07 Dec 2016
I didn't go to college until I was in my 40's. When I graduated high school I went to work for a family business.
There has been one common thread throughout my adult career, my love for technology.
I was 24 when I bought my first computer, it was PC running MS-DOS.
Five years later, the company I was working for bought a computer program to manage their rental properties. I was responsible for using it and data entry. The program was written by a local software developer. He became a mentor and when problems arose with the code, he walked me through on the phone how to edit and compile the source code. (Yes, he left a copy of the source code on the computer - this was way before remote support was possible.) It was dBase II. Fast forward a few years later and he hired me as a part-time contractor to help him customize the codebase for his clients. It seemed I had a knack for writing code and troubleshooting bugs.
Eventually, I would go on to purchase the source code from him and launch my own property management software company. I ran it for eight years, while I rewrote the entire codebase. My business grew. I learned a lot about sales, running a business and managing employees. Most importantly, I learned how to listen to clients and by doing so, I was able to create the products they needed to run their businesses.
Then, Windows came onto the scene. My software was not Windows compatible. It was running on FoxPro, a Dbase III competitor for MS-DOS. My business plateaued and I was faced with another rewrite of the codebase to stay competitive. To top it off, I'd lost my only support person at the same time. These are the challenges most small business owners face at some point. I was experiencing burnout and needed a change. Long story short, I eventually sold the software line to a competitor who was looking to expand their user base and incorporates some features that were in demand that my product had. It was win-win for both of us and to this day - I'm still happy about that transaction.
I went on to work at a boutique consulting services firm in Houston, Texas as an Account Manager to large Fortune 500 clients, mostly in the energy sector. It was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about working in the enterprise space. This was very different from working with the small property management companies I had previously serviced. It was a great four years. The last year boomed as many clients scrambled to complete their Y2K upgrades.
In the spring of 2000, everything changed. The company had been acquired, and the dot-com bubble had burst. All the Y2K work was done and the world did not end. I decided to take some time off.
In the fall of 2000, I enrolled at a local community college. I spent the next two years and half years completing my core curriculum and then transferred to Texas A&M in 2003 to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture.
Why Horticulture? I've always loved gardening and jumped at the opportunity to learn everything I could about it.
Life Lesson: In hindsight - I wish I would have completed a degree in Computer Science. It was a bit of my own arrogance, that since I had run a software company and worked at a consulting firm, I knew all I needed to know. Truth was, I didn't and would have benefited greatly from that experience.
Trying to make a hobby into a business.
In 2003, I decided to open an online store to sell home and garden gifts. I built a website using the Yahoo Store platform, and for the next 5 years watched it grow.
My first introduction to WordPress came when I wanted to start a blog for the store. I like the idea of a self-hosted solution and loved getting back into programming.
I went from running the business from my home to a small warehouse. It was 2007 and the housing market was booming. I jumped at the opportunity to lease a much larger warehouse with a retail storefront.
There were important life lessons in it. One that made a strong impression on me was best described by the character Justin Matisse in the movie Hope Floats:
"You're talkin' 'bout the American Dream. You find something that you love, and then you twist it, and you torture it, try and find a way to make money at it. You spend a lifetime doing that. At the end, you can't find a trace of what you started out lovin'. "
That's how I felt sometimes when running my store. What I loved about the home and garden space and trying to make money at it were sometimes at odds with each other. I loved designing the website, adding functionality and mastering the art of improving the SEO of the site.
I was about to learn a very painful and valuable lesson. I was financing the growth with debt. I got caught up in the growth curve and was sure that things would just keep getting better, allowing me to pay down the debt. Indeed servicing the debt was not a problem, as sales continued to grow.
Then came 2008 and the Great Recession. For the next three years, I watched sales decline, my credit lines pulled and my business contract. That made servicing the debt, really hard. I was stuck in a lease that I could not afford. Many of the vendors I bought products from went out of business. Everyone was hurting. I was not financially prepared for it.
In the end, a chain of events led to a huge financial mess - one that to this day, I am still recovering from. In 2011, I liquidated the inventory, sold my online store to a third-party and moved on.
Transitioning to WordPress
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at that point. I was depressed and dealing with the financial fallout of losing my business.
I wrote content for a garden center and slowly began working on websites for others. I chose to use the Genesis Framework and began customizing their themes for clients. I liked it because it leveraged the power of hooks and filters in a way that made sense to me - and the Genesis community is amazing.
I worked in real estate for a while to help pay the bills, but it just wasn't right for me.
During this transition period, I used the time to improve my web development skills. I began working with WordPress every day, learning everything I could. I took online courses in HTML, CSS and PHP.
Today, I'm running my own business again, building websites and helping clients promote their digital brand. I learned a lot about SEO running my eCommerce business, how to market products, write copy and promote my brand. Now I'm helping clients do that.
With decades of business experience along with some hard life lessons, here's what I've learned so far:
- Don't assume things will continue in the same direction. Business is cyclical, so like a squirrel - stash away some nuts for the winter.
- Stay out of debt.
- Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Sometimes hindsight helps make this clearer, but trust your gut and follow your instincts.
- Be helpful to others. Take time to share what you've learned, make friends and enjoy the ride.
- Learn from every engagement, and take steps to improve how you communicate.
- Be a Life-Long Learner. Dedicate time to experiment, think and try new things.
Finally, if you're considering a career in web design and development in WordPress, take the time to learn the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, JS and PHP. You'll be glad you did.
The post Full Circle: Life Lessons of a Perennial Entrepreneur appeared first on HeroPress.
07 Dec 2016 12:30pm GMT
Nearly 2,000 people descended on Philadelphia, PA to attend WordCamp US last week. On the night before WordCamp US took place, Pantheon's sponsorship was revoked and advertising materials, including the company's booth, were hidden in a storage room inside the venue. The move generated a lot of controversy on social media and at the event. It cost Pantheon $100K to sponsor WordCamp US, but the company received a refund.
- Pantheon (@getpantheon) December 2, 2016
Prior to WordCamp US Matt Stodolnic, Pantheon's Vice President of Marketing, contacted the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia and inquired about advertising opportunities. The Sheraton hosts a number of meetings and has a couple of different advertising packages available. Stodolnic purchased advertising space on the hotel's elevators. The advertising material was simple and didn't make unprovable claims, such as the world's best or fastest host. This is in line with the sponsorship rules.
On December 1st late at night, Stodolnic received an email from WCUS organizers requesting that the advertising material be removed. Stodolnic pushed back as the sponsorship agreement does not specifically prohibit advertising in the hotel. At one point during the exchange of emails, the WCUS organizing team threatened to take the banners down themselves. Stodolnic responded with anger as the purchase had already been made but he quickly apologized.
The issue was eventually escalated to Matt Mullenweg, co-creator of the WordPress open source software project, who revoked the company's sponsorship of the event for violating the code of conduct. Later that night, WCUS organizers deconstructed Pantheon's booth and moved it to a storage room along with 600 T-shirts printed by the company.
Day one of WordCamp US went off without a hitch but it was slightly overshadowed by the sudden removal of Pantheon. A few Pantheon employees published unfavorable messages on Twitter about the situation. Those tweets have since been deleted. At the conclusion of day two, Cami Kaos, one of the lead organizers of WordCamp US, published a post on the event's blog highlighting what happened.
The post doesn't specifically name Pantheon and says the sponsor in question violated the event's code of conduct. I spoke to a number of Pantheon employees who read the post and couldn't identify the violation in question. Within hours of being published, the post was removed from the site without an explanation.
Cooler Heads Prevail
During day two of WCUS, Stodolnic and Pantheon Co-founder Josh Koenig, spoke to Mullenweg face-to-face in a closed-door meeting at the venue. What was said is unknown but when I asked Mullenweg what the result of the meeting was, he said, "I think we're in a much better place." He also didn't comment when asked how Pantheon violated the code of conduct.
After the meeting, Stodolnic told me that both sides agreed that communication could have been handled better and that cooler heads prevailed. Mullenweg wouldn't comment when asked whether Pantheon was banned from sponsoring WordCamps in 2017.
We now know that the official hotel for WordCamp US is an extension of the venue allowing organizers to enforce the code of conduct and sponsorship and principles agreements. It's likely that due to this incident, the sponsorship agreement will be amended to specifically prohibit advertising in the official hotel at next year's event.
Pantheon is a six-year old company making inroads in the managed WordPress hosting space. Not being able to sponsor WordCamps in 2017, as they did in 2016, could derail their momentum in building brand awareness.
Is It Worth It to Sponsor WordCamps?
Many of the sponsors I spoke too at WordCamp US described what Pantheon did as genius and were disappointed that they didn't think of it first. This opens the door to a wider conversation. Is it financially worth it to sponsor WordCamps and are there enough opportunities to see a return on investment?
Earlier this year, Tony Perez, CEO of Sucuri, started a passionate discussion on Twitter around the value of sponsoring WordCamps. As the costs of sponsoring and the number of WordCamps increases, businesses will need to be more selective of which camps they sponsor.
- Tony Perez (@perezbox) July 2, 2016
One of the major announcements at WordCamp US is that WordCamps will now run finances through a Public Benefit Corporation. Previously, finances were run through the WordPress Foundation, a 501(c) non-profit entity which severely limited what sponsors were able to do at events due to IRS regulations. When the switch occurred earlier this year, the sponsor rules were updated to be less restrictive.
As WordCamps grow in size, especially WordCamp US, perhaps its time to rethink the benefits that are offered to sponsors to increase the sponsorship's value. What sponsorship opportunities would you like to see considered or added for WordCamps?
07 Dec 2016 3:00am GMT
06 Dec 2016
photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
WordPress 4.7 "Vaughan" was released today, named in honor of American jazz vocalist Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan. This release makes significant improvements to the new theme setup experience, inspiring the tagline: "Your site, your way."
Twenty Seventeen is making its debut in 4.7 as the first default theme designed for business websites. It beautifully showcases new features for theme developers and demonstrates many improvements to the setup process. Twenty Seventeen offers four customizable panels on the front page for displaying existing content, custom logo upload, fullscreen featured images, and brand new core support for video headers.
Starter Content and Edit Shortcuts
WordPress 4.7 gives theme developers the ability to provide starter content, such as a business info widget or a sample social icons menu. The content serves as a placeholder but doesn't appear on the live site until the user has customized and published it.
New visible edit shortcuts display a pencil icon on areas of a theme that can be customized. Clicking the icons will automatically open the correct panel for the setting, which saves users time that might otherwise have been spent hunting around for the right setting to adjust. Theme authors will need to add theme support as well as support for selective refresh in order to take advantage of this new feature.
The new starter content and edit shortcuts features, especially when combined, give theme authors the ability to make customization easier and faster for their users. Themes with dozens of customizer options that may have previously seemed complicated to set up may now be more approachable.
Improved Menu Building and Custom CSS with Live Previews
WordPress 4.7 adds content authorship to menus in the Customizer. Users can now create new pages while setting up menus, without having to navigate back to the admin. This makes for a smoother workflow when setting up a brand new site.
Custom CSS with live previews is also new in this release. Users can now tweak the appearance of themes and plugins and see the results instantly. Those who have been using Jetpack's Custom CSS module should have a seamless migration. The new feature is fairly basic but extensible so plugin developers can add additional functionality on top of it.
WordPress 4.7 is packed full of many other user-facing improvements that make managing and editing content easier:
- PDF thumbnail previews for better document management
- User admin languages
- Media library is now searchable by file name
- Improved Custom Background Properties UI (#22058)
- Editor changes: easier access to most-used buttons, improved discovery for keyboard shortcuts in tooltips and dropdowns
- Customizer sliding panels UI is now faster, smoother, and more accessible
- oEmbed support for Facebook posts/activities/photo/videos/media/questions/notes
WP REST API Content Endpoints Added to 4.7
One of the most exciting improvements to WordPress for developers is the addition of the WP REST API content endpoints for posts, comments, terms, users, meta, and settings. This API opens up new ways of accessing and presenting WordPress content in themes, plugins, and applications - both inside and outside of the traditional WordPress interface. The WP REST API now has an official reference for documentation on WordPress.org.
A few highlights of additional improvements for developers include the following:
- Post Type Templates - custom page template functionality is now available to all post types
- Custom bulk actions - developers can register custom bulk actions for admin list tables
- Expanded Settings Registration API via register_setting()
- WP_Hook overhaul
WordPress lead developer Helen Hou-Sandí led the 4.7 release with deputies Jeff Paul and Aaron Jorbin. A record-breaking 482 contributors had props on 4.7 and 205 of them were first-time contributors. More than 100 of those volunteers contributed to the Twenty Seventeen theme. Community translators made it possible for WordPress 4.7 to be available in 52 languages at release time and they also captioned the release video included below in 44 languages. Check out the 4.7 codex page for a full rundown of all the new features and improvements in this release.
06 Dec 2016 9:25pm GMT
The Release Lead for WordPress 4.7 was Helen Hou-Sandí - who is also a WordPress Lead Developer, and the Director of Platform Experience at 10up. The Deputy Release Leads were Jeff Paul, a Team Lead at XWP, and Aaron Jorbin, the Director of Engineering at Some Spider. There were more than 475 total contributors to this release, and more than 200 were first time contributors!
As always, there's a release video that showcases the release highlights. This year, it was produced by Rami Abraham.
Introducing WordPress 4.7
WordPress 4.7 includes so many changes and new features worth highlighting, I will note a few of what I consider the most important and noteworthy, but it is not all-encompassing. This has been the most productive release in a very long time.
WordPress REST API Content Endpoints
WordPress is now more extensible than ever before, thanks to the WordPress REST API and the Content Endpoints that have shipped with 4.7. The Content Endpoints are stage two of the REST API rollout, after the infrastructure was included in WordPress 4.4.
The Content Endpoints make it so developers can interact with all major content objects of WordPress: posts (including default and custom post types), terms, users, and comments.
If you've ever wanted to completely bypass the WordPress templating engine, now you can. You can use WordPress as a content store, and create a custom writing interface, or so many other things, thanks to this API that standardizes interfacing with WordPress.
The implications for external applications are enormous. Third parties can now reliably anticipate how to work with any WordPress site.
The WordPress REST API has reached a huge milestone, and success metrics have been created to track how things are going with it. But the core team already knows there is much left to do.
With the new development cycle Matt Mullenweg announced at WordCamp US just last week, the REST API will be one of three parts of WordPress that will have a major release dedicated to enhacing it. The goal is to expand the endpoints to include all site management features of WordPress, so that someone (or WordPress itself) could completely rebuild the WordPress administration experience from scratch, using the WordPress REST API.
I sincerely believe the REST API is a gamechanger for WordPress. Now, it's your turn. Build stuff. Show the world what you've made! There will be official WordPress REST API showcase efforts underway soon to capture what folks are building.
This project would absolutely not have happened without the following people: Ryan McCue and Rachel Baker for leading the effort, Daniel Bachhuber and Joe Hoyle for their constant work and guidance, K. Adam White for a huge 4.7 effort in project management and wrangling, and Helen Hou-Sandí for making the call to include the API in the release.
Ready to get started with the WordPress REST API? The new REST API Handbook will be the home for documentation going forward.
Twenty Seventeen is the latest default theme for WordPress, and I believe the best since at least Twenty Twelve. The new default theme has a great multi-section front page feature that offers a great solution for small businesses to highlight their work in a single page format, with large featured images throughout.
Twenty Seventeen was designed by Mel Choyce.
Adjusted editor layout
Many folks would consider it a minor change, but any change to the WordPress editor is a big one to me. As Andrew Ozz highlights in the Make Core post, some of the buttons in the default editing toolbar have been moved around, based on statistics of usage.
Most notably, the headings drop down has been moved to the top row, and strikethrough and horizontal rule buttons have moved down. This is a good step in the right direction in supporting a better and easier to use editor.
New Customizer features
The WordPress Customizer is another of the three feature focus areas moving forward in WordPress development. And there's a lot of new stuff in the Customizer with WordPress 4.7 that you should know about.
The new default theme supports video headers, a new feature in WordPress, managed within the customizer.
Visible Edit Shortcuts
The new visible edit shortcuts allow for someone using the customizer to see an icon next to the part of the page that is eligible to be edited in the customizer. It's perhaps a small UX addition, but will be very helpful for folks customizing their websites.
Create a Page Within a Menu
Finally, you can create pages from within the Menu Customizer. One of the most common site setup steps is to build your menu. But if you haven't already created the pages you want to put there, you have to go do that and come back.
Now users can create a page draft while in the Menu Customizer so that they don't have to take unnecessary steps or understand the order WordPress expects. Small wins like this are invaluable for the new user experience.
Creating custom CSS straight from the editor has long been a popular Jetpack feature, and it was ported to WordPress core.
This isn't exactly what I'd call a best practice, but it's a common one. I've used custom CSS myself many times, especially for small sites where I just wanted to get something small done quickly. This feature brings a common request to core, and helps someone customize their sites quicker and without a third party plugin.
Starter content for themes
I'm really excited about the new starter content that WordPress themes can now include. This allows for smarter demos, so that the user better sees what the theme is designed for.
Helen has a whole post describing exactly how it works, but this is another feature that takes something that was not great in WordPress (especially for free themes in the WordPress directory) and drastically improves it.
I really look forward to seeing this in action, and look forward to see how adoption of this feature impacts both free and commercial WordPress theme ecosystems.
Post type templates
Pages have long support custom templates for WordPress themes to define, and now this feature has been extended to all post types, with opt-in support.
Now it's simple for theme authors to create a variety of templates so that content creators can pick and choose from a layout they want to utilize, just like they've always done for pages.
Check out the full field guide
WordPress 4.7 packs a lot of punch, and I highly recommend looking through the full field guide on the various changes. I have not covered many of the developer focused features in this post, because Aaron has curated the Make Core posts that do a better job of it.
Also check out the Codex page for WordPress 4.7 for more information on features and links to specific tickets.
WordPress 4.7 is a monumental achievement and is the result of the efforts of hundreds.
Congratulations to Release Lead Helen Hou-Sandí, the core team, and all contributors. While the scheduled and strict-date releases worked really well and kept WordPress coming out on time every four months or so, I'm excited to see how the new setup mixes things up for WordPress.
This was a heck of a way to go out with the previous method.
06 Dec 2016 7:28pm GMT
Version 4.7 of WordPress, named "Vaughan" in honor of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.7 help you get your site set up the way you want it.
Introducing WordPress 4.7
Presenting Twenty Seventeen
A brand new default theme brings your site to life with immersive featured images and video headers.
Twenty Seventeen focuses on business sites and features a customizable front page with multiple sections. Personalize it with widgets, navigation, social menus, a logo, custom colors, and more. Our default theme for 2017 works great in many languages, on any device, and for a wide range of users.
Your Site, Your Way
WordPress 4.7 adds new features to the customizer to help take you through the initial setup of a theme, with non-destructive live previews of all your changes in one uninterrupted workflow.
Theme Starter Content
To help give you a solid base to build from, individual themes can provide starter content that appears when you go to customize your brand new site. This can range from placing a business information widget in the best location to providing a sample menu with social icon links to a static front page complete with beautiful images. Don't worry - nothing new will appear on the live site until you're ready to save and publish your initial theme setup.
Visible icons appear to show you which parts of your site can be customized while live previewing. Click on a shortcut and get straight to editing. Paired with starter content, getting started with customizing your site is faster than ever.
Sometimes a big atmospheric video as a moving header image is just what you need to showcase your wares; go ahead and try it out with Twenty Seventeen. Need some video inspiration? Try searching for sites with video headers available for download and use.
Smoother Menu Building
Many menus for sites contain links to the pages of your site, but what happens when you don't have any pages yet? Now you can add new pages while building menus instead of leaving the customizer and abandoning your changes. Once you've published your customizations, you'll have new pages ready for you to fill with content.
Sometimes you just need a few visual tweaks to make your site perfect. WordPress 4.7 allows you to add custom CSS and instantly see how your changes affect your site. The live preview allows you to work quickly without page refreshes slowing you down.
PDF Thumbnail Previews
Managing your document collection is easier with WordPress 4.7. Uploading PDFs will generate thumbnail images so you can more easily distinguish between all your documents.
Dashboard in your language
Just because your site is in one language doesn't mean that everybody helping manage it prefers that language for their admin. Add more languages to your site and a user language option will show up in your user's profiles.
Introducing REST API Content Endpoints
WordPress 4.7 comes with REST API endpoints for posts, comments, terms, users, meta, and settings.
Content endpoints provide machine-readable external access to your WordPress site with a clear, standards-driven interface, paving the way for new and innovative methods of interacting with sites through plugins, themes, apps, and beyond. Ready to get started with development? Check out the REST API reference.
Even More Developer Happiness
By opening up the page template functionality to all post types, theme developers have even more flexibility with the WordPress template hierarchy.
More Theme API Goodies
WordPress 4.7 includes new functions, hooks, and behavior for theme developers.
List tables, now with more than bulk edit and delete.
The code that lies beneath actions and filters has been overhauled and modernized, fixing bugs along the way.
Settings Registration API
register_setting() has been enhanced to include type, description, and REST API visibility.
Customize changesets make changes in the customizer persistent, like autosave drafts. They also make exciting new features like starter content possible.
This release was led by Helen Hou-Sandí, backed up by Jeff Paul and Aaron Jorbin as Release Deputies, and with the help of these fine individuals. There are 482 contributors with props in this release-the most ever-with 205 of them contributing for the first time. Pull up some sassy Sarah Vaughan on your music service of choice, and check out some of their profiles:
Aaron D. Campbell, abrightclearweb, Achal Jain, achbed, Acme Themes, Adam Silverstein, adammacias, Ahmad Awais, ahmadawais, airesvsg, ajoah, Aki Björklund, AkshayVinchurkar, Alex Concha, Alex Dimitrov, Alex Hon, alex27, allancole, Amanda Rush, Andrea Fercia, Andreas Panag, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrey "Rarst" Savchenko, Andy Meerwaldt, Andy Mercer, Andy Skelton, Aniket Pant, Anil Basnet, Ankit K Gupta, Anthony Hortin, antisilent, Anton Timmermans, Antti Kuosmanen, apokalyptik, artoliukkonen, Arunas Liuiza, attitude, backermann, Bappi, Ben Cole, Bernhard Kau, BinaryMoon, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), BjornW, bobbingwide, boblinthorst, boboudreau, bonger, Boone B. Gorges, Brady Vercher, Brainstorm Force, Brandon Kraft, Brian Hogg, Brian Krogsgard, Bronson Quick, Caroline Moore, Casey Driscoll, Caspie, Chaos Engine, cheeserolls, chesio, chetansatasiya, choong, Chouby, chredd, Chris Jean, Chris Marslender, Chris Smith, Chris Van Patten, Chris Wiegman, chriscct7, chriseverson, Christian Wach, Christoph Herr, Clarion Technologies, Claudio Sanches, Claudio Sanches, ClaudioLaBarbera, codemovement.pk, coderkevin, codfish, coreymcollins, curdin, Curtiss Grymala, cwpnolen, Cătălin Dogaru, danhgilmore, Daniel Bachhuber , Daniel Kanchev, Daniele Scasciafratte, danielpietrasik, Daryl L. L. Houston (dllh), Dave Pullig, Dave Romsey (goto10), David A. Kennedy, David Chandra Purnama, David Herrera, David Lingren, David Mosterd, David Shanske, davidbhayes, Davide 'Folletto' Casali, deeptiboddapati, delphinus, deltafactory, Denis de Bernardy, Derek Herman, Derrick Hammer, Derrick Koo, dimchik, dineshc, Dion Hulse, dipeshkakadiya, dmsnell, Dominik Schilling, Dotan Cohen, Doug Wollison, doughamlin, Drew Jaynes, duncanjbrown, dungengronovius, DylanAuty, Eddie Hurtig, Eduardo Reveles, Edwin Cromley, ElectricFeet, Elio Rivero, Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, elyobo, enodekciw, enshrined, Eric Andrew Lewis, Eric Lanehart, Evan Herman, Felix Arntz, Fencer04, Florian Brinkmann, Florian TIAR, FolioVision, fomenkoandrey, Frank Klein, Frankie Jarrett, frankiet, Fred, Fredrik Forsmo, fuscata, Gabriel Maldonado, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, Geeky Software, George Stephanis, goranseric, Graham Armfield, Grant Derepas, greatislander, Gregory Karpinsky (@tivnet), Hardeep Asrani, Henry Wright, hiddenpearls, Hinaloe, Hugo Baeta, Iain Poulson, iamjolly, Ian Dunn, ian.edington, idealien, Ignacio Cruz Moreno, imath, Imnok, implenton, Ionut Stanciu, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Ivan, ivdimova, J.D. Grimes, Jacob Peattie, Jake Spurlock, James Nylen, jamesacero, Japh, Jared Cobb, jayarjo, jdolan, jdoubleu, Jeffrey de Wit, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Pry, jimt, Jip Moors, jmusal, Joe Dolson, Joe Hoyle, Joe McGill, Joel James, johanmynhardt, John Blackbourn, John Dittmar, John James Jacoby, John P. Bloch, John Regan, johnpgreen, Jon (Kenshino), Jonathan Bardo, Jonathan Brinley, Jonathan Daggerhart, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, jonnyauk, jordesign, JorritSchippers, Joseph Fusco, Josh Eaton, Josh Pollock, joshcummingsdesign, joshkadis, Joy, jrf, JRGould, Juanfra Aldasoro, Juhi Saxena, Junko Nukaga, Justin Busa, Justin Sainton, Justin Shreve, Justin Sternberg, K.Adam White, kacperszurek, Kailey (trepmal), KalenJohnson, Kat Hagan, keesiemeijer, kellbot, Kelly Dwan, Ken Newman, Kevin Hagerty, Kirk Wight, kitchin, Kite, kjbenk, kkoppenhaver, Knut Sparhell, koenschipper, kokarn, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Kouratoras, kuchenundkakao, kuldipem, Laurel Fulford, Lee Willis, Leo Baiano, LittleBigThings, Lucas Stark, Luke Cavanagh, Luke Gedeon, lukepettway, lyubomir_popov, mageshp, Mahesh Waghmare, Mangesh Parte, Manish Songirkar, mantismamita, Marcel Bootsman, Marin Atanasov, Mario Valney, Marius L. J. (Clorith), Mark Jaquith, Mark Root-Wiley, Mark Uraine, Marko Heijnen, markshep, matrixik, Matt Banks, Matt Jaworski, Matt Mullenweg, Matt van Andel, Matt Wiebe, Matthew Haines-Young, mattking5000, mattyrob, Max Cutler, Maxime Culea, Mayuko Moriyama, mbelchev, mckernanin, Mel Choyce, mhowell, Michael Arestad, Michael Arestad, michalzuber, Mike Auteri, Mike Crantea, Mike Glendinning, Mike Hansen, Mike Little, Mike Schroder, Mike Viele, Milan Dinić, modemlooper, Mohammad Jangda, Mohan Dere, monikarao, morettigeorgiev, Morgan Estes, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, moto hachi ( mt8.biz ), mrbobbybryant, NateWr, nathanrice, Nazgul, Nick Halsey , nikeo, Nikhil Chavan, Nikhil Vimal, Nikolay Bachiyski, Nilambar Sharma, nnaimov, noplanman, nullvariable, odie2, odyssey, Okamoto Hidetaka, orvils, oskosk, Otto Kekäläinen, ovann86, Pascal Birchler, patilvikasj, Paul Bearne, Paul Wilde, Payton Swick, pdufour, Perdaan, Peter Wilson, phh, php, Piotr Delawski, pippinsplugins, pjgalbraith, pkevan, Pratik, Pressionate, Presskopp, procodewp, quasel, Rachel Baker, Rahul Prajapati, Ramanan, Rami Yushuvaev, ramiabraham, ranh, Red Sand Media Group, Rian Rietveld, Richard Tape, Robert D Payne, Robert Noakes, Rocco Aliberti, Rodrigo Primo, Rommel Castro, Ronald Araújo, Ross Wintle, Roy Sivan, Ryan Kienstra, Ryan McCue, Ryan Plas, Ryan Welcher, Sal Ferrarello, Sami Keijonen, Samir Shah, Samuel Sidler, Sandesh, Sarah Gooding, Sayed Taqui, schlessera, schrapel, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, email@example.com, scribu, seancjones, Sebastian Pisula, Sergey Biryukov, Sergio De Falco, shayanys, shprink, simonlampen, skippy, smerriman, smyoon315, snacking, Soeren Wrede, solal, Stanimir Stoyanov, Stanko Metodiev, Steph, Steph Wells, Stephanie Leary, Stephen Edgar, Stephen Harris, Steven Word, stevenlinx, stubgo, Sudar Muthu, Swapnil V. Patil, Takahashi Fumiki, Takayuki Miyauchi, Tammie Lister, tapsboy, Taylor Lovett, team, tg29359, tharsheblows, the, themeshaper, thenbrent, thomaswm, Thorsten Frommen, tierra, Tim Nash, timmydcrawford, Timothy Jacobs, Tkama, tnegri, Tom Auger, Tom J Nowell, tomdxw, Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe), Torsten Landsiedel, transl8or, traversal, Travis Smith, Triet Minh, Trisha Salas, tristangemus, Truong Giang, tsl143, Ty Carlson, Ulrich, Utkarsh, Valeriu Tihai, Vishal Kakadiya, voldemortensen, Vrunda Kansara, webbgaraget, WebMan Design | Oliver Juhas, websupporter, Weston Ruter, William Earnhardt, williampatton, Wolly aka Paolo Valenti, yale01, Yoav Farhi, Yoga Sukma, youknowriad, Zach Wills, Zack Tollman, Ze Fontainhas, zhildzik, and zsusag.
Finally, thanks to all the community translators who worked on WordPress 4.7. Their efforts bring WordPress 4.7 fully translated to 52 languages at release time with more on the way. Additionally, the WordPress 4.7 release video has been captioned into 44 languages.
06 Dec 2016 7:27pm GMT
04 Dec 2016
WPTavern: State of the Word 2016: Mullenweg Pushes Calypso as Future of WordPress’ Interface, Proposes Major Changes to Release Cycle
photo credit: WordCamp US organizing team
Philadelphia welcomed 1,923 attendees to WordCamp US this weekend with an additional 2,028 enthusiasts watching via live stream. Matt Mullenweg delivered his 11th annual State of the Word address to a rapt audience ready to celebrate WordPress' progress over the past year and hear the project leader's vision for 2017.
He began by thanking sponsors and volunteers who made the event possible by covering the bulk of the $516 actual cost per person. Mullenweg said sponsors cover roughly 85-95% of the cost of WordCamps worldwide. In 2016, the events sold a total 36,000 tickets, with costs subsidized by more than 1,000 sponsors.
Mullenweg said meetups are the leading indicator for WordCamps and these events have had the fastest growth the community has seen in five or six years. More than 62,566 people attended a local meetup in 58 countries and roughly one third of those were new members.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
WordPress Foundation to Create WordPress Community Support Subsidiary
In order to better accommodate the extraordinary growth of the global community, the WordPress Foundation will be restructuring its management of WordCamps. In 2016 the Foundation took in an estimated $4.3 million, up from $2.8 million in 2015, with 99.9% of those funds related to WordCamps. Mullenweg announced that the 501c nonprofit will move WordCamps to its own company, WordPress Community Support, forming a PBC (Public Benefit Corporation) that is fully owned by the Foundation.
He explained that if certain things happened at WordCamps it could endanger the overall Foundation, so WordCamps will now be managed under their own entity where the events will have a little more flexibility in how they do things. The Foundation plans to support some like-minded nonprofits that are aligned with the overall education mission of the organization, including Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code. In 2017 the Foundation will also begin promoting hackathons to help nonprofits and NGO's.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
Internationalization is Driving an Increase in Plugin Usage
Mullenweg shared a few stats about the plugin directory, which will soon be launching a new design with revamped search functionality. This year has seen a 20% increase in active plugin usage and a 34% increase in plugin downloads totaling 1.48 billion, which Mullenweg attributed to a spike in internationalization efforts over the past year. The number of translation contributors has grown from 5,000 in April 2015 to 17,000 as of November 2016.
This year there were 1,598 plugins with language packs (up from 314 last year) and 1224 themes with language packs (up from 641 last year). Mullenweg noted that 2/3 of the world speaks one of 12 languages with native fluency and that WordPress covers all of these and many more. In fact, the 4.6 release shipped with support for 50 available languages. WordPress' top 10 plugins are now 82% complete in the top 12 languages.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
Mullenweg Continues to Push Calypso as the Future of the WordPress Interface
WordPress.com users have widely adopted the new interface for publishing. Mullenweg shared statistics showing that 68% of posts went through Calypso since its launch, 17% via mobile, and 15% through the traditional wp-admin. Mobile app and mobile browser usage are also up. "We now need to start thinking about mobile devices as the primary way people are going to interact with WordPress in the future," Mullenweg said.
If Calypso has a chance at becoming a promising replacement for the WordPress admin, its creators will need to broaden its interoperability with the WordPress plugin ecosystem. Mullenweg announced that Calypso is now plugin aware and is open to plugins with over 1M active sites.
The next step on Calypso's roadmap is to bring in support for Automattic's plugins - WooCommerce, Akismet, Jetpack, and VaultPress. Mullenweg said the big focus for 2017 is to make plugins Calypso-aware, starting with a handful of the most popular ones before opening it up to all plugins.
"The hope is that Calypso, or something like it, is actually what becomes the interface that drives WordPress," Mullenweg said. Since no one is currently building anything like Calypso and targeting core, it looks like the technology behind WordPress.com will be driving the evolution of WordPress in 2017.
If Mullenweg's goal is to make Calypso the primary publishing engine for core WordPress, one of the major challenges will be getting plugin developers on board with building compatibility for what is currently an Automattic product. What are the implications of contributing to greater Calypso adoption? If core brings in the Calypso interface in the future, would Automattic push to include its Reader and other WordPress.com functionality, as it has in the mobile apps? These are questions developers will need to weigh when considering whether to pursue a more application-type experience via the Calypso interface.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
WordPress Recommends Hosts Offering PHP 7+ and HTTPS by Default
WordPress core continues to update its recommendations and requirements with the help of hosts who are adopting the latest technologies. The official recommendation for WordPress hosting is now PHP 7 or higher. After WordPress.com switched to be 100% on PHP 7, Mullenweg said the network's performance doubled and CPU load fell in half. Just 4% of self-hosted sites are on PHP 7, but the new recommendation should help move more hosts towards getting their customers updated.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
Beginning in 2017, WordPress will have progressive enhancement for certain features that are only available for encrypted sites. Mullenweg announced that WordPress.org is now tracking HTTPS adoption. So far 11.45% of active WordPress websites are on HTTPS and the project will no longer recommend hosts that do not offer it by default. "We want to bring more of the web to be secure, which is especially important in the post-Snowden era," he said.
Trying New Things: Major Changes Coming to WordPress' Core Release Cycle
WordPress 4.7 release lead Helen Hou-Sandí joined Mullenweg on stage to highlight a few of the features and improvements that will be coming in the official release on Tuesday. The release is arguably one of the most exciting and successful updates for WordPress in some time, but Mullenweg has a new strategy for core development in 2017.
"We're at a junction for WordPress where what got us here wont get us there," Mullenweg said, after highlighting how the software's market share has grown from 13.1% to 27.2% in the past five years.
Mullenweg proposed a new structure for WordPress releases where design and user testing will lead the way. "I'm putting back on the 'product lead' hat for 2017," he said. The upcoming year will have no set release schedule. Mullenweg is upending WordPress' predictable release cycle in favor of tackling some larger items on the to-do list. He said the focus will be on performance and fixes to existing functionality in three main focus areas: WP REST API, the Editor, and the Customizer.
Mullenweg said he is particularly interested in getting first-party usage of the REST API in the admin, in hopes of having it evolve to something the project can use for the next decade. If it doesn't, he said core will consider bringing it back into a plugin specifically for developers.
Mullenweg said he feels the editor does not represent the core of WordPress publishing, a sentiment that many users agree with. He hopes to steer it toward a more block-based approach that unifies widgets and includes an interface for shortcodes.
Mullenweg's vision for the Customizer is to see all aspects of WordPress become more instant and provide the same interface and UI affordances as the editor. He announced that Ephox, the company behind TinyMCE, has agreed to work with the project to improve the core editing experience.
Shifting from a time-based release cycle to one that is more project-based is a major departure from WordPress' previous release philosophy of "Deadlines are not arbitrary." The project's philosophy page identifies the practice of delaying releases for one more feature as a "rabbit hole" that has been tested and found to be unpleasant. The new approach to core development makes no guarantee that WordPress will have any releases in 2017.
If the experiment is not a success, the project's days of frequent and fast iteration may be over for awhile. Mullenweg is willing to risk it in hopes of being able to provide more product-based leadership that will distinguish WordPress from its proprietary competitors.
- WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 3, 2016
"I think we're trying to counter stagnation," Mullenweg said when asked about the new approach to releases in the Q&A segment. "Even though we've had lots of releases, certain parts of WordPress have stagnated and haven't made the leaps that they could." He suggested that being part of a feature plugin team will give developers a way to be involved in more active releases and continue to build momentum for eventual inclusion of their projects in core.
Mullenweg plans to identify a tech lead and a design lead and will be working with them as the overall product lead. He envisions that when one area of WordPress gets to the point where the software can ship significant user-facing improvements, a release will be born.
"We're at the point now where the steps WordPress needs to take are more significant to get the other 73% of the web it doesn't have yet," Mullenweg said.
In a return to WordPress' poetic roots, he concluded by reading a poem called Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander.
The video of the State of the Word address will soon be available on WordPress' new YouTube channel.
04 Dec 2016 6:50pm GMT
03 Dec 2016
Matt Mullenweg just completed the 2016 State of the Word presentation at WordCamp US 2016.
This year, Matt focused on a variety of important topics, including the state of user experience in WordPress today, goals for future interface improvements, a WordPress growth council, internationalization gains, the further proliferation of secure websites, and important changes to the WordPress development process.
WordCamp US in Philadelphia
Matt began his talk by thanking the city of Philadelphia for being a great host of the first two WordCamp US events, as well as the sponsors, organizers, and volunteers that helped make WordCamp US one of the most successful and smoothest run WordCamps ever.
He also said the per person cost for WordCamp US is over $500 per person, and that only the sponsors make that happen. And next year, WordCamp US is making its way to Nashville.
WordCamps and meetups in 2016
There were 116 WordCamps in 2016, and over 36,000 attendees, 2,056 speakers, 1,036 sponsors, and 750 organizers.
There were 3,193 meetup events in 58 countries. These were attended by more than 62,000 people, or nearly double WordCamps.
Matt says it's the fastest growth there has been for these events in around five or six years. WordCamp Europe actually had more people than WordCamp US this year, which Matt took as a personal challenge for Nashville.
WordPress.tv published 26% more talks this year than the previous year, and now there is an official WordPress channel on YouTube, so more and more videos will begin to be available wherever people want to watch them.
WordCamp public benefit corporation and the WordPress Foundation
More than a year ago, work began to separate WordCamps from the WordPress Foundation, in order to make WordPress event organizing more flexible and to better protect the WordPress trademarks that the foundation holds.
One of the things the foundation is going to start doing is support like minded non-profits, and in 2017 will be sponsoring three: Hack the Hood, the Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code.
Also, the foundation will start to promote hackathons for non-profits and NGOs.
WordPress's extended family
Matt gave a shoutout to WordPress's "cousins" like BuddyPress and bbPress, highlighting a lot of features that have gone into the software in the last year.
BuddyPress and bbPress
WordPress.org itself uses BuddyPress and bbPress. For ages, it's used outdated versions of bbPress, and in the past year launched a new support form that uses modern bbPress and WordPress profiles use bbPress. Matt says projects like these will get new support and engagement over the next year.
HackerOne is a security website that allows software organizations to offer bounties to hackers for responsibly disclosing security bugs.
GlotPress has had a big transformation in the last year, as it is no longer standalone software on top of BackPress, but rather a plugin for WordPress. If you've never been to translate.WordPress.org, you've seen GlotPress in action, and it's pretty amazing.
WordPress.org is a central hub for the WordPress community. Matt highlighted some of the work that's been going on this past year around languages, support forums, and more. He also says that new work will be going into P2/O2, which are used for the Make WordPress blogs.
And he gave attention to the new WordPress plugin repository, which finally uses WordPress itself, and has a whole new design. You can see the new design in action on the new demo site, which should role out to the main Plugins directory soon.
WordPress in all languages
WordPress 4.6 was available in 50 languages the day it was released. And the top 10 plugins are 82% translated in the top 12 languages used in WordPress.
Language packs have been a huge help in helping translate plugins as a community project on Translate.WordPress.org, rather than having to ship translations inside the plugin itself.
1,598 plugins are now using language packs, and 1,224 themes use them. This is huge for the future of WordPress working great in every language.
Also, in WordPress 4.7, we'll see per-user language choices.
WordPress Growth Council
Matt recently posted about a WordPress Growth Council to help WordPress grow and maintain marketshare.
He says that what got WordPress to where it is today, won't get WordPress to where it can be tomorrow. He blogged about this new growth council, which folks can apply for, which will help guide product direction in WordPress going forward.
Matt actually said in Post Status Slack recently that if WordPress doesn't make changes to the interface and otherwise, he'd expect WordPress marketshare would begin to decline by 2018.
HTTPS & PHP7
11.45% of WordPress websites are now served via HTTPS. Matt talked last year about how LetsEncrypt and PHP7 were going to be a big deal, but they've turned out to be, "huge." And WordPress will now start applying progressive enhancement techniques for WordPress websites.
WordPress.com is now fully on PHP7, which he says was an enormous accomplishment. He's also announced that WordPress.org will now recommend PHP7 by default.
Matt gave some updates on Calypso's adoption since it was released last year. He says that 68% of posts on WordPress.com are now written in Calypso. 17% of posts are written via a mobile device, and only 15% of users are using the WordPress admin. For reference, Calypso is the default method of publishing on WordPress.com now, so that includes the desktop website, desktop app, and mobile app.
Matt says that building Calypso is like, "building a plane while it's flying." And while it's hard, he says it's worth it, but it's like rebuilding WordPress - which took 13 years to do - in only two years.
The future of Calypso includes making it "plugin aware", so that prominent plugins (most Automattic plugins included) would be recognized and manageable via Calypso.
In fact, Calypso is plugin aware today, as the merge has just happened. So now plugins can include custom code to be manageable via Calypso. This is an interesting move to me, especially since Calypso - while open source - isn't an official WordPress project, but rather an Automattic-owned interface.
Matt says that someday he's like to see Calypso, "or something like it," eventually to become the WordPress interface.
Core releases in 2016
WordPress 4.5-4.7 will have been released by the end of 2016. Matt says, "this is very much a year about doing things differently." And in that spirit, he's pre-announcing the jazz musician in the release. I'm sure Jeffro will be pleased WordPress 4.7 will be named "Vaughan", after jazz musician Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan.
Helen Hou-Sandi came to the stage to discuss WordPress 4.7 in more detail.
WordPress 4.7 will include a variety of features, and will be released on Tuesday, December 6th.
New default theme
WordPress includes a new default theme that with a multi-section home page that's a brand new WordPress feature. And generally Twenty Seventeen has a lot more broad base appeal for businesses and non-blogging applications than many past themes.
Theme setup process
Helen really wanted to focus on user interactions in WordPress 4.7. She used the example of her "tweet storm" about what it's like to change a theme, which took dozens of steps and included a lot of unclear processes.
Themes in 4.7 can define content that ships with the theme, such as a nav menu setup, sample page content, a password protected page, and other content that would be utilized in the theme. This will be a massive improvement in the initial theme setup experience that I love to see in 4.7.
Better menu handling
WordPress 4.7 includes better menu building that will also assist the new user experience. Now when you are building a menu in the customizer, you can add a page right from the menu screen, so that if you haven't yet written your "about" page or whatever else, you'll be able to create that draft straight from the menu screen, so the user doesn't have to know exactly which flow is necessary to setup their site.
Helen highlights sleeper features, like thumbnail previews for PDFs and user dashboard languages so a user can use a different language than is set by the site administrator.
The WordPress REST API
To big applause, Helen noted the inclusion of the WordPress REST API Content Endpoints in 4.7. She says that she's excited to take the momentum and excitement around the API and turn it into more real-world projects where people test and put it to practice.
Jeff Paul and Aaron Jorbin were the deputy release leads for 4.7, and more than 475 contributors submitted code to 4.7. Over 200 of those contributors are first time contributors.
Sneak preview video
To end the preview of WordPress 4.7, Helen shared a sneak preview of the WordPress 4.7 video, created by friend Rami Abraham, that highlights "Carly", who is a small business owner building her business website. The video shows a couple more great sleeper hits, like customizer preview icons to help editing, and video headers.
That's WordPress 4.7
WordPress 4.7, I believe, is going to be one of the best releases we've seen in a long, long time. It's jam packed, and while I'm sure we'll have plenty of follow-on work, there's been a hugely ambitious effort with tons of awesome contributors. None of it would've happened without Helen.
WordPress REST API and examples
After the video, Matt came back on stage.
A look at the past and future
Matt spent a few minutes reflecting over this past, and busy, year; but also spent time discussing the past few years and what's in store in the future.
Matt recognized the "predictable" release cycle that we moved to around WordPress 3.8, and how that's been a huge benefit for the platform in general.
In the past five years, we've seen WordPress go from 13.1% to 27.2%, and this kind of marketshare for a CMS is "unprecedented."
He says, "What can we try next?" In other words, he wants to do things differently going forward: "What got us here, won't get us there." In order to do this, he's proposing a new structure for core development.
Matt said he wants to see a simpler, faster UX, while simultaneously making it more powerful. This has been my number one goal for WordPress the last few years, so I'm thrilled to see him highlight it. In the coming releases, he, "wants to see design leading the way."
In 2017, Matt says he's going to be a heavily involved project lead again.
No set major releases in 2017
Matt made a huge announcement by saying that there will be no set releases in 2017. WordPress Core will continue to move forward, managing maintenance and other items, but will shift to three main focuses for features that will dictate the next several major releases:
1) The WordPress REST API
He says we need shift from thinking about the input, to measuring the output. He wants the conversation of success metrics to get beyond the "thousands" when, "WordPress is in the tens of millions."
Matt sees powering the WordPress admin with the REST API as a core focus for 2017. In addition, this effort will include shipping authentication tools in WordPress core, so that external applications can connect to WordPress websites. He says if we can't move forward with this goal, then we need to consider making the API a plugin again.
2) The Editor
Matt wants to see a lot of work on the WordPress editing experience. Matt says he showed "block-baced editor" (some may remember this as "content blocks") in a State of the Word slide a few years ago, and calls the WordPress editor his "white whale".
He says we need to be candid about our shortcomings with WordPress so that we can more effectively move forward. Andrew Ozz and Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe have been massively influential on the editor improvements we've seen over the past few years, and their contributions will be huge for moving this goal forward.
3) The Customizer
"The customizer is not yet fast enough, and flexible enough, to meet our current needs." He's excited to see all the new work going into the customizer, but knows there's a lot of work to do to take the customizer to the next step.
How to get these goals accomplished
He says that new major versions of WordPress will not be released until these features are ready. He says that as each project is completed, there will be a major release to go around it.
I'm fascinated by this new approach. It's like taking the current feature project framework and taking it multiple levels up. It's definitely a way to shake things up, and that may be great, considering so many people in the WordPress space enjoy complaining about the slow process that is WordPress feature development.
Matt, as project lead, says he'll personally be taking these on as the lead. And work will begin immediately to make it happen.
So, I don't know if the next release will be called WordPress 4.8, or when it will be, but I'd be shocked if it's four months like past releases. But I guess we'll see a lot of minor releases for all the other aspects of core development.
Matt says he thinks we'll fall while we learn to walk in this new way, and that's okay.
I have to admit, these are some pretty surprising announcements. I'm excited to dig more into the particulars over the coming weeks, but I do think this serves as a worthwhile and important jolt into WordPress core development. That's not to say I think WordPress development has been bad, I think it's been great.
Matt finished by reading a poem by Elizabeth Alexander, titled, "Praise Song For The Day" that marked a fitting end to the talk.
I think the key takeaway should be like he said: "what got us here, won't get us there." Let's see how this goes.
Photo credit: Brian Richards for Post Status.
03 Dec 2016 10:20pm GMT
Later today (3:45pm ET) I'll deliver my annual State of the Word speech, which I'm very excited about. If you'd like to watch remotely, this year live stream tickets are free and you can tune in here.
03 Dec 2016 11:54am GMT
DigitalCube launched Shifter at WordCamp US today, the first serverless hosting product for WordPress. The Japanese development company specializes in WordPress and AWS integrations. Shifter was built by the same team behind the company's Amimoto cloud hosting platform.
Shifter converts WordPress sites into a series of static HTML files and serves them up via a global CDN (AWS) for high performance hosting, eliminating the burden of software maintenance and server updates. The product targets websites that have a low frequency of updates, such as business or portfolio sites, as well as maintenance and support providers.
Shifter allows site owners to turn WordPress on or off in its administration center. The service is a hybrid of a WordPress static site generator and a hosting solution. Shifter hosts the static files it creates and allows users to connect their domains. It leaves the standard WordPress management and administration workflow intact and compiles a new version of the static files anytime users update content inside WordPress. The service starts at $30/month and offers support for unlimited sites.
As the first commercial product to provide serverless WordPress hosting, Shifter offers a unique way to tackle the security concerns that plague WordPress and its plugins and themes. Because the software is used by more than 27% of all websites, it has become a big target for hackers and spammers alike. Shifter's creators see WordPress as a prime candidate for serverless architecture.
DigitalCube team members met the Philadelphia-based J2 Design company at last year's WordCamp US and partnered with them to improve their branding, copy writing, and approach.
"At that time, we were having problems in design, branding, and communication," product liaison Shinichi Nishikawa said. "The name 'Amimoto' was originally a Japanese word and was difficult for people to pronounce or remember. We saw their work and asked them if we could form a partnership."
Together the Amimoto and J2 Design teams took the project from concept to launch in about three months. They built Shifter with AWS, Docker, and the Serverless Framework. The development team behind the project also supports and manages sites such as The Japan Times, AOL Japan, and Mazda. They frequently contribute to open source projects, including WordPress, Serverless Framework, and WP-CLI.
Shifter has exited beta and the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign with a $10,000 goal to fund future development on the project's roadmap, including domain mapping, a way to visualize usage of bandwidth and storage, multi-factor authentication, advanced scheduling, and WP-CLI support.
03 Dec 2016 3:44am GMT
02 Dec 2016
In the WordPress world, when we look back an 2016 I think we'll remember it as the year that we awoke to the importance of marketing. WordPress has always grown organically through word of mouth and its passionate community, but the hundreds of millions being spent advertising against WP has started to have an impact, especially for folks only lightly familiar with us.
I've started to hear about a number of folks across many WordPress companies and industries working on this from different angles, some approaching it from an enterprise point of view and some from a consumer point of view. There's an opportunity for learning from each other, almost like a mastermind group. As the survey says:
Never have there been more threats to the open web and WordPress. Over three hundred million dollars has been spent in 2016 advertising proprietary systems, and even more is happening in investment. No one company in the WP world is large enough to fight this, nor should anyone need to do it on their own. We'd like to bring together organizations that would like to contribute to growing WordPress. It will be a small group, and if you or your organization are interested in being a part please fill out the survey below.
By working together we can amplify our efforts to bring open source to a wider audience, and fulfill WordPress' mission to truly democratize publishing.
If this sounds interesting to you, apply using this survey.
02 Dec 2016 4:22pm GMT
01 Dec 2016
In October, Let's Encrypt was managing more than 10 million active SSL certificates. That number doubled to 20 million in November as large providers continue to partner with the organization to manage their customers' certificates.
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS is a ranking factor. Earlier this year, the Google Chrome security team announced that Chrome 56 will mark HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as insecure.
In 2017, managed WordPress hosting companies will have one more reason to enable SSL by default for new accounts. In a post on the WordPress.org blog, Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of the open source WordPress project, explains what the project is going to do to encourage HTTPS by default across the web.
"Early in 2017, we will only promote hosting partners that provide a SSL certificate by default in their accounts," Mullenweg said.
"Later we will begin to assess which features, such as API authentication, would benefit the most from SSL and make them only enabled when SSL is there."
Unrelated to SSL, Mullenweg also commented on the significant performance improvements in PHP7 and will consider whether hosting partners use PHP7 by default for new accounts in 2017.
These moves are a continued effort by Mullenweg to secure and encrypt as much of the web as possible. Earlier this year, WordPress.com encrypted all of its sites using Let's Encrypt.
Let's Encrypt is an initiative which aims to encrypt 100% of the web by making trusted certificates available to everyone at no cost. It's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of one month of operations totaling $200K.
Josh Aas, ISRG Executive Director, explains the reasons behind the crowdfunding campaign, "First, there is a gap between the funds we've raised and what we need for next year," Aas said.
"Second, we believe individual supporters from our community can come to represent a significant diversification of our annual revenue sources, in addition to corporate sponsorship and grants."
To learn more about the campaign and to contribute, visit Let's Encrypt's Indiegogo page.
01 Dec 2016 9:10pm GMT
SSL basically means the link between your browser and the server is encrypted. SSL used to be difficult to implement, and often expensive or slow. Modern browsers, and the incredible success of projects like Let's Encrypt have made getting a certificate to secure your site fast, free, and something we think every host should support by default, especially in a post-Snowden era. Google also weighs SSL as a search engine ranking factor and will begin flagging unencrypted sites in Chrome.
First, early in 2017, we will only promote hosting partners that provide a SSL certificate by default in their accounts. Later we will begin to assess which features, such as API authentication, would benefit the most from SSL and make them only enabled when SSL is there.
Separately, I also think the performance improvements in PHP7 are particularly impressive, and major kudos to everyone who worked on that. We will consider whether hosts use PHP7 by default for new accounts next year as well.
01 Dec 2016 5:20pm GMT
Flywheel has acquired Pressmatic, a local WordPress development application for OS X. The application was created by Clay Griffiths, who will be joining Flywheel to support the product as part of the acquisition.
Pressmatic launched in July 2016 with a $129 price tag but Flywheel is opening it up for free for all users. The company is rebranding the product as "Local by Flywheel" and plans to create a Windows application, add off-site backups for local sites, and sell premium support.
"From the start, the application encompassed so many of Flywheel's core values: speed, simplicity, and allowing designers and developers the freedom to do what they love," Flywheel CEO and co-founder Dusty Davidson said. "It's a perfect fit."
Griffiths told the Tavern that he is excited for the opportunities that Flywheel can provide for Local going forward. "I originally built Pressmatic because I saw the gap that existed for a truly great local WordPress development experience, and now with the resources and team at Flywheel we're set to really build something great," Griffiths said. "I certainly could have continued to go at it alone, but after meeting the team it became clear that the right answer was to partner up and really go big."
Griffiths Plans to Continue Headway Themes Support and Development in his Spare Time
The acquisition comes just months after Griffiths, who is also the co-founder of Headway Themes, was embroiled in the controversy surrounding the company's lack of communication and decline in support. Many potential customers were turned off to Pressmatic as the result of Griffith's lack of support for Headway Themes' customers and its mistreatment of employees. They company publicly confirmed its financial troubles and apologized to customers after a former employee went public about not having been paid and customers not receiving support.
When asked how the Pressmattic acquisition affects Headway Themes customers, Griffiths confirmed that he will continue to be involved with support and development of Headway.
"This acquisition and employment will provide myself and my family much more stability than we've had in a long time, and will allow me to better focus on Headway in my spare time," Griffiths said. "This includes rolling out the upcoming 4.1 release, and working hard to make sure the support and other outstanding issues are resolved for all our customers."
01 Dec 2016 3:03pm GMT
30 Nov 2016
I am a self-taught graphic designer/ motion designer turned web designer and aspiring web developer from Malawi, Africa. I am a digital tinkerer who has fallen in love with and currently gone steady with WordPress. Still, the journey is rough.
A little about my home country before you hear my story…
The average entry level monthly pay for skilled jobs is about $110.
You are really fortunate if you are employed, young, working in the creative industry and earning somewhere near $300 a month. I doubt if anybody actually employed by someone in the design, creative and web services industry earns this much.
That being said, I have been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011, doing gigs from my dorm room in college and my bedroom at home. Earnings from my freelance gigs increased my interest in entrepreneurship and I soon started entertaining the thought of starting my own creative agency or media powerhouse.
HOW I FIRST CAME INTO CONTACT WITH WORDPRESS
I first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when a friend of mine from University were planning to start a local tech blog. Before WordPress, all I had was basic and outdated HTML knowledge I learned from high school and some knowledge in Adobe Dreamweaver.
In 2014 very few websites in Malawi actually ran on WordPress as far as I remember. Most of the websites made in Malawi looked pretty archaic. With what to me was my partners expertise with WordPress Our blog looked like it came from the future. My partner knew where to get the themes (I did not know how he did it then, and still understood very little about WordPress).
In a little while, ecstatic from the praise and positive feedback from the blog we decided to pursue the idea of opening our own content and media publishing outfit.
Because our blog looked spectacular we got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought. We were ecstatic.
Unfortunately, we both had very little administrative and business skills we could not maintain the business and we ended up going our separate ways.
Fast forward post college, out of my first real job that I got in the TV industry ( terrible pay, overworked, and not being paid for about 5 months!) and failing to get more rewarding gigs as my creative agency start up side was cash strapped.
I finally took it upon myself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. I learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customising Themes. That knowledge alone and presto: I got my first web design clients and started making earning nearly as much as I did at my first job, sometimes a little more, when I get fortunate some times I even earn three times as much as I used to in a month.
It only took a very short while for me to realise that free WordPress themes can only go so far, especially with my limited code skills.
For most WordPress designers in Malawi, all we did was get nulled themes and customise them. This is the way most WordPress designers in developing countries survive. This is also why I would like to build my own themes from scratch, to avoid the situation where I have to use pirated themes that are not only unsafe for clients but unethical. In addition, I know learning to code will also set me apart from my competition.
Which leads me to the next bit….
HOW THE LACK OF AN ONLINE PAYMENT SOLUTIONS AFFECTS DESIGNERS/DEVELOPERS IN COUNTRIES LIKE MINE
My country apparently has PayPal "available", but the truth is you cannot get yourself a credit card to be able to join creative markets, and do online courses in order to improve your WP skills. The banks here only issue out credit cards to people who travel overseas or apparently have millions in their bank account.
Even so, most of the bank personnel themselves know very little about credit cards and let alone online payment solutions. It is often very frustrating to talk to bank personnel concerning this. Wire transfer and Western Union is still the most popular way to make transactions for goods and services. So many services that we would like to access: plugins, features, etc related to the WP community are far from our reach. The learning and growth often stops the moment you see the "$" sign on websites offering WP solutions and themes.
THE CHALLENGES OF BEING SELF TAUGHT IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
As I mentioned earlier, I do not have any programming background, I have always been more of a creative and artsy kind of person. Sure I have an eye for design but in order to grow, I need to learn to code PHP, and PHP hard and it is not easy to do so as premium online courses are inaccessible.
When you are in a position like mine, you are already deep in freelancing and getting a job is currently not the best option because the pay is terrible for people in your industry, and you have to keep on earning, plus make time to learn code. Getting to actually code well is a chore as you have to mind all the other obligations.
Between the time to make pitches to clients, finish up graphic design projects, deal with our current load shedding program (we only have about 5 hours of power a day on average now! ) is something I am barely managing.
WHAT THE WORDPRESS COMMUNITY LOOKS LIKE TO ME
I will be honest, I have only gotten in touch with the actual WordPress community only very recently. Of course I search for solutions from blogs about WordPress but never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. The most personal interaction I have ever had with anyone from the WordPress community is when I talked to Topher when I applied to write a post for HeroPress.
I often just isolated myself from any attempt to interact at all because of the glass ceiling. There are these feelings you get; these things you tell yourself when you know you can never truly harness the power of WordPress because of your lack of a way to pay for stuff online: You could never be half as good as anyone in developed countries, you will never ever get premium support, you can never be eligible for premium support. I reckon these feelings are worse for people teaching them self how to code like me.
So when I came across a tweet from @HeroPress about a post that talked about how WordPress marginalises some, it piqued my interest. It was a post from a WordPress developer in India, and it detailed how people from developing countries could never paid the same way someone from the developed countries would for the same skills or services. I totally relate and knew right away I need to sign up to tell my story.
WordPress designers and wanna-be developers like me (who cannot access online pay systems) often feel side lined.
When it comes to classes, we stop at the freebies portion, often than not our Google Searches look like this
"Free image slider plugins for WordPress" "Free WordPress tutorials"
I wish more developers, or people with more global privilege would consider alternate ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins would make. We may not seem to be present, but we are there. I would love to see more WordPress tutors and developers open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners like me who cannot access plugins, courses and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.
Many wannabe developers who come from situations similar to mine often shy away from participating with the WordPress community or getting deeper with WordPress because in the ways I have mentioned above, the WordPress community feels like it belongs to those only privileged enough on the internet.
WordPress has allowed me to find income I otherwise would not have any way in hopes of earning. Sure it is lower by global standards, but it makes a huge difference where I live. This is about to be my second year with WordPress, and coming across members of the community with varying backgrounds through HeroPress' stories tells me there is hope for WordPress users like me.
I believe through sharing stories like these not only will WordPress products/services be more accessible but aspiring self-taught developers like me will also find more courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.
30 Nov 2016 12:00pm GMT
29 Nov 2016
The scholarship was created in 2015 to remember Kim Parsell and provide an opportunity for a woman who may not have the financial means to attend the largest WordCamp in the US.
Shilling is a former biology teacher, business owner, plugin developer, and feminist leader. According to the announcement, Shilling was chosen for her dedication to open source and being a champion for women in leadership. The scholarship covers the cost of a WordCamp ticket, flight, and lodging. If you see Shilling at WordCamp US this weekend, be sure to congratulate her.
29 Nov 2016 10:48pm GMT
Among the many enhancements in WordPress 4.7 are improvements to the media component. Previous to 4.7, users who uploaded files to the media library and changed the title could not search for them by file name. Four years since the ticket was created, users will be able to search for media by filename.
PDFs are easier to preview as the media library will create an image preview of the first page. This image is used throughout the library and media attachment screens.
In order to generate the previews, the webhosting server needs to support Imagick, ImageMagick, and Ghostscript. If support is not detected, WordPress will fall back and save the attachment without adding a preview image.
WordPress 4.7 also removes the caption text and the image title fallbacks to generate alternative text. Developers are encouraged to read the detailed notes surrounding PDF previews to ensure compatibility with WordPress 4.7. There's also a handful of other changes to media that users and developers can read here.
29 Nov 2016 1:41am GMT