04 Sep 2015

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WPTavern: Help Me Add Comment Approval Notifications to WordPress

Since enabling comment moderation on the Tavern, I've discovered that WordPress does not notify commenters when their comments are approved.

On the Tavern, I'm using the Comment Approved plugin by Niels van Renselaar. It allows me to create a custom notification message that is sent when a comment is approved. Unfortunately, I don't think it's working. Please let me know if you've received any comment approval emails from the Tavern.

I strongly believe this feature should be in core. I've started the process by creating a feature request ticket on WordPress trac. Let's discuss the pros and cons or why you think it shouldn't be in core. Please give me your feedback in the comments or within the ticket.

04 Sep 2015 7:30pm GMT

WPTavern: How Chris Klosowski’s Lifestyle Changed by Writing One WordPress Plugin

Chris Klosowski, co-lead developer of Easy Digital Downloads, explains how writing one plugin changed his lifestyle. He left his corporate job to be a full-time distributed worker and being a distributed worker comes with its own set of challenges.

My truest challenge in this new lifestyle is knowing when it's time to ignore Slack, shut off email, take off the Pebble, and just spend time with my family. It's a challenge I'm learning to face, and the hardest part is admitting to myself that it's a problem.

It's come up in conversation a couple times with my wife, and every time, she lets me know when I'm failing. Honesty here is the key. Not guilt, not anger, just brutal honesty of when I'm not being the best husband and dad because I'm putting work before them.

One of the greatest challenges a distributed worker faces is figuring out the balance between work, family, and personal life. If you're struggling to find balance, I encourage you to read this post and the nearly 100 comments that follow.

The comments are from people in similar positions trying to figure out how to balance work, life, and family. After nearly three years of being a distributed worker, I'm still trying to figure it out.

04 Sep 2015 4:43pm GMT

WPTavern: A Bug in Chrome 45 Causes WordPress Admin Menu to Break

Within the last five weeks, several people have reported an issue in Chrome that breaks the WordPress admin menu. If you hover the mouse cursor over menu items in the sidebar, they'll occasionally fall out-of-place.

Chrome WordPress Admin Menu Using Chrome 45.0.2454.85, I'm able to inconsistently reproduce the behaviour reported in the ticket. Through the process of elimination, users discovered Chrome is the software at fault and not WordPress.

The source of the problem stems from Slimming Paint which is enabled by default in Chrome 45. Disabling slimming paint fixes the issue.

To disable this feature, visit chrome://flags/#disable-slimming-paint in Chrome and Enable the Disable slimming paint option, and make sure the other two Enable options are disabled because they will override the Disable option.

If this sounds confusing, please refer to the following screenshot provided by Samuel Wood.

Disable Slimming Paint OptionsDisable Slimming Paint Options

Chrome's development team is aware of the issue and is working towards a solution that is marked for release in Chrome 47. Until then, users are encouraged to disable Slimming Paint until Chrome fixes the issue.

04 Sep 2015 3:49pm GMT

WPTavern: A Dashboard Widget That Displays New Registered Users

If you run a WordPress site with user registration enabled and want to see recently registered accounts from the dashboard, check out the New User Dashboard Widget plugin by Swadeshswain. After installing and activating the plugin, a new registered user widget appears on the dashboard.

New Registered User WidgetNew Registered User Widget

The widget tells you a user's registration date, name, and role. If you don't see the widget after activating the plugin, click on the Screen Options tab and make sure the box next to New User is checked. New User Dashboard Widget is the type of plugin that does one thing only and does it well. There's nothing to configure and it works out-of-the-box with WordPress 4.3.

04 Sep 2015 12:02am GMT

03 Sep 2015

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WPTavern: Proposal to Overhaul the Shortcode API in WordPress Goes Back to the Drawing Board

Robert Chapin, who contributes to WordPress core, published the first draft of a roadmap that explains how the Shortcode API could be overhauled. "The decision to create this roadmap arose from specific needs that are not met by the old code," Chapin said.

The proposal has an aggressive timeline with development starting in WordPress 4.4 and ending in WordPress 4.7. In WordPress 4.4, a new syntax would be introduced that provides opportunities to make significant changes to the API.

Here are a few examples of shortcodes that use the new syntax.
Self-Closing: [{{shortcode}}]

Attributes: [{{shortcode attr1="value1″ attr2='value2′ "value3" 'value4' value5}}]

Enclosing: [{{shortcode}$] HTML [${shortcode}}]

Multiple Enclosures: [{{shortcode}$] HTML [${encl2}$] HTML [${encl3}$] HTML [${shortcode}}]

Escaped Code: [!{{shortcode}}]

In the WordPress 4.5 development cycle, the focus would be to deprecate the old syntax, "Plugins that register shortcodes without declaring support for new features will raise debugging errors to alert developers that support for the old shortcode syntax is ending," Chapin said. Posts using the old syntax would continue to work.

During the WordPress 4.6 update process, shortcodes using the old syntax would be converted to use the new syntax. The Shortcode API would continue to provide deprecated support for the old syntax to provide a smooth transition.

An important point to note is that the new syntax does not support HTML inside of shortcode attributes. This leaves the potential for many sites to break as shortcodes may not perform the same way prior to WordPress 4.6

The transition process ends with WordPress 4.7 where support for the old syntax is eliminated. Shortcodes and plugins that use the old syntax would stop working. During the WordPress 4.7 update process, a second attempt would be made to upgrade old content to use the new syntax.

The Proposal Raises Concerns

The proposal has drawn constructive criticism from several members of the WordPress community. Nick Haskins, founder of Aesop Interactive, voiced his concern saying the syntax isn't easier for authors to use and will affect a large number of sites.

Mika Epstein, who voluntarily moderates the WordPress.org support forums and interacts with users on a daily basis, sums up a list of concerns that many developers agree with.

  • All the plugins and themes on the planet we will break (because we will, they won't read or test). We have to degrade them as gracefully as humanly possibly. Continuing to say "Well the developers were notified and should have updated" now that we're as big as we are is not sustainable.
  • All the very (legitimately) angry end users who are broken because they didn't upgrade plugins and themes (or the themes/plugins didn't get updated). People were rightly angry last time. It's the end users, not the developers, who will be hardest hit by this change.
  • Communicating clearly to the users that it's now {{gallery}}. That's going to be very hard. Incredibly hard. Updating their old posts (keeping in mind Justin's Markdown caveat and those who use them as an aside - I know I know) is easier than making sure everyone knows what to do. At best we can keep tabs on the ones built into WP and perhaps use the logic we have in the visual editor NOW to convert them, but we have to figure out how to make sure everyone knows. This is nothing like the move of Menus to customizer. That was confusing, but the users could see what happened. This is a legit change, your old way is no longer going to work. That is huge.
  • The number of users who have premium themes and plugins that do not get update alerts. These people are simply not going to know they need to update and this is not their fault. We should never be breaking them if there's possibly any alternative.
  • Users will be upgraded by their hosts vis-a-vis one-click installs and managed hosting so they will have up to date WP and out of date plugins/themes. So yes, many users will be on 4.7 and then a theme from 2014. It sucks, it's the reality, we know it's the reality, we cannot stick our heads in the sand.
  • Plugins that are already using {{template}} tags in their code. Yeah, I've seen it. Most of them use it for search/replace within their own code, but we'll want to make sure we check for everyone in the repo who might be doing it on their own.

The best argument against using the new shortcode syntax is made by Stefano Agiletti. Agiletti says Italian keyboards don't have keys that create curly braces.

Maybe English people don't know that { and } are not present in all keyboards directly as the [ and ] are. On Italian keyboards [ and ] are generated using ALT-GR+è or ALT-GR++ and keyboards show ALT-GR basic sign like €@## and [ ].

To get { and } you need to type ALT-GR+SHIFT+è and ALT-GR+SHIFT++. Most people don't know about this combination (I think only those who write code do) and the parentheses are not written on any key.

Back to the Drawing Board

After a considerable amount of feedback and concerns shared by developers, the proposal is heading back to the drawing board. In a comment summarizing the feedback, Andrew Nacin confirms that the new shortcode syntax does not fit the core team's vision of being easy and intuitive for non-technical authors to use.

At the same time, he cautions that the team needs to do something, "The proposed syntax significantly clashes with the proposed vision and given all of your feedback, we're clearly going to have to go back to the drawing board. Please note that we still need to do something, but maybe we can think further outside the box."

I highly encourage you to read the proposal and the comments that follow it. It's a great read that highlights how difficult it will be to make changes to the Shortcode API that don't end up causing a lot of sites to break.

03 Sep 2015 9:16pm GMT

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 206 – Stream Reverts to its Old Ways

In this week's episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I discuss the news of the week including, Envato's new item support policy, Twenty Sixteen available on GitHub, and BuddyPress 2.3.3. We also discuss Stream 3 which returns to hosting activity logs on the local server. We end the show with Marcus' plugin picks up the week.

Stories Discussed:

Envato Implements Item Support Policy for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon
Twenty Sixteen Now Available on GitHub and the WordPress Theme Directory
BuddyPress 2.3.3 Patches Security Vulnerabilities in BuddyPress Messages Component
WordPress Community Summit Set for December 2-3, 2015
Stream Is Shutting Down Its Cloud Data Storage October 1st

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

New User Dashboard Widget is a dashboard widget that shows new registered members.

Facebook Secret Meta adds the necessary secret codes to your site, so when someone shares a link to your site on Facebook, they'll see the site's information and the new Author By data.

BuddyPress Automatic Friends automatically creates and accepts friendships for specified users upon new user registration.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, September 9th 9:30 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #206:

03 Sep 2015 8:21am GMT

WPTavern: The WP Tavern Comment Moderation Policy

Those of you who regularly comment on the Tavern may have noticed that your comments don't show up immediately after submitting them. That's because about four weeks ago, for the first time in the Tavern's history, comment moderation for all comments was enabled. I enabled moderation to address concerns raised by members of the community and to sleep better at night.

At the request of a few readers and to be more transparent, I've created a comment moderation policy. With the help of at least a dozen people, I've crafted a policy that is easy to read and more importantly, easy to follow. It explains our expectations, has a few tips on writing better comments, and lists possible reasons a comment may be deleted.

The policy is CC0 licensed which is the least restrictive license offered by Creative Commons. Feel free to copy and modify it for your own use.

WP Tavern Comment Moderation Policy

We strive to create a fun, friendly, and inviting atmosphere. The ground rules for commenting on WP Tavern are simple. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Try to understand someone else's perspective and if you disagree, respectfully explain why.

Text is a difficult medium to decipher context. Emoticons and emoji help, but it doesn't solve the problem. Take a deep breath and assume the commenter has the best of intentions before responding and approach discussions with open minds.

We welcome different perspectives and viewpoints but we all need to clearly communicate them without tearing the opposition down in the process.

Stay on point using concise language. If your comment is more than a few paragraphs long, consider publishing it on your own site instead.

Your comment may be deleted if it matches any of the following criteria:

These guidelines are not meant to be an exhaustive list. The deletion of comments is wholly within the discretion of the moderators at WP Tavern and we will err on the side of maintaining a safe and friendly community.

How Do I Report Comments?

If you believe a comment published on WP Tavern violates any of the listed guidelines or that you feel needs special attention, contact us. Please do not publicly report comments using social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

Form submissions are sent to authors with comment moderation capabilities. Include a link to the comment in your email with a short explanation as to why it needs our attention.

The Goal

The goal is to reestablish the comment section as a place where people feel welcome to voice their opinions without the fear of being ripped apart. We encourage criticism, disagreements, and open conversation but it needs to take place in a respectful manner.

03 Sep 2015 6:36am GMT

02 Sep 2015

feedWordPress Planet

Post Status: A Day of REST — a conference devoted to the WordPress REST API

A Day of REST will be the first ever event dedicated to the WordPress REST API. It'll happen on January 28th 2016, with a follow-on hack day on the 29th, and will be held at Bishopsgate Institute in London, UK.

The event is aimed at developers who want to learn how to interact with the new WordPress REST API. From WordPress developers to Javascript developers, to application developers, A Day of REST promises to provide in-depth information that covers every aspect of the WordPress REST API.

This is exactly the kind of event I've been hoping to see in the WordPress community. Sessions will vary from an introduction to the WordPress REST API to in-depth case studies and guides on utilizing it in the real world.

It will be an incredible and rare opportunity to learn from the people making the API and those extending it further than anyone else. A niche event to be sure, A Day of REST is a big bet on the WordPress REST API - which is not yet slated for core, but is widely expected to make it to core in the next few releases.

The conference is being organized to supply a clear demand for more information, resources, and education on the subject. At most WordCamps, REST API sessions seem to be some of the most crowded, with the most engaged and curious audiences. A Day of REST will be like those sessions, but much bigger, as the entire day will be dedicated to the single topic.

Who is speaking at A Day of REST


The speaker roster consists of people who are building the WordPress REST API, and those who are already using it for production applications and websites. The speakers are:

Post Status will be an official partner

I'm really pleased that Post Status will be the official content partner for A Day of REST. That means I'll be attending the event, and I'll offer a number of in-depth posts related to the WordPress REST API, the sessions, interviews, and more.

I'll also manage content for some of the larger event announcements, like this one. I've known the organizers for a long time, and they are big supporters of Post Status. A Day of REST offers a really great opportunity for me to work with them and offer my readers some unique privileges and exclusive content for a subject that's of interest to most of my audience.

So who is organizing?


A Day of REST is organized by Human Made, who've brought on board Siobhan McKeown to lead the charge putting the event together.

Human Made uses the API in a good bit of their services and product work, are really interested to see more adoption of the API, and are eager to provide education resources so that can happen. Those of you who pay close attention may know that two of Human Made's own are actually part of the team of four that does much of the REST API development.

Ryan McCue is the project co-lead, and is generally steering the ship; the API started as his GSoC (Google Summer of Code) project years ago. Joe Hoyle is in day to day conversations for project direction and also commits a lot of code to the API; he is a co-founder of Human Made.

Hack Day

On 29th January 2016, there will be a WordPress REST API hack day. This event is being hosted by Mozilla Spaces in London. Space for the hack day is limited but the team would love for anyone interested to come along and help make the WordPress REST API. Bring a laptop and expect to get hacking. This event will be for building the REST API specifically, and not geared toward other projects.

Ticket details

Tickets are available from the website. They're £125 (+ VAT & booking fees) - which ends up being around $235 US - and the price includes all of the usual conference goodies: presentations, lunch, swag, and an informal afterparty.

Confirmed sponsors

A Day of REST is excited to already have some awesome sponsors on board.

The team is also looking for more sponsors to get involved and help make this unique event happen. If you'd like to sponsor, send an email to events@humanmade.co.uk.

More information

Depending on the content, you can get updates either from this blog, or from the A Day of REST website, feelingrestful.com. You should also follow @feelingrestful on Twitter for live updates. I'll have in-depth content and broader event information and the event site will have more general announcements, news, and event updates.

London is quite accessible from much of the world, so I am hopeful and confident that there will be a diverse audience in attendance. I certainly look forward to visiting; and I was pleasantly surprised that it doesn't get as cold there as I thought; January temperatures (lows and highs) stay around the 40s (F, or 5-9° C) - which is likely warmer than it'll be where I live in January.

A Day of REST is an exciting development in the WordPress conference ecosystem and I'm confident it's going to be a huge success.

02 Sep 2015 1:36pm GMT

WPTavern: Envato Implements Item Support Policy for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon

In August of 2014, Envato announced a new initiative that would allow sellers on CodeCanyon and ThemeForest to inform buyers whether or not an item is supported. Earlier today, Envato implemented an Item Support Policy for sellers on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.

When browsing items on ThemeForest or CodeCanyon, a blue badge indicates the seller provides support. There's also a badge and text that informs potential buyers if an item is not supported.

This Item is SupportedThis Item is Supported

According to the policy, buyers automatically receive six months of support from the date of purchase. If you need support for an entire year, you can buy an extension for a nominal upgrade fee. Envato takes 30% and gives 70% of the purchase to authors.

The price of a 6-month support extension for a Regular License is calculated as:

  1. 37.5% of the item price (30% of the list price) when purchased at the same time as the license;
  2. 62.5% of the item price (50% of the list price) when purchased during the support period; and
  3. 87.5% of the item price (70% of the list price) when purchased after the support period has ended.

Andrew Freeman, product manager for Envato, says the changes provide a standardized definition of support, "Buyers will know exactly what to expect from all purchases on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon."

Buyers who purchased supported items before the new policy went into effect have six months of free tech support starting on September 1st.

Disgruntled Authors

In a forum thread with over 165 responses, sellers discussed the pros and cons of the policy while some expressed anger. Jonathan Atkinson, founder of Cr3ativ, who sells several items on ThemeForest, thinks the policy is not as good as alternatives offered outside of the marketplaces because of its confusing complexity for both authors and buyers,

I'm not sure why Envato chose this solution when we already have a well established support/upgrade system in place within most of the WordPress community where 12 months of support is included in the purchase and customers receive a 50% discount to continue receiving support and updates.

The policy is a work in progress, "We will be monitoring the impacts of this change very closely and will be tweaking, improving and enhancing the support tools over coming weeks and months," Freeman said.

If you're a buyer or seller on ThemeForest or CodeCanyon, let us know what you think of the support policy in the comments.

02 Sep 2015 12:52am GMT

01 Sep 2015

feedWordPress Planet

Matt: On VentureBeat Podcast

I was on VentureBeat's podcast with Dylan Tweeney, talking a bit about how WordPress came to be and geeking out on some of the tech behind our approach.

01 Sep 2015 2:23am GMT

31 Aug 2015

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: Twenty Sixteen Now Available on GitHub and the WordPress Theme Directory

Twenty Sixteen, the default theme scheduled to ship with WordPress 4.4, is available for download on GitHub and the WordPress theme directory. According to Tammie Lister, Twenty Sixteen will be developed as if it were a feature plugin and will merge into WordPress core later this year.

As development takes place on GitHub, changes will regularly sync up to the WordPress theme directory. By installing and activating Twenty Sixteen from the theme directory, users can easily update to new versions as they become available.

So far, Twenty Sixteen has 23 issues and 27 pull requests on GitHub. Many of the issues such as, introducing automated Travis CI build testing into Twenty Sixteen, are up for discussion.

Here is what the top half of the Tavern looks like with Twenty Sixteen activated.

Twenty Sixteen on the TavernTwenty Sixteen on the Tavern

Here is what the content section looks like. Notice the block of code that displays instead of an image.

Content on the Tavern with Twenty Sixteen Content on the Tavern with Twenty Sixteen Activated

Testers are encouraged to open issues and pull requests on GitHub. If you're not familiar with how GitHub works, this guide explains how to contribute to the Twenty Sixteen project. Keep in mind that Twenty Sixteen is a work in progress and should not be used in a production environment.

31 Aug 2015 8:05pm GMT

29 Aug 2015

feedWordPress Planet

Matt: Rigamortis Cover

Great jazz cover of one of my favorite Kendrick Lamar songs, Rigamortis, which of course is inspired by the great jazz song The Thorn by Willie Jones III.

29 Aug 2015 3:33am GMT

28 Aug 2015

feedWordPress Planet

Post Status: Our WordPress 4.4 wishlist — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Brian and his co-host, Joe Hoyle, a co-founder and the CTO of Human Made, discuss some of today's hottest, current WordPress news.

Listen now:


Direct Download

Stories discussed:

28 Aug 2015 1:45pm GMT

WPTavern: WordPress.com Unveils the Action Bar

WordPress.com has unveiled a new user interface called the Action Bar. It's a bar that shows up in the bottom right corner of the screen for logged in users and is accessible from any device. The bar performs multiple tasks depending on the page you're on.

WordPress Action BarWordPress Action Bar

When on a WordPress.com powered site that you're not following, the bar turns into a Follow button. Clicking the follow button will notify you of new posts published on the site.

Action Bar Follow ButtonAction Bar Follow Button

If you click the three dots to the right, you'll see a variety of options depending upon the page you're viewing. If it's the homepage, you'll see links to download the theme the site uses, report the content, or manage the sites you follow.

If you're browsing a specific post on a WordPress.com site, you'll see an additional link to copy a shortlink for quick and easy sharing.

Easily Share PostsEasily Share Posts

If you have a site on WordPress.com and are logged in, the Follow button turns into a Customize button. This link provides a quick way to enter the Customizer. There's also an Edit link if you're browsing a published post.

Edit and Customize LinksEdit and Customize Links

If the action bar is too big and you want to minimize it, click the three dots and select the option to Collapse the bar. It will shrink the bar into squares and get out of your way.

My User Experience

One of the best features of the action bar is the ability to quickly see and download a theme used on a WordPress.com site. However, it doesn't work for WordPress.com specific sites like The Daily Post.

What annoys me about the action bar is that it disappears when I scroll down. I caught myself scrolling down to read a post and when I looked for the edit button to fix a typo, the action bar was gone. I think it should stay on the screen at all times.

I'd also like to see the Edit link in the action bar open a front-end editor. It's time WordPress.com step up its game and stop forcing users through a backend interface to edit published content.

I like the experimental action bar but at the same time, I question the reasoning for adding yet another user interface element to mimic actions already supported by other buttons and links.

For example, between the admin bar, dashboard, the edit link underneath a post, and the action bar, there are now four different ways to edit a post. How many roads are necessary to reach the same destination?

If you have a site on WordPress.com, let me know what you think of the action bar.

28 Aug 2015 7:43am GMT

Matt: Frequent Flyer Syndrome

It turns out not everything about traveling all the time is roses. (Posted from 38k feet.)

28 Aug 2015 7:17am GMT

WPTavern: BuddyPress 2.3.3 Patches Security Vulnerabilities in BuddyPress Messages Component

BuddyPress Featured ImageBuddyPress 2.3.3 is available and users are encouraged to update as soon as possible. A few security vulnerabilities were discovered in BuddyPress Messages, a core component that allows users to send and receive private messages.

A vulnerability was responsibly disclosed to the BuddyPress team that could allow members to manipulate a failed private outbound message and inject unexpected output to the browser. The vulnerability was reported by Krzysztof Katowicz-Kowalewski.

In addition to the first vulnerability, the BuddyPress core development team independently discovered and fixed related vulnerabilities with the messages component that could allow for carefully crafted private message content to be rendered incorrectly to the browser.

BuddyPress 2.3.3 also fixes a couple of bugs in the 2.3 codebase and improves support for backend changes made in WordPress 4.3. To protect your sites from these vulnerabilities, you should perform a full backup and update BuddyPress as soon as possible.

28 Aug 2015 6:27am GMT