’re still providing data, the W3Techs, that data is more stale than it used to be and will, I think degrade over time and eventually W3Techs are switching to a different data set. I forget which one it’s called. So I don’t know that off the top of my head, sorry, my computer’s over there, but on Built With, Built With is something else that indexes the whole web and says how many it is. We’ve generally talked about the W3Techs number, which I think got up to like 42 or 43% before it started to wobble a little bit. Built With had us at like 30 something percent. I think the answer is somewhere in between there.

[00:15:23] So I can see the W3Techs number coming down, maybe even 15 or 20%, uh, regardless of the actual underlying fundamentals of WordPress. And luckily we have some other of data that we get back, and the wordpress.org plugin directory from the update pings, things like that, that show the health of WordPress.

[00:15:40] Uh, so those are always what I look at as the leading metrics. So we keep an eye on those. If there were to see a big migration, we would definitely take a look at the why, and see if there’s something we can improve in the software. And then finally, I’m a little less worried least at the moment because I’d really like to switch Tumblr over to WordPress, which is, well half a billion blogs. There’s a lot of Tumblrs out there.

[00:16:03] And of course not all active, so it won’t move the number that much, but, yeah, a good amount. I’m very excited to bring that part of the web, which is so vibrant, has such a strong community and has a demographic, you know, younger, more female, than we might normally have at a WordPress event. Having it be like an on-ramp to the WordPress world.

[00:16:20] Some of the commentary around that, whatever that was, this leveling off, was around things like, well maybe WordPress, there’s a lot of work to do in terms of performance and things like that. And I know that there’s initiatives in place and things are being done. I just wondered if there was anything you had on that.

[00:16:38] I think we need to improve every single part of WordPress. And there was some performance data. I think is it, Alaine talked about today in his presentation? That shows that some WordPress sites are not as performant as some others. Now, the tough thing is I think you need to adjust to that per dollar.

[00:16:57] So, you know, comparing it to essentially a hosted platform, like Squarespace that people might be paying $25 a month. To a web host you might be paying like $4 a month for is not an apples to apples comparison. There’s going to be some performance differential there. And of course, one reason why so many people use WordPress, especially globally is the accessibility.

[00:17:16] The job that the web hosts do, making it extremely affordable. You know, the average Shopify subscriber spends $1,200 per year. Average WordPress subscriber, it’s, I don’t know cause it’s across so many hosts, it would be closer to like a hundred dollars a year, maybe even less when you look at like how reasonable a lot of these hosting plans are, but definitely anything we could do in Core is helpful.

[00:17:39] And it’s also part of why, I think part of the story of the past 10 years of WordPress has been our really close partnerships with all the hosts. So the auto upgrade almost every well, every major host upgrades by default. Getting them on the new PHP versions, which actually have huge performance increases. PHP seven doubles performance essentially. So helping them be on the edge of the technology adoption curve.

[00:18:01] But it’s not true, I’d strongly disagree that WordPress is slow. In fact, WordPress sites can be some of the fastest ones out there, but when you think of 40% of the web, a lot of them on less expensive hosting providers, it’s going to pull our overall numbers down. If you’re looking at all sites, not just the fastest ones.

[00:18:20] Gutenberg WordPress 5.0. At seminal moment, everything changed.

[00:18:25] Yeah. It was a good one.

[00:18:27] There’s been a lot, there’s been a lot that’s changed since then. I’m just wondering over the course of those, what is that? Three years, some, three years.

[00:18:34] Yeah, right about.

[00:18:35] How you feel that’s gone. was a messaging thing at the beginning, you know, how, how did it get rolled out. But it feels to me as if the people who are developing on top of it more and more and more. Are getting excited and the talk is more and more and more about the possibilities and what’s going to be possible. So just that really. Are you pleased with the direction it’s going in? Where we’re at now, full site editing, all of those, block themes.

[00:18:59] I’m pretty thrilled with it. Of course, I’m an impatient person. So I would love to move faster. But the truth is in 2022, if you’re not building a site on Gutenberg by default, you’re kind of setting it up for obsolescence or really expensive upgrade paths in the future. It is so capable. I think people underestimate how much you can do with Core blocks

[00:19:21] Like without adding any of these block ad-ons or anything. And yet also, that’s such a clear roadmap, so many improvements are coming in every release. It was just at 6.0. I’d like to move us to be more releases per year. You know, maybe we can get to four per year instead of three, but it’s coming along. I’m thrilled with it.

[00:19:37] And other CMSs are starting to copy it, and we’re getting Gutenberg and a lot more places too, which is also exciting. Um, Gutenberg is live for Tumblr by the way.

[00:19:47] Is the intention that it’s the editor for the web, basically.

[00:19:49] A hundred percent. It’s bigger than WordPress.

[00:19:51] It’ll be everywhere and ubiquitous. So on the phone and on the, whatever CMS that you’re using and the whole thing.

[00:19:58] Yeah. And there was this announcement for something called the block protocol, which I think, if you look at it, it’s exactly what we’ve been doing with Gutenberg and they probably should just adopt a Gutenberg and then like build from there.

[00:20:07] Yeah. That was a really interesting project. The idea that it’s completely interoperable across everything. Yeah. Really, really, really interesting.

[00:20:14] That’s what we’re doing. We have the mobile versions for iOS and Android. I believe we’re relicensing those right now to be even more open. So they’re easier to embed in commercial apps. And then of course the web version is getting pretty robust. And it’s just, it’s weird edge cases that you start to deal with.

[00:20:29] There was one I found the other day actually through a friend. This is why I love doing tech support and people talking to me about the problems with WordPress. I think it was copying and pasting from Facebook images. So they had a lot of their photos on Facebook and they would right click to click copy and paste and in Gutenberg, what it was doing was making that a link to the image, versus actually uploading the image. And so, because it was to like a private URL, it would break for other people. But it would look normal to that person.

[00:20:59] This was just a workflow no one has pointed out to us. It was like pretty easy to fix once we knew about it. But, it was interesting because one thing we do when something like that comes up is we look at other editors and see which other editors support that use case. Actually Google docs did. So at some point, Google docs figured this out, but a bunch of other editors did. Google docs is actually one of the software projects I repect the most.

[00:21:22] I entirely agree. I’m waiting for the day when, um, we can do the concurrent editing, that will be.

[00:21:26] Oh my goodness.

[00:21:27] It’s almost as if that’s the minimum requirement now. I’ve got so used to using Google docs and seeing the other people contributing at the same time. I remember the experience of seeing that for the first time and thinking what that’s voodoo.

[00:21:39] How, did that happen? But you you’re happy. You’re pleased with the development and you’re pleased with the way it’s looking?

[00:21:45] No, I’m impatient. I’m really proud of what we’ve done, but there’s so much more to do. And especially if we’re trying to make the editor for the entire web, it’s even bigger than WordPress. I think that’s going to have such a benefit, to both developments, like speed of development. It’s not unlike web components or other things like we’ll have these standard things everyone can use.

[00:22:06] And then there’s also usability because users will be able to learn how blocks work, once, and then create almost anything. Like how cool is that? It’s like a fundamental, literally fundamental building block of the web, almost like the DNA.

[00:22:17] I’m going to phrase this in a way which I suspect you’ll push back on, but let’s see where we go. The five for the future initiative. That would be so great if everybody was a part of that. And I wonder if you would like more people to be a part of that? Whether or not there’s some inertia.

[00:22:36] I’m struggling to find the words. The speed of everything could go more rapidly. Everything could happen more quickly. And that speaks to your impatience. If more people were able and willing to step up for that initiative.

[00:22:49] You know, I value even if people just have one hour, once a month. You know, five for the future isn’t meant to say you need to do 5% or nothing. It’s just meant to say that, Hey, if enough people do the 5%, WordPress will really thrive. But if not everyone does it, that’s okay too. In fact, you know, not everyone does it and doing pretty well.

[00:23:12] It’s funny cause contributing, it’s kind of hard to start and maybe it’s intimidating to think like, oh, do I take like two hours a week to be part of WordPress. 5% of a 40 hour week or something. But it’s hard to stop too. Once get involved, it’s infectious because it’s such a great way to learn.

[00:23:28] It’s really great to be connected to something larger than yourself. Do some work and then see the ripples throughout the web or throughout WordCamps. It’s really fun to like overhear someone talking about something at a WordCamp that you were involved in building or contributing to or documenting or translating.

[00:23:44] I dunno, it’s just like a source of pride. It’s kind of how I got involved. Like I contributed some code to B2 at the time and I just got such a high. From knowing that, you know, hundreds of websites were running my code, and I’ve just been chasing that ever since. Like it’s still compelling, even if it’s a plugin that only like 10 people use to like, you know, obviously any changes the Core go to a lot of the web. At any point it’s just kinda like leaving a dent in the universe, leaving the world a little bit better than you found it.

[00:24:10] It’s funny, you said the word proud, well you said pride and my question contains the word proud, and it is follows. What are the things, and you’ve covered this a little bit. But this doesn’t have to be the code, it doesn’t have to be the community, although maybe that is the bit. What are the bits that you’re most proud of? The bits that you look back and think I am so pleased that bit happened. And it could be a big thing, could be a tiny thing, but the bit that makes you internally smile.

[00:24:36] I’m really proud, to the extent WordPress, it can be a very welcoming place. We really strive to be inclusive, to bring folks from all over the world, all backgrounds. Now I’m sure there’s mistakes. I’m sure there’s things that happen at WordCamps sometimes, but like we correct that and the norm of the community is expecting to make someone feel welcome. Yeah, I really appreciate that. I mean you look around WordCamp, could not be a more different group of folks.

[00:25:03] Yeah, that’s true. They’re an interesting, there’s an eclectic mix of people up there.

[00:25:08] Oh my goodness, even it just like fashion styles or like you know, like hairstyles, styles, ages, colors, everything. And how beautiful that? That we can come together with a shared passion, communicate with each other as humans. Every person is unique. You’re not what it says on your badge or where you work. It’s really about connecting as humans and that’s, to me, what’s great about blogging. It’s about, what’s great about the open web. It’s recognizing the beauty, brilliance and uniqueness of every person.

[00:25:37] How do you manage your time? Because I know that you’ve got more things than I’m doing. Let’s put it that way. You’ve got Tumblr, you’ve got WordPress. Where does it all fit in? Do you like a run a regular week? Are you a 40 hour a week person? Do you tend to work late into the evening or?

[00:25:53] I guess there’s multiple levels to answer that. Where I’m spending my time in terms of all the projects that are going on, is kinda like rotations. Like often I’ll move into something, spend a lot of time there and then I’ll drift back out once, you know, whatever I was coming in for has changed. Probably a good example of that recently was Gutenberg.

[00:26:16] So that’s one took a more active role and kind of release lead, the driving, the getting that happening. Even like the product itself. And then as that really got great you know, 5.1, 5.2, able to step back and allow others to like take a more active role and leading that or driving that. Tumblr’s is a good example.

[00:26:38] Like, you know, stepping into it for a bit. I hope to be able to pass it to someone in the future and say like, take this, keep it going. It’s going great. And so that’s kind of how the projects do. And then personally, I just try to manage my energy, to match that to the tasks that are happening.

[00:26:53] Unfortunately, I work very strange hours sometimes, and, I just try to capture, like, if I get a burst of inspiration late at night to write something or, feeling really engaged, we’re in the mood for like doing communication stuff versus like I’m in the mood for reading, whatever that is, and run with it. Versus trying to say like, every morning I’m going to do this. Some mornings I’m tired. Some mornings, you know, maybe I’m feeling a little more burnt out. And so, like, I don’t feel that sort of creative spark to, to write a thousand words, but it might be easier to catch up on some P2 posts. Catch up on the Slacks.

[00:27:26] It sounds like you take care of yourself. You take time to step away and, I came in here you were listening to jazz music, which was quite nice sort of background. But, you know, you take time to do all of that. And have you always coped with pressure well, because I’m guessing there’s a fair amount of pressure your life, yet you always have this fairly serene composure to you.

[00:27:46] I guess what a lot of people think is pressure doesn’t bother me very much, because you know, I feel like you should worry about the things you can change. So if you know, we got to note your biggest client is leaving you, they’ve already made up their mind. You can’t do anything. It’s like okay. Like learn from it, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Like suffer once. Like so often we suffer more, this is a quote, we suffer more in our heads than we do in reality, either for imagined things which is anxiety. Reliving the past, or just kind of beating ourselves up for something. And so it’s better to just recognize reality. Acknowledge it, learn from it, get as much information as possible, but then what’s next?

[00:28:27] Where it definitely hits me harder is when there’s something you can’t change, with a loved one, you know, like someone passing, getting sick, those things hit me really hard. That’s probably the place where, when that happens, I have to step away for a bit. Just kind of recharge or get in nature, hydrate, make sure I’m sleeping well. Those things are tough for, I think everyone, but the calmness that happens in normal, like code or business or whatever it is that normally would stress me out. Those are bigger.

[00:28:59] There’s this phrase, I’ve written it down here. Benevolent dictator for life. Benevolent is such a nice word. It’s great. Everybody loves benevolent. Dictator, maybe that’s a different thing.

[00:29:10] I feel like that branding’s a little less good recently.

[00:29:13] But, we all know what that means? Do you plan to be here in several years time? Would you love still to be at the helm of WordPress? Is this going to be the life for Matt Mullenweg for the foreseeable future?

[00:29:26] Yeah, three out of those four words are millions to. I hope to be of service to the WordPress community, benevolently. That’s always something I will do my best. I always say I’m human. I’m going to make mistakes. We’re going to mess up That’s the only thing I can a hundred percent promise. But we’ll try to learn from them.

[00:29:41] Try to course correct and be right more often than not. And then the, for life. Yeah, a hundred percent. Like it’s been 19 years. I think because WordPress changes so much, I’m never bored of it. You know, it’s like one of these things that you know when WordPress launched, javascript was called DHTML. It wasn’t really common. There was no iPhone. like that. Everything has changed so much and it still is. You know, it’s hard to imagine looking from 2003 to now, how much things have changed looking forward another 19 years to that would be 2041 or something. Like what will be enabled? And in technology, and don’t know if you’ve seen things like the open AI projects, like GPT3 or DALL-E, like utterly astounding,

[00:30:25] I find it a bit scary. Aspects of that worry me. The aspects I think that worry me are the loss of control and that, at some point we’re going to just be creating 10,000 word articles. So the bot creates the article, which is then read by the Google bot. The cyclical creation of things.

[00:30:44] And also the destabilization of the belief in what your eyes tell you. You know, you see a picture of some famous person allegedly doing something, which they never did, but somebody created it with a click of a button. Those pieces worry me. So you sound much more sanguine about it.

[00:30:59] I’m pretty excited. The text side is interesting, but I’m actually really excited by the image creation, not the deep fakes, but more like DALL-E, you can give a prompt. Like I want to see a spaceship cat eating ice cream, while riding a bike.

[00:31:17] That’s the one everybody’s going to say.

[00:31:18] And this image has never existed humanity. Yet you can speak your words and it will be created. And it will create like 15 of them. And some of them are weird, but some of them are incredible. And you can say, do it in the style of Salvador Dali, or do it like a Monet painting. Or do it like an illustration. Like that is unlocking that kind of co-creation of art, I find so compelling because that’s essentially, when technology creates things we can’t expect that hypercharged creativity.

[00:31:50] So even when you imagine, when we moved from drumming and using our voices instruments to having, the creation of the first instruments, whether they were stringed instruments, lutes, organs where the most sophisticated technology at a time. Today, the way we can use synthesizers and remix things and multiple tracks. I’m sure it’s certain points, and I’m sure there’s examples of this creating bad art. You have to make a lot of terrible art to get to the good art.

[00:32:13] The boundary comes down, doesn’t it? You don’t need to have that dexterity with the pencil or the pen, the paint brush or whatever it is. You have to have the vocabulary to describe it.

[00:32:22] There’s an art to that too, like. I feel like there’s a skill to doing a good Google searches, like crafting the search term in a way that helps you find what you want. And we kind of co-learn with it. There’s a feedback loop. You put in a search, you don’t find what you want, and you start to tweak it and you learn.

[00:32:38] I think that the sort of generative art tools like a Dali are the same way. I think Mind Journey is another one. You can go through and feed in some texts and then see what happens. And then like keep going. I mean, how cool would that be. Actually for Tavern, I would love for you to see you all use it more, like, make some, more like Mine Journey or DALL-E type images?

[00:32:56] that then leads me to the question about AI creation of websites. So, do you want a future where you build the website with that kind of an interface? So I would like a website that’s to do with volcanoes and I would like a picture of a volcano at the top. No, not that one. Slightly more fiery. And can we have a button, but no, no red, not blue. Wider. Yeah, no stop there. So that kind of an interface. So we drop the mouse and we describe the website and move the components with our voice, or whatever we’re using, maybe we’re plugged point.

[00:33:28] And how powerful are blocks for that? Right, so we’re creating the sort of raw ingredients that could be used. I used to not believe this stuff would happen. But it’s gotten so great. If you’ve seen Codepilot, Codepilot on Github, or some of the stuff that GPT3 can do around like interface creation or even app creation. It’s fairly powerful.

[00:33:49] We’re going to have much better machine learning models around translation of languages. I think we’ll get to a point, you know, we’ve always joked, like will WordPress ever be written in something other than PHP? I think we’ll have translators over the next five to 10 years, that could take something as complex as a WordPress and translate the code to another language and it’ll work.

[00:34:08] Right, because essentially that’s, what’s happening. All these languages go to a bytecode or some sort of something much closer to the wire. So once a computer can truly deeply understand what’s happening in the code and find the equivalents in another language, right?

[00:34:22] You’re close to just thinking a website into creation at that point, aren’t you? The boundary is, can you imagine, and if you can imagine an elucidate it, then you’ve done it.

[00:34:32] And think how much creativity has been unlocked by things like Photoshop or Illustrator or the pen for the iPad anything. Like you put these things in front of a child, they just start producing.

[00:34:42] Oh, immediately. That’s interesting.

[00:34:44] And that’s, that’s cool, right? And so it kind of comes back to what’s what’s the limits of human imagination and a little bit, our limits are what we’ve experienced so far. So there’s this idea of adjacent possibilities. That whatever’s going on in the world, people consume, and then that gives them the ideas for what’s next. But you need the previous stuff to exist first. Right? We build on the, we stand on the shoulders of giants and every generation that’s come before. And now with global communication, everything, a cycle of that feedback loop of new things happening and then spreading throughout the culture.

[00:35:19] I mean, used to take hundreds of years. There’s examples where they knew that scurvy was caused by lack of vitamin C like hundreds of years before it was kind of widely known knowledge. And. You know, they can sequence a novel coronavirus, create the vaccine, literally within like a day, the sequencing being available. What was it, a year and a half later? Like there’s a billion doses in people’s arms.

[00:35:45] The impediment was the testing, not the creation.

[00:35:47] Wow. Even making a billion of something in like a little over a year is kinda wild as well. So that is, think of it both a faster kind of clock speed for the evolution of culture and thought and knowledge that’s enabled, and also hopefully faster antibodies, both literal and societal to things that can cause harm.

[00:36:11] You know, I don’t think it’s, it’s a stretch to think of misinformation, disinformation, you know, sort of the information wars that are happening right now, both hot and cold throughout, um, authoritarian and more democratic regimes as a type of pathogen. Almost like a novel mean virus or idea virus, which right now we’re not very strong against, but we’re starting to develop the antibodies too, including things like detecting bots and coordinated inauthentic behavior.

[00:36:37] That right now I think is causing a lot of problems throughout society. but we’ll get better at figuring that out.

[00:36:44] It’s fascinating because I think technology can take you in one of two directions, you know, the, the apocalyptic version and then the sort of, desirable, let’s say that. And it feels to me that you are ,firmly on the desirable side. You’ve got a very positive approach that the technology in the future doesn’t worry you.

[00:37:03] It’s not that it doesn’t worry me. It’s just I’m a builder. So I need to choose that I’m going to work on.

[00:37:07] Yeah, sadly, my

[00:37:08] work on the things that things better.

[00:37:10] My vocabulary left me at that point.

[00:37:12] Techno optimist, maybe. Yes. Like, uh, I would say that I tend towards optimism and the thing that gives me that optimism is often deeply engaging with a criticism of it.

[00:37:23] So I want to really strongly understand, be able to make the argument for why all the things I just talked about are going to destroy society. But then once you understand that, how can we build it or how can we do it in a way that’s going to be more positive. And also how can we check our assumptions? Like if we look back, to what we thought was going to ruin society before, did it?

[00:37:43] It’s funny, there’s a, gosh, I forget the name of the account, but it just pulls up old criticisms of the technology. And there was one that showed a subway, and everyone’s, um, reading a newspaper? They’re like, oh, what’s happened to society, people used to talk on the subway, they used to engage with each other. Now just the heads are all buried.

[00:38:00] Of course Gutenberg, you know, the original, uh, needs to read it’s, you know, it’s dangerous.

[00:38:08] And it turns out that it was dangerous, like wow. Protestant, like, how much change that kicked off, but it was really about knowledge is power. It was about the distribution of a more wider distribution of knowledge and opportunity. And that shook up society. But you know what? I needed to be shooken up.

[00:38:25] It’s the message. Maybe this is the perfect point to end?

[00:38:27] That’s what WordPress shakes up, you know? So we take things that, by the way, equivalent to what WordPress does for free, 10 years ago, you’d pay like millions of dollars a site core or Magento or something like that to do it, which now like you can download WooCommerce and it does everything that did and way more.

[00:38:45] So we’re kind of taking, I sometimes make the analogy that we have a promethean task, climb mountain, take the fire from the gods and then bring it to the people. As we do that, sometimes it generates a lot of blow back. You know, if you recall a really big criticism of Gutenberg early on was that it was going to destroy agencies and web builders.

[00:39:05] People would just be able to build their sites themselves. They would lose all their business, everything like that. As you walk around WordCamp ask anyone who’s building websites, like, do you have more business or less business? How’s it going? I’m sure there’s some exceptions, but by and large, the businesses are larger than ever.

[00:39:19] They’re growing faster. Site builders doing fine, the themes that are like, you know, there’s going to be some changes, right? Some of us might be making horse buggies, and those might not be as in demand in the future, but you can also like shift and it’s kind of cool. I have people tell me that they’re way more profitable now because they can build things in Gutenberg that they used to have to code custom. So even though they could code a custom, they can just click some buttons and build a site and be done so they can now do more of them. How cool is that?

[00:39:45] So the change definitely disrupts things. It can definitely be sometimes rocky, but ultimately, if you embrace the change and you sort of work from your principles and your morals to be on the right side of history, it can be incredibly empowering. Matt Mullenweg, thank you for talking to me today. Thank you. Thanks for coming.

WPTavern: #30 – Matt Mullenweg on the Future of Technology and Where WordPress Fits In

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 14:00

On the podcast today we have Matt Mullenweg.

Matt is the co-founder of WordPress, and as a result, he has been a user for as long as anyone.

We recorded this podcast whilst at WordCamp Europe in Portugal a couple of weeks ago. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, covering a lot of ground. 

We start out with Matt’s reflections of WordPress at 19 years old. Which aspects of the project would he change if he had his time over, and which parts is he proud of?

Did Covid, and the restrictions around community events, have an impact upon the project, given that much of the time dedicated to WordPress is done by volunteers? What lessons have we learned about events like WordCamp Europe?

In recent news, and for the first time, there’s some data pointing to the fact that WordPress’ market share might have flattened out. Is this a cause for concern?

Where are we at with WordPress right now, given that it’s changing the scope of what non-technical users can do with it out of the box?

We then get into some more personal matters, including how Matt manages his time over the variety of projects he’s involved with, and does he regard advances in artificial intelligence as always positive?

You might notice that the sound is a little patchy in places. This was a function of the environment we were in. There’s a few booms on the mic here and there, but it’s certainly listenable.

Useful links.

Five for the future

DALL·E: Creating Images from Text

OpenAI

Transcript

[00:00:00] 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, the place of WordPress in the technology landscape.

[00:00:38] If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or go to WP Tavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players as well. If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast well I’m very keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea featured on the show. Head to WP Tavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the contact form there.

[00:01:13] So on the podcast today. We have Matt Mullenweg. Matt is the co-founder of WordPress. And as a result, he’s been a user of WordPress for as long as anybody. We recorded this podcast while at WordCamp Europe in Portugal, a couple of weeks ago. It’s a wide ranging discussion, covering a lot of ground.

[00:01:41] We start out with Matt’s reflections of WordPress at 19 years old. Which aspects of the project would he change if he had his time over and which parts is he proud of? Did Covid, and the restrictions around community events, have an impact upon the project, given that much of the time dedicated to WordPress is done by volunteers? What lessons have we learned about events like WordCamp Europe?

[00:02:08] In recent news, and for the first time, there’s been some data pointing to the fact that WordPress’ market share might have flattened out. Is this a cause for concern?

[00:02:20] Where are we at with WordPress right now, given that it’s changing the scope of what non-technical users can do with it out of the box.

[00:02:30] We then get into some more personal matters, including how Matt manages his time over the variety of projects he’s involved with. And does he regard advances in artificial intelligence as always positive?

[00:02:43] You might notice that the sound is a bit patchy in places. This was a function of the environment we were in. There’s a few booms on the mic here and there, but it’s certainly listenable. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WP tavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

[00:03:07] And so without further delay, I bring you Matt Mullenweg.

[00:03:17] I am joined on the podcast today by Matt Mullenweg. Hello Matt.

[00:03:22] Howdy, good to see you.

[00:03:23] Yeah. They’re really nice to see you.

[00:03:25] As far as I’m aware, you’re one of two people who can claim to go all the way back with WordPress. And it’s been just last week, 19 years, I think.

[00:03:35] Yeah, that was a pretty exciting anniversary.

[00:03:37] Yeah, does that kind of stuff fill you with nostalgia? Do you sort of look back and think, wow, what a journey this has been? Or are always focusing on the future?

[00:03:45] You know, I am very future-focused personally, but it’s partially because I have a terrible memory. No really. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging. I learned a lot from the archives of my blog that I forgot. It’s also why I’m not too attached to like, arguing about the past. It’s like, you remember it differently. It’s fine. I’ll even go with your version, but what’s happening next? What are we doing in the future? And I try to live my life primarily oriented towards moving forward.

[00:04:12] The reason I laughed is because I’m exactly the same. I more or less everything that happened 30 minutes ago. But looking back over those 19 years, what would be some of the highlights? So I’m forcing you to be nostalgic.

[00:04:25] Hm. You know to me, it’s all about the people. Like we created lots of great stuff together, and still are. And so there’s definitely things like the first plugins, the first themes, the first international versions of WordPress with the Wiziwig coming in, which was quite controversial. And then Gutenberg coming in, which is quite controversial.

[00:04:46] That’s part of why I dipped back into more active WordPress stuff day to day for a while there. But, I really think of the people. From the early folks like Mike Little, some who’ve passed away like Alex King. To the incredible array of people we have here today.

[00:05:00] And my favorite part about WordCamps, what I miss the most was just meeting folks. Reconnecting with people who I’ve seen before, or just meeting people who, lives have been touched by WordPress in some way. And I’ve never, we’ve never run into each other before. I really enjoy that side of it. I learn a lot too. So it actually is very helpful for me in terms of thinking about the roadmap for WordPress. Just the stories. I hear, the things I see in the booths, the talks that happen. I definitely learn a ton from it.

[00:05:29] Staying on nostalgic thing, are there any bits which you think, I wish it had played out differently, bits where you look back and you think, oh, WordPress could have gone in that direction, or there was a moment in time where we could have done this, and we we didn’t do that?

[00:05:40] Hmm. Probably would have left the Rest API as a plugin, or maybe skipped straight to GraphQL or something. We did need to support all the feeds other than RSS2. We probably didn’t need all the others. Gosh, what else? I definitely, if I could go back to the very early days, we’ve always been really big on backwards compatibility.

[00:06:00] And so there’s a few database tables that are just inconsistent in their namings, you know, as capital ID or something like that. Going all the way back to the B2 days, even before WordPress. So I kind of wish we had just renamed some of those early, actually it might be easier to do it now because no one accesses those tables directly anymore, but some of those minor things kinda.

[00:06:18] I’d say broadly on the whole year you got it fairly right? I’m staying on the nostalgic bit, but this is the last couple of years. I mean, everybody knows what I mean by that sentence. The last couple of years, Covid and so on. How’s that been for WordPress in general? Everybody started staring at screens and looking at Zoom and, I feel that we were as prepared as an industry, as any. We got the zoom calls. We knew how to get the computer to do all those things. We had the mics, we had the cameras, but yet it wore pretty thin, after a period of time. And I wonder if the community, was sort of slowly leached away a little bit and I if there’s any of that.

[00:06:56] I don’t think in a way that was unique to WordPress. Like you said, we’re fortunate that we’ve always connected online. It’s a fairly positive community. People are very supportive of each other. Competitors grabbed dinner together. What we miss was definitely these events like what’s happening right now.

[00:07:11] It’s always been part of our magic sauce, secret sauce, if you will. Like we work remotely, but then when we get together, it makes it that much more special. And then more broadly, I think it’s just, you can’t ignore the impact all this has just had in people’s lives. And if there’s something going on in your life, you’re gonna have less energy for work or volunteering or other things.

[00:07:32] And certainly if it’s anything health related, right. All the priorities melt away, right? When you, or a loved one facing a health challenge. So I think that, so many parts of the world are back to normal or like nothing happened, but it’s easy to forget, like the vast human costs of what we’ve been through. And it’s still ongoing for many people.

[00:07:49] In terms of the contributions to the project, did that wick away? Is there the same engagement today, well, maybe let’s say three months ago, as there was two years ago, to core and all the other bits and pieces, or was that a struggle to keep going?

[00:08:07] I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but if I recall there was a boost at the beginning, when we’re stuck at home. And I think like, as people started returning, to normal life, it dipped a bit, which makes sense, right there probably like have saved up. I know I’ve been going to like a thousand weddings. It feels like everyone in the world is doing their wedding. So I think there’s just some natural time that goes back to life, which by the way is great, because then we’ll return to equilibrium there. If you looked at 6.0 though, amazing number of contributors, contributor day yesterday was way over populated.

[00:08:42] Yeah, it was so overpopulated, there was a struggle with food.

[00:08:44] We literally ran out of food and we always over half that. So I think that’s showing that there is a, um, to say WordPress can continue to serve the needs of the world and our community. There’s no reason for it to, uh, not continue to grow and get more involved. That flywheels, it gets more users, some percentage of those contribute. And then of course we have programs like five for the future. That I feel like every open source project should have, but it’s very mature in WordPress where it’s just a cultural mores of people, for whom they get a lot from WordPress, take a little bit of time to give back. And that again is part of it. It’s all the people at the end. I think I’m going to say that 10 times.

[00:09:22] No, it’s okay. I don’t know if you know, but apparently the two thousand seven hundred people who are registered, apparently 1,700 are brand new. Never been any WordPress event. About 60% of the people who are in this building have never been. So it feels if that was the thing it’s back in reverse.

[00:09:41] It makes me wonder what the 2022 WordCamp Europe would be without a global pandemic we are just are coming out of and like, kind of in, in many places still. So yeah, 2,700 that’s amazing.

[00:09:54] What do you think about events like this? It’s a generic question, but what are your thoughts? I mean, you’ve got such a different perspective, I guess, than somebody like me who turns up, attend events and go to people speaking and go to various different bits and pieces. What is this for you? Is it an enjoyable experience?

[00:10:11] I mean, that’s, that’s what I do too. You know, I’ll drop it in the back and check out talks. If for whatever reason not in the room often I’m live streaming them. I would say the difference for me is like, I leave a pretty under the radar life generally. It’s not like people recognize me or anything like that. But at WordCamps, definitely. So I go stopped sometimes every five feet, to take a picture or talk to people, but you know what, that’s kind of why I’m here too.

[00:10:40] Like if that’s a any way I can be of service to the community, sign me up for it.

[00:10:44] Maybe that was the target of the question. Is it a strange thing to drop into for a period of time where life generally is normal and then it’s extraordinary for a bit, and then it goes back to whatever the normal is.

[00:10:57] You know, I also just love talking about WordPress and technology. So I’m doing that for fun anyway. I’d say the main difference from my normal life is being recognized, which is just kind of a bizarre human experience. I never want to be actual, famous. Keep me out of the Daily Mail or The Post or whatever it is like. I’m happy to be well known among a community creating things like we do in WordPress.

[00:11:20] So yeah, that’s kind of fun. And also the to and from, because like all the restaurants around. The planes to and from the event. You’ll just run into people and, you know, I could take a hundred flights without anyone ever stopping me. Yeah, my backpack actually has the WordPress logo embroided on it, but it’s black on black, so it’s a little subtle.

[00:11:36] Normally no one recognizes. But often to or from a WordCamp, people will be like, oh, hey. But even I can go to WordCamps. I remember, often before WordCamp US, I’ll go to a bunch of the smaller ones. Just to kind of test out my material, like a comedian, playing smaller clubs before the big ones.

[00:11:51] I remember going to working at Scranton, I think it was. Uh, Pennsylvania. I forget where Scranton is, someplace, um, and smaller WordCamp, maybe 110 people, which are some of my favorites, but, you know, we sat down at the lunch. No one knows who I am. They’re like, what do you do? And then after my talk, they were like, oh wow.

[00:12:08] You’re like, you did that. And so it’s, it’s also fun to just kind of be like a secret shopper, if you will. Like often I’ll just sit down at random tables or go over to people. And, uh, again, like I said, I learn a ton, and sometimes when people don’t know who I am, I’m able to learn even more because they are more unguarded and more relaxed.

[00:12:26] These kinds of events feel to me almost like the glue that binds so much more together. These are three days where all sorts of new relationships are forged and old relationships are rekindled, and it feels like there’s been a great, big chasm. They’ve been missing. And, I’m just really glad they’re back.

[00:12:45] It’s funny, one of the things I’ve said that gets quoted the most, like on Instagram posts and stuff, is technology is best when it brings people together. And that really came out of the WordCamp experience. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and this is where I’d actually like to call out and thank the WordCamp Europe team.

[00:13:00] They really push the bar every year and raise it. Right. I have a little more involved with US. Every time Europe happens I’m like, man, we got to up our game. And I know it’s exhausting. Everyone like, you know, needs a break at the end. But wow. Really is one of the, I think one of the best contributions to the WordPress community.

[00:13:18] They’re all wearing black t-shirts and there’s black T-shirts everywhere. You know, there’s hundreds and hundreds of people who are giving up their time. And It’s amazing, you know, they’re doing it because they want to do it. There’s no coercion there. They’re really keen on the community and it’s this lovely.

[00:13:33] It’s a lot of fun too. Often my sister, she’s been to, I think, WordCamp US and Europe until this one. Unfortunately she tested positive before the flight, so she ended up staying home, wasn’t feeling well. But often she’ll volunteer at like the check-in stage or something like that. But she now loves it for the people, you know, like she’s a fan of mine obviously. We’re brother and sister for a long time, she has so many friends here now.

[00:13:56] I know for a fact that there’s people here just in the few people that I know who’ve brought their husband or wife and they’d just in, cause it’s a nice thing to do. Staring into the future, forever, it seems, the numbers for WordPress up, up, up, up, up, 25%, 40%, 43%, whatever it is. I think, you know where this is going.

[00:14:15] Recently, I don’t know how dubious the statistics are. There’s this possible leveling off. Is any of that of interest to you? Is growth the thing, or is it, is there something else? Are you thinking about that at any point? Does it worry you or give you pause for thought?

[00:14:31] I think growth is the result. So if we create something that’s accessible, well designed, solves people’s problems, we should grow. And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me when we don’t grow. That number is going to be a little wonky over the next year, year and a half, because as you’re probably aware, Alexa, the toolbar is shut down.

[00:14:51] So even though they’re still providing data, the W3Techs, that data is more stale than it used to be and will, I think degrade over time and eventually W3Techs are switching to a different data set. I forget which one it’s called. So I don’t know that off the top of my head, sorry, my computer’s over there, but on Built With, Built With is something else that indexes the whole web and says how many it is. We’ve generally talked about the W3Techs number, which I think got up to like 42 or 43% before it started to wobble a little bit. Built With had us at like 30 something percent. I think the answer is somewhere in between there.

[00:15:23] So I can see the W3Techs number coming down, maybe even 15 or 20%, uh, regardless of the actual underlying fundamentals of WordPress. And luckily we have some other of data that we get back, and the wordpress.org plugin directory from the update pings, things like that, that show the health of WordPress.

[00:15:40] Uh, so those are always what I look at as the leading metrics. So we keep an eye on those. If there were to see a big migration, we would definitely take a look at the why, and see if there’s something we can improve in the software. And then finally, I’m a little less worried least at the moment because I’d really like to switch Tumblr over to WordPress, which is, well half a billion blogs. There’s a lot of Tumblrs out there.

[00:16:03] And of course not all active, so it won’t move the number that much, but, yeah, a good amount. I’m very excited to bring that part of the web, which is so vibrant, has such a strong community and has a demographic, you know, younger, more female, than we might normally have at a WordPress event. Having it be like an on-ramp to the WordPress world.

[00:16:20] Some of the commentary around that, whatever that was, this leveling off, was around things like, well maybe WordPress, there’s a lot of work to do in terms of performance and things like that. And I know that there’s initiatives in place and things are being done. I just wondered if there was anything you had on that.

[00:16:38] I think we need to improve every single part of WordPress. And there was some performance data. I think is it, Alaine talked about today in his presentation? That shows that some WordPress sites are not as performant as some others. Now, the tough thing is I think you need to adjust to that per dollar.

[00:16:57] So, you know, comparing it to essentially a hosted platform, like Squarespace that people might be paying $25 a month. To a web host you might be paying like $4 a month for is not an apples to apples comparison. There’s going to be some performance differential there. And of course, one reason why so many people use WordPress, especially globally is the accessibility.

[00:17:16] The job that the web hosts do, making it extremely affordable. You know, the average Shopify subscriber spends $1,200 per year. Average WordPress subscriber, it’s, I don’t know cause it’s across so many hosts, it would be closer to like a hundred dollars a year, maybe even less when you look at like how reasonable a lot of these hosting plans are, but definitely anything we could do in Core is helpful.

[00:17:39] And it’s also part of why, I think part of the story of the past 10 years of WordPress has been our really close partnerships with all the hosts. So the auto upgrade almost every well, every major host upgrades by default. Getting them on the new PHP versions, which actually have huge performance increases. PHP seven doubles performance essentially. So helping them be on the edge of the technology adoption curve.

[00:18:01] But it’s not true, I’d strongly disagree that WordPress is slow. In fact, WordPress sites can be some of the fastest ones out there, but when you think of 40% of the web, a lot of them on less expensive hosting providers, it’s going to pull our overall numbers down. If you’re looking at all sites, not just the fastest ones.

[00:18:20] Gutenberg WordPress 5.0. At seminal moment, everything changed.

[00:18:25] Yeah. It was a good one.

[00:18:27] There’s been a lot, there’s been a lot that’s changed since then. I’m just wondering over the course of those, what is that? Three years, some, three years.

[00:18:34] Yeah, right about.

[00:18:35] How you feel that’s gone. was a messaging thing at the beginning, you know, how, how did it get rolled out. But it feels to me as if the people who are developing on top of it more and more and more. Are getting excited and the talk is more and more and more about the possibilities and what’s going to be possible. So just that really. Are you pleased with the direction it’s going in? Where we’re at now, full site editing, all of those, block themes.

[00:18:59] I’m pretty thrilled with it. Of course, I’m an impatient person. So I would love to move faster. But the truth is in 2022, if you’re not building a site on Gutenberg by default, you’re kind of setting it up for obsolescence or really expensive upgrade paths in the future. It is so capable. I think people underestimate how much you can do with Core blocks

[00:19:21] Like without adding any of these block ad-ons or anything. And yet also, that’s such a clear roadmap, so many improvements are coming in every release. It was just at 6.0. I’d like to move us to be more releases per year. You know, maybe we can get to four per year instead of three, but it’s coming along. I’m thrilled with it.

[00:19:37] And other CMSs are starting to copy it, and we’re getting Gutenberg and a lot more places too, which is also exciting. Um, Gutenberg is live for Tumblr by the way.

[00:19:47] Is the intention that it’s the editor for the web, basically.

[00:19:49] A hundred percent. It’s bigger than WordPress.

[00:19:51] It’ll be everywhere and ubiquitous. So on the phone and on the, whatever CMS that you’re using and the whole thing.

[00:19:58] Yeah. And there was this announcement for something called the block protocol, which I think, if you look at it, it’s exactly what we’ve been doing with Gutenberg and they probably should just adopt a Gutenberg and then like build from there.

[00:20:07] Yeah. That was a really interesting project. The idea that it’s completely interoperable across everything. Yeah. Really, really, really interesting.

[00:20:14] That’s what we’re doing. We have the mobile versions for iOS and Android. I believe we’re relicensing those right now to be even more open. So they’re easier to embed in commercial apps. And then of course the web version is getting pretty robust. And it’s just, it’s weird edge cases that you start to deal with.

[00:20:29] There was one I found the other day actually through a friend. This is why I love doing tech support and people talking to me about the problems with WordPress. I think it was copying and pasting from Facebook images. So they had a lot of their photos on Facebook and they would right click to click copy and paste and in Gutenberg, what it was doing was making that a link to the image, versus actually uploading the image. And so, because it was to like a private URL, it would break for other people. But it would look normal to that person.

[00:20:59] This was just a workflow no one has pointed out to us. It was like pretty easy to fix once we knew about it. But, it was interesting because one thing we do when something like that comes up is we look at other editors and see which other editors support that use case. Actually Google docs did. So at some point, Google docs figured this out, but a bunch of other editors did. Google docs is actually one of the software projects I repect the most.

[00:21:22] I entirely agree. I’m waiting for the day when, um, we can do the concurrent editing, that will be.

[00:21:26] Oh my goodness.

[00:21:27] It’s almost as if that’s the minimum requirement now. I’ve got so used to using Google docs and seeing the other people contributing at the same time. I remember the experience of seeing that for the first time and thinking what that’s voodoo.

[00:21:39] How, did that happen? But you you’re happy. You’re pleased with the development and you’re pleased with the way it’s looking?

[00:21:45] No, I’m impatient. I’m really proud of what we’ve done, but there’s so much more to do. And especially if we’re trying to make the editor for the entire web, it’s even bigger than WordPress. I think that’s going to have such a benefit, to both developments, like speed of development. It’s not unlike web components or other things like we’ll have these standard things everyone can use.

[00:22:06] And then there’s also usability because users will be able to learn how blocks work, once, and then create almost anything. Like how cool is that? It’s like a fundamental, literally fundamental building block of the web, almost like the DNA.

[00:22:17] I’m going to phrase this in a way which I suspect you’ll push back on, but let’s see where we go. The five for the future initiative. That would be so great if everybody was a part of that. And I wonder if you would like more people to be a part of that? Whether or not there’s some inertia.

[00:22:36] I’m struggling to find the words. The speed of everything could go more rapidly. Everything could happen more quickly. And that speaks to your impatience. If more people were able and willing to step up for that initiative.

[00:22:49] You know, I value even if people just have one hour, once a month. You know, five for the future isn’t meant to say you need to do 5% or nothing. It’s just meant to say that, Hey, if enough people do the 5%, WordPress will really thrive. But if not everyone does it, that’s okay too. In fact, you know, not everyone does it and doing pretty well.

[00:23:12] It’s funny cause contributing, it’s kind of hard to start and maybe it’s intimidating to think like, oh, do I take like two hours a week to be part of WordPress. 5% of a 40 hour week or something. But it’s hard to stop too. Once get involved, it’s infectious because it’s such a great way to learn.

[00:23:28] It’s really great to be connected to something larger than yourself. Do some work and then see the ripples throughout the web or throughout WordCamps. It’s really fun to like overhear someone talking about something at a WordCamp that you were involved in building or contributing to or documenting or translating.

[00:23:44] I dunno, it’s just like a source of pride. It’s kind of how I got involved. Like I contributed some code to B2 at the time and I just got such a high. From knowing that, you know, hundreds of websites were running my code, and I’ve just been chasing that ever since. Like it’s still compelling, even if it’s a plugin that only like 10 people use to like, you know, obviously any changes the Core go to a lot of the web. At any point it’s just kinda like leaving a dent in the universe, leaving the world a little bit better than you found it.

[00:24:10] It’s funny, you said the word proud, well you said pride and my question contains the word proud, and it is follows. What are the things, and you’ve covered this a little bit. But this doesn’t have to be the code, it doesn’t have to be the community, although maybe that is the bit. What are the bits that you’re most proud of? The bits that you look back and think I am so pleased that bit happened. And it could be a big thing, could be a tiny thing, but the bit that makes you internally smile.

[00:24:36] I’m really proud, to the extent WordPress, it can be a very welcoming place. We really strive to be inclusive, to bring folks from all over the world, all backgrounds. Now I’m sure there’s mistakes. I’m sure there’s things that happen at WordCamps sometimes, but like we correct that and the norm of the community is expecting to make someone feel welcome. Yeah, I really appreciate that. I mean you look around WordCamp, could not be a more different group of folks.

[00:25:03] Yeah, that’s true. They’re an interesting, there’s an eclectic mix of people up there.

[00:25:08] Oh my goodness, even it just like fashion styles or like you know, like hairstyles, styles, ages, colors, everything. And how beautiful that? That we can come together with a shared passion, communicate with each other as humans. Every person is unique. You’re not what it says on your badge or where you work. It’s really about connecting as humans and that’s, to me, what’s great about blogging. It’s about, what’s great about the open web. It’s recognizing the beauty, brilliance and uniqueness of every person.

[00:25:37] How do you manage your time? Because I know that you’ve got more things than I’m doing. Let’s put it that way. You’ve got Tumblr, you’ve got WordPress. Where does it all fit in? Do you like a run a regular week? Are you a 40 hour a week person? Do you tend to work late into the evening or?

[00:25:53] I guess there’s multiple levels to answer that. Where I’m spending my time in terms of all the projects that are going on, is kinda like rotations. Like often I’ll move into something, spend a lot of time there and then I’ll drift back out once, you know, whatever I was coming in for has changed. Probably a good example of that recently was Gutenberg.

[00:26:16] So that’s one took a more active role and kind of release lead, the driving, the getting that happening. Even like the product itself. And then as that really got great you know, 5.1, 5.2, able to step back and allow others to like take a more active role and leading that or driving that. Tumblr’s is a good example.

[00:26:38] Like, you know, stepping into it for a bit. I hope to be able to pass it to someone in the future and say like, take this, keep it going. It’s going great. And so that’s kind of how the projects do. And then personally, I just try to manage my energy, to match that to the tasks that are happening.

[00:26:53] Unfortunately, I work very strange hours sometimes, and, I just try to capture, like, if I get a burst of inspiration late at night to write something or, feeling really engaged, we’re in the mood for like doing communication stuff versus like I’m in the mood for reading, whatever that is, and run with it. Versus trying to say like, every morning I’m going to do this. Some mornings I’m tired. Some mornings, you know, maybe I’m feeling a little more burnt out. And so, like, I don’t feel that sort of creative spark to, to write a thousand words, but it might be easier to catch up on some P2 posts. Catch up on the Slacks.

[00:27:26] It sounds like you take care of yourself. You take time to step away and, I came in here you were listening to jazz music, which was quite nice sort of background. But, you know, you take time to do all of that. And have you always coped with pressure well, because I’m guessing there’s a fair amount of pressure your life, yet you always have this fairly serene composure to you.

[00:27:46] I guess what a lot of people think is pressure doesn’t bother me very much, because you know, I feel like you should worry about the things you can change. So if you know, we got to note your biggest client is leaving you, they’ve already made up their mind. You can’t do anything. It’s like okay. Like learn from it, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Like suffer once. Like so often we suffer more, this is a quote, we suffer more in our heads than we do in reality, either for imagined things which is anxiety. Reliving the past, or just kind of beating ourselves up for something. And so it’s better to just recognize reality. Acknowledge it, learn from it, get as much information as possible, but then what’s next?

[00:28:27] Where it definitely hits me harder is when there’s something you can’t change, with a loved one, you know, like someone passing, getting sick, those things hit me really hard. That’s probably the place where, when that happens, I have to step away for a bit. Just kind of recharge or get in nature, hydrate, make sure I’m sleeping well. Those things are tough for, I think everyone, but the calmness that happens in normal, like code or business or whatever it is that normally would stress me out. Those are bigger.

[00:28:59] There’s this phrase, I’ve written it down here. Benevolent dictator for life. Benevolent is such a nice word. It’s great. Everybody loves benevolent. Dictator, maybe that’s a different thing.

[00:29:10] I feel like that branding’s a little less good recently.

[00:29:13] But, we all know what that means? Do you plan to be here in several years time? Would you love still to be at the helm of WordPress? Is this going to be the life for Matt Mullenweg for the foreseeable future?

[00:29:26] Yeah, three out of those four words are millions to. I hope to be of service to the WordPress community, benevolently. That’s always something I will do my best. I always say I’m human. I’m going to make mistakes. We’re going to mess up That’s the only thing I can a hundred percent promise. But we’ll try to learn from them.

[00:29:41] Try to course correct and be right more often than not. And then the, for life. Yeah, a hundred percent. Like it’s been 19 years. I think because WordPress changes so much, I’m never bored of it. You know, it’s like one of these things that you know when WordPress launched, javascript was called DHTML. It wasn’t really common. There was no iPhone. like that. Everything has changed so much and it still is. You know, it’s hard to imagine looking from 2003 to now, how much things have changed looking forward another 19 years to that would be 2041 or something. Like what will be enabled? And in technology, and don’t know if you’ve seen things like the open AI projects, like GPT3 or DALL-E, like utterly astounding,

[00:30:25] I find it a bit scary. Aspects of that worry me. The aspects I think that worry me are the loss of control and that, at some point we’re going to just be creating 10,000 word articles. So the bot creates the article, which is then read by the Google bot. The cyclical creation of things.

[00:30:44] And also the destabilization of the belief in what your eyes tell you. You know, you see a picture of some famous person allegedly doing something, which they never did, but somebody created it with a click of a button. Those pieces worry me. So you sound much more sanguine about it.

[00:30:59] I’m pretty excited. The text side is interesting, but I’m actually really excited by the image creation, not the deep fakes, but more like DALL-E, you can give a prompt. Like I want to see a spaceship cat eating ice cream, while riding a bike.

[00:31:17] That’s the one everybody’s going to say.

[00:31:18] And this image has never existed humanity. Yet you can speak your words and it will be created. And it will create like 15 of them. And some of them are weird, but some of them are incredible. And you can say, do it in the style of Salvador Dali, or do it like a Monet painting. Or do it like an illustration. Like that is unlocking that kind of co-creation of art, I find so compelling because that’s essentially, when technology creates things we can’t expect that hypercharged creativity.

[00:31:50] So even when you imagine, when we moved from drumming and using our voices instruments to having, the creation of the first instruments, whether they were stringed instruments, lutes, organs where the most sophisticated technology at a time. Today, the way we can use synthesizers and remix things and multiple tracks. I’m sure it’s certain points, and I’m sure there’s examples of this creating bad art. You have to make a lot of terrible art to get to the good art.

[00:32:13] The boundary comes down, doesn’t it? You don’t need to have that dexterity with the pencil or the pen, the paint brush or whatever it is. You have to have the vocabulary to describe it.

[00:32:22] There’s an art to that too, like. I feel like there’s a skill to doing a good Google searches, like crafting the search term in a way that helps you find what you want. And we kind of co-learn with it. There’s a feedback loop. You put in a search, you don’t find what you want, and you start to tweak it and you learn.

[00:32:38] I think that the sort of generative art tools like a Dali are the same way. I think Mind Journey is another one. You can go through and feed in some texts and then see what happens. And then like keep going. I mean, how cool would that be. Actually for Tavern, I would love for you to see you all use it more, like, make some, more like Mine Journey or DALL-E type images?

[00:32:56] that then leads me to the question about AI creation of websites. So, do you want a future where you build the website with that kind of an interface? So I would like a website that’s to do with volcanoes and I would like a picture of a volcano at the top. No, not that one. Slightly more fiery. And can we have a button, but no, no red, not blue. Wider. Yeah, no stop there. So that kind of an interface. So we drop the mouse and we describe the website and move the components with our voice, or whatever we’re using, maybe we’re plugged point.

[00:33:28] And how powerful are blocks for that? Right, so we’re creating the sort of raw ingredients that could be used. I used to not believe this stuff would happen. But it’s gotten so great. If you’ve seen Codepilot, Codepilot on Github, or some of the stuff that GPT3 can do around like interface creation or even app creation. It’s fairly powerful.

[00:33:49] We’re going to have much better machine learning models around translation of languages. I think we’ll get to a point, you know, we’ve always joked, like will WordPress ever be written in something other than PHP? I think we’ll have translators over the next five to 10 years, that could take something as complex as a WordPress and translate the code to another language and it’ll work.

[00:34:08] Right, because essentially that’s, what’s happening. All these languages go to a bytecode or some sort of something much closer to the wire. So once a computer can truly deeply understand what’s happening in the code and find the equivalents in another language, right?

[00:34:22] You’re close to just thinking a website into creation at that point, aren’t you? The boundary is, can you imagine, and if you can imagine an elucidate it, then you’ve done it.

[00:34:32] And think how much creativity has been unlocked by things like Photoshop or Illustrator or the pen for the iPad anything. Like you put these things in front of a child, they just start producing.

[00:34:42] Oh, immediately. That’s interesting.

[00:34:44] And that’s, that’s cool, right? And so it kind of comes back to what’s what’s the limits of human imagination and a little bit, our limits are what we’ve experienced so far. So there’s this idea of adjacent possibilities. That whatever’s going on in the world, people consume, and then that gives them the ideas for what’s next. But you need the previous stuff to exist first. Right? We build on the, we stand on the shoulders of giants and every generation that’s come before. And now with global communication, everything, a cycle of that feedback loop of new things happening and then spreading throughout the culture.

[00:35:19] I mean, used to take hundreds of years. There’s examples where they knew that scurvy was caused by lack of vitamin C like hundreds of years before it was kind of widely known knowledge. And. You know, they can sequence a novel coronavirus, create the vaccine, literally within like a day, the sequencing being available. What was it, a year and a half later? Like there’s a billion doses in people’s arms.

[00:35:45] The impediment was the testing, not the creation.

[00:35:47] Wow. Even making a billion of something in like a little over a year is kinda wild as well. So that is, think of it both a faster kind of clock speed for the evolution of culture and thought and knowledge that’s enabled, and also hopefully faster antibodies, both literal and societal to things that can cause harm.

[00:36:11] You know, I don’t think it’s, it’s a stretch to think of misinformation, disinformation, you know, sort of the information wars that are happening right now, both hot and cold throughout, um, authoritarian and more democratic regimes as a type of pathogen. Almost like a novel mean virus or idea virus, which right now we’re not very strong against, but we’re starting to develop the antibodies too, including things like detecting bots and coordinated inauthentic behavior.

[00:36:37] That right now I think is causing a lot of problems throughout society. but we’ll get better at figuring that out.

[00:36:44] It’s fascinating because I think technology can take you in one of two directions, you know, the, the apocalyptic version and then the sort of, desirable, let’s say that. And it feels to me that you are ,firmly on the desirable side. You’ve got a very positive approach that the technology in the future doesn’t worry you.

[00:37:03] It’s not that it doesn’t worry me. It’s just I’m a builder. So I need to choose that I’m going to work on.

[00:37:07] Yeah, sadly, my

[00:37:08] work on the things that things better.

[00:37:10] My vocabulary left me at that point.

[00:37:12] Techno optimist, maybe. Yes. Like, uh, I would say that I tend towards optimism and the thing that gives me that optimism is often deeply engaging with a criticism of it.

[00:37:23] So I want to really strongly understand, be able to make the argument for why all the things I just talked about are going to destroy society. But then once you understand that, how can we build it or how can we do it in a way that’s going to be more positive. And also how can we check our assumptions? Like if we look back, to what we thought was going to ruin society before, did it?

[00:37:43] It’s funny, there’s a, gosh, I forget the name of the account, but it just pulls up old criticisms of the technology. And there was one that showed a subway, and everyone’s, um, reading a newspaper? They’re like, oh, what’s happened to society, people used to talk on the subway, they used to engage with each other. Now just the heads are all buried.

[00:38:00] Of course Gutenberg, you know, the original, uh, needs to read it’s, you know, it’s dangerous.

[00:38:08] And it turns out that it was dangerous, like wow. Protestant, like, how much change that kicked off, but it was really about knowledge is power. It was about the distribution of a more wider distribution of knowledge and opportunity. And that shook up society. But you know what? I needed to be shooken up.

[00:38:25] It’s the message. Maybe this is the perfect point to end?

[00:38:27] That’s what WordPress shakes up, you know? So we take things that, by the way, equivalent to what WordPress does for free, 10 years ago, you’d pay like millions of dollars a site core or Magento or something like that to do it, which now like you can download WooCommerce and it does everything that did and way more.

[00:38:45] So we’re kind of taking, I sometimes make the analogy that we have a promethean task, climb mountain, take the fire from the gods and then bring it to the people. As we do that, sometimes it generates a lot of blow back. You know, if you recall a really big criticism of Gutenberg early on was that it was going to destroy agencies and web builders.

[00:39:05] People would just be able to build their sites themselves. They would lose all their business, everything like that. As you walk around WordCamp ask anyone who’s building websites, like, do you have more business or less business? How’s it going? I’m sure there’s some exceptions, but by and large, the businesses are larger than ever.

[00:39:19] They’re growing faster. Site builders doing fine, the themes that are like, you know, there’s going to be some changes, right? Some of us might be making horse buggies, and those might not be as in demand in the future, but you can also like shift and it’s kind of cool. I have people tell me that they’re way more profitable now because they can build things in Gutenberg that they used to have to code custom. So even though they could code a custom, they can just click some buttons and build a site and be done so they can now do more of them. How cool is that?

[00:39:45] So the change definitely disrupts things. It can definitely be sometimes rocky, but ultimately, if you embrace the change and you sort of work from your principles and your morals to be on the right side of history, it can be incredibly empowering. Matt Mullenweg, thank you for talking to me today. Thank you. Thanks for coming.

Do The Woo Community: devlife_snippet: From Sprints to Managed WooCommerce

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 11:43

A sprint is a nice change of pace when you start a WooCommerce web agency but not always recommended. Here's why.

>> The post devlife_snippet: From Sprints to Managed WooCommerce appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

Do The Woo Community: devlife_snippet: From Sprints to Managed WooCommerce

Wed, 06/15/2022 - 11:43

A sprint is a nice change of pace when you start a WooCommerce web agency but not always recommended. Here's why.

>> The post devlife_snippet: From Sprints to Managed WooCommerce appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 33: Some Important Questions from WCEU

Mon, 06/13/2022 - 11:01

In the thirty-third episode of the WordPress Briefing, hear Josepha Haden Chomphosy recap important questions from WordCamp Europe, and a selection of Contributor Day interviews.

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

[Daugirdas Jankus 00:00:04] 

Honestly, it’s not a secret. It’s a big part of our business. And I think it’s like WordPress is a big part of all the hosting company, company’s, businesses, you know? So for us, it is like, we want to make it better. We want to give back. We want to understand, you know, where we can contribute the most. And we see it as a, you know, win, win, win situation for everyone, for clients, for the whole ecosystem.

And for us as a business, of course!

[Milana Cap 00:00:32] 

My favorite WordPress component is WP CLI. That’s my crush, haha, because I love terminal. I love doing it. I’m not a really UI type of person, I get lost in UI. But in terminal, you just type command and it does what you want. And a WP CLI is much more powerful than WordPress dashboard. You can do so many things there and you can have fun.

Uh, so that’s my go-to tool!

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:10] 

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 00:01:36] 

Many, many people were at WordCamp Europe a couple of weeks ago. And at the end, Matt and I closed out the event sessions with a little question and answer time from the community. I was excited to see everyone and excited to answer their questions. But as with all spur of the moment answers, I experienced this l’esprit de l’escalier and I found that there were a few things that I would have answered a little more completely if I had taken more than two seconds to think about them.

So today I’m going to augment some of the answers from that session with a little more context and clarity. There was a question from Laura Byrne about favorite blocks in recent WordPress releases. And given that I was exclusively holding WordCamp Europe information in my brain at the time, I couldn’t think of which block was my favorite. While I was sitting there on that stage,

I realized that one of my favorite things about WordPress’s 6.0 release, like Matt, wasn’t really a block, but it was a functional workflow sort of thing. So my favorite thing was the ability to lock blocks, but I mean, the question was about favorite blocks. And so I do know that some of the most anticipated blocks are the Flexbox layout blocks. Whew. What a sentence!

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:46]

Try to say that three times fast! Those blocks are the Flexbox layout blocks, they are sort of shortcuts that show up when you’re selecting multiple blocks and allow for easy side-by-side layouts. I’m not explaining it in a way that does it much justice, but I will share a link in the show notes that has more information and you can kind of see how empowering that particular block is in the block editor.

The next question I wanted to give a little more context to came from Courtney Robertson. She asked about how to make translated content more readily available on learn.wordpress.org. My answer was pretty far ranging and talked about why it’s harder to commit to prioritizing that over, for my example, translating WordPress core. 

But I also understand that there are people who want to help and just need someone to point them in the right direction. And so I want to be clear that it is possible to have workshops in any language on learn.wordpress.org right now. We just don’t have a lot of people contributing those translations.

So there are conversations going on right now in the training team about using Glotpress on learn.wordpress.org, and also how to translate subtitles. So, if you are looking for ways to give back through translation and training is an important kind of area of your focus. I will have links to both of those things in the show notes as well.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:11]

I also gave a quick answer, uh, after this question about how hard it is to recognize contributions that are separate from a major event or major release. In this case, when I say recognize, that’s recognized as in thank, not recognize as in, know it exists. In case it’s not clear why that was connected, why that answer was connected to the question, training materials are self-serve and not always specific to individual releases of WordPress.

So that means the maintenance of any content around training happens routinely over the course of time, rather than because of a specific release or a WordCamp. What sometimes can make it a little harder to entice people to join us in that work. 

And now the third question I’d like to tackle is the one that came from Megan Rose. She asked how we can encourage better diversity as we go back to in-person events. My answer was more about the big picture, program-wide work that has been done and specific awarenesses that I, as a leader, have been keeping top of mind. That answer is still true and is still important, but again, it doesn’t really help anyone who’s wondering how they can show up today in their own communities, and do the hard work of fostering an inclusive space there so that we can confidently welcome more diverse voices together. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:27]

A great place to start is to have conversations with people who aren’t like you and really listen. Also recognizing that we all come from different backgrounds that give us more or less opportunity and always be asking yourself, who is missing from this conversation and why, how can I find them and invite them into our own WordPress spaces?

If that all kind of feels right up your alley, I would check out the show notes. I’ll have some links in there to the community team’s site, as well as a few posts that will help you to explore that a bit further as well. 

There were also a couple of questions about market share slash usage of WordPress, and Five for the Future that I really do want to answer, but as I was writing up the context and just kind of exploring the questions that people were raising, it turned out to really be quite a big set of answers.

So I will do those in either two separate episodes of their own or one surprisingly long, for me, episode. And so there you have it, a lightning round, deep dive on a few questions from WordCamp Europe.

[Jonathan Desrosiers 00:06:41] 

Yeah, it’s definitely great to be back in person. Um, it’s been a long two years, two or three years for a lot of people and it’s, it’s, it’s great that we’re such an asynchronous community and we can all stay connected online through Slack and different means. Um, but there are some things that you can’t replace, like making friends with people and learning people’s demeanors and having some discussions in person that you can’t replace.

And so, uh, I’m really excited to see people I haven’t seen in a long time. Meet new people and, um, you know, have some of those discussions here today in Portugal.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:07:21] 

Which then brings us to our small list of big things. 

If you missed the announcement, WordCamp Europe will be in Athens next year. And the call for organizers is open already. It’s an experience that is absolutely irreplaceable. So I’ll link to that in the show notes, in case you’ve always wanted to give back to WordPress that way.

The second thing on my list is that work on the next major release of WordPress is already underway. There is a post with roadmap info that was published recently, as well as a slightly more casual thread on Twitter. I’ve linked both of those in the show notes, so that you have some concept of what it is that we are aiming for in 6.1, and also a concept of where to go to get started working on it if that’s what you feel like doing, uh, for the next three to four months– 120 days, roughly.

Uh, and finally. This is less of like a thing to be aware of in the next two weeks and kind of a little WordPress project tool tip. Did you know that we have a calendar that shows all meetings for all teams all week long? It will make you feel tired by the amount of work that gets done in the WordPress project every week, but it’s right there on make.wordpress.org/meetings.

So you never have to wonder where folks are meeting to talk about things ever again. 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.

[Santana Inniss & Héctor Prieto 00:09:11] 

Hello! Mic test. One, two, one, two. 

We are testing the USB microphone. Let’s hope we’re using it actually. 

I think so. I think so. 

Yes. Because now I am far, and now I am much closer to the microphone. Yes. 

And I am sitting in the same spot. 

Good. Hello? 

Hello! 

Mic test one, two.

Mic test one, two. 

[record scratching sound effect]

[laughter]

And, close.

Mic check. 

Mic check. 

[record scratching sound effect]

I’m close to the mic. I’m far from the mic. 

I’m far from the mic. Wow.

Not so far.

[laughter]

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #68 – WordCamp Europe, Gutenberg 13.4 and WordPress 6.1

Sun, 06/12/2022 - 08:57

Birgit Pauli-Haack, and Mary Job talk with this week’s special guest Dave Smith about WordCamp Europe, WordPress 6.1 and Gutenberg 13.4. You also learn what in the works via the GitHub repo.

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes

Special Guest: Dave Smith, JavaScript Engineer and full-time Core Contributor on the Gutenberg project, sponsored by Automattic as part of the Five for the Future program.

WordCamp Europe

WordPress 6.0, WordCamp Europe and Roadmap for 6.1 –Weekend Edition 217

BlockMeister – Block Pattern Builder

WordPress 6.1

Roadmap to 6.1 for Gutenberg Phase 2

Video by Dave Smith: Gutenberg Roadmap for WordPress 6.1 – amazing new features planned!

Matias Ventura: Twitter Thread on WCEU and WordPress 6.1

WordPress 6.1 to Focus On Refining Full-Site Editing, Next Phase Collaboration and Multilingual Features Anticipated in 2023-2025 (WPTavern)

Community Contributions

LottieFiles Releases Official WordPress Plugin

Gutenberg Times Live Q & A: Block First Approach at the Pew Research Center – Using a mixture of Core and Custom Blocks for a streamlined publishing process, and to create powerful charts and quizzes with Seth Rubinstein, lead developer and Michael Piccorossi, Director of Digital Strategy. (Register now)

Twitter Thread by Seth Rubinstein that inspired the Live Q & A

Gutenberg 13.4

Gutenberg 13.4 (Changelog on GitHub)

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.4? (8 June)

Migrating WordPress E2E tests to Playwright

What’s discussed or in the works

Nav block: Add design controls for interactive states (:hover, :focus .etc)

Create a Block Theme plugin

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 68th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about WordCamp Europe. Gutenberg 13.4 and WordPress 6.1, and a lot of other things. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and WordPress developer advocate. And I’m here with my co-host, Mary Job, WordPress advocate, support engineer at Paid Memberships Pro, and community organizer at wpafrica.org.

Good evening, Mary. How are you today?

Mary Job: Oh, I’m doing absolutely great, Birgit. Thank you for that. Yeah, I’m doing wonderful. I just recovered from malaria, but I’m doing great.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, wow. Yeah, glad you recovered. Yes.

Mary Job: Hi, everyone. I’m Mary and today I have the honor to present also our special guest tonight. Welcome to Dave Smith, JavaScript engineer, and full-time co contributor on the Gutenberg Project, sponsored by Automattic as part of the Five for the Future program. Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Dave. We’re happy to have you here, and I’m sure our listeners are looking forward to listening to you on this episode.

Dave Smith: Well, thank you. And hello Mary and hello Birgit. It’s a real pleasure to join you here today. I’m actually a long-time fan of the show. I had a look back at my podcast episodes and I think I’ve been listening since some of the very earliest, I think. So yeah, it’s a fantastic resource. In all the time I’ve been listening, it’s really helped me keep up-to-date with the latest happenings with the block editor and with WordPress beyond. So yeah, thank you from me for such a great resource, and it’s a pleasure to be here.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, thank you for these kind words. And I told him to say that. You listeners, you know me.

Dave Smith: Not at all. Not at all.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, glad to have you, and it’s going to be a great show with you here.

Mary Job: Yes, it is.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mary Job: I can already feel it’s going to be a great show. So before we add into the changelog and the rest of the show, Dave, would you briefly tell us what your WordPress origin story is and what your focus is on the Gutenberg project?

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’ve been working on the web since I think about 2013, although I’ve started to lose count now. And back in those days, the company I worked for had a proprietary PHP based CMS system, but the thing is, I kept getting asked to do freelance work on the side and I didn’t have a way to provide my clients with a ability to administer their own sites. And so I found WordPress and that was it, I never looked back.

And so prior to joining Automattic, I was a technical lead at an agency that was based in Bristol, which is here in the south of the UK, where I live. And we use WordPress on everything, from small business websites to very large enterprise builds as well. In fact, at one point I think myself and a colleague, we even developed a sort of pseudo pattern system using advanced custom fields to allow our clients to sort of make their own pages. So we’ve really done everything, and it’s quite cool now to see some of this technology being available natively within the editor.

But I joined Automattic four years ago, and during that time I’ve been consistently involved in the Gutenberg Project. I’ve contributed to various features, probably the most well known would be the Navigation Block and the link creation user interface. So right now I’m part of a team that’s focused on improving the theme authoring and development experience. And as part of that, most recently I’ve started my own YouTube channel where I’m posting my firsthand insights into what’s coming next in the WordPress block editor project.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s interesting that you also tried to build your own, to work on a CMS and that’s a proprietary, and I think that’s what a lot of developers did before they joined WordPress. Interesting. Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: It did work out well, that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: I think it was definitely a good move moving to WordPress.

Announcements

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you for being here, and that’s great. So the first part of the announcement was WordCamp Europe, it was absolutely the best. It has been three years, and I was meeting so many friends and made new ones, it’s a wonderful thing. And I’m so glad that I actually met you Dave in person for the first time. Did you get home all right? And I know it was your first WordCamp, so what are your takeaways?

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. It was a real pleasure to meet you finally, Birgit, after so long that we’ve been unable to do that. But yeah, I had a fantastic time. It was, as you said, my first WordCamp of any kind actually, not just WordCamp Europe.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Cool.

Dave Smith: Yeah. So for me, it was just really good to see the community in person, in evidence of what amazing community we have, and it was just fantastic to sort of meet all these people for the first time. Yes, I did have some travel disruption from the UK, there was a lot of problems in the UK with getting to Europe at this time. So I did, in fact, miss the contributor day, which I was hoping to go to, which was a shame. But on the other side, I did get there for the main conference and I saw lots of talks and I got to meet lots of contributors. So it was a really, really good experience. And how about you both? I mean, I’m guessing this wasn’t the first WordCamp for either of you, right?

Mary Job: Oh, for me, I wasn’t at this year’s WordCamp Europe. I’ve been trying to get to WordCamp here probably for how long now, but I wasn’t able to get to it, but definitely not my first WordCamp.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So you must have felt quite some FOMO fear of missing out when you saw all the tweets coming through and all the pictures.

Mary Job: No, I intentionally didn’t follow the news because I didn’t want to cry this time.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah and I would’ve loved to meet you.

Dave Smith: Another time.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We need to work on the WordCamp Africa there, definitely.

Mary Job: Oh, yes.

Dave Smith: Yeah.

Mary Job: Yes. I’ve been getting a lot of people asking about it, but we’re still working on it. We need to get to know each other in the community for us, that’s what I always say, and then we can have a WordCamp.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, because you can’t do it alone. When I looked at the last pictures that I took for WordCamp Europe, there were about 200 organizers and volunteers, or 250, to make it all happen. And it’s a huge effort and they planned it all for a year almost. Yeah, Dave, you were right, I haven’t counted yet, but it was probably my 20th WordCamp also.

Dave Smith: Right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Or close to it. Yeah.

Mary Job: Oh, wow. I want to be like you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, no, you don’t want to be like me. It’s hard being me. Yeah, and I was blown away by the community’s ability to show up. So at contributor today it was the biggest contributor day ever in the history of WordCamps, with over 800 people. And normally they’re between 200 and 400, but 800 people were really great.

Dave Smith: Wow.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And that was the first part, and the other part was that, it was a real hug fest with meeting all the friends we haven’t seen for three years. It was such a great atmosphere, there was a great energy, everybody was nice and excited. There were also quite a few block editor-related talks and dear listeners you will find links to the times spans of the livestream recording in our weekend edition, number 217.

And of course we link it in the show notes, but there were a great mix between code examples, high-level strategy and future exploration. And then the workshops were recorded, but not live streamed, so we don’t have links yet, but they will be uploaded soon to WordPress TV, and we’ll let you know in a future episode. So Dave, did you get to see any talks at the WordCamp Europe?

Dave Smith: Yeah, I certainly did. Yeah, I agree with you, there was a really good mix of talks and I thought that was great to see because there was probably something in there for everyone. And I enjoyed listening to a number of them, including one by someone you might know, your excellent ex co-host, Grezgorz, who’s obviously a colleague of mine at Automattic, but I really enjoyed his talk. But as someone who’s a full-time contributor to the project, for me, I was just mainly curious to see the sort of topics that folks were interested in having presentations about, and also to sort of listening to the Q&A, because that can often be very revealing as I’m sure you know.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: But of all the talks that I saw, I think the one that really stood out to me was the block pattern revolution, which was by Sean Blakely, I think was his name. And in this talk, he covered how his, he works for a very large agency, and in the talk he sort of was just describing how the agency’s actually using Gutenberg patterns to improve the website creation process as a whole. So it just really resonated with me, because I don’t know if I said, but worked in agencies for about 10 years prior to joining Automattic, so it’s a really tough environment to create something, and as you would know, Birgit, of course.

And I was just really fascinated to learn how they were using the editor itself as a designer developer collaboration tool. And that was just fascinating to me, that actually using WordPress that as part of the design experience and before that. And one of the tools they did a shout out for was something called the BlockMeister plugin. And what it does is, it gives you a custom post type for patterns, or at least that’s what I understand. So you can sort of build the patterns themselves within the editor, and they do that sort of collaboratively, not only with the designers and the developers, but also with the client.

So the client’s kind of kept in the loop and they see the design evolving in the browser via WordPress, via patterns. And all of this work helps avoid, what we call in the industry, the big reveal, where the big reveal was always where someone went away and Photoshopped, designed the site and went, “Ta-da,” and the client said, “I hate it, I want the logo bigger,” that kind of thing. And by doing it in WordPress like that, they avoid that, and I just thought that was fascinating.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And doing it in WordPress also adds another layer of experience to it, because it’s clickable.

Dave Smith: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Kind of people, the client can see what happens when I click on it, and all that. So they also start thinking about that quite a bit.

Mary Job: Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah. And it’s super easy to prototype, change those layouts and change things around. So yeah, definitely.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It was a kind of a complimentary talk to Tammie Lister’s lightning talk. No, it wasn’t a lightning talk, it was a full talk on design systems in future WordPress and how to kind of use all the tools, all the units of the block editor to build a design system that can be reused. And I think that was a great example of that, what Sean lately showed.

Dave Smith: Yeah. And these are topics that have been going around in the web community for a long time, but it’s just really good that we’re now seeing the editor as a way to deliver some of these things that have been talked about for so long.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: So yeah, and I think it was really inspiring.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Excellent. Yeah.

Dave Smith: But I didn’t get to make it to any of the workshops, I’m afraid though. I heard there was a lot of good things about a number of them, but there was one about the block themes by Daisy Olsen, did either of you, well, of course, Birgit, you were there. So did you manage to attend that one?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No. It was fully booked fast, early in the morning.

Dave Smith: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’m not an early riser, so I didn’t get in. But I heard great comments about it and it was recorded, and it will be published on the WordPress TV. And there was a lot of people there, I think it was full by 100 people also, it was a really great interest on block themes. And I had some conversations with people about propagating updates of block patterns, and that was kind of an interesting, near the reveal, but that’s a new word that I learned from you.

It was an interesting aspect of it, that there are quite a few entities like the block patterns, the theme when it was used, when it already was edited by a user and the blocks that are not dynamic blocks, when you change them, you only change them for a new, but never go back to propagate those changes to the former instances of patterns or blocks or even a theme. Because if a user touched it, the new design on the template part or template will not come into that install when you update the theme.

So for that part, I know you could always do an additional block part, a block pattern and make that an upgrade. But it’s interesting that some of the mechanisms that worked before are hard to come by now. So I’m sure that we will kind of see some updates there and discussions in the community even more, but that was kind of what came out there.

Dave Smith: I definitely hear the conversation around block patterns, particularly, and there’s a desire somewhere there, I think to be able to have a central source of truth for block patterns, and be able to put them into lots of different posts, but then come back and be able to say, “Oh, I want to change the border color and add this block,” and have that propagate to all the previous instances of patterns.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: But of course, as you know, patterns are supposed to be a one-time thing. Once they’re in the editor, that’s it, they’re not tied back to anything, they’re just blocks again. So it’s not something we can do now, but it seems to be something that people want. So whether this is a workflow thing that we just need to do better at describing to people how the different options they got, or whether this is a new sort of, a new desire for a whole new paradigm of something that’s sort of halfway between a reusable block and a pattern and a template part. It’s all a bit muddy at the moment.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the reusable block actually does that. So if you change a reusable block, it propagates the other instances. So I think that, I don’t know if that can be duplicated or maybe the transformation API can help with that, but these are all conversations for GitHub. And later on, speaking of what’s next for WordPress Gutenberg Phase 2.

So for the keynote, there was the AMA town old style, interact with Matt Mullenweg at the end of WordCamp Europe. Matias Ventura was supposed to be on stage, he couldn’t make it, but he had prepared a few things. But what also happened was that day, he also published the roadmap for 6.1 for the Gutenberg Phase 2, which is the customization part.

And Ventura, he wrote the tune of the release will be to refine the experiences introduced, 5.9 and 6.0, weave the various flows into more coherent and fulfilling experiences for users, maintainers and extenders and close some gaps in functionality.

As we start to look towards Phase 3 of the Gutenberg roadmap, Phase 3, just as a note, that was the end of the quote. But Phase 3 for Gutenberg is collaborative editing, like Google style collaborative editing. So Dave, you created a short video introducing your top five features, you are excited about coming to WordPress 6.1, what were they?

Dave Smith: Yeah, I did. And it’s on my channel, which will be in the show notes. But I based my video largely around the GitHub tracking issue that Matias has been updating after WordPress 6.0 was launched. And obviously now he’s come out and subsequently posted the high-level overview on make blog. But the video just aims to be a really quick and easily digestible overview of everything that’s sort of planned for 6.1, for anyone who wants to get up to speed quickly and what’s coming next.

And it’s not really canonical, I think Matias has posted it as the place you want to look, that said, I mean, my video does seem to sync with what Matias said quite well, which is mainly there’s site editing and template changes. There’s going to be a lot of focus on patterns. There’s going to be upgrades to the whole styling, the way we deal with styling and editor, and then obviously upgrades to key blocks like nav block and comments block. And then we’ve also got theming improvements coming. And we can talk about those in a little bit more detail if you’d like.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, talking about the template editor, there are a few more additional stages there, like a browse stage or a view of that is to come. And then the unifying kind of, like you can zoom out of a template and see the full page, and then you can zoom in again to make those changes. And one goal is also to provide more clarity. And that’s definitely good news for the community and the theme developers, more clarity between the global elements like templates, template parts and styles.

Dave Smith: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then the improvement of navigation block that had a few iterations and could do some more.

Mary Job: Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah, the navigation block is a really tough one, and that’s definitely due some work in this release. I mean, some of the key things for me having worked on it is the ability to carry menus when you’re switching themes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: And also, there needs to be an improved integration with global styles. And then a lot of people have been asking for things like, “Can we use different menus on different screen sizes?” We may be able to look into that. But one of the interesting things that Matias highlighted in his post was the effort that’s currently actually underway. And we have a prototype already in the plugin, which you may have come across, but to have a way to show the navigation structure outside of the navigation block.

So at the moment in the Gutenberg editor, there’s a prototype of a sidebar that will come in and you can manage the structure, the data of your navigation, and that’s kind of separate from the block, which if you think about the block, it also ties together visual aspects as well, so that’s something that I’m definitely going to be focused on as part of my work.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: And in terms of patterns, we’ve got the aerial view, which is, I don’t know if anyone’s seen this yet, but it’s like a zoomed out view of the editor canvas, and that’s going to be really exciting because it means we’ll be able to think about patterns more as sections of a website. And instead of having to deal with all the sort of low level, fine grain blocks and it can get a bit confusing and too many options, we might be able to give our clients a, “Go into this section editor view, and you’ll be able to just pick the block patterns and quickly build out a site.” And it sort of resonates quite well again with what we are discussing from the talk by Sean earlier, then you can imagine how those two things would play together very, very nicely.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I see that Matias Ventura also mentioned that managing safe patterns would also be part of the roadmap or at least the goal is on it. So that kind of probably comes back to the discussion about safe patterns and kind of get back to it when you transform it and also kind of maybe even propagated through the updates through that. Mary, do you see anything in there that excites you for 6.1 that you want to talk about?

Mary Job: Oh, for me, I think it’ll be the patterns. I’m liking the fact that people can actually contribute patterns. Like you literally have, you don’t need to be a programmer to contribute to that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. 

Dave Smith: Yeah, that’s really, really important.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Pen and directory. Yeah, it’s open for submissions. Yes. Yeah, it’s awesome. And there are probably, I saw a number, like 10,000 patterns that are in the directory, but they are also translated in multiple languages. So it could be a thousand translated into 10 languages, so that made quite a few.

Mary Job: So-

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So… Yeah, go ahead.

Mary Job: No, I was going to say, it might seem like a small feature, but I think it’s going to make WordPress more accessible.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For sure. Yeah.

Mary Job: More accessible to more people in far corners of the globe, because then literally it means that you don’t have to be actively into the ecosystem for you to be able to use WordPress.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For sure. Yeah. Good point. So what else is in the 6.1? Yeah, we have this great discussion about responsive and intrinsic design, where I see some people in the community kind of missing the view points, kind of the break points for the tablet, mobile and desktop view. And I think there are some philosophy, or there’s the more modern way to do it is with intrinsic design, because all the break points are pretty arbitrary and you have different sizes even beyond those.

And it also has to do with the components because you can use a column or a cover block over the full website or width of the website, or you can put it into a column, in a two-column website, and it still needs to behave and be adapted to it. So I think the same with the fluid typography system and managing web fonts that is in the works. And so we’ll see quite a few things changing here.

Dave Smith: Definitely. I think we’ve seen with the way CSS works and it’s evolved towards things like using CSS grid for layout. I mean, that’s intrinsic by nature, we don’t have to give all the individual break points and say, “At this size, you should do this, at this size you should do that,” you just tell the algorithm how you want it to behave, and it just does the layout for you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: And I think it’s been something that, as you say, people have been asking for media queries in Gutenberg for some time, but if we can avoid having to do that, for the majority of users it’s going to provide a much better experience, because whilst we are all intimately familiar with media queries and having to change break points, the majority of our users are not going to be, and nor would they want to be.

So we want it to be so it just works, I’ll be interested to see how far we can take that, I mean, whether at some point we’ll end up having a medic, a break point interface in Gutenberg is a bigger question that I’m not qualified to answer, but it certainly will be interesting. But you mentioned fluid typography, I mean, we’ve already got, I’ve seen a PR for that very recently, and so that is on the way, I mean, we’re going to have this system where the font size will adapt appropriately based on the size of your view port, and it’s a hot topic the in CSS world right now, and bringing it already into the editors is a big win.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I think the page fillers that have been in business for five to seven years, there wasn’t anything about intrinsic design available, it was just the way to adapt to different screen sizes was through media queries. I think Jen Simmons, who kind of coined the word, intrinsic design, only talked about it since 2019 or something like that, or ’18, but it’s already four years old. I always think that the two years of COVID, it’s kind of half a year, but it has been two years. I’m kind of getting my history a little bit bogged down. Yeah. A sense of time is skewed.

Mary Job: It feels like it was for four years or five.

Dave Smith: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. At one point it’s just yesterday and then one point it’s five years. Yeah. Yeah, and the last part or sections that Matias Ventura mentioned was the theming improvements with a theme building plugin that’s in the works and will come to the repo pretty soon, to the WordPress plugins repo. So you could export it or you can create a new block theme, or you can have all the user settings that you put into the theme exported to have it in the theme. So it sounds like a really good plugin to come and then also have templates and parts put between themes. Yeah, that’s another paradigm shift a little bit, it kind of makes it interesting. Yeah, it’s not only the template parts of… Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah. Well, if you’re working on a template or a part, you’ve crafted that in one theme and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t expect that to be taken over to a new theme if you switch. And I think that’s really the goal is to make the content, not so tightly coupled to your theme, and we’ve already sort of broken the design away from the theme to some extent, and it’s just that doing the same with the content and templates and parts is definitely a goal that we should be looking to achieve.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And that’s where also it comes in, that blocks are separate from the theme. Yeah, because if you have a site title tag, it doesn’t matter what the header is, if the site title block is in it, it will show up right, and that’s really great. Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. I’m also looking forward to the comments form block coming, maybe in 6.1, because we’ve had the comments query loop land in 6.0. But I think the form is still using a Pitch P server side rendering, there’s like a legacy form of the block, an initial form of it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: But to have a fully block based comments form block is going to be quite something, I think. It’s my understanding of it, I’ve been speaking to some of the people working on it, is that it’s pretty complex to realize, but if we do realize it’s going to be a bit like the navigation block in that it will provide a lot of knock-on benefits to the wider block ecosystem. So I’m excited to see how that develops in this release cycle.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it also could be kind of a prototype on how forms handling can be done in block fashion. So yeah, it’s definitely something to look forward to. And one of the goals for the 6.1 is also to allow for gradual adoption of the full-site editing features and see if one or other features can be modified to be available for the classic themes. For instance, calling a full-site editing template part and headers and footers, but the rest of it is still a classic theme.

I saw a few PRs there, it was also the conversation that, so Matias was on the show after he published a roadmap for 6.0, and in that conversation, he also talked about that FSE or block themes, not necessarily need to replace classic themes, it just adds a few layers of user interactions that can be switched on and off with the block locking features and theme JSON, for the theme builder. But it enhances actually classic themes, and they can all be used side by side, and it’s just an evolving of the whole template, and then the interaction with the global styles.

And maybe we can get that to be a little bit more cohesive with the classic themes and not have that. Our language is like, there is a break, there’s going to be a break one time we do that, and then the next time we are doing something totally different, and the old one is not good anymore, which isn’t the case because it’s all WordPress and it’s all feasible. And why should a theme developer need to change if the market doesn’t really value that.

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So I think we need to really be conscious about that. We are not kind of before and after, and as well as kind of put it together with that.

Dave Smith: I like the way Matias thinks about these things, because I know that there’s been quite a few people exploring sort of hybrid or universal themes where I think my colleague, Ben Dwyer posted on ThemeShaper blog, which is a blog all about, surprisingly, about theming. And he had a couple of explorations where they were sort of, it was like a halfway house between a classic theme, but it was also consuming blocks in a different way, and I think that’s a really healthy way of thinking about things rather than this sort of hard dividing line. You either are on the classic theme or you’re on a block theme, it’s like there is a middle ground there somewhere for people to explore, and I think that’s really healthy.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: I think it’s really good for the ecosystem.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, and WordPress has the promise of the backwards compatibility, everything that the classic themes do is in rapid score and it will stay there.

Dave Smith: Indeed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I haven’t seen any talk or any effort at all yet to kind of make that obsolete or something like that.

Dave Smith: Right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s just, I know it’s a fear in the community, but I think there’s just, trust the system. You trusted it before the last 19 years there, now we go into the next 25 years or so. So yeah, all right, that’s all about the philosophies. 

Community Contributions

So for community contributions, I only have two things in there. So Lottie has created an official plugin for the WordPress repository to bring animations to the block editor and the interface to control the settings for the animation.

And it’s a single block plugin, and this is really cool, if you are not a fan of gradients and if you’re not a fan of dual tone, you’re probably also not a fan of animations, but for those who play around with all of the things, it’s really cool that you have additional interfaces there and additional interaction pretty much. So WordPress Tavern has an article about it, and we also shared it of course, in the show notes, and there are other plugins who offer that, but this is the official LottieFiles plugin.

And so if you are into that and want this to offer some of your client site, check it out. All right. And the second thing that I wanted to let our users know, or our listeners know, we just scheduled the next Gutenberg Times live Q&A. We haven’t had one for quite a while, I think the last one was in October, and the title is, Blocked First Approach, at the Pew Research Center, using a mixture of core and custom blocks for a streamlined publishing process, and to create powerful charge and quizzes.

Guests will be Seth Rubenstein, the lead developer of Pew Research website and Michael Piccorossi, who’s the head of digital, it’s the content creators. And right now I only have save-the-date, it’s July 22nd 2022 at 11 Eastern Daylight 1500 UTC. And it was inspired by this Twitter thread that he started out with saying for all its naysayers, “Gutenberg is a game changer for digital news apps. It’s a force multiplier for your team, we’ve spent the last three years going all in on block development.” And then he followed up with a thread that we definitely will discuss in that show. So save-the-date, July 22nd 11:00 AM Eastern 1500 UTC.

What’s Released

Mary Job: Moving on to what’s released, this brings us to the latest Gutenberg plugin release, 13.4 246 contributors match PRs for this release and among them are five new contributors.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yay, five new contributors. Excellent. Congratulations. Yeah, so there are quite a few enhancements in this release. 

Enhancements

We have, one is, the gallery block now has an opt-in axial block spacing control. So you can control separately the columns, gata, as well as the rogue gata. So you can have interesting layouts for your gallery.

That is really great, I saw some of the designs that are in the PR, it’s 41175. Yeah, it’s definitely great. Another enhancement is that the search block has now the ability to specify additional search query variables, so you can add additional parameters to the URL and share that, so that is like a post type product, or a post type book or any of the other variables there, it could be a date, it could be a category as well.

Dave Smith: Yeah, it’s really powerful that, especially if you’re using WooCommerce or another eCommerce system, like to be able to just say to the search block, “I want to search my products.” That’s definitely something that’s been missing for quite a while, so I was pleased to see that land.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. Another one is that a color picker finally strips out the hash sign from the pasted hex values, when you come in from a color style guide or something like that, and you just want to add the color to a block entity and you didn’t know if you use the hash or not the hash, and it now strips out the hash and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. There were also some design updates to the published pop over time, daytime picker, so that’s definitely also a quality of life kind of change. It’s a bit better to navigate that.

Dave Smith: Yeah, we’ve seen a number of upgrades to that in recent times. It’s getting better and better. I definitely appreciate Rob’s work on this one, especially, he’s been looking really hard at sort of making it work in different scripts and different languages, which is obviously really important because we don’t all speak English.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well actually the majority of installations are not in English, so definitely a good….

Dave Smith: Important work.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Totally. Yeah. And all the people that use WordPress actually benefit from that quite a bit.

Dave Smith: Yeah, I was also interested in another one, another PR that came, landed in this release, which was the adding support for button elements to theme JSON. So this is something that’s part of a wider effort that’s really to allow themes to better target specific HTML elements within blocks, without requiring custom CSS. So currently you can kind of say, “Within the editor globally or within this block, I want to target all link elements or H3 elements, or whatever.

And I want to make them a certain color, or I want to add certain spacing.” But it’s fairly limited. And so there’s an effort underway to sort of expand that range of elements that you’ll be able to target. And the real key here is it’s going to be able to sort of reduce the amount of sort of specificity wars that we have with CSS, where we’re trying to overload core styles with custom CSS, if you’re looking to extend your block.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Dave Smith: The best thing about this feature is I can see is that it’s actually going to allow these elements to be exposed by global styles, so if you’re going to the global styles UI as a normal user and be able to say, “I want all my links to be this color,” or “I want all my links within the paragraph block to be slightly another color,” or “I want to have an underline,” or whatever.

And that’s really powerful because it means we’re removing the need for our users to have to understand CSS, which has always been a problem, and we still hear that, “Please we need the custom CSS field back in the editor.” But by moving these things and inter-theme JSON, we do allow this to be exposed in a much more intuitive way via UI, so that’s an important thing to do.

And if we think about into the future, we’re going to have this rolled out towards all sorts of form elements. So imagine you can say, “Oh, I want all input type elements, including sort of text areas and things like that to have this color border,” and you can just do that in one go, without having to know all the relatively complex CSX CSS selectors that you’d need to know to target all form elements. And if you’ve ever tried to style a form using CSS, you know exactly what I’m talking about, it’s not the simplest of things after this many years of CSS, it’s still quite tricky.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s still quite tricky, yes that’s true. And there are quite a few PRs that support those button elements in theme JSON, like also the fire blocks and the search blocks have a button that now is an element button, so it follow that design that you will have in theme JSON as well. And also in the post comments, the buttons there as well. So I think the buttons are moving forward with that and that informs on the designers and developers on how well it’s going.

APIs                                                      

And if there is some need for adjustments there, how to do that. And then we had a few, for developers there’s a new API available now that moves the visible block state into the block editor store, so that means that anybody who can tap into the store API can see if a block is visible or not, so you have some conditional handling in any of the, be it a plugin or in additional blocks. So that is definitely an improvement for extensibility.

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. And as we move forward with patterns, I think that’s going to be important because we’re going to be able to detect whether the block is actually currently shown on the current screen, like it might be off the screen, it might be below the scroll fold, so that’s going to be an important thing, previously it was sort of hidden in the react context and you couldn’t get a hold of it, but now they’re exposing it, and I think it’s part of the work to do what we talked about earlier with this sort of aerial exploded view of the block patterns, the sort of blocks as sections that Matias has mentioned in this post, so this is work towards that roadmap already?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We also had some three PRs that are very influential on the performance of the websites or the block editor, and one is that the auto completer performance is improved. And then also the external library react spring was upgraded, actually two versions, two full versions from 2.4 to 4.5, and it’s a better handling of the downtime of the block editor. Before it was always something kind of pinging something in the background and it was slowing down the block editor, and now that has been fixed and react spring and now it comes to the block editor as well.

And the biggest part is that CSS is conditionally loaded per block, so if a block is not on canvas, it will not load the CSS, or on the front end, if it’s not used, it will also not load the CSS into the file when it’s rendered. So those are great improvements. We have not seen a make blog yet, I think it’s coming out tomorrow or later today where also the performance numbers are going to be published, but I think we’re going to see some improvements there. And I had one other thing, did I jump over some of it?

So for the developers who are using the create block script, there have been some improvements to the block templates. One is about the dynamic blocks and then also additional template variables in there to make sure that it fixes some of the issues that people run into. And it also remove the wrapping of the diff, so there are no usability issue anymore on, what was it? The edit JSS.

So what else? Create block always gets some nice additional features to improve the developer experience. We’re starting out with block development, so I love to highlight that in this changelog that’s kind of taken over from Grzegorz who is working on it. I really appreciate the work on that because I learned quite a bit through that.

Dave Smith: Yeah, that script is a big time saver. If you ever want to create a block and it’s gone through so many iterations in the past year, it’s come on leaps and bounds and anyone who creates a block today should be very thankful to the likes of Grzegorz and other people have been working on that consistently. It’s a great tool.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Ryan Welcher has also been working on that quite a bit because he uses it every time he does a live twitch stream, he starts out with a create block command line. And he also found, “Okay, if I want to do a dynamic block, I need a different template. If I want to do instead of a single block plugin, I want to do a multi block plugin, what does the template need to change?” And he was very instrumental to get those two templates into the grade block and then also talked about it on his twitch theme. So if you ever, I could share some of his videos also on YouTube, in the show notes. So if you wanted to get started, I think it’s a great way to see how that’s going to work.

Dave Smith: Yeah, that sounds really good. I was using it to extend a block recently. I wonder if there’s a template for that, that’d be interesting to see. So yeah, I’ll look out for those show notes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: Another thing that went into this release was the navigation editor screen has been removed from the experiments page. As I did this PI I’ve had quite a few questions about it, So I just wanted to talk briefly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: And just to clarify, it’s not necessarily a formal deprecation of the navigation editor screen or the project, but what we were finding is that with the run up to 6.0, and that there weren’t any contributors who were actively working on that screen, but we still kept getting quite a few bug reports saying it no longer works with the new navigation block entity system, and this thing is out-of-date.

And we took the decision, that rather than confusing contributors or people are coming to the Gutenberg plugin, we would just hide it for now, and therefore we wouldn’t have so many bug reports from people spending time in basing those when they didn’t need to. But it is something that we will, no doubt, utilize some of the technology for, to build things like exposing the navigation structure in the sidebar, which we talked about earlier on. So no doubt it will be harvested for all useful things that happened.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mary, is there anything that you wanted to point out from that changelog that we kind of skipped over it?

Mary Job: No.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Yeah. Tell me, Dave, about the switch over from Puppeteer to Playwright in the testing suite. What’s the nature of that?

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Well, our fellow contributor, Kai Hai, and also Isabelle Brison, they’ve both been working quite a while now on migrating these tests to a new system called Playwright, away from the existing system called Puppeteer. For those who don’t know, what we’re talking about is that Gutenberg has a set of automated tests, which run in a real browser and run against a real WordPress install, but everything’s kind of thrown away, so it doesn’t necessarily start if the tests are run.

But it’s just asserting that the way the software behaves is correct, and it gives you confidence when you’re doing release that you haven’t broken everything. I mean, obviously it can’t catch every single bug, but it definitely helps to improve things. But what we’ve been finding is that the software that’s been underused is called Puppeteer, that controls these tests.

And we are finding there’s been a lot of what we call, flaky tests, and these are actually automatically flagged up now in the repo that if a test fails several times, it’s marked as flaky and then someone’s supposed to come and deal with it, but they’ve been building up and building up and there’s been more and more of them. And Kai actually looked into seeing if there’s other systems that could help us offer more stable tests.

And in fact, he concluded and he wrote on make blog at length about moving over to this new system called, Playwright. It’s much better maintained, there’s a lot more people working on it, it offers better debugging. But also I think most interestingly it encourages testing of the actual interface that our users experience rather than, there’s a temptation when you’re writing these tests to sort of say, “Get me this element by class name or a ID,” and then do something with it.

But of course, normal users can’t see class names or IDs, so you’re kind of circumventing, the tests aren’t testing the real software. So with Playwright, it makes it a lot easier, let’s say, to test in a way that is more akin to our users. And in the future, we may also be able to test on other browsers. Currently we can only test on Chromium, but we may also in the future be able to run these tests against the likes of Firefox and Safari.

And hopefully these tests will become faster, more stable and more reliable as a result of this. So I think it’s really good work and Kai and Isabelle are making good headway on it, and I’d encourage anyone who’s looking to contribute and who’s got experience of testing to come and help them with their effort, because they’ve got a lot of tests to migrate, but yes, it’s a very worthwhile project, in my opinion.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, no, it really sounds like it. Well, I’m always kind of thinking about who else can use that, is that recommended for plugin developers who built their own custom blocks to also kind of look into the testing suite, the Playwright and kind of reuse some of those tests for their own purpose?

Dave Smith: Yeah. Well, I can’t say that I personally have done that yet and explored that, but I know that the software itself is designed to be used in any context. I can’t see why there would be a reason why you couldn’t do that. I mean, again, it’s going to be the same process, which is you’re going to spin up a WordPress install. You’re going to activate your block plugin and then you are going to create a post, put your block into the post and then interact with it programmatically to determine if it works. So I would imagine that there’ll be things that we can do to reuse some of the technology we’ve got in Gutenberg when you’re building a custom block, so I’ll be interested to hear if anyone’s explored that already, and yeah, please do reach out to me or Kai, or Isabelle to discuss that, as I’m sure they’d be very interested.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Awesome. All right. I think that concludes our changelog of 13.4. It has a few quality of life things, great enhancements for some of the pieces and then also for developers. So yeah, test it out. It’s now available in the repo, and that brings us to the section of what’s an active development or discuss and needs some input.

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

If you had something that you wanted to talk about, like the ability to control interactivity states in the editor, that, that’s in the works, and I saw that, is that the java state or the visited state or what else, do you talk about that?

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you’ve covered it pretty well there. I mean, there’s been a request for quite a while to be able to change the way that things look based on how you interact with an element. I think probably the classic example is if you’ve got a navigation menu, and sometimes when you hover over one of the items in that menu, it changes visually, doesn’t it, perhaps the color changes or there’s a background or there’s an underlying, and that isn’t possible currently in the editor, which is obviously quite a big failing at the moment and something we need to address.

So there’s work underway to allow the ability to target these things, and it’s actually a much more complex thing than you’d imagine to achieve in a robust manner, because we need to consider things like, it should be only limited to specific elements and specific properties because it’s not good to have, if you’re rolling over a heading, you don’t want that suddenly changing link color, I mean that would be a very bad thing for accessibility, for some people that will really throw them off.

So it should only be things like anchors and things that you can interact with or focus. So we’re going to be starting rolling this out. It’s going to be, starting with a technical implementation first, so it’ll land first in theme JSON, so developers will be able to take use of it. But ultimately, it will be rolled out to the global sales interface. So in the future one day, hopefully by 6.1, we will see, you might be able to go into your navigation block, set the color of the text to be blue, for example, but then say, “Oh, but when the text is hovered or your mouse rolls over it, I want it to go to yellow.

And if someone focuses it with a keyboard, I want to have a blue underline underneath it.” And you’ll be able to do that all through the editor. So again, another way that we’re removing the need for users to necessarily to understand the ins and outs of CSS, pseudo selectors and things like that. So yeah, a shout out to Andre Draganescu for his work on this feature. And if you want to follow up, it’s Gutenberg issue number 38277.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. And of course we will have the link to that issue in the show notes. Now does it also cover in the navigation bar when I am on the page, does it also trigger the active kind of state of… So I’m on my about page, does that about page, is there a possibility to give that a different color when I’m on the about page, so kind of help with the navigation and kind of… Yeah.

Dave Smith: Yeah. So there is an active pseudo selector in CSS that we could include in this and that might help a bit, but I think in terms of styling something based on what page you are on, if it’s the current page, for example, then I think there is a known bug again that, that is something that we’d need to add programmatically in CSS and in PHP to determine, are you on that page and which nav item represents that page and then add the appropriate class name.

So there’s kind of two ways that could be tackled. But I mean, ultimately it should be open to any CSS, pseudo selector, but just probably on a limited number of elements, and we’ve got to liaise with the community and especially the accessibility team to determine what is the most appropriate. So there’s some really, really good designs that are already out in the wild about this, on that issue.

And I definitely encourage people to check that out because it shows how the interactions will work, and if you think there should be certain things that it’s able to do or it’s not able to do then now is the time to input because it’s under active development right now and being designed as we speak, so it’d be great to hear from people if they’ve got thoughts on it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. And then I think I mentioned it briefly before. So in the Gutenberg Times weekend edition of 215, I listed three block theme JSON generator or theme generators. And now we have a fourth one to come that’s the great block theme plugin that will be… We have a link in the show notes to the getup repo, but it will be a community plugin. What do you know more about it?

Dave Smith: Yeah, this is a plugin that’s kind of spun out of work that my team would be doing. I mentioned earlier that we’ve been working on improving the developer and theme or theme authoring experience. And what we found is that there are some things we wanted to do that aren’t necessarily that appropriate to land in court, it could add additional complexity that everyday users don’t want to have.

For example, the much requested feature, which is when you are editing templates in the site editor people often say, “I want those changes to be persisted back to the file system as pattern files or template part files,” sorry, “Templates or template part files.” But for a normal user, that’s not something that you’d probably want to do, but if you’re creating a theme from scratch, it very much is. So what has been born out of this is this create block theme plugin, create block theme, being the operative word there, theme.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Dave Smith: And it used to be owned by Automattic, but we decided that it was something that would be beneficial to the wider community. So it’s now been open sourced and it’s now the property of the WordPress project. And it’s very much targeted at theme builders. So if you’re someone who wants to create a theme from scratch, then this plugin is likely to be something you want to at least take a look at.

And as I said, things like saving to file system and giving you extra export controls are there, it’s far from perfect at this point, and I mean, a lot of it has to be accessed from its own dedicated setting screen. It’s not fully integrated with the editor much as we would like, but it’s definitely showing promise, and we’re hoping that it’ll become the sort of, almost like a standard plugin for the WordPress ecosystem for crafting block themes from scratch.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I like that it also offers a possibility to create a child theme of the current activity theme, and that you can also clone themes. So it’s quite powerful in the idea and has already quite a few options in there. And you install it on your site, right, if I understand that correctly.

Dave Smith: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then you have an additional menu item under appearance with a new page that’s called, create block theme, and then you have all the options that are in there, like set up, style, customization, templates and the save part. And of course you can always use the export theme from the site editor or from the plugin to download the theme. So it’s quite an interesting plugin and I know that the community has been waiting for that. All right.

Well, this is the end of the show. It’s marvelous. And thank you very much for your great contributions here, Dave, you’ve given us a lot of insights into the background of some of the features and some of the work. So I want to remind everyone again on save-the-date of July 22nd, 11:00 AM Eastern to 1500 UTC with a live Q&A, with the Pew Research Team who builds sites with a block editor, first approach. Also, Dave, when people want to connect with you, how can they find you, and what’s the URL of your YouTube channel?

Dave Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So I usually appear as, getdave or sometimes get_dave on various websites around the internet. And if you want to get in touch with me, you can find me on WordPress Slack. But also be sure to check out my YouTube channel and you can access that with a link that’s going to be published in the show notes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Fabulous. So, Mary, do you have anything that you didn’t get in before? So now is your chance.

Mary Job: No, I think we covered everything we wanted to.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. How can people reach you?

Mary Job: Oh, me, I’m maryjob on Twitter. I like spending my time on the streets of Twitter.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. And as always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com for this podcast. This is episode 68, and if you have questions or suggestions or news you want us to include, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. That’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. So thank you, Mary, for being with us. Thank you, Dave. And thank you everybody for listening. This is it for me, I say goodbye. And until the next time.

Dave Smith:  Thank you for having me. See you next time. Bye.

Mary Job: Thank you, Dave.

WPTavern: Athens to Host WordCamp Europe 2023

Fri, 06/10/2022 - 21:32
photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

WordCamp Europe 2022 concluded last weekend in Porto, Portugal. The event sold 2,746 tickets and had 2,304 people attend. It kicked off with a record-setting Contributor Day that coordinated the efforts of 800 participants giving back to WordPress and its related projects.

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WCEU featured 70 speakers across 26 sessions and 18 workshops, made possible by the efforts of 65 sponsors, 91 organizers, and 164 volunteers.

Attendees and organizers were thrilled to be back together in person after two years of not hosting the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remkus de Vries, one of the founders of WCEU, joined our recent WP Jukebox podcast and commented on the importance of being back in person with fellow WordPress enthusiasts. He characterized WordCamps as the “glue” that keeps the community together.

“I think the glue part is way more important than people thought that it was,” de Vries said. “I think you can say the same thing for what we’re seeing here. Yes, you can be connected. You can have great relationships online and everything, but the real deal is in real life. That’s where you make the actual connections. 

“You have things you say that you then in real life have time to correct if that wasn’t the intent that you actually had. All of these little things make up what that glue actually consists of, so not having that for two years creates a like a vacuum of things that are not seen, not communicated, not spoken about, not processed.

“There have been companies started from WordCamps. There have been mergers started. There have been friends made there have been marriages come from WordCamps. Everything happens when you’re together.”

In 2023, the project that is democratizing publishing will be hosting its European conference in the birthplace of democracy, Athens, Greece. The date is set for June 8-10, and the call for organizers has already been published. Check out the intro video below for a taste of what’s to come next year.

WPTavern: Gutenberg Editor Now In Testing On Tumblr and Day One Web Apps

Fri, 06/10/2022 - 19:40

One of the most thought-provoking statements to come out of WordCamp Europe 2022, was when Matt Mullenweg said, “I believe that Gutenberg can be a bigger contribution to the world than WordPress itself.”

This isn’t the first time Mullenweg has cast this vision of Gutenberg’s preeminence as an open source project. In the Q&A following his 2021 State of the Word address, he said, “Gutenberg is something even bigger than WordPress, which is basically saying how do we edit and create the web? And how can we get as many people, both proprietary and open source collaborating on that as possible?”

Making Gutenberg available to the broader web was part of the reasoning behind dual-licensing the project under the GPL and MIT. Proprietary, and particularly mobile application use (where the GPL is not common), is better supported by the MIT license.

Gutenberg is already finding a destiny of its own outside of WordPress. Projects like Drupal Gutenberg and Laraberg were some the early seeds of the wider Gutenberg ecosystem, demonstrating that communities other than WordPress find value in the project and can adapt it for use with their applications. At WordCamp Europe, Mullenweg announced that both Tumblr and Day One are now testing Gutenberg in their web apps.

Day One web, currently in internal alpha, is following soon. We hope that these reference points help illustrate the flexibility of the block editor beyond WordPress. pic.twitter.com/VLTwgfdi2v

— Matías Ventura (@matias_ventura) June 8, 2022

Tumblr users who want to access the new beta post editor, which was code named “Gutenblr,” can click on the prompt at the top of the page to switch. It’s opt-in for now while it’s still being tested.

Activating the beta unlocks the new Gutenberg-powered editor with redesigned buttons and icons. Users can post a series of multiple blocks in what feels like a mini, pared-back post editor. Certain blocks can be dragged and dropped into a different order on the draft, but this is still a little buggy. Tumblr’s editor is fun to use compared to WordPress’ version of Gutenberg which does a lot more but at the expense of having to support many more settings and controls.

When Automattic acquired Tumblr in 2019, Mullenweg was forthright about his intention to replace the Tumblr backend with WordPress.

“WordPress is an open source web operating system that can power pretty much anything, including Tumblr.com, but it’s also a large property so will take a bit to figure out and migrate,” Mullenweg said.

Two years later, in November 2021, the Tumblr changelog noted that the development team was working on a new major version of the beta post editor on web, leveraging parts of Gutenberg. In a Twitter conversation discussing Tumblr’s architecture, Gutenberg lead architect Matías Ventura said its implementation of Gutenberg stores everything as JSON, whereas WordPress serializes HTML as the default experience because it needs to work with the ecosystem. In both cases, blocks are created as structured data.

“I’m personally looking forward to when you could just copy and paste blocks between platforms like you do with patterns!” Matías Ventura said when tweeting out the screenshots of Gutenberg on Tumblr and Day One.

This sort of interoperability across apps is similar to the idea behind the Block Protocol project. It aims to build a block system for embedding interactive blocks in any web application. As more of the web embraces the block paradigm, it would be helpful to be able to share blocks across a standardized protocol.

The Block Protocol spec is being developed by the team at HASH, which is currently hiring a WordPress developer to create a Block Protocol Gutenberg plugin. The goal of the plugin is to “unlock the entire Block Protocol ecosystem of blocks for all users of WordPress (both technical and not),” which would extend the range of blocks available to Gutenberg users.

When the Block Protocol project was announced, it didn’t seem likely that it would use Gutenberg as the basis for its spec. However, the wide usage of Gutenberg across the web cannot be ignored. This forthcoming plugin appears to be more like a bridge or connector that ensures Gutenberg is still relevant in the Block Protocol ecosystem.

WordPress is an important player in the creation of both blocks and an intuitive editor for publishing them, as the primary incubator for Gutenberg’s initial development and essentially its first adopter. The block editor making its way to more apps like Tumblr and Day One is a major milestone, and it’s inspiring to see collaboration on an initiative connecting Gutenberg users with another global registry of blocks designed to move across apps on the web.

WPTavern: WordPress 6.1 to Focus On Refining Full-Site Editing, Next Phase Collaboration and Multilingual Features Anticipated in 2023-2025

Thu, 06/09/2022 - 20:14

Gutenberg lead architect Matías Ventura has identified refinements to experiences introduced in 5.9 and 6.0 as the main goal for the upcoming 6.1 release. He published the roadmap for 6.1 ahead of the closing session at WordCamp Europe in Porto, where he was scheduled to join Matt Mullenweg and Josepha Haden Chomphosy for a demo. Ventura wasn’t able to make it but he tweeted a thread with video demos of some exciting interface updates that Gutenberg contributors are working on.

One of the main thrusts is making site navigation a smoother experience through a new “browse mode” that will allow site editors to zoom in and out while working.

Patterns are another major focus that Ventura has identified as “a central piece of the creative experience.” Contributors are working on making it easier to build with patterns, with plans to improve the discovery and insertion process. WordPress 6.1 will bring better support for pattern usage in custom post types, block types, and a more intuitive experience locking patterns and managing saved patterns.

image credit: WordPress 6.1 Roadmap

Contributors are also exploring a new aerial view and other ideas for making it easier to interact with patterns as sections of a page, as Ventura demonstrated in his thread.

Patterns were a big focus at the conference in Porto and with 6.1 we'll be trying ti elevate them further. A new aerial view is being explored to allow focusing on the top level sections of a page or template. pic.twitter.com/7JSeQQANt7

— Matías Ventura (@matias_ventura) June 8, 2022

Ventura said another goal for WordPress 6.1 is to improve the global styles interface with better support for restrictions, privileges, and curated presets. Design tools will also be updated to support responsive typography and allow managing webfonts.

“The tune of the release will be to refine the experiences introduced in 5.9 and 6.0, weave the various flows into more coherent and fulfilling experiences for users, maintainers, and extenders, and close some gaps in functionality as we start to look towards Phase 3 of the Gutenberg roadmap,” Ventura said.

Beyond WordPress 6.1: Collaboration Phase 3 Will Precede Multilingual Phase 4 to Establish Core Architecture

Matt Mullenweg and Josepha Haden Chomphosy addressed several questions regarding WordPress’ long term roadmap during their Q&A session at WordCamp Europe. (The video from the livestream is embedded below.)

WordPress core contributors plan to close out the Customization phase before beginning on the Collaboration phase in 2023. During the Q&A session, one of the polyglot contributors asked why WordPress is waiting until Phase 4 to begin working on multilingual features in core.

“Part of the reason we don’t want to set data now and then work on the feature later is that we have learned every time that it’s hard to create the architecture for something without creating the user experience,” Mullwenweg said. “When we try to do one without the other, for example with the REST API we got into the REST API before we were fully using it ourselves. As we started to do first-party usage of the REST API with Gutenberg, we found a bunch of gaps. I would feel particularly bad if those gaps meant plugins had been building on the wrong architecture for a few years.”

Mullenweg also explained why he believes it’s important to prioritize Phase 3, which he referred to as “workflow,” before the multilingual features:

Phase 3 is Workflow. This is basically where we’re going to take real-time co-editing into WordPress, much like Google docs or something else. When you log in to edit a page or your sites or a template or something, if someone else is in there at the same time, you’ll be able to see them moving around. Of course, we want to make sure we have version control built in like we do for posts and pages, into as many parts of WP as possible, so if someone makes a mistake or an edit to the site, you will be able to roll it back easily, which I think is really key for giving people confidence.

He emphasized the importance of establishing the collaboration architecture before introducing multilingual support into core.

“I think that the workflows around multilingual are important,” Mullenweg said. “So where is the content being canonically created, how do changes flow from one language to another, maybe even bi-directionally, depending on the people editing the site, and how that affects the rest of the templates – things that are outside the post and page content.”

He also noted the many third-party multilingual solutions that already exist will have a transition period as core integrates these features.

“I expect that much like has happened with page builders, once there’s something in core, they will either have a data migration path or integrate with whatever foundation we put into core,” Mullenweg said. “But I would like to set expectations that it’s probably more of a 2024 or 2025 initiative for WordPress. And we want to get these other phases done really well first. Why do we have to go in order? We can only do so much at once.”

When the person who had asked the question pressed for a reason why a contingency work group could not begin now, Mullenweg encouraged any eager contributors to put their work into a plugin. He referenced Gutenberg, which began as a plugin and was tested for years before bringing it into core.

I would say when we look at phase 4, the first thing we’re going to look at is how all the plugins are doing it. Perhaps one of those plugins could even become the basis for what comes into core. It’s OK if the plugins take different architectural approaches, because we want to see pluses and minuses of those. Remember people use WordPress with millions and millions of posts and pages, sometimes tens of millions. We want this to scale, we want this to be performant, we want it to be accessible. Take all the things people know and trust about WordPress. and bring it to this functionality.

Mullenweg said he thinks multilingual is “probably going to be one of the most complex things we bring into core, even more so than blocks.” The reason behind this is because blocks took what WordPress did before and gave it a new interface on top of HTML.

“Multilingual is taking every single thing inside of WordPress – tags, categories, pages, templates, and making it multi-factorial so it’s like a factorial amount of complexity on top of what right now is more of a one-to-one relationship,” he said. “If you have some ideas for how to do it, get involved with one of the existing plugins or start your own.”

Do The Woo Community: Extending Your WordPress Plugin for WooCommerce with Mark Westguard and Lesley Sim

Thu, 06/09/2022 - 09:20

Lesley wants to add WooCommerce functionality to her WordPress plugin. Mark has done it. A unique conversation between two developers.

>> The post Extending Your WordPress Plugin for WooCommerce with Mark Westguard and Lesley Sim appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

Post Status: This Week at WordPress.org (June 6, 2022)

Wed, 06/08/2022 - 23:00
Each week we are highlighting the news from WordPress.org that you don't want to miss. If you or your company create products or services that use WordPress, we've got the news you need to know. Be sure to share this resource with your product and project managers. Are you interested in giving back and contributing...

WPTavern: Elementor Acquires Strattic

Wed, 06/08/2022 - 19:26

Elementor, a popular website builder plugin that is active on more than five million websites, has acquired Strattic, a static and headless WordPress hosting company. Strattic will continue operating as “Strattic by Elementor” and the team will remain as its own unit within the company.

Elementor founders Yoni Luksenberg and Ariel Klikstein met Strattic founder and CEO Miriam Schwab 10 years ago when they attended a WordCamp she organized in Jerusalem. The following year Elementor sponsored the WordCamp she organized the in Tel Aviv. In 2020, Elementor raised $15M its first round of funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, after passing four million users.

Schwab founded Strattic in 2018 as the first WordPress hosting company to streamline the creation of static files managed via a headless install.

“Very early on it became clear to us at Strattic that we had better make sure we support Elementor in the static versions of our sites,” Schwab said. “More and more users were coming to us with sites built on Elementor, which was a strong indication of the plugin’s growing adoption and popularity. We prioritized supporting it in general, including rolling out support for their forms, and most recently adding a Strattic publish button from the Elementor editor.”

Over the past year, Elementor has been working to capture the market for the entire website creation process by offering hosting alongside its commercial website builder. Earlier this year, the company launched a Google Cloud-based website hosting service that includes Elementor Pro for $99/year. Elementor will promote the new static hosting service alongside its existing cloud service.

“I can’t speak exactly to what Elementor’s strategy is in terms of Strattic vis a vis their cloud offering, but Strattic will be a parallel offering, at least for the foreseeable future,” Schwab said.

Elementor has often been criticized for making WordPress sites sluggish so it’s easy to see the appeal that static hosting brings. Having more customers on Strattic might lessen the urgency of fixing Elementor’s well-documented speed issues.

“This acquisition will allow us to leverage Strattic’s technology to build static websites, helping to solve stability, speed, and security issues in the dynamic sites space,” Elementor founder Yoni Luksenberg said.

“With static hosting, users can deploy their dynamic WordPress websites as static HTML/CSS replicas to global CDN networks, which drastically improves the performance of their sites and eliminates potential security vulnerabilities and site breakdowns during updates. With a dramatically reduced attack surface, WordPress vulnerabilities become irrelevant as security is no longer a defensive endeavor.”

Elementor users who sign on for Strattic’s static hosting approach will have a more stable and secure experience, as the plugin and related third-party add-ons are frequently patching critical vulnerabilities.

Strattic and Elementor customers can expect deeper integration across these products in the future.

“We already have great support for Elementor on our static sites, but of course there’s always room for improvement so we will be working with Elementor’s team to make the integration even better,” Schwab said. She also confirmed there are no pricing changes on the horizon for Strattic customers.

“Right now everything will stay pretty much the same for Strattic users. We hope they’ll soon start to feel the benefit of us joining Elementor in terms of faster release cycles of amazing new features that will make the product even better.”

Do The Woo Community: WooCommerce Announces Functionality for Card Reader

Wed, 06/08/2022 - 15:25

The press release, received today, announces the features that allow fast transactions and automatic inventory syncing.

>> The post WooCommerce Announces Functionality for Card Reader appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

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