26 Aug 2016
Hi there, WordPress users! Version 6.4 of the WordPress for iOS app is now available in the App Store.
iPad Keyboard Shortcuts. Press down the command key on your external keyboard to see a list of available shortcuts in the main screen and in the post editor.
Share Media. Our sharing extension now supports media, too!
People Management. You can now manage your site's users and roles using your mobile device.
Search in the Reader. The Reader now has search capability and autocompletes suggestions.
Improved Gestures. Full screen image previews can be dismissed with a swanky flick/toss gesture.
Bugs Squashed. A new homemade bug spray formula has allowed us to squash many uninvited guests.
And much more! You can see the full list of changes here.
Thanks to all of the contributors who worked on this release:
@aerych, @astralbodies, @claudiosmweb, @diegoreymendez, @frosty, @jleandroperez, @koke, @kurzee, @kwonye, @oguzkocer, @sendhil, @SergioEstevao.
You can track the development progress for the next update by visiting our 6.5 milestone on GitHub. Until next time!
26 Aug 2016 12:27pm GMT
Hello WordPress users! Version 5.7 of the WordPress for Android app is now available in the Google Play Store.
New "Plans" section in My Site
Starting with 5.7, you can see your current WordPress.com plan and learn more about the benefits we offer in other plans.
Manage your followers and viewers from the "People Management" screen
You're now able to use the app to invite new Administrators, Editors, Authors or Contributors to your site, or remove unwanted followers.
Version 5.7 also comes with a few other changes and fixes:
- Reader tweaks in the Post Detail screen for tablets.
- Keeps the "View Site" link visible for newly created users.
- Fixes a rare crash when creating a new account.
You can track our development progress for the next release by visiting our 5.8 milestone on GitHub.
Do you like keeping up with what's new in the app? Do you enjoy testing new stuff before anyone else? Our testers have access to beta versions with updates shipped directly through Google Play. The beta versions may have new features, new fixes - and possibly new bugs! Testers make it possible for us to improve the overall app experience, and offer us invaluable development feedback.
Want to become a tester? Opt-in!
26 Aug 2016 11:33am GMT
24 Aug 2016
I'm a minority amongst minorities, but it doesn't matter.
Let's get to know each other
Hi, I'm Uriahs Victor and I'm a Carib - bean from the island of St. Lucia. How many Black Developers do you know in the WordPress Community? 5? 20? How many of them are from the Caribbean? How many raised up in places like this:
I chose to write on this topic in hopes that there's someone else like me reading this article someday who's living in an area where it may seem like there aren't many career paths.
It doesn't matter where in the world you are or your complexion; anyone could code.
How my passion for programming began
I was fortunately raised with both parents in a community on my island called Fond St. Jacques which is a part of a bigger town called Soufriere. I grew up doing everything a typical adolescent from my community would be doing: playing football, playing cricket and going to work on my parents farm and occasionally on other farms to earn some money to burn through by drinking with friends ( don't think about it too hard ) and partying.
One day I came home to a used computer setup in my room and was extremely ecstatic with the idea that my family now owned one. I spent hours upon hours on this computer messing around with paint but mostly playing Pinball, there was no internet in my community at the time but I was very intrigued by video games, once I got my first taste of unrestricted internet access several months after; my love for video games grew, I spent time reading about them but more time playing them and at that time I had decided that I wanted to be a Game Designer.
If being a Programmer from a rural community out of the Caribbean sounds different (not impossible) looking back at it now then just imagine how it sounded saying I wanted to be a Game Designer when someone asked me. I spent years with this goal set, I spent days reading about game designing but I always felt lacking, I believed there was always 1 skill Game Designers needed that I did not have and that was being able to draw/design.
In 2010 life was pretty easy going, I was 15 and still had not done any piece of Web or Desktop Development coding. My Secondary schooling was going pretty good, I was always the top performing IT student so this brought me comfort as I knew I would soon be writing the "CXC" exams soon.
On October 28th 2010 I woke up during the night to the sound of heavy rains, I looked through one of the windows of my home at the time and saw the trees around my house swaying pretty normal, or so I thought. The morning of October 29 I woke up to the sound of friends saying "Uriahs your mom shop is gone" in our second language (French Creole), this language naturally sounds a bit harsh when used to say various things so I thought they were pulling some kind of prank on me. What I saw after heading to the balcony where my friends were changed my life.
Some Damage done to my hometown (more images could be seen by googling "Hurricane Tomas Fond St. Jacques Damage"
My friends were right, my mom's shop where she sold snacks and food items which generated most of the income for my schooling had completely vanished, no trace of it was left, like it was never there.
This storm had done so much damage that there was no way for anyone from my community to get to school
Roads were completely sliced through by water and eventually I had to move out of my community to live in Soufriere for ease of travelling to school.
At age 16 I still wanted to be a Game Designer, I had spent the previous 5 years excelling in Information Technology at my Secondary school but had never done any piece of programming, the damages of Hurricane Tomas were still evident and I was still shaken up at how my life had changed, I was no longer living with my parents in my hometown, everything I would not wish for a teenager.
To this day the damage done to my home town is still visible:
This is the exact same area from one of the previous images. These pictures were taken August 8th 2016 when I visited.
In the Caribbean, at the end of your 5 years of Secondary schooling you are required to write an exam called "CXC" if you wish to pursue higher education. For my academic year we never finished our Information Technology syllabus which touched a bit on Pascal programming, so when it came to writing the Information Technology exam every category was aced, but I failed the programming section, even then I still wanted to be a Game Designer and had not yet grown any affection for coding.
In 2011 I started schooling at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) pursuing an Associate Degree in Computer Systems Engineering which was the only option available which dealt with Technology at that college (there are only two colleges on my island). This was a 2 year degree where the first year students are introduced to both the Hardware and Software side of computing then in the second year choose the path they wish to pursue. This was also around the time I first came across WordPress while fiddling on the internet and making the mistake of not looking more into what it really was.
One year into my Computer Engineering program it finally came the time to choose my path in IT and of course I chose the Software path because I believed if I wanted to be a Game Designer then this was the best path. That remaining year was when I really started to build up my affection for code, there was only one course in the software path that actually dealt with any type of code to some extent called "Programming Methodology". Programming Methodology was a course tailored to teach you the very basics of programming such as Loops, IF and ELSE statements, Variables and small exercises to help you put those into practice. This entire Programming Methodology course was done with VB6 examples in Visual Studio 2006 so I was not taught a single line of Web Development code.
At this college every student who does Computer Systems Engineering is required to present a "Technical Project" in a typed and physical presentation form, it's purpose is to show what you've picked up from the program over the 2 years; without receiving a pass on this Technical Project students would not be awarded their Degree and would need to redo the project until they succeeded. It may sound a bit brutal but I believe this is a good final test and I hope they don't change this procedure.
I had known about this requirement for a very long time so I decided to build a video game for my technical project, I knew I could not draw so I decided to use a RPG Maker and ponder ways I could get a pass by presenting to the graders a video game which I did not physically design any of the characters or coded them in. I eventually decided to create an Educational video game and touch on the topic of teaching through entertainment (Edutainment). There was this one course called Data Communications that students always seem to have trouble passing so I thought "Hey, maybe I should create a game showing some basics of Data Communications".
During my time learning how to use this RPG Maker and creating this game I found myself using a lot of the logic operators I had learnt about in Programming Methodology, this was all good because in my presentation I could have shown that though I used a RPG Maker, there was actually a lot of programming logic going on under the hood and that I was actually coding.
While working on this project my love for code grew, I was having fun.
By the time I had finished creating this game my passion had already broken down from Game Designing to coding. Thankfully, I was successful with the game which I called "EduCom" and was able to finish college in a perfect 2 years (woohoo!), you can download EduCom here: Click here
Fast forward a few months and there I was as an intern from college at a web agency understudying some colleagues who didn't build desktop apps. Keep in mind that at college I had learnt VB6 to the point where I could have switched over to self-learn VB.NET and I was now sitting in a web agency learning web development, well guess what? I still loved it. I went home each day and practiced it, I used http://codeacademy.com (which now redirects to codecademy.com) to learn HTML and CSS and I was even good with jQuery at some point! Life was great, at that time getting employed by the agency was not a big deal for me, I just loved coming to work and understudying the other Developers.
A shock came to me one day when I was told that I had went to the wrong company for my internship.
I remember to this day clearly being told that I was supposed to carry out my internship at this web agency but now I was being told that I went the wrong place. I really liked where I currently was but I actually needed to leave for the company which I was registered to in the school records, I still wonder what would have happened if I had never corrected that mistake.
With 2 months left out of the 3 month long internship program, I was at a new company with very little excitement in me. The silver lining came when I arrived and noticed that there was this 1 developer who was responsible for both building and maintaining desktop applications and websites, two things I really liked doing, so I quickly gravitated towards him and in no time we became friends. I was awed by him and I could safely say just like the previous guys at the web agency that he played a part in me not forgetting my true passion for coding. I say this because at this newly assigned company I became an IT Technician, doing everything Techs usually do such as fixing printers, troubleshooting WIFI networks, fixing computers and even building them too, but even after spending the day as an IT Technician I often spent the night as a Developer. I never stopped coding, I often came home fatigued from all the hands on tech work but I pushed myself through CodeCademy's exercises, I spent time working in Visual Studio building simple apps that did nothing useful but I still liked the feeling of seeing my code come to life.
At the ending of my internship I had become such a great IT Technician that I got the job. I was excited because heck, who wouldn't be excited to get a job straight out of college in a country with high unemployment rate?
Reality Is Cruel; Immerse Yourself - Uriahs Victor
On September 3rd 2013; two weeks before my birthday was my first day officially on the job. My day was going by normal, until I got a call from my sister, crying. My father had lost his life because of a mishap while working on our family farm. It took me a while to realize what had happened, I didn't want to believe it. Might sound strange to you, but video games again came up and helped me through.
No matter where you are at right now, don't stop doing what you truly love.
The day came when my Developer friend at the company decided it was time for him to leave the job for greater things, and guess who offered to be the new Developer? That's right, me. With some help from my colleague I got familiar with the different apps and websites the company had under their management, again I came across WordPress but I still did not know much about it on a coding stand point, I spent time at home getting familiar with its backend but what was more unusual to me was its code. I knew how to build static websites with HTML and CSS but I did not know much PHP at the time so I had to quickly learn a fair level of PHP to find myself around and also learn different things about WordPress such as plugins and backing up… enough to fill in my colleague's shoes as quickly as I could before he was gone.
I am not happy at my job!
Two years into the job and things had begun to turn sour for me, I was not happy at my job. One of the main reasons was that I felt underappreciated and overlooked. Though I was the new Developer for the company they never got over the fact that I was also pretty good with computers, so I was often asked to stop whatever software related tasks I was doing to head over to some client's business to check out a faulty computer or things of that nature. I was unhappy, I felt like I this company did not value the software side of their business nearly as much as the hardware side, couple that with the fact that I was still being paid the same salary as when I was only an IT tech, to now being in charge of the company's software and still finding myself doing IT Technician related tasks and then being asked by my employer "Why can't you work on the client apps at home?", there was no overtime pay offered in my contract, so I used my nights to better myself and also to rest my mind.
I was still 20 but soon to be 21 at the time and I felt overworked. Having to condition your brain to work on VB.NET apps some of which were not built by yourself requires time to be spent getting familiar with the source code, but often minutes after I would have to recondition my brain to think of reasons why a computer has a certain issue, this was like P90X on the brain, it was a daily thing and I began disliking as weeks and months went by. Time passed and things became sourer, I began contemplating my resignation; I did not like the way I was being treated and it had begun to show, I often only found joy when practicing my code at home, this late night practicing also often caused me to arrive late the next day for work which I compensated for by leaving at late hours.
If it doesn't come bursting out of you, don't do it.
The day came when I decided to resign from my job but something inside me said "Uriahs, give it another shot", that voice was the bad voice, I was let go from the job the same day I planned to resign.
Is Karma real?
So there I was, a 21 year old who had no backup plan and no job applications out in the wild but I was happy. I had felt relief that I did not have to deal with working in an environment I didn't like. I was told by my past colleagues that my replacement had come in the next day and I thought to myself that maybe this company was contemplating letting me go just as long as I was contemplating leaving (lol). Well, let's just say this replacement only lasted 3 days on the Job then quit after messing up one of the company's high end clients website, a news publishing website: http://stluciastar.com/ built on WordPress which I had been maintaining and making code modifications for when asked.
I don't know why the company thought it was ok to call me 3 days after letting me go, asking for my "help" in fixing whatever problem a replacement Developer (who I believe shortly quit after the incident) had done, but after consulting with the WordPress community, it was made clear to me that I should either charge for my services or decline; heck, I was unemployed and still had rent and bills to pay but I instead eventually declined.
A new beginning
Weeks went by with me just getting used to being out of an office type job to being home, I had been living alone since I had gotten the past job so I also had to get used to having less people around me. I took that time to learn more about WordPress, Udemy pricing scheme didn't change yet so I bought myself a few WordPress Development courses for $10USD each when they came on sale, such as: WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap by Brad Hussey, in that one course I learnt more about WordPress than I had learnt in all my time working in my last job(wut?). I began doing freelance work online and locally, there were not many other options on my island to work in software so I started questioning whether I should be sending out applications for new jobs or just do full time freelancing; I had my doubts about the few companies there were, and I actually enjoyed working from home. Time passed and I fell more and more in love with WordPress, I watched tutorials and googled away trying to pick up knowledge, the WordPress codex which I once found intimidating began to look sexy.
Once I felt I had gathered enough knowledge on WordPress, I thought of a plugin idea and began working on it. I had no immediate help except for the WordPress community populating the codex with all the useful information. I spent a few weeks working none stop on this plugin which I thought did a pretty good task which was to Inform buyers of a downloadable WooCommerce product that there is an update for that product after the shop owner has marked it as updated. After completing the plugin I was ready to submit to the WordPress repository, it brought me joy when I got the e-mail letting me know that the plugin was accepted to the WordPress repository! I love open source so just having a plugin for WordPress which could at least help some people made me feel warm inside.
Pirate of the Caribbean
Around that time something equally interesting happened. I had completed a short video chat with Ionut and Sabina from ThemeIsle and found out that I would be part of their WordPress support team for their themes and plugins! Obviously I was happy, I would be amongst like minded individuals, a team who appreciates WordPress as much as I do, a team I could learn from! All without needing to fly over to Romania!
Let's have a drink
One day while performing a random Google search for my plugin I saw in the search results a link to WPTavern, I curiously clicked on the link and saw that my plugin (TLD WooCommerce Downloadable Product Update Emails) had been picked as one of the top 3 plugins of the week on WPTavern, my very first plugin and it was mentioned on WPTavern?!
In under 1 year I have achieved more than I did in the recent years. It wasn't easy, many nights were spent awake googling away, many parties were missed so I could save and be able to pay bills. If you like something, do it!
Programming is for anyone and when I notice someone from my island or the Caribbean show interest in coding I never refrain from encouraging them.
I am currently 21 and will be 22 next month, I still have lots to learn, I still have lots to give back to the WordPress community and open-source community on a whole, I currently aid small businesses and non-profits on my Island grow their brand with WordPress. I have plugins and plugin ideas in the pipeline which I am currently not able to complete, but through learning and growing my skills I eventually will.
It doesn't matter which part of the world you grew up in, what challenges you've faced, nor does it matter your race, all it takes is the internet, passion, patience, practice and of course prayer.
WordPress has been good to me, if it has been good to you, then helping the WordPress Community in any way possible is the best we could all do.
24 Aug 2016 12:00pm GMT
23 Aug 2016
The current state of affairs
In 2016, WordPress is far from the only choice for a new website. In fact, website owners have enjoyed a plethora of options (hosted and self-hosted) for many years. WordPress has remained the juggernaut solution for self-hosted websites, with 25% marketshare of the total web, and as the mainstay CMS for small-to-medium businesses with small or low budgets.
Amongst two groups - large institutions that need high scalability, and the ever-tinkering developer crowd - another option is trending positively: the static site generator, also known as a flat-file CMS.
Don't get me wrong - the WordPress install base is huge, and the threat posed by static site generators is small. But it's growing. Post Status editor Brian Krogsgard polled developers prior to Pressnomics, to assess the threat level posed by various CMSs and publishing platforms; Medium and static site generators were considered more of a threat than any others:
He also wrote in a newsletter to members in November, 2015, "Didn't I just mention about the appeal of static sites? I really think they're a big top-end threat," referring to the launch of vets.gov. Earlier that month, Smashing Magazine christened them the next big thing. A number of high profile websites use static site generators, from Vox Media to Barack Obama.
A spate of flat-file CMS options have become strong contenders: GitHub's Jekyll is by far the most popular, but it's joined by Grav, Couch, Pico, and more. You can even host your static site on GitHub Pages for free, and they're happy to let you use a custom domain.
Historical WordPress advantages
The continuing appeal of WordPress has been fourfold:
- The ability to get started very cheaply, without a monthly fee on top of hosting costs.
- The liberty to use a custom domain name.
- A robust ecosystem that provides thousands of free or inexpensive themes and plugins.
- One-step installation facilitated by mainstream web hosts' embrace of WordPress.
Since Jekyll and its ilk are mostly open-source, advantage #1 is wiped out. GitHub Pages knocks out advantage #2. WordPress retains the upper hand regarding #3 and #4. Younger projects have a long way to go before they can rival the WordPress community, and they're still focused on serving fellow developers rather than everyday consumers. Until that changes, big web hosts won't bother to enable ultra-easy installation.
Modern WordPress drawbacks
WordPress does have legitimate downsides, especially if you're already a competent web developer or you're focused on the highest levels of technical performance.
Site speed is ever more important in an age of social distribution and mobile browsing, and made more difficult considering site assets and page weights seem to be constantly getting larger. WordPress can be difficult to scale for high levels of traffic, and certain site architecture decisions can get developers in trouble.
High scalability and smart web performance management with WordPress requires significant development expertise or more expensive managed hosting partners, especially for complex WordPress installs; whereas the inherently static nature of static site generators makes scalability more trivial.
Finally, security is a concern for some people that choose static site generators. WordPress has opportunities for user input that static site generators do not. It is also a natural target of hackers, simply due to its popularity. And static site generators are almost completely locally stored - aside from the output itself - whereas WordPress (potentially outdated, along with underlying themes and plugins) is stored on the server, more vulnerable to attacks.
Why WordPress is still winning
As I noted amongst its historical advantages, WordPress has an unparalleled ecosystem of plugins, add-ons, and extensions. (For comparison, the Jekyll Plugins website only lists fifty-two options at the time of writing.) It's also relatively easy for non-technical people to install and use WordPress, in part because mainstream hosting companies put in the effort to make it easy, but even prior to such conveniences WordPress boasted, "the famous 5-minute install." And static site generators are just not as powerful as traditional content management systems, especially in regard to user input.
Among the static site generators, Jekyll in particular is working toward feature parity, but it will take a long time. Current ease-of-use tools like Prose, a content editor that integrates with GitHub, and CloudCannon's Jekyll GUI, which aims to help developers collaborate with clients, are in their infancy in terms of adoption and are still finicky to use.
It can be tempting to look longingly at the growing ecosystem around static site generators. It's also easy to forget just how much you get "for free" with built-in WordPress functionality. Static site generators definitely play a role in the modern web, and can be a great choice for certain types of websites. But no static site generator signals the end for WordPress and its continuously strong community.
The future - what should you do?
Since you're reading Post Status, it seems fair to assume that you're part of the WordPress ecosystem, and very likely earn a living from it. Should you be panicking? No, for all the reasons I laid out.
But any wise professional keeps an eye on the future of their industry. We are seeing a trend, and over time Jekyll and its siblings will gain more marketshare. It's probably worth your time to try out a few flat-file CMS options, get familiar with how to use and customize them, and perhaps consider what WordPress itself can learn from them.
23 Aug 2016 8:23pm GMT
17 Aug 2016
WordPress 4.6, "Pepper", has been released. It's named, as always, after a famous jazz musician, and this release is named after Park Frederick "Pepper" Adams III, a baritone saxophonist and jazz composer.
The Release Lead for WordPress 4.6 was Dominik Schilling, known often as Ocean90, and the Deputy Release Lead was Garth Mortensen. There were 272 total contributors to this release. According to Aaron Jorbin, 85 of these contributors were first timers, so congratulations to all new WordPress contributors!
For this release, we did a special episode of the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle - the CTO of Human Made - and me, Brian Krogsgard.
In this episode, Joe and I discuss WordPress 4.6 and deep dive on a few of its features.
About WordPress 4.6
Here's a video overview of WordPress 4.6:
Overall, this was a planned iterative release from the beginning, with a goal to fix as many longstanding bugs as possible, and to refine existing features, rather than to focus on a lot of brand new features.
Folks have been clamoring for a release like this for a long time, and in most respects 4.6 delivered. According to Trac, 489 tickets were closed, across 53 components, during the 4.6 milestone. Also, it shipped exactly on time.
User facing features
WordPress 4.6 has a few user facing features that aren't huge functional changes, but nice interface enhancements.
No more bleak screen of sadness, as the team working on this termed it. The plugin installation, updates, and delete process is much smoother than it used to be. There's a nice video of this from the initial proposal:
This was the second release where "shiny updates" features were a focus. To see some under the hood considerations for developers, there's more information on that from Pascal Birchler.
WordPress is leaving Open Sans, which was introduced with the "MP6" admin overhaul of WordPress 3.8. You may have seen GitHub's recent change to native fonts. It's definitely a trend lately. Matt Miklic explains the switch from Open Sans to native system fonts in the WordPress admin.
The declaration of fonts when using system fonts has a good bit of science behind it, and may be useful for those of you who wish to do something similar for your own projects. Marcin Wichary has a really interesting post describing Medium's process when they made the switch.
And if you're curious, the new declaration is this:
font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;
Inline link checker
WordPress will now automatically detect improperly formatted links, as you write. While this doesn't check the validity of any properly written URL, it will ensure the URL you add in an
href is properly formatted. So, it will catch if you accidentally type something like
http:/w.org and outline it in red for you to fix.
If you copy and past a URL into the link editor, but don't include
http:// at all (I do this a bunch), it auto detects and inserts it for you.
Browser content caching
Yet more efforts have been made to always ensure that you do not lose your content as you write. I followed the steps in the Trac ticket to see exactly what happens here.
So I typed the first sentence below, saved a draft, then typed the second paragraph:
What if I start typing and save a draft?
Then start typing some more, because that's what bloggers do. And I chill here for a few seconds, then stupidly just reload this page?
Then I reloaded the page without saving again, and got this notice:
And just like that, the content is back, because it was saved in the browser's local storage. Pretty cool.
There are several important developer centric features that you should know about.
Enhanced meta data registration
This is a significant aid to the (pending) REST API meta handling, but also improves other meta data functionality. The
register_meta() function allows developers to tell WordPress more about what specific meta data is designed to do. In WordPress 4.6, the arguments for this function have changed, enabling more information to be communicated in the third parameter, which is now an array.
show_in_rest key, an experimental key (until the API endpoint goes in), finally solves the issue for the REST API for knowing when to include meta data in the API's default responses. It's one step of a few that need to be made to better support meta for the API, but it's a good step forward.
For plugin developers not using
register_meta(), be sure to learn more about it and the advantages, as there are quite a few. Jeremy Felt describes how to use
register_meta() on Make Core.
Translation priorities and changes
WordPress will now default to the translations from Translate.WordPress.org community translations, then pull from theme or plugin translation files. A procedure called "just-in-time" translation loading will be utilized, and for plugins and themes distributed through the official repository,
load_theme_textdomain() no longer need to be used.
Commercial plugin authors will still largely follow the same internationalization procedures they always have.
In a related note, and quite impressively, WordPress 4.6 shipped 100% translated in 50+ languages.
Joe helped teach me more about resource hints on the podcast, and Aaron did a much better job detailing resource hints than I could, in his excellent field guide:
Resource Hints is a rather new W3C specification that "defines the
prerenderrelationships of the HTML Link Element (
<link>)". These can be used to assist the browser in the decision process of which origins it should connect to, and which resources it should fetch and preprocess to improve page performance.
In 4.6, WordPress adds an API to register and use resource hints. The relevant ticket is #34292.
Developers can use the
wp_resource_hintsfilter to add custom domains and URLs for
prerender. One needs to be careful to not add too many resource hints as they could quite easily negatively impact performance, especially on mobile.
Resource hints can be very useful for certain situations, and it's a technique that I personally need to explore further. Those of you doing advanced performance-driven development will surely be excited about support for this in WordPress.
The Customize API continues to evolve and improve, and Nick Halsey walks through new developer-focused features and changes to the API for WordPress 4.6. Also quite notably, Weston Ruter describes new APIs for both settings validation and notification management in the customizer.
Other developer-centric changes
Multisite changes: Jeremy Felt describes
WP_Network_Query, and goes over a few new functions and filters.
There is now a persistent comment cache, allowing more performant comment loading functionality. Rachel Baker, the comments component maintainer, explains further.
The WordPress HTTP API now uses the Requests library, as Ryan McCue describes.
Aaron Jorbin describes some of the lower level WordPress loading priorities and defaults that have changed. He also describes how WP CLI and core have reconciled their differences in
wp-settings.php, which makes backward compatability for WP CLI possible now.
Boone Gorges describes the introduction of
WP_Term_Query. He's the term whisperer. As Joe and I discuss in the podcast, these sorts of changes make for better consistency in WordPress, and provide an improved developer experience.
WordPress 4.6 is the result of hundreds of community members. You can find their names and links to their profiles on the official release post.
Also check out the official 4.6 Codex page that has a lot of handy information and links to source Trac tickets. You can see all closed tickets from 4.6 on the Trac milestone. View all new functions, classes, methods, and hooks on the official Developer Reference. And learn more about some of what I discuss above, and other items, on the ever-helpful field guide.
For the record, WordPress 4.5 was downloaded more than 45 million times. You can track 4.6 downloads on the page dedicated to the task.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.6! I hope you have a or to celebrate if that's your kind of thing, or otherwise your efforts.
Podcast Sponsor: Prospress
Prospress exists to make the world's best eCommerce platform a little better, because they want to help entrepreneurs prosper with WordPress. They are the creators of WooCommerce Subscriptions, PayPal Digital Goods, and One Page Checkout. Check them out at Prospress.com.
17 Aug 2016 5:21pm GMT
My grandad always used to say "živi se usput", which translates from Serbian into "life happens while you are making plans". Everyone is in a rush, planning their next weekend, holiday, career path, children…. Of course you have to exercise, stay fit, look good, relentless pressure is the way of life today. I happen to be one of those people who like making plans and setting goals. However, WordPress was never in any of my plans, I happen to stumble upon it. A friend of mine, Emma, a Cambridge philosophy graduate, who spends her time teaching circus arts, said "I stumble through life in general - I think the best people do it". I think there is a lot of truth in this, sometimes the best things happen while you are busy making other plans. (This sounds a bit like an infomercial!)
When I spoke to Topher about this essay, he said to me "oh so your story is also about taking chances". I never thought of my past actions as taking chances; I am one of those people who jump with their eyes closed, rather than take small calculated steps. But, I will tell you how and why I took a chance with WordPress.
Before WordPress (BWP)
BWP starts for me 6 months ago, because I have only been a WordPresser for the second part of 2016. I am a UCL graduate, I studied Italian and German language and literature. I have always been interested in reading, art, history of art and generally interested in understanding people. I used to go to the National Art Gallery in London with my dad and we would cover an era each time talking about how art changed, how the paintings happen to catch the change in culture and belief system of society. I continued to dedicate myself to art and language throughout my academic life, I wrote my dissertation in German, on an expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka and for my MA I translated a black comedy in Italian that looks at social strata. I went on to study and work as a conference interpreter working in all four of my languages and getting lots of opportunities to meet different and interesting people.
I never imagined myself as a 60-hour-workweek girl in an office typing away on my computer. I planned my career to go a different way. I went to Italy to help create and promote a new teaching method called "edutainment", teaching through entertainment. That's where I was first introduced to marketing, localization and writing for an online audience.
BWP And My Sports Career
Apart from being a quintessential bookworm, I am also a covert adrenaline junkie. This actually ties in well with all of my studies. Sports and studies have one common denominator - it takes a lot of discipline for both. When I was 3 years old I started rollerblading, my mother found the smallest rollerblades (ever made) and bought them for me. I also played ice hockey in a mixed team and in 2014 we won the national championship in the UK. I am a qualified volleyball coach and ski instructor. Currently my sport obsession is with aerial gymnastics, and acro yoga. I like challenging myself both physically and mentally.
Never Stop Learning
In a recent interview with Tony Cecala, which was actually my first official interview for ManageWP, Tony said "never stop learning", and this stuck with me, because I realized that the most important thing for me in whatever I do is to keep learning something new. At school I enjoyed learning new things, I enjoy trying out new sports and testing myself, and the same applies to work. Any job you do will have some repetitive aspect, and that is understandable, but it's important for me to be in a position that embraces personal growth. That's what WordPress has offered me, a combination of learning and support.
My Road To WordPress
I was first introduced to WordPress, when I moved back home to Serbia. I applied to work at ManageWP, as "what the hell", maybe there is a small chance they will call me back. My team lead happens to also play ice hockey and the first interview was us discussing hockey teams and player positions. Shortly after (they did test my skillset), I started working as a PR & Digital Marketer. As part of the Growth team my job was to get acquainted with the WordPress community, introduce people to our product through online and offline methods, write content and establish myself as a product evangelist. I worked in our Customer Happiness Team as well, helping communicate with our customers on a daily basis.
WordPress was taking a chance for me, because I never thought of myself as an IT type. My boyfriend on the other hand is a software engineer, and so instead of being enthused by his job, I was always put off. He spends hours a day in front of a computer looking at strange symbols (that's PHP I hear). Now, ironically I can understand a large part of PHP, no thanks to my boyfriend, but to my ManageWP colleagues.
WordPress is actually for everyone, and that's what's fantastic about it.
After WordPress (AWP)
Since being at ManageWP and part of the WordPress world, a lot has changed. I now have an online voice. I set up a blog, I was published on Tech.co, FishingBooker, Meks Themes, Devana Tech, Freelancermap and ManageWP. I also spoke at WordCamp Belgrade and it turned out to be one of the most popular talks of the day, I am speaking at WordCamp Split come September. On top of that I have been given an incredible opportunity to be part of the 2017 WCEU Paris organization team. WordPress has taught me how to express myself, in a non academic setting, how to become a better public speaker, and now I will learn how to help organize an event for a whooping 3 000 people. Never planned that!
WordPress has also offered me security by giving me a chance to do what I am good at. I have been able to dedicate myself to research, to writing and languages. I have also been able to carry on meeting people and travelling. A country like Serbia hardly offers international work opportunities, and WordPress has opened my eyes to a new community; a community that forges friendships across the world, accepts everyone, encourages tolerance, and welcomes rookies with open arms.
AWP And More
I don't know of many other communities out there like WordPress, it's rare to find a place where everyone is accepted and valued. It doesn't matter if you are a software engineer or a language nerd, there is a place for you in WordPress. (This is the second part of my infomercial!)
The biggest thing that WordPress has taught me is that sometimes in the most unlikely of places you will learn the most valuable lessons.
It means that taking a chance is always worth the risk. Perhaps I wasn't bred for the IT world, and I am more suited to be in the same room at the National Gallery as the 17th century French paysage painter, Claude, and his English counterpart of the 19th century, Turner. It so happens that I can't paint, but I can write, and WordPress has created a virtual room in which I fit it.
17 Aug 2016 12:00pm GMT
11 Aug 2016
If there's one thing worse than writer's block, it's running out of ideas for your blog or business - or not having any to begin with. Luckily, the internet has made getting inspired an easy task, not to mention an incredibly quick one. In this talk, Nicole shares tips, tools, and content "lifehacks" you can use to generate 100 (or more!) content ideas in less time than it takes to settle on a new theme. Filmed at WordCamp Boston 2016
See more WordCamp videos at WordPress.tv!
11 Aug 2016 3:02am GMT
10 Aug 2016
I am sure most of you are wondering "New phone, who dis?" when it comes to me. Okay maybe not those words exactly, but I know I am a no-name and haven't been around very long. I haven't created any kick ass plugins (yet), I haven't contributed to WordPress core (yet), and I haven't developed any themes (yet).
So why was I asked to write an essay? Maybe it's because there are a lot of people out there who are also trying to break into this community, probably somewhat introverted like me who don't know how, or why, or what to do. No, I don't have all the answers, I don't have a set plan, and I am not in the position to dish out advice because I am still trying to figure it out and navigate it the best I can. But maybe, just maybe, this essay will ring true with someone who thinks, "SAMESIES." and they know they're not the only one out there.
Or maybe it's because I am awesome. You guys can be the judge.
Let's get introduced
I am a shy, but not so shy girl, from the great city of Fargo, ND (No, it's nothing like the awesome movie or TV show, don'tcha know) who started Freelancing in March 2016 after working for a local agency for two and half years.
My story is probably one many have seen. Girl gets job, girl learns a lot, girl's eyes are opened to a whole new world, girl works hard but doesn't move up, girl applies for remote jobs with no luck, girl decides she can do this by herself, and girl leaves full time job and joins the million other freelancers in the self-employment world.
Generic sounding, but there is a bit more to it.
Let's go back in time for a quick second
It all started in my parent's basement when I was 16. Anyone ever heard of Xanga? It was a social blogging platform that was huge in my school. I made graphics using some freeware Photoshop knock off and custom layouts using basic CSS and HTML for Xanga in my free time, because you know, that's normal for a 16 year old girl.
My parents encouraged me to go to school for graphic design at our local technical college and (blah blah blah….let's fast forward.) 4 years later after I graduated for Graphic Design, while I was working for a local school photography lab designing layouts for school ID cards and yearbooks, I graduated a second time after going back for Web Development and Design.
I landed a job doing web design in July 2013. In the interview, they asked me if I knew what WordPress was and I answered honestly like any person would in an interview with something along the lines of, "I have heard of it but I have never used it. BUT I am a go getter and love taking on any new challenges so I don't doubt I will be able to figure it out." I dove in and learned a lot of the WordPress basics in a short amount of time.
A whole new world
Fast Forward to May 2014, we decided as a team to go to WordCamp Minneapolis for the first time. I am an introverted extrovert, so networking is not my thing. After I get to know people, I am good, but the first step to introduce yourself to someone is scary.
After day one at WordCamp Minneapolis, my eyes were opened to a whole new world (queue Aladdin song). I didn't know how my introverted self would do it, but I wanted to be best friends with everyone there. The WordPress community is so friendly, and so welcoming. I left feeling so inspired and wanted to go to every WordCamp that ever was. I went home with a goal of learning everything I can about WordPress.
Shortly thereafter, I started to dabble in front-end development. Custom post types, short codes, page templates, etc. I looked at how the themes were created, reversed engineered them, and started to mess around with it. If I hit a bump, I researched it, and of course there was a tutorial or someone in the WordPress community had a solution. (Reason #785 why the WordPress community is fantastic, #ThoseSupportForumsTho.)
In November 2015, I started to feel this shift within myself; that I wanted to do more than I could do in my current position.
The company was going in one way and I was going the other. I wanted to grow as a designer and a developer.
After a few months of indecision, wondering if I should move to Minneapolis and not hearing back from some remote positions I applied for, a former co-worker reached out to me and said she wanted to work with me. After discussing this with some friends, I had another former colleague that said they would hire me to develop their website, so the wheels started to turn in my head.
Let me just say, freelancing full time was not anything I considered before. My typical response "Me? Run my own business? Say what? HAHAHA, right." I thought of every reason why I shouldn't do it. Lack of steady income, mortgage, self-employment taxes, not having other clients interested in working with me. I could go on and on, really.
Yet there I was, considering quitting my full time job to work for myself. How else was I going to grow? How else was I going to get my name out there?
I only had about a full week to decide what I wanted to do and this wasn't an easy decision at all. After some sleepless nights and having the same conversation with my husband at least 100 times, who did nothing but encourage me while I talked myself out of it, I came to a decision.
I followed my gut instinct to grab the opportunity that was presented and go for it.
I didn't 100% know what I was doing, but I knew I loved WordPress, I knew I had the design chops, and I knew I was great with clients. I was raised with a can-do attitude, so I was going to freelance my little heart out, and on March 5th, 2016, I entered the self-employment world.
Fast forward to May 2016, I bought my ticket to WordCamp Minneapolis (because duh, it's amazing). I then proceeded to buy my ticket to the Prestige Conference, which was taking place two days after WordCamp. I planned on going to both of these conferences by myself (and anyone who knows me on a personal level knows how much of an accomplishment this was for me). Because I was alone, WordCamp was a bit different this year. I didn't have coworkers to talk to so I went in there with a mission to network, but my high anxiety and introverted side decided I should sit quietly and take it all in.
Prestige Conference, for those who aren't familiar, is a smaller conference and focused on running your small business. As a noobie freelancer, I needed to know how other like-minded people were running their businesses, how they were succeeding. So, there I was, a full-time freelancer for a whole 3 months, sitting in this conference with some of these big industry names. Intimidating? Yep, just a bit. The speakers left me in awe and I felt so out of my league but I was just happy to be there, learning and absorbing what everyone was saying.
Topher and Cate DeRosia were also at this conference. Topher came up to me and started chatting and I quickly explained my background. He gave me some super helpful tips and resources for freelancing. I may have not emoted it, but I was elated. I made a connection. Not exactly because I was outgoing, BUT STILL, I NETWORKED!
A couple weeks later, Topher contacted me to see if I was interested in making blog images for this very blog. Taken aback, but ever so grateful, I accepted. And after communicating over Twitter, Slack, and email for a couple more weeks, he asked if I wanted to write my own essay. Once again, shocked, dumbfounded, and hesitant because who would want to read my story, but after some encouragement, I was writing my essay.
Started from a basement now I'm here
So from where I started 12 years ago messing around with graphics, CSS & HTML for Xanga in my parents basement in Fargo, ND, I am back in a basement, my own this time, doing pretty much the same thing. Doesn't sound like a big upgrade, but believe me, it is.
I am sure I wouldn't be where I am right now if I skipped out on any of the conferences I went to.
Where is my future going? Who knows. I am not a 'go with a flow' person, but for the first time, I am trying to go with the flow. I am going to be going to more events and plan on going to WordCamp USA so I can take another stab at networking.
To sum it up
TL/DR version: My story may be generic, but my love for WordPress is anything but generic. Before WordPress I enjoyed doing graphic design and web design, but discovering the WordPress community helped me find that missing spark I needed. It's helped me realize my goals and it's helped me find my drive and ambition I didn't know I had.
The WordPress community is a huge support system in my life and they don't even know who the heck I am.
I can honestly say I love my job, I love working with clients, and I am damn lucky to be able to do what I do every day.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows. I still stress about everything that almost stopped me from doing this and I have my moments where I still question why I quit my full-time job. It may not pan out, it may go in a different direction, but I am along for the ride with WordPress in my backpack and I cannot wait to see where I end up.
Special thanks to: My husband for dealing with my indecisiveness, my sister for being my cheerleader when I doubt myself, and my family for supporting my every decision, Topher for taking a couple minutes out of his day to talk to me and everything else that followed, Kelsey and the Enclave team for being my very first client, and everyone else who has supported this venture.
10 Aug 2016 12:00pm GMT
06 Aug 2016
Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle - the CTO of Human Made - and me, Brian Krogsgard.
In this episode, Joe and I discuss how we choose plugins, code libraries, and frameworks for our projects.
Topics & Links
- How we pick plugins
- Analyzing a plugin on WordPress.org
- Using GitHub
- Picking libraries or drop-in frameworks
- Dealing with updates
- Differentiating between picking tools for our personal or internal projects, versus doing so for clients
WooCommerce makes the most customizable eCommerce software on the planet, and it's the most popular too. You can build just about anything with WooCommerce. Try it today, and thanks to the team at WooCommerce being a Post Status partner
06 Aug 2016 2:57pm GMT
03 Aug 2016
I was born and brought up in a very small town called Patiyali. Patiyali is on the banks of the river Ganga. It is in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Patiyali was laid back and idyllic, with no real opportunities in IT or computers. My father never wanted me to go for IT Job because I wouldn't get chance to work near my town. He preferred I live closer home.
My mother supported me and somehow she convinced my father to let me follow my dreams. Thanks to my mother; she has always supported me, without her I would not be here.
In my college there was choice between Dot Net and Java, I choose Java. I have always been fan of Open Source. I loved Java, I had also started my blog on Java in my college time. After completing my MCA I had joined my first Job as a Java Developer. I did it for 1.5 years.
I never wanted to quit my job as Java Developer, but I had to because of my sister health issues. Doctors said she would not survive, it was very critical time.
How I got into WordPress (Hello WordPress!)
Unemployed for 6 months, Java was still on my mind. I could not get any Job. Meantime I had started teaching. I was hopeless, I thought I would never get a chance to work in any IT company again. Then a friend, Ankit, who worked in rtCamp, a company based in Pune told me to look up WordPress and asked me to apply for a QA opening. That lucky day I got call from rtCamp and cleared my interview. Now the challenge was to convince my parents to allow me to go Pune. Pune is in Maharashtra, almost 1000 miles away from my hometown.
My parents are from a smaller town, they were worried about me living alone in a big city. It was a challenge to convince them to let go.
Some things they worried about:
- Place to stay: It was too tough to find a place when I had no one in Pune.
- Female Count: My mother was most worried about female count. rtCamp had only two female employees including me. (now they have 7)
Before my first day, my father and I went to rtCamp's address and looked up the office. Convinced the neighborhood where it was located was semi-residential and safe, he felt much better about Pune.
But WordPress is just a blogging platform
Before joining rtCamp I had known WordPress as only a blogging platform. My friends who worked in MNCs usually dismissed it as a blogging platform that could create only static sites at best. I did not have a very different opinion than my friends.
Working in rtCamp was fun. I made friends but to be honest I did not find WordPress very interesting for the first six months in the beginning.
WordPress community called out to me
Then I saw my colleagues involved in the WordPress community as Core contributors and in many other ways. I saw how my company was encouraging people to get involved in community.
That encouraged me to get involved in with make.WordPress.org. I highly recommend you do that too.
First Contribution Core Patch
My first contribution was a small patch in the core. I was helped by colleagues and when it was accepted I was thrilled. Now something I did was on millions of websites. It might be a small line or two but still it was on millions of websites.
I try to contribute (Giving back to community) in every possible way, by giving support, translating, Review themes, and documentation.
Theme review was the challenge for me as I had no idea about WordPress development so I thought to learn by seeing other people's code. It was challenge for me because I am QA (non- WordPress Developer), other people assume that we can not get involved in any code related activity. I learned a lot by reviewing themes, every day I review a theme I learn so many new things. The theme review team is wonderful, there are so many wonderful people like Kevin Archibald, Carolina Nymark, Jon, Nilambar, who are ready to help you always. I am happy to be part of theme review team.
I love WordPress, it's wonderful, it has wonderful community.
Why do I love being part of WordPress?
I have always been crazy for being known for something. In college time when I used to get likes for my blog post or any comment, I used to feel like……wow, I can not even express that feeling in words. So that feeling WordPress gives me every time I gets mention in any WP.org posts. It gives me recognition.
A Thank You Note
All this wonderful adventure would not have been possible without someone back in Patiyali, who stood up for me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. My mother.
03 Aug 2016 12:00pm GMT
02 Aug 2016
Open source is how we create raw ingredients for the digital economy. It's a rough, organic, and hugely important process. In fact, open source represented $143 million of Instagram's $1 billion acquisition. Yet the role of open source as economic infrastructure is perilous at best - the next Heartbleed could be any day. Bridges don't collapse often, but sustainably maintained open source projects are few and far between. Unless a project has the backing of a benevolent organization, it's all too easy to fall into a state of disrepair.
I do my part by volunteering several hours each week to maintain an open source project called WP-CLI. Last November, I launched a Kickstarter project titled "A more RESTful WP-CLI" to provide a way for me, a self-employed freelancer, to spend a large amount of dedicated time on WP-CLI and the WordPress REST API. The funding wrapped up last month, so I thought it might be helpful to provide a retrospective on what worked, what I'd improve upon next time, and where I think this is all headed.
We all love #shipping
As a very brief summary of how I used the money:
- Over seven months, I spent 226 total hours on WP-CLI (150 of which were funded by the Kickstarter project) and 111 total hours on the WordPress REST API (92 of which were funded by the Kickstarter project).
- I shipped three major versions of WP-CLI, and helped with three releases of the WordPress REST API v2 plugin.
- In each release, I personally introduced dozens of new features to each project, fixed ten times as many bugs, provided code review, answered support questions, and revised documentation.
There's a very complete project landing page if you'd like to go through all of the details.
"I'd love to get paid to work on open source too"
On the surface, using Kickstarter seems like a great way to fund open source involvement: create a campaign, people give you money, and you get paid to work on your project. It's actually fraught with challenges, though. The more appropriate way to think about using Kickstarter for open source is that you're creating a one-time project for yourself, and have hundreds of customers to serve.
Kickstarter can help freelancers make significant open source contributions
It's worth highlighting the single most important outcome of the crowdfunding campaign: I was able to spend dedicated time on WP-CLI and the WordPress REST API that I wouldn't have been able to spend otherwise (or at least in such a concentrated period).
As a freelancer, I evaluate every hour of my working day as either billable or non-billable. While I'm fortunate I can already spend a large amount of non-billable time as I please, at the end of the day the time I don't spend on billable hours is money out of my pocket. Kickstarter enabled me to consider open source contributions as billable, and rationalize dedicating a large number of hours each week to the projects.
In hindsight, the timing of the Kickstarter project turned out really well too. Because I didn't have any clients when I quit my full-time job, the funds were a helpful cushion during the slow holiday period, and I had something to work on in January.
It's important to have backers with deep pockets
Incorporating higher contribution levels, which I had primed by chatting with prospective backers in advance, meant the funding leapt forward in huge bounds. Every time one of those contributions came in, it moved the needle in a substantial way, and kept the excitement level up. This also helped keep lower level contributors engaged and willing to participate. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to try and fund a Kickstarter exclusively on sub-$100 contributions.
Ben Welch-Bolen, who I hadn't met until he snagged the top contribution slot, explains:
What attracted us to the WP CLI Kickstarter project was the higher pledge options that had some meaningful exposure for us to his community, and to him as a resource. Plus it was great to give back to a tool we use ourselves and follow closely.
I consider myself fortunate to have an existing audience willing to financially back my open source contributions. Because of my track record, I was able to put my own social capital on the line as collateral, to "guarantee" the project. If you can't name fifty people who would realistically fund your project, then you'll need to have a substantial marketing budget (of time or money) to raise awareness.
Scope in open source is a double-edged sword
While I had an established objective for the Kickstarter, I didn't have a clearly defined scope. This meant that some intermediate implementation details blocked later features. For instance, you can't use RESTful WP-CLI to manage menus, because the menu endpoints don't yet exist in the WordPress REST API.
At the same time, not having a super defined scope meant I could take the liberty to spend some of the time on what I thought was most useful. WP-CLI package management and the documentation portal essentially launched because I burned out working on the WordPress REST API.
Crowdfunding requires a certain type of personality
As far as honoring my commitments to my backers goes, I'd consider my Kickstarter a success. I did what I said I was going to do, on the schedule I communicated. I was able to do this, in part, because I'm a very meticulous person. I produce reasonably accurate estimates, keep track of how I spend my time, and over-communicate with stakeholders.
If this doesn't sound like you, then crowdfunding might not be a great fit. As a freelancer, you need to know in advance how the work will fit alongside client commitments. As a full-time employee, you need to make sure you're capable of completing the project on nights and weekends.
Josh Strebel, to whom I'm thankful for a great deal of early feedback, thinks:
The open source community is primarily reputation based, WordPress especially. Getting a campaign funded on Kickstarter is about trust. Trust and reputation are shades of the same color so to speak. If you build a reputation of trust, launching and promoting a Kickstarter project should be fairly easy as your peers trust you to execute against your stated goals (their money is used for it's stated intent and appears to achieve the desired outcome). I do not think you can reverse the order, the reputation in the community must be cultivated prior to seeking funds.
One huge challenge with a Kickstarter project is that you have to do all of the work after you receive the money, which can be really difficult for procrastinators. You're also faced with dozens of stakeholders to make happy, with your credibility and reputation on the line, so you need to make sure they're regularly kept in the loop.
Most of what goes into open source isn't very sexy
Contributing to open source isn't just cranking out lines of code.
I spent a huge amount of the funded WordPress REST API time on discussion, code review, and support. These maintenance tasks aren't very appealing for crowdfunding, and probably wouldn't make it very far as a part of a Kickstarter project. People want to fund sexy new features, not bug fixes, maintenance, documentation, etc.
At the same time, this type of work is hugely expensive, and represents a substantial majority of the effort involved in maintaining an open source project.
Fortunately, Josh Koenig has a healthy understanding of where open source fits into his business:
We believe that open source software is a crucial part of the internet's value proposition to humanity. However, at this stage in the development of our company, investments in open source have to be strategic. Any sustained contribution we make has to be justifiable in terms of hour it helps us improve our platform or grow our business.
As such our primary code and sponsorship contributions tend to be down the stack, to projects or libraries that we depend on to run our platform. When it comes to WordPress or Drupal, we typically contribute in ways that will have the most impact for our core audience: professional developers. So that means tools and utilities like WP-CLI, Redis or Solr integration, diagnostic tools, etc.
Simplicity means more time spent on the project
On the practical side, offering consulting-time rewards instead of physical swag helped me keep reward costs manageable. Only two-thirds of backers redeemed their rewards, so I spent a total of 41.25 hours on that part of the project.
As it turns out, Jason Resnick even appreciated the open-ended approach to rewards:
The best part of the project was the ability to choose my own path, so to speak. Kind of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid. WP-CLI can be used in so many different ways for different tasks, it was awesome to be able to just hop on a call with you and one or two other folks that also wanted to learn the same thing, and get the answers to the specific questions.
It also proved helpful to produce a landing page for the project with the overall goal, links to blog posts and milestones, and over-communication on how I was "spending" the money. In hindsight, I wish I had been more diligent about my progress updates and communication about what I was actually working on.
My favorite production trick: I used HTML and CSS to produce a graphic in my browser, and took a screenshot of it - quite possibly the easiest way to create a Kickstarter header image, for you other non-designers.
Kickstarter is only the beginning
Kickstarter is an amazing platform for funding creativity. The next time I launch a crowdfunding project, I'll make sure to:
- Get feedback on the idea from as many people as possible, as a way of generating interest and buy-in.
- Establish a project scope with features people want, while making sure there's ample budget for the unglamorous work.
- Keep the rewards rewarding, and as simple to deliver as possible.
- Over-communicate progress, knowing I have hundreds of customers to make happy.
In the case of WP-CLI, runcommand is my new company to pick up where Kickstarter leaves off.
An increasing number of businesses use WP-CLI as a key part of their infrastructure. Right now, each business has to internalize much of the cost associated with creating WP-CLI-based features. For instance, many web hosts would benefit from offering a web browser interface for running WP-CLI commands. However, there isn't yet a great way for them to collaborate and produce a common solution.
02 Aug 2016 9:03pm GMT
29 Jul 2016
Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle - the CTO of Human Made - and Brian Krogsgard.
In this episode, Joe and Brian talk scaling WordPress, and what to do when you think you might've reached WordPress's limits. From meta data, to users, to traffic management, they break down some of the most common scaling issues.
- Traffic (types of caching)
- More Like This Query
- Elasticsearch WP_Query
- Rarst Fragment Cache Plugin
- Human Made Fragment Cache drop-in
iThemes has a full suite of excellent products to help you level up your WordPress website. From iThemes Security, to BackupBuddy's new live backups, to Exchange for your next membership site, iThemes has you covered. Thanks to the team at iThemes being a Post Status partner!
29 Jul 2016 5:55pm GMT
28 Jul 2016
Learn key takeaways from my running a plugin business. Matt Gibbs goes over how to determine whether your plugin idea can sell, how to set the price, deciding on the business model, whether to self-host, and handling support.
More WordCamp videos
28 Jul 2016 5:15am GMT
27 Jul 2016
photo credit: Maciej Korsan
WordPress professionals have demonstrated a decent appetite when it comes to listening to and supporting podcasts on a wide variety of topics, including industry news, development, e-commerce, marketing, and startups. Cory Miller, founder of iThemes, and Matt Danner, the company's COO, are adding a new business podcast to the mix with the launch of Leader.team.
The first episode introduces the hosts and the goals of the show and is now available on iTunes. Miller and Danner, who often have casual chats about business strategy, decided to start recording their conversations to share with others who might benefit from their mistakes and successes in entrepreneurship.
"We're going to talk about values, beliefs, philosophies, tools, all kinds of things that we have learned over the years, either accidentally or on purpose, about how to lead and manage teams and grow a business," Miller said in the opening episode.
Leader.team will feature a short (15-25 minute) episode twice a month on Thursdays with practical advice for leaders and managers. The second episode will be available tomorrow, and Miller and Danner have already outlined the topics for the next four episodes with questions that will guide the discussion on the show:
- The Beliefs, Values, Philosophies We Hold Dear
- The Culture We Cherish And Protect
- Finding, Recruiting and Hiring the Best People
- Leading a Hybrid Team of In-Office and Remote Team Members
While Miller and Danner are not necessarily marketing the show as a WordPress-focused podcast, many of their shared experiences have come from growing one of the longest-running, successful product companies in the WordPress ecosystem. Upcoming episodes will feature big picture business topics that can be applied to many different types of industries. Leader.team episodes have been submitted to both iTunes and Google Play and will also be available on the show's website.
27 Jul 2016 10:19pm GMT
WPTavern: WordPress for Android 5.6 Adds Screen to Invite New Users, Expands Reader to Include Related Posts
Version 5.6 of the WordPress for Android app was released today with expanded features for WordPress.com sites. The previous release added user management capabilities under a new 'People' menu and 5.6 introduces the ability to invite new users.
This release also adds a related posts section to posts found in the Reader. It appears directly underneath likes on posts and pulls in three related articles from the WordPress.com community of sites.
Version 5.6 adds the ability to customize the notification sound for new activity from the WordPress app. A handful of other small changes are also included in 5.6, as detailed in the release post:
- Post list: Posts in the middle of being uploaded will be disabled and shown a progress indicator. A publish button is added on drafts.
- "View Site" and "View Admin" will now open the device browser.
- A comment is automatically approved when you reply to it.
If you use the app to manage both WordPress.com and self-hosted sites, you will notice a growing discrepancy between the site management screens and options available for each. Self-hosted site owners still cannot use the app to manage themes or users, and the gap is widening for each release. Version 5.6 expands features for WordPress.com users, while the capabilities for self-hosted sites fall further behind. We have requested a comment from Automattic's mobile engineers regarding the roadmap for managing self-hosted sites and will update when we receive a response.
27 Jul 2016 8:19pm GMT
Earlier this year, the WordPress plugin directory review team reminded developers that frameworks are not allowed in the directory. WordPress core doesn't have a built-in way to support plugin dependencies which creates extra hassle for users.
Seeing an opportunity, Vova Feldman, founder of Freemius, created IncludeWP, a directory specifically catered to listing WordPress theme and plugin frameworks.
IncludeWP Front Page Displaying Theme and Plugin Frameworks
Frameworks are listed using their public GitHub repositories. Visitors can sort frameworks by stars, forks, issues, or name. Selecting a framework displays information including, how many sites it's on and the number of plugins and themes hosted on the official directory that are using it.
IncludeWP Framework Single Page View
To identify which plugins and themes are used by frameworks, Feldman collaborated with Luca Fracassi of Addendio. "We realized that we can leverage the WordPress.org APIs and SVN to automatically identify plugins and themes associated with frameworks on WordPress.org," Feldman said. "So we decided to join forces."
Fracassi developed a framework identification system and ran it against WordPress.org. The data was exposed via a custom API endpoint that allowed Feldman to display it on IncludeWP. "We leveraged Fracassi's endpoint to fetch the plugins and themes data from WordPress.org and present it under the framework's page," Feldman said.
Like the frameworks listed on IncludeWP, the code powering the site is open source and available on GitHub. "I'm preaching about code reusability," Feldman said.
"The least I can do is provide the option for other developers to reuse our code for their projects. By reusing this code base, everyone can easily create a similar category type listing mini-site for GitHub repos."
Developers interested in having their frameworks listed need to fork the IncludeWP repository on GitHub, add the framework as a .php in the src/frameworks folder, and submit a Pull Request. However, in order to be listed, frameworks must meet the following guidelines.
- The framework must be GPL Licensed.
- The framework must have a public repository on GitHub
- Complete each field in the src/frameworks area
- Add a reference to the plugin or theme's slug if it's hosted on WordPress.org
- Have a short description
Feldman says he doesn't plan on generating revenue through the site and considers IncludeWP as one of many contributions back to the WordPress community.
IncludeWP is a great resource for developers whose frameworks are spread across GitHub who are looking for ways to generate more exposure. It's also an excellent way to see what's available in the WordPress ecosystem. Take a look around IncludeWP and let us know what you think in the comments.
27 Jul 2016 3:07pm GMT